I have learned many things serving on the Board, which has been very rewarding to an educator who labels herself a Lifelong Learner.
One of the things I have learned is that I am not a very good blogger. But, oh well, still trying, so here is another installment.
BOARD MEETING MAY 15 Board meetings are held at the District Office once a month from April to August and in December. The other months, September to March, have two meetings each month, the first at the D.O. and the second held at different schools.
STUDY SESSION 4:00 to 5:30 p.m. The study session is a public meeting, and where much of the board work is done. May’s meeting has two purposes:
(1) to share reports from the recent National School Boards Convention
(which I attended in Boston last month, then Mr. Wonderful and I rented a car and toured from Palmyra, New York, to Kittery, Maine, and yes, it was grrrreat!)
(2) to review the proposed 2012-2013 Maintenance and Operation Budget of almost $400 million
(M & O is defined as everything except buildings, buses, and other long-term stuff, and discussed extremely well in Wendy Hart’s blog: http://wendy4asd.blogspot.com/2012/05/money-and-management.htm )
BOARD MEETING 6:00 p.m. starts with routine business, then the superintendent will present property agreements. An action item will be the school calendar, and reports will be on membership. Details can be found at the district web site: http://sbs.alpinedistrict.org/cgibin/WebObjects/eAgenda.woa/wa/displayMeeting?meetingID=1131
CLOSED SESSION will follow, in which the board will continue the process of evaluating the superintendent that began with board members meeting with the executive director of the Utah School Board who is facilitating the process. We created lists of areas of competence and areas for improvement that were then put in survey form for board members to respond to, which will be the basis for a formal evaluation.
Closed session is discussion only, as all contract decisions must be voted on in an open meeting.
My blog goes to a wide variety of readers, so a controversial topic like Common Core is difficult to comment on without giving offense. Alpine School District is implementing the program, and as a member of the school board, I support an administration that is a leader in educational excellence.
That being said, I must state that I am still uncomfortable with a national curriculum, with centralized power in a field that cries out for individualization and innovation. But I am comfortable with vigorous debate, scrutiny of all facets of Common Core, and keeping a spotlight on the implementation as we work out the kinks of a mandate that has never been piloted and has no data to testify to what it can produce.
From my perspective the dust-up in the last few months between proponents of Common Core and those who oppose it has been very positive. I see those who are devoted to the concept of common standards being asked to examine every aspect, which can only be healthy, such as the State School Superintendent, Larry Shumway, moving to modify Utah’s arrangement with the testing consortium that is funded by the federal government. That means a lot of different sides are being heard, a lot of questions studied, a lot of voices speaking up. Kind of like democracy in action.
MORE NATIONAL EDUCATION?
The first time I read about Common Core, it was in a newspaper article, long before I heard any discussion of the issue, so this story felt a little like déjà vu. This is about science standards being developed by 26 states, with the aim of all 50 states to accepting them
I was assured by two different presenters at USBA training last summer that Utah would never accept national standards in science or in social studies, as these two areas were too value-laden (that to an old English teacher who watches implementation of national standards in language arts, as though what children read and write could be strictly objective).
Front page in USA Today May 5:
New educational science standards due out Friday give teachers hope that they can turn around U.S. students’ lackluster science performance.
… Twenty-six states have agreed to help develop them. Wheeler and others hope educators in all 50 states adopt the standards
My brief research on some of the groups developing the standards includes those who list their agenda as implementing Common Core, so, it walks like a duck, it quacks like a duck ….