Madison Metropolitan School District
Madison, Wisconsin

Art Rainwater, Superintendent
Minutes for Performance and Achievement
January 30, 2006
Doyle Administration Building
545 West Dayton Street, McDaniels Auditorium
Madison, Wisconsin

Performance and Achievement Committee meeting was called to order by Committee Member Bill Keys at 5:04 p.m.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Bill Keys, Ruth Robarts, Shwaw Vang


OTHER BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Carol Carstensen, Lawrie Kobza, Juan José López, Johnny Winston, Jr.


STAFF PRESENT: Sue Abplanalp, Mary Gulbrandsen, Mike Lipp, Pam Nash, Art Rainwater, Mary Ramberg, Loren Rathert, Jenny Ruef, Welda Simousek, Marcia Standiford, Ken Syke, Lisa Wachtel, Barbara Lehman-Recording Secretary

Bill Keys chaired the meeting for Shwaw Vang

There was some discussion about on the status of the Middle Grades Design Team and the Board's role relative to plans and changes in the curriculum.

Shwaw Vang resumed as Chair

1. Approval of Minutes

It was moved by Ruth Robarts and seconded by Bill Keys to approve the Performance and Achievement Committee minutes dated December 19, 2005 as distributed. Motion unanimously carried.

There was some discussion about including public appearances on the agenda for the next meeting and holding them after any presentations to be made.

2. Announcements

There were no announcements.

3. Heterogeneous Grouping of Students in the Classroom

(Packets included a detailed agenda about what was to be presented; the philosophy behind heterogeneously grouped classes at high school; a book excerpt from a chapter entitled "Classroom Organization and Instructional Quality." Copies are attached to the original of these minutes.)

A sheet was distributed entitled "A Lexicon of Learning" that defined heterogeneous grouping; homogeneous grouping; and tracking (a copy is attached to the original of these minutes). The Superintendent indicated that more meetings would be needed for this topic. He noted that there are no homogeneously grouped classes but that within any class, there is a range of abilities and needs. The question becomes when the range becomes so far apart that instruction cannot be differentiated.

Dr. Adam Gamoran, Director of the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, gave a presentation covering the following areas: why schools assign students to classes by "ability," problems of ability grouping, ability grouping and unequal instruction, achievement gaps between high and low tracks, consequences of ability grouping, responses to the problem, a case of successful mixed-ability teaching, and conclusions (a copy of the presentation is attached to the original of these minutes).

Discussion: Staff recruitment for Cibola High School (no seniority). Curriculum strategies at Cibola. What school boards should be doing and watching for as a school district moves toward heterogeneous grouping. Concern for the Minority Student Achievement Network. Efforts in the Madison schools are being driven by staff at the schools. Evidence in schools that focused on these responses. International vs. U.S. education stakes. Characteristics of the Cibola High school. English Language Learners proceeding separately. Experiment in Scotland. Board decision relative to guidelines about how to support these issues as they arise. Staying at the general policy level vs. making curricular decisions. Issues relative to who is taking the classes vs. those who are passing these classes. Teacher training needed in this kind of environment. Likelihood of success when teachers make the suggestions.

FOLLOW UP: Data to be used to establish a baseline to show if the changes to be implemented are beneficial. List of which schools, what subjects, and data. Continue the series and include public appearances on the agenda after the presentation. Public appearances can carry over to the Regular meeting if necessary.

4. Other Business

There was no other business.

5. Adjournment

It was moved by Ruth Robarts and seconded by Bill Keys to adjourn the meeting at 6:16 p.m. Motion unanimously carried.