Madison Metropolitan School District
Madison, Wisconsin

Art Rainwater, Superintendent
BOARD OF EDUCATION
Minutes for Performance and Achievement
February 6, 2006
Doyle Administration Building
545 West Dayton Street, McDaniels Auditorium
Madison, Wisconsin

Performance and Achievement Committee meeting was called to order by Chair Shwaw Vang at 6:39 p.m.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Bill Keys, Ruth Robarts, Shwaw Vang

MEMBERS ABSENT: None

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

STUDENT REPRESENTATIVE PRESENT: Connor Gants

STAFF PRESENT: Sue Abplanalp, Mary Gulbrandsen, Mike Lipp, Linda McQuillen, Pam Nash, Joe Quick, Art Rainwater, Mary Ramberg, Jennifer Ruef, Welda Simousek, Marcia Standiford, Lisa Wachtel, Ann Wilson - Recording Secretary

1. Announcements

There were no announcements.

2. Heterogeneous Grouping of Students in the Classroom

(Written materials included in packet: Heterogeneous Grouping provided for the Performance and Achievement Committee on January 30. Written materials distributed at the meeting: Student Advancement at West High School Issues (also provided on January 30), The Planning Pyramid, The Planning Pyramid with Honors - all attached to the original copy of these minutes.)

Teacher Mike Lipp reviewed written material about issues of student advancement at West High School focusing on Biology. He noted the number of credits students earn and that courses for low-achieving students have been created and abolished over time. Among the reasons for discontinuing these courses are that they lack diversity and intellectual leadership. He provided the goals of the heterogeneously grouped Biology 1 class and stated that achievement has increased for all students and the class meets the needs of accelerated students.

DISCUSSION:

Need more triangulation to see more of the picture. Have not seen tenth grade scores or graduation scores. Items that would be included in evaluation.

History of the development of classes at West. Agree that courses are not serving students in terms of their future.

The pros and cons of combining Biology 1 with Accelerated Biology.

Effort by teachers to transition away from dead-end classes and provide good experiences for all students. Achievable to challenge high and make sure low are successful.

Instructional Resource Teacher Linda McQuillen talked about the Planning Pyramid and how teachers at East used this as a planning tool to restructure Math courses. The model asks teachers to look at what students will learn and analyze curriculum in light of that. Teachers were not satisfied with the low number of minority students in higher level classes. She explained the process they used to make changes. The model was presented in a one-day workshop, staff worked over the spring and summer to work on lesson plans, and it was implemented in the fall. It takes about an hour per lesson for staff to differentiate curriculum. She noted staff development is ongoing.

DISCUSSION:

Information received from another source disputes learning and implementing in a year. There are different models of differentiation; some are long and very intensive.

Teacher training - core is consistent, highly motivated teachers.

To train all staff would take a longer period of time. Changes so far have been teacher initiated.

Focus on what students will learn helps all teachers to think about where they want students to be.

Teacher Jennifer Ruef talked about how the model was developed by teachers at East, how it works in practice, and how they are implementing it. She described how they assess students and underscored the importance of staff development. She said that success could be seen in the immediate change in the students in the courses.

Science Coordinator Lisa Wachtel worked with science staff to imbed an honors component within the Biology 1 class at West High School which will be ready for implementation in the fall. She explained how the honors component will work.

Assistant Superintendent Pam Nash reviewed the progress of the West English model with imbedded honors. After discussion for about a year, the process begins in February with training over the second semester and summer. There is commitment to a scheduling structure that will allow for common planning time for teachers.

DISCUSSION:

Board's role in decision making. Need process for evaluating strategic planning goals, particularly in areas of instructional excellence. Changes happening out of context.

Work is progressing on developing a system for evaluating whether the district is offering a challenging, diverse and contemporary curriculum. District is taking the approach recommended by NSBA.

AB honors and how it works with English.

District has set policy--may need to discuss change.

3. Public Appearances

Due of lack of time, those who registered to speak were heard at the Regular Board Meeting which immediately followed this meeting.

4. Other Business

There was no other business.

5. Adjournment

It was moved by Bill Keys and seconded by Ruth Robarts to adjourn the meeting at 7:15 p.m. Motion unanimously carried.

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