Thursday, September 22, 2011

When Test Scores Plummet, Reduce Instruction Time!

 
At the recent Parkland/Brookside PTA meeting, the shared VP and the former reading specialist who is now "interning" with the principal at Parkland announced that there is much empathy for the high percentage of under-privileged children in the two schools (59% at PL and 66% at BS*) whose parents can't transport their kids to/ from extra-curricular activities before & after school. 

To rectify this egregious situation, the two schools will begin incorporating "enrichment sessions" into the school day once/week. They aim to involve all students and staff in the building to stop and drop whatever they are doing to participate in an activity together (ie: a soccer game). That will allow these under-privileged children to feel that they are part of a "club" so they can go home and say to their family: "I joined soccer club today!"

This new standard is in addition to providing more time for kids to "think about" what they just learned (reduced instructional time again) ... an effort to teach them to find a deeper understanding and comprehension of the lesson. (Someday they may comprehend how GCSD screwed them out of an education, but I digress ... )

These plans are outrageous enough given the poor showing these schools had on recent NY State required ELA & math tests. It's even more outrageous when one considers that Pre-K/2 schools like Parkland do NOT offer extra-curricular activities anyway! Whatever happened to DEAR (drop everything and read) time? Obviously, these two schools value extra-curriculars over academics, or they would be spending as much time as possible "on task."

WHAT'S NEXT? NAP TIME FOR GRADES 3-5?

* info & figures provided to SCATS
  

14 comments:

Anonymous said...

The sad truth about these schools is that nobody cares what they do as long as it doesn't involve moving those students into the "good" schools.

SCATS said...

To 7AM ~~ Maybe Babs will care ...

Anonymous said...

Unrelated, but if you want to see something funny.... Go to the D&C pictures @ Pine Brook elementary. I heard from a friend (with D&C) there was a push to show "children of different backgrounds" in the pictures selected for D&C's site. LOL, I think they found every child of color in that whole school to show in those 14 pictures! Still think the D&C's not in bed with GCSD? Guess again!

Anonymous said...

Physical activity does help kids concentrate and lowers rates of acting out in school age kids. Don't know if that thinking was involved in this decision. If the activity does not rise heart rate for 20-30 minutes it won't help either. If they get better quality instruction/learning after physical activity as opposed to the "more of the same" maybe this can help. Too bad the PTA doesn't fundraise or promote help for low income families to do the "extras" before school, instead of the typical PTA stuff.
The new Superintendent does seem to care- the BOE needs to be on board with needed changes.

SCATS said...

To 8:11AM ~~ Soccer was merely an example used to demonstrate the point. Many school extra-curriculars have little to NO activity level associated with them. Example: chess club.

It would be almost acceptable if they were to create reading clubs, math clubs or geography clubs to promote learning the curriculum ... but they didn't.

Anonymous said...

Why is it the responsibility of the PTA to take care of the lower-income families before school and after school? I believe there are enough PTA sponsored events to build "community" at this school that have absolutely no cost to them and still have a low attendance by families!

SCATS said...

To 10:16AM ~~ I think perhaps it would be more suitable for them to engage in these sorts of activities to preserve classtime for curriculum. Maybe that's a reason why PTA attendance is so low. If PTA did step-up to take this on and then no one attended, that would demonstrate that the "need" was contrived by those who run the school ;)

Anonymous said...

"As the largest volunteer child advocacy association in the nation, Parent Teacher Association (PTA) reminds our country of its obligations to children and provides parents and families with a powerful voice to speak on behalf of every child while providing the best tools for parents to help their children be successful students." From the national PTA website

PTA's should especially be there for kids who need the most help- poor or not!

SCATS said...

To 12:22PM ~~ If they did that, they'd have to stop pandering to the GTA (unions) in Greece. I can't imagine Gary Elling & company EVER doing that, can you??

Anonymous said...

To start, sent them proportionately to Pinebrooke.

I do support experimenting with other ways to engage those students.

I wish the school and the super all the best in these efforts.

Anonymous said...

"Elementary/Middle School PTAs
PTAs serve as a type of forum where parents, teachers, administrators, and other concerned adults discuss ways to promote quality education, strive to expand the arts, encourage community involvement, and work for a healthy environment and safe neighborhoods."

Even better quote from PTA national website
Sorry to keep bugging you about PTAs but they should be about so much more than pizza parties and ice cream socials

Anonymous said...

As a teacher at one of these schools, this is the first that I have heard of any of this. Was this just a brainstorming session? I don't think this is factual as it has not been put in place or even mentioned to staff.

SCATS said...

To 4:02PM ~~ Perhaps you should attend more PTA meetings. My understanding is that this idea was coming soon. Because of the negative attention on the BLOG, maybe it will never see the light of day now. I'll keep my fingers crossed.

Anonymous said...

No teachers ever attend PTA meetings and only a small handful of them (the same faces) are at events at these two schools. The PTA is supposed to stand for Parent "Teacher" Association. Where are the Teachers, let alone the Parents? The teachers are the first to ask the PTA for funding for classroom needs and field trips but are the last to show support. If more teachers stepped up to show the Parents and Children they cared about this association, maybe there would be more involvement!