Thursday, December 15, 2011

Whatever Happened To The "KISS" Principle*?

       
School Consolidation/Options (Caution! Reading through this is likely to make your brain hurt, your eyes bulge & your blood pressure rise!)

School Consolidation FAQ's

Survey Seeking Your Input On The Plans

SCATS' Alternative 
  1. Close Odyssey & send them back to their home schools (most are from Apollo/Olympia) where space is already available to accommodate them. Let Odyssey's bldg. revert back to the folks who own the land.
  2. Close West Ridge & send these kids to Brookside creating a K-5 school. Move Brookside kids to Parkland creating another K-5 school. This plan provides proximity to Affinity for PL/BS students to continue GCSD's ongoing efforts to engage those parents.
  3. Close Paddy Hill & send these kids to Kirk Rd. creating another K-5 school.
  4. Retain whichever building (Barnard, West Ridge, or Paddy Hill) is least costly to maintain for potential future needs. Sell the others. Sell the $100,000 piano in storage at A-PAC that no one is permitted to touch & use that temperature/humidity controlled space to house the records now stored at Barnard.
  5. End signature schools, schools of choice and secondary options. Redraw boundaries as needed attempting to retain "traditional" boundary lines to the extent possible. Provide "walk zones" around each bldg. Reduce school staffing to align with need for fewer teachers, administrators, etc.
  6. Oust the kids from GCSD who are non-residents!! According to Doug Skeet, this may be as much as 600 students!! We may even be able to close ANOTHER school (secondary) down the road by getting this outrage under control. We could use that space for an ALTERNATIVE SCHOOL, in the future.
  7. Redo transportation for babysitters to some model that makes sense, reduces costs & waste. Redo bus schedules so that K-5 students are bused together. Consolidate bus runs/school schedules where able.
  8. This simple plan moves fewer kids, makes a good dent in moving back to a K-5 structure (PL, BS, KR & PB will all be K-5), reduces transportation costs, reduces administration/teaching & other staffing costs, ensures the trouble-makers who don't belong here aren't disrupting student learning for those that DO belong here and retains the secondary school model for all but those currently at Odyssey.
  9. Make future adjustments as able to return more schools to a K-5 structure.
  10. Look at the future possibility of creating an Alternative School for secondary students who need additional support, possibly using the elementary school we close, but retain in the near term.
* The KISS Principle ... Keep It Simple Stupid
  

37 comments:

Anonymous said...

SCATS-I RARELY agree with you, but in this case I think you hit the nail on the head when it comes to SOC (perhaps because I teach at one of the schools with the highest free/reduced lunch percentage). I also agree with your "KISS" statement; as a teacher I have always said we need to go back to basics.

Anonymous said...

If Bryant Stratton is still looking for new space has anyone contacted them about unused space in the GCSD?

SCATS said...

To 5:09AM ~~ Thank you! I appreciate the input. I really think these committees set out to design a horse, but ended up with a centipede (as committees typically do!).

To 6:11AM ~~ That's an EXCELLENT IDEA!!! Please pass that along on the "Comments" link on the GCSD website!

Charlie Hubbard said...

I'm still waiting for someone to tell us the answer.

What is the 'purpose' of the schools of choice?

It had a purpose when it started and that purpose is gone - so the new purpose is?

What is the purpose of 'open enrollment'?

If you chose send your answer rather than post it - feel free.

chubbard005@rochester.rr.com

SCATS said...

To Charlie ~~ That's why I eliminated them under my proposal ;) Today, SOCs exist to satisfy a whiney group of helicopter parents who feel entitled to kid glove treatment at everyone else's expense.

Anonymous said...

Slightly off topic but very related: Could the teachers' union include in their contract a provision about class size related to poverty rate in a school building. For example if you teach in a school with 11% poverty rate your class would be about 25 kids (k-5). If you teach in a school with 50-60% poverty rate your class size would be 15-18 kids or less. Research has shown that smaller class size has more of a positive impact on low income kids than middle or upper class kids.

The purpose of SOC is clearly so "white affluent" parents don't have to send their kid to a school with poor kids. I have been told this repeatedly by SOC parents (in a slightly nicer manner)

SCATS said...

To 8:34AM ~~ More specifically, the purpose of Odyssey is to avoid Olympia (and Apollo to some extent)... as can be seen by the fact that MOST Odyssey students live in those feeder patterns.

Anonymous said...

There is now a "need" for OA to move to Apollo as it would no longer be Apollo but OA....with Apollo not meeting the state requirements it will be closed the principal removed ect. as per NCLB. So essentially moving the OA kids and adding a Jr OA wipes the slate clean as Apollo will no longer exist.

AS per IB ( ib.org) and IB school can maintain IB certification with a multi campus school. Meaning the 9-12 can be at Olympia and the 6-8 at Apollo as long as the staff is IB and the principal is for all the grades 6-12. So a school with in a school :)

Anonymous said...

I don't understand your rationale for moving paddy hill students to Kirk rd. Kirk road is a decrepit old building with no walls. Shouldn't it be reverse?

SCATS said...

To 10:18AM ~~ Only because it's my understanding that KR holds more kids.

Anonymous said...

i agree with the scats plan...but it would be too obvious to figure put. Only question, if keeping the PL/BS population completely the same, the extra support and smaller classrooms sizes would need to be maintained under the current concentrated poverty level.

SCATS said...

To 2:15PM ~~ Of course with such sweeping changes there are going to be "details" that still need to be figured out. Are these items you point out requirements, or preferences?

Anonymous said...

Good plan, SCATs. It needs to be surfaced and discussed.I bet you that this plan will never even make the discussion point at the BOE. Reason? Look at the number of schools impacted and the number of students that are affected by school closings or walking zones! No way would the BOE want to deal with that level of arguments!

SCATS said...

To 6:06PM ~~ Thank you for the kudos. I really don't think this idea is too much more disruptive than the ideas presented Tuesday evening. IF the district is sincere about needing to rein in the budget, THEN they MUST make some dramatic, if unpopular, changes. They can establish walk zones at any time. It seems like NOW would be a great time to start it.

SCATS said...

By the way, if any of you want all or part of my option considered, I think you could easily tell DO/BOE via the comment link on GCSD's website. Either copy & paste it, or give them the link & tell them you want it discussed. You could also bring it up Tuesday night ;)

Anonymous said...

Thats funny, the last time I copied and pasted something from here (that I wrote) onto another site, SCATS flew off the handle cplaiming it was legal propery of SCATS.

Anonymous said...

SCATS plan for the PL/BS combo moving to Parkland makes sense IF you want to maintain PL/BS as school with a disproportionately high poverty rate while leaving Westridge and Pinebrook untouched. If you move Westridge to the Parkland building and then divide up the students from the apartments between Westridge and Brookside then you would probably have two much more equitable schools... of course the Westridge parents will raise holy hell at this idea ;)

SCATS said...

To 6:42PM ~~ I made an exception with this item. What makes that "funny"? By the way, I know who you are now ;)

To 7:33PM ~~ My plan does not leave Pine Brook and West Ridge unscathed. I eliminated SOCs and boundaries will need to be reviewed. My reasoning for letting the Affinity folks stay in the PL/BS school is that GCSD has already sunk significant resources into getting those parents engaged in their children's learning. The fact that the parents can WALK to the children's school at Parkland is a big part of any success reaped from that, according to my contacts within those schools. My plan is based upon the need to get our spending under control. It seems to me that wiping out whatever gains have been made here would be a waste.

Anonymous said...

What about making parkland and Brookside each a k-5 building and disbursing students from west ridge into both?

SCATS said...

To 7:53PM ~~ I like the idea of making both into K-5 schools. Then we could just send WR kids back to their original home schools ;)

Anonymous said...

My Question to the masses is why would you close the best performing school in the District?

SCATS said...

To 8:49PM ~~ I'll assume you mean Odyssey and/or Pine Brook. I'll also assume you either have never been to this site before, or your memory fails to recall the answer to this ridiculous question.

1 ~ They provide NO BENEFIT TO THE DISTRICT.

2 ~ They have outlived the purpose for which they were created.

3 ~ They cost more money to operate.

4 ~ Their results are NOT reproducible in other schools with more diverse populations.

5 ~ There is not one iota of data to substantiate keeping schools-of-choice in these economic times.

TRANSLATION ~ Schools of choice provide an artificially manipulated student body & environment to make them "more successful."

Anonymous said...

It's an untested theory that the results of the SOC can't be replicated in the more diverse buildings.

In fact, saying so seems to me to be the soft bigotry of low expectations.

You're saying that poor kids can't achieve?

Is it your belief that the only reason SOC have higher achievement is because the populations there are whiter and richer?

SCATS said...

To 11:46PM ~~ It is a FACT that the vast majority of Odyssey's students come from the Apollo/Olympia feeder. It is a FACT that the Odyssey population does NOT mirror the Apollo/Olympia student bodies. It is a FACT that Odyssey outperforms both of those other schools. Draw your own conclusions. I really don't think it's the drinking water ;)

Are you trying to tell us that GCSD administration has purposely withheld providing the SAME (i.e. reproducible) outcome at other district schools when they could have all high schools get awards for being in the top 100 in the country? What kind of discriminatory practice is that??

Anonymous said...

I thought all the whining was about the "lottery losers" not getting the same special treatment as the SOC kids.

Why do you think there's all this recent talk about "equity" and discussion about the differences in time on task among different buildings?

You think there's been any effort in the past to replicate the successes of SOC?

Anonymous said...

I really think part of Odyssey's success has to do with the teaching staff. Yes, I'm one of those elite parents you all hate so much, but I have multiple kids in multiple schools and I can tell you that OA has teachers who willingly agree to make concessions to benefit the students' education and make parents want to get involved. While there are good teachers elsewhere in the district, my general experiences with my non-OA kids' teachers consist of them being very contract-driven which often comes across as not really giving a hoot
about their kids or parental involvement.

Anonymous said...

KISS: goforit

Anonymous said...

Family income and parents education level are the two biggest predictors of student success in school. This is simply a FACT. When comparing schools you must match demographics of the student bodies to get a real understanding if the schools are truly outperforming.

That said low-income kids can and do perform at or near the same level as middle class kids if several things happen that usually involve longer school days and much smaller class size. Keeping the poverty rate of any given school below 40% is proven to improve academic success.

Where do we as a district "choose" to put our money and time?

SCATS said...

To 1:30AM ~~ The talk is about how the lottery "winners" get something no one else has access to. The equity argument is definitely NOT "recent." It goes back to the opening of Pine Brook & Odyssey in 1993! Since that time, parents have often called for "replication" of SOC's elsewhere & it has fallen on deaf ears. In fact, we were sold a bunch of crapple when West Ridge opened as "a learning laboratory" with the PROMISE that the good would be shared. It hasn't happened in 20+yrs. largely because lottery winners don't want their experiences shared.

To 1:58AM ~~ All I can say is "DUH!!!" Like West Ridge, Odyssey & Pine Brook BOTH beganas schools with hand-picked staff chosen by the Supt. at that time!

To 6:17AM ~~ INTO SPORTS & OTHER EXTRA-CURRICULARS!

Anonymous said...

To 11;46 pm: Lets just say that maybe 80-90% of pinebrook's/OA's "success" is the demographics of the student body! Obviously there is more going on-They do do well :)

We shall see now that it really does sound as if the incoming classes at all SOC are going to "match" the socioeconomic demographics of the district!

Anonymous said...

Scats,
I have to disagree with you. Many SOC parents deparately want the experience they have shared with the rest of the district.
The lack of k-5 for every elementary school is ridiculous. That is the main reason many families enter the lottery.

Anonymous said...

Outstanding ideas! Of course because it makes sense and will benifit the majority of the students and tax payers they won't do it. Remember, this is Greece and its all about the few, not the many.......

SCATS said...

To 9:16AM ~~ I will believe that when I see it!!

To 11:24AM ~~ Gimme a break!! They only "want it desperately" now because they are forced to face SOME KIND OF CHANGE!! Oddly, they are still saying there's nothing special going on in those schools at the same time that they are whining about possibly losing their "small school atmosphere" and "family groupings/relationships" within buildings and pointing out the wonderful sacrifices teachers make outside of their contracts ...

NOPE, NOT A DAMNED BIT OF DIFFERENCE ;) lmao!

To 12:31 PM ~~ THANK YOU! I agree. If it makes sense AND is cost-effective, we can count on GCSD to do the opposite!

Anonymous said...

Maybe we should have a "flash mob". We should occupy the school district. Maybe stage a demonstration at the district office building on Maiden Lane. The signs should simply say "KISS" .

Just after the holidays would be good. Such a busy time.

Scats. You plan. Unless you are strictly an indoor cat.

SCATS said...

To 1:20PM ~~ I disagree about after the holidays. It should be done in conjunction with Tuesday night's meeting. The reason is that more people will be paying attention then, from the BOE to the media.

I'll let you plan, but thank you for your vote of confidence! I'd be happy to provide input/ideas as needed.

Anonymous said...

...maybe a little catnip?

SCATS said...

To 5:28PM ~~ Sorry, but I don't succumb to bribery ... unless you've got a few spare Christmas treats ... then maybe ;)