Home Access Center: Login

Red Clay holds TAG meetings this week

April 7, 2014 Comments off

Red Clay is holding several parent forums this Tuesday and Wednesday on its TAG programs (Talented and Gifted):

04/08/14
Marbrook and Highlands elementary schools
6:00pm – 7:00pm

Parents of TAG students have been invited to talk about the current enrichment/TAG program from their point of view. Red Clay is looking to learn the program’s strengths, concerns, and ways to improve the program.

and

04/09/14
Linden Hill Elementary School
6:00pm – 7:00pm

This event occurs on a single day.

AVID for the rest of us: parent forum Wednesday

April 4, 2014 5 comments

Next week Red Clay will be presenting a session on its AVID program as part of its Parent University series. AVID is a promising new program that should be expanded in Red Clay and needs to be given a push by parents. Please attend if you can!

Parent University – What is AVID ?
04/09/14
Conrad library
6:00pm – 7:00pm

AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) is a national college readiness program aimed at average students. Unlike other programs for either advanced students or remedial students, AVID is aimed squarely at the academic middle. AVID students are guided toward honors courses and more challenging curriculum, and are given extra support to help them succeed.

I thought this was supposed to be standard. Lord knows why we need a special program to do this, but apparently we do.

In Red Clay, AVID is implemented only at the high school level. However, it seems to me AVID is desperately needed in our middle schools, and elementary as well. AVID appears to be further along in the Brandywine School District; at least I could find some information there. In Brandywine, AVID is for grades 6-12. Perhaps some Brandywine parents could comment?

The national AVID web site describes the different elementary and secondary programs:
AVID Elementary (national)
AVID Secondary (national)

There is nothing about AVID on the Red Clay website (at least I couldn’t find anything in its inscrutable and chaotic new Edline redesign). But I was able to collect some information from Red Clay,

AVID students are enrolled in an additional class to provide life skills, study habits, and a general aspirational, college-oriented mindset. This is a also a holistic effort that seeks support from parents and other students who provide mentoring and tutoring. From the AIHS AVID parent letter:

In addition to direct instruction in the AVID curriculum, college students, high school students and volunteers will provide tutorial assistance. These tutors will work with the students in small groups and individually. The tutors will use students’ notes and questions from their academic classes to help the students understand learn course material. Tutors will not give students the answers to their questions; instead they will help them work together to discover the answers. Because our AVID tutors are successful high school and college students, they become excellent role models.

And a summary:

AVID Summary
Red Clay is excited to participate in AVID for the first time in 2012-2013. AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination) students have college as a goal, are motivated to succeed in school, would like teacher and tutor support to achieve their academic goals, have families that support their goals and are enrolled in college preparatory courses.

AVID students learn study, organizational and time management skills. There is also a focus on note taking, writing, research, library, computer and career skills. In addition to direct instruction in the AVID curriculum, college students, high school students and volunteers will provide tutorial assistance. The tutors will work with the students in small groups and individually. The tutors will use students’ notes and questions from their academic classes to help the students understand course material. Tutors will not give students the answers to their questions; instead they will help them work together to discover the answers. Because our AVID tutors are successful high school and college students, they become excellent role models. They keep the students aware of academic expectations at the high school and college levels.
The mission of AVID is to ensure that average students (“students in the middle”) who have the potential to be successful in a college preparatory path will: succeed in a rigorous course of study, enroll in four-year colleges and universities, enter mainstream activities of the school, and become educated and responsible participants and leaders in a democratic society.
AVID students enroll in at least one honors or advanced placement class each year they participate in AVID and take a course of study designed to prepare them for college acceptance upon graduation from high school. They are eligible to participate in the AVID elective all four years of their high school experience. AVID is an academic class that meets daily to provide students with study skills instruction, motivational activities, and career and college exploration.
In late July, Red Clay sent 32 representatives (admin, teachers, counselors) to the regional AVID Conference in Philadelphia. The conference outlined the philosophy of AVID, the application process, the supports from the organization, etc. In Red Clay, AI High, McKean, Dickinson and Conrad will all have AVID classes in session this Fall.

Enrollment Preferences Task Force meeting cancelled and will be rescheduled

April 4, 2014 Comments off

Monday’s meeting of the Enrollment Preferences Task Force (meeting #5) is cancelled and will be rescheduled, according to co-chair Kim Williams. Stay tuned for the new date.

Buzzed

April 2, 2014 Comments off

I am not normally a fan of the “mommy blog” genre, but for Traci’s Blog at Brandywine Buzz I will gladly make an exception. Buzz co-founder Traci Murphy (“the ‘voice’ of the Buzz”) transcends the genre and is one of the Delaware blogosphere’s better writers. Traci’s blog is smart, funny, and sometimes even lyrical. I read her blog as a reminder to keep trying to freshen up my own utilitarian writing style, and above all to be nice. And after all, aren’t the so-called mommy issues really at the heart of parent involvement? My wife and I share the child care load – it just works out that way – and sometimes I’m a mommy too.

I have been using Brandywine Buzz’s excellent weekly events calendar for a while, for exactly the reason the Buzz says: To answer the eternal question “What are we doing with the kids this weekend?” But I only recently realized the Buzz also features Traci’s blog.

Here’s some of what Traci had to say about the Red Clay inclusion vote, that really brought out how unusual that level of parent involvement was. I think Red Clay may have awakened a sleeping giant:

Some mama (and papa) bears did some real roaring lately, and real change happened. It was startling to watch. […] And thoughtful and articulate letters to the editor appeared in the News Journal and DelawareOnline. And then RCCSD board members were showing up at roundtables at schools, and these mama and papa bears, as exhausted as they were from moving A to B to C (plate to counter to dishwasher, homework to folder to backpack, self to shower to carline) were leaving their families at night to attend evening meetings, backing up their passionate opinions with statistics and examples and real questions that didn’t have answers yet. Voices were raised, and they were heard. Questions were asked, and they were answered. This week, the Red Clay board voted against the adoption of inclusion right now.

Go read the whole thing at Brandywine Buzz. Or click the Brandywine Buzz link now featured on my blogroll.

Then stop back in and let us know: What are you doing this weekend?

Take the 2014 Red Clay parent involvement survey this week

April 1, 2014 Comments off

Take the Red Clay parent involvement survey; it is open until Friday, April 4. Online at www.surveymonkey.com/s/RCCSDParentSurvey2014

science Expo at Highlands Elementary tonight

April 1, 2014 1 comment

A great project by Charter School of Wilmington to realize its potential to share educational improvement in Red Clay beyond the walls of their own school:

6-8 pm tonignt, Tuesday April 1 at Highlands Elementary

Approximately 70 students from Kindergarten through 5th grade are submitting projects to compete at this inaugural Science Expo. Thirty-five of these students have been participating after-school in Charter School of Wilmington’s Science Ambassadors program, a STEM mentoring program developed and administered by Cheryl Potocki, a CSW math teacher, and implemented at the school in collaboration with Ms. Froemming. These students have met weekly with their CSW student mentors over a special six week session designed to support them in working on science projects to submit for presentation and judging during the Science Expo…
[read more]

Common Core opponents jump the shark

March 31, 2014 4 comments

The test results are in: Knee-jerk opponents of Common Core are NOT smarter than a fifth grader.

The latest bogus example to gin up fake outrage comes from an anti-CCSS website called whatiscommoncore. A Utah high school student captured screenshots of the SAGE test, showing somewhat philosophical resource material for the essay question, which was about the nature and value of books. Follow the link to view the screenshots.

The question presents some reading material on the value of books, making a sort of modest proposal that books are static narratives that do not engage the reader, compared with narratives like video games that involve the reader. The essay questions then invite the student to write on that prompt, either supporting or refuting the argument. This is in the best pedagogical tradition of rhetoric, by making the student support or refute an argument on a provocative topic.

The author says right in the text “It should probably go without saying that I don’t agree with this argument.” That’s in the screenshot.

But the opponents’ claim, of course, is that CCSS is “anti-book” and teaches the value of video games over books. I am laughing out loud at the sheer willful idiocy of it all. Here’s what they say:

Utah High School Student Captures Screen Shots of the Anti-Book Common Core Test

A Utah High School student took the Common Core (SAGE) test this week. Seeing objectionable issues in that test, she thought her mother should know. The student took screen shots using her cell phone and sent them to her mother. Her mother passed them along to us.

The message given in this test is that book literacy is inferior to the playing of video games. The test claims that literature forces passivity but video games teach students how to be leaders. Long live grunts and smoke signals.

The test makes these following devilish assertions: “books understimulate the senses” and “books are downright discriminatory” and books are “choreographed by another person [while video games are not]“. These are mean pushes toward valuing video gaming instead of books and they precisely match the pushy philosophy of Common Core creator-turned College Board President David Coleman. They also match the philosophy of Microsoft Owner/ Common Core funder Bill Gates. So it is no surprise. It’s still sickening.

I am reminded of Tea Party rallies featuring OBAMA=HITLER signs and demanding “Government, hands off my Medicare!”

It is the same idiocy that claims “Huckleberry Finn” is racist – or that “Brave New World” advocates sexual libertinism.

The worst part is, it just might work.

Tags: