Comments on: AAPS Mulls Goals of Rising Scholar Program it's like being there Tue, 16 Sep 2014 04:56:38 +0000 hourly 1 By: Ruth Kraut Ruth Kraut Sat, 23 Feb 2013 22:02:19 +0000 Regarding the Rising Scholars program–I understand the issues around equitable distribution of resources between schools, and I think that’s likely a problem with lots of other programs as well. I understand why Simone LIghtfoot is so frustrated by the achievement gap and feels that this is one of the only programs we have.

What I don’t understand is why Robyne Thompson calls this a “wonderful program” and why Pat Green is calling the program a “gem” when its success rate–as measured by the district’s own goals of students doing well in AP classes–is so poor. The ACT scores for African-American students in the program, while better than the district averages for African-American students, may have as much or more to do with who enrolls in the Rising Scholars program to begin with, than it does with anything that happens in the program. Is there any way of knowing?

The idea of engaging–not the talented tenth–but probably the top 1/3 of those who are seen to be underperforming–is a great idea. But evaluation is important. Based on measuring progress against goals, the Rising Scholars program is failing miserably across the board.

Over and over, I see that the school board and the district administrators start something as a “pilot” program, but then don’t evaluate the program and respond to the evaluation in a concrete way. Here we have a very complete evaluation, but it seems to go off the rails at the conclusion/next steps point.

Maybe there should be different goals. [What would they be?] Or maybe this program should be abandoned, as we try to cut millions of dollars from the school budget. Or maybe this program should be abandoned but the money should be directed to a different achievement gap program.

Two other examples, in fact, are in this school board report: NWEA Testing, and Trimesters. Both were proposed as pilot programs–but what kind of rigorous evaluation of them has there been?

[Side note: I did vote for the technology bond, but that was in spite of the NWEA testing, because I thought the district could use technology for some useful things...interactive learning. . . music composition. . . research and writing. Next time I would hope to see that the administrators are promoting new technology purchases for things that are useful in the classrooms.]

It is ok to abandon programs that aren’t working.

By: fridgeman fridgeman Sat, 23 Feb 2013 01:42:55 +0000 Thanks for the thorough report. It reads as though the AAPS intends to sole source the computer purchase to Apple.

Is this permissible under district purchasing guidelines? Most large entities require competitive bids from multiple vendors.

Possibly hundreds of thousands of dollars could be saved by looking at alternative solutions – especially since it appears that current software cannot be reused.