Monday, March 5, 2012
The Board will vote on proposals for middle school and high school restructuring at its March 5 meeting.
The South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education will continue deliberation about and take action on proposals for restructuring academic placements in the high school as well as restructuring placements and the introduction of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme at the middle schools at its March 5 meeting at 7:30 p.m. at 525 Academy Street. The majority of Board members already signaled support for the proposals at a previous Board meeting on February 22. The Board will also discuss the proposed 2012-2013 school budget tonight. District staff will be making adjustments to the budget discussed in February based on an increase in state aid. See the full agenda below: 7:30 PM REGULAR MEETING Call to Order – …
Thursday, February 23, 2012
Wednesday's meeting brought insight into how the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education feels about the middle school and high school restructuring proposals.
After months of listening to school administration explain and answer questions about proposed changes to middle school and high school class levels, the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education finally got down to the business of discussing the proposals at Wednesday night's meeting. The board will take official action on the proposals at its regular March 5 meeting. A proposal to reduce the number of levels in the middle schools and phase in the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme was introduced in December. Then, a proposal to restructure levels at Columbia High School was unveiled in January. Subsequently, three public meetings — for which questions were pre-submitted as well as taken from index cards filled out by …
Wednesday, February 22, 2012
After months of public meetings, the Board of Education gets down to discussing restructuring proposals for the middle schools and high school.
Update:The South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education anticipates putting a resolution regarding the secondary school proposals on the agenda for Board consideration and action at the March 5 meeting. Story on the Feb. 22 discussion of the proposals to come. After months of listening to school administration explain and answer questions about proposed changes to middle school and high school class levels, the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education will finally get down to the business of discussing the proposals at tonight's meeting. However, no action will be taken on the proposals tonight. A proposal to reduce the number of levels in the middle schools and phase in the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme was introduced …
Monday, February 13, 2012
Dr. Brian Osborne defended the district's proposal to reduce the number of levels in certain subject areas at the middle schools and high school.
At a special meeting of the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education last Wednesday night, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Osborne defended the proposals to reduce the number of levels in certain subject areas in the middle schols and high school. "The decision to move forward is a data-based decision," said Osborne. "We have years of data showing students in low-level placements staying in low levels and not being college-ready." Osborne said that the question of de-leveling had been discussed "over decades." "Sorting students as early as 11 or 12 year old locks too many students out." See Osborne's full comments in the attached video.
The writer contends that the leveling system is a pyramid with a small group
of high achievers at the very top, and supports change that would turn that pyramid upside down — increasing the number of high achievers.
Superintendent Dr. Brian Osborne’s proposals for change at Columbia High School and the middle schools have now been the subject of three community meetings, many conversations, and a petition drive by those who oppose the recommendations. Maybe the biggest concern I hear is that these changes will necessarily “water down” our curriculum, or force teachers to teach to the “lowest common denominator.” As a parent of two children in the district (a 5th grader and a 7th grader), I certainly understand these concerns. However, I think those fears have it exactly backwards. Current restructuring proposals by the district, along with a variety of other programmatic and curricular changes already in progress, represent a well-considered …
Friday, February 10, 2012
Changes to math would now be staggered over a three-year period. District administration also answered questions from the public and heard comments.
The South Orange-Maplewood School District administration unveiled changes in the timetable for advancing de-leveling in the middle schools at its third and final special meeting on middle school restructuring (and first special meeting on high school restructuring) on Wednesday night. These changes seemed to signal, as stated by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Osborne, the "ongoing conversation" that district administration is having with members of the community on new proposals for restructuring at the high school and the middle schools. Previous proposals to simultaneously reduce the number of levels in math from 3 to 2 in 6th, 7th and 8th grade for the 2012-13 school year have been abandoned. The district is now proposing to …
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
The Board of Education will answer questions about middle school and high school restructuring; the Board will also discuss moving elections to November.
- Mary Mann
Wednesday, February 8, 2012
The Board of Education will hold a public forum on middle school and high school restructuring proposals tonight, February 8, 2012, from 7:00 to 8:30 p.m. in the Columbia High School Auditorium. No action will be taken at this session. At the December 2011 and January 2012 Board of Education meetings, Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Osborne presented proposals for changes to academic placement at Columbia High School and for Middle School Transformation — namely, the implementation of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme as well as additional de-leveling. The district has hosted a series of activities and events to inform the public about the proposed changes and for residents to share viewpoints as the Board …
Sunday, February 5, 2012
Wayne Eastman, Madhu Pai and Jeff Bennett announce that they will run as a ticket.
One incumbent and two newcomers have announced that they are running for the Board of Education of South Orange-Maplewood on a joint ticket that focuses on rigor and enrichment, and questions the implementation of de-leveling. Wayne Eastman — who has served on the Board of Education for 6 years — is joined by Madhu Pai and Jeff Bennett. The other two incumbents up for re-election are Mark Gleason and Jennifer Payne-Parrish. Both have told Patch that they are still considering whether or not they will run again. Terms are for three years each. There are nine seats total on the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education. Information about filing for nomination can be found here. The deadline to file is Feb. 27. Elections currently are slated …
Monday, December 19, 2011
Local mother and novelist doesn't want people confusing pro-leveling with racism.
Recently I happened to see a video clip of the October 4 Parenting Center presentation on the achievement gap (I missed the meeting itself). In it, School Superintendent Brian Osborne claimed that, “Every step of the way [that] we’ve expanded access to higher-quality coursework, or support for struggling kids, we’ve faced opposition, whether it’s including more students with special needs in the regular classroom, leveling up more students into college preparatory classes, creating Jump Start programs to directly connect with parents who may have had a negative experience with students, with schools themselves, ending the practice of assigning students to classes by rank ordering them first, and then assigning them to class, asking the …
Friday, December 16, 2011
A parent comments on the discussions around the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education's decision to combine Levels 3 and 4 in 7th grade science, social studies and English language arts.
Four years ago my husband and I, along with several other local parents, launched a campaign to bring the International Baccalaureate Program to our schools, particularly the Middle Years Program. With a son in middle school, I hold ever more fervently to those same core principles for our children: challenging, interdisciplinary, inquiry-based education that prepares our students for a global future. I believe we must move our discussion of greater challenge in the middle school out of the deleveling debate. This only obscures the issue, making it a subset of another urgent matter--the achievement gap—thus making it part of a contentious, polarizing conversation. It makes those who are frustrated with even the upper level classes feel …