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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: NavyGetsOut ()
Date: February 25, 2008 03:19PM

Forum Reader your example goes right to the heart of much of the politics involved in this boundary vote.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Neen ()
Date: February 25, 2008 03:50PM

Its not all Stu Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Neen Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> >Only one
> > school board member decides what happens to
> South
> > Lakes. Other school board members don't mess
> > around in his district. It's Stu's district,
> he
> > decides what happens in it.
>
>
> But most of Madison North is NOT in Stu's district
> - its in Janie's
>
> So why hasn't she stood up for the clearly
> articulated needs of her constituents in 'the
> island'?

You are right. I apologize, I forgot about the island. I am sure that Janie will say something about her island people on Thursday night when she votes for the redistricting. :(

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Neen ()
Date: February 25, 2008 03:58PM

Forum Reader Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Jay M Wrote:
> >
> http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic
>
> > le/2008/02/24/AR2008022402191.html
> >
> -----------------
> It appears Jay Mathews of the Post finally "gets
> it":
>
> "Students usually can't get college credit for
> one-year IB courses, even though they are similar
> to one-year Advanced Placement courses, which are
> eligible for credit. In another complication,
> students can get credit for passing tests after
> two-year IB courses, but that credit is equivalent
> to one year in AP."
>
> -------------
> "Our emphasis is not on gaining college credit,"
> said Greg Croghan, principal of Fairfax's Edison
> High School, which has IB. "It is on encouraging
> students to extend themselves intellectually and
> on preparing for college."
>
> It may not be an issue for Crogan, but it is for
> those of us who pay the bills and for our children
> who can get out of those dreadful freshman
> "survey" courses.

IB is not about gaining college credits? Oh really? I guess Mr. Croghan has forgotten about the large number of poor and immigrant students who attend his school and would very much like to get those college credits to help them reduce the expense of college and to help them finish college more quickly, and save even more money. I guess those students don't county. Only students whose parents have enough money to not be concerned about the expense of college are of interest to the IB supporters?

Through AP, my son began UVA with 42 credits and never had to take ANY freshman survey class with hundreds of students. For many students being able to graduate in 3 years, rather than 4, is a huge savings to their family and they are very happy to have those AP credits. For many families, giving another $15,000+ to UVA is real money that they would prefer to not have to spend. Many of our new immigrant parents just don't have the money, even when working 2 or 3 jobs. But I don't suppose anyone in IB schools cares about those students.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: bye now ()
Date: February 25, 2008 04:00PM

Neen Wrote:

> You are right. I apologize, I forgot about the
> island. I am sure that Janie will say something
> about her island people on Thursday night when she
> votes for the redistricting. :(


something like

"Oh, I didn't see you there, who did you say you were? Sorry, doesn't ring a bell. Bye now!"

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Neen ()
Date: February 25, 2008 04:04PM

leave_us_alone Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I will say one more thing about Stu.
>
> In the first 2 public hearings, his behavior on
> the stage was disgusting to say the least. All
> the speakers were his constituents. Yet when some
> pro RD speaker spoke Stu made sure he showed his
> joy and physically cheered the speaker. When anti
> RD speakers (his own constituents) spoke, he was
> dismissive, shaking his head is rejection or just
> walking away from podium. Mind you there were 12
> more people on the podium (including Jack Dale)
> and no one was this emotional.

Stu has always been this way. He beams at speakers he likes, especially Black or American Indian children, and makes faces, rolls his eyes, sighs, groans, grunts, picks his nose, jokes with other board members, or leaves in a huff when he doesn't like what is being said. He does the same thing to fellow school board members. He did it constantly to Mychele Brickner when she was on the board. Stu's always been the most demonstrative school board member. There is never a question about where he stands on any issue. (Hint, it's to the far left.) JK

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Neen ()
Date: February 25, 2008 04:13PM

leave_us_alone Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I guess all your northern Reston neighbors must be anti liberal because they don't want to go to South Lakes. And local Reston parents don't seem to be that liberal too because they seem to be pupil placing out of South Lakes.

I am a life long democrat and I am a liberal. But that has nothing to do with issue at hand. I strongly feel that South Lakes has programmatic issues and if my child says he/she would rather do AP courses, then I have every right as a tax paying citizen to send my child to an AP school.<<<

Oh really? Who bestowed this 'right' upon you? It's not in the Constitution that government schools have to provide you with any particular program, or allow you to choose the school you want your child to attend. If it were in the Constitution, if parents really had the right to choose their schools and school programs, our kids wouldn't have been stuck with "Everyday Math" and Whole Language and every other goofy program that comes down the liberal, educational, pike.

Until every child has a choice in what school they attend, the only 'rights' you have in government schools are those that the school board permits you to have.



Edited 1 time(s). Last edit at 02/25/2008 04:15PM by Neen.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Thursday Night ()
Date: February 25, 2008 04:26PM

Thursday night is going to be crazy. Are people planning on turning out for this?

I think it could get ugly. Will the SL PTSA be there? How about colors will everyone be wearing their colors? Who is bringing the eggs? Neen are you coming? I think it may be better to stay home and watch from a distance.

The only way this could go well is if the RD is voted down altogether. In that case you have a few SL PTAs that are miffed but they claim to be an aging population so the SBMs may be able to outrun them.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: AP @ SL ()
Date: February 25, 2008 04:33PM

fm/c/o parent Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> "2) To repeat your sentence,
> SL will be no different than Westfields or
> Herndon, with the addition of Aldrin/Armstrong
> Elementary too. I would think SL will be better
> than Westfield. Go after these Reston schools
> first before you come after us."
>
> I'm sure that SL would be very happy to have those
> schools, but that's not what the SB has proposed
> at this point. And those schools would react the
> same that Floris and Fox Mill have reacted: don't
> use us to solve your problems. Or, if you don't
> think that SL has problems, then leave us alone.
> Finally, if you think SL is great but just too
> small, then sorry, small schools exist everywhere
> and SL already gets more $$ per pupil than larger
> schools. Don't force students to attend so SL can
> have a few more sections of a course, not a good
> reason to disrupt families.


So let me get this straight then, if AP is offered at SL which would make it more or less similar to the other schools like Chantilly and Westfields, then it is ok to not offer the same opportunities to those that do no have access to the same courses, athletics, clubs, etc, BUT it is ok not to disrupt families -

so in other words it is ok not to inconvenience some, but it is ok to keep squeezing those have already been squeezed or to praphrase it a different way, even if the main argument of AP vs. IB is taken away then nobody should help out.

It seems that no matter what the argument presented, you would not favor RD. The only thing you seem satisfied with is the status quo and nothing else. Thsi is not a solution.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Neen ()
Date: February 25, 2008 04:37PM

>>>If I had a kid in Oakton or WF, and a younger one soon to enter HS, I would prefer they be in the same school to look out for each other, and to maintain a connection through shared experiences. If I had kids spaced so far apart that they would never overlap in HS, and if SL were AP, I would send the younger to SL. No AP, no SL.<<<<

I have NO doubts that the school board has heard this from the community. They have to know that the community wants AP. SOOOO.......I'll make another prediction. At Thursday's meeting Stu will have 'found' the money in the budget to begin an AP program at South Lakes. However, he will have to admit that it will take several years to get it up and running at South Lakes. But only 9th graders will be forced into SL next year. By their 10th grade, they will have AP history and a smattering of other AP classes. By their junior and senior year, AP will up and running at South Lakes. Stu will say that then it will be up to the community if they want to continue with an AP program or an IB program. It is his hope that this promise of AP will discourage some parents from pupil placing back into Oakton and Westfield. I truly hope that this carrot of promised AP doesn't mean that students who are being sent to SL's next year will be prohibited from pupil placing into an AP school. But that is the only way that South Lakes will get enough students for it make any difference to the school. Only if all methods of escape are thwarted, will this redistricting work. The carrots should have been in place long before this process was begun. Just another mistake that is so clear in hindsight.

Would anyone believe Stu? Will parents in Floris and Fox Mill believe that South Lakes will have a full AP program in a couple of years? Does anyone believe that SL will ever convert to an AP school? Does anyone believe that eliminating IB won't be met with massive resistance by the Reston community?

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: park early ()
Date: February 25, 2008 04:40PM

Thursday Night Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thursday night is going to be crazy. Are people
> planning on turning out for this?
>

nothing Dean and FCPS SWAT team can't handle

staff facilitators will just split people into small rooms and the board will phone in one by one so that its not a public meeting

Dan will have his hand on the mute button - no need to adjust your set if you're watching on cable

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: NavyGetsOut ()
Date: February 25, 2008 04:42PM

SL community is committed to IB. Many believe AP would be better but for now the vocal minority is in control and there is no talk of adding AP to SLHS in the immediate future.

Also I should say AP@SL that I think you are misinterpreting the comments quoted in your post or perhaps not including the comments to which they were in response.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Frustrated ()
Date: February 25, 2008 04:42PM

I understand that AP can be used as a reason to pupil place, but is that valid for a freshman? That is, are 9th graders taking AP courses, or would you need to wait until 10th grade to get the pupil placement approved? I know that the IB history program starts in 9th grade, so it is not an issue.

If I am correct about AP, wouldn't it be more traumatic to take your kid out of SL after a year in order to get them back to their original base school?

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: NavyGetsOut ()
Date: February 25, 2008 04:45PM

You may certainly pupil place your freshman. Honors precedes AP so they begin preparation as early as MS. Same is true with IB.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Neen ()
Date: February 25, 2008 04:46PM

Thursday Night Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Thursday night is going to be crazy. Are people
> planning on turning out for this?
>
> I think it could get ugly. Will the SL PTSA be
> there? How about colors will everyone be wearing
> their colors? Who is bringing the eggs? Neen are
> you coming? I think it may be better to stay home
> and watch from a distance.
>
> The only way this could go well is if the RD is
> voted down altogether. In that case you have a
> few SL PTAs that are miffed but they claim to be
> an aging population so the SBMs may be able to
> outrun them.

I hadn't thought about going, but of course I will watch it on television. The problem with that is the cameras don't catch everything. We won't be able to see Stu's face, his eye rolling and sighing, when Tina Hone explains why she is voting against RD. Nor will we be able to see the audience very often, although we probably we will be able to hear them. It will be the only way they will able to express their unhappiness. I doubt that the SL PTSA will be there, but I could be wrong. Stu certainly will want them there, in the front rows, to show their support for him. Stu's Groupies! I'll have to check to see what they have planned for Thursday evening. I suspect that there will be a large police presence and a large press detail. School security and/or police will be quick to evict those who they deem 'disruptive'.

When you elect clowns to represent you, you shouldn't be surprised when a circus breaks out.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: On the other hand ()
Date: February 25, 2008 04:47PM

Daily Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> I wonder if it is at all possible to get through a
> day where a Pro RD person does not tell an Anti-RD
> that their children will survive.
>
> When anyone makes a statement such as that to
> another parent it is obviously antagonistic.
>
> It is a daily routine at this time of the day. It
> grows tiresome. Only 4 more days.


On the other hand, it is getting tiresome to hear from the anti-RD crowd daily about Stu, and the SLHS PTA, and basically in so many different words how bad SL is.

So both extremes are equally bad, and both points of view, daily are equally annoying.

And yes, your children will survive. You are not giving your very bright children enough credit. And by the way there are plenty of kids elsewhere in the US, that would die to go to ANY school in Fairfax county.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Whoop De Do ()
Date: February 25, 2008 04:51PM

From FCPS today. Here's your chance to start getting involved so you aren't complaining the next time your kids are "forced" to take Everyday Math.

Oh, and everyone does know that Neen's son went to TJ, right? She likes to compare her high-achieving TJ kid with everyone else and make regular kids look bad -- she's even used the term "remedial" to describe general ed courses. Talk about benefitting "the top 5%!" Whoop de do. Her son skipped out of those awful, horrific "survey" courses. And UVA (where her son goes) is surely known for how absolutely terrible its first year is -- the kids hate it so much, they leave in droves once they get in. God help anyone who gets in and doesn't ace out of one of the 50 required survey courses she implies her son would have been subjected to. Who, exactly, is being elitist now?

-------

All parents are invited to attend one of the upcoming regional parent meetings where topics
to be discussed include:

--Instructional services, including what your child is learning in language arts, math,
social studies, science, health and physical education, foreign languages, and fine arts.
--Curriculum areas, including English for speakers of other languages (ESOL), gifted and
talented (GT), Advanced Placement (AP), and International Baccalaureate (IB) courses.
--Special education.
--Helping your child with his or her education.
--Available services to support families with children in Fairfax County Public Schools.
--Community resources available in Fairfax County.

Agendas and online registration are available at http://www.fcps.edu/news/parents.htm

Tuesday, March 4
Hayfield Secondary School
5:30 to 9 p.m.

Thursday, April 3
Robinson Secondary School
5:30 to 9 p.m.

Saturday, April 5
Chantilly High School
8:30 a.m. to noon

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Forum Reader ()
Date: February 25, 2008 05:01PM

NavyGetsOut Wrote:
> Forum Reader your example goes right to the heart
> of much of the politics involved in this boundary
> vote.
---------
Thank you - but which example?

1) "They already think their IB diet is just fine. OK, so be it, but for whatever reason fewer and fewer children were coming to their lunchroom. The IB diet costs more than the normal "AP" diet, but we were willing to let that slide until "they" decided OUR children must be force to share the IB diet. Nothing against your lunchroom or your children, but we like our current lunchroom and diet."

2) "At the high school level Robinson has "only" 2,838 while Westfield has 3,197 (as of 30 Sep). And how many pupil-placed from Westfield into "smaller and more intimate" South Lakes? FIVE (and 8 moved FROM South Lakes into Westfield)."

3) "If the School Board is serious about downsizing large high schools, then there is no way it can justify taking the middle schoolers out of SCSS and thus creating a 2,500-seat South County High School."

4) Other?

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Daily ()
Date: February 25, 2008 05:06PM

On the other hand- Today find one bad thing that was said about SLHS. You dont get to count IB critique. So I dont agree with:"and basically in so many different words how bad SL is."

Then there is this one:"And yes, your children will survive. You are not giving your very bright children enough credit. And by the way there are plenty of kids elsewhere in the US, that would die to go to ANY school in Fairfax county."

I seriously doubt that there is a single kid in the US that would die to attend a FCPS school. Please this is over the top. I agree that we have bright children and we only want what we view as being best for them. We tend not to take well to getting parental advice from strangers on a website who would like to dictate to us which school our children should attend. You are not, I presume in a position to vote on Thursday?

All I said was the daily handing out of demeaning remarks regarding our children was tiring. Perhaps I have misunderstood you. You seem to know well what our children can handle. Are you a licensed psychologist? Are you in some position that lends credence to your condescension?

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: VoteForRepublican ()
Date: February 25, 2008 05:08PM

From now on, thanks for Gibson type of Demacrap, my family will vote for Republican candidates for anything.
We will be die hard Republican supporters from now on.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Neen ()
Date: February 25, 2008 05:10PM

>>>And yes, your children will survive. You are not giving your very bright children enough credit. And by the way there are plenty of kids elsewhere in the US, that would die to go to ANY school in Fairfax county.<<<

I have never understood this argument. Are you saying that we should all be happy with whatever the school board deigns to give us? Because someone in West Virginia, or Mississippi has it worse? Has that argument ever worked for you? You should be satisfied with whatever salary you receive, and never ask for anything more, because some people in West Virginia and Mississippi would be happy to make as much as you make?

If you pay for club seats at the Redskins game, but get stuck in the end zone bleachers, is that fine? Afterall, you're still at the game, and thousands of people can't even go to the game.

Are you saying that smart kids would be fine in a DC public school or at Sidwell Friends? It doesn't matter what kind of education our children receive from our schools? If they are smart enough, they will be 'fine', as you define 'fine'? What if some parents have slightly higher standards than you have for their children? What if education is more important to them that it is to you? What if they define 'fine' differently? Some people think UVA and Tech provide a fine education, other's want Harvard, MIT, Stanford, Duke, or Michigan. Are they wrong? Can't different people feel differently about what is most important for their children? Are parents 'wrong' to sacrifice everything for their children to go to a better school? Or might they simply have different standards than you have? Isn't it rather elitist of you to decide what their values and standards should be, and where their children should attend school? If you don't care which school in this county your children attend, that's fine, but please stop judging those who have different standards than you have. If it didn't matter where kids went to school, DC public schools would be filled and private schools would go begging. Obviously it matters to a great many parents.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Neen ()
Date: February 25, 2008 05:17PM

Whoop De Do Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> From FCPS today. Here's your chance to start
> getting involved so you aren't complaining the
> next time your kids are "forced" to take Everyday
> Math.
>
> Oh, and everyone does know that Neen's son went to
> TJ, right? She likes to compare her high-achieving
> TJ kid with everyone else and make regular kids
> look bad -- she's even used the term "remedial" to
> describe general ed courses. Talk about
> benefitting "the top 5%!" Whoop de do. Her son
> skipped out of those awful, horrific "survey"
> courses. And UVA (where her son goes) is surely
> known for how absolutely terrible its first year
> is -- the kids hate it so much, they leave in
> droves once they get in. God help anyone who gets
> in and doesn't ace out of one of the 50 required
> survey courses she implies her son would have been
> subjected to. Who, exactly, is being elitist now?
>
> -------
>
> All parents are invited to attend one of the
> upcoming regional parent meetings where topics
> to be discussed include:
>
> --Instructional services, including what your
> child is learning in language arts, math,
> social studies, science, health and physical
> education, foreign languages, and fine arts.
> --Curriculum areas, including English for speakers
> of other languages (ESOL), gifted and
> talented (GT), Advanced Placement (AP), and
> International Baccalaureate (IB) courses.
> --Special education.
> --Helping your child with his or her education.
> --Available services to support families with
> children in Fairfax County Public Schools.
> --Community resources available in Fairfax County.
>
>
> Agendas and online registration are available at
> http://www.fcps.edu/news/parents.htm
>
> Tuesday, March 4
> Hayfield Secondary School
> 5:30 to 9 p.m.
>
> Thursday, April 3
> Robinson Secondary School
> 5:30 to 9 p.m.
>
> Saturday, April 5
> Chantilly High School
> 8:30 a.m. to noon

Nope, I never called any regular ed class remedial. It didn't happen.

I have NO problem with students taking any college course they choose to take and spending as many years in college as they choose. But for those less fortunate, it is nice to have some AP credits that allows them to get through college more quickly. While that may not matter to you, or me, it matters to plenty of other people. If you don't believe that, I'll have to toss back to you the elitist label.

How nice that FCPS is having several PR meetings to tell the public how fortunate their children are to be stuck in Everyday Math where, without outside help and tutoring, they will never be prepared for higher level math.

BTW, just which FCPS employee are you?

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Neen ()
Date: February 25, 2008 05:19PM

NavyGetsOut Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> SL community is committed to IB. Many believe AP
> would be better but for now the vocal minority is
> in control and there is no talk of adding AP to
> SLHS in the immediate future.

You don't think that Stu will throw even the AP bone to those being forced to go to South Lakes? That he will offer them nothing? I would expect that Janie, among others, will encourage him to offer them something.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: on the other other hand ()
Date: February 25, 2008 05:20PM

On the other hand Wrote:

> And by the way there are plenty of kids elsewhere
> in the US, that would die to go to ANY school in
> Fairfax county.


That's as pointless as saying "there are plenty of kids in the world, that would die to go to ANY school in the US"

all that does is manage down to lowest common denominator

the game is to be competitive and move the bar up

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Huh? ()
Date: February 25, 2008 05:21PM

comeon Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ParentOf4 Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > You want a high school that you
> > can feel pride in being a part of, not one that
> > you were forced into, and where you know you
> > really weren't welcome for who you are, and are
> > just a warm band-aid.
>
>
> Dear ParentOf4,
>
> Teenage social constructs being what they are,
> South Lakes is the school where your children are
> MOST likely to be accepted for who they are. That
> is one of the unique aspects of the school and one
> of the advantages of the liberal atmosphere in
> Reston.



I'm not sure what you mean when you say that at SL children are MOST likely to be accepted for who they are.

Please listen carefully...we don't want to go. Don't tell me how unique and wonderful the school and the children are (we believe you)...and all that being said we don't to go. FM has been a part of the Oakton HS community for more than a generation. Many of older brothers and sisters have gone there. As YOU feel SL is unique, WE feel Oakton is unique. And, Oakton is an AP...and WE WANT AP. You can't beat us into agreeing with your position. This is the really sad part: If FM, Floris are redistricted to SL, so many people will lose. SLPTA is currently planning a "welcoming" event for newcomers. They don't understand...after this very ugly and public activity, our children (and our families) will not feel welcome. We know our children are just bodies to them...and how could we ever feel welcome??

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Neen ()
Date: February 25, 2008 05:26PM

NavyGetsOut Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> The Jay Matthews article could not have been more
> timely. What an interesting quandary the SBMs now
> find themselves in. They are far from being a
> progressive group. They dont do change well
> although it would appear that they feel everyone
> else will or should.
>
> Navy will be excluded. The final analysis leaves
> Fox Mill, Floris and Madison Island on the table.
> Will any of these groups be cut out? Will any new
> group be added? Will this boundary change happen?
> It may all be too complicated now. What if half
> of the group just cant find any scenario they can
> agree upon?
>
> Dr. Goodman is counting pupil placement forms
> already collected by SLHS. At least one SBM would
> like to know how many have been completed. Does
> that mean if SLHS already has a hundred new forms,
> that they may realize no positive outcome will
> come of this change?

How could parents have completed papers to pupil place out of SL's if they have not been place there yet?

You're right, Navy is out, Floris, Fox Mill, and the Madison Island will be sent to South Lakes.

Of course RD will happen. Stu's already decided that and only Tina Hone has said she will not support it. They've made a huge mistake, from start to finish, but they can't back down now. They would never admit to such a colossal failure. Heck, they never admit to any failure of anything they adopt.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Huh? ()
Date: February 25, 2008 05:27PM

don Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Jay M Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > IB schools are under enrolled for a reason. It
> is
> > not a mainstream program. This has been asked
> > thousands of times but I am compelled to ask
> > again.
> >
> > Why is a boundary change being considered to fix
> a
> > programatic issue?
> >
> >
> > All this will do is put an additional burden on
> > hundreds of parents that will pupil place their
> > children. Each year they will have to be
> approved
> > and must sit anxiously through the decision
> > period. Every family will have to now provide
> > transportation for one or more of their
> children.
> > In some cases one child may be allowed to take
> the
> > bus due to grandfathering while the other must
> get
> > transportation.
> >
> > This entire thing is beyond irrational.
>
>
> Regardless of the IB/AP problem, there are not
> 600+ kids pupil placing/private schooling/home
> schooling/not moving to Reston. The current
> boundary is not large enough to even come close to
> filling a newly renovated facility.


Don't forget that this newly renovated facility has 50 less seats than the previous one. The school is not larger after this renovation--it's slightly smaller.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: AP vs IB ()
Date: February 25, 2008 05:34PM

Neen Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> > I have NO problem with students taking any college
> course they choose to take and spending as many
> years in college as they choose. But for those
> less fortunate, it is nice to have some AP credits
> that allows them to get through college more
> quickly. While that may not matter to you, or me,
> it matters to plenty of other people. If you
> don't believe that, I'll have to toss back to you
> the elitist label.
>
>>
>

I would think that families that are concerned about financing college, as I am, would focus on scholarships, more affordable colleges and the like versus college credit. This is because college credit isn't garnered until after admission. M.I.T for one states that they don't determine credit until August for each year's admitted class. Even assuming charts are accurate, students might be advised not to take credit in some classes, depending on their major. And of course, credit is only granted for certain scores. While students may know many of their scores prior to senior year, if they have taken a number of AP courses or SL IB exams in their junior year, many scores are received after the senior year exams.

My finances are such that I need to know at admission what the tuition will be, what aid will be offered, and what scholarships my kids might qualify for.

Counting on college credit that might, or might not be granted, after a family accepts admission to a particular school, isn't the smartest bet for financially strapped families.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Huh? ()
Date: February 25, 2008 05:41PM

Taormina Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> fm/c/o parent Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > I don't
> > mean to blow this whole thing out of proportion
> > when compared to other issues in the world, but
> we
> > are making an important decision for our
> children,
> > and we want to get it right. I guess that's why
> I
> > keep coming back to this message board, so I
> can
> > be reasonably well-informed about the various
> > issues.
>
>
> Really? At the end of the day (or four years of
> HS), do you really believe that attending SL
> versus Wesfield/Oakton/Chantilly is going to make
> that much of a difference in the type people your
> children turn out to be or the opportunities which
> are available to them? None of the statistics and
> indicators that are tossed about on this site
> really make me feel that the differences between
> the 1st and 15th "best" FCPS high school are all
> that great. If your child has the aptitude to get
> into UVA/VT/Harvard/Oberlin, is the high school
> they attend going to make a demonstrable
> difference? Will it impact their long-term
> financial wealth and personal happiness? If not,
> what are you concerned about?
>
> I appreciate the emotion that is tied up with
> changing schools, but this hand wringing and
> tsuris is way over the top. Frankly, I know a
> lot of kids who would gladly move from a large
> school like Robinson to SL just so that they were
> in a smaller and more intimate environment. Like
> a lot of things in life high school is what you
> make of it. Unless you are the parent of a
> special education student who requires structure
> and does not easily accept change, I would not
> worry so much about your children adapting.


Really? At the end of the day do you really believe our children should be forced to attend a school they don't wish to attend--and participate in a curriculum that they don't want to participate in? At the end of the day how would you feel if the county centralized all serious IB candidates in one school (and, gasp, it wasn't SL)...it really wouldn't make a difference in the type of people they might become, would it? It's what they would make it, right? I'm sure these bright children would adapt just fine. Don't worry.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Former Dem ()
Date: February 25, 2008 05:52PM

VoteForRepublican Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> From now on, thanks for Gibson type of Demacrap,
> my family will vote for Republican candidates for
> anything.
> We will be die hard Republican supporters from now
> on.


I'm with you. I always been a democrat (and will probably continue to be so in the national contests), but I will NEVER again just vote for the "D" candidate in the local/SB races.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Exactly ()
Date: February 25, 2008 06:01PM

AP vs IB Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Neen Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > > I have NO problem with students taking any
> college
> > course they choose to take and spending as many
> > years in college as they choose. But for those
> > less fortunate, it is nice to have some AP
> credits
> > that allows them to get through college more
> > quickly. While that may not matter to you, or
> me,
> > it matters to plenty of other people. If you
> > don't believe that, I'll have to toss back to
> you
> > the elitist label.
> >
> >>
> >
>
> I would think that families that are concerned
> about financing college, as I am, would focus on
> scholarships, more affordable colleges and the
> like versus college credit. This is because
> college credit isn't garnered until after
> admission. M.I.T for one states that they don't
> determine credit until August for each year's
> admitted class. Even assuming charts are
> accurate, students might be advised not to take
> credit in some classes, depending on their major.
> And of course, credit is only granted for certain
> scores. While students may know many of their
> scores prior to senior year, if they have taken a
> number of AP courses or SL IB exams in their
> junior year, many scores are received after the
> senior year exams.
>
> My finances are such that I need to know at
> admission what the tuition will be, what aid will
> be offered, and what scholarships my kids might
> qualify for.
>
> Counting on college credit that might, or might
> not be granted, after a family accepts admission
> to a particular school, isn't the smartest bet for
> financially strapped families.

Exactly.

In fact, scores on AP and IB exams taken in Junior year don't end up on transcripts at all -- kids or their recommendations have to crow about them themselves. Schools care more that kids are challenging themselves with challenging courses, and they can be as impressed by a good mix of gen ed, honors, and higher level courses as with all AP -- as long as the rest of the balance is there. They look for demonstrated passion, intellect, and persistence.

I spoke with a Johns Hopkins admissions officer last year who said the University has become wary of taking kids with GPAs that are too high or with too many AP classes -- and who don't have enough balance in the rest of their lives. Why? They don't tend to create community at Hopkins and then don't donate later. They're not good long-term financial prospects because they care too much about whipping through school or about their own small academic circles and don't feel bonded to the school itself. I am not making this up. This officer "doubled" as a financial advisor, which is how we met him. He was perfectly frank.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Baffled ()
Date: February 25, 2008 06:08PM

Neen Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> NavyGetsOut Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > SL community is committed to IB. Many believe
> AP
> > would be better but for now the vocal minority
> is
> > in control and there is no talk of adding AP to
> > SLHS in the immediate future.
>
> You don't think that Stu will throw even the AP
> bone to those being forced to go to South Lakes?
> That he will offer them nothing? I would expect
> that Janie, among others, will encourage him to
> offer them something.


There's been word that the AP Human Geography is being offered (has it been confirmed?). I strongly doubt they will let go of the IB that easily because again for one thing SL is the only IB hs in the west county. For those who love the IB, they would have to be pupil-placed out to Marshall or Robinson if SL converts to AP. Would they enjoy the commute to either one of these high schools from the west county? Also, it would be interesting to hear if the SB votes on this RD, but start in the fall of 2009 instead of this fall because of all those issues regarding the AP vs IB programs.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: On the other hand ()
Date: February 25, 2008 06:16PM

Neen Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> >>>And yes, your children will survive. You are
> not giving your very bright children enough
> credit. And by the way there are plenty of kids
> elsewhere in the US, that would die to go to ANY
> school in Fairfax county.<<<
>
> I have never understood this argument. Are you
> saying that we should all be happy with whatever
> the school board deigns to give us? Because
> someone in West Virginia, or Mississippi has it
> worse? Has that argument ever worked for you?
> You should be satisfied with whatever salary you
> receive, and never ask for anything more, because
> some people in West Virginia and Mississippi would
> be happy to make as much as you make?
>
> If you pay for club seats at the Redskins game,
> but get stuck in the end zone bleachers, is that
> fine? Afterall, you're still at the game, and
> thousands of people can't even go to the game.
>
> Are you saying that smart kids would be fine in a
> DC public school or at Sidwell Friends? It
> doesn't matter what kind of education our children
> receive from our schools? If they are smart
> enough, they will be 'fine', as you define 'fine'?
> What if some parents have slightly higher
> standards than you have for their children? What
> if education is more important to them that it is
> to you? What if they define 'fine' differently?
> Some people think UVA and Tech provide a fine
> education, other's want Harvard, MIT, Stanford,
> Duke, or Michigan. Are they wrong? Can't
> different people feel differently about what is
> most important for their children? Are parents
> 'wrong' to sacrifice everything for their children
> to go to a better school? Or might they simply
> have different standards than you have? Isn't it
> rather elitist of you to decide what their values
> and standards should be, and where their children
> should attend school? If you don't care which
> school in this county your children attend, that's
> fine, but please stop judging those who have
> different standards than you have. If it didn't
> matter where kids went to school, DC public
> schools would be filled and private schools would
> go begging. Obviously it matters to a great many
> parents.



All I am saying is that SLHS is not a DC public school and I am talking that the difference is like buying groceries at Giant vs. Whole Foods. Whole Foods may be marginally better, but Giant is just fine. Same goes for the schools. Oakton adn so on may be marginally better, but the difference is not for one end of the spectrum to the other.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: On the other hand ()
Date: February 25, 2008 06:25PM

Daily Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> On the other hand- Today find one bad thing that
> was said about SLHS. You dont get to count IB
> critique. So I dont agree with:"and basically in
> so many different words how bad SL is."
>
> Then there is this one:"And yes, your children
> will survive. You are not giving your very bright
> children enough credit. And by the way there are
> plenty of kids elsewhere in the US, that would die
> to go to ANY school in Fairfax county."
>
> I seriously doubt that there is a single kid in
> the US that would die to attend a FCPS school.
> Please this is over the top. I agree that we have
> bright children and we only want what we view as
> being best for them. We tend not to take well to
> getting parental advice from strangers on a
> website who would like to dictate to us which
> school our children should attend. You are not, I
> presume in a position to vote on Thursday?
>
> All I said was the daily handing out of demeaning
> remarks regarding our children was tiring. Perhaps
> I have misunderstood you. You seem to know well
> what our children can handle. Are you a licensed
> psychologist? Are you in some position that lends
> credence to your condescension?


Not a psychologist or psyschiatrist and not trying to be condescending. I am just pointing out the inconsistencies of some of what is being said. On one hand, people are saying how the kids are takinbg all this AP stuff and how bright all these kids are and how many of them hope and will go to good colleges - on the other hand, everyone seems to be scared of their kids being able to adjust and adapt to change. After all this is what they will face on their own post college - change.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: AP ()
Date: February 25, 2008 07:00PM

"on the other hand, everyone seems to be scared of their kids being able to adjust and adapt to change"

Can you stop judging other people and their kids?
It's the ugly facets surfaced through the whole RD process that shun people away.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: back to basics ()
Date: February 25, 2008 07:02PM

OOn the other hand Wrote:
-
> All I am saying is that SLHS is not a DC public
> school and I am talking that the difference is
> like buying groceries at Giant vs. Whole Foods.
> Whole Foods may be marginally better, but Giant is
> just fine. Same goes for the schools. Oakton adn
> so on may be marginally better, but the difference
> is not for one end of the spectrum to the other.


That's not quite what the FCPS numbers suggest


============

SOL failure rates (SLHS vs Madison)

Bio 4x
Chem 3x
EarthSci 6x
EngRead 4x
EngWrite 5x
VA-US 9x

SAT performance (SLHS vs Madison)

asian -192 points
black -88 points
hispanic -31 points
economically disadvantaged -73 points
disabilities -153 points


- its hard to double check the numbers but combining VDOE and FCPS figures (which may have slightly different assumptions) it looks as if the rate of students taking SAT is 66% at SLHS vs 88% at Madison.



==============

SOL failure rates (hughes vs Thoreau)

grade 7 math 6x
grade 7 reading 4x
grade 7 US hist 5x
grade 8 civics 11x
grade 8 eng wri 12x
grade 8 math 6x
grade 8 reading 7x
grade 8 science 11x

e.g. 57% FAILURE rate in grade 7 math at Hughes vs 58% ADVANCED pass at Thoreau

=======

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Baffled ()
Date: February 25, 2008 07:06PM

On the Other Hand wrote:

"on the other hand, everyone seems to be scared of their kids being able to adjust and adapt to change. After all this is what they will face on their own post college - change"

So you are saying we need to put our kids in an unfamiliar high school atmosphere to get them "practiced" for another change they would go through, to college and post college? And why do you say "everyone" seems scared...? Do you get it that many of us are opposed to this RD for a number of reasons?

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Mary JO ()
Date: February 25, 2008 07:08PM

What a bunch of babies you all are. The only reason you do not like Stu Gibson, and are complaining aso much is because you are not getting your way. How many of your kids are going to go to AP or IB any way .... Stop helicoptor parenting and have faith in your children. If your kids lives end because you switch highs schools your kids are not going to make it to far anyway

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Oakton Parent ()
Date: February 25, 2008 07:08PM

Oh my...where's IBVerity now? She's got some 'splaining to do...whatever name she's been posting under lately.

Today's Washington Post article has a source often cited as IB friendly confirming exactly what people 'who don't know anything about IB' have been saying all along..IB is not accepted for credit at colleges nearly as consistently as AP is.

To think of all the people she libelled and called liars for researching and posting the truth, while she attempted to counter with flat out falsehoods. If anything, the claims on the CAPS put IB college credit recognition in a more favorable light than this article does.

What a sad, sad so-called advocate for the program and the school.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Huh? ()
Date: February 25, 2008 07:18PM

on the other other hand Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> On the other hand Wrote:
>
> > And by the way there are plenty of kids
> elsewhere
> > in the US, that would die to go to ANY school
> in
> > Fairfax county.
>
>
> That's as pointless as saying "there are plenty of
> kids in the world, that would die to go to ANY
> school in the US"
>
> all that does is manage down to lowest common
> denominator
>
> the game is to be competitive and move the bar up


And, if given a choice, these "plenty of childen in the world" would prefer to go to an AP school versus and IB school. It all depends on your perspective

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: bunch of babies ()
Date: February 25, 2008 07:29PM

Mary JO Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> What a bunch of babies you all are. The only
> reason you do not like Stu Gibson, and are
> complaining aso much is because you are not
> getting your way. How many of your kids are going
> to go to AP or IB any way .... Stop helicoptor
> parenting and have faith in your children. If
> your kids lives end because you switch highs
> schools your kids are not going to make it to far
> anyway

so to paraphrase "just stop whining and take what's served upto you"

why does that apply to the people opposed to forceable RD and not those whining that even with 40% higher staff:student ratios their school is dramatically underperforming but that warm bodies would fix something (undefined), by some mystical process (unidentified)?

its not about having faith in children - its about having no faith in the rationale, process and outputs of the RD exercise, and ensuring the best set of opportunities for our kids rather than them being someone-else's political pawns

so we should just shut up and help you solve your problems to the detriment of our kids?

that makes sense

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Daily ()
Date: February 25, 2008 07:51PM

On the other hand=

I appreciate your response. I am not your adversary. You are not mine.

My child is 13. I am only interested in getting him through what we all know are tough years. He is my youngest, he will not have the benefit of attending high school with his sister and brother. This will create a problem for our family. We will pupil place if possible.

It has nothing to do with being afraid of change. It has everything to do with not uprooting an adolescent and with keeping our family together. Can you honestly say you would want something different for your children?

Again I appreciate your reasonable and kind response.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Alternatives anyone? ()
Date: February 25, 2008 08:22PM

bunch of babies Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Mary JO Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > What a bunch of babies you all are. The only
> > reason you do not like Stu Gibson, and are
> > complaining aso much is because you are not
> > getting your way. How many of your kids are
> going
> > to go to AP or IB any way .... Stop helicoptor
> > parenting and have faith in your children. If
>
> > your kids lives end because you switch highs
> > schools your kids are not going to make it to
> far
> > anyway
>
> so to paraphrase "just stop whining and take
> what's served upto you"
>
> why does that apply to the people opposed to
> forceable RD and not those whining that even with
> 40% higher staff:student ratios their school is
> dramatically underperforming but that warm bodies
> would fix something (undefined), by some mystical
> process (unidentified)?
>
> its not about having faith in children - its about
> having no faith in the rationale, process and
> outputs of the RD exercise, and ensuring the best
> set of opportunities for our kids rather than them
> being someone-else's political pawns
>
> so we should just shut up and help you solve your
> problems to the detriment of our kids?
>
> that makes sense


Will YOUR child's life end if SL is not able to hijack MY child? How odd, you call us a "bunch of babies" and yet you don't back off. No matter what, you want our kids...or rather you want their bodies in your child's class. How flattering is that? ("We don't give a "darn" about your kids...just take a seat and keep your mouth shut." What an amazing offer that is?)

While there are a good number of AP/IB kids at Fox Mill and Floris (of course, you already knew that or this discussion would never be happening), don't expect them to be filling those IB seats at SL. I know a number of parents who have pledged that their students will not be doing SL or HL IB if we get moved to SL. I know several who are already looking at alternatives (AP Calculus at a local college for example.) I wouldn't be surprised if NOVA doesn't see an opportunity in all this. Thankfully, the FCPS SB has a reach that is only so long.

It's also sad that this redistricting has put such a harsh spotlight on IB. I know this is a good program for some children (committed children and their families.) I wonder what the national IBO thinks about this...that children are being FORCED into an IB program (particuarly when it's a magnet program in many of its locations)? I wonder if all this negative publicity will cause the IBO to pull the program from SL due to mismanagement. Wouldn't that be an interesting turn of events?

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: not so mary jo ()
Date: February 25, 2008 09:02PM

MaryJo - your statements, at least as far as I am concerned, could not be further from the truth. My own views about Stu Gibson have long been less than positive - and it is because of his positions on issues (that to me lack empirical basis) and his tendency to glad hand his way through them. My own experiences stem from Hunters Woods - quite some time ago, in fact. I kept hearing from Mr. Gibson how great Hunters Woods was - and how it was a wonderful Fairfax County School. The school was fairly good - not great to my mind - helped out by a principal in my kids later years that had a different persona than most but who proved to be quite competent. But the blunt truth is that Hunters Woods is a good school because it enjoys the luxury of having grasping and aspiring parents of GT kids shipped (or should I say bribed through ego) there. The GT kids, of course, have IQ's and for the most part are very quick, intuitive learners in both phonetically based reading and traditional math - so whole language and everyday math programs that don't work but which are maintained in non-GT classes because they they impose less stress upon certain minority groups in particular,and thus make social promotion (as opposed to real progress) easier - are not foisted for the most part on these GT kids. And the GT kids high scores mask what is really going on with the rest of kids - which of course was made all so clear when Hunters Woods was shown to have failed to make AYP the last two years - albeit in part due to change in accounting for non-English speakers - but that is besides the point - the school Stu Gibson referred to as "great" was simply not so - it had serious problems that could fairly easily be buried by those not watching warily - and in an environment with countless GT inspired volunteers and resources - scores and achievement frankly should have been far better. And to make things clear - I am not sure it is such an easy thing to do better with some of these kids and the homes they come from - as a very good teacher friend of mine relates - there's not much learning in some of these homes. But what I really can't stand is the gladhanding, and the endless, mindless mantra of how great Hunters Woods was. Scratch beneath the GT veneer, and there are issues - anyone with perception could see that - a little honesty and candor would have gone a very long way, because the separate and completely unequal that was the GT program at Hunters Woods (and still is) didn't strike me as progress, but rather as a socially engineered and legally acceptable form of segregation which pumped up the stats nicely but really didn't accomplish much. Some of us now naturally wonder that if all of these problems had been tackled in a much more direct and energetic way, the current debate would now be taking on a different cast.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: On the other hand ()
Date: February 25, 2008 10:19PM

Daily Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> On the other hand=
>
> I appreciate your response. I am not your
> adversary. You are not mine.
>
> My child is 13. I am only interested in getting
> him through what we all know are tough years. He
> is my youngest, he will not have the benefit of
> attending high school with his sister and brother.
> This will create a problem for our family. We
> will pupil place if possible.
>
> It has nothing to do with being afraid of change.
> It has everything to do with not uprooting an
> adolescent and with keeping our family together.
> Can you honestly say you would want something
> different for your children?
>
> Again I appreciate your reasonable and kind
> response.


And I appreciate yours. Thank you.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Neen ()
Date: February 25, 2008 11:00PM

On the other hand Wrote:
-
> All I am saying is that SLHS is not a DC public
> school and I am talking that the difference is
> like buying groceries at Giant vs. Whole Foods.
> Whole Foods may be marginally better, but Giant is
> just fine. Same goes for the schools. Oakton adn
> so on may be marginally better, but the difference
> is not for one end of the spectrum to the other.

Why do you get to make such judgments for everyone else? Are you comparing our children's education to shopping at Giant?

Who are you to say that other people shouldn't care about the differences between Oakton and South Lakes because you don't care about the differences? Sounds very judgmental on your part. People care about different things and some people really care about education and some don't. You are you to say that they are wrong to care, just because you don't care?

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Neen ()
Date: February 25, 2008 11:03PM

VoteForRepublican Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> From now on, thanks for Gibson type of Demacrap,
> my family will vote for Republican candidates for
> anything.
> We will be die hard Republican supporters from now
> on.

THAT is exactly what Gerry Connelly is afraid of. This whole mess isn't helping the school budget and it certainly isn't helping Gerry Connelly in his quest for Congress.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Neen ()
Date: February 25, 2008 11:09PM

AP vs IB Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Neen Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > > I have NO problem with students taking any
> college
> > course they choose to take and spending as many
> > years in college as they choose. But for those
> > less fortunate, it is nice to have some AP
> credits
> > that allows them to get through college more
> > quickly. While that may not matter to you, or
> me,
> > it matters to plenty of other people. If you
> > don't believe that, I'll have to toss back to
> you
> > the elitist label.
> >
> >>
> >
>
> I would think that families that are concerned
> about financing college, as I am, would focus on
> scholarships, more affordable colleges and the
> like versus college credit. This is because
> college credit isn't garnered until after
> admission. M.I.T for one states that they don't
> determine credit until August for each year's
> admitted class. Even assuming charts are
> accurate, students might be advised not to take
> credit in some classes, depending on their major.
> And of course, credit is only granted for certain
> scores. While students may know many of their
> scores prior to senior year, if they have taken a
> number of AP courses or SL IB exams in their
> junior year, many scores are received after the
> senior year exams.
>
> My finances are such that I need to know at
> admission what the tuition will be, what aid will
> be offered, and what scholarships my kids might
> qualify for.
>
> Counting on college credit that might, or might
> not be granted, after a family accepts admission
> to a particular school, isn't the smartest bet for
> financially strapped families.

How many of our poor students, our new immigrants, are hoping for MIT?

Of course they COUNT on college credit, but it sure is nice if they can get it. A poor kid has a much better chance of finishing college more quickly, and saving money, if he is enrolled in AP, than if he is enrolled in IB. Even Jay Mathews is complaining about the lack of college credit for IB courses and being the good liberal that he is, he LOVES IB, for all children. Except his. They went to a private AP high school.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Neen ()
Date: February 25, 2008 11:17PM

>>>There's been word that the AP Human Geography is being offered (has it been confirmed?). I strongly doubt they will let go of the IB that easily because again for one thing SL is the only IB hs in the west county. For those who love the IB, they would have to be pupil-placed out to Marshall or Robinson if SL converts to AP. Would they enjoy the commute to either one of these high schools from the west county?<<<

You are right. I forgot about that. Of course South Lakes has to remain an IB school. No other high school in the west wants IB.

That means the promise of AP at South Lakes is off the table. What other carrot might Stu offer on Thursday night that will entice parents to send their children to South Lakes? He has to offer something, or this redistricting will be a total bomb. Perhaps a later start time at SL? What else can he offer in attempt to make it work for SL?

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Wisner ()
Date: February 25, 2008 11:23PM

How a Virtual AP Course Changed Her Son

By Jay Mathews
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, September 25, 2007; 9:14 AM



Maria Allen worried about her son Matthew's prospects in high school and beyond. He had always been regarded as an underachiever by his teachers. He received B's in middle school with virtually no effort because he did well on what were, she thought, very easy tests.

Every new school year, the Reston mother donned her Super Nag persona, got on his case and tried to turn around his bad habits and attitude. It never worked. By the second quarter, whenever her attention turned to other matters, he stopped working, and his teachers started complaining.

So she was more than a little surprised when Matthew asked if he could take an Advanced Placement biology course online at the beginning of eighth grade, when he was only 14 years old. She knew where he got the idea. His big brother, a high school junior, had signed up for online AP biology so he would have time for other courses during the school day. She laughed. Good joke, Matthew. But he brought it up again. He was serious. Even when she showed him the demanding syllabus on the Web site apexlearning.com, he did not back down.

Well, she thought, why not? Her Super Nag act had not worked. She paid the $600 course fee and waited, without much hope, to see what would happen next.

"Matthew continued to put negligible effort into his middle-school work," Allen told me, "but in biology, he started to work hard, very hard, in fact. And, even more remarkably, he continued to work hard throughout the year."

She said he took a full complement of eighth-grade honors courses, but they demanded very little. "Unencumbered by any significant homework," she said, "Matt had plenty of time available to log on to AP bio for a few hours each evening, and so he often did better on AP quizzes and assignments than my high school junior, who was always swamped with homework and competing deadlines from several other challenging courses."

Matthew got a B from the Apex Learning online teacher. He was thrilled that the AP testing room at Herndon High School buzzed with the news that a middle school kid was taking the exam, and even happier when he got his test score -- a 4 on a 5-point scale. That's equivalent to a B in most colleges. "Before the course was even over, he announced that he was taking AP psychology online over the summer," his mother said, "and didn't forget or change his mind as summer grew near." Matthew got a B in that course too, but unlike his middle school courses, he had to work for it.

There are some problems in our schools that we talk about a great deal, like uninspired teaching and too much testing. But there are also problems in our schools that we almost never talk about, like courses that don't live up to their titles and grades that reflect little effort.

Unlike the middle-school classes in which he apparently coasted, Matthew saw AP biology as authentic. For him, it was exciting to jump ahead of his peers. I first observed this attitude 25 years ago in a public high school in East Los Angeles, where students whose parents were sixth-grade dropouts flocked to AP courses because they could earn college credit. Those courses were the same as the ones the rich kids took at Beverly Hills High School. There are many ways to add authenticity in our schools. Hopefully they won't cost parents an extra $600. I have had my doubts about online courses, but Allen convinced me they can have a good influence on students like her son who would not be able to take an AP course any other way because they were still in middle school. She said the school district would have paid the online fee, as it did for her other son, if Matthew had been enrolled then at South Lakes High School, where he is now a ninth-grader.

"His attitude toward school and study is very different now," she said. "Matthew now talks confidently about his plans to earn the International Baccalaureate diploma [part of a program similar to AP], and after college his plans to attend medical school, something I doubt he ever even considered before. He is proud of what he has done, and he sees himself differently than he did a year ago."

Asked for a response to Allen's remarks about unchallenging courses in Fairfax County schools, Peter J. Noonan, assistant superintendent for instructional services, sent me this statement: "Fairfax County Public Schools, through our viable and agreed-upon common program of studies (POS) that incorporates the Standards of Learning (SOLs), provide high levels of rigor for all students. To increase the rigor for our middle school students who need further extension of their learning we encourage the participation in the honors program and International Baccalaureate Middle Years Program (IBMYP)."

Fairfax County schools are among the best in the country at challenging students at all levels, but there is always room for improvement.

Allen said she is not suggesting that middle school students should take AP courses, although, "given what it did for Matt, I am not entirely sure why."

Some college professors reject the notion of even high school juniors taking AP courses, but most of those professors have never taught an AP course and usually forget that they substitute for introductory college courses, not graduate seminars in thermodynamics. The material is challenging but not impossible for children who are interested in the subject and willing to do the reading.

"Matt could have continued sliding downward right on through high school," Allen said, "and I shudder to imagine the outcome. High school will have its tough moments, but now I know Matt will do fine. Frankly, I feel very lucky."

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Neen ()
Date: February 25, 2008 11:33PM

Sounds like Hughes had little to offer this bright boy. I am glad that his mother found a way to get him course work at his level, unlike what he was getting at Hughes. He's lucky that he had a mother who cared enough, and had money enough, to get him what he needed. Kudos to Maria Allen.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: ParentOf4 ()
Date: February 25, 2008 11:35PM

Well actually Mary JO, we don't like Stu because he is supposed to be our representative, and he is neglecting to listen to us, and treating us with contempt. Gee, just what I would want from a public official that is to represent my interests!! I did not vote for him. I am a little tired too of his taped video messages at Back to School nights. He is such a grand representative !!! NOT!!

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Neen ()
Date: February 26, 2008 01:41AM

FCPS has asked for an additional $55 million for this year's budget cycle. Gerry Connelly is saving NO increase.

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2008/02/25/AR2008022501375.html

FCPS will have to cut more from their budget. Let them know where you think those cuts should be.

Of course Connelly could still increase the tax rate, if he has support to do that. Let him and the board of supervisors know how you feel about a tax increase.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: AP vs IB ()
Date: February 26, 2008 06:39AM

Neen Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
>
>
> How many of our poor students, our new immigrants,
> are hoping for MIT?
>
> Of course they COUNT on college credit, but it
> sure is nice if they can get it. A poor kid has a
> much better chance of finishing college more
> quickly, and saving money, if he is enrolled in
> AP, than if he is enrolled in IB. Even Jay
> Mathews is complaining about the lack of college
> credit for IB courses and being the good liberal
> that he is, he LOVES IB, for all children. Except
> his. They went to a private AP high school.

M.I.T was clearly an example of when schools garner the credit. I gather you left out the word can't above? Students also have a much better chance of finishing college if they have scholarships, or grants. In fact students who have a Pell grant one year, but don't the next are the ones that typically drop out. Where are your stats that show AP credit benefits more than a scholarship?
My point is valid, students can plan better (and finish school) if they know ahead of time what scholarships/grants etc., they are getting than waiting until August to determine that they might not have to take intro classes during their first year of college. I would bet if you look at studies, more middle class students are taking advantage of the credit, not for financial reasons but rather to either double major in an easier fashion, or not take large intro classes, than poorer students looking for financial help. Some financially strapped students might take advantage of it as well, but financially focusing on scholarships etc., assists them better.
And yes, I know Jay's kids went to private, and have asked him about that contradiction.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Another Ex Dem ()
Date: February 26, 2008 07:14AM

Last night when I got home, I received a mailer from the Virginia Democrats asking me for my continued support.

Today I will send it back with a note explaining why there will be no more support from this Ex Virginia Democrat.

I am sickened by the lack of rational government on the SB a board of 10 Democrats. I am disgusted by the fact that in the end, they are no different than the Republicans currently in the white house. They have used flimsy support to justify their agenda. Just as we have occused Bush of wanting to go to war then lining up the data to support his agenda, they first decided to redistrict then backed into the supporting data. When they could find none they adjusted the criterion.

In the past I have given thousands of dollars to the Virginia Dems. That well is now dry.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: taxpayer ()
Date: February 26, 2008 08:33AM

Neen Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> FCPS has asked for an additional $55 million for
> this year's budget cycle. Gerry Connelly is
> saving NO increase.
>
> http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic
> le/2008/02/25/AR2008022501375.html
>
> FCPS will have to cut more from their budget. Let
> them know where you think those cuts should be.
>
> Of course Connelly could still increase the tax
> rate, if he has support to do that. Let him and
> the board of supervisors know how you feel about a
> tax increase.

I am opposed to a tax increase after analyzing this budget and the CIP. It is outrageous that Griffin has to make cuts on the county services when FCPS has abdicated fiscal responsibility. My last straw:
The additions at Westfield, Langley, Lake Braddock, IB v AP costs, IB middle years, FLI actual costs, Hunetrs woods funding .5 over , TJ admissions costs doubling, Focus school drama and garden teachers, Modified calendar with less actual mandatory core instruction attendance at critical periods, Jackson GT coach, full day kindergarten where not academically necessary, Everyday math, extreme whole language, fuzzy programs,etc.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: AP vs IB ()
Date: February 26, 2008 08:46AM

taxpayer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> >
> I am opposed to a tax increase after analyzing
> this budget and the CIP. It is outrageous that
> Griffin has to make cuts on the county services
> when FCPS has abdicated fiscal responsibility. My
> last straw:
> The additions at Westfield, Langley, Lake
> Braddock, IB v AP costs, IB middle years, FLI
> actual costs, Hunetrs woods funding .5 over , TJ
> admissions costs doubling, Focus school drama and
> garden teachers, Modified calendar with less
> actual mandatory core instruction attendance at
> critical periods, Jackson GT coach, full day
> kindergarten where not academically necessary,
> Everyday math, extreme whole language, fuzzy
> programs,etc.

What do you mean when you say the modified calendar schools have , "less actual mandatory core instruction attendance at critical periods?"

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Baffled ()
Date: February 26, 2008 08:50AM

taxpayer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Neen Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > FCPS has asked for an additional $55 million
> for
> > this year's budget cycle. Gerry Connelly is
> > saving NO increase.
> >
> >
> http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/artic
>
> > le/2008/02/25/AR2008022501375.html
> >
> > FCPS will have to cut more from their budget.
> Let
> > them know where you think those cuts should be.
>
> >
> > Of course Connelly could still increase the tax
> > rate, if he has support to do that. Let him
> and
> > the board of supervisors know how you feel about
> a
> > tax increase.
>
> I am opposed to a tax increase after analyzing
> this budget and the CIP. It is outrageous that
> Griffin has to make cuts on the county services
> when FCPS has abdicated fiscal responsibility. My
> last straw:
> The additions at Westfield, Langley, Lake
> Braddock, IB v AP costs, IB middle years, FLI
> actual costs, Hunetrs woods funding .5 over , TJ
> admissions costs doubling, Focus school drama and
> garden teachers, Modified calendar with less
> actual mandatory core instruction attendance at
> critical periods, Jackson GT coach, full day
> kindergarten where not academically necessary,
> Everyday math, extreme whole language, fuzzy
> programs,etc.

And don't forget the redistricting costs, double bussing the grandfathered students and new students, etc if the RD goes through

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: leave_us_alone ()
Date: February 26, 2008 08:58AM

Baffled Wrote:
> And don't forget the redistricting costs, double
> bussing the grandfathered students and new
> students, etc if the RD goes through


Rise in fuel cost because of double busing???

They are on record saying that there will not be any significant additional costs because of double busing.

These clowns have no accountability. I do not trust anything that comes out of their mouth.

And then they think they can offer AP courses along with IB in SL. Get Real !!

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: taxpayer ()
Date: February 26, 2008 09:48AM

T Hone asked a budget question and the guesstimate is $200,000 on the bussing for grandfathering. My thoughts? It looks like Aldrin would be cheaper to grandfather than the group where some are Westfield and some South Lakes. It is not affected by Coppermine. Administratively add 2 Langley neighborhoods, a portion of the Madison island, and that's enough for now. I would reduce grandfathering to 2 years with immediate implementation of AP - IB phaseout beginning 2009-09.

If Stu insists on more? Nothing at this time since there are too many unresolved issues elsewhere. Madison Island was the only area staff felt comfortable with changing on all levels [particularly Hughes] so that tracks with my Aldrin plus Langley admin changes both of which are political not operational. How many Aldrin kids go to Hughes now?

Meanwhile what do ex IIT students want for their children?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Indian_Institutes_of_Technology

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: sold out ()
Date: February 26, 2008 10:00AM

taxpayer Wrote:
- Madison Island was the only area staff
> felt comfortable with changing on all levels so
> that tracks with my Aldrin plus Langley admin
> changes both of which are political not
> operational.

Only problem?

They forgot to ask the Madison North community who clearly don't share their comfort

Its a straight annexation of a predominantly Vienna community into Reston - against their will - particularly objectionable given the disastrous performance of Hughes (one community assumption is that the 'island' issue is really about hiding the performance problem at Hughes)

One can only assume that staff felt comfortable because Janie told them it would be okay very early in the game (or even offered it up)

Shame she didn't ask her constituents - at last she's stuck to her guns and not listened to them since either.

Disgraceful.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: formerhick76 ()
Date: February 26, 2008 10:04AM

OK, if IB classes don't get college credit, what is the benefit from IB?

AP:
college credit (can be used to shorten college or to double major)
high GPA
warm fuzzies from challenging yourself

IB:
high GPA
warm fuzzies from challenging yourself

The magnet school idea for SL is nice, but the Fairfax County Public Schools have to consider what is best for ALL of Fairfax County, not just a few parents at Fox Mill Elementary.

South Lakes is probably still in the top 20% of high schools in the country. But it's probably the worst-off of Fairfax schools.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: taxpayer ()
Date: February 26, 2008 10:08AM

AP vs IB Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> > What do you mean when you say the modified
> calendar schools have , "less actual mandatory
> core instruction attendance at critical periods?"

2008-09: Modified calendar starts 7-28 [for August] but the periods from Labor Day [start point of standard calendar] have over 3 weeks extra days when students DO NOT have to attend school:
Oct 6-17 [with student holidays on Oct2,3 they could miss almost an entire month]
Jan 5-9 [tacked onto the reg winter break]
Mar 23-Apr 3 [just before spring break apr 6-10]
End day 6-17 [reg ends 6-18]

So they have almost 1 month when they DO NOT have to be in school prior to SOL's. Add up the time - they go in Aug but not in the standard school year. The Aug vacation is shifted to the school year. Why is FCPS continuing with this scheme for achievement impaired schools? Especially considering Jack D Dale's brilliant move of moving elementary summer school to August in his retooling?

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: taxpayer ()
Date: February 26, 2008 10:23AM

sold out Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> taxpayer Wrote:
> - Madison Island was the only area staff
> > felt comfortable with changing on all levels
> so
> > that tracks with my Aldrin plus Langley admin
> > changes both of which are political not
> > operational.
>
> Only problem?
>
> They forgot to ask the Madison North community who
> clearly don't share their comfort
>
> Its a straight annexation of a predominantly
> Vienna community into Reston - against their will
> - particularly objectionable given the disastrous
> performance of Hughes (one community assumption is
> that the 'island' issue is really about hiding the
> performance problem at Hughes)
>
> One can only assume that staff felt comfortable
> because Janie told them it would be okay very
> early in the game (or even offered it up)
>
> Shame she didn't ask her constituents - at last
> she's stuck to her guns and not listened to them
> since either.
>
> Disgraceful.

I think it's disgraceful considering what was ignored at Herndon-Langley:
Wyndham Hills to Aldrin [all to South Lakes]
A 3 C to Forest Edge

It is also a disgrace that the Madison Island was not dissected since much of it is attached to Beulah NOT Hunter Mill by Lake Fairfax or Sunset Hills.

However, there are some specific areas in the Madison island that could-should be in the South Lakes Pyramid:
Bachman
anything off Sunset Hills

Madison North issues off Beulah? Colvin Run is close yet stuffed with those who live near other schools. Those schools look to be filled with people who could go elsewhere - but here's the rub that is the heart of the matter. Who ends up in split or whole feeders to Herndon and South Lakes?

And what the heck are they thinking with the mega GT c enter at Hunters Woods plus the magnet for people who live in nice neighborhoods in Oakton? 1/2 a million in extra funds?

Yeah - it's a disgrace and people off Beulah/Brownsville are a thrown bone. But does that make it wrong to move Sunset hills and Bachman? That Mickey D's on Wiehle is awfully close.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: fm/c/o parent ()
Date: February 26, 2008 10:38AM

formerhick76 Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> OK, if IB classes don't get college credit, what
> is the benefit from IB?
>
> AP:
> college credit (can be used to shorten college or
> to double major)
> high GPA
> warm fuzzies from challenging yourself
>
> IB:
> high GPA
> warm fuzzies from challenging yourself
>
> The magnet school idea for SL is nice, but the
> Fairfax County Public Schools have to consider
> what is best for ALL of Fairfax County, not just a
> few parents at Fox Mill Elementary.
>
> South Lakes is probably still in the top 20% of
> high schools in the country. But it's probably the
> worst-off of Fairfax schools.


I think it's hard to measure schools and compare them in any linear way. What makes Oakton a "better" school than SL? As I've mentioned in here before (pardon my repetiton), I went to Langley, and many people see Langley as a good, maybe great, school. Why? Because Langley students test well? Really, it would be surprising if that wasn't the case. I don't care if Oakton is in the top 3% of schools on somebody's list, nor do I care if SL is in the top 20%. How do we know if either of these is true? It's all very subjective. I almost agree with the posters in here who say that our kids will do fine anywhere if they apply themselves and have suport at home.

I say ALMOST agree because of reasons I've stated, and others have stated, many times. At any rate, I don't think we need to quibble about schools' relative position on some list someone created to further their own agenda.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Bachman compromise? ()
Date: February 26, 2008 10:49AM

taxpayer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> However, there are some specific areas in the
> Madison island that could-should be in the South
> Lakes Pyramid:
> Bachman
> anything off Sunset Hills
>


Bachman I could agree with - there is no established community there, although construction was started and there is a precedent for redistricting before/during buildout (as per Hunter Mill Estates)

Equestrian Park on Sunset is so small that its easiest just to leave it alone

Restricting to Bachman would avoid uprooting established communities to no appreciable benefit

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: quantum ()
Date: February 26, 2008 11:05AM

Taxpayer - of course we know what they are thinking with a half mil thrown to Hunters Woods. They want the school off the AYP list - and it is much easier to import as many as possible from the Crossfields of the community rather than really tackle the problems of performance at Hunters Woods. And I can't say I blame them entirely - because it is the path of least resistance - it can't be easy to recruit staff and administration when they are under the AYP gun with a very difficult population. But once again the path of least resistance is not really the right thing to do - the right thing to do is to really take drastic action to improve minority performance - but that is not in the DNA of this bureaucracy. This is why I find it laughable when the race card is drawn so easily and often against anti-ED supporters - the vocal people in the relevant pyramid certainly are not breaking down any walls trying to improve poor minority performance in a sea of resources - and are certainly content to continue with a system of dooming low expectations.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: metrics ()
Date: February 26, 2008 11:08AM

fm/c/o parent Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
At any rate, I
> don't think we need to quibble about schools'
> relative position on some list someone created to
> further their own agenda.

I don't agree with this

Having a high quality school system which is always challenging itself to improve the experience and future prospects of students is really important if kids are going to be competitive in the global jobs market

You need to look at inputs and outputs and ask really hard questions

e.g. why is non-GT performance so poor at Hughes compared to Thoreau
e.g. why do minority and vulnerable groups perform better at Madison than at SLHS, despite 40% higher staff:student ratios

You might not like the answers, they may be tricky to debate in the public square but that doesn't mean that you don't have to ask them


Should we go back before the time when the widespread national introduction of standardized testing showed that education standards and experience had diverged so dramatically that some schools had no children who could pass the state math test?

Metrics are important - that's not to say that they should be simplistic metrics - they should reward improvement as well as absolute performance.

Its silly to argue against metrics, better to advocate for better metrics

At the end of the day, people come to Fairfax rather than Louisiana in large part because of the educational opportunities it offers their kids. Hiding behind 'all schools perform equally well' is not really an option if you want continued improvement - just as you can't run a business that way

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: fm/c/o parent ()
Date: February 26, 2008 11:20AM

metrics Wrote:

> Metrics are important - that's not to say that
> they should be simplistic metrics - they should
> reward improvement as well as absolute
> performance.
>
> Its silly to argue against metrics, better to
> advocate for better metrics
>
> At the end of the day, people come to Fairfax
> rather than Louisiana in large part because of the
> educational opportunities it offers their kids.
> Hiding behind 'all schools perform equally well'
> is not really an option if you want continued
> improvement - just as you can't run a business
> that way



Okay, maybe we just need to be clear about what is being measured. When someone says that SL is in the top 20% of schools in the nation, I have to know what data is used to make that claim. I don't object to using test scores to get information about how students are doing. Comparing the performance of two similar groups of students on the same tests seems reasonable. But comparing schools is tricky. According to some measurements, Hunters Woods would seem like a "good" school, but several posters on here have pointed out that it isn't that great if you pick apart the data.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: metrics ()
Date: February 26, 2008 11:32AM

fm/c/o parent Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> metrics Wrote:
, but
> several posters on here have pointed out that it
> isn't that great if you pick apart the data.


I agree, its hard enough to work with the FCPS figures, let alone look at national comparisons.

My sense is that we'll always have to make do with more superficial, aggregate figures as we scale up to regional and national. Its good that FCPS posts quite a bit of data but its still a very manual task to do side-by-side comparisons and try to understand where the differences come from

FCPS could make it easier to drill into the facts - for example, it would be useful to be able to split out GT-center and non-GT-center performance at elementary and middle schools. Especially given the widespread perception that the siting of GT-centers is done 'carefully'

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Forum Reader ()
Date: February 26, 2008 11:43AM

metrics Wrote:
> ... why do minority and vulnerable groups perform
> better at Madison than at SLHS, despite 40% higher
> staff:student ratios...

> ... Metrics are important - that's not to say that
> they should be simplistic metrics - they should
> reward improvement as well as absolute
> performance.
>
> Its silly to argue against metrics, better to
> advocate for better metrics ...
>
What fun! I have not drifted off into philosophy for a few days. A major problem I have with No Child Left Behind (NCLB) is that mandating a 100% pass rate for ANY test is preposterous - unless the test is preposterously easy, and therefore a waste of everyone's time and money.

I think I follow your above statements. Is this right?
- You support the overall concept of NCLB that children's academic progress should be measured using some sort of standard other than teacher grades;
- Students should continue to be categorized so that low performance by certain low-testing groups cannot be hidden by an overall average of high test scores;
- "Improvement" should also be measured.

Do you mean somehow to measure the improvement of each child as an individual [as opposed to improvement of the school]? For instance, to measure the increase in vocabulary from one year to the next?

This could probably be accomplished fairly easily using on-line testing, with each child's abilities being tested using a test that starts at 85% or so of that child's level from the previous set of exams. Computers would also give results much quicker than pencil and paper.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: taxpayer ()
Date: February 26, 2008 12:01PM

on the subject of testing FCPS info showed no alg 1 sol results for hayfield gr 7-8 prior to the opening of south county. that was a big red flag to me considering the vast amount of involvement and publcity generated by l bradsher and her coherts. at the same time hughes [prior to carson] had one of the highest tj admit rates in the county.

i now surmise that some on the current board might have more interest in where kids go to school than academia.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Date: February 26, 2008 12:34PM

Metrics wrote:
e.g. why do minority and vulnerable groups perform better at Madison than at SLHS, despite 40% higher staff:student ratios

Could it be the raw numbers, because they are 5% of the population instead of 30%? Disadvantaged children do better when they are a smaller percentage of the school population.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Baffled ()
Date: February 26, 2008 12:53PM

South Lakes Pyramid parent Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Metrics wrote:
> e.g. why do minority and vulnerable groups perform
> better at Madison than at SLHS, despite 40% higher
> staff:student ratios
>
> Could it be the raw numbers, because they are 5%
> of the population instead of 30%? Disadvantaged
> children do better when they are a smaller
> percentage of the school population.


Disadvantaged children do better when they are in a smaller percentage of the school population? Can you explain that in further detail? Thanks.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Means? ()
Date: February 26, 2008 01:20PM

My understanding SLPP means:

Disadvantaged children in SL will do better if Fox Mill/Floris kids go to SL because after SL get Fox Mill/Floris kids, disadvantaged children in SL will be in smaller percentage of the school population.

Baffled Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> South Lakes Pyramid parent Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Metrics wrote:
> > e.g. why do minority and vulnerable groups
> perform
> > better at Madison than at SLHS, despite 40%
> higher
> > staff:student ratios
> >
> > Could it be the raw numbers, because they are
> 5%
> > of the population instead of 30%?
> Disadvantaged
> > children do better when they are a smaller
> > percentage of the school population.
>
>
> Disadvantaged children do better when they are in
> a smaller percentage of the school population?
> Can you explain that in further detail? Thanks.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Future Seahawl ()
Date: February 26, 2008 01:20PM

There have been lots of discussions on testing and "masking" the scores, etc.

One thing that I think is great is MAP testing - Measures of Academic Progress.

These computer based tests (my nieces take them in Illinois) allow for measuring INDIVIDUAL achievement and growth. You can give them multiple times each year and even the same test in multiple grades. The tests do not limit measurement and therefore allow for kids to go "as far as they can". These tests are then repeated so that the kids can (hopefully) go further each time and show growth and progress.

It can measure growth for special ed as well as gifted and talented - using the same test. I think it is a very interesting concept to help gauge learning taking place.

Here's a link to more information:

http://www.nwea.org/assessments/

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Floris Parent ()
Date: February 26, 2008 01:22PM

South Lakes Pyramid parent Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Metrics wrote:
> e.g. why do minority and vulnerable groups perform
> better at Madison than at SLHS, despite 40% higher
> staff:student ratios
>
> Could it be the raw numbers, because they are 5%
> of the population instead of 30%? Disadvantaged
> children do better when they are a smaller
> percentage of the school population.

SLPP, Here is a link to a study the tends to disagree with your concepts regarding Minority and socioeconomic acheivements.

http://www.nwrel.org/scpd/sirs/10/c020.html


School Size and Educational Equity
It appears that keeping schools relatively small might be more efficacious and may exhibit rare consensus as a goal of educators, the public, and those seeking equality of opportunity for students.
—William J. Fowler, Jr. and Herbert J. Walberg, 1991

We know that, in general, the states with the largest schools and school districts have the lowest school achievement, highest dropout rates, and least favorable teacher-student ratios (Jewell 1989; Walberg 1992). We know, too, as documented earlier in this report, that the students who are most adversely affected by attending large schools are members of racial minority groups and those from low socioeconomic backgrounds.

Unfortunately, it is also the case that minority and low-SES students are primarily "concentrated in states that have large school districts and school districts that have large schools" (Jewell 1989, 150). Jewell writes,

"...if minority students must struggle more to achieve a solid public education and if large districts and large schools find it increasingly difficult to achieve solid educational results for their students, we may be acting contrary to the interests of all concerned by organizing our public education system in a manner which assigns high proportions of minority youngsters to large schools within very large school districts." (152)



Summary and Conclusion
Our data, based upon general tendencies, persist in repeating a single message—smaller seems to be better.
— Robert W. Jewell, 1989
The following list highlights the major points identified in this paper:

School consolidation has been carried out through much of this century, resulting in many fewer and much larger schools and school districts. Consolidation efforts continue into the present time.
The research base on the relative effects of large and small schools is large and quite consistent. The research base on the effects of school-within-a-school (SWAS) arrangements is smaller and less conclusive.
There is no clear agreement among researchers and educators about what constitutes a "small" school or a "large" school. Many researchers, however, indicate that an appropriate and effective size is 300-400 students for an elementary school and 400-800 students for a secondary school.
Much school consolidation has been based on the beliefs that larger schools are less expensive to operate and have higher-quality curricula than small schools. Research has demonstrated, however, that neither of these assertions is necessarily true.
Academic achievement in small schools is at least equal—and often superior—to that of large schools.
Student attitudes toward school in general and toward particular school subjects are more positive in small schools.
Student social behavior—as measured by truancy, discipline problems, violence, theft, substance abuse, and gang participation—is more positive in small schools.
Levels of extracurricular participation are much higher and more varied in small schools than large ones, and students in small schools derive greater satisfaction from their extracurricular participation.
Student attendance is better in small schools than in large ones.
A smaller percentage of student drop out of small schools than large ones.
Student have a greater sense of belonging in small schools than in large ones.
Student academic and general self-concepts are higher in small schools than in large ones.
Interpersonal relations between and among students, teachers, and administrators are more positive in small schools than in large ones.
Students from small and large high schools do not differ from one another on college-related variables such as entrance examination scores, acceptance rates, attendance, grade point average, and completion.
Teacher attitudes toward their work and their administrators are more positive in small schools than in large ones.
Attributes associated with small school size that researchers have identified as accounting for their superiority include,
Everyone's participation is needed to populate the school's offices, teams, clubs, etc., so a far smaller percentage of students is overlooked or alienated.
Adults and students in the school know and care about one another to a greater degree than is possible in large schools.
Small schools have a higher rate of parent involvement.
Students and staff generally have a stronger sense of personal efficacy in small schools.
Students in small schools take more of the responsibility for their own learning; their learning activities are more often individualized, experiential, and relevant to the world outside of school; classes are generally smaller; and scheduling is much more flexible.
Grouping and instructional strategies associated with higher student performance are more often implemented in small schools—team teaching, integrated curriculum, multiage grouping (especially for elementary children), cooperative learning, and performance assessments.
The evidence for the effectiveness of school-within-a-school (SWAS) arrangements is much more limited, but it, suggests that students benefit from this form of organization if the SWAS is sufficiently separate and distinct from the other school(s) housed in the same building.
Poor students and those of racial and ethnic minorities are more adversely affected—academically, attitudinally, and behaviorally—by attending large schools than are other students. Unfortunately, poor and minority students continue to be concentrated in large schools.
Despite this persuasive support for small schools, a gap remains—indeed grows—between research and practice regarding school size. "The preponderance of professional literature in the past decade," writes Williams,

indicates that educational researchers support the concept of small school effectiveness. It appears, however, that the determinants of school size are seldom the result of research.... More often, school size is the result of other factors—political, economic, social, demographic...(12).
We who have become convinced of the superiority of small schools have, as our next challenge, the task of communicating our findings to those who have the power to influence decisions about the size of our schools.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: fm/c/o parent ()
Date: February 26, 2008 01:38PM

Okay, true, that's just one study, but it clearly supports the idea that lower-achieving students at SL will not be helped by importing kids from Floris and Fox Mill. While bringing in those kids will make the percentage smaller, it won't reduce the number of disadvantaged kids, AND it will probably make things worse for those kids by making the school larger.

Do you thihnk it would help to send that article to the SB? I am cautiously optimistic that some SB members might be willing to vote against the RD but they need specific reasons to do so, and community outrage doesn't seem too persuasive to them.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: metrics ()
Date: February 26, 2008 01:48PM

Forum Reader Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------

> I think I follow your above statements. Is this
> right?

Its worth stepping back and asking what we want testing to do. Here are some starters:

1. Give teachers some agreed benchmarks against which to base their own work and assess the performance of their kids

2. To help kids to assess their own performance and parents to judge the development and performance of their kids and jointly undertake supportive/remedial action

3. To help parents identify the schools and programs of study which will be most effective for their children

4. To help parents track whether their school is providing education as well as its peers

5.To help parents and kids make realistic plans for ongoing educational choices (particularly HS and into university)

6. To identify systemic issues in individual schools and school systems to focus investment and remedial actions

7. To provide positive challenge to children, parents, schools and counties

8. To compare initiatives and strategies

The challenge is to provide sufficient granularity and commonality of metrics without overwhelming the educational process.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Forum Reader ()
Date: February 26, 2008 01:56PM

South Lakes Pyramid parent Wrote:
> Could it be the raw numbers, because they are 5%
> of the population instead of 30%? Disadvantaged
> children do better when they are a smaller
> percentage of the school population.

--------
You appear to be confusing indicator with cause. See "Parsing the Achievement Gap" at:
www.nocheating.org/Media/Education_Topics/pdf/parsing.pdf

This study marries "the correlates of school achievement and the statistics on gaps by race, ethnicity, and income or poverty status. In all 14 correlates of achievement, there were gaps between the minority and majority student populations. ... The gaps in school achievement mirror inequalities in those aspects of schooling, early life, and home circumstances that research has linked to school achievement. ...

[The study identified these] gaps between Minority and Majority Student Populations ... [and] between Students from Low Income Families and Higher Income Families...:
School:
Rigor of Curriculum
Teacher Preparation
Teacher Experience and Attendance
Class Size
Technology-Assisted Instruction
School Safety

Before and Beyond School:
Parent Participation
Student Mobility
Birthweight
Lead Poisoning
Hunger and Nutrition
Reading to Young Children
Television Watching"

FCPS does a pretty good job at ensuring the above school factors are "fair" but there is not much FCPS can do about the above "home" factors.

Example:
"... Schools with a higher percentage of minority students there is a lower percentage ... computers available in the classroom..."

"In low minority schools, 61 percent of students are given assignments to do research on the Internet, compared to just 35 percent in high minority schools."

"Where students are in schools with less than 11 percent eligible for the school lunch program, they have more access to computer and Internet-based instruction than where 71 percent or more are eligible."

As long as FCPS treats all schools the same, as in the same computer resources, then by definition race and poverty are no longer "school" factors.

------------

As for "high testing" students, see:
www.gifted.uconn.edu/nrcgt/reports/rm94112/rm94112.pdf

"Gifted children from all groups, especially adolescents, confront values-driven attitude problems with their peers as represented by a number of pejorative terms—e.g., nerd, egghead, brain, to cite a few. ... Still, within groups that one would expect to be at risk, "there are many well-adjusted, well-cared for children even in inner city environments who are reinforced in their intellectual pursuits" (Frasier, l989, p. 222)."

"Disadvantaged students are far less likely to be enrolled in academic programs that can prepare them for college and are about half as likely to take coursework in advanced math and science than more advantaged students. Only 2 percent of high school seniors from poor families take calculus, whereas approximately 7 per cent of those from more advantaged backgrounds do." [Alamprese and Erlanger (1988) ]

Look again at how many FCPS students take and do well in AP math and science. Now look again at how few students even take High Level IB math and science and you will see an obvious change FCPS can make to give all high school students equal access to the same advanced math and science courses: Make AP the standard curriculum in ALL FCPS high schools, and make IB an alternative "Academy" curriculum for those who seek it.

Why an Academy (pull-out) program instead of a full-time magnet? At least two big reasons:
1) FCPS loves academies and resists magnets.
2) (Doubtless related to the first) Base schools do not want their "high testing" students to leave and thereby jeopardize their SOL and SAT standings.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: inaminority ()
Date: February 26, 2008 02:03PM

Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: South Lakes Pyramid parent (IP Logged)
Date: February 26, 2008 12:34PM

It is obvious to me that you are not a minority....so please don't make minorities the "scapegoats" for the ills of SL. I do disagreed with your statement. I am a minority myself and I did very well in a large setting (and no, I am not "asian"), having to compete (mano a mano) with ALL students. My single parent did not have "money" for extras (meaning no extracurricular activities), but she instilled high values for her kids: do your best no matter what...always sit at the front row so you won't miss anything, and if you need help, ask your teacher. My siblings and I were a bunch of highly competitive kids and were the first to go to college (my parents did not). Don't buy the argument of free lunches either. There is NO correlation: free lunch = a loser = a minority.

In my humble opinion, there are quite a few of SL kids that are not motivated for whatever reason, so the scores go down, but, of course, the minorities get the blame. Unless you walk in my shoes, you have no say...Poor kids to well in a small setting or a large one....I should know: I was one of them. If you are motivated and have a great mother...the sky is the limit!



-----------------------
Metrics wrote:
e.g. why do minority and vulnerable groups perform better at Madison than at SLHS, despite 40% higher staff:student ratios

Could it be the raw numbers, because they are 5% of the population instead of 30%? Disadvantaged children do better when they are a smaller percentage of the school population.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: metrics ()
Date: February 26, 2008 02:20PM

inaminority Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Re: high school redistricting
> Posted by: South Lakes Pyramid parent (IP Logged)
> Date: February 26, 2008 12:34PM
>
> It is obvious to me that you are not a
> minority....so please don't make minorities the
> "scapegoats" for the ills of SL.

I don't think anyone is trying to make minorities a scapegoat (except as a 'when did you stop beating your wife') rather to point out that many groups do not appear to perform as well at all schools - which poses the question of why some schools do not appear to serve those groups as well as the other choices might

I agree that much is down to kids and parents taking education seriously and that's clearly independent of ethnicity or income. I was also a first generation university student with poor parents who took the educational opportunities they never had extremely seriously - that's the story of the latter half of the 20th century and the growth of the middle class - a fundamental part of the American Century and clearly part of the coming Asian Century.

So what's happening at schools such as south lakes and hughes? Is it something about the schools or something about the community and its values - neither seems to be an acceptable answer or even safe topic for conversation

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Floris Parent ()
Date: February 26, 2008 02:26PM

Here is another study that suggests that if the School Board is seriously interested in creating the best possible Academic opportunity for it's students at South Lakes, they may want to keep it small.

http://delta.cs.vt.edu/edu/size.html

Factors Affected by School Size
The following section is taken largely from Cotton's extensive metaanalysis of the research literature (Cotton, 1996). The factors considered are hers, and the details and literature citations are readily available on the WWW.

Quality of the Curriculum
Some educators argue that large schools are advantageous because they can offer a broader curriculum. Upon examination, researchers have found that doubling enrollment produces only a 17% increase in the variety of offerings, and that only 5-12% of the students in larger schools avail themselves of these extra courses. Similarly, five of six studies report that smaller schools were just as effective as larger ones in preparing students for college entrance.

Cost-Effectiveness
Researchers find that up to a point, there are economies of scale and per-student costs decline with increasing size. Then as enrollment continues to increase, extra staff members are required to manage large numbers of students, and costs increase again. The school size that maximizes cost-effectiveness is variable and highly dependent upon the particulars of the community and the school system.

Academic Achievement
No research finds large schools superior to smaller schools in academic achievement, and smaller schools show positive effects on the achievement of ethnic minority students and those of low socioeconomic status.

Student Attitudes
Research on student attitudes strongly favors small schools over large ones, with minority and low-SES students again showing the most positive benefits from a small-school environment.

Social Behavior
Small schools have lower incidences of negative social behavior than large schools, wich minority and low-SES students showing the most positive effects from smaller schools.

Extracurricular Participation
Students in small schools are involved in a greater variety of activities than those in larger schools. Hamilton (1983) writes,
Students in the large schools were more polarized, with a group of active participants at one end of the continuum and a large group of students who did not participate in an extracurricular activities at the other. In the small schools there were few students who did not participate in anything.


Attendance
Attendance statistics again favor small schools over larger ones.

Dropouts
Nine of the ten reports reviewed by Cotton report lower dropout rates for smaller schools.

Belongingness/Alienation
Researchers report a greater sense of community and belonging among students of smaller schools.

Self-Concept
Personal and academic self-regard are stronger in smaller schools. As Rutter (1998) writes,
Evidence of increases in social bonding to teachers and school, self-esteem, academic self-concept, locus of control and sociocentric reasoning suggest that [small alternative] programs can respond constructively to students' underlying needs.


Interpersonal Relations
Researchers report that interpersonal relations among students and teachers at smaller schools were more positive at smaller schools.

Teacher Attitudes
Cotton reports fewer studies of teachers and administration in schools of different sizes, but those that were found favor smaller schools. As Gottfredson (1985) writes,
Large schools appear to promote negative teacher perceptions of school administration and low staff morale.


References

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: quantum ()
Date: February 26, 2008 02:44PM

SLPP's arguments are a bit hard to follow - but there is a point in there. It is not the size of the school per se, but rather the principle that less skilled students (who unfortunately often correlate with socio-economics and race) do better when placed in an environment where they constitute a smaller percentage of the overall school population than otherwise would exist. This may or may not be true - but as I say - there is something to it - at least from the perspective that other schools, out of fairness, should "share" in the social burden of educating challenging students. We pay all sorts of taxes for the less productive in society - whether it be welfare, or innumerable social programs - spreading the burdens of these students across an increased number of schools is an imputed tax, if you will. The problem with phrasing it as a "tax" or a "burden", of course, is that no one wants to personally sustain it.

The problem with the SLPP view is that it does not automatically lead to a conclusion that more students should be brought to South Lakes - if anything, one could posit that the challenged students at SL should be given numerous options to pupil place to other schools, thus dispersing their number more equally at surrounding institutions, including if necessary going to an "academy" that drills on basic reading and math skills that should have been picked up in grades past, stigmatization be damned. Using this view to justify adding students only makes sense if the objective is merely to increase test scores so that the school can better avoid scrutiny and reputational issues - which, if it is truly the objective, ought to be made clear to all without any remorse or lack of candor. But I have not heard that openly stated as a rationale.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Floris ()
Date: February 26, 2008 02:48PM

For my humble opinion, what can really help the bottom part of students is hope or motivation. Assuming there's enough help from the county, as shown with more funding and higher staff:student ratio, give them hope that they can really work hard and change their life and provide necessary help.

This is much better than just ranting again and again how they're from disfunctional families, they are lagging behind since young, etc, etc. To that part, I'm not so sure pouring in high-archieving kids from well rounded families, thus 'diluting' the resources they can get, is really helping these kids.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Martin Luther King, Jr. ()
Date: February 26, 2008 02:55PM

"Integration is the ultimate goal of our national community. ... We do not have to look very far to see the pernicious effects of a desegregated society that is not integrated. It leads to 'physical proximity without spiritual affinity.' It gives us a society where [we] are physically desegregated and spiritually segregated, where elbows are together and hearts are apart. ... Desegregation is not enough; integration alone is consonant with our national purpose."

Martin Luther King, Jr.,
Nashville, Tenn., 1962


quantum Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> SLPP's arguments are a bit hard to follow - but
> there is a point in there. It is not the size of
> the school per se, but rather the principle that
> less skilled students (who unfortunately often
> correlate with socio-economics and race) do better
> when placed in an environment where they
> constitute a smaller percentage of the overall
> school population than otherwise would exist.
> This may or may not be true - but as I say - there
> is something to it - at least from the perspective
> that other schools, out of fairness, should
> "share" in the social burden of educating
> challenging students. We pay all sorts of taxes
> for the less productive in society - whether it be
> welfare, or innumerable social programs -
> spreading the burdens of these students across an
> increased number of schools is an imputed tax, if
> you will. The problem with phrasing it as a "tax"
> or a "burden", of course, is that no one wants to
> personally sustain it.
>
> The problem with the SLPP view is that it does not
> automatically lead to a conclusion that more
> students should be brought to South Lakes - if
> anything, one could posit that the challenged
> students at SL should be given numerous options to
> pupil place to other schools, thus dispersing
> their number more equally at surrounding
> institutions, including if necessary going to an
> "academy" that drills on basic reading and math
> skills that should have been picked up in grades
> past, stigmatization be damned. Using this view
> to justify adding students only makes sense if the
> objective is merely to increase test scores so
> that the school can better avoid scrutiny and
> reputational issues - which, if it is truly the
> objective, ought to be made clear to all without
> any remorse or lack of candor. But I have not
> heard that openly stated as a rationale.

Options: ReplyQuote
Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: fm/c/o parent ()
Date: February 26, 2008 03:02PM

"Integration is the ultimate goal of our national community. ... We do not have to look very far to see the pernicious effects of a desegregated society that is not integrated. It leads to 'physical proximity without spiritual affinity.' It gives us a society where [we] are physically desegregated and spiritually segregated, where elbows are together and hearts are apart. ... Desegregation is not enough; integration alone is consonant with our national purpose."

I think that these words need to be considered in context. This was a time of legal segregation. What about inner-city schools that are majority minority? Must they be forcibly integrated? How? I think that we might all agree that we want ALL our schools to be doing a good job for ALL the students. Just mixing around races isn't useful. Or, if you do think it's useful, how do you know when you're done? Must every school be a perfect mix of all ethnicities? How far do you want to reach to achieve that? (as far as Fox Mill and Floris perhaps, but not as far as Forestville, Aldrin, etc.)

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: kal ()
Date: February 26, 2008 03:08PM

Floris Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> For my humble opinion, what can really help the
> bottom part of students is hope or motivation.
> Assuming there's enough help from the county, as
> shown with more funding and higher staff:student
> ratio, give them hope that they can really work
> hard and change their life and provide necessary
> help.
>
> This is much better than just ranting again and
> again how they're from disfunctional families,
> they are lagging behind since young, etc, etc. To
> that part, I'm not so sure pouring in
> high-archieving kids from well rounded families,
> thus 'diluting' the resources they can get, is
> really helping these kids.


Hope and motivation is all they need? You really have no idea what their lives are like do you.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: 2008 not 1962 ()
Date: February 26, 2008 03:12PM

Martin Luther King, Jr. Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> "Integration is the ultimate goal of our national
> community. ...

We're a long way on from 1962

I can't see the SB turning down any application from any minority student who feels that they are not sufficiently integrated because of their existing school to pupil place

This RD is not an ethnic issue, its a coercion and educational performance issue

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Neen ()
Date: February 26, 2008 03:14PM

quantum Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Taxpayer - of course we know what they are
> thinking with a half mil thrown to Hunters Woods.
> They want the school off the AYP list - and it is
> much easier to import as many as possible from the
> Crossfields of the community rather than really
> tackle the problems of performance at Hunters
> Woods. And I can't say I blame them entirely -
> because it is the path of least resistance - it
> can't be easy to recruit staff and administration
> when they are under the AYP gun with a very
> difficult population. But once again the path of
> least resistance is not really the right thing to
> do - the right thing to do is to really take
> drastic action to improve minority performance -
> but that is not in the DNA of this bureaucracy.
> This is why I find it laughable when the race card
> is drawn so easily and often against anti-ED
> supporters - the vocal people in the relevant
> pyramid certainly are not breaking down any walls
> trying to improve poor minority performance in a
> sea of resources - and are certainly content to
> continue with a system of dooming low
> expectations.

That's the problem, a large bureaucracy is running our schools and bureaucracies always take the path of least resistance. Why wouldn't they?

For the first time in many years, FCPS enrollment is up, by over a thousand students, or 1%. The board of supervisors will be giving FCPS any increase over last year. Will they cut that large bureaucracy? Of course not. Of course they will protect themselves and their jobs. Will IB be cut? Of course not, they love that program. Will GT programs be cut? Probably. Any enrichment program that benefits middle class kids will be gone.

Dr. Dale said that they have no idea which programs for Black students are effective and which ones are not. They are trying to find a way to measure those programs. Until then, we keep them, and we keep funding them, although there may be some reduction in funding some of them. Look for cutting more programs for kids in the middle and on the top. And look for another increase in class size. More teachers will lose jobs, but not more administrators. We have 22,000 employees (not including bus drivers, janitors, cafeteria workers), with only about 8,000 of them actually teaching children. If we increase class size by 1, we will lose hundreds of teachers, but not hundreds of their administrators.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Floris ()
Date: February 26, 2008 03:17PM

I said "...and provide necessary help". At least that can help them better than just add roughly 50% more students, won't you agree?

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Floris ()
Date: February 26, 2008 03:22PM

"We have 22,000 employees (not including bus drivers, janitors, cafeteria workers), with only about 8,000 of them actually teaching children."

That is really a big wow! Shouldn't most FCPS employees be teachers?

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Neen ()
Date: February 26, 2008 03:25PM

>>>>Should we go back before the time when the widespread national introduction of standardized testing showed that education standards and experience had diverged so dramatically that some schools had no children who could pass the state math test?<<<<

That is the biggest cause of our democrats on the school board and the FCPS administration. They want all the testing GONE. Stu has made defeating testing his goal for the next 4 years. He says he's very busy lobbying Congress and the General Assembly to abolish testing. If democrats take over the White House and continue control of Congress, there is little doubt that the testing will be abolished. Teachers and administrators hate it.

SOL's and NCLB have been disastrous for FCPS because people like Maria Allen were able to gather the results and educate all of us about just how bad our Black children in FCPS are performing. Of course school board and staff did NOT want this known. They did not want everyone to know that our Black students perform in the bottom third of the Black students in our state, scoring 20% to 40% below our Whites and Asians who are scoring 92% to 94%. It would have been SOOOO much better for the board and FCPS if those poor performances had still been hidden.

Without this redistricting, South Lakes could face sanctions in the years to come under NCLB. Is it any wonder that Stu wants NCLB abolished? Is it any wonder that he wants South Lakes to have more Whites and Asians who score so well on testing?

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Neen ()
Date: February 26, 2008 03:30PM

taxpayer Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------


> I am opposed to a tax increase after analyzing
> this budget and the CIP. It is outrageous that
> Griffin has to make cuts on the county services
> when FCPS has abdicated fiscal responsibility. My
> last straw:
> The additions at Westfield, Langley, Lake
> Braddock, IB v AP costs, IB middle years, FLI
> actual costs, Hunetrs woods funding .5 over , TJ
> admissions costs doubling, Focus school drama and
> garden teachers, Modified calendar with less
> actual mandatory core instruction attendance at
> critical periods, Jackson GT coach, full day
> kindergarten where not academically necessary,
> Everyday math, extreme whole language, fuzzy
> programs,etc.

I fully agree. The only reason TJ admission costs doubled was because of their affirmative action program that made it so that 1,600+ students made the first cut, twice as many as before, requiring twice as much staff to read through each of their folders to find the final 450 students to admit.

Dale said that results of the modified calendar have been 'mixed'. I don't know what that means.

Please tell Dale that Everyday Math has been terrible for our children and that parents hate it. Last fall Dale said that NO ONE, not one single person, had ever complained about it!

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Neen ()
Date: February 26, 2008 03:42PM

Floris Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> "We have 22,000 employees (not including bus
> drivers, janitors, cafeteria workers), with only
> about 8,000 of them actually teaching children."
>
> That is really a big wow! Shouldn't most FCPS
> employees be teachers?

Yes. I certainly think so. FCPS tells parents that we have 13,000 teachers. Do the math. That means that our average class size would be about 11.7 when the average class size is 25.5 although very few students are ever in a class that size. We have 166,000 students. Doing the math, we have about 6,500 teachers actually in the classroom. Of course that doesn't include all the specialists for ED, LD, GT, reading teachers, elementary music, art, and PE teachers, etc. That brings it up to 7,500 to 8,000 teachers. When FCPS says we have 13,000 teachers (or sometimes they say 14,000) they include anyone who EVER sees a child, including psychologists, social workers, guidance counselors, assistants, curriculum advisers, teacher coaches, tech advisers, LD and ED department chairs who don't ever teach, liaisons, and lots of other administrative types who never teach any child anything. The other 8-9,000 administrators in central offices around the county. They never even SEE a child.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: taxpayer ()
Date: February 26, 2008 04:06PM

Neen Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> ...They did not want everyone
> to know that our Black students perform in the
> bottom third of the Black students in our state,
> scoring 20% to 40% below our Whites and Asians who
> are scoring 92% to 94%. It would have been SOOOO
> much better for the board and FCPS if those poor
> performances had still been hidden...

About 5 years ago FCPS did a parent satisfaction survey which [if I remember correctly] showed greater satisfaction among African American parents. Parent satisfaction was low at a base high school with high test scores. Relying on the system here can be problematical for foundations in reading and math.

Remeber when Doemench put in an element of actual phonics in excell schools? Rather than go with a direct instruction phonics workbook for young kids they invested in the hugely expensive Waterford program. I felt like if it was techy and cost $$$ FCPS thought it was OK. But cheap phonics books? Not ok.

Anyone know whatever happened with a school Crestwood? It had high FRPM, high ESOL but good test scores. The FCT [?] had a public fight with Domenech over Saxon math, core knowledge, phonics.


>
>

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: quantum ()
Date: February 26, 2008 04:06PM

Martin Luther King Jr. - how right you are!! That is exactly what is so troublesome and even offensive about what FCPS schools are doing at the so-called GT magnet centers. At these schools, such as Hunters Woods, while there may be physical proximity, the experience in the classroom is highly segregated, so you would think that the schools were practicing separate and unequal contary to Brown. But they aren't - they are importing kids to manage test scores - and to be fair, improve the schools and enhance parent participation. But to deny that this isn't a segregated experience is folly. Thus is the danger, of course, with quotes being used in self-righteous out of context way - you end up actually persuading the opposite side of the argument. What drives me crazy is that the administrator parrots how great these GT schools are - over and over again - practicing a form of legally sanctioned segregation that is: i) greater than the GT kids would ever have experienced had they simply stayed in their base schools; and ii) of a magnitude that is astounding in wealthy Fairfax County. Yet not a peep from anyone at this "injustice".

The real problem lies in that once 9th grade hits, schools with challenging populations no longer can rely on the GT fix. Performance differences diverge - and each high school - no longer small entities but large ones - and the GT fix loses its camouflage effect. And in the end, while the scores in the aggregate at certain schools look better than they did, the real problem - that of a significant chunk of kids who receive social promotions in the absence of real learning or progress - never really gets addressed. In fact, the lack of skills in these populations is the real challenge - and frankly, casting it in Brown terms or even Dr. King's terms - doesn't further solving the problem.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: pro GT centers ()
Date: February 26, 2008 04:15PM

quantum Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> Martin Luther King Jr. - how right you are!! That
> is exactly what is so troublesome and even
> offensive about what FCPS schools are doing at the
> so-called GT magnet centers.

GT centers do a very good job indeed for their students and are a valuable and valued part of the FCPS system - they stretch kids who need to be stretched more than the average

GT centers are definitely a good thing, as are in school GT programs and the diffusion of GT techniques into general ed

However, using them to hide performance gaps in host schools is extremely problematic

Advocating getting rid of GT centers is throwing the baby away with the bath water and advocating education to the mean or lowest common denominator rather than serving the needs of a key school population - a bit like getting rid of special ed

Rethinking where they should be based, or how they should be reported, is a different matter

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Lee Parent ()
Date: February 26, 2008 04:56PM

taxpayer-

Crestwood has good test scores???

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Neen ()
Date: February 26, 2008 05:07PM

Floris Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> "We have 22,000 employees (not including bus
> drivers, janitors, cafeteria workers), with only
> about 8,000 of them actually teaching children."
>
> That is really a big wow! Shouldn't most FCPS
> employees be teachers?

Yes. I certainly think so. FCPS tells parents that we have 13,000 teachers. Do the math. That means that our average class size would be about 11.7 when the average class size is 25.5 although very few students are ever in a class that small. If we divide our 166,000 students by the class size average of 25.5, then we have about 6,500 teachers actually in the classroom. Of course that doesn't include all the specialists for ED, LD, GT, reading teachers, elementary music,art, and PE teachers, speech teachers, audiologists, etc. That brings it up to 7,500 to 8,000 teachers. When FCPS says we have 13,000 teachers (or sometimes they say 14,000) they include anyone who EVER sees a child, including psychologists, social workers, guidance counselors, assistants, curriculum advisers, teacher coaches, tech advisers, LD and ED department chairs who don't ever teach, liaisons, and lots of other administrative types who never teach any child anything. The other 8-9,000 administrators are in central offices around the county. They never even SEE a child.

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Re: high school redistricting
Posted by: Neen ()
Date: February 26, 2008 05:11PM

pro GT centers Wrote:
-------------------------------------------------------
> quantum Wrote:
> --------------------------------------------------
> -----
> > Martin Luther King Jr. - how right you are!!
> That
> > is exactly what is so troublesome and even
> > offensive about what FCPS schools are doing at
> the
> > so-called GT magnet centers.
>
> GT centers do a very good job indeed for their
> students and are a valuable and valued part of the
> FCPS system - they stretch kids who need to be
> stretched more than the average
>
> GT centers are definitely a good thing, as are in
> school GT programs and the diffusion of GT
> techniques into general ed
>
> However, using them to hide performance gaps in
> host schools is extremely problematic
>
> Advocating getting rid of GT centers is throwing
> the baby away with the bath water and advocating
> education to the mean or lowest common denominator
> rather than serving the needs of a key school
> population - a bit like getting rid of special ed
>
> Rethinking where they should be based, or how they
> should be reported, is a different matter.

There is another problem with getting rid of GT centers, the loss of support from a VERY active population of parents. They are the backbone of support for many of our schools, in volunteer hours, PTA, and fund raising. They are also very politically active and huge advocates for public school funding. Without their support for schools, FCPS is in big trouble. Once those GT parents flee to private schools, support for public school plummets.

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