School board to discuss math task force tonight

Parent-teacher group would share ideas on how to challenge elementary students

The Palo Alto school district would convene a parent-teacher task force on elementary school mathematics under a proposal to be discussed by the Board of Education tonight (Feb. 22).

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Posted by More-Smoke-And-Mirrors
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 9:36 am

> Skelly's proposal places any discussion about the "merits of the
> existing adopted curriculum (Everyday Mathematics)" specifically
> outside the purview of the task force.

Huh??? Parents are complaining about this new teaching method, and the Superintendent doesn't want to talk about it?

> Rather the role of the group would be to consider what's currently
> being done in Palo Alto and elsewhere "to promote intellectual
> curiosity and excitement around mathematics, particularly to more
> fully engage students at grades three through five with an interest
> in and talent for the subject."

And this is going to improve math scores for the 30% (which has been an on-going problem in the District for a long time), or help those who are not being sufficiently challenged in the current curriculum, how?

This is why so many people want vouchers--so that they can move their kids to private schools [portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

Hopefully the Board will be responsive to the parents' (and kids') needs than the Superintendent seems to be.

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Posted by Not Again
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 22, 2011 at 10:34 am

Why is Barron Park the only school who wants to increase the kindergarten school hours? could it be that the teachers are not as effective as other kindergarten teachers from other PAUSd schools are? or could it be that the principals are not being effective at their job, and that they just let the teachers teach whatever they want to teach. Now are they going to offer the extra hours to "all students," or at least to all the ones who they want to? or is this going to be another case like the college bound where they pick and choose? I hope they do not discriminate students and parents this time. I hate when they do not accept the special ed students in these programs. It is just not fair. Hopefully the new principal will change this. What is wrong with Barron Park?

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Posted by Huh?
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 11:06 am

[Post removed by Palo Alto Online staff.]

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Posted by Mom
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 22, 2011 at 11:32 am

A math task force that does not evaluate the experience with Everyday Math...this is crazy.

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Posted by parent
a resident of another community
on Feb 22, 2011 at 12:29 pm

i have noticed since the district adapted the every day math, teachers have to use up more time to explain to students in order to keep up the scores in the star exams, although the scores are preey high but it is done at the expense of other subjects like english and social study.

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Posted by Barren[sic] Park Mom
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 22, 2011 at 2:21 pm

[Portion removed by Palo Alto Online staff.] It is my observation that there has been a bit of an exodus from Barron Park over the last few years. Several involved parents either decided to send their kids to other schools or move out of Palo Alto. Time will tell whether Cathy Howard's grand plans to close the achievement gap were successful.

I truly hope Kevin Skelly finds the right principal for Barron Park Elementary for the sake of the kids.

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Posted by almost funny, but it's not
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 3:03 pm

"Board member Barbara Klausner said the fact that some schools have such programs -- staffed by parent volunteers or in some cases math specialists -- while others do not is an "equity issue" that needs to be addressed."

equity issue?

how can you legislate parent volunteers? or the other equity math issue that some kids get engineer parents, some kids don't - does that also need to be addressed outside the Everyday Math curriculum that was championed by the very same Board member?

am I wrong, or is the issue that too many kids are not being challenged enough by Everyday Math?

and what are "flexible groups" - is that code for laning in elementary?

I hope the committee considers the social emotional implications of laning kids, when there is the obvious and less obvious "attitudes" that can come from being laned higher than others.

these "flexible groups" turn into the stupid math group, the smarter kids math group, and smarter smartest math group.

a committee of all elementary parents? and only 1 MIddle School rep???

it should be 1 middle school teacher for EACH middle school

middle school parent reps from each school,

at least 1 middle school principal

plus a school counselor from Middle school, and

1 parent, and 1 Math teacher from each High School

you can't plan if you don't know where you are heading, and the only ones that can tell you that, are not in elementary school

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Posted by almost funny, but it's not
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Feb 22, 2011 at 3:06 pm

meant to say 1 middle school Math teacher from each middle school

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Posted by Janet Dickens
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 23, 2011 at 6:45 am

Thank you Kathleen Blanchard, Marielena Mendoza, Jasmine and Berta for making comments on the district's highest priority goal of social emotional well being including bullying. These two topics should be standing agenda items at school board meetings that happen at the beginning of the meeting with with an update on what is going on to resolves these problems in our schools. Middle College is a great alternative. Also, there were audio issues on TV when Jasmine spoke so viewers could not hear what she said. I hope Bill Johnson will reprint. Lastly, please make plans to modernize these meetings with a crisp agenda, time limits for board members to weigh in and breaks every two hours or so. Then, perhaps, more people with busy work schedules would attend and get involved.

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Posted by What is highest priority?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 23, 2011 at 11:46 am

Sorry to be ignorant, but is the social emotional well being actually the district's "highest priority?" According to the PAUSD website, their mission is:

Strive for academic excellence,
Acquire the knowledge and skills that support learning
Value creativity and life-long learning,
Demonstrate respect for self and others, and
Participate meaningfully in our democratic society and interdependent global community.

In a few individual school SARC's it says, "Safe, orderly schools are the highest priority of the Palo Alto Unified School District."

Did a new goal get adopted somewhere that I missed?

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Posted by Chris Kenrick, Palo Alto Weekly staff writer
a resident of Old Palo Alto
on Feb 23, 2011 at 1:47 pm

To What is the Highest Priority?

In addition to having a strategic plan and long lists of policies, the school district adopts a list of "focused goals" for each academic year. Here's more information about this year's list: Web Link

There are a number of items on the list for this year, but the item about student social-emotional health and "connectedness" at school have dominated the board's conversations in this area and is sometimes mentioned as a 'top priority.'

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Posted by What is highest priority?
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 23, 2011 at 3:26 pm

Thanks Chris, you are a wealth of information these days ;-)

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Posted by Is it really a top priority?
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 23, 2011 at 4:45 pm

I do not think so, as we all know that in was not even in the agenda. The district priority continues to be to push our children (the ones who can) to achieve as much as they can, so the district can look good, and the ones who are not achievers can either accept failure or commit suicide as a result of preasure, bullying or mental illneses that were not taken care off, even though there were signs, but nothing was done.

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