Commentary on Personalized Pathways in the Madison School District

Karen Rivedal: A new initiative billed as bringing real-world context to high school learning is generating solid interest from eighth-graders in the Madison School District looking to join the program’s second year as freshmen next fall. Through Thursday, 482 students had applied to be in the second cohort of the Personalized Pathways program, which is … Continue reading Commentary on Personalized Pathways in the Madison School District

Madison School District delays second Personalized Pathways implementation

Amber Walker: The Madison Metropolitan School District will not add a second thematic learning community, or Personalized Pathway, at its high schools in the 2018-2019 school year as initially planned due to feedback from teachers, parents and community partners. Alex Fralin, chief of secondary schools at MMSD, told the Madison School Board Monday night that … Continue reading Madison School District delays second Personalized Pathways implementation

For Madison parents and teachers, opinions split on Personalized Pathways program

Amber Walker: As the Madison Metropolitan School District begins to introduce its Personalized Pathways program to students, it continues to face questions from parents and teachers about the plan. As a new model for Madison’s four main high schools, pathways will be rolled out next fall. The program combines project-based learning with collaboration across multiple … Continue reading For Madison parents and teachers, opinions split on Personalized Pathways program

Madison West High parents express concerns about new Personalized Pathways curriculum at meeting

Amber Walker: Isabel Rameker, a sophomore at West, addressed the elephant in the room with her question about representation. “From what I’ve heard, a big goal of this is to close the achievement gap, specifically for African-Americans and students with disabilities. Looking around, it doesn’t look like this is a super diverse group of parents,” … Continue reading Madison West High parents express concerns about new Personalized Pathways curriculum at meeting

Madison School Board backs contract that would keep police officers in high schools

Logan Wroge: The Madison School Board on Monday backed a proposed contract that would keep police officers at Madison’s four main high schools. Board members voted 4-2 in favor of the proposed contract, which would emphasize alternative disciplines instead of arresting or citing students, lay the groundwork for a new complaint procedure against the officers … Continue reading Madison School Board backs contract that would keep police officers in high schools

Wisconsin’s schools seek to shorten the workforce pipeline

Matthew DeFour: While schools are ramping up their focus on employment, fewer employers are offering training. Over the past two decades the percentage of American companies that train their employees has dropped from 35 percent to 20 percent, according to Ed Gordon, a Chicago-based economist and author of “Future Jobs: Solving the Employment and Skills … Continue reading Wisconsin’s schools seek to shorten the workforce pipeline

UW-Madison, Edgewood College on board for Madison School District’s ‘Pathways’ project

Karen Rivedahl: All of Madison’s major higher education institutions are now signed on to take part in the Madison School District’s “Personalized Pathways” initiative set to begin this fall. UW-Madison and Edgewood College officials announced their participation Monday, joining Madison Area Technical College as anchor partners in the program, which is aimed at helping high … Continue reading UW-Madison, Edgewood College on board for Madison School District’s ‘Pathways’ project

Commentary On The Legacy Government K-12 School Climate

Jennifer Cheatham: With a contested race for state superintendent of public instruction and a legislative session that is swinging into gear, much is at stake for public education in Wisconsin. One of the fundamental issues at the center of the debate is the potential expansion of “school choice,” which is the term used to describe … Continue reading Commentary On The Legacy Government K-12 School Climate

With ‘pathways’ initiative, Madison looks to fundamentally change its high school experience

Doug Erickson: A major educational restructuring is underway in the Madison School District with the potential to fundamentally change the high school experience for all district students. Beginning next fall, the district will start phasing in “personalized pathways,” described as a way for students to explore college and career options and to learn more about … Continue reading With ‘pathways’ initiative, Madison looks to fundamentally change its high school experience

“As a school district, our choice is to disrupt”

Abigail Becker: For example, early elementary black students overall increased reading proficiency and growth with a 10 percent increase in reading proficiency for third grade in two years, according to the report. “In our community, we can choose to reinforce these patterns by inaction, by not testing our assumptions, by not testing our assumptions about … Continue reading “As a school district, our choice is to disrupt”

“In addition, we see that very few schools actually achieved growth improvements of 5% or more, with changes in growth generally clustering around 0%.” Slide updates on Madison’s $500M+ Government School System

PDF slides from a recent Madison School District Quarterly Board retreat. Readers may wish to understand “MAP” or “Measure of Academic Progress” [duck duck go SIS 2012 Madison and Waunakee results] Using MAP for Strategic Framework Milestones and SIP Metrics Feedback from various stakeholders has led us to examine the use of MAP (Measures of … Continue reading “In addition, we see that very few schools actually achieved growth improvements of 5% or more, with changes in growth generally clustering around 0%.” Slide updates on Madison’s $500M+ Government School System

Madison Schools’ 2014-2015 Budget Forecast 1; “Same Service” or “Cost to Continue”; “intends to go beyond marginal refinements”.



Madison School District (PDF):

This budget forecast and those that will follow are intended to keep the board informed as the budget development process unfolds. The forecasts also provide an opportunity for board discussion and input into important budget development issues.
MMSD’s Strategic Framework establishes the direction of the school district. The framework is supported by the annual budget, which is simply the resource strategy behind the Strategic Framework. The budget process begins with a thorough review of district priorities, current spending patterns, and outcomes. The zero- based budget process requires a critical examination of all budget practices and how those practices influence resource deployment.
Based upon our budget work thus far, we believe there are opportunities to make the staffing process more responsive to individual school needs, to shift non- personnel resources from central office budgets to school budgets, and to improve budget accuracy by clarifying and simplifying account structures. We’re excited to explore these and other opportunities throughout the 2014-15 budget process.
Zero-based Approach to Budget Development:
A zero-based approach is being used to develop the expenditure budget. Unlike an ‘historical cost’ budget or a ‘cost to continue’ budget, the zero-based process is intended to go beyond marginal refinements of existing budgets and existing structures.
For example, MMSD has used essentially the same staffing allocation process for over ten years under the ‘cost to continue’ approach, with only minor modifications along the way. While the existing allocation process is uniform and consistent, it can be improved by making it more responsive to the challenges presented by individual schools. The senior leadership team, with input from the principals, is assessing the staffing allocation process this month before any allocation decisions are put into motion in February.
The existing staff allocation process consists of a series of departmental layers, with separate staffing allocations for regular education, special education, Title 1, OMGE, pupil services, PBS, etc. We are hopeful that a more integrated and responsive staffing allocation process, beginning this year and refined continuously in subsequent years, will produce a more tailored fit for each school. The zero-based approach is designed to uncover such opportunities.
The zero-based process also includes in-depth reviews of each central office department. We are particularly interested in identifying inter-departmental overlaps, gaps, and even redundancies. We are optimistic that this effort will produce new efficiencies and help push resources from the district office into the schools.
Strategic Priorities Drive the Budget:
The resource decisions contained in the annual budget are subject to continuous review, either directly through the zero-based budget process, or indirectly through the SIP process, district surveys, targeted studies (such as the Principal Pipeline study [PDF] and High School Reform study), and several active advisory committees. These are the sources which inform the budget development process.
The Strategic Framework identifies five key priorities which are aimed at providing schools with the tools, processes and resources they need to serve children and their families better than ever before. The five priorities are: (1) Coherent Instruction, (2) Personalized Pathways, (3) Family and Community Engagement, (4) A Thriving Workforce, and (5) Accountability at All Levels.
Each of the priorities in the Strategic Framework includes a set of high-leverage actions that have cost implications. A preview of some of the major actions with cost implications, organized by Priority Area, will be developed and refined throughout the budget development process. A preview of the major actions will be presented to the Operations Work Group along with this Budget Forecast.

The word cloud is interesting, particularly in light of the District’s job number one, addressing its long term disastrous reading results.
Related: numerous links on the District’s 2013-2014 budget, here. Madison spends about twice the national average per student ($15k).