Update on Credit for non-MMSD Courses, including Youth Options Program:

Madison School Board Performance & Achievement Committee Meeting 11/26/2007At the November 26, 2007 meeting of the MMSD BOE’s Performance and Achievement Committee [18MB mp3 audio], the District’s Attorney handed out a draft of a policy for the District’s Youth Options Program dated November 20, 2007. It is a fine working draft. However, it has been written with rules making it as difficult as possible for students to actually take advantage of this State-mandated program. Thus, I urge all families with children who may be affected by this policy now or in the future to request a copy of this document, read it over carefully, and then write within the next couple of weeks to all BOE members, the District’s Attorney, Pam Nash, and Art Rainwater with suggestions for modifications to the draft text. For example, the current draft states that students are not eligible to take a course under the YOP if a comparable course is offered ANYWHERE in the MMSD (i.e., regardless of whether the student has a reasonable method to physically access the District’s comparable course). It also restricts students to taking courses at institutions “located in this State” (i.e., precluding online courses such as ones offered for academically advanced students via Stanford’s EPGY and Northwestern’s CTD).
The Attorney’s memorandum dated November 21, 2007 to this Committee, the BOE, and the Superintendent outlined a BOE policy chapter entitled “Educational Options” that would include, as well, a policy regarding “Credit for Courses Taken Outside the MMSD”. Unfortunately, this memo stated that this latter policy as one “to be developed”. It has now been almost 6 years (!) since Art Rainwater promised us that the District would develop an official policy regarding credit for courses taken outside the MMSD. A working draft available for public comment and BOE approval has yet to appear. In the interim, the “freeze” the BOE unanimously approved, yet again, last winter has been ignored by administrators, some students are leaving the MMSD because of its absence, and chaos continues to rein because there exists no clearly written policy defining the rules by which non-MMSD courses can be taken for high school credit. Can anyone give us a timetable by which an official BOE-approved policy on this topic will finally be in place?
Links:

Youth Options Program – DPI Information and Link

There’s been discussion on this website about taking UW classes and the WI Youth Options Program – who pays and who gets credit, what are the District’s policies. Wisconsin’s Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has a website with a brochure and frequently asked questions on this program – http://dpi.wi.gov/youthoptions/yocolcont.html. The website also includes the state … Continue reading Youth Options Program – DPI Information and Link

Attempting to Measure: “every student has access to a challenging and well-rounded education as measured by programmatic access and participation data.”

Madison School District Administration (PDF): Advanced Courses: For a February 2015 presentation to the Board of Education’s Instructional Work Group, advanced coursework was presented for high school students in five areas: Advanced Placement, Honors, Advanced, Dual Transcripted, and Youth Options. We recommend measuring advanced coursework at the high school level based on three course designations … Continue reading Attempting to Measure: “every student has access to a challenging and well-rounded education as measured by programmatic access and participation data.”

Advanced Curriculum Review in the Madison School District

As we begin the next portion of the presentation, I want to remind you of the three overarching goals in the Strategic Framework. Our Annual Report, which was distributed a few months ago, addressed and detailed progress around our first goal stating that every student is on track for graduation. Tonight’s presentation represents our first … Continue reading Advanced Curriculum Review in the Madison School District

Madison Schools’ 2014-2015 $402,464,374 Budget Document (April, 2014 version)

The Madison School District (3MB PDF): Five Priority Areas (just like the “Big 10”) but who is counting! – page 6: – Common Core – Behavior Education Plan – Recruitment and hiring – New educator induction – Educator Effectiveness – Student, parent and staff surveys – Technology plan 2014-2015 “budget package” 3MB PDF features some … Continue reading Madison Schools’ 2014-2015 $402,464,374 Budget Document (April, 2014 version)

Wisconsin Governor Walker’s education reforms include voucher expansion and more

Matthew DeFour

Walker’s reform proposals include:

  • Expanding private school vouchers to school districts with at least 4,000 students and at least two schools receiving school report card grades of “fails to meet expectations” or “meets few expectations.” The expansion, which would include Madison schools, would be capped at 500 students statewide next year and 1,000 students the following year.
  • Creating a statewide charter school oversight board, which would approve local nonreligious, nonprofit organizations to create and oversee independent charter schools. Only students from districts that qualify for vouchers could attend the charter schools. Authorizers would have to provide annual performance reports about the schools.
  • Expanding the Youth Options program, which allows public school students to access courses offered by other public schools, virtual schools, the UW System, technical colleges and other organizations approved by the Department of Public Instruction.
  • Granting special education students a private school voucher.
  • Eliminating grade and residency restrictions for home-schooled students who take some courses in a public school district. School districts would receive additional state funding for home-schooled students who access public school courses or attend virtual schools.

Additionally, Walker’s spokesman confirmed plans to make no additional funding available for public schools in the budget he plans to propose Wednesday.

Related links:

Finally, perhaps everyone might focus on the big goals: world class schools.

Elmbrook gets UW-Waukesha classes: “Professors Save Students the Trip”

Amy Hetzner, via a kind reader’s email:

By the time the first bell rings at Brookfield Central High School, most of the students in Room 22 are immersed in college-level vector equations, reviewing for their final exam on the Friday before Christmas.
Senior Lea Gulotta, however, looks on the bright side of waking early every morning for the past semester so she can take a Calculus 3 class taught at the school by a college professor.
“We get to sleep in for a month,” she said, noting that the regular high school semester won’t end until mid-January.
There’s another positive to Brookfield Central’s agreement with the University of Wisconsin-Waukesha continuing education department, which brought the advanced mathematics class to the high school this year as part of the state’s youth options program. Under youth options, school districts pick up the costs of courses at Wisconsin colleges if they don’t have similar offerings available to students.
Instead of seeing students spend extra time commuting and attending class on a college campus, the arrangement placed the professor in the high school to teach 11 students who had completed advanced-placement calculus as juniors. Two of the students in the class come from the Elmbrook School District’s other high school, Brookfield East.
Elmbrook pays UW-Waukesha the same tuition that it would pay if its students chose to attend the college campus on their own, she said.

Related: Janet Mertz’s tireless crusade on credit for non-Madison School District classes.

Madison School District Memo on Students Taking Outside Courses

MMSD Legal Services; 18 Page 758K PDF

On January 8, 2007, the Board took the following action:
lt is recommended that the Board direct the Administration to: 1) freeze new procedures or guidelines for credit towards graduation for courses taken outside the MMSD until the Administration reports to the Board about whether current MMSD policies need to be updated or changed in view of any technological changes in the law and other opportunities; 2) develop a proposal on either the implementation and communication of the policies and procedures to parents and students for consistency across the District at the levels affected; and 3) have the Administration give the Board the pros and cons of adopting a policy like the one proposed by Dr. Mertz as a draft proposal. It is further recommended that the Administration review all nine of the policies, including the proposed “Guidelines for Coursework Outside the MMSD'” for possible revision, consolidation, or propose a newly created policy.
Attached is Exhibit 1, an amended draft of the policy previously submitted to the Board in a memo from Pamela Nash dated May 4, 2007. The amendments modify the timing of a student’s appiication to take courses outside the MMSD and the response time of the District. This time frame is modeled after the Youth Options time frame.
Also attached to this Memorandum is a copy of a policy proposal previously submitted by Dr. Janet Mertz, Exhibit 2A, and the District’s analysis of that proposal,
Exhibits 2 and 2B. These documents were also submitted to the Board of Education under cover of Dr. Nash’s memo of May 4, 2007. This matter is scheduled to be heard before the Performance and Achievement Committee on February 25, 2008.

Background audio, video and documents are available here. The School Board’s Performance & Achievement Committee meets today @ 5:00p.m to discuss this memorandum. [Directions & Map] Attend the meeting and send your thoughts to: comments@madison.k12.wi.us

Madison School Board to Discuss Credit for Non-MMSD Courses Today @ 5:00p.m.

The Performance & Achievement committee meets today at 5:00p.m. [Directions & Map] to discuss a policy on credit for non-MMSD courses. Janet Mertz has been following this issue for years, in an effort to support a “clearly written policy” on such courses. Read Janet’s summary after the most recent discussion of this matter (26 November 2007):

Madison School Board Performance & Achievement Committee Meeting 11/26/2007At the November 26, 2007 meeting of the MMSD BOE’s Performance and Achievement Committee [18MB mp3 audio], the District’s Attorney handed out a draft of a policy for the District’s Youth Options Program dated November 20, 2007. It is a fine working draft. However, it has been written with rules making it as difficult as possible for students to actually take advantage of this State-mandated program. Thus, I urge all families with children who may be affected by this policy now or in the future to request a copy of this document, read it over carefully, and then write within the next couple of weeks to all BOE members, the District’s Attorney, Pam Nash, and Art Rainwater with suggestions for modifications to the draft text. For example, the current draft states that students are not eligible to take a course under the YOP if a comparable course is offered ANYWHERE in the MMSD (i.e., regardless of whether the student has a reasonable method to physically access the District’s comparable course). It also restricts students to taking courses at institutions “located in this State” (i.e., precluding online courses such as ones offered for academically advanced students via Stanford’s EPGY and Northwestern’s CTD).

The Attorney’s memorandum dated November 21, 2007 to this Committee, the BOE, and the Superintendent outlined a BOE policy chapter entitled “Educational Options” that would include, as well, a policy regarding “Credit for Courses Taken Outside the MMSD”. Unfortunately, this memo stated that this latter policy as one “to be developed”. It has now been almost 6 years (!) since Art Rainwater promised us that the District would develop an official policy regarding credit for courses taken outside the MMSD. A working draft available for public comment and BOE approval has yet to appear. In the interim, the “freeze” the BOE unanimously approved, yet again, last winter has been ignored by administrators, some students are leaving the MMSD because of its absence, and chaos continues to rein because there exists no clearly written policy defining the rules by which non-MMSD courses can be taken for high school credit. Can anyone give us a timetable by which an official BOE-approved policy on this topic will finally be in place?

Links:

Meanwhile, online learning options abound, including the news that National Geographic has invested in education startup ePals. Madison, home of a 25,000 student public school system, offers a rich learning environment that includes the University of Wisconsin, MATC and Edgewood among others.

Maya Cole’s Schoolcast Update

Maya Cole:

Dear friends,
First, I would like to let you know that I have new podcasts and blog posts up on my website! You can get information on how our superintendent search evolved and learn how school districts lobby the legislature at a state level through the Wisconsin Association of School Boards.
I am also happy to report that several of us on the Board have begun to meet (after a long hiatus) as members of the Dane County School Board Consortium. The Madison School Board will be hosting other districts next month at LaFollette High School. We will be discussing how we can engage and listen to the public on boundary changes. We hope to come together in the future and combine our lobbying efforts as representatives of Dane County schools. If you know of any state or local officials who would be interested in joining us to learn more about issues facing school districts, please feel free to send them my e-mail address.
I also have two new podcasts, five minutes in length, that explain all you need to know about No Child Left Behind and its re-authorization this year. I met with Sennett school teacher David Wasserman and promised him I would work on engaging the public on this important issue. Please take a listen and pass it on to your friends.
These past few months I have been working hard on many issues on behalf of the school district. I met many fascinating educators and members of the community that are interested in our schools. Some of the Board highlights include, but are not limited to:

Math 234 at the University of Wisconsin Madison for High School Students

Via Ted Widerski’s email:

The UW Math dept has decided to offer a section of Math 234 (3rd semester Calculus) at 7:45 am in the fall of 2008. This course will be taught by Professor Andreas Seeger and will meet at 7:45 – 8:35 on MWF for 3 credits. The UW has chosen this time as being somewhat convenient for high school students, as many students can take this course and return to their high school in time for 2nd period.
Madison Schools have 26 students in grades 11 or below that will be completing Calculus II this year. Combined with students in neighboring school districts, there is a possibility that a large percentage of the class will be made of area high school students.
For those students that plan to elect this course, each District has a deadline for accessing the Youth Options [Clusty | Google] program. In Madison, that deadline is March 1. Therefore, I would encourage you to speak with students and parents in your building and make them aware of this opportunity. Also, please pass on this info to other key people in your building such as guidance counselors, math department chairs and Calculus teachers.
If you have questions or concerns, feel free to contact me.
Ted Widerski
Talented and Gifted Resource Teacher
Madison Metropolitan School District
545 W Dayton Street
Madison, WI 53703
(608)442-2152

Related: Credit for non-mmsd courses.

MMSD High School Redesign Committee Selected

According to a report from a recent East High United meeting, where MMSD Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools Pam Nash did a presentation on the District’s high school redesign plans, the following eleven people have been named to the redesign committee: Pam Nash — Assistant Superintendent for Secondary Schools, former principal of Memorial HS. While … Continue reading MMSD High School Redesign Committee Selected

Madison United for Academic Excellence Meeting on Our High Schools

Madison United for Academic Excellence (MUAE — www.madisonunited.org) will hold its next monthly meeting on Tuesday, January 23, at 7:00 p.m. in Room 209 of the Doyle Administration Building. The topic for the evening will be our high schools. An informal panel of students and parents from each of our four high schools will be … Continue reading Madison United for Academic Excellence Meeting on Our High Schools

Latest on the Madison School District’s Policy Change Regarding Credit for Non-MMSD Courses

Here is the official wording of the new MMSD policy regarding students taking non-MMSD courses. 78K PDF. See my earlier post on this unpublished change: A. Taking outside courses (other than Youth Options) if a student wishes to receive credit toward graduation. The course must be pre-approved by the principal. The course may only be … Continue reading Latest on the Madison School District’s Policy Change Regarding Credit for Non-MMSD Courses

Good goals, flawed reasoning: Administration Goes Full Speed Ahead on English 10 at West High

At January and February school board meetings, Madison Superintendent Art Rainwater reported on the administration’s plan to go ahead with one English course for all tenth graders at West High School starting in 2006-07. The goal of the plan is to increase academic opportunity for students of color. The mechanism is to teach all students … Continue reading Good goals, flawed reasoning: Administration Goes Full Speed Ahead on English 10 at West High

A History of Changes at West

Last spring a longtime parent at West HS was asked to write a description — content area by content area — of the curriculum changes that have occurred at West HS in recent years that have affected the academic opportunities of West’s “high end” students. Below you will find what she wrote. It includes changes … Continue reading A History of Changes at West