Monday, December 12, 2005

Things that happened today that should have been more interesting than they actually were...

1. C*armen F*arina visited. For those who don't know, she's the head of curriculum & instruction for the city DOE. I've heard her speak a couple of times and have always found her a) believable as a former teacher and b) serious-minded. Anyway, she is visiting every middle school in the city, and I applaud her for that. How often do we criticize top administrators for never getting out into the schools, or for making every visit a dog-and-pony-show? We had advance notice of this visit, but it was very clear that it was to meet with our leadership, not to take the "grand tour." I have no idea how many middle schools there are, but it's several hundred at least. Even if she spends less than an hour in each school, that is going to take her weeks.

She met with our principal and AP and asked them what she could do for them. They brought up some issues - our difficulty finding good science teachers, shared-space problems (ie, we are going to have to move within the building again this summer for the fourth time in as many years). She left them with promises of doing something to help. We'll see what happens. Everyone was favorably impressed by everyone else, it seems.

2. About those ILS scores. Well, I wrote a few emails last week. First, I wrote to the state Dept. of Assessment & Accountability (or whatever it's called). They wrote back very promptly and informed me that the results of the New York STATE ILS Exam were the responsibility of the city, and gave me an email address to try. Okay, that's a little weird, is it a state test or not? But I went ahead and wrote to the city. They also replied promptly,
Individual student's science test scores have been available in ATS since September 12th. Class level as well as school-level summaries are also available in ATS. The science assessment is a state assessment.....

Since September, I have bothered my principal and AP for these scores at least six times. They, in turn, have asked various people at the Region. I have also emailed the RIS for Science in my Region. Every single person we have asked about the ILS scores after September 12th has professed to having absolutely no knowledge of when the scores would be available - though apparently they have been available the whole dang time! (I have also ranted written several times about this here on my blog, and it's not like any other Science teachers from the city received their scores). We have passed the point of the left hand not knowing what the right hand is doing - this is like an octopus with no two tentacles aware of the other's existence!

I just don't understand why you spend all that money, time, and energy to give a test - a test which I happen to think is pretty good - and then allow the results to just vanish into the mist. It's not like I expect a press release or even, heaven forbid, a mention of the scores on the city's "Test Scores" website, I was just kind of hoping to get my school's results at some point. To satisfy my curiosity. To see how my kids are stacking up against others in the city and around the state. To see which areas we are strongest and weakest in.


3. Remember my colleague who fell last spring and ended up with serious brain injuries, having multiple surgeries, etc.? Well, today was his first day back at work. I only saw him briefly, during the last part of our commute, and then hardly at all during the school day, that's why this one fits under the title. There are some lingering effects of the injuries and surgeries, but he's doing really well considering it's only been six months. He's going to be doing push-in support in a few teachers' classrooms. We're so happy to have him back!


Anonymous Anonymous said...

If you have an "in" with guidance counselor or some other staff member like an aide- anyone you know that has ATS clearance, ask them for an Exam History (HIST) for one student you know who took the test. If that student has a Sci score, you know the rest have them too. You can work on a school-wide report later. I'll check in my school tomorrow, if you want I can get more info about the Sci test scores. That info is more or less cryptic in some places than others.

8:48 PM  
Blogger Carol said...

Glad your colleague is back on the job. We had a similar situation at our school at the beginning of this school year.

Good question about testing. Those scores should be readily available.

8:56 PM  
Blogger ms. frizzle said...

My principal said we could get them tomorrow morning. She knows I've been waiting for this. I have an "in" with everyone at my school, LOL.

9:00 PM  
Anonymous Institutional Memory said...

I've had the opportunity to work with Carmen FariƱa in several capacities over the years. She's not part of the problem, but is definitely part of the solution. She's good people, and really cares about kids, teaching, and learning. Regrettably, there aren't enough people like her at Tweed ... but as long as she's around, the system will have at least one high-quality educator in a position of authority.

9:28 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I too was lucky enough to have Carmen as one of my staff developers in District 15. She made Literacy and Social Studies
come alive. She also had the best venues for our meetings. The food was good too.

Top NYC educators should have been named to this position in the first place. Too bad Klein didn't trust them.

9:39 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Last year's 4th grade Science scores were released in early fall. Let us know the actual date your scores were released by the State.

You gotta love a state and city that point the finger of blame at each other.

9:47 PM  
Blogger M. Gatton said...

Ms. Frizzle - as for science exam scores, my understanding a few years ago...the kicker seems to be that the scores travel with individual students to their high schools, so ATS for the middle schools that administered the tests aren't available at all. I could also be wrong, but that's the information I received.

5:38 AM  

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