Thursday, February 16, 2012

Amherst school wins Innovation $


Crocker Farm Elementary School Principal Mike Morris demonstrated an innovative way to break the good news his school won a $10,000 state innovation grant:  He tweeted it. 

Innovation Schools are a Charter-like public entity with increased autonomy and flexibility but--and this is a major but--all of the state funding stays in the district, mitigating the number one complaint about Charter Schools stealing money away from their sending district (costing Amherst schools and the Region millions).

As with a new Charter School, if approved, the Innovation designation is good for five years and the school must demonstrate that it has closed the achievement gap to win a renewal.

The comprehensive blueprint is expected to be completed by June (a committee has already been formed) and it will require a two thirds buy in from all faculty at Crocker Farm School, a majority vote of the Amherst School Committee and, of course, the permission of the Superintendent, who is supportive.

The state, by the end of July, will award implementation grants of up to $75,000. 
  
Good news re: Innovation Grant twitdoc.com/SWZ




28 comments:

Anonymous said...

Go Mike!!! IMO, the best thing Amherst schools have going for it! Someday, and soon, he'd make a great superintendent.

Anonymous said...

OMG Maria G is actually on the right side of something?

What's next, Jesus strolling up the Connecticut River?

LarryK said...

One reason I always keep a camera in the car.

Anonymous said...

Anon@2:01:

I believe that Mike Morris deserves ALL the credit for this one. Ms. Geryk probably just needed to sign-off on some forms, unless you know otherwise, and know that Ms. Geryk contributed significantly.

Anonymous said...

Yea, how could Maria Geryk have anything to do with this good news??!! She never does anything right.

Cowardly Anon said...

Congrats to the school system, but if the school fails to close the gap they take away the grant? Isn't that a bit counter-intuitive on the state's part?

LarryK said...

No, they just go back to being a regular, traditional elementary school.

Anonymous said...

It would be more helpful to know who did what to help Crocker Farm get this and to implement the new programs. Any facts? And good luck to the CF community.

Anonymous said...

Congratulations to Crocker Farm and to Mike Morris. He is a great school leader! (and I am happy my kids are in Crocker's district).

Anonymous said...

A note to the Fort River parents complaining of 22 kids in a first grade...

Years ago- my son had 25 classmates at Wildwood (one for each letter of the alphabet!) with a teacher that had no idea about six and seven year olds!

Anonymous said...

22 students is NOT an outlandish number of kids to have in a classroom.

Anonymous said...

Designation as an Innovation School gives administrators greater control over programs and school schedules, like charter schools, to help struggling students, no? Are the other Amherst elementary schools going to do this too? Is this tacit acknowledgement of the problems and changes in elementary schools that parents have been talking about? Should we worry that most of the other Innovation schools are in poor cities and regions and now so is Amherst? At least someone is doing something.

Anonymous said...

22 six year old 1st graders in a classroom may not be "outlandish" but it sure as heck is not a recipe for sucess. If you have ever witnessed an inexperienced teacher trying to keep 22 six year olds in their seats, quiet and on task, then you would not make such a cavalier statement.

Anonymous said...

Wow, how shamelessly the Geryk forces, (or perhaps Maria herself)tried to latch on and suck some credit for her from this. Especially when she was not mentioned at all in the original post.

Anonymous said...

I don't see Maria Geryk or any of her supporters trying to latch onto anything. Where do you see that?

Anonymous said...

9:00 AM:
When you say that 22 in a class is not outlandish--trying spending time in one of the classrooms "without doors" at Wildwood and Fort River. There are no doors between rooms. There aren't real walls. So those 22 kids sit there and listen to another 44 kids--22 on each side of them--as they try to concentrate. Unacceptable. And Maria has done nothing to correct this situation. That IS her job to fix this. It could be done in a few weeks.

Anonymous said...

The posts to this story are a perfect picture of Amherst, MA. The story for Crocker Farm is good news. Mike Morris's boss is Maria Geryk. Try as you might you can't separate them on the working front.


Mike worked hard to complete the application and received the grant. He represents the Amherst Schools, as does his boss, Ms. Geryk.


Yet, most of the posts here are looking to bash someone for something. It's knee jerk reaction at best.

Let's take a picture so we remember that many of the people posting here are only looking to bash. They are not looking to contribute anything positive to the schools in any way. If they were, would they take the time to beat up on the supt?

How does it feel to always rain on the parade. Are you passing that pessmism on to your children?

I guess some people have a great need to put others down. It must make them feel better. Wow! That's twisted.

Anonymous said...

I guess it's okay to bash Catherine Sanderson but not Maria Geryk. Go figure. Only in Amherst!

Anonymous said...

and only in Amherst or maybe only in "only in the republic of Amherst" are so many people looking to bash someone (and so many people seem to think that's normal).

Anonymous said...

I think people bash Catherine Sanderson because all she does is bash Maria Geryk. So, if you go around bashing people first, you should expect to get bashed back.

Maria does not bash anyone. She is just a target.

Anonymous said...

Anon 12:34.

Just what is it that you think Maria can do to "fix" this situation in a few weeks?

Anonymous said...

You can dismiss all the criticism as "bashing" and people can no doubt get out of hand, but the fact is that we have a very large number of very unhappy parents in our schools.

Any parent who has met with Geryk gets a run around. Some of the principals are known for their nasty treatment of parents. Mark Jackson is an ass to anyone who disagrees with him. I'm sure the head of the private school his daughter attends is quite pleasant to him as someone who writes a big tuition check! He treats the taxpayers like we're worthless and fools. As I said, he's an ass.

The point is that people are unhappy and if they say so publicly, the cheerleaders in town take their heads off.

I'm sure some of the criticism is unfair, but our school administrators refuse to hear any criticism. They refuse to admit that the results are bad in Amherst, esp. at the elementary school level. And, they refuse to admit that having so many highly paid administrators isn't helping anything -- other than making it easier for some of them to send their kids to private school!

We spend more per pupil than any other district in the area. Our elementary schools all under performed on MCAS. Families are leaving the MS and HS for charter and private schools in significant numbers.

Those are facts, but you get shouted down or shown the door if you bring them up to one of our $100,000+ per year administrators or at SC meetings.

That's why people bash Geryk here. There is no other place to even discuss this stuff.

Anonymous said...

And so in order to discuss this stuff one needs to also bash Maria Geryk at the same time????

The people on this blog have no idea what is going on in the schools and have no interest in learning. It is so much more fun to attack.

Anonymous said...

TO:
"Anon February 17, 2012 10:52 AM
I don't see Maria Geryk or any of her supporters trying to latch onto anything. Where do you see that?"

RIGHT HERE! THE SECOND POST IN THE THREAD!

" Anonymous said...
OMG Maria G is actually on the right side of something?

What's next, Jesus strolling up the Connecticut River?

February 16, 2012 2:01 PM "

Anonymous said...

You think that maria comment is from a supporter? That sarcastic comment? Are you kidding me?

Anonymous said...

Anon @ 7:41 AM

you wrote:
Years ago- my son had 25 classmates at Wildwood (one for each letter of the alphabet!) with a teacher that had no idea about six and seven year olds!
----

Are you staying that your son's situation is what we should aim for in our classrooms? It doesn't sound good, and I think Amherst can do better. The FR parents are rightfully concerned both about their children's classrooms and about the target class room targets that the district is using as a basis for class sizes with school choice and other decisions. According to Kathryn Mazur, based on the current target numbers the district uses (these targets date back to the early 1990s at least and are quite outdated), the district could accommodate up to 61 school choice 1st-6th grade students next year. The district doesn't have the K figures yet. 61 is quite a bit number, given the fact that all the schools have space constraints now, and could lead to class sizes of 22 (K-2nd grade) to 24 (5-6 grade), maybe even more if the district's projections are off. Is that what we want for our children? I, for one, do not.

Anonymous said...

anon@741:
chances are years ago at WW the % of free and reduced lunch was close to 10%. It is now close to 40% with incoming kindergarten class close to 50%. Our elementary schools are fundamentally different than they were 10 years ago, with dramatically different needs. This is a HUGE issue.

So our target class size is 22 in lower grades and 24 in higher, and the MS principal want MS to be around 20. Does this make any sense to anyone??

Anonymous said...

"we have a very large number of very unhappy parents in our schools."

Right, the number was so large that Sanderson picked up her bashing club and went home when she saw that she would lose the school committee election badly.

She realized, unlike you, that she actually had very littel support and spared herself the public humiliation of a bad loss.

She couldn't take the referendum on her very aggressive style, which the last school committee election would have shown, so she quit.

Atta Girl!