Saturday, October 31, 2015

Educational Point/Counterpoint

Amherst Public Schools are nothing if not colorful these days

With all that's going on with the Amherst Public School system -- new school, expanded regionalization, merging Middles School students into the High School, etc -- it's easy to forget teaching, that most basic function taking place in a classroom.

I found this exchange between a former ARMS teacher/parent and Principal Mendonsa interesting.

82 comments:

Anonymous said...

Oy Vey! Is this really what "teaching" has come to? Used to be a lot more about relationship building, interesting curriculum delivered in a compelling way and attention to the individual and group of students in front of you each day. Now it's all standardized "must haves", prescribed methodology and narrowly measured outcomes.
Sad.

Anonymous said...

What in this post says that education is NOT NOW being given in a compelling way with attention to the individual and group of students in the class each day, Anon 4:56. I suppose you are an educator who knows all about the Workshop Model of teaching and know for a fact that it is an ineffective way to teach. Tell us about your experience teaching with the Workshop Model, Anon 4:56.

Anonymous said...

The written response was quite demonstrative of the issues raised By Mr. Auschuler.

Anonymous said...

maybe his replacement will use the textbook instead of old "extension" material. Best of luck in his new position. I sure hope that the administration uses the information gained from our students taking the MCAS, in particular the student growth. If a cohort isn't learning much compared to those peers in another class (with another teacher) and this occurs for several years, then that teacher ought to get "professional development" up the wazzoo.

Anonymous said...

I hope that "Co-teachers" are paid the same. Speaking of which, what happens when two co-teachers disagree on methods or technique? Seems like nonsense. Leave it to the progressives to think their ideas are netter than yours. You're stupid. They're smart. I would trust a 20-year teacher of experience any day over these people.

Anonymous said...

Anon. 5:35, you sound as defensive and condescending as Ms. Mendonsa does in her response to Mr. Alschuler. Which makes me wonder what your stake in all this is? Perhaps you are Ms. Mendonsa?

One doesn't have to have direct experience with the workshop model to see in her response an overly uniform, robotic and prescribed method of teaching being cultivated in our schools. I think that's what Mr. Alschuler was questioning, as am I. A "good idea" taken too far can easily lead to not so good results, including the loss of talented, dedicated teachers who aren't willing to buy in to the teacher as robot culture.



Anonymous said...

The same bureaucratization of teaching has been happening in Springfield elementary/middle schools; it's destroying the schools there and forcing out excellent teachers in favor of those who will obediently follow the dictates of the new principals. I can't believe it's happening also in Amherst, and am dismayed to learn that it is, but the letter from the ARMS principal sounds like it comes from the same dictatorial mindset prevalent in Springfield.

Of course, how could I be qualified to judge, since I'm not a public school teacher or principal myself. But I've taught many thousands of university students (and many hundreds of potential teachers) over nearly 4 decades here and in other states. I can't imagine any of them would have been (or been like) the new ARMS principal, because - judging from her letter to the parent - anyone like her wouldn't have made it past the first week of my classes without "changing" her mindset and opening her mind!

Anonymous said...

'Teacher as robot' does seem to sum it up. And yes, I'm a teacher, and familiar with the workshop model - specifically for teaching writing. Definitely has merit. But having everyone march in lockstep is just disturbing to me - for the teachers, and for the students as well. Another piece in the Principal's letter that struck me was her comment about those teaching 20 years - it sounds like all teachers are being painted with the same brush. Do some experienced teachers need to be shaken up and improve their pedagogy? Sure. But we also have some master teachers - why aren't we accessing their expertise and having them mentor their colleagues? And if you step into several master teachers' classrooms, guaranteed, you will not feel like you have been there, seen that - you'll see their uniqueness and creativity. A long way from what seems like the vision of sameness across all classrooms in the school. Way to demoralize or lose good people.

Dr. Ed said...

Larry, this is unmitigated bullshit and I can't believe that any competent teacher tolerates this crap. It's hard enough to be both social worker and cop while concurrently trying to teach, but to have to deal with this crap too?!!?!

This is right out of the DDR...

Dr. Ed said...

Besides, I use bulletin boards as a reward to artistically-inclined troublemakers who behave themselves. If pressed I could justify this in psychobabble terms...

I like to think I wouldn't do it if students could hear me, but my response to this sort of thing would be along the lines of "Seig Heil, you [*many* derogative adjectives]", concluded with a recommendation for her to go have intimate relations with herself.

Anonymous said...

These are not administrators. They're leftist idealogues.

Anonymous said...

Can anyone explain what an "environmental learning walk" is? As opposed to a plain old "learning walk." And "debriefing" got a laugh 40 years ago in Close Encounters of the Third Kind. How about rather than telling teachers to " reflect, learn and change," you stop all this BS and let them do what they do best. Or perhaps thinking is not really what you want. Just adherance to your political agenda. Perhaps you administrators should "reflect, learn, and change" the discipline policy and stop basing it on race. Reflect on the meaning of the word discipline.

Anonymous said...

The whole thing is extremely reminiscent of California's indoctrination into whole language reading instruction--a debacle. Best summary is Blackboard Bungle, parts 1 and 2, by Jill Stewart.

Anonymous said...

The whole thing is extremely reminiscent of California's indoctrination into whole language reading instruction--a debacle. Best summary is Blackboard Bungle, parts 1 and 2, by Jill Stewart.

Anonymous said...

According to a description in New York Teacher
The model is premised on the belief of “progressive” educators that the best way to encourage deep and enduring understanding is through “discovery learning” in a small-group setting, where students puzzle out problems and acquire knowledge on their own.
Accordingly, the teacher must limit direct instruction to the first 7 to 10 minutes of class. For the next 20 minutes, students work in pairs or groups of four to try out the concept or skill that the teacher modeled in the “mini-lesson.” During that period, the teacher circulates from group to group helping as needed, or in elementary and middle schools, conducts five-minute “conferences” to assess students individually. For the final 10 minutes of class, the groups share results.
Two other features of the workshop model:
All desks arranged in small groups (often of four)--note some will have their backs to the front of the classroom
Directions to teachers to avoid writing on the board (black or white) at the front of the classroom
Writing in The Wave, a website about Rockaway, New York, the education columnist Norman Scott reported:
“Lucy Calkins [one of the leaders of the balanced literacy movement] dropped in to talk to us at a recent workshop. She said the workshop model was not to be used for all teaching and thought it was crazy to teach a social studies lesson in 10 minutes. She also restated that balanced literacy is based on teachers making their own decisions about what their students need. The suggested mini-lessons were only meant to help teachers until they learned the balanced literacy methods."
Calkins' disavowal of the univeral utility of the workshop model evidently didn't reach the shocktroops of NYCDOE:
New York City Department of Education is divided into regions; each region has a Local Instructional Superintendent (LIS). At some point in 2004, Chancellor Klein mandated the workshop model for all classes, and instituted a program of "professional development" for all teachers to use the model every day in all subjects,

Jackie M'Vemba said...

Teachers who do not comply have no recourse. It's the "if you don't like it, Leave." Model. (Speaking of models.). I always believed in staying on to work to make things better. But no chance for that. Indoctrinate those kids. That's what counts with these liberals. I don't suppose any conservative ideas (like a full explanation of the Constitution is in the offing...Oh no, can't do That.

Anonymous said...

New York City Department of Education is divided into regions; each region has a Local Instructional Superintendent (LIS). At some point in 2004, Chancellor Klein mandated the workshop model for all classes, and instituted a program of "professional development" for all teachers to use the model every day in all subjects, or face professional censure.
Complaints were not slow in coming:
Teachers' Union Newsletter for High School teachers, Winter 2004 reported the following:
A "workshop model coach" reprimanded a teacher in front of her class for praising her students
An administrator declared that the color red could not be used on bulletin boards because it was "too aggressive"
Many highschools were mandated to use "only" the workshop model in all classes
Physical education teachers in one region were directed to use the workshop model "in every lesson on every day"
Local Instructional Superintendents (LISes) in one region ruled that the workshop model was "mandatory" in all content areas.
In one area, the seating arrangement for all science classes mandated to be a 'U" shape, and any teacher devating from that seating arrangement would be subject to

Anonymous said...

Hey! How about this for a progressive idea: Co-Superintendents and Principals. One each from both sides of the political spectrum! Give it a try. Reflect. Learn. Change.

Anonymous said...

In the February 17, 2005 edition of New York Teacher, Deirdre McFayden reported that the Department of Education had mandated "the workshop model" had the following features:
Only 10 minutes of direct instruction for each class period
All other work to be done by students, in small groups (groups of four)
The more than a dozen teachers interviewed for this article agreed that the workshop model is useful as one method among others. What they object to is the order to shoehorn every lesson into that format, even if, in their judgment, it is not the best approach for that day’s lesson.
“There are many topics that do not lend themselves to the workshop model,” said Richard Williams, the chapter leader of A. Philip Randolph HS on the City College campus. “The workshop model works only when it is at the discretion of the teacher. To have it mandated is a big mistake.”

Anonymous said...

Redhog, who writes the blog WakeUp Call, reports the following alarming features of the new school year:
A middle-school teacher disciplined for teaching punctuation
Another middle school teacher scolded for working outside the curriculum: she was demanding correct spelling from her students
A class of high-school seniors were found to be ignorant of the existence and importance of such figures as Stalin, Darwin, Freud, Churchill, Marx, and Einstein
Some teachers have been ordered to restrict all observations of any child's work and behavior to praise.
Teachers using the chalkboard (blackboard, whiteboard) have been disciplined.
Desks must be configured in "pods" rather than rows, no matter what the subject. Deviation is subject to professional discipline.
Teachers "caught" deviating from the 10-minute mini-lesson (by giving longer introductions or lectures, or by moderating whole-class discussions) have been disciplined.
Redhog goes on to say,
The workshop model is the freak of Columbia Teachers College. Except for the folks who are making money on the model, practically no educational researchers, historians, or teachers in the field think it is anything but a wicked waste of time. Horrible as it is, the workshop model is just one of many innovative infections that have put the school system in a raging fever.

Jackie M'Vemba said...

Writing for Education Next, the education writer Sol Stern has a searing indictment of the multiple failures of Mayor Bloomberg, Education Chancellor Klein, and Deputy Education Chancellor Diana Lam:
But consider Chancellor Klein’s professional development program. It is meant to indoctrinate and remold virtually every teacher in the system, regardless of that teacher’s level of academic attainment, years of experience, established record of success, or personal teaching style. All are herded into professional development boot camp, the 13-year veteran with a master’s degree in English literature next to the rookie just out of education school. All are forced to slavishly parrot progressive education theories and apply them in their classrooms. Just as the teachers’ contract undermines teaching excellence, Klein’s professional development regime demoralizes good professional educators with a previous track record of success.

Anonymous said...

Can one sue for educational malpractice?

Anonymous said...

I am currently teaching music at the elementary level. (Not in the Amherst) this is my ninth year with MCPS,3rd as an elementary school teacher at the very same school. During my evaluations this year, I was told that I will receive a "not meet standard" rating as the principal observed me do too much of direct teaching and that the students were not working independently in small groups. I was also told that my conclusion should be at least 7-10 minutes. If my lesson is completely theoretical, I may be able to do that; but in most cases the music class has to be teacher led, commenting as they are progressing, to get good results. Any other music teachers going through the same problem?

Anonymous said...

can someone explain the co-teaching model. Will all classes now have 2 teachers? Does that mean all classes will have 2x the students? How could we possibly carry the cost of 2 teachers/class unless they have 2x students?

Anonymous said...

And they wonder why parents are moving their chikldren out of the Amherst public schools in droves.

Keep it up, Mendonsa and Geryk! You will soon have a student:teacher ratio that will be the envy of every district in the state!

Anonymous said...

Citizens, inform yourselves. Stop voting for a board of education that has no clue about education. Hold your superintendents responsible for implementing mandatory crap and calling it a best practice. Talk to a teacher about this stuff. Find out how we really feel (promise to keep conversations private, because we all fear for our jobs).

Anonymous said...

The way I see it, the Workshop Model is just a fancy label for something that has been done for ages. A good lesson has the teacher teaching something, and the students practicing it. Afterwards, the work is reviewed. Nothing new. It works great for certain types of lessons in most subjects, but forcing the method onto every subject, every day is ridiculous. The part I find most disgusting is the label "mini-lesson". I did not spend six years of college and graduate school to do something "mini". Surgeons do not perform "mini-operations". Lawyers do not have "mini-cases", etc... Call what the teacher is supposed to do a "mini", and it minimizes the importance of the action.

Anonymous said...

During World War Two, primitive peoples in the South Pacific, unfamiliar with industrialized societies and technologies, watched airplanes land and disgorge enormous amounts of matériel. The war ended; the planes went away. They wanted to make the planes come back, so the natives formed "cargo cults" to build runways and signal fires. They fashioned crude control towers and decoy planes from bamboo. And why wouldn't they? They were imitating perfectly the behaviors of the soldiers that made the planes land. It had been modeled to them beautifully for years

Anonymous said...

Lol. That's a good one! Equal pay for co-teachers? Oheverything else must be 'equal'. But not THAT! God, oops, Griff forbid.

Anonymous said...

The workshop model is still live and well at our nyc school. We have just had yet another workshop on the workshop model because apparently even after 10 years we are not doing it "right". We even recieved a lesson template that we are expected to use to make sure we plan "correctly". We are a 6-12 school.

Anonymous said...

two options: The first is to de-emphasize spelling and grammar. The other is to teach spelling and grammar. But at too many schools, it's more important for a child to unburden her 10-year-old soul writing personal essays about the day she went to the hospital, dropped an ice cream cone on a sidewalk, or shopped for new sneakers. It's more important to write a "personal response" to literature than engage with the content. This is supposed to be "authentic" writing. There is nothing inherently inauthentic about research papers and English essays.

Anonymous said...

Earlier this year, David Coleman, the principal architect of the widely adopted Common Core Standards, infamously told a group of educators, "As you grow up in this world, you realize people really don't give a shit about what you feel or what you think." His bluntness made me wince, but his impulse is correct. We have overvalued personal expression. The unlived life is not worth examining. The pendulum has swung too far.

Anonymous said...

Is Lucy Calkins Legally Insane? Www.southbronxschool.com › 2013/02

Anonymous said...

Can anyone, including supporters of Ms Geryk, honestly say that the Amherst Schools are in better shape than they were 10 years ago? It is hard for me to point out any improvements. Instead, I see lots of things that have gotten much much worse...

Anonymous said...

The leftist ideology is more pronounced than ever. Is liberty ever discussed? The Founding documents of the nation? How about this for a novel idea: a wall display touting heterosexuality for a change. Oh, for the good old days of the Gay-Straight Alliance.

Anonymous said...

How would one even measure progress in our schools when we are constantly shifting programs and educational philosophy? How many new, expensive initiatives have we undertaken only to quietly abandon in a year or two? Our superintendent is Keen on trying new things without appropriate planning. So ready for her to move on.

Anonymous said...

I used to support Ms. Geryk, Ms. Appy, Mr. Hood but their decisions to reduce band and orchestra in the Middle School in spite of clear public opposition, this new oversight model which is demoralizing teachers, and the quick decisions on the mega school reconfiguration indicate we need a change in leadership. Besides Mr. Hansen, Anita Cooper left recently. These outstanding teachers don't need more scrutiny or reduction in their teaching loads. If we can't support good teachers with an outstanding track record, our school system is in trouble.

Anonymous said...

Just curious: what does the teachers' union have to say about this stuff?

Anonymous said...

Ms. Cooper's ensembles were award-winning. But I guess that isn't proof enough of excellent teaching. The idealogues know better. As usual. It's to laugh.

Anonymous said...

As a teacher, I originally supported Maria Geryk, but have become increasingly more dismayed as time goes on. I suggest before blaming the Middle School Principal for the pervasive expectation of routinization across the school, that people turn the lens to her supervisor, Ms. Geryk. Most of these initiatives that are strangling our schools are coming straight from Central Office.

Anonymous said...

I am disappointed by the middle school principal's response to Mr. Alschuler's letter. She doesn't acknowledge that any of the issues that he has raised have any merit, & no doubt, at least some do, but instead just gives boiler plate descriptions of the workshop model & suggests that senior teachers just don't like it because it's new & they are stuck in their ways.

When was the last time that Ms. Mendonsa worked as a teacher? I am curious.

Dr. Ed said...

Just curious: what does the teachers' union have to say about this stuff?

There is a reason why I maintain that "NEA" stands for "Never Educate Anyone" -- the attitudes of the teachers' union locally tends to be that which is supported by the teacher's union on the state & national level -- which is about as far from where the teachers are on most issues as the Natl Assn of Police Chiefs is from where most cops are.

For example, most "boots on the ground" police officers -- those who go out on patrol & respond to calls for assistance -- have no problem with law-abiding citizens owning guns, particularly citizens who know how to handle, care for, & secure their guns. (They probably know a few cops whom they'd rather see disarmed.) But if you listen to folks like the Nat'l Assn of Police Chiefs, you'd think that everyone in a blue uniform wanted to repeal the 2nd Amendment...

The situation tends to be quite similar in the Education field -- the teachers' unions more speak for themselves than for the teachers. There are a few quite vocal dissidents such as myself, but the majority of teachers try to "keep their heads down" and "make it to retirement." (A lot -- an increasing number -- are already "Retired In Place", complying with this administrative foolishness but no longer actually attempting to teach anything.)

And look at what happened in states where teachers were no longer required to have union dues deducted from their pay == membership plummeted, which speak volumes to this.

Anonymous said...

Great explanation of the pitfalls of the workshop model: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZFdKgVV8rts

Dr. Ed said...

12:03 PM - there is a reason why I use the terms "Team Maria" and "Maria's Minions."

Long ago, I saw her for the fascist that she is.

A lot of people probably misunderstood what I meant by those terms -- much like many will probably misinterpret my use of the word "fascist" here: total uniformity of thought, intolerance for any scintilla of difference and the rest.

Dr. Ed said...

One other thought -- the "Workshop Model" has always struck me as the last refuge of the truly incompetent teacher -- someone desperately realizing that he/she/it neither knows the material nor has any ability to convey it and, in desperation, is saying:

"HELP! I don't know how to teach -- maybe my students can teach for me."

My field is Civics, US Government & History -- I am conveying knowledge to children who don't yet possess it. That is what their parents are paying me to do, and that is what I should be doing.

The presumption is that I know more than they do, both in terms of facts and in terms of what they mean -- after all, I majored in this in college, where they haven't been yet. (This is why the requirement of an undergrad major in your subject was required as part of the 1994 Ed Reform law.)

I will give my students the right to have their own opinions, as long as they can defend them with actual facts and not this "I feel" bullbleep. Likewise, writing style is almost as unique as a fingerprint -- I will give them the right to their own usage of words, but not their own definitions of what the actual words mean. Nor their own rules of English grammar, punctuation, and (if excessive) spelling.

But I teach. And not just for five minutes...

As to the "must haves", if "the office" decrees that something "must be" in my classroom, then they can put it there themselves and replace it when they find that it isn't -- long gone are the days of "teacher as janitor" and even things like window shade mandates (all the shades pulled to a uniform length at the end of the day). That stuff went out with the mandate that teachers start the day "with a suitable reading from the Bible."

I view it as expecting me to climb up and replace lightbulbs. Yes, I know how to do it, and I might even do it if I really wanted it done immediately, but otherwise leave me alone and let me teach.

This is fascism --- from petty, insecure administrators who rely on fascism because they could never survive any introspective evaluation.

Anonymous said...

I see your point.

Anonymous said...

The results speak for themselves: Amherst schools badly fail the students.

Anonymous said...

Where is freedom? The freedom of a teacher to teach the best way they know how. They are apparently not trusted. Great way to run a school, eh? It's one thing to be asked to try something new. It's another thing to be told you must try something new. To the best teachers I ever had: I'm glad you did what you did. I wouldn't change a thing.

Anonymous said...

Disciplined for teaching punctuation. That's just great.

Anonymous said...

I've been teaching in the ARPS system for 18 years. I will continue to do the job I was hired to do. My way.

Anonymous said...

The schools are run by fully entrenched, leftist idealogues. As has already been pointed out. Indoctrination, not education, is the business they are in. Not just in Amherst, but all across the nation. I cannot wait until the next Presidential election. I wouldn't be surprised at a landslide victory for any candidate who campaigns on sweeping these people and their ultra-PC liberal agendas out the door.

Anonymous said...

Still looking for an explanation of the co-teacher concept. Someone in the know, please clue us in. Are they doubling the number of salaries? Or is it like AnimalFarm, and some teachers will be more Co- than others.

Anonymous said...

I suggest turning down the volume on Rush's radio show and reading a good book.

Anonymous said...

When I saw the co-teaching model happen at Wildwood, I was under the impression that the co-teacher was really a person in the classroom taking care of the special ed kids, so the classroom would be inclusive. Not sure if the co-teaching model is meant to be like that.

Anonymous said...

Really not co- teachers then. The paraprofessionals deserve more recognition. But was ther a promotion that happened? A boost in pay? Something to make the " co" part meaningful.

Anonymous said...

Is it possible to get the info on the number of middle school teachers that have left the Amherst system since Mendonsa came on board? Would be great to see whether the exodus follows the typical yearly trend or if there has been a spike in the numbers. My 7th grader lost 3 teachers last year, 2 of whom he really raved about as strong teachers. They both left for other districts. Hmmm....

Anonymous said...

I don't understand when teaching became so complicated? It seems pretty basic to me what a good teacher should be doing.I guess that is pretty simplistic now. Maybe if they cut administration costs, forgot about classroom configurations and teaching team structure,abandoned all this "theory " and just got a decent student to teacher ratio, having the class in any god forsaken room available and taught the basics then things might get back to functional. Maybe not.

Anonymous said...

I'd be interested in seeing the number of middle school teachers (& HS teachers & elementary teachers & teachers/staff of color) that have left under our current superintendent. That may also be telling.

Anonymous said...

Just because He's on the right doesn't mean he's wrong.

Anonymous said...

Actually, I prefer Mark Levin. You should too.

Anonymous said...

New England Incident Alerts
October 27 at 9:26am · Edited ·
Want to hear something scary? The Amherst, MA Fire Department is responding to the Eric Carle Museum at Hampshire College for a possible structure fire. Reported smoke in the building and sprinkler activations. There is only ONE firefighter left in the town and he is responding in Engine 2. The rest of the shift is at Cooley-Dickinson Hospital, over 10 MILES AWAY in Northampton, transporting patients. That's right...only 1 firefighter available to respond to a structure fire.

Amherst Fire covers the EMS service for Amherst, Hadley, Pelham, Shutesbury, and Leverett (an area of 220 square miles) as well as for UMass-Amherst , Amherst College, and Hampshire College---and they only have 7 firefighter/paramedics on duty per shift usually. AFD protects a population of over 80,000 people with a department that is adequate to protect around 30,000.

Amherst (MA) Firefighters, Local 1764

Anonymous said...

Oh my, there is so much to respond to here. Expecting teachers to hold students accountable for grammar and spelling is pivotal - if they didn't, this blog crowd would be up in arms! Ask a lot of college professors about the attrocious writing from their students. We were held accountable as kids, so why shouldn't these kids? The old school way of teachers speaking at kids the entire class and asking them to memorize is not effective. Clearly it hasn't been working and our stymied progress internationally in the STEM fields is a prime example...we are no longer leaders of anything. We need thinkers - no robots. Teachers being held accountable - WTH, if they weren't, you would complain and now that they are, you complain. Gimme a break - the teacher who said they would continue "my way" is such a classic example of why we are not performing up to par and why teachers must be held accountable. Not to mention, this statement and corresponding actions are indicative of insubordination. When teachers threaten to leave, I say let them go. With a few exceptions, most realize what they lost after they have gone. The grass is almost never greener on the other side.

Anonymous said...

A simple anonymous survey of the ARMS teachers will show that the principal has no ability to inspire and lead based on her vision. She only knows how to mandate. it is irrelevant whether the vision she has is good or not because of her leadership style. It is like a teacher who has no classroom management skills - it does not matter how good the lessons are.

Having spoken to many ARMS teachers they will not sign their names or speak publicly about what is happening because of fear of reprisal.

The principal is from Springfield and clearly wants to implement what she learned there. Unfortunately, Springfield is one of the worst school districts in the state.... Not a model to strive for.

Hopefully the superintendent will step in and fix this problem. There needs to be a public change of direction by the principal. It may be too late already, but it is the only chance she has to have a positive affect on ARMS. Otherwise, she will leave and left behind in ARMS will be the structures she set up and the teachers she lost. It will take years for the mess to be cleaned up.

Keep digging Larry.... Shine your light.

Anonymous said...

Is there any administrator that you or your viewers don't criticize Larry?

Anonymous said...

To Anon 5:39 AM
It would be wonderful if our residents were as concerned about our public safety as they are about our schools. Maybe if they stopped to think that our children are part of the 80,000 people being protected by 7 people, they would demand more from our town officials.

Anonymous said...

on the fall TM warrant is a request for $150,000 for renovations and equipment for LSSE to move into the ARMS. Does the town think LSSE moving into the MS is a good idea? We were never asked! It is clear that Ms Geryk is manipulating the circumstances such that moving 7-8th graders to the HS the only available choice. In addition, she is removing the option of using the MS as an elementary school, if only temporarily while a new WW is built or the mega-school option. LSSE has its own problems (I suspect its user base has shrunk dramatically over the last several years), lets not mix them up with those of the school district.

Anonymous said...

anon@617: while I don't know why other (some) countries have over-taken us in STEM fields, I think you will find that the countries that are surpassing us are NOT using the mode of teaching that you think we ought to use. Those countries are for the most part using drill and repeat, they are NOT using team-based learning or "discovery" based learning (the new mantra in our district). There is no way that solely using discovery-based learning will work to prepare students for a career in STEM. Certainly team-based learning can be effective, but that doesn't mean ALL of the time and with all material and concepts. Same goes for discovery-based learning. Imagine if we demanded that our students discover the English language- spelling and rules of grammar? Why do we think that students should struggle to discover the rules of math? Might be a good sometimes, but all the time? (it just takes too long) and the struggle is too difficult for many. A few students might enter the STEM fields but that is despite the new approach, not because of it. Many of the countries that have over-taken the US have an enormous population, China and India (and have lots of filters in place), and many are desperate enough to study 24/7.

Anonymous said...

If the teacher who says she/ he will continue to do it "my way" has been paid, given highly complimentary reviews, and has been successful, why adopt some cockamamie method that is, at best controversial?

Anonymous said...

No. Should there be one? The emperor rarely has any clothes. Should we just shut up?

Anonymous said...

Yes . I think you hit the nail on the head. It takes too long to reinvent the wheel.

Anonymous said...

Anon 11:36 - include #s of retirees, some of whom are leaving early due to the direction the school is going.

Anonymous said...

Firefighter at 5:39 - this is horrifying! We need to increase the number of firefighters ASAP - before other things in the budget. Major safety issue!

Anonymous said...

"AFD protects a population of over 80,000 people" Huh?? 80,000!? where'd that number come from?

Larry Kelley said...

Amherst, Hadley, Leverett, Pelham, Shutesbury and UMass.

Anonymous said...

not exactly accurate- all those towns have their own fire departments (albeit some are volunteer). By the same weak rationale you could claim they are protecting 80,000

Larry Kelley said...

They may have their own fire departments, but they do not have their own ambulance service. Try paying attention.

Anonymous said...

I wonder how Northampton Fire feels about their ambulances coming over here so often.

Larry Kelley said...

The Mayor did comment once on my Facebook page so I'm sure it does get noticed.

Anonymous said...

Population of Amherst+Pelham+Shutesbury+Leverett+Hadely = 50,000 tops (including Umass, Hampshire, Amherst College). No need to exaggerate...

Anonymous said...

Whatsis gotta do wit education?

Anonymous said...

From Anon 8:30 am, 11/2: "On the fall TM warrant is a request for $150,000 for renovations and equipment for LSSE to move into the ARMS. Does the town think LSSE moving into the MS is a good idea? We were never asked! It is clear that Ms Geryk is manipulating the circumstances such that moving 7-8th graders to the HS the only available choice. In addition, she is removing the option of using the MS as an elementary school."

I hope that TM delays allocating the funds to move LSSE to the MS at this time. It seems premature. The district hasn't even held its "Hurricane Visioning Summit" to discuss the future of the MS & HS & the proposed consolidation. The Summit is scheduled for this coming Sat.

Why is the ARPS administration & the town rushing on this? Is the new health center for the Bangs Center definitely moving forward & does it have all the funding to do so? What's the time frame for that project? Does LSSE really need to move right now?

Jackie M'Vemba said...

Mark Levin has forgotten more about the Constitution than most of us will ever lnow.