Wednesday, June 26, 2013

PreK-8s, Bright Beginnings top CMS research plan

Measuring the impact of Bright Beginnings prekindergarten and figuring out whether the recent switch to preK-8 schools benefits students are among top research goals for Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools, Chief Accountability Officer Frank Barnes told the school board Tuesday.

Several board members said they're eager to see that data.

The 2010 decision to close three struggling middle schools and add grades 6-8 to eight elementaries raised questions in the affected neighborhoods.  Some parents still believe the combined elementary/middle schools endanger the young children and give older students fewer academic options than they'd get in larger middle schools.  Proponents say students benefit from the more personalized setting and avoid the academic slump that often comes with the switch to middle school.

In September,  Morrison presented a preliminary study of the first year of pre-K-8s that found mixed academic results. Barnes said Tuesday a follow-up is expected in late fall or winter,  after results of 2013 state exams are in.

Barnes said CMS is also working with researchers from UNC Charlotte to study the district's prekindergarten:  "Is it working, where is it working best and are there challenges?"  Most school board members say they support public prekindergarten,  but many have voiced frustration that CMS failed to deliver on early promises to monitor how Bright Beginnings students do as they move through school.  Former Superintendent Eric Smith created the program in 1998.  Tracking of student results vanished during ensuing leadership changes,  even as the program's cost has risen.

Other research plans include identifying signs that students are at risk of dropping out and studying the "instructional culture" of CMS schools, part of a research project with TNTP.  Barnes said CMS hopes to refine the district's annual surveys of principals,  teachers,  students and parents.  Results of those surveys used to be posted online;  Barnes said the 2012-13 results haven't been released yet but should be posted later this summer.

Barnes told the board that he and his staff are still working on a reliable way to report on school success.  In 2012,  CMS withdrew its school progress reports after the Observer uncovered errors in the data.  A subsequent CMS review found even more problems.

Board member Ericka Ellis-Stewart asked Barnes how he plans to restore community confidence that CMS can get the numbers right.  Barnes said he's working on a system that uses data verified by the state,  but new state exams and uncertainties about a proposed letter-grade system are delaying that effort.

"Part of what I recognize is that trust is earned,"  Barnes said.  "I think what we will have to do is season by season,  year by year re-earn that trust."


Anonymous said...

CMS has had a K-5/8 "experiment" for twenty years that they seem to forget unless a photo op is necessary.
Bruns/Smith/Waddell Language Academy has all the information if the BOE really wanted to see what success looks like.
No one should ever ever trust CMS with numbers (or anything else) when the ultimate goal is spin.

Ann Doss Helms said...

8:44, I think the spin would be to say that because K-8 has been successful for a language magnet it will produce the same results for high-poverty neighborhood schools. It's fair to question whether the results will be spun toward the positive, but studying these specific K-8 conversions seems like the responsible thing to do.

Anonymous said...

Sure ... why not pander to the free-loading, entitlement program cheaters to make the politically correct CMS brass feel better at the tax payers expense!

Anonymous said...

So it seems this guy probably is not very qualified for his position that Heath gave him if its going to take him 5 years to spin some data. Where is Latarzan when you need her? She needs to teach this guy the CMS spin move. Parents know already what the K-8 schools have created. CMS already tried to put the spin move on that last year and the truth came out back firing eveything they pitched the first time. Poor CMS they cant handle the truth.

Wiley Coyote said...

CMS can't study anything related to pre-K.

If the program was that great, we would have been inundated with data for the past 12 years and those "at risk" kids would be doing great now, right?

If CMS produces any data or spin related to pre-K, it may very well have come from the tail end of a rhino.

Vote NO on CMS bonds and don't buy the pre-K Kool-Aid CMS is about to offer you to drink!

Eliminate Bright Beginnings now!

For what its worth said...

Whatever happened to studying how effective all these extra programs are like WSS and SS, etc.? Do we just roll over ivory tower administration and create changes in schools every so often everything then has to be re-studied and the out of control spending just continues on the back of ever more frustrated taxpayers?

Hopefully we can motivate enough of the taxpayers in this county to vote down this next bond. I'm tired of those that do not pay taxes vote for more and more and they do not have to be saddled with the taxes.

I wish someone would step up and challenge the legality of financing by property tax bonds since there are so many section 8's now.

Why have we not seen the $ per pupil from 2010-2011?

Why have we not seen class size numbers like was reported a couple of years ago?

Anonymous said...

Educators are caught in a damned-if-you-do, damned-if-you-don't world. For CMS not to have done long term follow-up studies on the Bright Beginnings kids from the start was a monumental lost opportunity. However, had they done so and found positive results, the doubters would have poo-pooed it anyway.

Anonymous said...

Another study for CMS geeks , exposé the contract of the guy who we transferred less than a year ago who is going to end up in Indy. Show me the relocation buy back clause and the sign on bonus payback. Simply put anything we paid this guy that has no value as a taxpayer I demand back. If CMS did not have the foresight to negotiate this upfront they lose complete fiscal responsibility. Vote No bonds and no new terms for BOE folks who's terms end this fall.

Anonymous said...

I would like to know where Wylie Coyote gets all his pre-k information from.

Wiley Coyote said...

Define "all".