In reference to the comment made by a ‘concerned parent’ I would like to make a few observations. But, first of all, thank you for your feedback and to all of you who have responded to my posts.
At AISB we celebrate a diverse community, and as remarked in a previous blog post, we are not an elitist school, rather we aspire to be an elite school that honors and respects diversity of our student population and their learning needs.
We use MAP data as one set of information to evaluate student performance and inform our teaching practice. My expectation, given our heterogeneous student base, is that we are always 80% at or above the norm, based on US schools using MAP aligned with the Common Core. In some cases this is achieved, but in others we need to focus our attention and ensure that there are improvements. From next year, we will also place our norms against peer schools in the CEESA region – a more representative group, given our parent base.
There is absolutely room for further growth in our student success rates; however, I believe you are taking a glass-half-empty approach to your analysis. If you look at the data, and all our students are included in this matrix, Grade 2 Math, from Fall to Spring, moved from 69% at or above grade level to 88%, and Grade 3 moved from 60% to 72%. These results need to continue to improve and they will! As you are probably aware, we started to make changes immediately this year and it is good to note that the Grade 2 Winter results for Math indicate that 86% students were at or above grade level (including 67% above grade level).
With regards to teachers, as I began to recruit personnel this year, I sought teachers who were highly skilled in their discipline, dedicated, and above all had the ability to connect with children. Performing La Bohème, constructing electric cars, or coaching Olympic athletes may not make you a great teacher – and I look for great teachers. But, with these qualities in view, I am pleased to share that we have two new PE teachers who were formally Olympic athletes, we have another with a PhD – and they are also great teachers!
I agree that AISB’s campus is in need of a capital injection, and I am pleased to announce that last week the Board approved some major projects, including a new, purpose built, 3,300m² Early Learning Center for students from the ages of 2 to 5. This will liberate space in the main building that we will convert into a Science/Design/Technology wing for the Upper Elementary and Middle School students (more information to follow). We will also install a 2,400m² all-weather pitch at the southern end of ‘Central Park’ as well as upgrading our security protocols and reception area.
Finally, in terms of budget allocation, the teachers are our prime resource and to be competitive in a global market when great teachers are keenly sought the salaries and benefits need to be appropriately packaged. A budget of around 65-70% is absolutely in the target range for this expense.
You remark at the end that, ‘I wish you all the best in your endeavor to change this school and I would like to tell you it’s a Hell of a job you undertook!’ Indeed, and I love it!