DISTRICT PRESENTATION AND PARENT RESPONSEThis slide show was originally presented byHeidi Pace, Superintendent of Summit DistrictSchools at a community forum to discussEqual Access. Commentary is provided byJessica Wald to provide a different perspectiveon the issues facing the district.
WHAT IS EQUAL ACCESSAn educational approach that provides all students rigorous curriculum ..
COMMENTARY ON “WHAT IS EQUAL ACCESS”Commentary: We all want our schools to provide all students rigorous curriculum.The School District is using the term “Equal Access” to refer to THEIR VERSION ofan educational model that HAS THE GOAL of providing all students a rigorouscurriculum. In the District model, all students are given the same curriculum in aclassroom that includes all ability levels. In this model, there are no remedial,standard or honors level classes. All students are enrolled in an “honors level”curriculum, with the assumption that all students can achieve at or near the highestlevel. It is unknown whether the District’s model will be challenging to high abilitystudents or too difficult for struggling students. It is undetermined whether there willbe significant differentiation by learning ability in these classrooms. So it is not aforegone conclusion that continued implementation of the District’s Equal Accessmodel will be successful in providing all students rigorous curriculum.
THE GOALS OF EQUAL ACCESS• To raise achievement levels of all students• To prepare more students for post-secondary education• To increase enrollment in DP, AP and CMC classes in the high school• To ensure equity and access for all of our students so that all students are assured a high-quality education regardless of differences (SSD Strategic Plan Goal)
COMMENTARY: GOALS OF EQUAL ACCESSCommentary: The problem with this slide is that it impliesthat if you are opposed to the District’s version of EqualAccess, you are opposed to these goals. This slide might bebetter titled “District Objectives”. It is certainly possible tosupport, and even applaud, these goals and yet oppose themodel that the district has selected to achieve them. TheDistrict should be exploring other models that could be morepowerful and raise achievement levels for all studentsincluding the highest ability students.
WHY EQUAL ACCESSOnly 25% of students were accessing higher level curriculumSingle digit representation of English Language Learners and low SES students in high level coursesELL graduation rate is 52% (overall graduation rate 90%)83% of our students are college bound and therefore need the higher level curriculumSignificant achievement gaps exist between our subgroups
COMMENTARY: WHY EQUAL ACCESS ICommentary: These are universal concerns that need to be addressed.Whether or not the District’s Equal Access model will solve these issues isunclear. For example, what did it mean that only 25% of students wereaccessing higher level curriculum? What was that curriculum? If it was a truehonors class targeted to the highest ability students, maybe 25% is good.However, if the standard curriculum was not rigorous for most students thanthat was a problem for those classes. Maybe the issue also was that thehonors level classes were not truly high level, and not as rigorous as theyshould have been. So does putting all students in “Honors” and saying nowthey all have rigor, reflect reality? Maybe our previous honors classes wereappropriate for all students but less than rigorous for our high ability students.Did the district consider increasing the rigor in BOTH standard and honorsclasses rather than eliminating honors?
WHY EQUAL ACCESSCADI Report (CDE Audit) – Offer high level curriculum to all studentsBOE Charge for Summit High School ReformDistrict ELL plan calls for ensuring access to advanced curriculum (59% gap in literacy)
COMMENTARY: WHY EQUAL ACCESS IICommentary: Equal Access is only a model to respond to these issues.By implementing “Honors for All” classrooms, is the district really offeringhigh level curriculum to ALL students, including the highest abilitystudents? Are struggling students able to keep up? The District ELL Plancalls for ensuring access to advanced curriculum. However, that accessdid exist prior to Equal Access. There were no tests, teacherrecommendations, or standardized test requirements to take an honorsclass. All a student had to do was sign up. That stated, support for highability ELL students was lacking in the honors classrooms. Language,cultural, peer group and other barriers have no doubt prevented many ofthese students from taking honors classes. These issues could beaddressed without elimination of honors classes.
HOW IS IT CURRENTLY IMPLEMENTED?All 6-10th grade students are enrolled in IB MYPAll 9th and 10th grade students are enrolled in Honors Civics and Economics; Honors World History; Honors Earth and Physical Science; Honors General BiologyCurriculum extensions are provided through the SMS and SHS scheduleOngoing Professional Development and coaching for staffTeachers teaching these classes differentiate instruction for various levels of learners and use other strategies (best first instruction, cluster grouping, etc.) to meet students’ needs
COMMENTARY: IMPLEMENTATIONCommentary: What is not stated is that Honors Level classes in6th, 7th and 8th grades have been eliminated, and that there are noseparate honors level classrooms in 9th and 10th grade Civics andEconomics, World History, Earth and Physical Sciences or GeneralBiology. The SMS schedule provides extensions in Math andReading in 3 week blocks (3 weeks math, followed by 3 weeksreading). The SMS schedule does not provide extensions forLanguage Arts, Science or Humanities. The SHS schedule has 8thhour classes that provide additional classes but no specific honorslevel extensions.