Year: 1998-1999
Month: January
Leader: Group A

Situation/Case Study:
SYSTEMIC POLICY ISSUE

Description:
District paid me to write performance packages for the graduation standards and profile of learning. I wrote social studies curriculum for 4-6 days plus a 3-day workshop. I recently found out that all my work was for naught because they are not being used, and I have not received any feedback on the quality of the work.

Hypotheses:
As with all changes imposed from the outside, the classroom teacher is faced with a dilemma. Do we create and work on the changes in process or wait for the district or state to finalize the expectations and then, comply? The graduation standards, basic skills and third and fourth grade test information present teachers with confusion and frustration. Teachers are unclear about their role and job in preparing students for this type of testing. It is also frustrating when this district has put great emphasis on Stanford tests rather than on the state tests. Teachers are frustrated because of the changes that have occurred in the graduation performance packages. Apparently our school district has not clarified or even placed the graduation standards Performance packages at the elementary level and teachers are frustrated over the “UNKNOWN.” The teacher probably feels frustrated by the fact that he/she put all of his summer vacation time to do this work and find that it isn’t being used. He feels insulted and invalidated. Teachers may feel confused when the district is pushing graduation standards and performance packages, and on the other hand, SATs (pencil pushing) achievement scores. It seems as if schools in our district are not informed as to what is being done with the graduation standards. The teacher must feel frustrated and confused. It seems these expectations are so far out of reach. The teacher would feel confused for the lack of concrete examples and outcomes. The teachers, parents, students and administrators all feel confused and uncertain. As a district, where are we going and are we keeping up with where we should be or what we’re telling parents?

Theories behind practice:


Impact on others:


Solutions:
Parent newsletters' state that teachers are working hard on the grad standards, but most teachers are not following the standards. Consensus was that teachers feel very uninformed about grad standards and what the district is doing.

Comments:
Parent newsletters’ state that teachers are working hard on the grad standards, but most teachers are not following the standards. Consensus was that teachers feel very uninformed about grad standards and what the district is doing. Also, all the testing takes too much time away from curriculum. We need concrete guidelines to help elementary teachers prepare students for the standards and tests. The district believes in creating their own packages that fit the existing curriculum. How do the standards work with the variations in district and school approaches? What if a student switched schools? High school standards are stated and aligned. Information can be obtained on the District Web Site. The consensus is that the focus is at the high school level and the lower grades are on hold. The district has hired a person to coordinate the grad standards; she is reportedly a fantastic teacher and should be extremely helpful to district teachers. Another district person will also be helpful in working with the grad standards at the elementary level. Participants agreed that we need a balance between testing (both standard achievement and performance tests) and teaching. A couple of RPG participants will be passing our concerns on to an administrators’ meeting and to the faculty representative tomorrow.