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The purpose of this Blog is to pick up where the Atkinson Reporter has left off. "The King is dead, Long live the King!" This Blog is a forum for the discussion of predominantly Atkinson; Officials, People, Ideas, and Events. You may give opinion, fact, or evaluation, but ad hominem personal attacks will not be tolerated, or published. The conversation begun on the Atkinson Reporter MUST be continued!

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Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Timberlane parents question student grouping plan Decision

From the Eagle Tribune;

Timberlane parents question student grouping plan Decision recommended by accreditation group
By Margo Sullivan
margosullivan@eagletribune.com

PLAISTOW — About 50 parents attended last night's Parent Teacher Student Association meeting to let school officials know they are still skeptical about a move to randomly mix students of differing abilities - a recommendation made by an accreditation panel.

Timberlane Regional High School Principal Donald Woodworth said the decision to mix students in a freshman year physical science class was developed from comments made last spring by the visiting committee of the New England Association of Schools and Colleges.

NEASC, the regional accrediting association, found more classes at Timberlane were "tracked," or separated according to students' academic ability, than the school's self-study indicated. The visiting committee said the tracking did not "provide high expectations for all students" and did not reflect current education research and best practices.

The issue about grouping students sparked a controversy last month when Peter Bealo, a Plaistow resident, drew other parents' attention to a goal in the school district's proposed strategic plan. The goal suggested the district intended to end "tracking"- the practice of grouping students by ability in the same classes.

More than 200 parents commented on the plan, Woodworth said. On Friday, school officials revised the draft to drop the phrase "non-leveled" and make the goal to create equal opportunities for all students.

Nancy Steenson, a Danville mother, questioned last night why the best students should take physical science in the same class with less studious youngsters and not as an accelerated class. She asked Woodworth and Assistant Superintendent Winfried Feneberg how they thought random — or heterogeneous grouping — would help all the students succeed.

Woodworth said mixed classes will work well for entry- level classes, such as basic science, and there is no reason to presume some students should automatically be placed in an accelerated class.

In his experience, the most gifted are not always the top students, Woodworth said. He wants less-gifted students who have the desire to succeed to have a chance to prove they deserve to be in an accelerated classes.

Almost all the parents interviewed said they attended last night's meeting to hear about the new course and the strategic plan on the drawing board.

"The big item on the agenda is homogenous grouping," said Kevin Geary, a Sandown parent. "It sounds good to theorists only" unless the district provides "extensive teacher training."

Sarah Machemer of Plaistow has four children in local schools. She attended the event to find out if the changes would diminish her children's education.

"I would like to find out more specifics," she said. "I want to make sure my youngest is going to get the same quality education as my oldest."

12 comments:

Anonymous said...

As the husband of a teacher who worked in a school system that employed "mixing" students, it is, in my opinion a losing proposition.

Here's why:

1. The teacher is forced to develop lesson plans that can meet each of the student group's needs. So they concurrently "teach up" to the honors students and "teach down" to the remedial students.

2. The remedial students tend to have more behavioral issues and can be disruptive. Everyone gets short changed here. The teacher who has to continually stop the lesson to address the disruptive child. The honors students, who are now bored silly with the lack of learning in class. And the "middle-of-the-road" kids (who are the biggest victims) who may be attracted to the bad behavior and sift down to their level.

Mark my words, mixing is a "fad" and they will eventually go back to tracking. I would oppose this effort as best you can.

I would be interested to hear feedback from any Timberlane teachers who may be reading this.

Anonymous said...

Everything Timberlane DOES is a fad, and fails to work!

LACK OF LEADERSHIP!

Do what works in schools that are better than Timberlane, and see what happens.

Anonymous said...

Like my father used to say, "Never mix, never worry!"

Anonymous said...

2/10 2:09
Leave your comma out before ",and"
It's a good thing your'e not in charge.

Anonymous said...

here's my period. {.}

Anonymous said...

Maybe it's time to look for NEW leadership. Maybe our school board members should follow in Sanborn footsteps and fire the superintendant.

Anonymous at 2:09
It's "you're" not "your'e". You should look over your own entry before putting down others.

Anonymous said...

To 2/10 at 12;12 PM , You said it as it is and that is a true statement. To conduct any class it has to be on the same level of intellect or within reason of that,intellect. If I were a student among the varied of intellectual being in class how would you expect me to feel as a student let alone the possible looked down on in the class because of some learning problem [s]. That does not sit well with me and it certainly doesn't with the student and parent who has the problem to bare -- life long or not. Who ever thought this program up ,locally, best hide from the outrage they have brought to the parents and students of T.R.H.S.

Anonymous said...

This is another method used to DUMB DOWN the students and ready them for the SOCIAL ENGINEERING of the coming world order.

Think I'm kidding? Read up on it by downloading Charlotte Iserbyt's free PDF called Deliberate Dumbing Down...

Also, if you want to read up on all the lingo that describes these bogus methods which to me constitute child abuse, go here:

http://www.illinoisloop.org/lingo.html

Be sure to read all the methods and theories sections and find out what this crap REALLY means.

- 40 years in the classroom

Anonymous said...

http://www.deliberatedumbingdown.com/MomsPDFs/DDDoA.sml.pdf

There you go! READ IT...

They have corrupted the system and are making little socialist believers out of our kids.

Anonymous said...

Video that will summarize:

http://www.deliberatedumbingdown.com/pages/video_iserbyt_under_seige_dddoa.html

Fishgutz said...

Such inclusion in the name of egalitarianism is dressed up "everyone must wear gray." It is the belief that no must stand out. No one must be recognized at brighter than another.
All children are harmed by inclusion. As the first poster notes, my wife too is a teacher. She has to do three different curricula for each class. And 80% of her time is spent with the slower and unmotivated students. The bright kids end up being virtually self taught and don't make anywhere near the progress they would make in leveled classes where the curriculum is specific to the needs of that level.
The pansies pushing "self esteem" over achievement are the communists pushing this BS.
No one can be smarter than someone else. It goes right along with the mentality that :it is not fair that some people make $200,000 a year and others only make $20,000.

I have posted previously that the high school my son will attend next year has as its "basic" level class being college prep and honors is AP. Children will rise to high expectations (with the exception of those who have serious physiological issue that cause learning disabilities, like down syndrome, autism to name a few).
I know from personal experience as well. I spent three year in US history. The first two times in the average class. I failed both times because I followed the wrong examples. The third time I was put in the honor class. I got an A. Granted i had more US history experience by then.
It took me a little longer to figure out I had a brain. I eventually went on to Northeastern University and then UMass for grad school. Not bad for a kid who graduated in the bottom quartile.
Leveling gives kids goals to strive for as well.
I have a brother who is an attorney now. He spent his senior year doing independent study in math because TRHS did not has AP courses at the time. He had completed every math course offered except the basic general math.He even ended up teaching his teacher some things as well. Sucks being smarter than the teacher.
So to the egalitarians who think dumbing down is good, tell them to go stuff it. And recall any school board member who thinks "non-leveling" is a good idea too. And if it is possible to get the accreditation board members that support that crap fired, then it must be done. Tell them to move back to Massachusetts where they have already screwed most of the public schools.

Anonymous said...

If administration thinks that it's hot in the kitchen now, just wait to see what real pressure will be when families can no longer afford to send their children to private school due to the economy and must send them to public. Maybe it's time to set aside new building plans and actually work on approving academics in the school.