Tuesday, January 22, 2013
A recap of recent issues and discussions, ahead of next week's BOE meeting.
It's a busy time in the South Orange-Maplewood School District, as the Board of Education (BOE) is in the thick of budget discussions for the 2013-14 school year. The board has been discussing the upcoming budget since the beginning of this school year. The next board meeting is on Monday, Jan. 28 at 7:30 p.m. (in the District Meeting Room at 525 Academy St.) If you'd like to get up to speed before then, here is a brief summary of what's going on in the district: State of the District Superintendent Brian Osborne recently gave his annual State of the District address; for more information click here. International Baccalaureate/Middle Years Program The district is currently training teachers and staff in anticipation of launching the IB/…
Monday, March 12, 2012
The author was Global Head of Policy and Research for the International Baccalaureate. She is a Maplewood resident.
An open and critical dialogue around the issues in education is vital for success of any initiative in this community. For those who don’t work in the education system, like me, it can be difficult to figure out where exactly to focus the energy, home in on the issues and articulate the questions that need to be asked. I commend Marian Cutler for identifying and voicing those questions that are difficult to articulate and to answer. Still, having worked in the past for the IB, I find some of the information in the op-ed piece difficult to understand and accept. There are 445 International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme schools in the U.S. with more than 20 MYP schools in the northeast and over 900 MYP programs worldwide. The …
Sunday, March 11, 2012
The writer is a candidate for the Board of Education.
On March 5, the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education voted to adopt the Superintendent’s Middle School Transformation proposal. As part of this plan, middle school Social Studies and Science will be completely deleveled in all grades and Language Arts will be completely deleveled in all grades except for a small cluster of 8th graders (comprising 12-15%) of students who will take 9th grade Language Arts starting in the 2013-14 school year. We will also be adopting the International Baccalaureate with its accompanying curricular, assessment and pedagogical changes. I support an upwards-pushing leveling system with honors classes and thus disagree with the Board of Education majority on complete deleveling. However, as someone who, if …
Saturday, March 10, 2012
The writer explains the groundwork performed in the school district in selecting the International Baccalaureate MIddle Years Programme.
Saturday, March 10, 2012
by Marina Budhos I appreciate Marian Cutler’s spirited hard work and individual initiative on International Baccalaureate program expressed in an Op-Ed previously published on Patch, and I agree heartily that any IB program worth its salt lies in its implementation. She also raises many valid points about the administration communicating more clearly its timeline, benchmarks and goals in implementing MYP, and explaining the value IB-MYP brings to our middle schools. However, I’m afraid her piece has veered off into many inaccuracies, selective and confused information, and does not fully reflect the broader promise of the program, nor the history of the idea of IB in this community. Ms. Cutler may not be aware of the groundwork laid many…
Thursday, March 8, 2012
The writer argues that the IB program is costly, difficult to implement, and has not been shown to increase student achievement and to turn around low-performing schools.
With all the academic changes in our District there are educational fundamentals we all agree: Our District is in dramatic need of reform; changes must include higher academic standards and more challenging curricula; and, all students should be engaged in highly challenging academic programs. These common threads break down regarding how these goals can be accomplished, fostering divisive and divided lines. Yet, these discussions are too important, too complicated to be reduced to sound bites of level or delevel, honors or college prep, black or white. These conversations are more about the HOW and less about the WHAT. Historically, our District is light on details and metrics (the HOW), which requires stakeholders assume a starting …
Tuesday, March 6, 2012
As anticipated, proposals for academic placement restructuring were approved as well as the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme.
After three months of discussion and public meetings, the South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education approved proposals to reduce academic placement levels in the middle schools and high school and introduce the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme in the middle schools. The middle school restructuring proposal was the most contentious proposal -- eliciting many comments at meetings and online both for and against. However, that proposal passed by a vote of 7-2 (with Wayne Eastman and Mark Gleason dissenting). The high school restructuring proposal passed by a vote of 8 in favor and one against (Eastman). The IB proposal for the middle schools passed unanimously. The votes were not a surprise after the Board signaled its …
Monday, March 5, 2012
The Board will vote on proposals for middle school and high school restructuring at its March 5 meeting.
The South Orange-Maplewood Board of Education will continue deliberation about and take action on proposals for restructuring academic placements in the high school as well as restructuring placements and the introduction of the International Baccalaureate Middle Years Programme at the middle schools at its March 5 meeting at 7:30 p.m. at 525 Academy Street. The majority of Board members already signaled support for the proposals at a previous Board meeting on February 22. The Board will also discuss the proposed 2012-2013 school budget tonight. District staff will be making adjustments to the budget discussed in February based on an increase in state aid. See the full agenda below: 7:30 PM REGULAR MEETING Call to Order – …
Friday, February 10, 2012
Changes to math would now be staggered over a three-year period. District administration also answered questions from the public and heard comments.
The South Orange-Maplewood School District administration unveiled changes in the timetable for advancing de-leveling in the middle schools at its third and final special meeting on middle school restructuring (and first special meeting on high school restructuring) on Wednesday night. These changes seemed to signal, as stated by Superintendent of Schools Dr. Brian Osborne, the "ongoing conversation" that district administration is having with members of the community on new proposals for restructuring at the high school and the middle schools. Previous proposals to simultaneously reduce the number of levels in math from 3 to 2 in 6th, 7th and 8th grade for the 2012-13 school year have been abandoned. The district is now proposing to …
Tuesday, February 7, 2012
The writer discusses the three "R's" of education: Reading, Rubrics and Rigor.
Recent conversations about changes at the middle schools and the value of a program like the Middle Years Programme of the International Baccalaureate (MYB/IB) have raised lots of questions about reading levels, challenge, and “rigor.” This has led me to reflect on my own education — and teaching — and that of my children in the MSO school district. Reading: With degrees in philosophy and comparative literature, I am a dyed-in-the-wool humanist, with a deep appreciation for the Western tradition. When I was in 7th grade, at a “rigorous” private school, we slogged through Romantic poets, Greek drama, and Henry James. It bored me. Outside of school I read copiously from both the science fiction and the classics sections of my local …