Friday, March 30, 2012

Early childhood education is one of the most cost-effective and potent economic development tools available

The Wisconsin Policy Research Institute has released a report with the title

You can find the executive summary by clicking ABSTRACT  or click the graphic above to go to the full report

The following is an excerpt directly from that executive summary:

Early childhood education is one of the most cost-effective and potent economic development tools available. Investment in young children supports economic development by boosting the long-run productivity of the labor force and reducing public costs. In the cold calculus of economic analysis, repeated studies have not only confirmed the long-term value of early childhood education, but its economic payback has been estimated as high as $16 for every $1. Early childhood education programs can provide high rates of return when:
  • They are of proven high quality. 
  • They reach children in greatest need, such as children in poverty. 
  • They reach children well before they start kindergarten.

Thursday, March 29, 2012

This presentation is a draft of the WKCE scores and how we might rank in the new NAEP equivalency scores and the associated school grades. Again, this is just a draft intended for internal reflection and planning.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012

NAEP equivalent accountability system

Last week I forwarded a letter to staff from DPI on the new school rating system. Per Mike Thompson's letter on Friday, the new accountability system will go into effect this year and it will be based on the November 2011 test data. Each of our five school designations will receive a report card in June, and the information will go public in August of 2012.  This report card will indicate performance based on the elevated NAEP standards. Nancy Hendrickson, CESA 3 Administrator, spoke earlier today with Phil Olsen of the Office Educational Accountability regarding the new elevated standards.  He stated that the new cut scores have not been approved yet by Superintendent of Public Instruction Evers. However, the proposal before him for approval is to set the new cut scores for NAEP equivalent proficiency at or just slightly higher than the cut scores for the advanced designation within the current system. As we have been stating for the past year or so, an estimate of our NAEP scores will be close to the current WKCE advanced designation. Most of those advanced students will now be considered proficient with some advanced. All of the currently proficient students will now fall out of the proficient/advanced classification. As anyone can see, the scores under the new system will be considerably lower.

Health Insurance Broker

As of today, PdC Public School District has a different broker of record for health insurance. In addition, it has been decided that we will have a different health insurance company starting July 1, 2012. The School Board gave authority to the insurance committee to hire the firm they desired, with the stipulation that the cost be under $10,000 flat rate. The insurance committee narrowed the process down to two firms. Only one of the two firms agreed to the final terms.  TriCor Insurance is now our broker as they have agreed to a flat fee of $9600. As of this afternoon, they have already started the process of representing us with a timeline goal to give ample time to meet with employees once the final decision on the new health carrier is made. Our current carrier, WEA Trust, is not one of the final packages under consideration as they were eliminated from consideration in the first round of the rfp process due to cost.

Monday, March 26, 2012

EC and 4K Screening was today

     The most significant item to come out of the screening today is that we are definitely over 48 students in the Full-Day-4K for next year. At the close of the day we were at 52 and growing. So that means that we need to add another half-time teacher back into the mix for 4K for next year to allow us to create 60 slots in Full-Day. Emily O'Brien has filled that part-time teaching position in past years, and we have tentatively slotted her back in that role.
     That move has lead to both rotations teaching positions of elementary science/social studies to be posted for next year. Emily, as noted above, will not be in the rotations, and the other slot was filled by Ms. Lawinger who has already moved into a 4th grade full classroom spot as the larger class sizes continue to move up the grades. This move also allows us to have 90 minute common planning (pdc version of professional learning communities) for teachers in Kindergarten to grade 4.

Sunday, March 25, 2012

Algebra-Based-Physics (ABP)

Many schools are exploring the concept of teaching physics as the first course in the science continuum rather than the traditional rotation of biology, chemistry, and then physics. The logic given for this transformation is that the principles taught in physics are the building blocks upon which chemistry and biology grow. A few schools are teaching that base knowledge of physics in grade 8 so freshman can still do biology and chemistry. Our STEM staff members at Bluff View have been researching that idea and are doing some initial planning on the idea of an Algebra-Based-Physics (ABP) being the base science class in grade 8 starting in 2013-2014. This ABP science class would be in a complementary role to Integrated Math 1 which has become the standard for grade 8 math at Bluff View. We hope to collaborate with about five other schools in CESA 3 to write a science innovation grant on this idea and enhancing math and science across the curriculum. Two sites which give an overview of the idea are 

Saturday, March 24, 2012

365 or g-apps

PdC School District is exploring moving to Microsoft 365 or Google Apps this summer. We are now in the collection of data phase that will ultimately lead to a decision on one of the cloud based applications.