By Guy Nahmiach
Thank you for all the phone calls and emails after last month’s column. I was glad to hear from readers who had questions for our superintendent, Cindy Stevenson. Many shared the inefficiencies they witnessed at their own schools while some were more concerned about the water restriction issue. Of course my favorite was a caller that offered to help gather news from more schools in our community.
It is important to keep in mind that when we talk about waste in our schools, the focus is not on the person, organization or school itself. It is simply a reminder of yet another area we can look at in making our schools more efficient. When PTAs have to raise money for staplers and other basic equipment for our classrooms, you know that every dollar counts.
With school out, it’s been great to see families eating out in our local restaurants.
Especially along 38th Avenue. Although I have definitely noticed an indirect correlation between the increased number of restaurants and shops and decreased speed at which traffic crawls along that street. When did the speed limit drop to 20?
The chatter about In-Bloom is quickly gaining. It’s an electronic system that would gather and store test scores for each student. Results are instantly be fed into programs designed for learners of all levels, as opposed to the manual system now being used that forces us to wait until the following year.
Yes, I understand the privacy issue, yet are we not constantly reminded by Google just how much they know about us? Do we not allow eBay or Amazon to keep our mailing address for future shipments? What about the last four digits of credit cards for ease of ordering? We even post pictures of our families on social media for the world to see. But when it comes to the school district tracking and storing scores for the purpose of improving programs our children can benefit from, it’s “not so fast,” it seems.
The same argument about personal privacy is going on with our government and, of course, my own children. Funny how that conversation as a kid always ended up with my dad reminding me who’s roof I was living under, while today things have morphed into a much more democratic environment.
Next month, I’ll be writing about the newly voted-in federal program: neighborhood schools opening their cafeteria doors for anyone under 18. Free meals for those in need is wonderful, even if they don’t attend that particular school. I do, however, have some questions. Call or write me with yours, and I’ll try to find answers for us all.
Summer sure feels early this year. Whether you’re filling your pool or pond, or just watering your new garden, please make sure you are aware of the water restrictions in your particular neighborhood.
As always...thanks for reading.
Answers to Questions Posed to School Superintendent Cindy Stevenson
Q: Why does homework vary from school to school? Are expectations different for kids that attend Wilmore Davis and Prospect Valley?
A: Thank you for the question on homework and on expectations. I know this question comes up frequently with parents. First, expectations for classroom instruction and for student achievement are the same at every school. Parents can see the expected curricula by going to the public website and clicking on “Curriculum, Academics, and Testing”. Second, homework is a local school decision. Many schools discuss homework in their accountability committees and develop guidelines for their schools. Below is a summary of what we know about homework.
The research today talks about homework being purposeful and directly related to the student’s work in the classroom. Quantity of homework is not related to learning. Homework should provide authentic ways for students to practice what they are learning in school and provide a path toward mastery of the standards at the end of the year. Schools in another era focused on quantity and frequency. Today parents should look for their children understanding the homework and being able to practice skills and concepts. Parents should expect that their children are reading and writing every day and having meaningful experiences in math, science and social studies. Many of our schools are trying to move away from worksheets and towards writing and reading at home.
So, if parents are concerned about homework, their first stop is a conversation with the teacher. Second conversation is with the principal. Third, they can request that their school accountability committee have a conversation about how homework is assigned and what students are doing at home. Not every school will have the same policies and practices, but all schools should have meaningful experiences that can be taken home and shared with families.
Please direct your questions for Jefferson County Schools Superintendent Cindy Stevenson to Guy@NostalgicHomes, or call 303-999-5789.