Pat, Personally

Monday, March 13, 2017

Schools aren't immune to spring fever

It is officially March madness! I’m not referring to the NCAA Basketball Championship, although I will be watching as many games as I can. I am talking about the spring quickly approaching.

With the time change and the temperatures rising, we see an increase in nervous energy. Students long to be outside in the beautiful weather while staff members think about how much more material they must get students to master before we begin our standardized assessments. School Organizational Teams met regularly to get their strategic budgets and Plan of Operation completed by the February deadlines.

Schools are focused on making sure every student is proficient by the end of the year or that every student is on track to graduate. This involves extra tutoring, extra classes, extra homework and most of all, extra time to make sure every student is ready for the next step.

Our programs that provide additional support to students who have an Individualized Education Plan, who are English Language Learners or who have Free-and-Reduced Lunch are essential to the success of all students. We identify additional supports to these students but each one of these students must master the same standards as every other student at their grade level.

The challenge is to provide the additional support to all students who are identified: How do we utilize the categorical dollars from the last legislative session to continue to support the students in our ZOOM and Victory School programs, while also providing the support needed in other schools with their challenged population?

This week, the Senate Committee on Education will hold the first hearing of the weighted funding formula. We must all be involved to ensure that the additional dollars are making it to the classrooms where these challenged students are located, and to ensure that the accountability is strong enough to hold schools responsible for their academic success. It is no small task, but making sure that each student receives the additional dollars necessary to be successful has to be the priority!