Thursday, January 22, 2009

Overview of Special Programs Committee- January 21

The Special Programs Committee met Wednesday afternoon from 12:30-2PM to discuss and give updates on programs currently underway or planned within the district. The following is a very quick and broad summary:

Johns Hopkins Program- Letters will be sent out this week specifically assessing parental desire to have their children who qualified for entrance to the expansion efforts at Wallace and Calabro Schools for firm commitments. Parents have been informed through Johns Hopkins University previously. Over 40 students obtained qualifying scores on the entrance exam in addition to having an adequate grade point average. After school classes will begin in early February. 

Saturday U- This past Saturday (January 17) was the first official day of classes. A course booklet is completed and will be distributed to students/parents at this week's sessions. The booklet will include course syllabi, instructor background, contact information. Also, efforts are underway for Saturday U Expansion which will begin in early February and include additional courses or interest. Saturday U Expansion will be an effort on the part of the district to be more inclusive in terms of students able to participate in some interesting after school experiences. 

Read 180/SRI/LitLife- Data was examined on the recent administration of the Scholastic Reading Inventory in grades 4-8. This data will be used to supplement and triangulate other reading data already collected by the district including Dibbles and NJASK. Discussion centering on the ease at which this data can be disaggregated was discussed. In addition, efforts at Connors for a full scale pilot of Read 180 is currently underway and data for pre/post test study is being collected. 

IB-MYP- Discussion on efforts in the district for the IB Middle Years Program was discussed as was a new instrument developed by Dr. Petrosino and Kate Dominique to provide useful data on MYP implementation. Data is currently being collected by building administrators centering on key principles of MYP and this is expected to provide some objective data for discussions on successful implementation. 

Math/Science- Participation in programs at Liberty Science Center was discussed as was the issue of 8th grade Algebra and Algebra I more broadly. This topic will be explored in more detail in future weeks. 

English/History- Review of "Poetry Out Loud" was discussed as was efforts underway for the 8th grade to 9th grade transition. This week there were mid term exams in the high school. 

Tools of the Mind- A quick overview of the workshop given on Friday was discussed. 

In attendance: Hillenbrand (Johns Hopkins), Enrico (Saturday U), Dominique (IB-MYP), McKenzie (Math/Science), Karmarsky (History/English), Lopez (Read 180/SRI/LitLife), Petrosino (Tools of the Mind, Organizer). 

Picture: Dog run at 4th Street Park (a.k.a. Church Square Park)