AIM: No child gets ahead

AIM
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gate-2by Tadeusz Wroblewski

No child gets ahead.

I am writing this letter to express my deep disappointment and worries regarding recent attempts of the DJUSD to dramatically reduce the AIM program at Davis schools.

During over 20 years of its existence the AIM program was vital in providing quality education to nearly two thousand academically accelerated kids in our community each year. It was created in response to the needs of kids that were insufficiently challenged or did not fit well in the traditional educational program.

Sadly, the No Child Left Behind presidential Act seems to be interpreted by DJUSD as “no child gets ahead”. Long-term AIM coordinator, Deanne Quinn, was dismissed from the program at the end of the last school year without ANY public consultation, despite carrying that full-time job at the fraction of regular DJUSD wage for many years. The School Board made critical decisions about the program during vacation, which had the effect of reducing the community’s input in the process. How does the effective dismantling of an educational program that carries long waitlists help a school district that my family has always supported with our taxes and contributions?

The Board’s alternative of differentiated instructions, including possibly pullout programs, are likely to prove unsatisfactory. Great teachers in our district work already at the limits of their abilities to cope with frequently changing standards and overcrowded classes. Requesting them to adjust the programs to meet the needs of diverse students within one class will have negative impact on all students, especially on those requiring additional support.

If the Board decides to remove AIM as an option for academically accelerated children, I, and other parents, will work to establish alternatives that meet their needs.

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67 thoughts on “AIM: No child gets ahead”

  1. Greg Brucker

    The School Board made critical decisions about the program during vacation, which had the effect of reducing the community’s input in the process

     

    This is factually incorrect. The June 4 decision (the only board decision made) was within the school year. That it was done late in the evening basically means that there were a ton of parents and community members there giving input during public comment. There were several other long board meetings where this was introduced, discussed, and the community could actively comment leading up to this in the months prior. As well, this discussion (how AIM works) has been discussed at meetings for years now.

    Long-term AIM coordinator, Deanne Quinn, was dismissed from the program at the end of the last school year without ANY public consultation,

    Personnel decisions  are always confidential as per law and will never include parent/community input before they happen.

     

    Sadly, the No Child Left Behind presidential Act seems to be interpreted by DJUSD as “no child gets ahead”.

    This is pure hyperbole and simply not true. It is an insult to all of us in the district to make these type of comments and does nothing to support or promote your side of this discussion.

    If the Board decides to remove AIM as an option for academically accelerated children, I, and other parents, will work to establish alternatives that meet their needs.

    It also bothers me that so many feel comfortable threatening the district over this. Is this really setting the right example for our children for the adults in the community to act like this?

     

     

    1. lotaspark

      Greg- I continue to be confused and alarmed by the responses you give to the parents of the district who have an opinion that differs from yours. You forget that people who are writing in are doing so because they don’t feel like anyone is listening to them about the needs of their own children. I have not heard one person say that the non-AIM teachers of Davis are not doing a good job (even though you seem to think that they are saying that and get all bent out of shape). We are saying that through no fault of there own they do not have the proper training to deal with this special niche of kids.  I wouldn’t ask you, as a music teacher, to teach my child Russian because that is not your area of expertise. But it is also acceptable as a parent to ask that someone specially trained in gifted education like Ms. Cook teach my child. I fail to see how that is a put down against any teacher even though you are so offended by the notion. People are allowed to get angry if they feel like there child’s needs are not considered as important as other children’s by the school board. If they feel like the only recourse they have is to start a Charter school or ask for a recall, your trying to shame them into abandoning those ideas is ridiculous. You state “It also bothers me that so many feel comfortable threatening the district over this. Is this really setting the right example for our children for the adults in the community to act like this?”. We are trying to speak for our children. The little people who are being completely ignored by the district. So if you think that standing up for one’s child and that of the community is a bad example, then let me be a bad example. You don’t realize how concerning it is to see a teacher in the district with this much disdain for the parents of their students. Perhaps you should look for another line of work.

      1. ryankelly

        Since only 5 out of the 25 teachers currently teaching AIM classes are GATE certified, I’d say that non-AIM teachers are likely as competent to teach high-achieving students as our current AIM teachers.

        1. ryankelly

          Two of the very worst teachers my children have had were teachers in the GATE program.  One in  particular had behavior that bordered on being abusive.  Selection of AIM teachers has not been made by seeing who is uniquely qualified, nor has the District required that the teachers gain certification.  That zigzag thinks that they are getting specially trained teachers, training that non-AIM teachers are not getting or have access to, is a fallacy.  Yet zigzag seems to be happy with the education that the District has provided.

        2. zaqzaq

          Righteous Ryan strikes again.  Now we know the real reason behind ryankelly’s attacks on the AIM program go back to a personal teacher dispute.  Thanks for the disclosure that forms the basis for your animosity for the program.  Hopefully you took appropriate actions against the teacher you described as “abusive” and if your alleged complaints were validated the administration took corrective action.

          1. Don Shor

            Now we know the real reason behind ryankelly’s attacks on the AIM program go back to a personal teacher dispute.

            Not really. For example, we didn’t have good results with the Emerson GATE program, but that doesn’t mean I think it should be discontinued. I just think self-contained GATE is necessary for some kids. Our experiences are a factor, but they don’t form the whole basis of my opinions about policy for others, and I don’t think ryankelly is being any less objective.

      2. Greg Brucker

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        lotsaspark: I appreciate your passion on this topic, and hope to see people use their passion toward a positive, respectful, and constructive way of reaching whatever goal they have.

        I will first state that I have not taken sides publicly in this debate, nor will I, as I have stated in other comments. I have no stake in this discussion when it comes to how the AIM program should look. I believe having an AIM program for the kids that need it is as important as any other program in our district.

         

        Perhaps you should look for another line of work.

         

        I was thinking about responding to some of your post, but then I read this last line, and in combination with the other subjective judgements, inaccurate statements about me and my postsings, and ad hominem attacks you’ve made on me in your post, while using straw man arguments to support them (none of which are true in the way you state them), I’m not sure it is worth responding to as I was originally planing to do.

        But I’d ask you this – would you want your children to see that you posted such mean things and made so many assumptions about and toward someone that you don’t know while standing behind an anonymous login on the internet? Would you encourage your kids to do the same when they disagree with what someone says online? Because that is the example you have just set for them. If you are comfortable with that, cool.

        I will say this though:

        We are saying that through no fault of there (their) own they do not have the proper training to deal with this special niche of kids.

        According to the district, only 5 of the 25 AIM teachers have the specific and required certification to teach AIM. That doesn’t quite support your comment here, though I fully believe that those teachers teaching AIM currently are doing a phenomenal job and are more than deserving of that gig.

         

      3. ryankelly

        zigzag – It was one teacher who taught English at the Junior High level.  Multiple complaints from multiple families resulted in the teacher not being rehired the following year.

        You assume so much about people.  I don’t know why you think insulting people along the way solves anything.  That you are angry, it is clear.  Team teaching has been part of North Davis well before the addition of GATE.  I would view it as a strength of that school.  Davis schools are good schools.  Test scores are high.  The vast majority of students graduate and go on to lead successful lives.  I reject the bleak picture that you paint about the ability of our teachers to offer appropriate education for their students.  Davis schools have been good schools for a long time, even when GATE was two classes at Valley Oak and students stayed at their neighborhood schools with other students from their neighborhoods.

        1. Don Shor

          In an ideal world they would establish differentiated GATE with clustered students at some or most schools, and self-contained GATE as needed, and let the parents choose once the kids have been identified as gifted.

        2. ryankelly

          I think more information about what differentiation looks like would be really helpful.  This information might be best coming from teachers at the site level.   zigzag mentioned North Davis working it out so that students who are accelerating in math are receiving instruction together.  This kind of team teaching often works for subject that have clear levels, such as math.  Reading may be another one.  I remember splitting up into reading groups for English and Math way back in the 60’s.

    2. zaqzaq

      Greg the music teacher practices differentiation in the classroom.  I fail to see how parents of children in the AIM program are in any way comforted by your opinions on education and use of differentiation as a music teacher.  There is no AIM music program.  The fact is that the board rejected the superintendent’s recommendation to retain the longtime AIM coordinator which was rejected with no warning by the board.  They are now pushing towards a major reduction in size of the AIM program.  Many parents are outraged by this change.  The fact that you as an elitist music teacher who thinks he knows what is best for my child and the children of many parents is really scary.

      The concept that getting more high achieving students in the neighborhood classrooms as good role models is appalling.  My child is not a tutor for other children.  Dumbing down the curriculum for some children to “help” others really rubs some people the wrong way.

      Just looking at math (not music) the number of children taking the advanced math curriculum in the AIM program where they complete 7th grade math by the end of 6th grade will be halved under the current proposal.  There is no proven plan to teach these children the accelerated math in the neighborhood classrooms.  If that is not dumbing down the curriculum I do not know what is.  It would be more appropriate to create a pilot program where a teacher using differentiated instruction is able to successfully accomplish the task of teaching both math tracks in the same classroom.  Recently at North Davis Elementary the two neighborhood classroom teachers asked the AIM teacher to take an additional 10 plus students for the accelerated math program.  This indicates that these two teachers did not believe that they could teach both strands in the same classroom using differentiated instruction techniques.

      As a teacher you should be aware that in this community parents are very passionate and involved in the education of their children.  The board appears to be going out of its way to piss off a large segment of the parents.  Especially when Adams and Archer who are behind this movement did NOT disclose their intents regarding the AIM program in their campaigns.  This deceit and other economic factors endanger the success of any ballot measure to increase taxes for local school funding.

      1. Greg Brucker

        The fact that you as an elitist music teacher who thinks he knows what is best for my child and the children of many parents is really scary.

        I think parents know what’s best for their children. If I have said otherwise, please quote me, or don’t make comments that have no factual basis. Also, that you call me elitist shows you know nothing about my classroom or me as a teacher and are only trying to insult me and undermine me. My classroom is anything but elitist. You’re welcome to observe it if you like. Let me know. I’m always glad to have visitors.

        As a teacher you should be aware that in this community parents are very passionate and involved in the education of their children.

        As a teacher and parent in this community, I am quite aware of it, and it is one of my favorite things about this community – how involved and passionate the parents are when it comes to working toward the best possible education for their kids, disagreements or not.

      2. wdf1

        zaqzaq:  Especially when Adams and Archer who are behind this movement did NOT disclose their intents regarding the AIM program in their campaigns.

        They’re behind this movement??  Susan Lovenburg made the initial motion that led to today’s agenda item.  Adams, Archer, and Fernandes responded favorably to it.  Are there machinations that you’re privy to that say something else is going on?

        1. zaqzaq

          wdf1,

          Let me clarify.  Adams and Archer are the minions of Lovenburg.  They appeared to be reading along when she read her motion as though they had been presented with it prior to it being made.  I believe they received her support when they ran and are now implementing a predetermined plan to greatly reduce or eliminate the AIM program.  Neither Adams nor Archer took public positions on these modifications for the AIM program while running for office.  They generally gave meaningless answers on the AIM program hiding what I believe to be their true intentions which are now being implemented.  These changes are radical and would be very divisive for a candidate to make public while running.  It would have been interesting if they had publicly stated in their campaign literature that they were going to fire Deanne Quinn, cut the AIM program in half and take the school district in a new direction with differentiated instruction and cluster groups.  They did not do this publicly and are now implementing their plan.  This deception is harmful to the public’s trust in the school board.  The same school board that will be asking for the public’s support for funding through taxes at the same time that the city is asking for money to fix the roads.  I further believe that the superintendent takes her calls and guidance on where to go now that she has demonstrated that she has the votes to control the agenda.

        2. ryankelly

          They were reading along, because Lovenburg provided the motion in writing to all the Board members and the Board secretary at the meeting…so they could read it when she made her motion.  Believe me, Adams and Archer are no minions to anyone.

        1. zaqzaq

          Moderator,

          Please do a word search on all comments that use the term elitist or segregation in reference to the AIM program.  Or was it the use of the term “music” that caused the problem.  I do believe that many employees of the school district have an elitist attitude concerning their opinions on education and that we the ignorant masses should meekly follow their guidance.  I believe that Greg has demonstrated that in his comments.  I apologize if my use of the term “elitist” was offensive to some.

      3. Grant Acosta

        “fact that you as an elitist music teacher who thinks he knows what is best for my child and the children of many parents is really scary.
        The concept that getting more high achieving students in the neighborhood classrooms as good role models is appalling.  My child is not a tutor for other children.  Dumbing down the curriculum for some children to “help” others really rubs some people the wrong way.”

        First of all, I can hardly think of a more elitist comment than this.  I don’t know Greg, but I never read anything in his comments that suggested he was elitist in his opinions.
        Second, as an academic skills specialist at UC Davis with 14 years of experience working with students of all ability levels, I can tell you that one of the most effective ways to solidify understanding is to have students teach each other.  This is not only true for students of low ability, but also for high achieving students.  It forces students to explain the logic behind solving a problem rather than memorizing an algorithm.

        1. Grant Acosta

          Also agree with Greg in that it is easy to sling insults hiding behind an anonymous name.  Never have liked the fact that many vanguard posters do not stand personally behind their opinions.

        2. Frankly

          one of the most effective ways to solidify understanding is to have students teach each other.  This is not only true for students of low ability, but also for high achieving students.  It forces students to explain the logic behind solving a problem rather than memorizing an algorithm.

          I absolutely agree with this.  When you can teach it, you truly know it.

        3. hpierce

          Grant’s point is uber important.  Having students who can teach their cohorts, helps themselves, and those taught [particularly grades 7 and above], but also develops habits and skills that are much ought after in “real jobs”, particularly in professional disciplines.  The willingness and ability to be a good mentor is one of the quickest ways to master your field and get promoted.

  2. wdf1

    If the Board decides to remove AIM as an option for academically accelerated children, I, and other parents, will work to establish alternatives that meet their needs.

    …and bypass the board election process.

      1. wdf1

        I follow you, but if the outrage is as broad as perhaps this author and colleagues have suggested, then it would probably be cheaper in money and time to get your candidates elected to the board and then use the resources of the district to design whatever kind of AIM/GATE program and process would be fit.

        1. Don Shor

          then use the resources of the district to design whatever kind of AIM/GATE program and process would be fit.

          It is likely that they don’t feel the district staff would be supportive, particularly since the individual who was most involved in GATE was removed from her position.

        2. wdf1

          Don Shor:  It is likely that they don’t feel the district staff would be supportive, particularly since the individual who was most involved in GATE was removed from her position.

          It was a majority of the school board who voted that way.  The district staff proposed having her continue.  The district staff functions at the pleasure of the board majority.

      1. wdf1

        It isn’t clear if the incumbents will be running or not.  I grant that it is harder to defeat incumbents, but if there are strong candidates like Sunder was, who can articulate this issue in a way that resonates better with voters, it’s still worth a shot.  Even if, hypothetically, both incumbents won, then the vote tally would still be a measure of how much of the community would be with the challenger(s) and their views, and maybe a better measure for how much support there would be for a charter alternative.

        1. Don Shor

          As we’ve seen, it can be difficult to get candidates to clearly state their positions on issues like GATE during the campaign. Did you expect these actions from this board majority?

        2. wdf1

          During the last election, the biggest issue on everyone’s mind was Nancy Peterson, and there were plenty of questions for candidates related to it.  The biggest question about GATE was the lottery.  So far, I think AIM/GATE is the biggest issue to emerge, at least with respect to the intensity of discussion.  I think it would be hard for candidates to avoid talking about it.  Candidates who articulate clearest answers that seem fairest in policy probably come out ahead, on this issue at least.

      2. ryankelly

        I talked to all candidates about GATE.  I tried to bring up GATE issues on the Vanguard and was thoroughly discouraged from commenting on it, especially anything to do with Madhavi’s stance.   I never expected this much change – (I actually expected no change and the continued practice of discussions, but little action) – , but I am convinced that incremental change would be a disservice to children.

        1. Davis Progressive

          i didn’t expect this to be an issue.  but madhavi is not really the driver here anyway, so i don’t see why it would have mattered if we had.  i’m convinced radical change is unnecessary.  i think some of the changes proposed here are good, others i’m alarmed about.

      1. ryankelly

        Neither did Madhavi Sunder or Poppenga.  There were very few public questions asked about GATE during the election and general answers were accepted.  All candidates made themselves available to voters and I believe that the Davis’ educated electorate voted thoughtfully.  I don’t know why you are assuming that the election was fraudulent.

  3. MrsW

    This letter is an example of just one kind of parent who has children enrolled in AIM.  It does not represent all of us.  It is an example of the lack of consensus within the community.

    I have a snarky observation.  We are a town with PreK-PhD education, but DJUSD is organized like a pre-school–we have academic “centers” (Only Spanish Immersion elementary students get Spanish lessons!)  Likewise, DJUSD politics resemble the pre-school sandbox (I’m taking my ball and going home! You can’t come to my birthday party!)  Really hope to see the day when DJUSD’s educational offerings and politics grow up.

  4. ryankelly

    This is just a repeat of the many letters that are being sent in.  It’s as though these letter writers are given talking points to include in their letters and they just repeat the same things over and over.  They seem to always end with a threat – Board recall, opposition to a future school tax renewal or pulling their children out of the District/private school/and now, formation of charter school.

    At least this one does not even pretend that the AIM program is for intellectually gifted students.

     

     

     

     

     

    1. Barack Palin

      Maybe you see their views as talking points but that’s how they believe.  The same cold be said of those on the opposite side of the discussion, they seem to be saying the same things over and over too.  

      1. ryankelly

        If there appeared to be an original thought, it would be different.

        Take this sentence – “Deanne Quinn, was dismissed from the program at the end of the last school year without ANY public consultation.”

        Does this writer really think that there should be public discussion for each contract employee the District hires or even just this one?   Or was he fed this talking point and not really thinking it through?

         

        1. Don Shor

          Or was he fed this talking point and not really thinking it through?

          The board majority hasn’t really explained any of their actions to date, including this one. A general statement as to the reason for making significant administrative changes would have been reasonable, without speaking about the specific personnel action. The board majority members have not articulated their goals for GATE, their guiding principles, or their rationale for the actions they’ve taken to date. I don’t know if they’ve even expressed support for the GATE program at all, even if only rhetorically.
          You might wish to be less disparaging of those you disagree with. I seem to recall you’re pretty sensitive about that yourself.

        2. zaqzaq

          ryan,

          The board could comment that Deanne Quinn was not retained because the board is taking the AIM program in a new direction.  They did not do so.  It is becoming clearer from their current actions where they are going and why.  I believe that individual board members have made comments and suggestions to the administration on where they want to go with the AIM program and that this new proposal is consistent with those suggestions.

          If you do not like the comments or they are becoming tiresome for you stop responding with the same message.

  5. wdf1

    BP:  Maybe you see their views as talking points but that’s how they believe.  The same cold be said of those on the opposite side of the discussion, they seem to be saying the same things over and over too. 

    I find a lack of developed thought in this letter that doesn’t contribute toward convincing an engaged but somewhat neutral reader of the author’s position.  And this has been the case for many such letters.

    One issue left out of discussion is some argument for how and why to identify AIM/GATE students a certain way.  Why should a certain cut score be used and not another (98? 96? etc.).  Or would everyone be happy if we just made GATE curricula and modalities the default norm across the district?

    Also this:

    The Board’s alternative of differentiated instructions, including possibly pullout programs, are likely to prove unsatisfactory. Great teachers in our district work already at the limits of their abilities to cope with frequently changing standards and overcrowded classes. Requesting them to adjust the programs to meet the needs of diverse students within one class will have negative impact on all students, especially on those requiring additional support.

    The author doesn’t fully explain why differentiated instruction and pullout programs are likely to prove unsatisfactory.  The implication in the next sentences is that it might have to do with overcrowding, and that teachers really can’t handle differentiation.

    For the first issue, it might help to know what maximum class size would be appropriate to pull this off.  For the second, then I would want to know what it is about the top 98-99+ percentile (or pick your cut score) that make differentiated instruction problematic, but not so for the rest of the students, scoring in the 1-97 percentile.  If it’s problematic for the 98-99 percentile students, then is it also problematic for everyone else?  Does that suggest that DJUSD should be breaking grade level classes by third grade OLSAT score intervals across the board?  one for 98-99, another for 90-97, another for 80-89, etc.

    1. Davis Progressive

      wdf: i agree you are asking an important point: “Why should a certain cut score be used and not another (98? 96? etc.).”  perfectly legitimate question, but it misses something – we are changing from 96 to 98 without an explanation as to why that is necessary

      1. wdf1

        DP:  we are changing from 96 to 98 without an explanation as to why that is necessary

         

        The staff acknowledges that it’s all arbitrary.  If that’s a reason for criticizing 98, then why go with 96?

        DJUSD has been using the OLSAT the primary guide for AIM identification, but it seems that there must really be other key characteristics in the target population of students that might be better identified by a classroom teacher (or is there another standardized tests?) than by the OLSAT.  Maybe the OLSAT can help confirm for certain cases when other traits are present.  It might probably be worth considering abandoning the OLSAT as the primary identification tool.

    2. zaqzaq

      Woodland has pullout programs and parents that I have spoken to whose children participated in those programs were not impressed.  The author may have spoken to parents in other districts with pull out programs and referred to them as a joke which was the term most used by the Woodland parents that I spoke to.

      1. ryankelly

        Davis is not planning on having a pull-out program.  Intellectually gifted students that are well beyond the norm of their peers will be in self-contained GATE classes.

  6. Frankly

    Are there any recent and reliable surveys from parents of Davis K-12 students as to their general satisfaction with choice and instruction quality?  My general sense here is that those with kids at the top and previously GATE identified and those with kids and bottom attending Da Vinci or King or ??  Or those with their youngsters in Spanish Immersion (and not yet able to assess how their later academic progress will be impacted) will give it relatively high marks… but the rest are either neutral or dissatisfied.  And if dissatisfied, those parent would likely not be very supportive of top-end carve-out programs and would be bending the ears of school board members to move toward a differentiation model.

    My point here is that the school board members might be simply responding to what they hear from other parents… not just those few aggressively demanding retention of self-contained GATE/AIM.   Most of these board members have a lot of friends and family with roots in Davis and with an opinion about Davis schools.  Might the silent majority be making some stronger points to sway board opinion?

    1. wdf1

      Frankly:  Are there any recent and reliable surveys from parents of Davis K-12 students as to their general satisfaction with choice and instruction quality? 

      There are periodic climate surveys that might touch on some issues that interest you.  Some climate surveys are archived online at dataquest, others might be found as archives of board packets.

      1. Frankly

        The California School Parent Survey is the one I would like to see, yet these dataquest surveys appear to be all one by school employees.

        I do however find it interesting to see these results.  Seem to me that maybe the teachers themselves are bending the ear of the school board.
        TD,
        ES,
        MS,
        HS,
        NT

        Promotes academic success for all students (T2.3)
        41%
        58%
        39%
        17%
        57%
        Encourages students to enroll in rigorous courses (T4.9)
        32%
        19%
        42%
        39%
        14%
        Emphasizes teaching lessons in ways relevant to students
        (T2.5)
        31%
        42%
        31%
        17%
        29%

      2. Frankly

        Numbers are percent strongly agreeing

        Which means that in most cases more disagree.

        Maybe you are trained to accept this as good news, but these numbers would be alarming in any private business surveying customer satisfaction. It is a sign of mediocrity.

        1. wdf1

          I’m neutral as to whether it’s good or bad news.  You threw out numbers without context or source.  I added it.

          I understand the survey to be mostly a 4-choice scale: strongly agree, agree, disagree, strongly disagree, not applicable.

          When I fill out surveys like that I often default to the “agree” option, unless I note extraordinary effort, or am particularly pleased in response to the question.

          If I were asked, “Frankly appropriately cites his sources,” I would probably choose “disagree.”  So maybe you could work on that.

          …but I suppose you’re off the clock when you’re on this blog and not obligated to provide customer satisfaction.

        2. Frankly

          Humorous post.  I like it.

          You are showing your colors here wdf1 on education excellence.  Apparently you don’t have much experience with that concept within a service enterprise.

          When you see that 17% of the HS school employees strongly agree that the school promotes academic success for all students… that is a failing grade… and provides great clarity for why some parents desire to move their kids out to special self-contained programs.

          This type of low assessment backs my assumption that there are probably a lot of teachers and parents bending the ears of the school board members to make the type of improvements that only adequate differentiation can provide.

  7. Davis Progressive

    i don’t know greg brucker, but i think it’s very important that we keep these debates on the issues, and not attack people.  he’s certainly entitled to his views and he certainly has a very different perspective than some of us.  i hope that this kind of attack doesn’t discourage others from posting their views.

  8. Grant Acosta

    May I humbly suggest a solution to this whole AIM controversy?

     

    We can argue about what cut-off score is appropriate, but there will always be objections, and in many circumstances, I believe legitimate objections.  After all, is there really a significant difference between a student who scores 97% on the OLSAT versus another kid who scores a 98%?  What about 95% versus 96%?  We could lower the bar to 90% and really expand the program, but what about the 89% kids?  Isn’t there a chance that their needs aren’t being met?

     

    The reality is that, while I believe the original purpose of GATE/AIM was to serve a unique population of students who were intellectually gifted but NOT succeeding in the regular classroom, what many Davis parents want is an accelerated program.  I get it. So let’s do it.

     

    Given that there are so many parents who want more control of their kid’s educational opportunities, and that there will apparently never be a consensus on cut-off scores or which test to use, why not let parents self-select to enroll their children into the AIM program?  The district could still give the OLSAT, but have the score be advisory.  No more parents freaking out and crying for private testing if their kid doesn’t score high enough on one test.  No parents badgering their child’s 3rd grade teacher to give high marks on the proposed HOPE scale.  If a parent feels strongly enough that their child should be in the program, then go for it.  BUT… and this is the irony of the this approach…, no complaining that the material is too hard or the pace too fast.  This is really no different than what happens in high school and college anyway.  If you want to take Honors Calculus, fine, but it is your responsibility to keep up.

     

    Problem solved!

     

     

    1. ryankelly

      The research reports from last year determined that if all children in the District were given the TONI in the manner that it was given, this might result in more than 60% of Davis children qualifying for the Davis AIM program.  The problem with allowing the program to grow ever larger is that the highly intelligent students who do not do well regular classroom have no where to go.   If an honors program for elementary students was set up (as parents seem to want), then teachers and administrators should be able to remove the student from the program for poor academic performance with no differentiation in the classroom and no extra services to help the student keep up.   Currently, no child is removed from AIM, unless the parents choose to do this, even for poor progress or failing grades, because it is special education, not an honors program.

      1. karajdaar

        So a one time assessment on a particular aspect of giftedness is ok but continuous assessment of the childs ability to stay on track with his peers is not ?

        I believe the reason we have grades (1st – 12th) at all is because the assumption is kids within a narrow age range have similar capabilities. However what we seem to suggest here is that differentiated teaching does not work when those capabilities are outside a certain range!!?

        Why not do periodic assessments and adjustments and make it right for both the teacher and the student?

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