Well folks, the spring 2014 MCAS data is now available on-line at http://profiles.doe.mass.edu/mcas/achievement_level.aspx?linkid=32&orgcode=01780000&orgtypecode=5&
and it ain't pretty! The school committee meeting of Tuesday, Sept. 23rd, will discuss the results and please be prepared for lots of spinning, twisting, contorting, excuses, and plenty of new plans, reviews, committees, subcommittees, groups, hearings, and any other rationalizations. What you won't hear are honest assessments of the existing programs implemented and their failures to address student improvements and that is a great disservice to the residents of Melrose.
Something in our school district is not working and we need to find out what these things are and fix them soon. We know we have dedicated, qualified, competent teachers throughout our school district who are committed to our students - but what we seem to have is an educational system which stifles the teaching process.
here we go again.
That's o.k. Ho-Hum, we all know you don't care, so go back to sleep, and mommy and daddy will take care of you!
So, if I have this right, 19% of all tested in English, 31% of all tested Math, and 35% of all tested in Science are something other than proficient or higher (needs improvement, warning or failing). Is that right? Because if it is, I'm dying to hear anyone try to explain to me how those results are anything but just plain awful.
No doubt someone will maintain that you have oversimplified, but you haven't. The numbers show that fully 25% of all students system wide are not meeting basic proficiency levels. That's 1 in 4 for you MHS grads.
I can tell you how it will spin. They will mention Wakefield, Stoneham and Malden- All three of those districts have a higher % of students in categories lower than proficient.
Please don't make the mistake of comparing us to any other school system. We should be comparing results our own students year to year looking for their individual improvements. We gave Ms Taymore a big salary to come here, hire her own admin staff, additional admin staff, gave them all raises over the past 3 tears including herself, gave all the teachers significant raises in the hope that all this would make a significant impact on our student outcomes. 2 plus years later, we appear to be going backwards based on these recent MCAS results. What's going on?
The next thing we will hear from Taymore and the city admin is...we need more money...an override? Sure....throw more money at the problem...obviously...it has been working well so far hasn't it?
Dear MFD- Please learn to read, and don't be so pompous and passive aggressive. I am not, as you say, making the mistake of comparing us to other districts. The original poster believes the school committee will put a spin on the mcas results. I agree with this opinion, and I think the spin may be that the school committee mentions how we are above neighboring districts. I did not say this was right, I did not say it was a relevant comparison, and I did not say I agreed with it. I simply said the school committee will probably use this fact. Any kind of discussion is impossible with you.
Wow, really really poor.
Science 36% of All district students Needs Improvement or Warning/Failing
Math 31% of All district students Needs Improvement or Warning/Failing
ELA 19% of All district students Needs Improvement or Warning/Failing
Just NOT ACCEPTABLE, Period.
Breaking it down:
3rd grade Math 31% of students in Needs Improvement or Warning/Failing
5th grade Science 35% of students Needs Improvement or Warning/Failing
7th grade Math 45% of students in Needs Improvement or Warning/Failing
8th grade Math 40% of students in Needs Improvement or Warning/Failing
8th grade Science 49% of students in Needs Improvement or Warning/Failing
So all you gung-ho Elementary Parents who think this administration is doing just a bang-up great job, get with reality. This is Year 3 for the Taymore administration. No longer can you blame JCasey for this disaster. You should, however, take a share of the blame YOURSELVES.
Opps! I should have better clarified who I was referring to in my remarks. I was more referring to those who prefer to compare our results to other school systems and then seem satisfy with the results. I clearly understood from your remarks that you agree with me.
This four-year comparison spells it out pretty clearly, too. Whatever tiny gains were made, they were offset by bad news in the other end of the spectrum generally. There is NO WAY that this administration can get away with claiming they are succeeding! They are clearly failing the kids, and there is NO WAY that administrative raises were earned, in basically anything.
Hoover turns up with some of the worst overall scores yet again. Looking at Student Growth from 2011-2014, there basically is none, with a flat line of progress, and only 74% of students in Proficient or higher, worst in the district, meaning that more than a quarter of the Hoover students are in Needs Improvement/Failing overall.
32% of Grade 4 Math students in Needs Improvement/Warning/Failing
How is it that the superintendent can claim such glowing things about these principals, particularly this one? Either the data means something or it doesn't!
Money (taxes) cannot buy happiness (an education).
Why is it that every other district expects to be compared state-wide (which is why the data are presented with the statewide average) but Melrose is so touchy that it rejects that? For pete's sake, our students know full well that they will be compared every which way, not just to other communities. When they get to high school, they have to rank nationally/internationally, so this hyper-sensitivity about comparisons with other districts is just hogwash. Certainly there needs to be internal comparisons so all understand local performance issues. But a broader comparison is absolutely valid. The administration and its defenders reject this, but that's because they reject anything that might shed real honest light on their abysmal performance.
Okay, Vuvu/Brigid/Mikey/MEFoids/dolanites, etc., time for your vicious, snarling, nonsensical rants about how the DESE is just a bunch of "Clowns" and "Liars" who are engaged in a conspiracy to portray Melrose unfairly and that if the Meanies weren't all just "Trojan Horses" and an Override were accepted, everyone would see that more money (especially to administrators) would equal immediate improvement in test scores and a reduction in the water/sewer rate all at the same time (maybe even help Joy getting community waist sizes reduced)!
Hey “Parent” you should not lie about the information. Your earlier post stated that “3rd grade Math 31% of students in Needs Improvement or Warning/Failing.” That is simply not true. First, I note that you created a new category to try to make things sound worse than they are. Good for you. However, if you are going to criticize the math results, perhaps you should get your own math right. In the third grade, Melrose had 14% in Needs Improvement and 3% in Failing. If you add these two categories together, as you apparently tried to do, you get 17%, not 31%. Analyze all you want, just try to be truthful.
I don't actually agree that things are all doom and gloom. If you click on the tab that compares Melrose to other districts - Reading, Wakefield, Stoneham - Melrose does seem to be on the upswing (be it a slow upswing with incremental gains over the years) while other communities were on a downswing (again, incremental changes).
Check it for yourself:
You can put any district in and compare to Melrose. Just click on the section that says "Curriculum, Instruction and Assessment." It is actually a pretty cool website - you can click on any district, any grade, any subcategory, and compare.
But I do agree about Mystic Valley - across the board, they had a bad year. Considering how much they teach to the test they must be very disappointed.
Melrose just has dumber kids the Wakefield. We were led to believe the problem with the middle school were the two 7th grade math teachers. Apparently the MCAS scores in math have gone down since they left, so it must be the dumb kids.
I look back on those halcyon days when I first visited this site, and marvelled at the comparisons of the Melrose schools to those in Belmont, Arlington and Winchester. Here we are a few short years later, and the most apt comparison is to a crappy urban charter school.
Wait...I thought the charter school was one of the best schools in the country. Didn't the US News report that?
Yup, and they also reported that Saddam Hussein had weapons of mass destruction, too. For the love of God, stop worrying about the charter school. Except for my tax dollars that get hijacked to fund the place, I could care less about the charter school.
Concentrate on Melrose, which is the only thing we can control to any degree. Maybe looking at other systems with similar demographics can be used as a loose barometer, but that's a far as it goes. Comparing ourselves to the State figures is nonsense, because the State figures include Lawrence, Lowell, New Bedford, etc.
All I get from those latest results is that we're still mired in mediocrity, and all the promises about improvement still haven't been kept. I see no trend towards systemic improvement at all. They can attempt to spin it anyway they want - and I still won't believe them. Would you believe them if they told you $hit was ice cream?
Thank you Jeff and Dr C for the pitiful showing of our school. Wow. You know where you can take your "strategies" and "data"! Will the Horace Mann kids be learning their multiplication tables in the 10th grade, because clearly MHS has to clean up the sewer of the mess these elementaries and middles school have caused?
So did all the elementary schools improve to a level 1 school except one?
Apparently Horace Mann has now descended to a Level 3 school! No excuse!
I am voting yes to an override so your vote is cancelled yet AGAIN! No matter how many times you post this you are still a single vote.
I am a single voter too who has many friends who would be more than happy to vote for an override. Which is why it doesn't help for you to continue to type "no to an override" on a thousand different strings on MelroseMessages- it makes no difference what you, individually, or I, individually, think, no matter how many times you would like to post here. The city should put it on the ballot and see what the rest of Melrose would like to do.
Don't be fooled people, it's not about the money. If it were, then how does the city come up with millions of dollars of money for teacher and admin pay raises when they need it as they just did a year ago - please explain that? It's not about the money but about management and leadership, and resource allocation. This is something we deal with in the private sector everyday - there is no "money well" we go back to when we need money, we re-organize, get rid of "deadwood", economize, make more efficient, and make better use of existing resources until better times come. You can't bleed the public that is already suffering from a stagnant economy, with more part-time jobs than full time jobs, with higher poverty rates than ever, and when more people are on welfare than ever.
Get real - an override is too easy an answer and does not solve our school problem in Melrose nor nationally. Spending more money has never been the solution and never will - pumping billions of dollars each year into education by the federal government has gotten us to where we are today - a dismal educational tract record! It is time for a change in direction - away from federal-directed education imperatives.
Wish we knew more about how the high school students did on the AP and SATs. Of course the administration knows full well, but they're going to keep those hidden, also, for as long as possible. MHS ends up having to clean up the abysmal mess that the elementary and middle schools cause, and they do a somewhat decent job up to a bare-minimum point as far as that pathetically low bar of MCAS. But most of us who've been around know just how bad it is when MHS has to stack up nationally, with College Board scores that just aren't even close to acceptable. We've watched the guidance head bumble and fumble through enough pathetic recountings and out and out fabrications, and seen our own kids' results to know that this is where it all comes to a head, and this is where the administrators and school committee make sure the community stays the most in the dark. You won't see any "Forums" about the College Board results because the elementary mommies would shriek in horror if they understood just how bad it is, starting with the idiocy that the top brass of MHS put out there (knowing how few high school parents are involved enough to react). The MHS brass just shines on the school committee with its mickey-mouse "new course offerings" and gets away with this as far as the younger parents (who are naive enough to be "impressed" at the silly mumbo jumbo instead of looking at the facts).
Let's face it, it is a struggle just to survive in today's environment. Most parents are both working, coming home exhausted, just living pay check to pay check, just enough time to be with their kids for a few hours, helping them when they can, dealing with all the minutia of life, and then trying to deal with the school bureaucracy seems just a tad too much, in a day too short! Take care of your own and let others deal with these bigger issues.
The only problem with this scenario is - that attitude affects each and every one of us - whether you are in the fight or not! Each person who stays sheltered - stays ignored! And that can't be good for anyone!
Repeat after me, "Voting NO on The Override" !
When we first moved to Melrose, and had no kids, and knew nothing about the schools other than they seemed mediocre (yes, even then, the schools were not known for being top tier despite was is said on this website),we voted for both overrides (the one for the middle school and the general override) because 1) we had the money and 2) we thought better schools would mean better housing prices. I wonder how many new people, who have moved in via the high end rental units at Oak Grove and Stone Place, would think the same? There are a lot of new people in this town who can afford $3,000/month in rent so $200/year in additional property taxes for better schools (in their perception) may not be that much. I don't know how the vote will go, but I think it will be interesting.
But many of them moved to Oak Grove or Stone Place, decided they really liked Melrose and ended up buying condos or houses here (which is one reason the market in Melrose is so hot right now). My neighbors did this exact thing. They don't have kids, I have no idea what their opinion is on the schools, but I am wondering if they would vote for an override if given the chance. To these new residents, they make think that a $200/year investment in property taxes could raise the value of their homes more than $200/year if the school system improves, so they will vote yes to an override, despite not having much interest in the schools. Like I said, this was our attitude when we first moved to Melrose without kids and the overrides were on the ballot.
from another string:
"When you see a district that's doing really well with a visionary superintendent, it may also have a very proactive school board, a very involved community and a whole bunch of other things," and sadly Melrose has none of those things.
It's unfortunate that the majority of the year is spent "teaching to the MCAS" instead of teaching to learn. Now, we find that all that time spent "teaching to the MCAS" was a waste of time and a huge loss of time on learning.
And it will be worse with Common Core and PARCC Testing.
Go online and see for yourself how shamelessly this district plans to "present" its version of the truth, Tonight, 5:30 City Hall, MCAS presentation @ School Committee Meeting.
If you need an antidote, just go to the DESE website and look at the actual stuff, minus the spin:
Then use the DART tool and compare Melrose to anyplace else.
Honestly tried to read this bilge and it's beyond comprehension that they think we are all so dumb that we'll buy this baloney. Bottom line, district failed to deliver, over and over again. They blow up their marginal successes, hugely downplay the "challenges" and twist everything with their ridiculous color schemes (note the absence of red, as in Red Flags that any halfwit could see if they look at the DESE website). At least they portray some of the negatives as brown!
This 62-page document was supposedly "worked on for months" as Taymore said last night. If so, then she reveals that in fact she's known all along just how poorly the district did overall, and yet had the nerve to demand a raise and contract extension. And the Committee had the nerve to give her what she wanted. Disgraceful. That's all there is to say.
And no, those "subgroups" are not the reason for the problems. The mayor wants us to believe Melrose has "the poorest of the poor" living here, as if this is even true, let alone why things are such a mess in the district. The superintendent kept referring to the "minority" test scores. This is racism, classism, and it is dangerous to let any of them get away with this. Melrose is not Chelsea, but if it were, the population would have an obligation to address the needs responsibly and fairly, not by driving insidious and racist wedges into the community as political tools. Shame on them and shame on anyone who buys into this.
Here is a constructive proposal and one based on the evidence of the past 3 years:
we need a new Mayor, a new school committee and especially a new school superintendent and not a 62 page rationalization or override!
This is exactly the kind of stuff that begins to happen when people get so entrenched within a system that that begin to think they are not answerable to anyone anymore. What's a simple solution to prevent this? Term limits, of course - maximum of two terms in any elected office.