THE MEMBERS OF THE CITY OF RICHMOND SCHOOL BOARD FACE A HIGH STAKES TEST TONIGHT. WILL THEY BACK SUPT. DANA BEDDEN AND DEMOTE THE PRINCIPAL AT G.H. REID ELEMENTARY SCHOOL FOR POOR PERFORMANCE ON THE SOLS?
If they do, they will send a message that RPS is open under new management and that everyone will be held accountable. Such a vote is critical and will catalyze the momentum of this system at a crucial time. But, if this school board fails to back the superintendent, they might as well pack up and head home. such a vote would demoralize and demean the authority of the superintendent and signal parents and teachers across the city that this school board talks TALL, but is not prepared to walk tall. Read my colleague john r. butcher's excellent post below (and on his cranky's blog). let us know what you think. ~ CW
At first glance this seems terribly unfair: Richmond, under the “leadership” of Yvonne Brandon, did not update its curriculum to reflect the new math SOL tests in 2012 or the new reading tests in 2013. So we have to wonder whether the principal is being singled out for participating in a general failure.
A glance at the numbers from VDOE’s handy Build-A-Table front end to their database suggests otherwise.
First, Reid participated in the general plummet on the math tests in 2012. In the following two years, however, the division recovered slightly while Reid continued to slide (to a 37.3% pass rate!).
(Reid* scores are reported separately for 2006 and ‘07, presumably before some kind of redistricting.) This looks even worse when we notice that Reid was performing well above the Richmond average until after 2012.
The pass rates on the Reading tests show a similar pattern, with the Reid pass rate dropping to 36.6% (!) this year:
Next, the database sheds some light on Reid’s performance vs. the other priority elementary schools. First the math tests:
Based on the math scores, I’d like to know whether the Woodville principal is being similarly demoted and where the Oak Grove and Blackwell principals stand.
Looking at the Reading scores, I’d add the principals at Oak Grove and Woodville to the short list.
I’d like another datum: Have these three principals been in the saddle for three years or more? If so, their failures are on their own watches and I’ll think it time for some accountability.
Thus, we’ll need information about tenures and these other principals before we can decide whether it’s time to praise our new Superintendent for bringing accountability to our schools for the first time in recent memory. But the Reid situation may be cause for some hope.
Item 3 under “Essential Actions” is “Create division lesson plan template.” Surely that must mean “school” lesson plan; there is no way Reid can create a “division” lesson plan.
Item 4 makes more sense: “Use RPS template to create lesson plans . . . .”
We know from the Channel 12 story that the new RPS administration created a new curriculum last summer, put it on the Web, and held workshops for teachers. If it is true, as this Plan suggests, that Reid stillhas not aligned its lesson plans to that curriculum, then for sure it’s time for a new principal.
Further Note on Oct. 6: It turns out there is some history on principal replacement. A VDOE document reports that the principal at Ginter Park was replaced in ‘12, Blackwell in ‘13, and Oak Grove in ‘14. I’ve modified the graphs above to add red circles to show the year of replacement:
On these limited data, it looks like the replacement at Ginter Park is producing results (altho it appears that GP was not a priority school until 2013) and it’s early to draw conclusions about the other two schools.