Saturday, April 27, 2013

Programming Clarification

The development of the program is a tricky and multi-variable process. I've been doing NYC DOE school schedules since 1997.  My programming experience runs the gamut from an alternative transfer high school with kids whose credit needs spanned the map to the esoteric eccentricities of an elite performing arts school that had professional arts organizations like Alvin Ailey providing dance instruction for 3 hours a day to students.

Every school has their own unique needs and wants.  Ultimately, we are all striving to do the same thing which is provide the best structure for our kids to be safe, to thrive, and to learn.

Kelly and I have been avidly negotiating with the UFT consultation committee (Damon, Jen S, Adrienne, Jessica S, and Pamela).  They presented us with a hard-worked proposal from the staff.  The proposal asked for 60 min periods for all periods.  This program also asked for 4 sections each meeting 4 times per week with the remaining periods being left for push in.

PROPOSED SCHEDULE from Consultation Committee

Unfortunately, there were 2 dilemmas inherent in this proposal.
  • The math of student need didn't match up with teacher request to teach 4 sections only 4 times per week.  In this program, there are 34 periods (7 periods per day * 5 days per week minus the early release day).  Under the proposal, each student would have

    Middle School        
    - 16 Core Courses Periods (Math/Sci/Reading/Writing)
    - 8 Breadth Course Periods (3 Carrerra + 2 Art + 3 Gym)
    - 5 Lunch Periods
    TOTAL = 29  (we need to make it to 34)

    High School        
    - 20 Core Courses Periods (Math/Sci/SocStud/English/Language)
    - 5 Breadth Course Periods (2 Carrerra + 3 Gym)
    - 5 Lunch Periods
    TOTAL = 30  (we need to make it to 34), thus the "????" periods in the above program
  • Student Safety during the hour-long lunch period.  The passing time around lunch posed a safety issue for students.  Currently, middle school students have 50 minutes in the cafeteria.  Already this time is too long for students.  Now, we're proposing to buffer this time by 5 minutes at the beginning and end of the lunch periods.  We've been discussing many ideas with the consultation committee, but none of the ideas can guarantee personnel to staff the halls and cafeteria and ensure student safety.

    With these two unresolved issues, this proposal is not viable.

As a result, we presented you with the 1.5 period block program.  This program attempts to solve both of the problems listed above.

Program Option A

Pamela shared the results of your preliminary vote on this program which led us to develop contract-aligned program.

Program Option B

If the staff objects to Program Option A, then we will have no option but to move forward and implement Program Option B.  Option B is not an ideal program, but it is contractual.  

With respect to the original proposal, the consultation committee did recognize the need to give up the push in periods to make their program viable, but as of yet, we have not cracked the safety problem and supervision for students in the halls during lunch.  Ergo, that Option is still not viable.

We need to move forward.  Either we agree to vote in Option A by Friday May 3rd, or we will default to Option B on Friday May 3rd.  Friday May 3rd is the deadline for SBOs and submission of session times. 

To help you weigh the options more clearly, I've put together some pretty charts for you

Comparison of Teaching & Non-Teaching Time (total minutes per week)

Comparison of Class Minutes by Format

Projected Learning Cultures Mandates and Breakdown for Program Options

I hope that you are willing to consider Option A.  It is viable, it serves the best interests of kids, and it is fair for teachers.   If you disagree (or agree), please let us know by taking this brief survey here.  It is anonymous and only for purposes of understanding staff attitudes, desires, and needs.  Kelly and I will be out of the building part of the day Monday (Girl Inc Event) and Tuesday (Network Instructional Rounds visit to UA Green Careers).  Our next meeting with the committee will be on Wednesday.  Please do continue to share with them your thoughts and opinions so that they may bring your concerns and questions to our meeting on Wednesday.