The Three Choice Option

UPDATED

This option has never been formally presented to the board.  As such, discussion about the program is purely speculative as it has not been presented to or debated by the board.  If this is an approach you believe could work, and you prefer it to the other approaches described above, I encourage you to write to your school board member and let them know because unless we let them know that there are other alternatives, one of the two other approaches will be approved.

The Proposal

How about PWCS give every parent a choice – Investigations, Traditional, or No Preference?

PWC will provide two instructional programs for elementary mathematics for students in grades 1, 2, 3, 4, and 5.   Each program will be designed to meet or exceed the state standards of learning.  Parents can elect the Investigations based program, a traditionally based program, or state that they have no preference.  No preference students will be assigned to either program as needed and schools will strive to keep those  students in that program until they leave elementary school.

Students whose parents choose a program will be expected to remain in that program until they leave elementary school.   Transferring from one program to another will only be permitted if good cause is demonstrated. No preference students will be given a one time free pass to transfer out of the program they were assigned to without demonstrating cause.    Transfers and assignments will be effective at the start of the school year.  Mid-year transfers will not be permitted.

Parents must notify their assigned school in writing by a set date to indicate which instructional program they choose for their children.  A choice must be made for each child.  Once a choice is made, re-enrolling each year is not required.  Children whose parents fail to indicate which program they prefer will be considered no preference students.

Students who enroll in PWC Schools during the school year will be asked to indicate which program they prefer before their child begins classes.

Schools will be permitted to select instructional materials for the traditional program from the list of VA DOE approved textbooks that they believe best meet their students needs.

NEW The Pros and Cons

Under this approach parents would chose an instructional approach for their children or indicate that they have no preference.  Students, based on their parents preference, would be enrolled in or assigned to a particular approach for math class.

This option would allow local schools to maintain control over scheduling and class assignments,  provide parents with a choice in how their children are taught math, reduce the need for students to transfer to another school, and protect the integrity of both instructional approaches.

The biggest concern with this program is how students are assigned to classes so that schools can ensure an appropriate mix and how the instructional day is scheduled.  But there are ways of managing that concern.

Students could be assigned to a base teacher and move to their math teacher’s room during math.  So, if a student enrolled in the traditional math program is assigned to an Investigations  teacher as his “base” teacher,  that student would switch places with an Investigations student from another classroom during math.

Let’s say we have a school with 100 students in a given grade which equates to  4 classes of 25 students, and, of those 100 students,  34 have elected program X, 37 have elected program Y, and the remaining 29 have not responded.    How would the program work?

Those 29 non responding students would be assigned to a math program as needed; in this case 16 would be assigned to program X and 13 would be assigned to program Y.  Students would be assigned to their base teachers just like they always are, so a teacher will have a mix of program X and program Y students in her classroom, and the students not enrolled in the program she teaches will rotate out of her room for math while students from another room will rotate in.

Schools could decide how the students will be mixed and rotate.  Two teachers could work together and swap students or three or more teachers could.  Whatever rotation works best for the teachers and the students could be selected.

Teachers would have to work together for grading and conferences and any teachers teaming together would have to teach math at the same time each day.

The biggest plus – this program would actually cost less than the Investigations program does.  Over a 4 year period this program would cost approximately $80,000 less than the Investigations only program; the savings would be greater for schools with materials still in storage.

The Other Proposals
The two proposals which have been submitted to the board are the Economically Feasible proposal and the Blended Approach. We’ve also developed some rough estimates of the cost of each different proposal for anyone interested. Take the time to read each and review the costing data. Then contact the board and let them know how you feel.

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