File this one in the more-good-news-we’re-happy to see category.
Jonathon Simon (who chairs the Achievement Gap Advisory Panel) and Paula Donaldson, Marcus Walton, Kaili Baucum, and Peter Keatin (subcommittee chairs) wrote a good op-ed in the Montclair Times this week that we think is worth highlighting. Namely, we’re glad that they’re publicizing the work that is being done and reaching out to the community to get more folks involved.
All of us in Montclair must realize its promise will only be fulfilled when outcomes at every grade level cannot be predicted according to the designation of a student’s ability, gender, race, income level, ethnicity or zip code. Years of research prove this is measurable and fixable. Thus, closing these gaps is imperative for Montclair.
To address this challenge and establish a high-quality learning experience for all Montclair students, the current administration of the Montclair Public School District (MPSD), under the leadership of Penny MacCormack, Ed.D., superintendent, has asked the community to take an active role in finding a solution and has taken steps to:
1) identify strategies for eliminating structural barriers to student and teacher performance;
2) increase opportunities for effective engagement and preparation of parents and students.
To support the superintendent’s efforts, a group of approximately 40 community volunteers with diverse networks, perspectives, and expertise have committed to meeting as an Achievement Gap Advisory Panel, often referred to as AGAP.
Our committee is open to anyone interested in working toward our town’s great promise. We have come together to develop needed recommendations for implementing gap closing strategies. In the coming weeks, the committee plans to formally announce dates for a series of intimate public forums designed to hear directly from parents and concerned citizens.
Findings from these engagements will inform the design of a final set of recommendations to the superintendent and the Montclair Board of Education.
From everything we’ve seen and heard from folks, Simon’s done a good job as head of the advisory panel, and we’re glad that they’re getting the word out about it. Hopefully, the forums that they’re holding will also be constructive. Namely, we’re hoping that they won’t reach the level of political bickering that has disrupted so many school board meetings, and that they’ll be free of the political gamesmanship from the MCAS crowd that disrupted an earlier advisory panel meeting. We do think these kind of constructive, positive discussions about how we can move our district forward are important and so we’re glad to see more of them.