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Board of Education District and Community Relations Committee Meeting - Apr 24, 2013

Meeting Date & Time: Wednesday, April 24, 2013, 5:00 PM
Where: DeLayo Martin Community Room Alice and Bruce King Educational Complex, 6400 Uptown NE
Minutes: Minutes
Agenda Packet: Packet
Meeting Posted On: 03/28/2013, 7:44 PM
Agenda Posted On: 04/19/2013, 1:16 PM
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District and Community Relations Committee Meeting

AGENDA

 

Wednesday, April 24, 2013

5:00 PM

DeLayo-Martin Community Room, Alice and Bruce King Educational Complex, 6400 Uptown Blvd.NE

Albuquerque, New Mexico

 

I.

Call to Order

 

A.

Roll Call

 

B.

Adoption of the April 24, 2013, District and Community Relations Agenda and the Approval of the March 26, 2013, District and Community Relations Minutes (Discussion/Action)

 

II.

Public Forum

 

III.

Superintendent's Student Advisory Council (SuperSAC) Report (Discussion)
Presenter: Joseph Escobedo, Chief of Staff

 

IV.

Teaching English Language Learners for a Transformed World (Discussion)
Presenter: Dr. Analee Maestas, District and Community Relations Chair and Guests Dr. Virginia Collier and Dr. Wayne Thomas

 

V.

Next District and Community Relations Committee Meeting

 

A.

Wednesday, May 22, 2013, at 5:00 p.m., at the Alice and Bruce King Educational Complex in the DeLayo-Martin Community Room.

 

VI.

Adjournment

 

Minutes of the District and Community Relations Committee Meeting

Board of Education

Albuquerque Public Schools

 

A District and Community Relations Committee meeting of the Board of Education of Albuquerque Public Schools (APS) was held Tuesday, April 24, 2013, beginning at 5:00 p.m., in the DeLayo Martin Community Room, Alice and Bruce King Educational Complex, 6400 Uptown Blvd. NE.

 

I.          Call to Order

The meeting was called to order at 5:00 p.m.

  1. A. Roll Call

Present: Martin Esquivel, Dr. Analee Maestas, and Lorenzo Garcia

Absent:  Kathy Korte, Steven Michael Quezada, Dr. Don Duran, and Dr. David Peercy

  1. B. Adoption of the April 24, 2013, District and Community Relations Agenda and the Approval of the March 26, 2013, District and Community Relations Minutes (Discussion/Action)

Chairperson Analee Maestas asked for a motion to adopt the agenda and approve the minutes.  Martin Esquivel moved for approval; Lorenzo Garcia seconded the motion; motion carried.

 

II.         Public Forum

Chairperson Maestas requested that public form be delayed until after the Item IV presentation.

 

III.        Superintendent’s Student Advisory Council (SuperSAC) Report

Chief of Staff Joseph Escobedo introduced SuperSAC students:  Kaylee Amershek of Volcano Vista High School, Amanda Winther of Eldorado High School, and Renea Atencio of New Futures High School.

One of the topics discussed at the latest SuperSAC meeting was nutrition, cost, and food preference.  The students enjoyed “taste-testing” some calzones.  They also discussed security in the schools; students did not feel threatened by their presence and, if budget permits, would welcome more security where needed.  Students feel comfortable talking to counselors and others about any concerns.

The most important issues over the past year for SuperSAC students were the calendar changes, the budget and keeping teachers, learning about nutrition, whether the food is grown locally, and cost.

Mr. Escobedo invited committee members to an end-of-year celebration for the outgoing SuperSAC members and meeting the incoming members on April 29, at Hinkle Family Fun Center.

 

IV.       Teaching English Language Learners for a Transformed World

Chairperson Maestas introduced guest speakers Dr. Virginia Collier, Professor Emerita of Bilingual/Multicultural/ESL Education at George Mason University in Fairfax, Virginia, and Dr. Wayne Thomas, Emeritus Professor of Evaluation and Research Methods in the Graduate School of Education at George Mason University.  They have done extensive research on school effectiveness for linguistically and culturally diverse students (see http://www.thomasandcollier.com).

David Rogers of Dual Language of New Mexico (DLeNM) added that the research being presented by the guests is documented in their books, “Educating English Learners for a Transformed World” and “Dual Language Education for a Transformed World,” published by DLeNM.  Two small schools received a grant in 1995 and 1996 to pilot a dual language program based on their research and have inspired other grant programs in other schools.

Key issues to focus on for closing the achievement gap include native language instruction, a commitment for more than seven years to develop academic proficiency, the importance of English language development, socio-cultural responsiveness, and leadership at all levels.

Dr. Collier stated that it takes an average of six years for students who are not fluent in a language to achieve grade level, at the rate of a year and a half gain each year. This is achieved by staying above grade level in their native language.  K-8 dual language programs are very successful because they carry forward the knowledge from the early years.  Two-way language learning is ideal, retaining one’s native language and adding another.  Language is taught at the same time as academic content.  The languages should be kept separate (don’t cross back and forth) and children permitted to use whichever language is most comfortable.

Dr. Thomas and Dr. Collier shared that dual language is the main stream classroom taught through two languages and utilizes peer teaching.  Research has shown that students in dual language programs thrive, no matter what socio-economic class they are in, because they are neurologically more engaged and have better cognitive retention.  Knowledge transfers to the other language.  Students in dual language programs score significantly higher (sometimes as much as a year) than others on state tests.  Students have a stronger cultural identity, higher self-esteem, are excited about learning, attendance is better, and there are fewer behavioral referrals.  Students rise to the occasion, mastering more of the curriculum, language and academic content, and experiencing full gap closure.   Even special needs students do better than peers in a mono-lingual class.  When students reach their saturation point, switching to another language resets the saturation point and learning can continue; schools can get more use out of an instructional day.

Students can have this at no cost and this can represent a cost-savings to the district, as enrollment rises, because education becomes more efficient.  The largest cost to the program is personnel.

In summary, Dr. Collier said the ultimate goal is to get students to attend dual language classes, get them to grade level, keep them there, and enable them to become bi-lingual, bi-literate, and college ready.  There needs to be an effective leadership program that advocates staff cohesion, understanding, and support of the program (including parents and the community).  Personnel should be fully-certified academic language program teachers who are life-long learners, and there needs to be on-going staff development.  Dr. Thomas added that dual language programs are a mechanism for transformation of schools.  The best way to educate the community is to start the program and show the results.

It is important to maintain English Language Learners and English as a Second Language (or Spanish as a Second Language) programs as they address specialized issues.

Chairperson Maestas invited board members to comment, followed by public forum.

Lorenzo Garcia passed on a concern from the community that schools may be losing teachers because the population has gone down.  He hopes that studies like this can bring cohesion between the New Mexico Public Education Department and the school district.

Martin Esquivel asked for elaboration and differentiation between dual immersion (aka 50:50) versus dual language and the 90:10 model and what is being done nationwide to improve the shortage of teachers.

Dr. Collier clarified that immersion usually uses the 90:10 from the Canadian model for K-1st grades and moves to 50:50.  The 90:10 model is learning to read structurally, first in one language and then the other.  Pragmatically, many schools begin with 50:50 because they can explain it to their communities.  The 90:10 model produces higher scores, but both are much higher than transitional language learners.  Many move to 90:10 once they’ve started in 50:50 because the English language learners don’t get enough Spanish.  The important thing is to think through all the needs and do what works best, serving the most at-risk groups first.  While there currently may be a shortage of teachers, there are more bi-lingual teachers coming through the pipeline.  Many states hire from Latin America.  Also, two teachers who are not fully bilingual can be matched up to teach in the same class.

Mr. Esquivel expressed concern about the transition between elementary school and middle school, that there seems to be a lack of enthusiasm for it in middle school and without the emphasis there, students lose what they’ve gained.

Dr. Collier suggests very strongly that dual language programs be continued throughout the grades, and that students start dual language from the beginning.  It needs to be planned in advance.  This greatly enhances cognitive development.  High school dual language programs are really powerful as there is a much bigger cognitive demand.  One advantage of having it continued in middle school is that it is then in place for new arrivals, enabling them to stay on grade level and helping them to cope.

Chairperson Maestas emphasized that this is an important strategy for eliminating the achievement gap.  State mandates and lack of funding can be inhibitors.  It will take a lot of support and lobbying for the state to embrace this as a major strategy.  Another concern is the national movement with regard to common core state standards and where it fits with a dual language program.

Dr. Thomas shared that the common core movement is progressing away from “No Child Left Behind” and from easier tests, realizing lowering standards does not help. Common core state standards are requiring more cognitive demand and instruction and more difficult tests.  He predicts that the highest learners are dual language learners and that the dual language program is a more perfect match for the common core movement.

 

 

 

V.        Public Forum

Public forum participant Adam Brechtel commented that dual language causes you to have to learn to think another way; it expands your thinking.

Discussion clarified the importance of not interrupting first language learning in preschool, but retaining that in addition to dual language.  More and more preschools are engaging in a dual language program.

Public forum participant Lynn, a parent and bi-lingual educator, stated that half of the battle is educating stakeholders in the process of bi-lingual education.  She reiterated the concern that a very high percentage of students are no longer in dual language programs and that it needs to be a K-12 endeavor.  Another area that needs to be addressed is consistency in the type of Spanish that is taught--U.S. Spanish is unique, different from others.

The committee asked Lynn Rosen to come back with information about APS and the type of support needed.

Mr. Rogers has copies of DLeNM’s quarterly newsletter that talks about best practice.  He also extended an invitation to hear panel members in a community dialogue about curriculum to be held at 1 p.m., Saturday, May 4, at the Atrisco Heritage Academy High School auditorium.  There will be a lot of community contributors.

Principal Steven Tognoni from East San Jose Elementary School invited the public to come and see their program.

 

VI.       Next District and Community Relations Committee Meeting

Chairperson Maestas announced that the next District and Community Relations Committee meeting will be held on Wednesday, May 22, 2013, at 5:00 p.m., at the Alice and Bruce King Educational Complex in the DeLayo-Martin Community Room.

 

VII.      Adjournment

The meeting was adjourned at 6:34 p.m.

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