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 "sorting students" for academic programs

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Sandra



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PostSubject: "sorting students" for academic programs   Sat 24 Jan 2009, 7:46 am

This response was originally posted under the Budget section, but should have been under other discussions. The superintendent has stated that challenging academic programs are available for all students but at the high school level at least, a teacher recommendation system is used before a child is placed in an Honors or AP class., which is a form of "sorting" students.

I thought this Washington Post article did a good job of discussing some of the impacts of "sorting" students:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/18/AR2009011802345.html

ALthough Schenectady is better than mosturban districts across the state and country, there are still differences in graduation rates for different demographic groups and adequate progress under NCLB. I can't help but wonder why and where these differences in eduational outcomes start and how society as a whole will make sure that eventually, nationwide, no child gets left behind. How can IB programs in New York across the country ensure that all student groups are represented and ready for the challenging program?

WHY DOES SCHENECTADY SORT STUDENTS FOR THESE CLASSES? Other districts across the country have used an open enrollment for these classes successfully and have developed programs that are more reflective of the diversity within their communitieis.
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Sandra



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PostSubject: AP info   Sat 24 Jan 2009, 7:47 am

AP info originally posted under Budget thread

"Advanced Placement: Closing Equity Gaps
The Advanced Placement Program’s official Equity Policy Statement calls for “schools to make every effort to ensure that their AP classes reflect the diversity of their student population.”

AP Equity Policy Statement:
The College Board and the Advanced Placement Program encourage teachers, AP Coordinators, and school administrators to make equitable access a guiding principle for their AP programs. The College Board is committed to the principle that all students deserve an opportunity to participate in rigorous and academically challenging courses and programs. All students who are willing to accept the challenge of a rigorous academic curriculum should be considered for admission to AP courses. The Board encourages the elimination of barriers that restrict access to AP courses for students from ethnic, racial, and socioeconomic groups that have been traditionally underrepresented in the AP Program. Schools should make every effort to ensure that their AP classes reflect the diversity of their student population."

Wouldn't it be great if the AP and IB classes in Schenectady were open to all interested students and reflected the valued diversity within the district?
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Mr.NHK



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PostSubject: Re: "sorting students" for academic programs   Sat 24 Jan 2009, 8:48 pm

Sandra wrote:
This response was originally posted under the Budget section, but should have been under other discussions. The superintendent has stated that challenging academic programs are available for all students but at the high school level at least, a teacher recommendation system is used before a child is placed in an Honors or AP class., which is a form of "sorting" students.

I thought this Washington Post article did a good job of discussing some of the impacts of "sorting" students:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/18/AR2009011802345.html

ALthough Schenectady is better than mosturban districts across the state and country, there are still differences in graduation rates for different demographic groups and adequate progress under NCLB. I can't help but wonder why and where these differences in eduational outcomes start and how society as a whole will make sure that eventually, nationwide, no child gets left behind. How can IB programs in New York across the country ensure that all student groups are represented and ready for the challenging program?

WHY DOES SCHENECTADY SORT STUDENTS FOR THESE CLASSES? Other districts across the country have used an open enrollment for these classes successfully and have developed programs that are more reflective of the diversity within their communitieis.

This is all I have to say- Demographics and Stereotypes will continue to exist as long as people live up to them. If you want to help change the demographic to a more positive one, you have to initiate a change in the people.
I am a student of mixed race, also an IB student, and I feel there is diversity within the IB program. Maybe not to the level of your liking, but there is diversity.
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citizenwhowillnotcope



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PostSubject: Re: "sorting students" for academic programs   Sat 24 Jan 2009, 10:00 pm

Sandra wrote:
This response was originally posted under the Budget section, but should have been under other discussions. The superintendent has stated that challenging academic programs are available for all students but at the high school level at least, a teacher recommendation system is used before a child is placed in an Honors or AP class., which is a form of "sorting" students.

I thought this Washington Post article did a good job of discussing some of the impacts of "sorting" students:

http://www.washingtonpost.com/wp-dyn/content/article/2009/01/18/AR2009011802345.html

ALthough Schenectady is better than mosturban districts across the state and country, there are still differences in graduation rates for different demographic groups and adequate progress under NCLB. I can't help but wonder why and where these differences in eduational outcomes start and how society as a whole will make sure that eventually, nationwide, no child gets left behind. How can IB programs in New York across the country ensure that all student groups are represented and ready for the challenging program?

WHY DOES SCHENECTADY SORT STUDENTS FOR THESE CLASSES? Other districts across the country have used an open enrollment for these classes successfully and have developed programs that are more reflective of the diversity within their communitieis.

Schenectady does not sort students for these classes , the students are given the opportunity to select higher level classes when making their schedule. So we have an open enrollment system at the school , the problem lies within the students. If the student body does not want to apply themselves to a higher learning and expand to the standards of the programs ( AR , AP , IB ) they do not enroll to the program. In middle school the guidance counselors meet with the students to create a basic schedule , in which they ask if they want to pursue a higher learning. And I can testify to this that many students are scared of the work load when they told that its alot of work , effort , and time.

Honestly stop being concerned about demographics , and what petty media throws at you. Do the research and base your own conclusions. Perhaps contact the guidance departments and get the information you seek.
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Sandra



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PostSubject: sorting students   Sat 24 Jan 2009, 10:41 pm

Students need a teachers recommendation to get into an honors or AP class and without a recommendation, the kids are not placed. If you take the time to read the article, this is "sorting" students. Other districts in the capital region and the country have opened up these classes to any student who wants to try it out, which genuinely gives all kids the chance to participate.
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Mr.NHK



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PostSubject: Re: "sorting students" for academic programs   Sun 25 Jan 2009, 9:07 am

Sandra wrote:
Students need a teachers recommendation to get into an honors or AP class and without a recommendation, the kids are not placed. If you take the time to read the article, this is "sorting" students. Other districts in the capital region and the country have opened up these classes to any student who wants to try it out, which genuinely gives all kids the chance to participate.

I did take time to read the article, and as I AM an IB student, and have gone through the process, I do know what goes on in school.

In Middle school, when we meet with guidance counselors, they do ask, if you want to pursue advanced academics in High school. They do tell us it is a lot of work, and it will take up time you didn't know you even had. The phrase of "working hard" is not appealing to many kids- when mentioned to other students that "yeah, Im full IB" often I hear back "I couldn't do that, its too much work."- If we do want to do advanced academics, they (guidance counselors) set up your freshman schedule accordingly. I know a student who even doubled up on courses just so they could go Full IB, showing, one also has to be committed to do the work.


Yes, if you do decide later on in your academic career that you do want to do IB/AP classes, yes, you do need a teacher recommendation. Why? In combination with academic and behavioral records, that shows a picture whether the student is willing to do the work, from an actual human being- not a sheet that says all your grades, or a file saying when you received a referral for what ever reason.

Considering AP/IB is free, paid by tax dollars (Thank you tax payers for the wonderful opportunity), It would be nice to have some sort of guarantee that a kid will complete the work and the classes- and not drop them when the going gets tough, wasting tax payers dollars.

But, also, you need teacher recommendations to get into college... so are they sorting too?
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Sandra



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PostSubject: Re: "sorting students" for academic programs   Sun 25 Jan 2009, 5:43 pm

It has been interesting to read through the responses and I look forwar to learning more from administration on how challenging academic programs are available to all students but yet at the same time, teacher recommendations are needed.
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Fionna



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PostSubject: my take   Sun 25 Jan 2009, 6:40 pm

I have no idea what the process actually is, but I don't see anything particularly wrong with requiring a teacher's recommendation for something like the IB program. I think if a teacher outright rejects the request of a student to enter the program then there needs to be some sort of process in place so they can get a second opinion or appeal that decision.

Think of this in reverse. What if a student decided they wanted to enter special education classes when in fact they were not at that level? Should they be placed there simply because they ask? No. They should have a reason to be there.

I agree with you that sometimes kids fall through the cracks. That they should be in particular programs and for no good reason are not. Parents need to be diligent as well.
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Sandra



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PostSubject: Re: "sorting students" for academic programs   Mon 26 Jan 2009, 11:49 pm

can someone from the administration please explain how challenging academic programs are available to all students according to administration but yet at the high school, students need to receive a teacher's recommendation before being placed in an AP or honors class? I am sorry if I am missing something, but I am having difficulty understanding how this matches up. Why does Schenectady sort students?
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PostSubject: Re: "sorting students" for academic programs   Tue 27 Jan 2009, 3:04 pm

Sandra wrote:
can someone from the administration please explain how challenging academic programs are available to all students according to administration but yet at the high school, students need to receive a teacher's recommendation before being placed in an AP or honors class? I am sorry if I am missing something, but I am having difficulty understanding how this matches up. Why does Schenectady sort students?

A: This is an area I have addressed previously. The district does not sort students. Students at the high school choose what courses they want to take based on their decisions about their future dreams, their willingness to study and work at a certain level and their belief in their own abilities. The teacher recommendation is based on the teacher’s belief that a students is capable of doing the work in a very difficult AP course based on that student’s demonstrated willingness to work hard and their academic ability in a particular subject area. If there is a conflict, the guidance counselor, parents, administration and teacher(s) will certainly sit down with any parent to discuss allowing a student to challenge themselves without the teacher’s recommendation. This has not been issue at least in the last five years.
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Sandra



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PostSubject: Re: "sorting students" for academic programs   Tue 27 Jan 2009, 3:24 pm

requiring a teachers recommendation for entrance into a class in a form of "sorting" students. I will do some more research and find some resources if you are interested in the educational impacts of this type of selection process for programs in general.
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Fionna



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PostSubject: Re: "sorting students" for academic programs   Wed 28 Jan 2009, 9:02 am

Requiring students to use a single sex bathroom is a way of sorting them too. Nobody calls the school administrators unfair for that.

Is the IB program in fact better, or does it simply offer more of a challenge to those students who want such a challenge? That would be similar to one complaining that special education programs are offered. How come some students get that extra attention? Because the schools are trying to be unfair, or because the student needs it?

There is no one size fits all. There seems to be the suggestion that if all students aren't in exactly the same courses they are being short changed. Why wouldn't students be put into (seek out) classes that match their desires and abilities?

Using sports as an example. They have 3 levels (if I understand this correctly). Can every student who wants to be in varsity level basketball be there? No? Why not? Isn't that discrimination and sorting? Isn't that leaving out opportunities for some students?
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Sandra



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PostSubject: Re: "sorting students" for academic programs   Wed 28 Jan 2009, 11:39 am

Thank you Fiona for reinforcing my point that students are sorted in Schenectady, for better or worse. This is the model that the administration has chosen. There are other options that could be considered for keeping the AP/IB/Honors classes open to any student who is interested, which could increase the diversity of the program. I shared the Washington Post article as one perspective and am also continuing to research to see what benefits there are to limiting access to challenging academic programming.
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ATAC



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PostSubject: Re: "sorting students" for academic programs   Wed 28 Jan 2009, 5:34 pm

I apologize if this post appears more than once - I am not sure that my original post made it through.

Sandra, what evidence do you have about SHS sorting its student?
Do you have some personal experience about this? I would find it very illuminating to hear your stories if this is the case (and I am sure others on this board would too).

Just so you know my situation;
I am the father of a 10th Grader currently taking pre-IB/honors courses. His plan is to move on and take the full IB diploma courses beginning next year.
He has met with his guidance counselor and his schedule choices are approved for next year.

My experience with Schenectady schools (not just the High School) is that there are plenty of "opportunities" offered to all students.
The discussion here seems to be AP/IB so I will concentrate on that.

It is my understanding, and experience, that AP/IB is open to all students.
My wife and I evaluated all the opportunities on offer as far back as Elementary School. We met with my son's Middle School Guidance Counselor during the setting of his High School schedule. However, it is only through my son's efforts to date (and any child's for that matter), that he has these options open to him.
This, in my humble opinion, is not "sorting". It is as a result of his dedication over a number of years, and not just the result of one test taken at a moment in time.
Through all this time, we were always aware that a recommendation was needed to take the IB courses.
We do not see this as "sorting" anymore than if our son had been recommended for additional/remedial help in any subject he is studying.
Who else other than your child's teachers would you have make this recommendation?

To be honest, we as his parents are not 100% sure that IB is the best way for our son to go.
However, it is what he wishes and he is prepared to take on the extra effort, extra school work, and extra extra-curricular requirements that come with the IB course.

I am 100% in favor of all children studying the hardest possible courses in which they are able to succeed.
In too many cases, with an eye on GPA and college admissions, it would be easier to advise our children to take "easier" courses.
But, in my opinion, this would be only setting them up to fail later.
All kids are different, and all need to find the best path to their own success.
For some kids that is a vocational education, for others AP/IB - One is not better than the other by comparison.
They are just the best method for the particular child in question.
Sadly, in most cases, it is parents and not the students themselves who do this comparison for their own selfish reasons.
I would hope that all the students in SHS are put in the best possible courses that give them as much chance as possible to succeed in the world after they leave High School.

As for "sorting" or "not to sort", this is a debate that has been going on for many decades.
There are as many in-favors on one side of the argument as the other.
It is likely that this will never be resolved.

One thing that I do seem to know is that; Children with involved, interested parents, who stress the value of education, succeed at a much higher rate than those children who do not such parents.
I am sure that everyone contributing on these boards is likely one of these "good" parents and wants to give their children the most opportunities that they possibly can.
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