Tuesday, January 22, 2013

Participate in the Ypsilanti-Willow Run Process

I got this in my email today from a local group, Success by 6:
The Willow Run and Ypsilanti school consolidation must involve community members to be successful.  On Thursday, January 24th, from 5:30 to 8:30 pm you are invited to participate in the launching of the Community Advisory Groups.

Remember: When Opportunity Knocks, Open the Door! 
[In other words: participate in this project. Please.]

The email included two flyer attachments, which I am pasting in here. 

Building Unity
Launching Advisory Groups to implement the 
Unified District Design

Thursday, January 24, 2013, 5:30-8:30 p.m.

• Overview Presentation
• Dinner
• Breakout Advisory Group Sessions
• Feedback on proposed district names

Willow Run Auditorium, 235 Spencer Lane, Ypsilanti
RSVP TO: Brenda Hegwood, or call
(734) 994-8100, ext. 1283

Here is some information about the possible advisory groups that you could join. There is a reason that they also say "short- and long-term commitment options available." If you can't go to the meeting, email Brenda Hegwood and tell her you can't go to the meeting and identify the advisory group you would like to join.

• Board  of  Education 
• Transition  Steering  Committee  (TSC-°©‐9  members  comprised  of  board,  superintendents  and  WISD  staff) 
• Transition  Task  Force  (25  members  comprised  of  TSC,  chairs  of  advisory  groups  and  district  leadership 
• Community  Advisory  Groups  (up  to  50  members  in  each  group)  responsible  for  planning  and  coordinating  implementation  of  the  educational  pillars: 
            1. Early  Childhood  (birth  to  kindergarten  entry) 

            2. Positive  Culture  and  Climate 

            3. High  Quality  Teachers  and  Teaching 

            4. Effective  Leadership  at  all  Levels 

            5. Opportunities  for  College  Credit/Career  Credentials  before  graduation 

            6. Shared  Identity  and  Naming 

            7. Co‐curricular  activities 

ADVISORY  GROUP  PILLAR  #1    Early  Childhood 
Charge    Examine  and  develop  a  pre‐natal  to  kindergarten  entry  program  to  prepare  students  for  kindergarten 
Key  tasks    Research  to  support  a  successful  family  development  center  that  includes  an  array  of  information  from  health  to  community  resources;  assessing  community  needs  to  support  program  implementation  for  kindergarten  readiness;  examining  program  models  using  blended  funding  models  to  offer  full  day  early  childhood  education  and  care  programs  tailored  to  different  family  needs 
Timeline    January--December  2013  

[Success by 6 actually has a contractual job opening posted for a one-year grant-funded position to support the development of a family development center. You can read more about the position here. Let's just remember that any family development center has to be able to survive without grant funding in the long-term, or--alternatively--with long-term grant funding identified.]

ADVISORY  GROUP  PILLAR  #2    Positive  Culture  and  Climate 
Charge    Implement  a  model  of  character  education  to  restore  and  enhance  a  respectful  learning  environment 
Key  tasks    implement  effective  school  culture  and  safety  models  and  approaches;  professional  learning  for  families  and  staff  related  to  culture  and  achievement;  encourage  student  empowerment  and  leadership  through  programs  and  civic  engagement;  develop  an  alternative  education  program 
Timeline    January--April  2013  

[WHAT? Why is developing an alternative education program part of Positive Culture and Climate and not part of High Quality Teachers and Teaching?]

ADVISORY  GROUP  PILLAR  #3    High  Quality  Teachers  and  Teaching 
Charge    Recommend  a  viable,  community--focused  instructional  strategy  for  kindergarten  through  high  school  with  the  focus  on  engagement  and  achievement 
Key  tasks    outline  teacher  characteristics  and  skills;  recommend  teacher  selection  process;  endorse  instructional  models  for  elementary  and  secondary  programs;  identify  balanced  schools  calendar  models  (versus  current,  traditional  calendar  with  summers  off);  pinpoint  an  instructional  leadership  system  to  support  teacher--leaders;  recommend  an  effective  student  support  strategy  for  special  education  students;  identify  a  productive  professional  development  model. 
Timeline    January    April  2013  2 

[Regarding recommending a teacher selection process, that had better happen very quickly! Regarding a balanced schools calendar vs. a traditional calendar, you may want to put your input in on that! The evidence connecting a balanced calendar with better teaching is rather weak, but there are some advantages to it.]
ADVISORY  GROUP  PILLAR  #4    Effective  Leadership  at  all  Levels 
Charge    Defining  effective  leadership  and  recommending  models  to  support 
Key  tasks    Craft  an  outline  to  capture  qualities,  characteristics  and  skills  of  proven  leaders  and  using  this  as  a  guide  for  developing  leaders 
Timeline    January  --  May  2013 

[First the group needs to define who they are including as "leaders."]
ADVISORY  GROUP  PILLAR#5    College  Credit  and  Career  Credentials 
Charge    A  multi‐faceted  program  that  provides  opportunities  for  all  students  to  earn  college  credit  or  career  credentials  prior  to  graduation 
Key  tasks    Explore  a  myriad  of  options  for  students  that  can  include  dual  enrollment,  accelerated  graduation,  AP  and  IB  courses  and  direct  credit;  examine  career  options/technical  training  programs;  secure  key  partnerships  to  provide  a  support  system  to  ensure  completion  of  college  courses  or  career  training 
Timeline    January    April  2013  

[I'm not sure if we are reinventing the wheel here, or if it is because we are creating a new district and it's more of a matter of transferring key partnerships.]

ADVISORY  GROUP  PILLAR  #6    District  Shared  Identity  and  Naming 
Charge    Develop  a  strong  shared  identity  for  the  unified  district  including  a  district  name,  mascot  and  school  colors  (secondary  schools) 
Key  tasks    Develop  a  means  to  engage  internal  and  external  stakeholders  in  the  process  of  selecting  a  name,  mascot  and  school  colors.  This  task  will  include  gleaning  feedback  through  suggestion  boxes  in  all  district  schools  and  the  public  library  as  well  as  through  facilitated  public  forums.  A  committee  comprised  of  a  cross‐section  of  stakeholders  will  sift  through  the  names  that  resonate  most  with  the  community  and  make  a  recommendation  to  the  Board  of  Education 
Timeline    January    February  2013 

[This has gotten the most attention so far in the media, but it's probably the least important advisory group here. I don't think people will choose or not choose the district because it's Ypsilanti Unified or Eastern Washtenaw. . . which, by the way, people do know there is already an Eastern Washtenaw Multicultural Academy that is a local charter school, right?] 
ADVISORY  GROUP  PILLAR  #7    Co‐Curricular  Activities 
Charge    Using  the  key  educational  pillars  as  a  guide,  develop  a  co-curricular  program  that  will  enhance  and  support  the  goals  of  the  unified  school  district
 Key  tasks    Outline  an  athletic  program  that  embraces  the  sports  traditions  of  both  districts  while  setting  standards  that  promote  the  academic  pillars  of  the  unified  district;  design  clubs  and  extra  curricular  activities  that  align  and  embrace  the  objectives  of  the  unified  district. 
Timeline    January    June  2013  

[I do think sports and clubs are key; if a balanced calendar is chosen, how will that affect them?]

So, PLEASE. . . whether you are a citizen or a professional with an interest in the districts (for instance, a teacher or custodian). . . PARTICIPATE! There is lots of room. There is space for up to 50 people on each advisory group!

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