Wait, What? readers have patiently read through no less than three long posts about Windham’s new STEM Magnet and what appeared to be restriction limiting students from transferring into the new school if they were not reading at grade level by the 3rd grade.
Yesterday, the chairman of the Windham Board of Education wrote to clarify and wrap up the issue that I had raised. He wrote:
“You are referring to an earlier draft of the Charles H. Barrows STEM Academy’s operations plan than the one currently on file with the State Department of Education. It happens, that until you raised the issue, I did not have a copy of the latest operations plan. A copy of the plan on file with the SDE has been placed on the Barrows Academy website <http://www.windham.k12.ct.us/downloads/schools/chbsa/STEMOperations_Plan20120616.pdf>.”
The Chairmen went on to note, “You’ll note that the language on the qualifications of transfer students has been removed from plan.”
The language was gone.
The unfair and inappropriate restriction on transferring into Windham’s new STEM Magnet school was no longer in place.
Although a bit chagrined that I hadn’t realized the final document had been changed, the fact that the issue was resolved was good news.
And this is a BIG BUT…
When reviewing and packaging up the various documents, it became clear that it may very well be the Board itself that was being misled about the Operations Agreement.
Despite what the Chairman wrote yesterday, the copy of the Windham STEM Magnet School Operations Agreement on the website IS NOT the latest copy of the Operations Agreement.
In fact, it’s not even close to being the latest copy. It is an old copy, with one change – the offensive language dealing with transfer students having to read at grade has been miraculously deleted.
The “final” copy was provided to the Windham Board of Education as part of a 45 page Board packet for their November 28, 2012 Board of Education Meeting. The material related to their Agenda item III, entitled “Workshop Session, A. STEM Magnet School Operating Plan.”
In that packet, the title page of the Operations Plan for the STEM Magnet School included, in red ink, the words “Proposed Changes and BOE Approval: November 2012.” (Read Board Packet Here)
1) Those comfortable with Microsoft Word will discover that if you right click on the document it reveals the document properties and this document was crated on 11/27/2012, the day before Board of Education Meeting.
2) The changes, marked in red, are numerous and are throughout the document. For example, the word “Laboratory” is removed from the description of the school in multiple locations. Other modifications include changing the term Assistant Principal to Academic Dean of Students, Lead Teachers to Team Leaders, and a variety of other changes applying to what was to become the final terminology of for the Operations Plan.
3) Finally, on Page 16 under Section 7, subsection B, subsection 2, it read.
“Enrollment will end on September 30th of the school year. New Students Entering beyond grade 3 must be reading on or above grade level.”
There were no changes to that section listed. That was the language before the November 28, 2013 Board of Education meeting AND the language after the November 28, 2013 Board of Education Meeting. The restriction on transferring into the Windham STEM Magnet remained part of the Operations Plan.
So now we turn to the Operations Plan that the Board Chairman was told is the FINAL language of the Operations Agreement and is the language on file with the State Board of Education. As noted above, to find the Operations Plan, start at http://www.windham.k12.ct.us/. Click Schools – Charles H Barrows STEM Academy for http://www.windham.k12.ct.us/schools/chbsa/index.html, then resources http://www.windham.k12.ct.us/schools/chbsa/resources.html and then the Operations Plan: http://www.windham.k12.ct.us/downloads/schools/chbsa/STEMOperations_Plan20120616.pdf
1) For starters note the Title of the Document is the STEM Laboratory Magnet School, despite the fact that the Board had already voted to remove the world “Laboratory” from the title.
2) In fact, none of the other changes the Board approved on November 28, 2012 are included in the document that the administration is now claiming is the final Operations Plan.
3) And now right click on the document and notice that this version of the Operations Agreement was crated on 6/20/2012, months before the version the Board voted on. Even more telling, this document was modified on 2/10/2013. That is, the document was changed after I had raised the reading requirement issue with the Board.
Is the document on the website really the “FINAL” version of the Windham STEM Magnet Operations Agreement?
It doesn’t include any of the changes approved by the Windham Board of Education, but it does make ONE change since it was created last summer.
On Page 16, Section 7, subsection B; subsection 2, where it once read, “Enrollment will end on September 30th of the school year. New Students entering beyond grade 3 must be reading on or above grade level…
It now reads “Enrollment will end on September 30th of the school year.” Period, no second sentence.
Interestingly that the ONLY CHANGE MADE IN THE WHOLE OPERATIONS AGREEMENT, despite the numerous changes approved by the Board of Education, is the removal of the inappropriate effort to prevent a large segment of our children from transferring to this new magnet school.