Re-1 continues to evaluate ‘Moving On’
BASALT, Colorado – Roaring Fork District Re-1 school board members would still like to see some type of short-term relief for teachers for the extra time and effort that has gone into implementing the new Moving On student placement system this year.
“I continue to hear concerns, and I just want to make sure we’re addressing those concerns,” Re-1 board member Daniel Biggs said at a board meeting in Basalt last week, referring to comments he said have come from teachers and parents alike.
The board has endorsed the basic concepts behind the district’s standards-based system for assessing and placing students in reading and math. The program was implemented districtwide this school year.
At the urging of three new board members who were elected last fall, the board requested an extensive review of the system to assess any concerns and make necessary adjustments.
Last month, the school board passed a resolution supporting the program’s three basic tenets, stating that students:
• Must demonstrate success before they move on to the next level of learning in reading and math.
• Are placed at their demonstrated learning levels, rather than automatically advancing to the next grade level based on age.
• Chart their own progress and set goals to achieve the next level.
The board also directed district administrators, building principals and instructional staff to gather feedback from teachers and come up with ways to improve the system, especially some of the more time-consuming aspects. That process is expected to be completed by late February.
“As I talk to teachers, there are a lot of challenges this year associated with implementing this,” school board President Matt Hamilton said. “I’m just wondering if there is any immediate relief we can provide to reduce some of that time and burden on teachers.”
One concern in particular is the time it takes for teachers to enter information into the new online gradebook, which is used to determine where individual students should be placed in reading and math. The gradebook is one of several topics being addressed in the Moving On review.
Re-1 Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Brad Ray said the new system has put the school district ahead of others in adjusting to the state of Colorado’s new, more rigorous learning standards.
“We have transitioned into the new standards better than anyone else in the state,” he said. “I believe we are in a great place to get to some of those big-picture ideas, and not everyone is there yet.”
School board member Bob Johnson said the wrinkles that come with implementing a major reform such as Moving On are just part of the “evolutionary process.”
“That evolution is going to take time,” Johnson said. “But it’s an evolutionary process that’s going to get us where we want to be in the long run.”
But Biggs said he still worries about losing students along the way when they don’t move up with their peers.
“I still have concerns about that, and to what end are we doing this,” he said. “Are we evolving just for evolution’s sake?”
One parent who attended the meeting, Stacey Craft of Basalt, urged the board to keep parents in the loop regarding Moving On.
“We’re given a lot of information, but it’s not always contextual, and it’s not understood by a lot of parents,” she said.
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