<meta http-equiv="refresh" content="0; URL=/gilmartin2016/?view_public_for=1096790410388091&amp;_fb_noscript=1" />(73) Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Notice
This is what your Page looks like to a visitor. Switch back to your view to manage this Page.
Featured For You
Drag Link/Photos/Video HereDrop LinkDrop Photo/VideoDrop Photos
PhotosSee All
No automatic alt text available.
Image may contain: text
Image may contain: plant, outdoor, nature and text
PostsSee All

Congratulations to Alycia Collins, Kim Kimball, Michelle Brousseau, and Jonathan Daly-LaBelle on being elected to the School Committee. As they join with Raissa Mosher, Myrna Bizer, and Maureen Cotter it is my hope that they will govern as one committee.

To the 4,251 citizens who voted for me I am deeply grateful for your support and the trust you had in me to do well by your children and your hard earned tax dollars. Thank you.

There are 42 votes separating me from the 4th School Committee seat. I waiting to hear from the Board of Canvassers if the current counts, 3794 vs 3836, include all votes.

Posts

Before you head out to vote tomorrow, please do consider voting for Alycia Collins, Keith Vorhaben, and Kevin Jackson. The other candidates have their strengths and weaknesses, but I feel these three will round out the skills and knowledge needed for a vibrant School Committee.

Like
Comment
Comments
Andrew Gilmartin
Write a comment...

The School Committee's and the Superintendent's efforts over the last several years has been mostly reactive. Some of this is necessitated by changes to laws and regulations and there has been much of this with 3 RIDE Commissioners and Obama's Race to the Top. However, change is inevitable and without a long range plan there is going to be a lot of movement without a lot of progress. We are witnessing this in South Kingstown.

The One to One Laptop initiative( 1:1) and Dual La...nguage Instruction (DLI) programs are good ideas, but why were they more pressing then the Gap Closing Initiative and addressing our High School dropout rate? Even within the expensive and far reaching 1:1 and DLI programs why do we not have a buildout plan that includes all the changes and costs necessary to bring it to fruition? As I said at the recent NEA-SK candidates forum, our school district is falling forward.

I have been developing computer software for 30 years. In that time I have been fortunate enough to work for some of RI's most innovative companies. I am good at this job. This is not because I am the best at any one technology, but because I am able to see the big picture and to make it happen. I want to take these skills and those of working in high pressure teams to effect long term planning on the School Committee. I want to see a genuine give and take between our educational leaders and our community leaders. And, in the end, I want to see a plan that we all can understand and support with our time, energies, and tax dollars.

Please consider electing me to the School Committee on Nov 8.

See More
Organic
76
Paid
624
Like
Comment
Comments
Matt Richter It will be my pleasure to vote for you, Andrew.
Christine Herron mine as well, although I am rather partial to him.....
Myrna Bizer "The DLI program model is a federal and nationally recognized model as an effective and significant instructional model for closing the achievement gap for all learners."

Please see: http://www.ncpublicschools.org/.../presentations/165.1.pdf.


This research substantiated link between DLI programs and Achievement Gap closing is something I've brought up continually.

Best regards, Myrna
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee Thank you for the links. I will read them. I don't doubt that DLI can be effective in closing the gap. What I don't see, and it might because I missed it, is the long term plan. The district's Strategic Plan, for example, does not speak to DLI's role here.
Myrna Bizer DLI is covered beginning on page 17 of the 2015-2020 Strategic Plan covering the goal of preparing globally competent graduates. The goal being by 2020 to have K-4 DLI cohorts. As for linking it to gap closing, I can only share that I know I have voic...See More
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee There is much for me to better understand. Thank you for helping me to do that.

As your comment implies, gathering information about a topic is often hit and miss. That we can now search in BoardDocs for governance documents is a useful advancement. S
...See More
Myrna Bizer Yes, agreed wholeheartedly that narratives (whether they be called "updates" or take the form of community conversations, or are part of a Superintendent's report,
or newsletters, or meetings with Parent groups, etc.) are critical! I don't know anyone
...See More
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a reply...
Liz Prager O'Brien My opinion about the 1:1 laptops is that its importance lies in its ability to put every student on a level playing field in regard to technology. It takes family income out of the equation allowing every student the opportunity to get their work done....See More
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee I agree with your assessment of the current benefits, and, moreover, support this and its funding for the hardware, support, and teachers' professional development. However, the 1:1 is positioned to be much more. It is being positioned as a radical cha...See More
My letter to the South Kingstown School Committee of my grave concerns about the…
calliopesounds.com
Liz Prager O'Brien Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee You a only need to look as far as Narragansett, where it has been implemented at the high school and is working beautifully. I do not have the data you seek, but I've seen the program in action. The students have access to the media center, internet, online credit recovery, their teachers, etc., and they can take their laptops home.
Liz Prager O'Brien As a parent of a current high school student at SKHS, I can share a few observations. Public schools welcome everyone, regardless of background, home support, and every other environmental and social factor. We have some of the best teachers I've ever seen, and I'm a product of both public and private school. These teachers, for no extra compensation, build relationships with their students that extend beyond individual mastery and as close to fully personalized as can be expected. My daughter graduated from SK and my son is a senior. I am sad to see the new grading policy and other initiatives that remove teacher's ability to make judgements about who gets extra credit and when it's appropriate, for example. These teachers know their students better than any administrator ever could. They know when a student lost a big game, has no money for lunch, or is struggling with a home or social issue. The students feel safe with their teachers and lean on them for school and life advice. Students actually stay after school to finish discussions that started in class, asking questions about class work, seeking opinions on important life choices, and inquiring about community resources. The 1:1 allows these dialogues to continue beyond the late hours many teachers already work. It allows the teachers an opportunity to give personalized feedback rather than just marked-up papers with grades. My son will thrive beyond high school, as my daughter has, in large part due to the accessibility of their teachers and the personalized education, role modeling, and sense of community their teachers foster. I would like to see their voice at the decision making table. I think that's what's lacking in the current changes being implemented.
Liz Prager O'Brien BTW - I plan to vote for you.
Myrna Bizer Liz Prager O'Brien , thank you for your very thoughtful and articulate input! -Myrna
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a reply...
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a comment...
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee added a post from November 1 to their timeline.
November 1

The recent Rhode Island Department of Education (RIDE) change to use the SAT instead of PARCC has been applauded by many in SK. I worry that this applause is more a reaction to ending PARCC than choosing the SAT. All standardized tests are designed to measure specific knowledge and skills. Does the SAT measure want we want to measure for high school graduation? I think not.

Here is what the College Board, the for-profit company that creates and scores SATs, says it measures:...

• What you learn in high school
• What you need to succeed in college

Many of our students will go on to college and so having this evaluation might be useful. About 10 years ago, however, many college admissions departments stopped requiring SAT scores. Since then, this trend has been escalating as ever more collages have success selecting students using more holistic measures.

The larger question, however, is why are we including college readiness as a requirement of high school graduation at all? College is only one of many future steps for our students. Some students will take a break from academics before returning. Some may never return. I think requiring an educational standard for one, specific next step in life is a needless burden on students and teachers alike. To graduate high school a student should only be tested on what we understand to be the measure of a successful high school education. Nothing else.

Let's learn from our PARCC experience and not sign on to a Federal program, a national craze, or rent someone else's choices unless we agree it is right for all our students.

See More
Like
Comment
Comments
Liz Prager O'Brien Research demonstrates that the best indicator for a high school student's success in college is the rigor of their course schedule. Not their SAT or GPA. My source is the Center for Studies in Higher Education at UC Berkeley.
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a comment...

The work of the School Committee is done in public. The meetings are to do the work on behalf of the public and not for engagement with the public. Unfortunately, this distinction is not always clear to the spectators and, in cases with current and previous SC members, not faithfully adhered to. And the results is that all parties are frustrated. Let’s change this.

It seems to me that we need new new SC practice of enabling work and enabling engagement. I purpose that the SC... meetings alternate between work and engagement. Work meetings continue to have public comments, perhaps at the very beginning. Afterwards, it is made clear to everyone that work is being done and, like at library, those not working are asked to be respectful of those that are.

The engagement meeting should be held in each of our schools on a regular rotation. Each meeting should have a primary and secondary topic for discussion. How the topics are chosen must prefer the needs of parents/community rather than the district. The SC members will have time to make public comments at the beginning of the meeting.

An immediate question is, how will the SC get all of its work done? To this I can only answer that the SC is not managing its own work load very well. It seems to me that the SC needs to be more trusting of the Administration. For example, once budgets are established then quarterly updates on expenditures are all that is needed. We should also be making use of subcommittees. For example, all policies should pass through a subcommittee before coming to the SC. That subcommittee would ensure that the issues related to equity, legality, and impacts are gathered beforehand. In this way the SC can be assured of an holistic presentation of the policy on its first reading. I am sure there are many other means of making the SC’s meeting streamlined and efficient.

It is worth noting that the Providence School Committee meets only once a month.

See More
Like
Comment
Comments
Amy Knowles Andrew, the "public" is suppose to have 30 minutes alloted time to speak. For a total of 10 people that are only allowed to speak for 3 minutes. Unless, there public commentary that the current SC desires to have recorded in the minutes. That's been my experience.
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee Yes, there is always a Community Comments item on the agenda and I do think the School Committee members are listening as I have see action taken in response to comments. Sometimes that very evening. However, for all involved it is a stilted event.
Amy Knowles Yes, but you weren't at the meetings 4 to 7 or 8 years ago. The one I referenced was 4 years ago. I do pray you would 2nd a motion to ask if anyone wants to speak after 14 minutes should you be elected.
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a reply...
Amy Knowles Community is given 3 minutes to speak to the agenda but they only allot 30 minutes. That is the time for community engagement. If someone wants something put on the agenda, they make a request and it's the SC'S duty to do so.
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee The Community Comments time is not the only way to present to the SC. Direct letters, email, and telephone calls to SC members & Superintendent are just as effective. However, what you and everyone else wants is to communicate with and not just present to the SC. The SC needs to institute a viable and authentic mechanism for this. The SC business meetings are not this mechanism. Creating this mechanism is something I would like to have happen in my first year on the SC.

Note that the Superintendent has always responded to my emails. I assume she does this for all who take the time to ask questions or provide feedback.
Amy Knowles That's a no brainer.
Amy Knowles How do you presume to know what I and "everyone" else wants?
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee You make a good point that my experience is limited to the people I have talked with and the people I have listened too, and so making all inclusive statements, rather than simply broad statements, is incorrect. I will be more care in the future.
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a reply...
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a comment...

Having to choose several candidates for election to the School Committee is, I think, harder than choosing one candidate. Not because of the number, but because you need to choose those that both give voice to your values and needs, and will work collaboratively towards these. Like you, I have to choose who to fill the 4 four open seats. (Well, only 3 of them!) I approach this problem like I do others and that is to enumerate the needs and the selection criteria. Let me start... with the selection criteria

* We need optimists, and not dreamers.
* We need pragmatists, and not idealists.
* We need those that will boldly do the hard work, and not those that boast of hollow service.

I see six roles and seven current members or candidates for those roles. The roles are unordered and the names are alphabetical by surname.

1. The HISTORIAN knows what were the circumstances of past past decisions and how those decisions have shaped where we are today:

Maureen Cotter
Kevin Jackson
S. Scott Mueller

2. The POLICY DETAILER is schooled in the nuances of policy and its primary and secondary repercussions:

Alycia Collins
Maureen Cotter
S. Scott Mueller

3. The FACILITATOR can bring the members together to continue movement forward, even on contentious issues:

Andrew Gilmartin
Kevin Jackson
Raissa Mosher
S. Scott Mueller

4. The LEADER can make the hard choices of what we work on in what order

Kevin Jackson
Raissa Mosher

5. The WORKER BEEs are everyone on the School Committee as there is too much for one member to accomplish alone:

Alycia Collins
Maureen Cotter
Andrew Gilmartin
Kevin Jackson
Raissa Mosher
S. Scott Mueller
Keith Vorhaben

The names that are missing are those that I do not want reelected. Perhaps they have been too anonymous, and to them I can only remind them to speak up about actual accomplishments for South Kingstown so you are not ignored on Nov 8th.

6. The VISIONARY is the person that most closely speaks to a present and future you want for the South Kingstown's students. I would not be running if I did not have a vision. I have spoken often about parts of this vision, both in terms of what we should not be doing and what we are not doing, but it is time to write a single, coherent expression of that. That will be my next post.

See More
Like
Comment
Comments
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee I don't want to have this posting turn an opportunity for name calling. If you disagree with my choices then say who would like to see in each or some of the roles. My goal for this posting is to have us think about the strengths of the candidates and less about their weaknesses. We are, in the end, not electing 7 people but 1 committee.
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a comment...

My opening remarks at this evening's NEA candidate forum.

Thank you for inviting me to answer your questions tonight.

This is my first time running for political office. I am running because I do not understand why K-12 education is heading in the direction it is. So, like you, I have questions.

...

Some questions will be answered tonight from those currently or recently on the School Committee. Answers from School Committee members is an exceptional event.

Some questions' answers will be speculative. Especially the future oriented ones. It is those answers I am most interested in hearing about tonight. It is important to know how we got here, but what is more important is have the incumbents defined, prepared, and paced the district to where you want it to be? Or are you seeing disconnected actions, idiosyncratic pronouncements, or generally feel that South Kingstown schools are falling into the future.

My question tonight is "Why are we in such a hurry to get there?"

We require students in the lower grades to learn too much and too early. Their teachers are having to specialize as there is too much novel content for one teacher to be in command-off and prepared to teach in the differentiated classroom. Teachers choose the lower grades because they love children first. And expect to engage with all of the child and all of the subjects he or she will need to progress.

The upper grade students are squeezed too. Moreover, they are being pointlessly focused on becoming "career or collage ready" with "global competency" and "21 century skills." What do those even mean? I have written software for 35 years for some RI's most innovative companies and I have found that the meaningful 21st century skills are the same as the meaningful 19th century skills.

I don't believe we need to be in such a hurry. I want South Kingstown schools to stop falling into the future. I want us to plan, execute, and adjust. To do this in full view of the students, teachers, and the Town's people. To do this locally and at the state level.

Thank you.

See More
Like
Comment
Comments
David Cann Very nicely said, Andrew.
Susan Corkran Wish I could vote for you!
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a comment...

Reminder that at 6:30 PM tonight in the High School auditorium is the South Kingstown School Committee Candidates Forum, sponsored by NEA-SK Local 832 and the NEA-SK ESP bargaining unit.

Like
Comment

Here is the video from the recent League of Women Voters - South County candidates for School Committee forum. (Keith Vorhaben and Kim Kimball were both unable to attend due to illness.)

Candidates for Town Council and School Committee in South Kingstown discuss the issues at a candidate…
youtube.com
Like
Comment
Comments
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a comment...

One of last night's forum questions concerned school security and it was directed to Kevin Jackson and Brian Kleczek to answer. They both talked about adding security cameras and Mr Jackson spoke of this role (as a past School Committee member) in bringing the School Resource Officer (SRO) to the High School.

Security cameras don't provide security they provide surveillance, but only if watched. SROs don't provide security they provide faster Police response time, but only du...ring school hours. This approach to security is elsewhere called "security theater." That is, you have the impression of safety but no actual safety and should something bad happen you can say "we did all that we could." It is akin to a large, red bandage over a festering wound and calling that health care.

For real security you need a different approach. Real security comes from redesigning the physical spaces both inside and outside the building, and continuous interaction of the people within. For example, why are all non-classroom areas walled in? If it were open, like nurses stations in hospital corridors, for example, then you have many additional people keeping an eye on the place. I need to know more about this important issue.

I recently asked Keith Vorhaben why there was no section in the five year Strategic Plan for school buildings and grounds. His answer was that it was in the Capital Budget. The Capital Budget addresses maintenance and replacement and not strategic planning. I think this is a significant hole in the School Committee's recognition and understanding of how physical space greatly affects both the security and the education that happens within. Let's change that.

See More
Like
Comment
Comments
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a comment...

Just finished tonight's League of Women Voters - South County candidate forum. I was heartened to see so many people come out to listen to the candidates. Thank you all. If you missed the forum the LWV said that Narragansett-South Kingstown Patch will have a video of it available soon.

Like
Comment

A reminder that tonight is the first of two forums to meet and question the South Kingstown School Committee candidates.

OCT5
Wed 6:30 PMNarragansett
10 people interested · 4 people going
Like
Comment
Comments
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a comment...

I have a few signs that I would like to place around town. If you would like a sign please send me a Facebook message or email andrew@andrewgilmartin.com. Thank you.

Like
Comment

Question: Would you advocate for dropping Common Core?

Answer: Yes. It was a quickly developed, untested, Federally mandated standards initiative. Historically the Federal government has not been involved in curriculum choice and we should return to that. We hire good teachers and we should enable them to select and develop the best curriculum for the students.

Like
Comment

Question: What is your stance on standardized tests-- are there too many? Do you feel they represent the true potential of students?

Answer: Standardized tests are helpful and they are harmful. When they are used to test a small sample of the students they greatly help in understanding trends that might not be visible. Knowing the trends is of tremendous help in both short term response and long term planning. The National Assessment of Educational Progress (NAEP) has been do...ing this kind of data collection for 28 years. This is the helpful kind.

The harmful kind are those that are badly designed, those that under-serve students, and those that are used to abdicate adult responsibility. Standardized tests only test cognitive skills, the answers are limited to multiple choices, and they take place on one day and at one time of the day. For a student that is a lot of ducks to align for success, but not impossible. However, for all students to achieve that is unrealistic. When these test results are used to make school district decisions we have serious problems. Our children must never be burdened with the responsibility of having school funded or having their teacher evaluated. These are the jobs of the adults -- principals, superintendent, school committee members, and voters.

I opposed how we are using standardized tests today.

See More
Like
Comment
Comments
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee "The SAT: Rhode Island May Adopt It as High School Exit Exam, But Growing Numbers of Colleges Don’t Care About It

"One of the most basic rules of the testing industry is that tests should be used only for the purpose for which they were designed. The
...See More
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee I oppose the use of SAT as a high school graduation requirement. The SATs were and are designed to evaluate someone for higher education at a college and university. It is not a measure of general education.
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a comment...

Question: What more can the district do to close the achievement gap?

Answer: Which one? A gap exists because there is a disparity between expectations and achievement. The recently completed Gap Closing Task Force report has many good ideas for improving achievement. But I think the problem is that we have the wrong expectations. For example, our expectations of students in the lower grades for reading and mathematics are far beyond the capabilities of their physical and men...tal maturation. "Sit still and read this." Many students, students that will quickly catch up in later grades, are instead funneled into remediation and labeled as underachieving. We need to align age with abilities.

I believe that once a student has gained success and confidence in one area he or she can build upon that to persevere and prosper elsewhere. Unfortunately, we have limited our students to finding that in just one area -- academics. For many children academics is not their abiding strength and so are destined to struggle. To never find that foothold upon which to climb up. We need to reintroduce and strengthen the fine arts and the practical arts in all grades. We need to give our students many non-academic opportunities to have success.

See More
Like
Comment
Comments
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee The Independent newspaper has posted all the candidates' response to the question. http://www.independentri.com/.../article_6f9fe7e9-266a...
In the South Kingstown School Committee race there are nine candidates – five independent candidates and four Democrats – vying for four seats.There are 3,249 students in the district’s eight schools, according to state Department of Education data. While the candidates agree the performance of cons...
independentri.com
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a comment...

Question: What do you hope to do to combat the trend of declining enrollment?

Answer: The Census reports that we have lost one third of our under 14 children. When you have fewer children in town you will have fewer students in school. I have heard that the private schools and the charter schools are drawing away our students. If that is happening then we need to understand why our parents are making these choices. Are they running away from or are they running towards something? I support Jonathan Daly-LaBelle's call to collect this data so we can respond with care and appropriateness.

Like
Comment
Comments
Jonathan Daly-LaBelle Thank you, Andrew. It is crazy how hard I have to work just to get basic information looked at and discussed. With more diversity of representation (more Inds, less Dems), I am confident it will not be such a perplexing situation.
Amy Knowles I'll be happy to share why I am looking to take one of my children out of public school in this district.
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a comment...

Last week The Independent newspaper asked me a few questions. My answers and those of the other candidates will appear in an upcoming edition of the newspaper. I will put each question and answer is in separate postings.

Like
Comment
OCT13
Thu 6:30 PMWakefield
16 people interested · 4 people going
Like
Comment
Comments
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a comment...
Like
Comment

Here are my comments from tonight's school committee meeting.

Good evening,

The Superintendent's newsletter "Back to school 2016" promotes personalization as a "core value and mission." The recently adopted 5 year Strategic Plan has a principle section on this too. So the Superintendent is not wrong to promote personalized and blended learning. The School Committee (SC) has approved it. However, you will recall that the strategic plan had very little discussion either at its ...first public airing in October of 2015, at subsequent meetings, and even most recently at the retreat.

As far as I can tell from Boarddocs, the school district's 1:1 comprehensive plan, which would provide some implementation detail, was never presented to the SC after Simone Palmer, then STEM coordinator, left the district last year. (Was Heather Taylor's work before that presented?) Where is the review of the first year of the 1:1 implementation? What were the successes? What needs to continue? What needs to change? Without a plan it is difficult to objectively answer these questions.

I am concerned that the SC has not had the opportunities to discuss the implementation of personalized or blended learning issues nor to have focused public comment. It is my belief that the SC's policy of advancing a continued expansion of computer instruction and computer assessment into the lower grades is a grave mistake. There is no objective evidence that personalized or blended learning is an advancement in successfully teaching young children. In fact, the objective evidence shows that the loss of whole-child education is detrimental to young children's success.

Before you on tonight's agenda there is a budget request for $170,000 for laptops for grades 3 and 4, and $50,000 for replacements in the elementary schools. That is, $220,000 for technology. I ask that you reject these at this time.

Instead, I ask that the Superintendent redirect this money to building upon existing successful whole-child teaching that is already happening here in South Kingstown and our neighboring public, Charter, and private schools. As Jennifer Collins, our Teacher of the Year, said tonight, with a gentle force, we need to give the children "time." I took this to mean time for music, time for dance, ... time for play.

I understand that the SC does not direct pedagogy. But I also understand that the SC is responsible for ensuring that our children are educated without sacrificing the qualities of a school life that engages them in learning and fosters community. I think that blended learning, personalized learning, competency based learning, and whatever the same mixture of computer instruction and computer assessment is called next year will do the opposite for our young students.

Thank you for your time and attention.

See More
Like
Comment

The PARCC scores are now available and few people are happy with the results. South Kingstown has one of the highest math and English scores, Kingston Hill and The Compass School did exceptionally well, while The Green School did extraordinarily badly. The gap between all the schools for math was 72.5 points (3.8 to 79.0) and for English was 49.3 (29.7 to 79). How can there be such disparity between schools that are well regarded?

There has been little positive said about the... PARCC test except by those with a vested political or profitable interest. By all other accounts it is a greatly flawed test that expects a level of student achievement beyond what is reasonable. The results from our local public and charter schools invites the question of what was the cost of achieving their scores? I know from my and my sons' experiences at SKHS the cost of its scores were an administrative imperative, a repetitive drill on a narrow curriculum, and hundreds of thousands of dollars on computers and networking. The Green School, on the other hand, might have just decided that the PARCC was not worth the school's attention.

Now is a good time to gather the principals together and have an open and non-judgemental conversation about each school's handling of this RIDE directive and their perspectives on the results.

Source http://goo.gl/ldeMY9

See More
PROVIDENCE, R.I. — Rhode Island students showed modest improvement on a state standardized test, but the stubborn achievement gaps between
providencejournal.com|By Linda Borg
Like
Comment

Here is the Administration's summary of of the recent School Committee retreat. The summary is dry, but accurate. It would be helpful to the community to have each School Committee member provide their own "official" summary. He or she would have an opportunity to address what was learned and what was missing from the discussions and the agenda.

http://www.boarddocs.com/…/$fi…/SKAN%207-15-16%20Retreat.pdf

Like
Comment
Comments
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee A path behind CCMS that Milo and I walk many mornings.
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a comment...

My children left public schools in the 3rd grade. Part of this was due to the anxiety we saw in them. Part of this was due to the forces pushing an age inappropriate and a primarily bookish approach to learning. They arrived at the Meadowbrook Waldorf School and we experienced a profound connection between teachers and families, and between a child's maturation and what & how they were prepared to learn.

Perhaps it is odd to have a candidate for School Committee whose childre...n missed public elementary school. (One came back for middle-school and now both are back for high-school.) What this experience has given me is a picture and an experience of what can be had in elementary education. And very explicit goals for South Kingstown's children.

One goal is to see children outdoors and learning. Sir Ken Robinson clearly expresses the importance of learning outside.

See More
Like
Comment

I had asked earlier about what about schooling makes our kids anxious. Kim Kimball's list makes a great start. (I will link to it when I figure out how.)

I would like to add to her list the pace and rigidity of the school day. The HS day -- the one I am most familiar with right now -- starts at 7:30 AM and ends at 2:02 PM. Yes, 2 minutes past the hour. Students have 4 mins to get between classes. The start times for classes are 7:30, 8:24, 9:18, 9:52, 10:46, 12:18, and 1:12. ...Specific class start times are rotated on a 6 day cycle and so a class is never at the same start time more than twice a semester. I know of no other organization that has anything near this scheduling complexity. The world works on 10 min, 30 min, and hourly intervals. Schools are otherworldly, it seems.

The world also takes breaks during the day. My school had 30 minute breaks in the morning and afternoon, and hour breaks for lunch. My children's school expects them to work from 7:30 to 2:02 with only one 30 minute break for lunch. The only work environment this prepares students for is sweatshops.

So, imagine that this is your day. You get up kind of late because puberty has shifted your natural clock to being a night owl. You get to school shortly before the first bell at 7:30. You don't drop off your stuff at your locker because you can't get back to it in the 4 minutes between classes. So you carry all your stuff all day. At your first class you sit, take a deep breath, and relax because it has been a hectic 30 to 40 mins since you woke. You get your classwork out and class starts. As the 50 minute mark approaches you start packing up because your next class is going to take the full 4 minutes to get to and it is only on the next floor up. The bell rings and you are up and out. You might chat with your friends in passing, but you are moving away from them as you do so. The cycle repeats for the remainder of the day.

Does reading this make you anxious? Mad? And why is it like this? It is like this because adults in conference rooms negotiating employment contract are focused on the minutes and the pennies and not the student or, as it turns out, the teachers.

See More
Like
Comment

I have not met anyone who is satisfied with the way that School Committee meetings are structured and scheduled. The agendas are packed. There is little time for public comment. There is little time for member comment!

Back in December I had hoped to hear of the progress made with the Strategic Plan. The plan, unfortunately, got bumped from the agenda at the meeting. Why?

When you look at the meeting's agenda you can not but wonder how a 3 hour meeting was going to cover

...

* Dual Language Initiative,
* Late Start Survey Results,
* PARCC results,
* Grading Policy,
* Strategic Plan,
* Resolutions to the General Assembly,
* the recognitions,
* the pro forma actions,
* ...

Any one of these topic should be expected to have significant discussion and take up many hours. And for the community we can address the School Committee for no more than 3 minutes. 3 minutes to cover 8 subjects and all their entangled details. I clean my teeth for 3 minutes. How can I or anyone else speak to the agenda's issues in such a short time?

How can I ask for a statement of the progress of replacing Simone Palmer's role of 1:1 leadership and STEM coordination?

How can I point out that the proposed grading policy does not allow for summative grading range that does not have a zero? That is, it has no bottom.

How can I point out that the PARCC results speak to a very bad test design and a very bad vendor review?

How can the High School score of 29.5 in Math and 38.3 in Literacy be anything but a dismal showing even in relation to other school districts?

How can we have wasted so much instructional time, money, and energy on PARCC?

My understanding is that the Thursday before the public meeting the chairwoman and the Superintendent set the meeting's agenda. Why pack in so much? The School Committee members non-verbal communication, their body language, clearly reveal the weight of the material to cover.

Is there too much to cover in the number of scheduled meetings?

The 2016 Meeting Schedule was, coincidentally, also on that December night's agenda. The schedule is notable for its lack of information on work known to be needed in the 2016 meetings. Also missing is any indication of the number of unplanned time slots per meeting. Having this seems to be a minimum aid to help guide the pacing of the School Committee's work.

The School Committee schedule for 2016
http://www.boarddocs.com/ri/soki/Board.nsf/goto…

(A variation of this posting was first appeared on my blog at http://goo.gl/qbY5Vg)

See More
South Kingstown School Committee -
boarddocs.com
Like
Comment

The communication and coordination potentials we get from online services is formidable, that is mighty and menacing. The School Committee recently switched to using BoardDocs.com to hold and disseminate meeting agenda and supporting documents. This was a good step forward and I want to thank them and Doug Snow's technical team for making it happen. I also want to thank Doug for quickly addressing a problem that come up during the Retreat for those of us without access to the school's password protected network had. We were not able to download the presentation of historical data due to its size. From now on during public meetings all the participants will be able to use the password protected network. So do look around for the username and password signs at future meetings.

Like
Comment

So what went wrong at the retreat? This is the last installment of 3 posting about Friday, July 15's School Committee Retreat. One where they were expected to deeply engage in long term planning and reflection. This posting addresses the content of the 5 year strategic plan and the School Committee's ineffective deliberation of it.

This is a rather long posting so grab a drink and find a comfortable place to sit.

South Kingstown's school district has a 5 year strategic plan. It is a vital document to have. It provides the guidance needed to implement our mission statement over a longer period than just meeting to meeting and policy to policy. The 2010-2015 plan has lapsed and the 2015-2020 plan is a year late. Why?

I first saw the strategic plan in November, 2015. This was its "first reading," this is where a document is discussed, mistakes discovered, vagueness clarified, and omissions filled. If there are enough changes needed then a second reading is done at a later meeting. The cycle repeats until the document is acceptable and voted into policy. The November reading was the only reading the plan had until last Friday. All other attempts had it bumped from one agenda to the next due, in large part, to mismanagement of the School Committee's yearly workload.

Back to the plan.

There were 4 problems with November's plan and the problems largely remain present in Friday's plan too. In short, the plan does not review the previous plan, it contains no evaluation criteria, it does not address the campuses, and most importantly and dishearteningly it proposes a teacher-less education.

1. The new plan made no reference to the 2010-2015 plan. Understanding how a past strategy played out is vital. How has the previous 5 year plan laid for the groundwork for the next 5 years? Was it successful? If so, how? If not, why? No committee can make decisions about the future without regard to knowing what has worked and avoiding what has failed. South Kingstown can not rely on the long term memory of the School Committee alone, especially with its ever changing membership. Friday's plan made no reference to the old plan.

2. No means of measuring success was given for any strategy section. What does "will improve 5th grade reading scores" mean? And if you say by "50%" then I am going to ask from what baseline? Every strategy section needed both measurable goals against where we are today. Some of this was in Friday's plan, but the School Committee failed to discuss them.

3. There was no strategy section for the physical plant, that is the building, grounds, gyms, vehicles, lab equipment, etc. How do we use the existing 8 campuses (10 if you include the charter schools) in light of projected significant decline in student enrollment? Do we want to continue to light, heat, cool them as we now do or should we be looking to make long term changes? Friday's plan was for a school system without walls.

4. The "Personalized Learning District-Wide" section is the most concerning part of the plan for me and should be for every family with school age children. Personalized learning is a principle element of the larger Blended Learning education program. The Highlander Institute and its FUSE RI affiliate are the most ardent advocates and for the program and advisors to South Kingstown. This program proposes to create a teacher-proof education system. One where the student's will "own" their education. Where they will "personalize" it to their needs and impulses. Instruction, not teaching, is delivered online. Their guardianship will come from online assessments that the students must take to move ahead. To state the obvious, these students are children. In July, 2015 I wrote a letter (http://tinyurl.com/gvpuqns) to the School Committee about these concerns after having heard personalized and blended learning being advocated by the new High School principal and the then STEM coordinator. Unfortunately, the letter did not bring about a public discussion. Friday's vote creates a policy where impersonal learning is the way forward. This is disgraceful.

Back to the retreat.

A goal of the retreat was to adopt the strategic plan. The Superintendent had done as the School Committee asked and added objectives and measures to the plan's sections and, as mentioned in a previous posting, inundated the members with baseline data. The Superintendent could rightly say that she and her staff had addressed the committee's issues. The members were clearly stunned. Some could not remember if a first reading had been done. Some objected to the plan's changes not having had public comment. Some just wanted the whole thing to end and just vote up or down.

They voted up. A 5 year education plan for the whole school district was approved with less consideration and debate than a family's choices of Brickley's ice creams.

What happened?

I saw a School Committee membership that had failed to provided the Superintendent with sufficient guidance as to what kinds of baseline data were needed and what kinds of measurable objectives were needed.

I saw a Superintendent who failed to provide the education a board might need to develop and respond to a strategic document. She is the education professional; the School Committee members are layman and laywoman. Smart and ready to learn, without a doubt, but they are education non-professionals needing guidance.

I saw personality conflicts raise to the point of name calling and accusations.

I saw at that moment of crisis no leadership displayed by anyone.

Once the vote was taken I had little heart left to remain for the next agenda item, the School Committee's yearly self-evaluation. I doubted that it would be a sincere learning opportunity for all.

Continue Reading
Organic
311
Paid
213
Like
Comment
Comments
Keith Vorhaben Thanks for the perspective, Andrew.
Rose Gismondi Thank you Andrew. Our school system is in shambles and is a disservice to the children whose futures are utterly depending on their education.
Lexi Henshel Very interesting! Thank you for the thorough write-up, Andrew. I read your letter about the Blended Learning thing, and am distressed that it wasn't addressed
Sharon Smith Thank you for your report. I agree that children do not have the focus for blended learning. Nor does one style fit all. The lack of accountability seems wrong in the overseers of our educational system.
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a comment...

So what went wrong at the retreat? I am going to start with the easy stuff, ie the technical problems, as I am still wrestling with how to respond to the more substantive problems.

Let's start with the starting time. Was it 8 AM or 9 AM. It turns out that half of the School Committee thought it was 8 AM and the other half 9 AM. The start time was 8 AM, but without a quorum the meeting did not start for another 45 minutes. Effectively, the meeting lost a whole hour of producti...vity.

The retreat is a public meeting and so the agenda must be available 48 hours ahead of time. The agenda was available at the start of the meeting on the BoardDocs governance documents website [1], but none of the supporting documents for the meeting had been added. Further, the School Committee member's printed packets had not been distributed prior to the meeting. Therefore none of the participants were able to prepare for the specifics of the meeting.

A significant portion of the meeting was given to presenting historical data. The large number of charts and the speed of the Superintendent's presentation made comprehension impossible. Further, the printed packets were in black and white while the presentation was in color and so the printing actually hid important titles and values that could only be seen on the screen many feet away.

None of these three issues should have occurred. Holding meetings is a significant part of the Superintendent's work. That the meeting times are understood by all participants and the documents for information and action are distributed ahead of time with accuracy and fidelity should be habitual.

[1] http://www.boarddocs.com/ri/soki/Board.nsf/Public

See More
Like
Comment
Comments
Alycia Collins Very well said, Andrew.
Brian Kleczek Sounds like this is an ongoing problem that the current school committee has going on and the Superindendent seems to have control of what is or is not happening. These are public meetings which have regulations that require meetings to be posted and recorded and everyone has a right to speak at meetings. This 3 minute rule is not needed as very few partake in these meetings. Look at the Town Council or other towns. I would like to see participation from parents and public at meetings. Let's work towards improving our school system instead of continuing to bring it down. We don't have to go with the newest way of teaching. Let's let our teachers teach. They went to school to teach. They are our foundation. Less Administration as that is where alot of the taxpayers money is being used. Time for a change.
Susan Corkran ooh they are in trouble now...Go, Andrew!
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a comment...

If things were going well with the School Committee and the Administration I would not be running for office nor would the other 5 non-incumbent candidates. If you attended Friday's School Committee retreat meeting then you were witness to many things that were wrong. And yet, it started out so well.

Youth Pride Inc., an LGBTQ advocacy and education group, addressed the meeting and spoke about everything from naming to policy. While the School Committee does not have a trans*... policy we do have successful procedures. We have been attentive to trans* needs. For example, Teresa Eagan, Director of Pupil Personnel Services, said that we already routinely enable students to use their preferred name on documents where their legal name is not required. Steve Mueller said that South Kingstown does need to have a policy as this is, in part, how our community can be included in state and national policy conversations. Youth Pride did a great job further educating an already unbiased, non judgemental School Committee and Administration.

So what went wrong? I will address this in two following posts.

See More
Like
Comment
Comments
Eileen Dyer SKPS should adopt a Trans policy. Please support and protect all SK students.
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee The National Center for Transgender Equality has model policy. The Cumberland and Providence School District's policies are well regarded. The SC will, as I understand it, have a trans* policy. It would be wonderful if the SK community would do the leg work of reconciling and localizing the 3 policies mentioned and bring it to the SC as the draft policy.
Brooke Foglia Conley It seems like something the students could work on too, as part of a class or as an extracurricular.
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a comment...

RIDE's dropping of PARCC testing for 10th and 11th grades and a lessening of testing in the lower is good news. PARCC has always been about making students directly responsible for funding of schools and not about evaluating a student. We adults have abdicated our responsibility to make good decisions to the least empowered members of our community.

I will work to have South Kingstown make its own decisions on what are the important criteria for measuring success and using that to make appropriate decisions for our schools in Matunuck, West Kingstown, Wakefield, and Peace Dale.

http://ripr.org/…/ri-drops-standardized-testing-10th-11th-g…

Like
Comment
Comments
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a comment...

I handed in my nomination papers this morning. Thank you all for helping me pass this second milestone to being a School Committee candidate in November.

Like
Comment

I want to thank the school's administration (Kristen Stringfellow, Pauline Lisi, Teresa Eagan, Maryanne Crawford) and the School Committee for inviting and dedicating room for candidates to attend today's "retreat." While it was a public meeting the gesture is welcomed.

Like
Comment

Tomorrow, July 15, the candidates will be handing in their nomination papers. If you have yet to sign mine or other candidates that you want to see on the November's ballot then given us a call or come by the Peace Dale Green today where I will be from noon to 1 PM.

https://goo.gl/maps/6Ju98piTwf12

Like
Comment
Comments
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a comment...

Unexpectedly I was able to attend today's nomination signatures event at the Peace Dale Green. Thank you to the many citizens who took the time to come out, sign, and tell me their school story. Also, thank you Jonathan Daly-LaBelle for organizing this and for the conversations with Alycia Collins, Brian Kleczek, and Kim Kimball who are also running for School Committee.

Like
Comment

Each of you have encountered two 9 year olds and questioned if one was really 8 and the other was really 10. It is ridiculous to expect each of them to have attained the same physical and cognitive development at the same time. Add to that the differences that come from family, community, and place. A student from Matunuck is going to be very different from a student from Baton Rouge. There is no standard 9 year old. So how and why have standardized testing and the multitude ...of activities needed to implement them become the focus of the schools and the educational year?

Let's first state the obvious that testing mandates need to be implemented until they are withdrawn. It is worth reminding ourselves of this. Schooling has become dependent on the money from Federal and State governments. To get that money schools need to show evidence of having meet or are making progress towards a standard. But how much time, effort, and money do we really need to put into gathering that evidence? What is the least we can do? What is the least money we need?

I would like to explore these questions as a member of the School Committee.

See More
Organic
51
Paid
320
Like
Comment

I will be at Larkin Pond today (Sunday, July 10) between 3 and 4 PM in the hopes of collecting nomination signatures.

Like
Comment

You will likely ask me what can I and the schools do to prepare our children for their future? It is a hard question to answer and an especially hard one for a School Committee member where the answer will affect thousands of students. But we must try.

The answer is that we must prepare our students to be confident, resilient, and inquisitive people. We do this by giving our children many kinds of and frequent opportunities to be successful and to recover from failures. For s...ome children this can be done wholly academically, but these are rare flowers. For the rest of us the opportunities come from building practical things with wood, metal, and 3D printer filament or from expressing ourselves in music, song, and performance.

It has been a mistake that our schools have reduced and eliminated the necessary diversity of opportunities. I want to see us revitalize and invest in the practical arts, the fine arts, the performing arts, and the sports programs in South Kingstown's schools.

See More
Like
Comment

I am looking for suggestions of points in town where I can cross paths with voters. The markets are obvious places, but they tend to respectfully decline requests for permission. So actual public spaces are better. The Guild and the village green are good places in Peace Dale. What are good places in Matunuck and in West Kingston?

Note: I know about signing event at Bagelz tomorrow, but I will be away with one of my sons cheering on him and his team.

JUL9
Sat 10 AMBagelz The Bagel Bakery - 90 Pershing Ave - Wakefield
15 people interested · 20 people going
Like
Comment
Comments
Rose Gismondi If there is Little League in session, the ball park in Matunuck is a good place to talk to parents. Get a schedule?
Lisa Wright Or Old Mountain Field for softball families.
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a comment...

After several years of attempting to succeed from the outside in I am going to see if working from the inside out produces better schools and a better schooling. In the coming weeks I will write about the successes I see now and in the past, and my concerns for the future.

For now, please Like this page so that we can share our perspectives and prospectives.

Organic
55
Paid
313
Like
Comment
Comments
Jenny Rebecca FarOut, thank yOu!
Niomi Plotkin Good luck! Be great for the town
Liz Gledhill So excited to see your name on the ballot!
David Cann Good luck Andrew. I never tried to get elected, but I spent a few years on the Richmond finance board, which was a really educational experience and taught me a lot about how local government works.

And I watched the chariho school committee closely for a long time.
Andrew Gilmartin, Candidate for School Committee
Write a comment...
Politician
I am running for School Committee in South Kingstown, RI during the 2016 general election.
52 Likes
Owen Gilmartin and 28 other friends like this
AboutSee All
Highlights info row image
574 Saugatucket Rd
South Kingstown, Rhode Island
Highlights info row image
(401) 441-2062
Highlights info row message responsiveness image
Typically replies within a day
Visitor Posts
View your boosted post results.