While students are out enjoying summer, administrators are hitting the classroom. School superintendents from across the state converged on Boise to learn how to implement the new Students Come First education laws at a local level.
They attended sessions to get hands-on training on just about everything that’s changing this year, but that does not change how administrators feel about the laws.
Seminars included implementing Students Come First, with training on pay for performance and the new common core standards, said Melissa McGrath, spokeswoman for State Superintendent Tom Luna.
Pocatello-Chubbuck School District Superintendent Mary Vagner has been in the meetings. She has never been in favor of the education reforms.
“We did not support students come first. But we will implement it and we will do it well,” Vagner said.
In terms of pay for performance, the district will use the ISATs for their teacher evaluations. For electronically monitoring student progress, the district will use a program called Milepost. Vagner said she is walking away with new information about another student monitoring program called SchoolNet.
“It will bank the information on every child in our district. And that information will be helpful for us as a planning tool,” she said.
Disagree with Luna or not, the goal of this meeting was to help foster that understanding, McGrath said.
“We want to make sure every superintendent or charter school administrator walks away from the meeting and has a better grasp of the laws, has a better grasp of how to go back, work with local stake holders, work with their teachers, work with school board members on how to implement these laws and got that experience at our meeting. That is our entire goal. So if a superintendent walks away feeling that way, then we have met our goal,” McGrath said.
Superintendents also talked about the new growth model the state will use, which is being borrowed from Colorado. The state is using the model, in part, because it is free. McGrath said many other states use the same model. The state is not yet certain how the new growth model will determine Adequate Yearly Progress.