Gunn algebra pilot shows mixed results | February 1, 2019 | Palo Alto Weekly | Palo Alto Online |

Palo Alto Weekly

News - February 1, 2019

Gunn algebra pilot shows mixed results

District reflects on combined course

by Elena Kadvany

Almost three years ago, the Palo Alto school board voted to pilot a combined algebra class at Gunn High School that would merge Algebra 1 and Algebra 1A.

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Staff Writer Elena Kadvany can be emailed at


13 people like this
Posted by Bad PR
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 30, 2019 at 9:14 am

Bad PR is a registered user.

Dauber doesn't want it to come to the board because it makes them look bad. The board promised evaluations. Dauber was part of that board, even if he disagreed, they made a promise. Now he wants to back out of that promise. Why? Well, the pilot does not seem to be working. I guess that makes the board look bad for approving the pilot. Heaven forbid if the public sees that the board makes bad decisions.

Odd that Dauber has gone on and on about how he wants to reduce homework, reduce stress, etc..., but doesn't want to hear how a math program is working out for students.

We now have a district, already with a poor record on Special Ed and minority achievement, that has lost its Equity Coordinator (with no plans to replace) and a board who has publicly stated that they really don't care how a program, designed to help those groups, is performing.

Way to show how much you care.

19 people like this
Posted by Dan
a resident of Midtown
on Jan 30, 2019 at 9:40 am

Typical ... ignore evidence that doesn't fit your preferred narrative and agenda.If there was clear evidence that could be presented that it was a success, you can bet the board would have the report presented with great fanfare and congratulatory speeches.

11 people like this
Posted by Understandable
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 30, 2019 at 10:11 am

I don’t blame them. Nobody wants to be anywhere nearby when group differences are revealed, because the mob is always out for someone’s blood.

9 people like this
Posted by cmarg
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 30, 2019 at 10:17 am

cmarg is a registered user.

I agree with the decision. I think the Math department needs to address what will be the ideal solution for improving the this class and addressing what modifications need to be made for the achievement gap. As a former math teacher, I do not feel having the board involved helps in any way. The math teachers/math department have the skills and expertise in this area.

5 people like this
Posted by more to the story
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jan 30, 2019 at 11:54 am


I would not characterize a doubling of Ds and Fs in Gunn's Algebra 1 pilot as "remain[ing] relatively steady."

Nor would I report the HUR and disabled student passing rates as having "gone up" and "improved" without adding that the sample size is so small that it renders those percentages statistically insignificant.

Increase in # of disabled students earning As in the pilot's first year = 0.

Increase in # of HUR students earning As = 2.

25 people like this
Posted by Math parent
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jan 30, 2019 at 12:09 pm

There's a back story here. When Gunn teachers wanted to merge Algebra 1 and 1A it was because Algebra 1 was largely poor and minority students and the classes were basically segregated. There was pushback from the usual suspects, meaning mostly white parents who wanted their kids to be in accelerated class. Even though Algebra 1A in 9th grade isn't really "advanced". Opponents talked about this at the time as wanting to avoid "slowing down" or "dumbing down" the class.

Caswell, Townsend and Emberling went along with the opponents and tried to obstruct the change by requiring frequent reporting back to the board and giving the board veto authority over the "pilot". Dauber and Godfrey voted to let the teachers make the change without the board meddling. Now there's a board majority in favor of actually giving all students access to classes and letting teachers do their jobs.

10 people like this
Posted by Board Watcher
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Jan 30, 2019 at 1:00 pm

@Math Parent has it mostly right. The one thing I'd amend is that the pushback at the time wasn't from parents of actual Gunn Alg 1 students. It was from people who objected to "de-laning" on principle, and saw this (along with the Paly Eng 9/9A combination a year or two before) as the start of a slippery slope.

But agree, the result was that this "pilot" was put on a short leash with frequent board reporting and the opportunity for the board to "shut it down." The board reporting was largely neglected, which doesn't reflect well on the staff (though there were lots of changes going on). The action last night was to remove the leash and let staff do its job without board meddling. Multiple Board members noted the high level of community interest and encouraged staff to report results and conclusions to the community generally.

15 people like this
Posted by math instructor
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 30, 2019 at 2:07 pm

Math parent,

Paly tried to do the same thing a few years before. It was so obvious that it wasn't working for students that Paly abandoned it a few months in.

So the Board, except for Dauber, started off skeptical. Hoping that Gunn could make a success out of something Paly's math department could not, it decided to let Gunn give the pilot a try as long as staff promised to give it a few reports along the way so it could see how students were faring.

Those reports, as we see now, were buried because students were not faring all that well.

The Special Ed and HUR communities should be upset but they were MIA so don’t seem to care.

Based on last night, the men on the Board don’t care either.

Not much you can do other than make sure your child, if he is struggling in 8th grade Math, gets an Algebra 1 tutor next year.

The biggest disappointment of all is that Shounak Dharap, who promised he would look out for this group of kids in particular if elected, didn't even read the report before voting to rid staff of giving him more reports on this in the future.

As a recent Gunn grad, he must know that Algebra 1 is one of the few classes with a large number of HUR and disabled students in it and that 9th graders who fail that class, and there were many in Gunn's pilot, can kiss admission into a CA state university good bye.

This is what some call "the soft bigotry of low expectations.”

8 people like this
Posted by Greene and Paly parent
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 30, 2019 at 2:15 pm

This is extremely disappointing and concerning.

Our elected board is the connection between parents/voters/students and the school district. And we desperately need our board to exercise oversight.

Many components of our math program, especially in middle school, are archaic, disconnected, and misguided. With much higher per student budget we are doing a much poorer job across the spectrum. The design and decision making are opaque and defy education and scientific norms and modern tools and practices. Exposed significant misconducts are covered up and their cost is rolled on our children. Input from the community is being dismissed and there is no accountability and no quality control. Our kids became a play ground and are harmed by misguided and under informed experiments.

Our sister districts do better because the board provides oversight and forces transparency. But our board seems to simply provide district staff with absolute powers. We need our board to do the job they were elected to do.

24 people like this
Posted by Seriously
a resident of Professorville
on Jan 30, 2019 at 2:24 pm

Astonishing that this sort of nonsense is still going on in public schools. Decades of research and experience has proven again and again that learning should be tailored to individual abilities, but people are still trying to throw kids all into the same shark tank... just because no one wants to admit that people are different.

The result is always the same. It cripples the brightest and does nothing for the rest.

5 people like this
Posted by kids
a resident of another community
on Jan 30, 2019 at 2:40 pm

kids is a registered user.

Teaching basic a-g algebra is not that difficult. All of these people needed to step in an observe how this class was taught, know the students and their difficulties personally and use that information to make it better as it was happening, not after it was over and there were kids failing. For so many adults not to look in and then turn their backs on the kids in the experiment is shameful.

All these kids should go together and demand private tutors, a paid online UC approved math course in Algebra for summer or right now after being part of this failed pilot. That is the least they can do. How sad to just sit and let kids fail.
Telling a 14 year old they are washed up is just wrong and the board needs to fix it and find funds for these kids put into a situation that had unknowns. Every pausd kid deserves what ed code promises. This is not a private school. The board also needs to follow CA ed code and they can not locally just vote not to. Did the students all know this was a pilot and they were having data collected on them?

UC scout, BYU, AOPS are all very inexpensive. Kahn academy is obtainable and free. KIds can not teach themselves. I think that idea is the problem with the math dept. They see this failure as a student failure in learning.

I am hoping for a math teacher that is also a sane superhero to say what is needed as they were there and they do know.

9 people like this
Posted by Math Teacher
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Jan 30, 2019 at 5:04 pm


I’ll step in. I’m a math teacher and if it’s so easy to teach Algebra 1 then how come math scores are so low across the country? It just boggles my mind that people think successful teaching is so easy and every district except our well-funded one is doing it. I’ll grant that public education can be slow to adapt, but I hope people realize that unless you want your kids to be guinea pigs for novel educational approaches every year, not everything about education has to be innovative.

I am glad the smarter-than-thou comments on here come from a vocal minority of the community and I appreciate the vast majority of parents who support their schools and believe we teachers have their childrens’ best interests in mind.

5 people like this
Posted by Solving problems
a resident of Another Palo Alto neighborhood
on Jan 30, 2019 at 5:48 pm

"the mob is always out for someone’s blood"

Ah, the Palo Alto histrionic way. Anywhere else it would be "listening to and incorporating feedback that doesn't come from the echo chamber." (But we don't do that here, it would be way too healthy of an example for the kids.)

6 people like this
Posted by Algebra I Was Bad Enough...Algebra II Unbearable
a resident of Community Center
on Jan 30, 2019 at 6:49 pm

Who needs or ever uses Algebra in their everyday lives?

To determine when northbound/southbound Caltrains will pass each other on the tracks?

Remember those kinds of stupid algebraic questions?

Add train speed and station stops to make the equation even more FUN.

10 people like this
Posted by Crescent Park Mom
a resident of Crescent Park
on Jan 30, 2019 at 7:21 pm

Crescent Park Mom is a registered user.

The Board and Administration continue to ignore what EVERY math student and their family can't succeed in Palo Alto's high school math classes unless you have a private tutor OR take the class online the summer before. The idea of a special class was doomed from the beginning. Most of the math teachers don't test what they teach. At $125 an hour, low-income and minority students can't afford private math tutors. They can only hope that they have a parent that's a wiz at math to help them.

4 people like this
Posted by Barron Park parent
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 30, 2019 at 8:01 pm

@math instructor
How can you say special Ed was MIA? Kimberly Lee, head of CAC,spoke up at the meeting and is quotedin the article.

6 people like this
Posted by kids
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 30, 2019 at 8:04 pm

crescent park mom and other moms. why are you putting up with this and making your kids do triple the work? Did you know you can just take classes at Foothill or many UC approved online vendors who have teachers who are available and pretty good and combine transcripts? Spend your money on a trip to France instead of giving it to AJ tutoring. Walk boldly away from nonsense and free you child from dysfunction and time wasting. i think you are stuck taking alg 2 perhaps.... good luck.

Like this comment
Posted by kids
a resident of Barron Park
on Jan 30, 2019 at 8:17 pm

@math teacher. I like your comment and there is hope. Do you feel like all he programs to learn and implement make it more difficult and give you more or less freedom. with 8 different publishers at Paly, how on earth can any human keep track of kids from year to year? Also, Do you think other math like number theory and logic might be more useful to kids and possibly more valuable? I think the Paly math needs programming built in and major updates and unraveling. why such a focus on algebra based stuff and no focus on other math untis. Kids get stuck repeating entire chapters and missing major ones in the weird labyrinth.

7 people like this
Posted by teacher
a resident of Stanford
on Jan 30, 2019 at 9:15 pm

Math Parent,

This had nothing to do with White bigotry. Gunn's Math IS reported that the demographics in the Algebra 1 and Algebra 1A classes were largely the same. Web Link

It was all about 4 Board members who were skeptical that the pilot would work because Gunn Principal Denise Herrmann would not agree to follow the delaning advice Hanover Research gave the district.

Hanover was clear -- delaning does NOT typically work out well for students but, if PAUSD insists on doing it, it must do these 3 things or the failure rate will skyrocket:

Class sizes must be small/they weren't,

Struggling students must take support classes a few times a week/they didn't, and

Teachers must water down the curriculum but then the most advanced math students will not be engaged in their learning/they weren't.

Web Link

1 person likes this
Posted by Not everyone
a resident of Gunn High School
on Jan 31, 2019 at 12:14 am

Please be careful about statements like "everyone knows..." or claims regarding "the only way" to achieve some outcome. Over-generalizations are always a bad idea! ;)

But seriously. With my own offspring, nieces/nephews, neighbors' kids, friends, I've seen kids move through PAUSD K to 12 and come out fine with all different approaches to schools and course selections, tutoring, etc. Of course we all want things to go as well as possible for the kids but we need to relax a bit too and take stock of how for the most part our schools and kids are doing great, and going about it in varying ways.

1 person likes this
Posted by kids
a resident of another community
on Jan 31, 2019 at 11:16 am

kids is a registered user.

@ math teacher.

not sure where bigotry comment came from.

Giving every kid all the information at a high level with high expectations starting in Kindergarten without excluding the ones that are not as fast at math facts would be a good start. Math is not just facts and not just algebra. Teachers should not water down the curriculum for any level. I think that is the problem Watering down and passing kids up levels for 7 years without benchmarks and then being surprised they can not make level 9 that has specific benchmarks. When kids pass up levels they are not told exactly what they need to fix or work on and have a false sense of what they accomplished. Grades do not count until 8th grade really and teachers need to be honest and keep levels where they need to be to prepare kids so algebra will be easy for them, not difficult or unobtainable.

2 people like this
Posted by sci
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 31, 2019 at 12:27 pm

@kids "Also, Do you think other math like number theory and logic might be more useful to kids and possibly more valuable?"

Simply, no. Other math is great to be a grocer, but those positions will be replaced by clever AI in the next decade. All modern programming languages, say python, are built around the notion of arrays and tensors at their core. The new AI aka "deep learning" is built around tensors and geometric reasoning (you can call it machine learning/optimization theory but it is all fundamentally geometric). If you dont' understand this stuff, you cannot enter much of engineering or computer science.

Now, lets move on: I'm very upset that kids take PE but many do not come out able to run 6 minute miles nor 3 hour marathons. This is completely due to expectations, from kindergarten that are set low for some kids and not for others. NOT!

I'm all for individualizing education, obviously, a lot of that would have to be done, for scale, by work with computers that can actually track individual's understanding of individual concepts. Using this approach, individuals will learn more, perhaps "enough" but there will still be large disparities and probably very non-politically correct statistical correlations! Oh my!

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Posted by kids
a resident of Greenmeadow
on Jan 31, 2019 at 5:22 pm

Your argument is very silly. What are you talking about with computers doing the work of teachers? Are you a robot? Who programmed you? A kid from Cupertino? : ) Your comment at the end is the real problem It sounds like you really think different kids will not do well. Sad.

6 people like this
Posted by Considering moving out of Palo Alto
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 2, 2019 at 12:05 pm

Considering moving out of Palo Alto is a registered user.

@math instructor: you wrote:
"The biggest disappointment of all is that Shounak Dharap, who promised he would look out for this group of kids in particular if elected, didn't even read the report before voting to rid staff of giving him more reports on this in the future."
How do you support your statement that Dharap didn't bother reading the report? Did he say he didn't read it?

If this is true then the willful ignorance on the results of delaning already started well before the vote.

Does anyone remember the Hanover report that @teacher referenced above? Here it is, starting around page 40
Web Link

So, PAUSD should know better. No need to continue running a 2 year pilot study long after 2 years are up. We see once again a political agenda being pushed despite evidence and strong parental objections to the contrary. We've been through delaning discussions in 2014 and 2016, but it keeps popping up.

Todd Collins has claimed many times to be data driven. I am very disappointed and surprised that he has voted to not look at the data in the future.

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Posted by what he said
a resident of Gunn High School
on Feb 2, 2019 at 2:27 pm

Considering moving,

Dharap said he didn't know how to interpret the Algebra 1 pilot report and then explained why the Board should not ask staff to explain the results to help it evaluate the pilot.

It is staff's job to do this, not the Board's.

It would open the door to the Board evaluating other pilots.

Accountability happens when the Board trusts that staff has it under control and does what is needed.

Web Link

5 people like this
Posted by Considering moving out of Palo Alto
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 2, 2019 at 4:53 pm

Considering moving out of Palo Alto is a registered user.

@what he said,

Are you saying that "accountability" is when the Board does NOT provide oversight over the staff? That sounds like the opposite of accountability. According to the dictionary, "accountable" is "subject to the obligation to report, explain, or justify something; responsible; answerable."

The staff in charge of math instruction is really just a small handful of people just as fallible as anyone else. Everyone's got an agenda. In my personal discussions with members of the math staff, I have sometimes found their knowledge to be incomplete in many areas, and that some of their stances are based on opinions and biases that they can't justify, as well as a refusal to consider evidence that does not support their views. This can be seen in comparisons across peer schools and districts that do things quite differently and more successfully. I've found that they really don't want to have that discussion. So, no; I don't blindly trust the staff.

Looks like MBC actually read the March report and called it a "dismal failure". At least someone is paying attention on the Board.

I completely agree with MBC's statement that "this has ramificatons on everything the board decides." I think it's a disaster.
I am worried that the Board seems to have officially voted for a blanket abdication of accountability and for a lack of intellectual curiosity.

Thanks for the link. I was amused when Dharap was asking to have the staff not report but rather to direct them to report. Web Link Wow.

4 people like this
Posted by Todd Collins
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 3, 2019 at 8:34 am

Todd Collins is a registered user.

First, sorry to all the people who feel the board isn't doing its job or doesn't care or is trying to cover something up. Those of us who voted for this motion clearly didn't do a good job of explaining why and what we thought was happening. I'll try here, for myself anyway.

At issue isn't whether Alg 1/1A was important (it is), whether the pilot should be carefully reviewed (it should), or whether the staff had lived up to its commitment (it hadn't). For me, the first question is - who's job is it to review pilot data and decide what to do next?

My feeling is that it is the Superintendent's (and his team's) job. This is a fundamental part of their job - if they don't do it consistently, and don't do it well, then we have big problems all over the place, and need to look hard at management processes and people overall (as we've done in the last two years).

If it is staff's job, that means it isn't the Board's job. In the past, often the Board has tried to "help" staff do their job by doing some of it for them - I think this had net negative effects, in part leaving us with weak management. Better management requires letting them do their jobs, and then holding them accountable if they don't. That's what I expect will happen here. (If it doesn't, the Board has a bigger problem.)

So if Board members, community members, staff, or anyone, wants to give feedback on this pilot to the Superintendent and his team, they should - I've spent time with the data and have given my feedback. If he's smart, he'll listen, since there are a lot of smart, experienced, caring people in our community who will have views to share. The Board can later look at how well we're achieving high school math goals and decide whether the right actions were taken. That is our job, and only we can do it and hold Dr. Austin accountable for the result (and the community can hold us accountable).

So my vote was for the Superintendent to do his job, and the Board to stick to ours. I understand why that frustrates - why don't we just tell them what to do!? - but ultimately I think it leads us to a stronger school district for our kids and our community.

10 people like this
Posted by
a resident of Duveneck/St. Francis
on Feb 3, 2019 at 9:48 am

is a registered user.

Todd, Thanks for trying to clarify. I see a couple of issues. 1) the board did promise to public evaluations and now it is backing out from that commitment. Why not follow through with the commitment and establish your role going forward? Reneging on your original commitment only builds mistrust and creates questions. 2) It seems that the board wants to pick and choose what they have control over. Ken Dauber's big push has been for setting a homework policy. Why is that a board duty and not a Superintendent/staff duty? If the board trusts the math department to develop a math curriculum, then why wouldn't they trust the Ph.D.'s of the district office to determine appropriate homework levels? Mr. Dauber also demanded to approve Gunn's new bell schedule but not Paly's.

When there isn't consistency, how is the public supposed to know what the board's job is? Sometimes they get involved in the details, sometimes they don't. Sometimes they evaluate programs, sometimes they don't.

Just don't act surprised when people are upset when you fail to follow through on your promises.

4 people like this
Posted by Todd Collins
a resident of Barron Park
on Feb 3, 2019 at 11:56 am

Todd Collins is a registered user.

My view is that the Board had asked to review information, presumably to make a decision about it or judge management on it directly. Since we weren't going to do those things, I thought bringing the report to the board as unnecessary. I don't think the prior board's vote was about sunshining information (I re-watched the discussions from 2016); it was about having a chance to evaluate an intervention. In the last meeting we encouraged the Superintendent to sunshine the info in a different way and I expect he will. There are lots of ways to share information aside from putting them on Board agendas.

I agree, it is not always easy for us to decide what the Board should engage in. Generally if we have a policy in place (like with Homework), it's important to make sure it is followed - I often say, "a policy is a promise." The Homework Policy has been on the books for six years, but we don't know if we follow it or not - many data points suggest we do not. Any policy we aren't following seems like a legitimate board topic, since only the Board can change policy.

But here's another example - Full Day Kindergarten (FDK). This is an intervention that staff wanted to try and the Board agreed. Should the Board review how it's going? I think yes, mostly because it involves a large ongoing investment of money - about $1.3M a year. The Board must approve that kind of investment, and as a result, I think they should see how it goes - is it delivering the planned results or not? So the main difference for me is the amount of resources involved.

So I agree, it isn't easy to draw the line, though in this case, I thought it was clear. The big point here for me is that Management - the Superintendent and his team - needs to do its job. That hasn't been done yet, as far as a I can tell, on this Alg 1/1A pilot. If they don't follow through, that means we have an issue with Management, not just with Algebra.

8 people like this
Posted by john_alderman
a resident of Crescent Park
on Feb 3, 2019 at 12:38 pm

john_alderman is a registered user.

The PAUSD failure at math starts in elementary school. Kids aren't taught to be proficient computation, memorize multiplication tables, or learn standard algorithms to solve long division. Parents who care and have time and have money make sure their kids learn it at home, at chinese school, at kumon, at mathnasium, or from a tutor. Less involved or more delusional parents believe the giving calculators in 2nd grade or playing with peg boards and rubber bands in 5th grade is actual learning. Rude awakening when it turns you need to some basic mastery of arithmetic to continue to advance and succeed in math. Algebra is a lot harder than it needs to be when you don't know how to multiply and divide. It is a huge disservice to the disadvantaged kids - PAUSD sacrifices their future to temporarily inflate their self esteem in elementary school.

2 people like this
Posted by South Gate
a resident of Evergreen Park
on Feb 3, 2019 at 4:22 pm

South Gate is a registered user.

It's clear you think you know the best way to teach math to elementary school children. All research in the past 20 years tell us something very different. Abundant research shows that what you propose is insufficient for preparing students to meet the current common core standards or for functioning in 21st century work places.
While the district might still be working on meeting the needs of ALL students, I'll bet they are a lot closer than they were when they taught in the ways that we learned when we were kids.

2 people like this
Posted by Considering moving out of Palo Alto
a resident of Midtown
on Feb 4, 2019 at 12:34 am

Considering moving out of Palo Alto is a registered user.

@South Gate,

speaking of Common Core, take a look at this
Web Link
and this video
Web Link
But watch the entire video. It is riveting and shocking.

Common Core has been a disaster, especially for low-SES students

Here's the part of the video that discusses PAUSD
Web Link
Not so great.

6 people like this
Posted by Alum
a resident of Palo Alto High School
on Feb 4, 2019 at 4:13 am

Alum is a registered user.

I agree with this decision and what Mr. Collins posted above. It is not the board's job to micromanage how math is run at Gunn—it is the job of the administrative staff and the educators. If there's a need for policy changes, resource allocation or holding the staff accountable for doing their job and meeting their promises, then the board should get involved.

The board is selected to represent the public's interest, but not to manage operations. If there was collaboration between the opinionated community members and the administrators at the school level (but yes, it does take two to tango), I think we'd find much more meaningful progress and honest discussion than operating through school board directives.

And to briefly address the comment about being successful in high school math only with a tutor or taking outside classes—that is not really true. There are students that get all As in Paly/Gunn math classes without either of those. While you make be trying to convey a valid point, please be careful making broad statements like that.

3 people like this
Posted by Job Descriptions
a resident of Gunn High School
on Feb 4, 2019 at 5:32 am

Job Descriptions

PAUSD BOARD POLICY 6190 - Evaluation of the Instructional Program
Web Link


Is accountable to students, parents/guardians, and the community for the effectiveness of the District's educational program in meeting district goals for student learning.


Shall conduct a continual evaluation of the instructional program in order to improve student achievement.

Shall provide the Board and the community with regular reports on student progress at each grade level in each area of study.

Shall evaluate and report data for each school and for every numerically significant subgroup.


Based on these reports, the Board shall take appropriate actions to improve the quality of education that district students receive.

2 people like this
Posted by Parent
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 4, 2019 at 9:02 am

Umm, sure, like looking at state test scores and SPSAs. The idea that policy means the Board should review the detailed results for every class in every grade shows how confused some people can get. Board, thank you for actually doing your job instead of listening to this nonsense.

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Posted by kids
a resident of another community
on Feb 4, 2019 at 9:37 am

kids is a registered user.

The best data for admin would be to walk into the classroom and offer to hear what parents, teachers and students in the actual situation think was difficult and good and embrace praise as well as criticism as a team instead of spending one more minute on fingerpointing. This district has suffered with common core and everyday math and we are seeing the results of elementary school math that did not prepare an entire group of kids to keep up to HS standards or exceed them. This is the most important thing for them to notice. Art of Problem Solving has a great curriculum that starts in first grade and even if you can not afford the classes, it is a good community to look at for information and resources for every kid and parents should start early and not think whatever the new pilot is will be sufficient. Boxing up math with tight lids and low expectations take a lot of effort. Being more free and trusting teachers with less constraints seems better. They do not tell kids they can not read certain books, but they do tell kids they can not do certain algorithms ahead. why? what is the fear of a kid doing math as they please? Who decided what idea to put where?

4 people like this
Posted by "every grade level"
a resident of Gunn High School
on Feb 4, 2019 at 10:38 am


The Board policy says there is to be a report for "every grade level."

Algebra 1 is a 9th grade class.

The high school standardized test is given in 11th grade. Those are the scores plopped into the SPSA report.

BTW, despite low 11th grade math scores for the two subgroups that the "PAUSD Promise" website promises is now going to be our district's focus, just 36% of Gunn's disabled students and 52% of its Hispanic students "passed" California's low bar. This was in a report shared last Tuesday. Staff had no explanation or comment. The Board did not express concern.

Web Link Web Link at the end of the meeting.

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Posted by Parent
a resident of Adobe-Meadow
on Feb 4, 2019 at 1:36 pm

So your solution for addressing a gap between reviewing 8th and 11th grade results is to review a single 9th grade course at a single school (that happens to be piloting combination of two lanes)? Not the most constructive approach I can think of...

In terms of low-income and disability students, there has been ample discussion and review of CAASPP data at prior meetings, especially staff's presentation from Nov 13 ( Web Link ).

Your implication that the board is lazy or derelict or uncaring is bizarre to me; it seems patently untrue. I don't really understand what your motivation is.

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Posted by "every grade level"
a resident of Gunn High School
on Feb 4, 2019 at 3:16 pm


How about evaluate 9th grade math at each high school, which will include Algebra 1, to start?

Isn't that what the board policy requires?

When was the last time that was done?

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