Thursday, October 31, 2013

Wayzata school board candidates: student and teacher accountability

Question 3. During the most recent session, the Minnesota Legislature removed the requirement that high school students pass a minimum skills test (known as the GRAD test) in order to graduate, and removed the requirement that teachers pass a basic skills test in order to become licensed. In light of these changes, what can local school districts including Wayzata do to ensure the high academic outcomes and teaching standards that residents have come to expect?

Derek Diesen

Local control is the only way to ensure success. I must admit this is the first I have heard of this GRAD and teacher basic skills test requirement being removed. However, if the school board sets the curriculum and then measures it's success we will be able to continue to ensure high academic outcomes.

Sarah Johansen

Wayzata has always had more rigorous requirements for graduation than required by the state. With the implementation of our Q Comp program several years ago, continuous improvement and further education for our teachers is required for them to receive any increase in their compensation. I feel very strongly that we must ensure that every student who attends Wayzata Public Schools is supported in reaching their fullest potential and graduates ready for college or the career of their choice. It is essential that the Board and administration work together to continuously evaluate our educational program and develop and use measures that work for Wayzata and our deepest commitment to excellence.

David Lloyd

The District is very engaged in wanting success for our students. We hire many experienced teachers. I'm confident at this point in our human resources process. Neither of the issues you note in this question are a priority in my view.

Chris McCullough

I believe that there are probably already too many tests given to our students. That said, I do believe that having a minimum skills test in order to graduate and to teach, should be required. We are fortunate in the Wayzata School District to have great teachers who have traditionally passed these tests, and we are also fortunate that the great education our children receive, coupled with the tremendous support most children get from their families and the broader community, have allowed our students to exceed these minimum requirements. It will be important for families and our community to continue to demand high standards for all, and as we continue to attract the “best and brightest” students and teachers to our District, we must continue to strive for excellence for each and every student.

Bill Pritchard

The District is facing steady and continuous growth, and I believe it is fortunate we have a highly dedicated base of educators, staff, volunteers and administrators. I respect the honest, dedicated, ethical and efforts of these individuals, and believe they are truly committed to ensuring all students receive the best quality and excellence of education possible. The District’s top priority is and should remain foremost its students.

Ted Victor

Wayzata demands excellence in their hiring process. They offer support to their teachers in several ways. Teachers that are probationary must achieve before earning tenure. Teachers have peer group mentors that monitor and assist when needed to achieve excellence. The district provides required staff development for all teachers to maintain a teaching license. Our department chairs, principals, curriculum specialists, superintendent, and board of education have their fingers on the heartbeat so as to provide what ever is necessary to create the best education for all students. With all these support systems in place excellence in teaching will remain in the district.

I’m confident that our high school graduates do not need to take a GRAD test. Approximately ninety percent of our students are attending post secondary education.

No comments: