Analysis of Proposed Middle School Schedules

The BSD has released its proposal for a common middle school experience. Rationale, timeline, and proposed schedules are posted on the BSD website and Beaverton Friends of Music has been reviewing them closely.  There’s a lot to be excited about here and it’s time for some family involvement!  Please read the talking points below and attend the following meeting to lend your support:

 BSD Middle School Family Listening & Learning Sessions for Common Middle Experience 
***Thursday, February 6, 2020 from 6:30 – 7:30 p.m.***

(at every BSD middle school on the same night)

At least two of the four proposed schedules include PE + 2 Electives Everyday and would represent a huge step for the status of music education in our district — as well as equity for all students in general.  If implemented, all middle schools would finally have *both* band and choir offered, and there would be more daily elective classes.

The district’s listening session invitation was sent to all middle school families, but the meeting title does not exclude anyone from attending.  Our entire community depends on the quality of education provided in our pubic schools.  Please do make plans to attend even if you do not currently have a middle schooler in your family.  Elementary parents definitely have a stake in the upcoming decisions because their children are headed to middle school, and high school families have a stake too, because our middle school bands and choirs feed the high school programs.

On February 6th at a middle school near you, the district promises the “chance to learn more about the BSD’s efforts to create a common experience at all of our comprehensive middle schools, and effort that includes middle school course offerings and schedules that are standardized across the District.”

Talking points for the Feb. 6th Meeting:

1) BFoM supports the move toward CME for two main reasons: 

• It resolves inequities between schools that have been a problem in our district for years because course offerings or period lengths differ between schools. This is good for kids and families because it makes their experience more fair and predictable.

• It ensures that all students receive a well-rounded education; students who’d lost access to their elective due to being enrolled in special services like ESL and SPED will again have enough room in their schedule for at least one daily year-long elective class. This is the right thing to do for kids.

2) Of the four proposed schedules, BFoM prefers model B and model C.  We analyzed the schedules based on the School Board Planning Committee Middle School Scheduling Objectives and graded each model on the scorecard below, giving a green light to the objectives met by each schedule, and a red light to those not met.  In our opinon, Schedule A and D do not meet the criteria.  We are enthusiastic about Schedule B and C.

 

3) We agree this is a big change, but we feel it is absolutely worth doing and we support the effort to implement it next year.

For years, BFoM has been urging administration to address the complex issues of site-based management & curriculum narrowing that have lead to lack of equity in music access.  The problem is large and it effects students in many areas besides just music.  We’ve intentionally set up a district-wide coalition and we’ve built relationships with decision-makers at every level.  This took a lot of extra time and effort, but it’s one of the main reasons we’ve been able to grow a credible understanding of the issues and have some influence in the district.  Those who lack understanding about our goals, level of engagement, and commitment over time may accuse us of having “outsized” influence or “too limited” a focus*.  Here are some words you can say to help educate them:

BFoM is focused on music education because we believe it is an essential part of well-rounded education.  In researching the solutions that would bring permanent improvement for our focus area, we learned about the interconnected challenges.  We support the interconnected solutions for those challenges.  We have never advocated for music to the exclusion of other important subjects.  We have always advocated for a complete education for every child. BFoM maintains that all BSD students will benefit from a common middle school schedule that provides an equitable experience across schools, developmentally-appropriate class length, and improved access to daily electives for all students (including those enrolled in Special Education, ESL, AVID, and Intervention).

4) BFoM believes support for the expanded access to quality electives that a CME would bring extends beyond our group. SeeBSD Student Success Act Survey Analysis for supporting evidence.

Want to learn more about the Beaverton Friends of Music and our analysis of the CME proposals?  Attend our informational meeting at 6:30pm on Sunday Feb 2nd at Fire Station 65 (3425 SW 103rd Avenue, Beaverton).

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