UDPC operates under a consensus model. In the process to achieve consensus on our position, we missed the deadline for an official comment to the board. UDPC submitted the letter on Wednesday, April 9th, and hopes the Board presses for a project plan on the Middle School Schedule change over the course of the upcoming forums. In addition, UDPC sent the list of follow up questions to administration on April 7th and hopes the answers will be shared with the public via the district website page.
Upper Darby Parent Coalition (UDPC) agrees with Administration that there is an achievement problem at both Drexel Hill Middle School and Beverly Hills Middle School. The Middle School Schedule Proposal, which was presented at the March School Board meeting, is an excellent starting point for addressing some of the issues our District faces, including inconsistencies between the two schools’ schedules and achievement outcomes. UDPC agrees that property values continue to be an issue, as concerns about the academic standing of our schools is relevant to both current home owners and potential home buyers.
UDPC urges the Board to require further definition of the Proposal.
However, UDPC urges the Board to require further definition of the Proposal. The Proposal allows for reduction of personnel and instructional time, and fundamentally changes the Middle School program, without detailing the implementation plan. Specifically, the Proposal lacks key details about both the curriculum and planned instruction for core classes, related arts classes, and other current programs; professional development; meeting times and the early outs; and the impact on all learners. UDPC recommends the Board make the Proposal’s project plan available and open to public comment before granting approval. This will not only promote transparency to all stakeholders (teachers, students, parents/guardians, administration) but also will ensure that the proposed solutions align to secure the stated goals.
A good plan must be framed around a clear set of objectives and thorough, deliberate design. For UDSD, the identified objectives seem to be increased achievement and stabilized or increased property values.
For the Proposal, the objectives should be supported by a design that includes:
- a well documented new schedule for both middle schools;
- a clearly defined curriculum for all classes to be offered;
- a required staffing plan (which should include both a head count, as well as qualification requirements);
- measures of success for students and teachers;
- data-driven metrics to measure how the new design is meeting the intended and desired objectives; and
- a comprehensive marketing plan to share successes.
A successful project plan should detail how to roll-out the new design while causing minimal disruption of day-to-day business and trying to maintain current levels of activity or instruction. This part of the plan should include:
- staffing requirements for the roll out (i.e., staff to re-write curriculum);
- training and staff development plans (i.e., training science teachers for interventions);
- a breakdown of all necessary tasks required under the new proprosal (i.e., new report card design, advanced student schedules, new teaming or grouping definitions); and
- timelines with due dates and staff assignments for each task to assign ownership, determine contingencies associated with particular tasks, highlight key challenges, immediately identify potential problems, develop a plan to correct such problems, and track successful completion of each task.
Project plans are a standard process tool that organizations can use to map, track, and facilitate change, from system changes, to process changes, to scheduling changes. These types of plans are based on the idea that although groups tend to resist change, it is often easier to manage when it is broken down into smaller components. Steps are not necessarily linear in time. Some steps can take place simultaneously, but some milestones must happen before others can take place. All steps are designed to support the final goal.
A project plan will help the District implement and communicate this change effectively.
A solid project plan will help the District identify the crucial activities, key resources, and required time allotments necessary to successfully develop, implement, and communicate this change to all the parents, students, and teachers in our District.