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We need to test less but test right...' Colorado Springs superintendent asks for three-year moratorium on testing, challenging Colorado Springs's participation in PARCC

Susan Notes: Although the state has informed Superintendent Gledich that state law does not allow public school districts to opt out, and federal law requires states to administer the same annual statewide assessments to all students, Gledich's move is important. It is the beginning. The rotten NCLB core will not hold.

How refreshing it is to hear a superintendent talk about the whole child, not the future competitor in the global economy.

Read parent Nina Bishop's description of the district--at Substance.

Here's article in local paper The Gazette

by Don Perl

The superintendent of one of the largest school districts in Colorado, Dr. Nicholas Gledich of Colorado Springs, has asked the school board of Colorado Springs to put a three-year moratorium on the PARCC tests and to develop a local system that restores the classroom, teachers, and children to the center of the district's work. "It is not the test score that should excite us each year. The excitement is the day-to-day interaction and engagement of students acquiring new knowledge and skills..." the superintendent told his school board in a lengthy memo on August 22, 2014.

Colorado Springs school supt. Nicholas Gledich.For many long-time leaders of the resistance to corporate education reform in Colorado, the important message from Dr. Gledich is the position in which he emphasizes the "art of teaching" and addressing the needs of the whole child. The entire statement is copied and pasted below:

From: GLEDICH, NICHOLAS M. Sent: Friday, August 22, 2014 1:45 PM

To: Good morning,

Colorado Springs D11 Board of Education's summer schedule did not permit the Board to talk as a Board on the proposed waiver. Board members individually support my thoughts and thinking on the subject. However, we work as a board, and did not have a board conversation. If this was going to be a request of the Board to submit a waiver, we need board conversation. The Board has no action to take at this time. I believe the conversation regarding testing needs to begin.

The thinking shared during the summer with the board members individually was not a moratorium on PARCC and CMAS. It was as follows:

1. I will ask the Board of Education to request a waiver from the state. The request is:

a) To discontinue Partnerships for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) and the Colorado Measures of Academic Success (CMAS) as they are currently administered for a three year period of time

b) To replace the administration of PARCC and CMAS with a random sample of students in District 11 adhering to the current testing structure from the State over a course of three years.

c) To fully implement within the three year period of time an annual assessment that is based on the next generation graduate this is developed through collaboration with District 11 staff and community with support from experts in the field of assessment and instruction.

After learning that the State Task Force was formed based on the House Bill 14テ「1202, I decided that it would be in the best interest to work through the task force created through legislation. To my knowledge, no venue exists at this time for the District to request such a waiver. District 11 will do it's best to connect with the established statewide task force. The state concerns being addressed by the task force are the same concerns of District 11. I believe it is best to work within the vehicle established by the state.

2. To fully implement within the three year period of time an annual assessment that is based on the next generation graduate and is developed through collaboration with District 11 staff and community with support from experts in the field of assessment and instruction. Thus creating what the D11 community would define as a meaningful and relevant alternative to the current state assessment tool and process.

テつキ We need to test less but test right.

テつキ We need to move from test accountability to instructional accountability in our minds and in our actions.

テつキ We need to honor our current work on development of graduation requirements that has led to the need for a comprehensive view and assessment of the "whole child". テつキ Our focus is on building a successful instructional model and assessment framework. The intention is to build a system that defines the essential components of District 11 learning inclusive of: an environment that promotes academic preparedness, cultural competency, the development of highly skilled team members, innovative thinkers and problem solvers, efficient and effective users of information technology, civic responsibility and effective communicators.

o This model will be learner-centered, applicable to all classrooms, have a focus on research-based practices, while upholding a teacherテ「冱 creativity and ability to apply the "art of teaching." We will promote engagement, critical thinking, and student achievement in relation to Postsecondary and Workforce Readiness.

テつキ The potential alternative could lead to a K-12 Next Generation Portfolio based on the D11 Achieve Graduate components or a myriad of components including but not inclusive of the current ICAP components.

The district 11 Board of Education and I believe that our students deserve the very best.

Thank you for reaching out to me.

Additional Thoughts Shared

1. I have asked teachers and principals to shift from assessment accountability to instructional accountability. This means by honing our craft, we will strike a balance. A balance of appropriate progress monitoring and benchmarking will assist our children with the acquisition of knowledge and result with higher achievement. Through these actions, we need to continue to balance the attention to the "whole child". While assessment is foundational to knowing what a student has learned, we need to test less, but test right. Assessment needs to evolve to help establish progress toward テ「忤hole childテ「 development.

2. It is not the test score that should excite us each year. The excitement is the day-to-day interaction and engagement of students acquiring new knowledge and skills. The moment when students cross the stage we are sealing the deal highlighting our commitment to learning and achieving from prekindergarten through 12th grade. Our purpose is to increase the value of the congratulatory handshake while being accountable for the "whole child". My worry is adding a student performance component on all teacher evaluations needs more thought.

3. Every classroom, every school, every department within the district plays a role with this success -- a graduate ready for continued learning, the work force, and life. We need to commit to the development of the "whole child" and be less concerned about the time taken from direct instruction of tested areas and be equally concerned about embracing extracurricular activities, elective classes and special area subjects as they contribute to the foundation of the tested areas and support the development of the "whole child".

4. We need to commit to the Colorado Academic Standards. We need to test what is most important, test right and use observations from our progress monitoring and benchmarking to guide our instruction. We need to accept the accountability that goes along with the congratulatory handshake -- sealing the deal for our students when they cross the stage and graduate.

Nick Gledich, Superintendent, Colorado Springs School District 11

Nicholas M. Gledich, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools
Colorado Springs School District 11
1115 N. El Paso Street, Ste. 209
Colorado Springs, CO 80903

— Don Perl introducing Superintendent Nicholas Gledich



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