Shara Watkins

Shara Watkins

Trustee Noelia Corzo and I both ran for office because we wanted to do things differently and we wanted better outcomes. Our Superintendent, Diego Ochoa, joined the San Mateo-Foster City School District to bring his data-driven, equity-centered leadership to impact student outcomes. Together, we committed to putting pressure on our educational system for producing predictable patterns of achievement for years. We wanted better for our kids. All of our kids.

One of the most controversial decisions made by the San Mateo-Foster City School District Board of Trustees, in the past two years, was to change the entrypoint for compacted math from sixth grade to seventh grade. Despite layers of research supporting this decision, countless districts who don’t have any accelerated math programs yet still propel their high-achieving students forward, and support from our county superintendent of schools, board members were still painted as misinformed, misguided and accused of hurting the very students for whom they have tirelessly advocated.

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(3) comments

Terence Y

So if I understand this letter correctly, this 6th grade one math class fits all resulted in only a 1% increase in performance? Is this 1% statistically significant? Is the increase less than 1%, such as 0.51%, but rounded up to 1%? Now if we have higher achieving students “stuck” in a one class fits all because they have no other choice, wouldn’t they increase the overall student outcome? With the advent of COVID and distance learning, how did those issues and the demographics of absentees affect the overall score? I think we need more than preliminary data before we can conclude “something different” was successful. Performance metrics on how these 6th graders are doing in 7th grade? Have high achievers been hamstrung because they weren’t challenged to their ability in 6th grade?

Dirk van Ulden

What Ms. Watkins does not tell you what the baseline performance was for 6th graders prior to this switch. She throws in equity and averages to confound or please some readers. What happened to the higher achieving students? Are their scores averaged with the lower achievers to arrive at the so-called equity data that she is so exited about? No wonder many of us have lost faith in the public school system.

Ray Fowler

Hey, Dirk

Your post made me think of something I read many moons ago by Harold Geneen, "... words are words, explanations are explanations, promises are promises, but only performance is reality."

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