Over the last several weeks, the CALA community put together a statement and delivered it to the Cambridge Public School administration and School Committee at the January 3rd SC meeting. The statement officially introduces CALA as an organization, outlines the needs of advanced learners in the Cambridge Public School District, and lays out specific goals on which CALA would like to collaborate with our district leaders over the coming year.
The complete statement is here, and includes CALA’s 2012 Action Plan:
- Outreach to grow a diverse parent community, with special effort to include families disadvantaged by racial bias, English language ability, socio-economic status, or other factors; meet with school leaders; work with the district to coordinate a monthly meeting space for CALA, and distribute literature and announcements; find a volunteer parent contact from each school who can pass along email announcements, be a contact for new CALA parents, etc.
- Hold a monthly CALA meeting, open to the public, either for planning or a workshop on a specific topic
- Meet with school leaders – principals, assistant principals, family liaisons – at every school to learn about different schools’ approach to advanced learners
- Continue to meet with our district leaders in the administration and School Committee to shape policy and programming that meets the needs of advanced learners across CPS
- To support Massachusetts state advocates working to create state legislation mandating policy and programs for advanced learners
- Assist the district in fundraising for programs for advanced learners, especially in light of the recent NCLB waiver, the Blueprint for Reform, and the Investing in Innovation Fund http://cambridgeadvanced.org/2011/12/19/nclb-waiver-leaves-room-for-improvements/
- Raise overall awareness in the district about the needs and challenges of advanced learners in the CPS by requesting that the district:
- Utilize an evidence-based method to accurately approximate the number of advanced learners in the district
- Include needs of advanced learners as a professional development topic for principals and teachers during the coming year, and how the issue can be addressed throughout the grades and classrooms, including classrooms which use ability grouping, cluster grouping, or differentiation.
- Enact policy that requires all Cambridge Public Schools to set goals that challenge all students, including advanced learners already performing beyond grade level.
- Directly address the needs of advanced learners in the CPS middle grades as the specifics of the Innovation Agenda are developed and implemented.
- Request a summary from each school’s literacy and math coaches about what they currently do to serve the needs of advanced learners, and what additional resources they need in the way of materials or time with specialists.
- Commit to sending professional CPS representatives to the 18th annual New England Conference on Gifted and Talented Education that will take place in Rhode Island in October, 2012