Board member Matt Steward commended the community for the level of discussion that has taken place.
“I think the good thing about this debate is this year, I feel that the community has probably had more conversation about education than we have for maybe a decade or more,” he said. “I think that’s fantastic.”
He added that whatever the stance on the MCL program, one thing everyone can agree on is that a change has to be made.
“The fact is that everyone agrees that perhaps our traditional classes are ... lacking,” he said. “I think that’s why many of the parents I’ve talked to are so supportive of the pilot program, because they feel this is their alternative to the regular classroom, which is what we’ve experienced over the last few years.”
It was noted that even though there were some concerns throughout the corporation, there were many areas of excellence, like the high school’s 93 percent passing algebra scores, which are the highest scores in the county.
After extensive discussion between board members and faculty who were on hand, the board decided it would be advantageous to have the MCL pilot programs be more focused on specific subjects to make it easier to collect and track data, so as to accurately gauge how the pilots are doing.
Board member Scott Bess gave a very detailed and specific motion.
“Based on discussion tonight, we continue with the pilot program in math K through 8 with the number of classes determined by parent choice and teacher availability,” Bess said. “We also continue the English language arts (pilots) K through 2, same thing — with parent opt-in, teacher availability — with the caveat that all other subjects are taught in a method based on teacher and administrator choice.”
After the motion, Bess gave some clarification.
“That (caveat) allows for those classes that are being taught — I use the example of seventh-grade science — if they want to do what they’re doing in the classroom today, they can keep doing that,” he said. “ ... All this says is we’re going to give parents the option for those grade levels in math and English and language arts, K through 2, to continue to participate in the pilot. (The board will continue) to evaluate them, to get better at it, tweak it, change it, and move forward.”
The motion was seconded by Steward and then passed unanimously.
The Danville School Board regularly meets at 7 p.m. on the second Monday of each month at Danville South Elementary School.