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Speedos and Statistics

November 1, 2012
New Orleans Attendance Roster

This is an attendance roster for January and part of February. A is for absent.

After 11 months of teaching in New Orleans, and 2 months of run around from TNTP, it took less than 24 hours and one email sent to the help desk at the Louisiana Department of Education to give me some answers about my value added metics! Amazing!

Please allow me just one snide comment here about how easy it was to get that info, and how my contact at TNTP just gave me the same line over and over. You’d think an organization that recommends teachers for certification would be able to get this info also??? And quick?? OK, I’m done.

New developments:

  • My sample size was 13/60(ish) I taught. The reading sample size was 5/13. I’m no statistics whiz, but this seems small, and other factors considered, the sample gets even smaller.
  • They calculated a reading score because of the tiny literacy block class I had in the morning where we worked on character building, science, social studies, online PLATO classes and sometimes literacy. This, turns out, is considered reading, although no reading GLEs were taught. The lit block roster changed many times over the year.
  • Only 7 of the 13 students had over 50% attendance. The DOE says they take into consideration attendance, and any student who misses 20 consecutive days should be dropped. If a student comes 1 day out of 20, he or she stays on the roster. Apparently I made too many phone calls home to encourage attendance, including one daily phone conference with a social worker who brought one of these 13 back from a month and a half TV-watching hiatus from school to take the LEAP.
  • Of the 13 students, these are their percentages of attendance from January 3- June 25: 35, 37, 40, 45, 48, 48, 62, 67, 75, 80, 82, 88, 93. You guess which ones passed LEAP, or showed HUGE improvement. You’re right.
  • Only students who were in 7th grade last year with an iLEAP score on file were considered. This eliminates the 5th graders and the repeat 8th graders from being considered. No LAA2 students were used in the calculations.
  • Because the classes on my roster were listed as English (not reading or writing) the entire LEAP scores are considered, meaning my VAM includes both my writing classes and the other teacher’s reading classes. The DOE specifically says that if I had taught just one of those, that separation should be taken into consideration. The way the roster was verified and courses were listed impact my scores.
  • The DOE says TNTP was, to their knowledge at this time, the only organization to use VAM when recommending teachers for certification, and that there was so much confusion they were revamping the use of VAM, and it could not be used against teachers. I signed a waiver saying they could use my VAM. I did this to myself.

On a lighter note, I keep thinking about TaSherri (Dad Terry + Mom Sherri = TaSherri). I often drove her home, or dropped her at her dad’s auto body shop. She was an awesome student, always upbeat, funny.

When my car door was keyed, I called Terry to ask if he could take a look at it. I drove to see him that day, he started sanding and priming on the spot, and painted it that weekend. I paid him cash, of course, and while he worked on it I sat at the body shop with the boys who “worked” there. None of them were working. They gave me a chair that was covered in brown painter’s paper to protect my nice teacher clothes. There was a constant line of drive-by traffic asking for a guy that wasn’t there. In my TV mind, he was a drug dealer or had 4 girlfriends something exciting like that.

During those few days, I drove to their house in Hollygrove (notoriously dangerous, their neighbor, our student, was shot 8 times outside his house in February) to pick Terry up and drop him off. He often had a beer in his hand. He loved to smoke, too, and when I met him the first time I dropped his daughter off, he helped me with a hit and run stripe of white paint on my driver’s door. In one hand he had a paint thinner soaked rag, in the other he held the canister of paint thinner and a cigarette.

Terry loved to tell stories. When he was 18 he started college at Delgado in New Orleans. He was quite a swimmer, too, so he would go swimming and then attend classes.  One day he went to class in his Speedo. And you know what the Dean had the balls to do? Kick him out of school. Then he went to trade school to do auto body work. Been in that business for 20 years. Done him just right. Showed them.

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One Comment leave one →
  1. Betty Mantz permalink
    November 5, 2012 4:06 pm

    Your blog always has me riveted and my jaw agape! The world needs you Sunny Dawn. Never forget that!

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