This past Wednesday the PPS Teaching & Learning Board Subcommittee met to discuss next steps in implementing the PPS resolution intended to address the complaint regarding perceived negative impacts of the Japan Research Residency on the greater MTMS learning community (link to resolution here?).
Those in attendance included Asst. Superintendent Chris Russo, 4 PPS board members, PPS administrators from the Offices of Equity, Teaching and Learning, Dual Language Immersion, and Risk Management, and community representatives from the ONK Advocacy Committee, the Mandarin Immersion Program, and the MTMS neighborhood program.
Chris Russo summarized that the above referenced complaint triggered, in addition to an evaluation of classroom instruction happening at MTMS during the JRR, a closer look at the “mechanics” of the residency. This closer look revealed areas of concern that the District wishes to address. The subsequent ruling – and Wednesday’s meeting – is and was intended to address both areas of concern.
ONK argued that the these are distinct concerns, and their evaluations should be isolated from one another (link to ONK statement here?). Though ONK believes that this distinction was recognized verbally by the district – next steps for the committee is to get this distinction formally memorialized, in order to bring the complaint from the neighborhood representative to a close, and to focus our energies on preserving the JRR under the auspices of district sponsorship.
After opening statements from stakeholders, the bulk of the meeting was spent discussing was to address the primary concern of improving the learning environment and/or experience of 8th grade students who do not participate in the JRR, during the two week period in which the residency takes place. There was productive discussion around challenges and opportunities to address this issue, and ONK is hopeful that we will continue to partner not only with the district in creating positive change at MTS, but more importantly, repairing and building a healthy and positive relationships between families in all programs at MTMS.
The meeting concluded with a discussion around timelines for next steps, and clarification that the JRR will proceed “as it has” until a “viable solution around the mechanics” can be achieved (link to time line here?).
Based on advocacy committees understanding, it is our impression that the JRR will likely continue “as it has” in academic year 2017-18. Academic year 2018-19 is the first year the district references the possibility of changes taking place, if in the end, changes are recommended.