Report: SLCs at MG need to change

  • May. 25, 2017 1:30 a.m.

MARYSVILLE – A consultant’s report released late Thursday recommends that the Small Learning Communities/hybrid model at Marysville Getchell High School be discontinued as it currently exists.

“The trend data show that some students benefit from this configuration, and others do not,” says the report done by the Washington Association of School Administrators in Olympia.

However, it did not recommend it be changed to a traditional comprehensive model. It noted positive aspects of SLCs – such as close bonds and culture – along with the fact that the high school lacks facilities that would be needed, such as a full-size gym and lunchroom, along with a library and performing arts center.

The report says there are problems with SLCs, adding they have unintentionally created segregation and inequity.

For example, the Academy of Construction and Engineering has a disproportionately higher population of students who are male (75 percent), in poverty, receiving special education services, receiving disciplinary referrals, earning D and F grades, not attending post-secondary educational institutions, scoring poorly on state exams, and absent from school at a higher rate. There is higher teacher turnover at ACE due to those factors.

Also, despite increasing crossover courses, students lack choices in classes. More crossover courses would only further erode the SLC concept, the report says, adding the system has not produced higher levels of academic achievement school-wide.

The report recommends that an MG/SLC planning committee be formed that would study programs nationwide and make a recommendation to the school board for 2018-19. It emphasizes the need for more choices for students, especially in their junior and senior years. The report says the district should look at boundaries rather than open enrollment for the high schools to cut transportation costs. The cost savings could be reallocated to areas that improve student achievement.