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home : opinion : letters April 29, 2016

4/5/2013 6:01:00 AM
Kingman Letters: Activist/teacher calls for boycott

Why boycott the AIMS test on April 8?

1. Failing to make adequate yearly progress (AYP) this year would be the fourth year in a row that we failed to meet AYP, despite the federal grant and state support to raise our scores. This is the same thing that happened to us in 2009 and led to us being offered the federal grant that was supposed to save us, and instead ended up being a financial boon for KUSD No. 20 and the Cambridge program.

2. Every parent has the right to opt their child out of the AIMS test, and the state guarantees their right not to be discriminated against for this. The district itself uses ATI scores to track student progress and make decisions about academic placement in programs like Cambridge. Sophomores who opt out of the Math AIMS Only will actually score HIGHER next year as they will have more experience with higher math under their belt, and that can only be GOOD for them!

3. If we actually manage to meet AYP this year (unlikely with all the cuts and drama) the federal and state governments will assume that KUSD administrators are demi-gods that do everything right ... and they will approve the transfer of Mt. Tipton's $600,000 technology grant to Black Mountain along with the closure of our high school and middle school as the best possible outcome for our children!

Barely failing to make AYP in the usual way will only contribute to their argument that it is impossible to keep this school well staffed. But failing spectacularly, with at least one fourth of each class not being tested, will get the attention of state and federal bureaucrats ... the more kids who refuse to pick up the pencil for the make-up test, the more suspicious the overseers will be, which is why the district is running so scared!

If we make enough noise we can convince the federal government to attach more protections to future grants, or even de-unify our school districts, giving us back local control of our capital, like the school and everything in it ... all land owned in our attendance area. It has only been 11 years.

4. If students take and exceed on all the other tests, especially the science tests, which we historically score higher than the state average on, we can still prove the value of our community school and the professionalism of our teachers, who should have no professional repercussions from this.

Stay home April 8 to support our community and our school!

Refuse to pick up your pencil when they ask you to make up the test to get the attention of the U.S. Department of Education - and their help! The law is on our side! This is our one chance to save our school and our community!

Donna Wickerd

Dolan Springs

Note: Wickerd is one of the more vocal opponents to the proposal to close grades 7-12 at Mt. Tipton.

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Reader Comments

Posted: Sunday, April 14, 2013
Article comment by: Origional Kingman Resident

@ I for one

The AIMS test has not caused "unthinkable corruption in many school districts around the country". AIMS stands for ARIZONA Instrument to Measure Standards.
It is an assessment given in AZ only. It is written expressly to address the Arizona educational standards.

Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2013
Article comment by: C. A. Rivera-Miller

(Continued) If all this is about test results, have the teachers show skills by preparing kids to decide exactly how they wish to pursue their High School Curriculum.
School used to be a place to start the kids to the path of socialization along with teaching the basic core subjects. It was FUN to go. It was FUN FOR THE ENTIRE FAMILY! Don't alienate the Parents, Grandparents from what they can really get involved in, without expectiing anything but the satisfaction of watching their children accomplish new challenges. Danger was never a factor. We have the substation, so are blessed with that. Sounds like we really need to concentrate on showing how Mt. Tipton will improve to prepare these lower grade students for High School. Whether it be Busing to Kingman, Vegas, Home Schooling, or Online....there are many choices that will fit any students' need to graduate. Let's show our children that keeping morals & happy attitudes can change the attitudes from those who remain ignorant.

Posted: Saturday, April 13, 2013
Article comment by: C. A. Rivera-Miller

Ok. For those taking the time to respond more here, I do have another comment. As coordinator for the group called K.A.D.S. of Dolan Springs. Observing the basic skills of the students in Mt. Tipton surprises me that so very many LOVE SCHOOL! Of course, most of these students are in the Elementary & Junior High level. The High School grades can't seem to enjoy looking forward to any sort of positive future, when ALL THE ADULTS ARE ARGUING AGAIN! DUMB STUFF PEOPLE!
Take the time to resolve and develop what is left to salvage. There are great instructors here now and more ready to come out here to Paradise....NOT A THIRD WORLD ATMOSPHERE! If all this is about test results, have the teachers show their skills by preparing the kids to decide exactly how they wish to pursue their High School Curriculum.

Posted: Thursday, April 11, 2013
Article comment by: I FOR ONE

The AIMS test is another federal boondoogle that takes time away from kids learning what they need to and adds stress in their life.
It has caused unthinkable corruption in various school districts around the country and MONEY plays a huge part from school superindentants trickling down to the teachers!!
That is inexcusable and the kids are the pawns!
Do you know how shamefully it is the number of so called intelligent college students who don't even know who Margarite Thatcher is??
I HATED math when I was in school and most kids don't need or ever have a need for the higher math forced down their throat so, why is it made to be so difficult for them??

Posted: Tuesday, April 9, 2013
Article comment by: A Kingman Teacher Embarrassed

[Comment deleted for excessive length.]

Posted: Monday, April 8, 2013
Article comment by: Andie capacasa

To the teachers of Mt. Tipton who are going to school each day prepared for the students, I applaud your efforts in handling your job with dignity and integrity despite Donna Wickerd. She's embarrassing and also leaving.

Posted: Monday, April 8, 2013
Article comment by: Donna Wickerd

A Kingman Teacher Embarrassed

You should be embarrassed! By your comments I can tell that you are one of the teachers who enjoys the benefits of working at Mt Tipton, like free rides to work, an extra $5000 per year and an extra day or prep each week, but then complains about the individual nature of our community and our school that is the reason for those perks!

These is no disfunction at Mt Tipton beyond the Kingman-based egocentricity of people like you. Go back to your community and teach your own children, we do not need or want people like you in our community or our school. There are plenty of other teachers out there who love our school and community and would have stayed with us if you and your ilk were not constantly discriminating against us and creating dysfunction within our administration to further your own careers!

Posted: Sunday, April 7, 2013
Article comment by: Rebecca Smith

To all of those who have demonized Donna, spoken disrespectfully of this community, and feel that you are superior to us.....please join us in urging the district to give us back our school, as we begin our process to become a charter school with a home school component. That way you will never have to lower yourselves to deal with us again. We do not need Kingman, and obviously, we were never respected by you.

Posted: Sunday, April 7, 2013
Article comment by: Serene Voice

I applaud Mrs. Wicard's passion and dedication to exacting a much needed change at the federal level. As with most causes, this will only work, however, if there is strong support, voices united so as to be heard.
I am disappointed in those here who are demonizing this teacher, revealing their ignorance as well as their character by speaking without being informed. The AIMS test isn't a true measure of what the child has been taught. It was a bad idea from conception.
I raised 4 children in Kingman and all of them graduated, passing the AIMS testing at each grade level. That is beside the point, however because my children felt they lost a true education in many respects because so much time was spent on preparation for the AIMS test. Now as adults they see their educational experiences with more objectivity and clarity and don't want the same for their own children.

Most children won't read Mrs. Wicard's editorial, but many of their parents will. I sincerely hope that these parents will consider joining the strike against the AIMS test, resulting in their voices being heard. I have seen exemplary and passionate teachers quit the profession because of this test and the damage it does to the learning experience.

Posted: Sunday, April 7, 2013
Article comment by: A Kingman Teacher Embarrassed

Your response to C.A. "the school district has apparently instructed their staff that if they speak against the plan to close our school they will be terminated....and since they are the only jobs available, people are scared even though it is their civil right to speak out" sounds like another one of your conspiracy theories. Perhaps the reason that much of the staff is not talking about the closing / restructuring, is because we believe that the closing of a school that financially drains our budget (significantly) with each student served might be a fiscally sound decision. There are also many of us that also believe that the best interest of those students would be to bring them into Kingman and away from the dysfunction that is "Tipton" thus, giving them greater opportunities for success, advancement, and most of all, more positive, professional, and appropriate role models. If you are the “voice” for Tipton, and you’re urging students to behave in the same manner that you have been behaving, then I am not only in favor of its closing, but I would support bringing the Pre-School-6th graders into town as well. As a teacher in this district, you are an embarrassment to the teaching profession, and to K.U.S.D.

Posted: Sunday, April 7, 2013
Article comment by: Appalled By This

Mrs. Wickerd

It is one thing to fight a battle as an adult but another to ask minors to fight with you. As a parent of a student required to take AIMS I hope parents hold you personally responsible if there child joins your cause and then fails because of you.

As a former teacher (you say that you are) how can you begin to think that this method is even remotely appropriate. You are messing with the lives of children. Shame on you. Leave the kids out of it.

Do you think that this is truly going to get the state to pay attention or the reality that one person (you) encouraged the school to fail. What you are doing does not remotely give you any credibility - shame on you for using the students to further your cause.

Posted: Sunday, April 7, 2013
Article comment by: Dave In Golden Valley

There is a connection between the Golden Valley roads issue and Mt. Tipton school issue. That is the issue of locational choice. If you choose to live in the middle of nowhere, for the cheap taxes, cheap housing or to be away from everyone bothering your lifestyle, you cannot expect the rest of the world to support your locational choice with their tax dollars. You live with the consequences of living 40 miles from services with substandard infrastructure, that includes roads and schools.

Posted: Sunday, April 7, 2013

Students who take the AIMS test EVERY TIME IT"S OFFERED while they are enrolled in high school get extra credit for A's, B's, and C's in core classes added to their highest AIMS score if they don't pass the test by their senior year. This has helped many students earn their diploma! Math AIMS is the test more have difficulty with passing. Why lose the chance to earn those extra credit points if needed by skipping the test? Why use the kids to fight your battles?

Posted: Sunday, April 7, 2013
Article comment by: Origional Kingman Resident

@Rebecca Smith

please explain to me how taking a math AIMS test after the incompetent math teacher "taught" them for the year, is in the 'best interest' of those students???

I'm confused. I thought that Mt Tipton HS was a B graded school that all the parents in Kingman should be giving their eye teeth to bus their children to.

What happened?

Posted: Sunday, April 7, 2013
Article comment by: Donna Wickerd

As usual, the Mt. Tipton proponents use their real names and the trolls are anonymous. I will only answer questions from humans who give their name or at least speak with civility.

C.A., the school district has apparently instructed their staff that if they speak against the plan to close our school they will be terminated....and since they are the only jobs available, people are scared even though it is their civil right to speak out.

I did not choose this path lightly....and I do not expect these students to choose it lightly, either. We are fighting for our lives. Those of you who would make light of it, or make me into a villain, obviously don't understand how deep an issue this is for our community! Instead of insisting that we move to Kingman...why not find out what we are fighting so hard to save?!

Posted: Sunday, April 7, 2013
Article comment by: sunny Beam

The AIMS testing is robbing some of these hard working students of their diploma. I for one think it is completely unfair to my child who has hardly missed a day of school since starting the freshman year. worked his tail off to finish High school early and graduated early. Went to tutoring on a regular bases. Passed the reading and writing portion of the AIMS but struggles with the math something awful and has not been able to pass it. So a diploma will NOT be earned instead a completion certificate is given.. That is a bunch of crap!! My child who worked their butt off going to school and tutoring and never gave up is being told their efforts was for nothing. You don't deserve to have a diploma.. So What was the point of even working so hard? They just got robbed. But the school earned it's money from the state because he did not drop out. Oh and let's not forget the presure the teachers lay on these kids if they don't score well. My son has told me that the students lose recess in grade school and some teachers punish the students if they score low or rush through testing. If the students score is low and overall it makes the class score low. It reflects on the teacher as if the teacher did not teach well. So the teacher is at risk of losing their job.. and their review is poor.. If you ask me the whole darn system needs to be fixed.. Number games don't always work!!

Posted: Sunday, April 7, 2013
Article comment by: anonymous anonymous

What is a test? A test is a device to measure something! AIMS tests measure students abilities, it can also measure the quality of their teachers, schools quality, since low scores do not always indicate something wrong with the kids abilities but merely identifies something is not working! Who would fear such tests? Teachers, school administrators whose pay, bonuses depend many times on student test scores etc.! I left Tucson 2011 my sons grades plummeted from a few A's, many B's down to D's and F's, and barely was passing his courses by grade scores left Kingman returned to Tucson, within 60 days his test scores improved dramatically, his school here issues all 9th graders a new lap top, has a quality special education system! The fiscal experts running Mohave country might not be so expert after all, if they have one high school where 1/3rd of the student body was failing, the principle resigned, and teachers are advocating boycotts of tests that test their success!

Posted: Saturday, April 6, 2013
Article comment by: Another Thought

@ No Name

" Obviosly you have not been in many classrooms as of late or you would realize just how wrong you are."

Obviously neither have you and maybe you should. Go checkout the schools and see how many of them write their curriculum as to not send kids home with homework. Most of them allow enough time at the end of class that it provides them the opportunity to complete it "in class". Know what you're talking about before you speak.

Posted: Saturday, April 6, 2013
Article comment by: biker randy

Right on, R. O'Shea. This BS that more $ spent in a school district = better learning students is crapola.

When I was a school kid, if you didn't pass all your subjects that year you did the same classes again 'till you passed, or you went to summer school too to get your grades up so you could advance. But now the 'experts' advance children from 1 grade to the next when they aren't prepared to advance because they don't want to hurt the student's feelings. This is what's wrong with schools now, giving a diploma to a student who hasn't qualified for it, whether it's the student's fault or the teachers fault.

Posted: Saturday, April 6, 2013
Article comment by: C. A. Rivera-Miller

You know it is really too bad that this has developed into something that takes more attention and time away from the students. It is the end of the year. Proms, yearbook signing, awards assemblies, etc. Please get this settled , so we can get back to TEACHING the kids to have faith that there are alternatives that everyone can benefit from if we all work together. Where are the comments from the existing teachers who are still at Mt. Tipton? Are they afraid of getting fired too? If students see weakness, they will be weak. If they see strength, they will be strong. If they get correct guidance, they will be wise.

Posted: Saturday, April 6, 2013
Article comment by: Rebecca Smith

@ original Kingman resident.....Yes, way to go Donna!!! How many people were willing to stick their necks out and try to find solutions? How many have quietly told both Donna and I, " way to go! But never lifted a finger or voice to support this issue publicly? How many have taken pot shots at Donna, myself, Mt. Tipton etc., but were too cowardly to post their real names? Original resident, please explain to me how taking a math AIMS test after the incompetent math teacher "taught" them for the year, is in the 'best interest' of those students??? They are better off waiting one year and acing it the first attempt. This year, the AIMS is only for the benefit of the DO, who have shown how deep their concern for the Mt. Tipton students ran. Thank you for your concern, but our children will be just fine under our own tutelage.

Posted: Friday, April 5, 2013
Article comment by: Sour grapes

I can t believe the Miner even ran this letter, but I'm glad they did. That way Donna Wickerd's bitterness and pettiness is on display for the whole community to see.The Mt Tipton issue didn't just appear out of nowhere. It's been discussed for a few years, at least, giving Ms. Wickerd ample time to run for a position on the school board and be involved in these decisions herself. Instead, she implies wrongdoing with no proof and thinks only of herself and immediate neighbors without a second thought from the school district as a whole. Selfish and shameful, Ms. Wickerd, and a terrible example to set.

Posted: Friday, April 5, 2013
Article comment by: Step Up

We fought a good fight and we lost.

Lets pick up our toys and go home while we still have a little dignity left.

Shame on you.....DON'T USE THE KIDS to start another fight YOU will not win.

Posted: Friday, April 5, 2013
Article comment by: Parent from Kingman

Really? This "teacher" is asking the kids to just give up... Don't worry about working hard and to study, just give up and don't do anything. (and we wonder why society is all messed up)

Posted: Friday, April 5, 2013
Article comment by: No Name

Rick O Shea, Obviosly you have not been in many classrooms as of late or you would realize just how wrong you are. When a student highest class average is18% that has nothing to do with the teacher. That is a student who goes home and tells Mom and Dad I have no homework and they beleive them. Or the parent h\who comes to the school after three terms and wonders when they will be getting the first terms report cards. There are three tears that support education. The first being the teacher coming prepared and ready to motivate and not be a babysitter for the parents. The second is the parent being proactive and supporting their local school. Become invovled as the Charter schools have figured out that scores do increase with parent invovlement and the final leg is the students themselves. The problem is that many of them are to busy worried about texting their friends or what everyone is doing after school. Js\ust so you know educators in this district have not gotten a raise in over 5 years. Those stipends you read once taxes are taken out, insurance and the rest amount to less then 35 cents a day. When Donna is talking about the Grant she is reffering to money for very specu\ific items and that money has proved to work at Mt. Tipton and next year it has dried up. It was not divided into any other schools. The full amount went to Tipton. It was geared for specific programs and they did work.

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