BCPS’ New Grading Policy: Part of the Big Personalized Learning Plan

Bottom Line Up Front (but read to the end for important background information):

Due to an outcry from students and parents (and we hope teachers and administrators behind the scenes), the recently revamped BCPS Grading and Reporting Procedures were amended as of 11/1/16.  Here are the changes and a related article: Towson Flyer: Baltimore County schools amending new grading policy

Grading Policy Amendment

Grading Policy Amendment

These amendments were published directly after the 10/31 forum on the new policy held by BCPS Community Superintendents.  Principals and certain parents were invited to attend and provide feedback.

The Rest of the Story

As noted in our one blog post for the month of June (it was the summer!), the BCPS grading policy underwent a major revision effective 7/1/16.

In early August, schools reached out to parents to explain that in 2014 (when STAT was implemented), a grading and reporting committee made up of parents, teachers, and administrators:

” … reviewed grading and reporting practices from across the state and the nation. Based on the information gathered, the committee determined the policy needed to be rewritten to reflect more current research-based practices to better align your child’s grades with his/her achievement of grade-level standards. To that end, the new Board of Education Policy 5210 Grading and Reporting was approved in June of 2015 for full implementation beginning August, 2016.”

New Policy and Rule 5210

” … all student grades will align to identified course or grade-level standards and be based on a “body of evidence.” A body of evidence is simply the information a teacher collects to determine a student’s level of performance. In addition to making sure grades are based on evidence aligned to standards, (BCPS) wants to ensure that the purpose for assigning grades is clear and consistent across all schools. To do this, BCPS established that the primary purpose for determining marking period grades is to accurately communicate a student’s level of achievement in relation to the course expectations at a given point in time.”

(NOTE: This is key to Mastery-Based Education and computer-delivered curriculum)

“The school system commits to providing equitable, accurate, specific, and timely  information regarding student progress towards course expectations which includes feedback to you and your child in order to guide next steps and indicate areas growth areas. To promote alignment to research-based practices and stakeholder input, the committee oversaw the creation of a procedures manual, which is broken down into six guiding practices:

  1. Grading practices must be supportive of student learning.
  2. Marking-period grades will be based solely on achievement of course grade-level standards.
  3. Students will have multiple opportunities to demonstrate proficiency.
  4. Grades will be based on a body of evidence aligned to standards.
  5. A consistent grading scale will be used to score assignments and assessments.
  6. Accommodations and modifications will be provided for exceptional learners.”

This sounds somewhat reasonable and child-centered in theory, except for the fact that ASCD is all over this Research & Rationale, which makes them suspect:

https://www.bcps.org/academics/grading/researchRationale.html

The Sun wrote an article about it, as did the Towson FlyerDr. Dance felt obliged to write an op-ed in the Sun.  BCPS devoted a website page to it; highlights included a video and a MythBusters List.

The New BCPS Grading and Reporting Policy is Explained

As the school year rolled out, unprepared teachers, parents, and students began to realize what was going on and were not happy.  One parent started a petition to rescind the new grading procedures.  Another parent wrote a must-read op-ed about it: Towson Flyer: What’s Behind BCPS’ New Grading Policy?

National ed-blogger Emily Talmage has written about grading policies like BCPS’:  Is Your District Changing its Grading Policy? Here’s the Real Reason Why.

Take the time to read the Towson Flyer op-ed and Talmage’s piece; you’ll understand why the BCPS Grading and Reporting Policy had to change to enable “anytime, anywhere learning.”

Also read this from iNACOL, the International Association of K-12 Online and Blended Learning.  iNACOL has a baby named Competency Works, which offered a detailed report on grading changes needed for Competency-based Education (STAT).

Any school that has begun the journey toward competency education, breaking free of the limitations of the time-based system, will eventually come face-to-face with grading policies and practices. Along with the excitement of creating a new grading system that ignites a dynamic culture of learning will come opportunities to engage students, families and the community in creating a shared vision about the purpose of school. Challenging the traditional system of grading practices, rooted firmly in the American culture with its exhilarating A+ to the dreadful F, will prompt questions, fears, and misconceptions. There are likely to be lively community meetings and even a letter or two in the local newspaper. There will also be the mutual delight when a competency-based grading system is put into place that allows students and teachers to work together toward a shared vision of learning. Most importantly, there will be cause to celebrate as students make progress toward proficiency.”

Mutual delight?

Advice to BCPS Parents from “Wrench in the Gears” and Why iNACOL Loves ESSA

Recent days have seen an uptick in conversations about online Competency-based Education or CBE, the scary wave of educational transformation rapidly sweeping over the country.  BCPS students, teachers, and parents are at the front edge of this wave with STAT. 

Here is a post by a parent of a public school student who advocates for doing much more than just opting out of end-of-the-year tests.

From Wrench in the Gears (A Skeptical Parent’s Thoughts on Digital Curriculum):  Stop! Don’t opt out. Read this first.

National education expert Diane Ravitch recently linked to the blog.

One of the main “benefits” of our 1:1 initiative, according to Dr. Dance, is that it would allow children to be assessed anytime, anywhere. We’re spending millions on contracts to use and sometimes develop computer-based assessments at the end of every unit.

If you have any doubts about whether the No Child Left Behind (NCLB) replacement, the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA), is ripe for computer-based personalized learning assessments, iNACOL, the International Association for K-12 Online Learning, a major trade group, and its partners love ESSA.  Review the slides from this recent webinar hosted by the iNACOL president, iNACOL’s VP for Federal and State Policy, and KnowledgeWorks’ Senior Director of National Policy and you’ll begin to understand why.

During a keynote presentation at iNACOL’s annual meeting, our own Superintendent said:

“The other conversion was this whole idea around the assessment conversion.  There’s a lot of talk around the country about that right now.  Let’s get away from this idea of paper and pencil, you know, multiple-choice assessments.  How do we assess our students without even stopping class, space and time to do that?  Great teachers do this all the time with formative assessments.  But, we also know, in order to personalize learning for young people, we should be able to assess students at any moment, to figure out what level they’re on, what standards they’ve mastered, so they can move along the continuum as [sic] appropriately.”

Watch here. Go to minute 33.

Read, share these links, ask questions, and follow the suggestions from “Wrench in the Gears” that already apply to those of us in BCPS:

~ If your school offers a device for home use, decline to sign the waiver for it and/or pay the fee.

What happens if you don’t sign the waiver for middle and high school?  BCPS needs to make that clear.  We also have elementary students using a 1:1 (that means their own) device at school in first grade!   Many parents are totally unaware how much time students are spending with it, or what they are doing.  Turns out, BCPS leadership doesn’t know how much time students are spending on it either (at approximately 1:00, we hear that there’s “very limited research” on safe screentime in an educational context)!

~ Refuse to allow your child’s behavioral or social-emotional data to be entered into third-party applications. (e.g. Class Dojo)

Ask questions about all the third-party applications being used in BCPS.  Class Dojo tracks behavior.  Check out whether Common Sense Media’s privacy evaluation team has rated the applications. Subscribe to the Parent Coalition for Student Privacy’s blog and check out their back-to-school advice.

~ Refuse in-class social networking programs (e.g. EdModo).

We’re curious about how this is being used in BCPS classrooms and what other social networking software is used.  In general, parents should be very cautious about introducing social media to children – BCPS’ own advice for parents says so.  Parents should have a say about when and how their children are introduced to social networking for school.

~ Set a screentime maximum per day/per week for your child.

Research has shown that when children are spending more than a half-hour per day on the computer, learning outcomes are worse.  The evaluation of STAT thus far has NO data on learning outcomes.  Read the JHU STAT reports here. Ask for homework alternatives that do not require use of a computer.  Ask for textbooks so that reading can be done without more time on the computer.

~ Opt young children out of in-school screentime altogether and request paper and pencil assignments and reading from print books (not e-books).

Parents Across America (PAA), a grassroots, non-partisan organization, has a number of useful linksHere are some questions to ask your school.

~ Begin educating parents about the difference between “personalized learning” modules that rely on mining PII (personally-identifiable information) to function properly and technology that empowers children to create and share their own content.

Dreambox and iReady, so-called “personalized learning” software, are being used in BCPS.  Neither empowers children to create their own content.  See this link on iReady, and this one; this link concerns Dreambox.  Look in BCPSone.  Ask your kids.  Ask your teachers and principals.  What else are they using?  Log in at home with your child if you can and check it out – if you don’t have access to a computer at home, ask your school to show you the programs in action.  You have a right to know what your child is doing at school.

~ Insist that school budgets prioritize human instruction and that hybrid/blended learning not be used as a backdoor way to increase class size or push online classes.

The County Auditor’s report of 2015 notes that class sizes have increased with the implementation STAT.  STAT teachers used to be classroom teachers – they are no longer, instead focusing on professional development.  Hybrid and blended learning have a host of definitions, but here are some examples of how it is playing out so far for kids as young as first grade in BCPS. 

http://lighthouse.bcps.org/reflections/february-26th-2016

http://lighthouse.bcps.org/reflections/flipped-learning-to-differentiate

As Dr. Dance says:

“Most of the nation’s classrooms have about 30 students in them. How can a teacher personalize and customize unless you leverage technology?  In BCPS we have five-year journey to go 1:1 in grades K-12 to where every single kid has a device.” 

But wait.  Respected education policy center NEPC at the University of Colorado says:

“Smaller classes are particularly effective at raising achievement levels of low-income and minority children.”

New Video: One-Way Ticket on STAT; Part 1 of 4

Another great truth-telling video has come our way.  This follows the “Bullseye” video reposted a couple of weeks ago.  A separate page to curate the expanding STAT-us BCPS Video Collection may be in order …

One-Way Ticket on STAT: Part 1 of 4 of The Truth About STAT and Why Parents (and Politicians) Should Be Paying Attention

Previous videos:

Highlights of a High-Tech Takeover of a Public School System (in 5 steps, 7 mins. and 30 secs.)

Full-Length Version:  Anatomy of a High-Tech Takeover of a Public School System (in 5 simple steps and 25 minutes) 

In Search of the Competency-Based Ed Reform Wizard

STAT or CHAOS? : The global significance of the STAT experiment

Opt-out Co-opted: One Blogger’s View

Education blogger Kevin Ohlandt of Exceptional Delaware just published a fascinating, and disturbing, post about how high-stakes tests were created to be terrible on purpose to generate push-back and to open the floodgates for charter schools and “personalized digital learning empires.”

Why Companies Like Achieve, Inc. Now Want You To Opt Out Of State Assessments

https://exceptionaldelaware.wordpress.com/2016/07/09/why-companies-like-achieve-inc-now-want-you-to-opt-out-of-state-assessments/

NOTE:  The non-profit Achieve, Inc., a corporate entity made up of financiers, academics, lobbyists, former lawmakers, and select state governors, is responsible for developing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) to which Pearson’s Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers (PARCC) test is aligned.  Here’s the Board of Directors’ roster. One notable member is Maryland State Board of Education Vice President Dr. Jim Gates, Jr.  One of Achieve’s main agendas is standards-based data-driven education. DATA attached to a person from kindergarten to college and/or the workplace!
“Longitudinal data systems should follow individual students from grade to grade and school to school, all the way from kindergarten through postsecondary education and into the workplace … states … must follow students through K–12 into postsecondary and the workforce and establish feedback loops to the relevant stakeholders to make informed decisions that improve policies and practices.”

CHARTER SCHOOLS AND MAGNET SCHOOLS

Read the Exceptional Delaware post and think about what’s happening in BCPS.  While we don’t have charters as the City does, we do have a rapidly expanding magnet-school program and Dr. Dance’s regional “supermagnet” concept, only outlined so far in a Sun editorial, resulting from a meeting between Dr. Dance and the Sun’s editors.

Exactly one month after publishing this editorial, the Sun highlighted BCPS’ magnet-school expansion.  According to the article, admission is  based on luck (lottery), and at least one new magnet is based on a business-school partnership, the new Northwest (as in Hospital) Academy of Health Sciences at Old Court Middle.  More disturbingly, the focus change at Old Court is part of Dr. Dance’s “rebranding” of the school:

“I had been looking for a way to rebrand Old Court,” he said, adding that the school has made progress in the last several years. “It’s hard to change the perception of Old Court. It just had this reputation.”

There is clearly value in preparing students for the workplace in a tough job market, however, considering the magnet expansion countywide, the article neglects to ask, “What happens to the comprehensive schools when the top students are siphoned off?”  This is exactly the question many in the City are asking about charter schools.

DITCHING HIGH-STAKES TESTS

As for moving away from high-stakes tests to testing all the time (Competency-Based Education or STAT), Dr. Dance has publicly recognized that PARCC is flawed and cannot be used to compare Lighthouse and non-Lighthouse Schools, an admission that STAT has not improved test scores.  BCPS will now use the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) to monitor achievement:

BCPS has chosen to use the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP) to monitor growth in achievement in reading and mathematics for students in Grades 1-8. MAP is used by over 5 million students across the country and allows comparisons to be made between the performance and growth of our students with their peers across the country. BCPS will continue to use the MAP results as indicators of student growth during this period of instability in the State assessment model (PARCC).

The PARCC comments and move to MAP were covered in the BCPS Follow-up to the Baltimore County Council on STAT.  This came after the May 2016 County Auditor’s Report on the BCPS budget (more on that here), which offered scathing comments on STAT’s exorbitant costs and opportunity costs.

Another blog post will be coming on MAP, as assessment developed by Portland-based Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA).  NWEA believes in guiding instruction “using valid, reliable, and real-time data.”  Read about NWEA here.

Note that NWEA has a nearly $4-million 5-year contract with BCPS, which was drastically modified in June 2014, directly before STAT’s implementation: https://www.bcps.org/apps/bcpscontracts/contractFiles/061014_RGA-125-14%206%20Mod-Measures%20Academic.pdf

and that NWEA was a major donor to the State of the Schools (SOS) event held to benefit the school system’s Education Foundation, the primary mission of which is to FUND STAT. 

Conflict of interest?

In short, MAP, which is being used to “prove” STAT’s success (since PARCC apparently cannot), is not independent or objective, especially when one considers NWEA’s claim that “highly targeted, 1:1 instruction helps maximize student growth.” https://www.nwea.org/solutions/

Here are some distressing questions:

How much money, time, and effort have been put into PARCC?

How much instruction time and true learning have been lost to PARCC?

How many students and teachers have suffered because of PARCC?

Just to have the Superintendent of a major school system basically deem it a failure?

Baltimore County Update: CBE in Pictures, Words, and a Totally Revamped BCPS Grading Policy Aligned with Mastery-Based Ed

School is out and many are enjoying summer vacation, but local anti-CBE (Competency-Based Education) “warriors” have been hard at work.

This locally produced video just hit the STAR inbox.

It doesn’t pertain directly to BCPS’ digital transformation STAT, but to CBE (or personalized learning or proficiency-based education or insert your own buzzword) in general.  Watch until the end – it’s the viewer’s call to decide which reformer’s face could be superimposed over the wizard’s.

In Search of the Competency-Based Ed Reform Wizard

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IF6lIijAp2s

Another locally produced work is BCPS parent and Towson University Education Professor Morna McDermott’s recent blog post about CBE and the new “gig” economy.

https://educationalchemy.com/2016/06/25/cbe-and-alec-preparing-students-for-the-gig-economy/

“CBE delivers curriculum, instruction and assessments through online programming owned by third-party (corporate) organizations that are paid for with your tax dollars. Proponents of CBE use catchy language like “personalized” and “individualized” learning. Translation? Children seated alone interfacing with a computer, which monitors and adjusts the materials according to the inputs keyed in by the child.”

The final – and most critical – locally produced work is BCPS’ revamped Grading and Reporting Policy 5210 and accompanying Rule 5210

BOTH EFFECTIVE JULY 1, 2016.

The details were outlined in a May 2016 presentation.

If we didn’t already know that Baltimore County is in the throes of CBE or Mastery-Based Education (MBE), this presentation proves it.

Stepping through the presentation, all the CBE/MBE signposts are there, including meaningless goals such as “Activate students as the owners of their own learning”  (one of the five “non-negotiable” components of effective formative assessment):

  • “In contrast, students who are motivated by mastering learning goals persevere in the face of such challenges. Difficult tasks or setbacks do not diminish motivation or self-esteem. Students with learning orientations—or growth-mindsets—are more likely to choose more difficult but rewarding ways to demonstrate learning. These students believe effort will lead to eventual success, and thus they develop a willingness to try and persist.” (COMMENT: This sounds like “grit”.)
  • “Teachers should remind students that they are working with them to help them reach mastery” and “teachers are responsible for … determining the degree to which students have mastered grade-level standards based on the body of evidence.”
  • “BCPS also believes penalizing students for late or missing work is not a practice that promotes learning. Recording a zero on a student’s assignment will not motivate the student to work harder or learn content at a higher or faster rate (O’Conner, 2007). While BCPS curriculum guides suggest a standard pacing of instruction, penalizing a student for requiring more time, support, or resources to master a standard or learning goal is contrary to differentiation, customization, personalization, and best practices in teaching and learning.”
  • “Determining final achievement grades based on a collected body of evidence aligned to course expectations and standards.”

The final, and most logical, signpost:

“The final marking period grade … must be based on individual mastery of knowledge and skills.”

Devices are in students’ hands, third-party ed-tech contracts have been signed, teachers have been retrained, curriculum has been revamped (or removed, depending upon your perspective), and the grading and reporting policy has been reworked. It’s official – Mastery-Based Education is the new model for Baltimore County Public Schools.

Playing Dice with Our Children and Our Tax Dollars

Yesterday, Baltimore County Public Schools hosted the TEAM BCPS STAT Partner/Stakeholder meeting. From the title, one might think this would include teachers, parents, and community members who have an interest in the progress of STAT and the success of local schools. But think again, as this was anything but.

“Stakeholder” has many definitions. The most common is “a member of an organization or system that has an interest in its success.” However, the word has its origin from a gambling term, meaning “an independent party with whom wagers are deposited.” Perhaps this is the more apt definition to use here, as the “stakeholders” involved were various STAT administrators (including Dallas Dance, Ryan Imbriale, and Verletta White) along with representatives from several corporate entities, including Engrade, Discovery Education, and Knovation, who obviously all have some skin in the game with BCPS.

For just one example, consider Knovation (out of Cincinatti, Ohio, whose title is an unholy grammatical Frankenstein of the words “know” and “innovation), a company that provides digital content. The company is run by Steve Nordmark and Randy Wilhelm, who are not educators but corporate consultants in the educational technology industry, who also have their fingers in the pies of educational publishing and the software industry association. Their mission statement reads “Together, we ignite the hope of knowing in every child.” A more meaningless statement is impossible; maybe they should have stuck with the usual “together, we’re making the world a better place” cliché.

Are Mr. Nordmark and Mr. Wilhelm our stakeholders? Are corporations? Perhaps our bets have been placed with them, as they are happy to take some of the cash that the STAT initiative has to offer.

This “stakeholder” meeting occurred the same day that the Baltimore County council was set to ask questions of Dallas Dance and BCPS officials in regards to the FY2017 audit report of the Baltimore County Public Schools Operating Budget, which was released on May 16. The report, which is available here, identified several areas of concern, specifically about the rise of spending for STAT while other areas such as salaries, maintenance, transportation, and student well-being have been neglected.

Unfortunately, the Baltimore County council members (Tom Quirk, David Marks, Vicki Almond, Wade Kach, Cathy Bevins, and Todd Crandell) pitched only softballs at Dance, giving the audit report and any concerns about STAT a Baltimore County old boy pat-on-the-back and pass. But that is a story for another time.

A favorite metaphor of Dr. Dance and the BCPS leadership is that BCPS is “building the plane as we fly it.” To extend this metaphor…the county audit report tells us that there are numerous and profound safety, maintenance, and quality concerns about that BCPS plane. But Dallas Dance, Ryan Imbriale, Verletta White, and their STAT “stakeholders” are more than ready to load that plane with our children and send it out over the ocean, no matter the consequences. The metaphor must close here, as education is not truly an airplane, but the consequences of the inaction and arrogance of the BCPS leadership will be no less dire.

Moving to Pennsylvania for the Schools

May 15, 2016

To Whom It May Concern:

At the start of 2016, my husband and I made the decision to move our family to southern Pennsylvania for several reasons; one of the main being to leave Baltimore County Public Schools.  This letter serves to inform Baltimore County Board of Education and other county officials of the rationale behind our decision.  This is not a specific criticism of our particular school, which I will not name, but rather concerns we have with BCPS systemically.  With one child in kindergarten and one entering in 2016-17, we have many more years in a school system and do not feel as if Baltimore County is going to give our children the foundation that we feel is important to their educations.

We began kindergarten in the fall of 2015 with cautious optimism despite being warned by a former BCPS employee that we would not be happy with our zoned school.   We were met the first week of school with a list of playground rules.  I understand the need for rules and the need to make sure the children understand the rules.  But when the first rule for kindergarten recess is “No running on the playground”, I begin to have a problem.  Five and six year-old children are expected to focus on academics 6 hours a day with a 20-minute recess, and they are not allowed to run?  I spent time touring and interviewing the elementary schools in Southern York County School District.  Each school representative I spoke with was stunned to learn that my kindergarten student was not permitted to run on the playground during recess.

An excerpt taken from “The Crucial Role in Recess in School”, published by The American Academy of Pediatrics, stresses the importance of unstructured play in the development of children; “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention defines recess as ‘regularly scheduled periods within the elementary school day for unstructured physical activity and play.’1 The literature examining the global benefits of recess for a child’s cognitive, emotional, physical, and social well-being has recently been reviewed.2 Yet, recent surveys and studies have indicated a trend toward reducing recess to accommodate additional time for academic subjects in addition to its withdrawal for punitive or behavioral reasons.”

Our children will begin the 2016-17 school year in Southern York County School District where they will have recess two times a day, with regular opportunities to earn additional recess as a class.  They will also participate in a district wide “Walking Wednesday” program where all teachers, students and administrators in the district walk the school campuses as an additional opportunity to get outside.  Studies have shown that more opportunities for recess and outside time actually helps children refocus, and there is data to support higher test scores.

Our next concern is the use of technology in BCPS.  This year, my son has not had a tablet and has not participated in the “personalized learning” of which our superintendent is so fond.  My husband and I have some serious concerns regarding the use of technology in the classroom, including decreased interaction between students and teachers, lack of traditional and proven teaching methods and safety of the students-both online and physically.  There is no data to support the use of technology as Superintendent Dance envisions it in BCPS classrooms is an effective teaching tool, and yet BCPS is rolling out the use of personal devices throughout the entire county, without having all security measures in place or even knowing all the possible risks.  There are too many studies to cite here directly but I encourage you to visit

www.waldorfresearchinstitute.org/research-technology/

to see studies on “How Screentime is Affecting Kids’ Moods and Attitudes”, “The Impact of Technology on the Developing Child” and how note-taking is a more effective learning tool than technology.  If you take the time to read any of these articles, you will understand the concerns that parents of young children have regarding one-to-one technology in the classroom.   There has been no reassurance or proof that our children’s identities will be secure with these online learning programs proposed by Mr. Dance.  In fact, a recent article stated that ” ‘75% of schools don’t tell parents that kids’ data is shared’ according to Cheri Kiessecker.” (edworkforce.house.gov).  It should be noted that my husband and I are not alone in these concerns.  There are many parents in Baltimore County who share our concerns and do not want our children learning from a computer instead of a teacher.

The next area of concern we have is the Common Core curriculum and PARCC testing.  Pennsylvania does not participate in Common Core.  The school districts follow a curriculum laid out by the state.  There is the Pennsylvania State Assessment (PSA) as a means of measuring student achievement.  The PSA, however does not cause the high levels of stress and anxiety in students and teachers that PARCC testing seems to.  And taking the PSA is not a requirement for graduation.

Finally, Pennsylvania schools are funded differently than Maryland schools.  We will pay a “school tax” when we move and each year thereafter as long as we reside in the state.  And that’s okay with us.  Because of the school tax, Pennsylvania schools are better funded.  We received our kindergarten supply list recently.  The comparison between our new school and our current school is not only astonishing, but very telling of the use of funds allocated to the schools.  In PA, we have 6 items on the list with one optional item.  In BCPS, there are 35 items and 10 optional items.  The kindergarten supply list is just one example of the funding differences between the two school districts.

My husband and I thought it was important that we share our concerns about BCPS to those who can help facilitate a change.  We are Baltimore County taxpayers who are in the position to purchase a house and we have chosen to take our purchase and our money to another state.  We may only be one family, but most of the houses we looked at during our search were owned by someone who was commuting to MD.  I know of other BCPS families who are considering a similar move for the same reasons cited here.

Thank you for your time.

Sincerely,

Noelle S. Wilson