School Board Report – Jan. 16, 2013

School Board Report for January 16, 2013

The meeting began at 7:08 PM.  All members were present.

Editor’s note – the was live blogged on our facebook page (here)

Consent Agenda

The Consent Agenda only had one item on it, approving the minutes from the January 2, 2013 meeting.  It was approved with a unanimous vote.

Public Hearing on the Proposed Boundary Change for Stonewall Area Schools

One citizen was scheduled to speak about the proposed boundary change, but was  a no-show.  The public hearing was adjourned with no comments from citizens.

Citizen Comments

One citizen spoke, a student from Hylton High School.  The student is a football player at Hylton and will be attending FSU next year on a full athletic scholarship.  He came to the meeting to thank the faculty, staff, and administrators at Hylton for supporting him.

Regular Meeting

Proposed Changes to the Strategic Plan due to NCLB Waiver (you can find the proposed changes in the item for the agenda here)

Editor’s comment:  This item had it’s first read at this meeting and was for immediate action.  While I believe the goals the school division has set for student performance are lacking, my concern with this item is that it was proposed for first read and action on the same night.  Action on this item was not needed because of some emergency; the disconnect between the state’s new goals and PWC’s Strategic Plan have existed since the NCLB waiver was received this past summer. So I disagree with the decision to vote on this item the same night it was presented.  If we want transparency from our government, we have to demand it and our elected officials have to deliver it, even on things they consider minor or merely “semantic”.  

Changes to the Strategic Plan are necessary because the state received a waiver from NCLB’s accountability requirements.  Because the current Strategic Plan reflects the pass rate targets set under NCLB, once the waiver from NCLB was received and the state pass rate targets were changed, our plan no longer reflected current state pass rate targets. For instance, the current Strategic Plan calls for 100% of students to pass the Reading SOL by 2014.  The proposed change would call for the percentage of students passing the Reading SOL to increase from year to year.

The current Strategic Plan was effective in the Fall of 2011, last school year, and has been in effect for 1 1/2 school years.  It will be effective until the Spring of 2015,  2 1/2 years from now.  According to Dr Walts, the changes are merely semantic in nature.  Further changes to the Strategic Plan at this time are unnecessary as the plan will be revised in 2 1/2 years.

Questions (this is not an exact transcript – questions are paraphrased)

Ms Jessie:  I have concerns about the lowered standards in the VA DOE targets for the three Gap groups. I’m pleased we’re looking to exceed those standards, but concerned that the pass rate targets are lower in the Gap Groups. I hope we will expect all students to improve. For kids at top question is how do you improve? How do the Gap groups tie into teacher evaluation and strategic plan – for instance, if I don’t improve one point how will that affect my evaluation?

Dr Otiagbe: Regarding measure 1.1.5, the AP / IB / Cambridge item. What is the difference between qualifying and passing?

  • Answer – there is no pass / fail designation. The proper wording for college credit is qualifying versus non-qualifying. 3 and above for AP, 4 and above of IB and E for Cambridge.

Chairman Johns: Changes we’re making are largely semantic that reflect the recent change in legislation. This will be followed up by a major change this summer. Correct?

  • Answer – yes. The old measures no longer apply because the state changed the targets. A larger philosophical change would be done this summer.

Ms Bell: Can the waiver be changed?

  • Answer – yes, but should Congress reauthorize ESEA then everything is on the table.

Mr Keen: Comments about federal intent is spot on. Feds change their minds all the time. On question of groups, can see where we are calling for each group to increase each year. I am disappointed in state targets.

  • Answer – State has set different targets for each year. Each group has starting, middle and end points. State has revised those targets in response to concerns.

Dr Otaigbe: We don’t have to accept the state’s goals, this is our strategic plan. Couldn’t we decide to stretch those goals?

  • Answer – Dr Walts – Benchmarks were set forth by the state board and they were adjusted. I met with all administrators and established the expectations that we would not be going backwards. If target is 41% and we’re above that, we will not be going back to 41%.

Ms Jessie: Couple of points. What’s so disconcerting about the new targets is that the revised objectives for AMO are so much lower than the accreditation requirements and top students aren’t expected to improve. There has been a statewide outcry so I think this will be a moving target. {editor’s note:  AMO’s are Annual Measurable Objectives and they are the pass rate targets the state has set for each division to pass overall and in each of the new Gap Groups}

Ms Satterwhite: Measure 1.2.2 Grade 3 Reading. Current language is all students will pass. Proposed language is percent of 3rd grade students will increase over previous year. Will that be overall or individual schools or both?

  • Answer – that would be percent division wide. The change is that the 100% endpoint no longer exists, now we’re just going to try to get better each year.

Mr Trenum: Measure 1.1.3 on pass advanced. This was the one change that affected schools as individuals as opposed to Overall. Does that apply to all schools?

  • Answer – Yes.

Chairman Johns: Final comment – this is a stop gap measure.

Vote

8 – 0, Unanimous

Proposed Boundary Change for Stonewall Area Elementary Schools

Ms Satterwhite proposed that the School Board approve Boundary Plan 3 for Stonewall area Elementary Schools.

Vote

8 – 0, unanimous

Superintendent’s Time

Twenty of our teachers have received national board certification. This is the highest honor a teacher can achieve. Please join me in congratulating these teachers.

Next week is our national school administrator appreciation week. Our Principals are committed, dedicated people. Hats off to our Principals and their teams {editors note – he spoke really fast and I couldn’t type fast enough to catch his comments. They were pretty nice, so please take the time to listen to them}

New Policy on Procurement Card Management

This is an information only item.  You can find the proposed policy in the agenda for the 1/15/2013 meeting. Vote is expected at the next School Board Meeting. {Editor’s note:  See – transparency isn’t impossible!}

Questions

Mr Trenum – do these changes reflect comments and feedback from our internal auditor?

  • Answer – yes.

Ms Covington – I think these policies are very thorough. There are lots of changes and lots of accountability. There needs to be close scrutiny and specific policies to prevent misuse of these cards. This policy is very good – you did a fine job.

Dr Otaigbe – How are we using technology to monitor this.

  • Answer – part of the use of technology is that we receive the data electronically. Next summer our new software package will provide for additional oversight and controls so that we can monitor the system.

Dr Otaigbe  – what is the name of the package?

  • Answer – it’s a JP Morgan product.

Dr Otiagbe – can we get info about this product?

  • Answer – Yes

Mr Keen – assume the reconcile is the auditor?

  • Answer reconcile is budget holder {editor’s note – so the reconcile of the procurement card is the budget holder, who is frequently the person who holds the card? Shouldn’t the person who reconciles the card (a) be different from the person to whom the card was issued and (b) someone who doesn’t have budgetary authority?}.

Keen – will new software allow for automatic red flagging?

  • Answer – yes, to the extent that is possible.

Proclaiming Feb 6 a Digital Learning Day

Questions

Dr Otiagbe:  thank you for moving this to the regular agenda. I’m pleased we’ve stated doing this every year. I think we can claim ownership on digital learning. I want us to be a part of this movement. I hope that more school will take advantage of this and look for ways to make learning fun using modern technology.

Vote

8 – 0, unanimous

Board Comments

Mr Keen

Thank you to staff for bringing me up to speed. I look forward to working with all of you.

Ms Satterwhite

Thank you to Sinclair for the welcome at their SOE party. Looks forward to seeing the new library and BRMS SOE party.

Ms Bell

Congratulate to Mr Bixby and Bassett at Gar-Field for IB awards program last week. Do a great program there – it’s a phenomenal program.

Dr Otaigbe

Thank you to Parkside MS for partnership recognition event. Amazed by how many partners they have. They have close to 40 partnerships with local businesses. They are becoming and Cambridge school and I’m proud of them for becoming part of this network.

Was at Coles ES to do some story telling with a 2nd grade class. One of the children asked me how it felt to be 3000 years old.

Beg my fellow SB members to consider putting on agenda a study to apply lessons learned from Pennington and Porter to our other schools – especially the role of parents in the success of children.

Ms Covington

Thanks to student for coming before us tonight. It is nice to hear from students. Staff and administration at HYlton are wonderful. Can’t wait to see EJ play on TV at FSU. Went to SOE celebration at Swans Creek. PTA there was featured in the PTA publication for going the extra mile. Students had color their world program and kids were sprinkled with different powers. It was a great program. Thanks to staff for being such a great school.

Attended at Pattie a dance contest. Boys and girls were in their finest. Kids love this and look forward to it every year.

Mr Trenum

Thank cub scouts for leading us in the pledge.

Joined GVMS for SOE celebration. Thank you for allowing me to attend.

Had a safe schools advisory meeting on Monday. Number of parents addressed the council with concerns about safety and security in our schools. One of the overriding themes was that parents want to help but don’t know how to help. Parents – please engage with your school, with central office staff, and SB members.

Last item – we may want to have a discussion about out long term vision for the Governor’s school in terms of where we want it to be in 5 – 10 years. As part of that need to include citizens and community.

Ms Jessie

Shout out to OSNEt (SP). They do a great job and show great compassion and support to our students.

On area of rigor in our curriculum, I visited Garfield and the IB program. Both of my girls attended Gar-Field and it is a wonderful school.

Number of students at Woodbridge in advanced studies is amazing.

Rockledge PTA and AC meeting actually looked at incorporating thinking skills into reading and test taking. That was very impressive.

Mr Johns

Dove tail with Dr O’s comments on Parkside MS. Parkside is only Cambridge MS in state.

Visited Gar-Field for their IB program. It is a great program.

Attended GVMS SOE party. My son attends GVMS and it is a wonderful school.

Like to discuss a resolution I’ve drafted, not an item for tonight, but I want it considered. It’s addressing the situation with continuing contract for teachers. As you know there’s been discussion about changing or eliminating continuing contract. What the resolution says, and I’d like SB members to consider, is that we do not believe changes to the continuing contract are necessary at this time. So I submit it to you for review and will consider your input before we poll it and vote on it in February.

Ms Covington

Dr Walts – read in Post where FFX SB was proposing asking us and other jurisdiction to finance expansion at TJ. Have you had any contact with them?

Answer from Dr Walts – I don’t think FFX anticipated that this would come this quickly, but what we will do through the budget process is bring the figures up. The proposal is that every student who attends TJ will have an additional fee to cover the facilities expansion cost.

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