Tonight's Board Meeting promises to be a real hum-dinger. Lot's of hot issues. Let's see how the Board confronts them and if they actually resolve any of them.
Operating Budget - No information yet
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The high school student speaking spot is going to a student from NOVA. This could be interesting if he takes the opportunity to speak about some controversial topics such as the NOVA move - either the spurious need for it, the spurious urgency of it, or the District's miserly refusal to cover the full cost of it - curriculum alignment, or the long overdue alternative education audit. He could, of course, talk about almost anything, but there is some real potential for him to take the opportunity to confront the authorities with uncomfortable truths.
Executive Committee Report on Superintendent and Board Evaluations. I'm as interested in the board's evaluation of themselves as I am in the their evaluation of the Superintendent.
Student Assignment Plan. I really don't expect much substantive discussion of this topic. This is well-covered ground for the Board. I'm not sure that I understand Director Carr's amendments. It's clearly about siblings, but I don't see what it adds to the plan.
RFP 04948, Consulting Services for College Readiness Diagnosis. This is the curriculum alignment work. The RFP includes the definition of standardized materials, which is just a dead wrong direction for the District to take. When the District sets up these standardized courses they need to allow students the option of substituting either a more challenging course (AP European History for World History 10A and 10B, AP English for Language Arts 11A and 11B), or a course which is more appropriate for their individual course of study (Accounting instead of Algebra II). The District should also allow for the possibility for a class that meets the curricular requirements of a standard course without being the standard course. For example, "Science Fiction" instead of Language Arts 11B. If the course covers the curricular elements, then there is no need for further standardization.
Settlement on PICS. We're finally closing the book on this chapter.
Motion to re-designate Cleveland High School as an option school. I'm not sure about the choice of words "re-designate", wouldn't it be enough to just say "designate". I'll be interested to hear the discussion on this topic. Will this be a data-based decision? Where is the evidence for the demand for a STEM school at this location? Are they addressing a known need or are they clutching at straws?
Motion to direct the superintendent to evaluate all buildings in district inventory to address capacity issues. This is good, but I don't really understand why the Board has to direct the Superintendent to do this. Wouldn't she do this anyway in the normal course of ongoing capacity management? I would hope that this evaluation of capacity needs would include the north-end elementary APP students and the need to locate them in the north-end. Director Carr's amendment here makes more sense, but invites new questions. Why not include Lincoln, Fairmount Park, E.C. Hughes, Columbia, Genessee Park, Cedar Park, and all of the other closed buildings on the list for evaluation as well?
Highly Capable Students Program Grant Application This is strictly an administrative rubber-stamp sort of action, but it provides the Board with the opportunity to ask about the progress and timeline for the APP Review Response Project. That Review was done almost two years ago and yet there is no news on the response. Also, this would be an excellent opportunity for the Board to ask about the progress on the District's promise of an aligned, written, taught and tested curriculum for APP that is supposed to be fully implemented in the fall.
State Transitional Bilingual Grant. Just as with the Highly Capable Grant approval above, this is a rubber-stamp agenda item but it affords the opportunity to ask about progress on the Bilingual education Strategic Plan project.
Contract with Northwest Evaluation Association (NWEA). Again, a rubber-stamp approval and an opportunity to ask about a Strategic Plan project. Will the District really be ready to implement MAP testing in every school next year? Really? What about the schools without computer labs?
BTA III Guidance and Principles. I notice that addressing capital needs issues raised by School Design Teams from school closures doens't appear until priority number 7, behind this at number 5: Include project(s) that reduce energy usage and enhance environmental stewardship, especially projects using new "green" technologies.
Superintendent Contract. - No information yet