- one speaker pointed out that there was carry-over money from Title 1 that should have gone to Summit and Cooper (but now they are closed). Staff later tried to say that it couldn't have been used anyway but it seemed a lame excuse to me.
- a couple of speakers (one a teacher) about the need for teacher evaluation. The teacher said teachers themselves should be involved because "teachers know what makes a good teacher."
- A woman named Christine Chew from College Access Now spoke about their program which mentors high school students through the college application process. It was great to hear about this successful program in our schools (currently at Garfield and Franklin and hoping to expand to WSHS this year). Sixty students in the program applied for college; all got in. That's a 100% success rate. Director Chow mentioned the program later and was very enthused about it. Great idea, great program.
- Two parents from TOPS talked up the planned alternative schools audit in October. They said little had been explained about the goals and how the district would use the results. They also said they knew The Council of Great City Schools had been tapped to perform the audit and they wanted to know why.
- Charlie again pressed them on the quarterly updates of the Strategic Plan and the lack thereof.
- a speaker against the Ingraham renovation pointed out that the information in the latest report it to be outdated and that the author of the report hadn't even visited the school. Hard to believe but this group has done its homework in the past. The district, in a report later in the evening showed that the project had shrunk somewhat (I guess to save trees) . However, if they can shrink the project, they could then move it to the more obvious area to the north of the school. The latest ruling from the Hearing Examiner is to come in October. I believe this project is now at least 6 weeks behind.
- 76 schools participating, 5 will be provided with mobile computers as a pilot
- the remaining 11 schools will come online in 2010 (doing the math - hey, we're under 90 schools now)
- each school will have a MAP team of 5-8 staff including the principal (I'm sure the principals are excited). Each team will receive training on using MAP which they then will go back to school and train their teachers
- the district hire 4 data coaches with grant funding
- by this time next year, teachers will have MAP data to help them
- a MAP letter will be sent to families in September and outreach will be done to let parents know it will be part of the parent-teacher conferences (obviously only in elementary)
- they mentioned needing to "motivate" students to do their best and they will hold conferences with students about MAP scores and goals
- "discontinuing district requirement for PSAT in 9th grade" Huh? I was not aware there was any requirement and, to the best of my knowledge, last year was the first year 9th graders had taken it in a broad based way (via the Boeing grant). We STILL have no data from that experience.
- (Update from discussion on MAP:
The district will be discontinuing the district DRA requirement in grades K and 1, discontinuing the Edusoft math benchmark assessments in elementary and middle school, and discontinuing the PSAT in 9th grade.)
Harium also asked about high school. Brad said the MAP would be used in 9th grade and the 10th graders take the WASL. He said it is such an undertaking that they decided to pull back on the 9th grade PSAT. So what is the district's feeling about 9th/10th graders taking the PSAT? I thought it was put forward as a great idea but now we have another idea so it's out the window?
The other item of interest is a federal grant for Qualified School Construction Bonds (QSCB). This was an action item to allow the district to apply for the funds. From the website:
The Qualified School Construction Bond (QSCB) program is a new program recently approved as part of the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act of 2009 (Stimulus Bill). The QSCB program allows a school district to borrow interest free The Stimulus Bill included a total of $22 Billion of QSCB authority (i.e. principal amount of a QSCB loan) to be allocated among the States in 2009 and 2010 to finance the construction of a public school facility.
The basics of the program are as follows:
- QSCB authority is allocated from the Federal Government to each State
- The State
accepts applications for the desired amount of QSCB authority from school districts
- The school district receives authority to issue the QSCB from the State
- A bank lends the funds to the school district
- The school district pays back only the principal
- The bank receives an annual Federal Tax Credit in lieu of the school district paying interest