Monday, May 20, 2013

Summary and analysis of the May 14 School Board meeting

This meeting is two hours and five minutes long. The MNPS provide good agendas. To follow along on the agenda follow this link.

Below are some items worth watching: 
Public Participation

  • Ms Sherry Etheridge makes comments lambasting the method of communicating to parents about the proposed school on Smith Springs Road. She finds the one-sided presentation via children offensive. (at 22:45 in the video)
  • A couple of parents speak in favor of the Explore! Community School.
  • Camiqueka Fuller speaks in favor of Kipp Academy and how her child has soared in reading improvement at Kipp. Later in the public participation segment, a student praises Kipp.

A lot of routine non-controversial matters pass on the consent agenda.

Dismissal of Teachers: 
Director Schools Jessie Register ask that teacher Tracy L. Stevens have charges "certified" for dismissal for unprofessional conduct and teacher Sylvia McCarthy have charges certified for insubordination. It is difficult to fire a teacher and this is one step in the process.  See page 88 of the agenda for the charges against Stevens and page 89 for the charges against McCarthy.

There is a  presentation of preliminary report on central office reorganization. There is a move away from central office management to having more resources managed at the school level. I am encouraged by these developments. The presentation and power-point presentation starts at 48:35 in the video. Under the reorganization, schools will be organized in small networks of principles led by a lead principle.While schools will have considerable autonomy, there will be guiding principles. "The guiding principles are non-negotiable," says Dr. Register. "We are going to implement Common Core. There will be a support system to implement common core."

School Board member Elissa Kim initiates a line of discussion that sheds light on how the current method of compensating teachers based on length of service and academic degree leads to inequitable per pupil spending. (see 1:31:30)

A discussion of the MNPS budget begins at 1:35. The presentation explains how MNPS will reduce there budget by $17.69 million from what they originally requested.

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1 comment:

  1. Interesting quote:

    "Common Core requires a different way of teaching, a different way of delivering instruction, very heavy in the use of technology. So we are partnering very close with Leadership & Learning to change the teaching paradigm in the classroom through the use of technology."

    I thought it was just academic standards.

    And we are going to completely transform the teaching paradigm in the classroom and go "very heavy in the use of technology" (plus completely reorganize the central office structure) for only TWO subjects? Still believe it is only math and English Language? Doesn't seem very practical or economically feasible if it is.

    Dr. Register says "there are guiding principles and non-negotiables". Steele explains that Common Core, Park assessment and project-based learning are the current non-negotiables. This is in response to the question asking is there a "stop-gap" on instructional practices and curriculum selection by the "autonomous" schools at 1:28:05.

    I thought Common Core didn't have any effect on curriculum and you could pick what you want. Here it is described as a non-negotiable stop-gap for curriculum selection. Which is it?

    It will be interesting to see where all this new "very heavy technology" comes from. My guess is the fella dumping $27M+ behind the standards will play a very significant role.