Gearing up for the meeting scheduled to start in less than an hour.
The agenda (found here) is quite different from the work session last week. (Usually they are almost identical.) We never got the report from Teaching and Learning on student achievement, as Mrs. Tyson informed us that Dr. Beasley was not ready last week, so we'll hear that tonight. Beasley will also tell us about the new mathematics teacher training. Dr. Vonzia Phillips will give us the scoop on the instructional partnership with GA Tech on math/science instruction. Of interest, the board met once again on "personnel matter" today, so we'll see if they have anything to announce about the superintendent search. Also, Mr. Rodney Jenkins, our new Public Information Officer will give us his communications plan.
Download the minutes from the Budget Committee meeting (Item D-1) - they are interesting. The system was complimented for improving their auditing practices. "GDOAA noted significant improvement in the DCSD audit over the past three years due to better recordkeeping, improved documentation and better preparation on the part of DCSD."
We do have a big concern about the seemingly innocuous insurance policy up for approval (item H-4). It seems that Mr. Michael Florio (Human Resources) is recommending that we renew this policy without putting it out for bids. Interestingly, Mr. Charles Austin has been DCSS's commercial insurance broker for over 20 years -- which makes us wonder: Have we EVER put this policy out for bids? If not, then why are we paying Mr. Florio $104,460. plus benefits?
And, Leadership Prep is again asking for help with food services. Interestingly, exactly one year ago, they asked for the same thing. Click here to read my notes from that meeting. Those notes say, "Leadership Prep Academy asked for approval to use DCSS food service until they are able to secure their own. When Sarah asked where LPA was located, the speaker simply gave the street address." [I guess they didn't want to announce that they are located in New Birth Church - and we can deduce that they weren't able to secure their own food service yet?] Also, at that meeting the board approved promoting Ms. Michelle Jones, Felicia (Mitchell) Mayfield's daughter as Principal at Clarkston High School. Ms. Jones was promoted from Assistant Principal at Chamblee High School. I wonder if she was able to improve learning at Clarkston. Maybe Dr. Beasley will enlighten us.
Follow along - I'll take notes - you all make comments. See you at 6!
Cute video - first day of school. Mr. Moseley: thanks everyone for their support over the summer. Had a great first day. 96,148 students. Will increase. Monday will have a better number. Closed 8 schools. Converted 3 to k-8. 7,400 students have a new assignment. No one lost a job. 6,525 teachers. 22 vacancies. 99.7% staffed. Scheduling is going well. ESEA turnover causes incomplete schedules. Appeals process in CRCT still in process. Grounds look good. A/C is a challenge. Transportation - fewer drivers, better routing, good job. Dr. Berry - Title 1 did 'Herculean' job completing ESEA assignments. 22 sending schools 10 receiving - 33 ES, 486 MS, - 785 HS, - 1034 transfer requests. Museum School started Aug 1 - 197 students. DeKalb Prep - high school will open Aug 2012. Football starts Aug 25 - Tucker vs SW DeKalb. Channel 2 live. 5 more ESs received a safe routes to school grant. If you don't have an ESEA assignment yet, go ahead and report to your home school and await transfer instructions. You can call Dr. Berry's office.
Robbie Jenkins: Communications plan. Goal to articulate vision and goals. Increase public confidence by educating key groups. Build trust. Deal with credibility among target audiences. Use most effective means. We have the technology. Incorporate one message. Develop subject experts to do interviews. Recruit support from external partners. Media relation protocol. Create a repository for positive news stories and newsletter. [Does he mean like the great one the RIFd Julie Rhame used to produce called "Kaleidoscope"?] Facebook page and Twitter. [Julie tried, but was prevented from doing that by Lewis.] Pump information out. Monologue. (Info out only.) Launch in November. Help board members with communications. Crisis communications program. Predictive dialer system. [They used to do this...] Communications audit. Inventory & evaluate. Eliminate redundancy. Brand messaging. Editorial calendar. McChesney: We've abysmally failed at being proactive. Public doesn't know the 'facts'. Jenkins: My presence won't stop the negative press. Bowen: I struggle with not being aware of issues in the district. Board would like to have talking points - facts and district's position.
Beasley: Update on action plan for student achievement. PPT update. Reprioritizaion. T&L advisory council. Guiding coalition. Grassroots input and support. No district level mandates. All district level paperwork/reporting has been eliminated. Will monitor RTI - student engagement. Monthly meetings with operations. We will "proact" to remove any obstacles. Goals for AYP: 100% participation expected. 95% required. AMOs (Annual Measurable Objectives) - must work toward ensuring goals -- (see PPT). No more than 15% absent for more than 15 days. Graduation rate goal: 90%. Science will be a factor in ES. Increases are not keeping pace with state's target. Curriculum: guides have been updated. Online process for teacher feedback. Preparing a presentation for the board. Instruction: Instructional guide. Reflects best practices nationwide. Principals must work diligently. Focus on right work for right outcomes. [He runs through a lot of detail. Get his PPT for more info.] RTI: Response to Intervention - "where the rubber meets the road" - we must do a better job. Target reading & math. Will be able to drill down in the data for the first time. Renaissance Learning providing diagnostic reports. Monitor each campus' progress in reading. Data generated to assess if students are on target to pass the CRCT. Phasing out GHSGT - 2011 do not need to pass test: can pass related EOCT for the subject area of Graduation Test. All students have to pass GHS Graduation Writing Test. Entering 9th grade 2011-12 - required to take EOCT. Weighs 20% of grade. (Previously 15%) Not required to pass EOCT. Will eventually use EOCTs for AYP. State will determine which ones. Grades 3-12 will continue to use benchmarks. Including IB and AP. Grades 1&2 challenge is "bubbling" for students (teachers have to transfer answers currently.) 87% of incoming 9th graders taking integrated math. 13% discrete. Professional learning: Continue to focus on pedagogy & perceptual knowledge. Career Tech: 11 programs participating in industry certification. Over 5,000 students have been certified. RTTT: 2011-12 - Training year for common core. School imp grant: Towers, McNair, Clarkston -- turnaround funds. Transformation model. Secure resources, tech, staff to turnaround. HS Transformation Director is working diligently. Jay: Re: ESEA - go and visit your neighborhood schools. They are doing a good job. Don't 'run' - stay in your neighborhood school. Take advantage of the funds and programs at home. Edler: Agrees. [Although her children didn't attend their home schools.] Parents should determine what's best for their children.
SACS Update: Tyson: We're inside of 90 days for revisit. Next 2 months. By Aug 12, progress report submitted to legal for review. Draft to board by 9-1. Submit report by 10-1. SACS visit mid-Oct. We are 78% complete. On track. Employees will go through intense policy training. (Virtual training - will assess every employee.) CRCT; Cameras installed. One key to test storage room. Teachers rotate: don't test their own students. Ahead of schedule. Confident for full accreditation.
Moved H-4 (insurance contract) off consent agenda. To give staff time to address a public question. Will vote on it later.
Contract for Leadership Prep Food Service approved.
Item H-4. Mr. McChesney: Question - usually ask have you gotten other bids? But it looked like a strong arm. Mr. Florio will explain why this is a good contract (with no bids). If market goes low, we can lower. If rates go up, we can require that insurer stay at low rates of contract. Japanese earthquake, tornadoes, etc. Claims worldwide 3X greater. Looked like markets were increasing. So we're going to stay with the contract (no solicitation, did a market review). Found a 5-10% increase in premiums. Chartis asking 10-20% increases (we got a good deal last year.) Could have to pay $70-100,000 more. Broker recommended staying with current contract. McChesney - we should always shop and provide info to the public. The public is not privy to info we get. Jester: Market review means you compared scenerios, but didn't get firm quotes. Florio: no claims to exceed 40% of net premium and promise to not go to market to get a lower bid. Insurer wanted to be able to quote higher if necessary. Jester: If we were to rebid it would negate our current terms. Florio: Yes. Jester: Interesting. What's the commission structure for the broker? Conflicts? Florio: Broker paid by insurer. $1.5 million policy = 10% commission ($150,000). $700,000 range = 15% commission. ($100,000). Jester: What kind of service do we get for the money? Florio: Expertise, not time. They collect underwriting data to base premium calculations. They assist us in the products we want - our insurance is special like the museum rider (used to pay $50,000/year, now free), same with boilers, mold, extras... Florio: Not the least indication that we could get this coverage for less.
Passed all consent items unanimously.
McChesney: Thank Ms Tyson, teachers, staff, etc to get ready for today.
Walker: Joins McChesney in commending our professionals. Go back to super: Raised the word 'triage' - term for determining the treatment depending on symptoms. Coaching wisdom: "Out of a losing season, you come back prepared for a new season feeling good." Join me in a feel good moment rather than a doom & gloom.
Womack: Personal privilege. 47 years ago at 11:00 a woman came into my life. We were married and we had 2 children. Oak Grove/Lakeside. 1995 lost our son to a brain tumor. Can't say enough about this person and what she's brought to our lives. [It's his anniversary.]
Jester: Jester kids had a great first day of school too. I do embrace the "feel good" but we have a lot to do to climb out of the hole we're in. Everyone needs to buckle down --- all of our problems are fixable. Cautiously optimistic. Appreciate all the hard work for a great opening day.
Edler: Charges the board with moving the board forward with integrity and ethics to set the highest standards.
Cunningham: Back to neighborhood schools. Understand choices but we have an obligation to our neighborhoods. Quality of life. Economic development. Visit the schools in your neighborhoods - they're good - very close to making AYP. You have a choice, but I hope that you'll take the time to invest in your neighborhood school to make it a first class place to get a first class education.
Sarah: Congrats to the Womacks. To stay together for more than a year or two is commendable these days -- especially if you're married to Mr. Womack! [She was joking!] We've got to put our arms around each other. That's the only way we're going to make it -- together. [Right on, Sarah!]