Monday evening I attended the graduation for
BOE MEETING: Tuesday evening was my first board meeting. I met with Chair Pam Garrett beforehand and we went over the agenda and the previous minutes, I asked several questions regarding who had approved items for passage where they money had come from, if they’d gotten notice of some of these things before hand. All were satisfactorily answered by Ms. Garrett.
She also surprised me by telling me she wanted me to lead the pledge at the opening of the meeting—which I did.
Judge Carol Solomon did my public swearing in after an award from the Education Consumers Foundaton to Principal Brenda Steele of Amqui Elementary, a couple of perfect attendance awards that were overlooked previously (they missed this event though) and the goodbye and hello of the student board members.
The consent agenda was passed unanimously. It contained some contract changes to maintenance work and the awarding of the contract for the remodeling & additions at
Next up were the final readings of what are monitoring reports for the results the board desires in the system, specifically the results in AP classes and ACT/
I had been at the school board meeting on
Also at that
Next up was the final reading on the ACT/
On First Reading were monitoring reports on college entrance requirements and ELL/Special Ed.
Regarding College Entrance the goal is to have 65% of the students meeting the college entrance requirement (mostly via ACT score of 19 and above) by 2007. It’s only at 57% to date with new data not available until the fall. It became obvious that it was unlikely, considering the past rates, that this goal was going to be met.
English Language Learners information was confusing to most of us on the Board. Part of the problem was inconsistency in wording and charts that didn’t consistently include the same population. The presenters are going to work on that. Bottom line on average—across all ELL students-- it takes 3.3 years for them to obtain sufficient English skills to be test takers. Younger students catch on more quickly than the older students.
The real highlight of the evening’s reports was the Special Education presentation. Ms. Sharon Wright (and I’m sure she had a team) presented what could have been a confusing amount of information/definitions and statistics but wasn’t. There are 8,202 students classified as Sp Ed ages 6 to 21. They’ve got 685 teachers and 531 assistants tending these children. That sort of attention is massive, granted, but they’re getting things done if this presentation is accurate. Amazingly 80% of these children are there simply because they haven’t learned to read. And of those 40% were just not taught. [UPDATE: clarification at the request of BOE member Kathy Nevill on 5/31/06. The 80 and 40% statistics Ms. Wright presented were from the "Presidential Commission on Special Education, 2002 and not MNPS specific.] That’s just an amazing statistic shadowed only by the fact that they’ve managed to have 42.9% of their charges obtain a regular high school diploma. I had to repeat that back to her just to make sure that I understood correctly.
Wednesday morning: I was pleased to help serve the teachers at
Thursday morning: Finally, this morning I attended the Mayor’s State of Metro Address at the Convention Center hosted by the Chamber of Commerce. Since I had previously blogged (http://kaybrooks.blogspot.com/2006/05/change-venue.html) that this event should occur in the council chambers finding myself at the BOE table was interesting. And in honor of a constituent request* I asked the wait staff to clear my place setting and drank just ice water. Interestingly the Mayor announced that next year’s State of
Regarding the budget the Mayor announced he would recommend on Friday that the Council fully fund the BOE budget (to include their list of “we’d rather not do without but we will if we have to.”) The BOE members at the table who’d done the yeoman work on creating that budget were quite excited and thankful for his support.
So, Friday the Mayor will tell the Council how much he wants and then the Council will wrangle out the details and tell the BOE how much they have. You can view the budget here: http://www.mnps.org/Page5308.aspx
Inglewood Elementary is being considered for an exciting incentive pay plan being sponsored by private funds. The staff there voted yesterday to participate if chosen. If specific academic goals are met every employee there would receive a cash bonus for their team success. I certainly hope that
*This mom is very concerned about the physical condition of her child's school (
There was a lot of wasted food on tables and plates after the State of