Thursday, June 13, 2013

Video, Summary and Commentary on the School Board meeting of 6/11/2013

"Balanced" calender and Policy on Academic Excellence dominate the meeting.

This meeting of the school board is two hours long. For anyone wanting a clear understanding of what the school board is doing, I suggest you follow along on the agenda as you watch the video. The School Board produces great agendas.  One can see all of the documents that School Board members see.  This agenda is 170 pages long. You can download your copy here: Agenda..

Public Comments:
During the public comments section  of the meeting (starting at 5:30 in the video), Chris Moth a parent of a child at J.T more speaks about the positive things happening at J. T. Moore  and  criticizes Boy's Prep Charter School in particular for their marketing which disparages regular public schools and, he criticizes charter schools in general and says it is time to take a breather from charter school proliferation.

Other parents speak out against the massive number of test children are required to take and ask for more information about which test are given and when test will be given.

The Budget:
Will Pinkerton gives a brief overview of the budget. To see a copy of the final school budget go to page 32 in the agenda.

A "balanced "calender:
Starting at 22:50 in the video there is a presentation and a discussion about the 2014-2015 school calender. This topic takes about 50 minutes. Part of the discussion focuses on "intersessions," which is  the spring and fall breaks designed to give struggling students extra instruction, so they can catch up. Instead of intersession, the School Board may add extra school days for everyone. Board member Michael Hayes asked if the board may add additional teacher work days without additional salary. Dr. Register says they may, but he would not recommend it.

Board member Elissa Kim makes a great point about the policy of greater school autonomy and how it relates to the school calender. "This is were the rubber hits the road," she says.  She ask if schools can adjust the calender to fit their own needs.  They cannot. She says that needs may differ drastically from school to school and she believes schools should have more autonomy to make those decisions. "I do not believe charter schools should be the only ones with autonomy," she says. "The needs of the schools are so vastly different that trying to manage it as a monolithic entity is just ...tough." I am really impressed with Ms Kim. To see her comments, see 53:09 in the video.

To see how The Tennessean covered the calender topic, follow this link: Nashville schools may drop intersession breaks.

Board Policy on Academic Excellence:
The Board adopts a resolution proposed by Board member Will Pinkston that establishes Board Policy on Academic Excellence. Board member Michael Hayes argues the standards are not nearly ambitions enough.  "I hope we can push ourselves and set the goals higher," he says. One of the goals which he argues is not high enough is that "upon or before the conclusion of the 2017-18 academic year, 50 percent of MNPS high-school students score 21 or higher on the ACT assessment of college readiness."  To see a copy of the resolution go to page 155 of the agenda. To see the discussion in the video see1:03:22 to 1:28:55.

Technology: There is a presentation on a technology plan for the classroom. To view the video presentation go to 1:29:17 and to see the handouts and learn more go to page 157 in the agenda.

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