March 12th Regular Board Meeting

It has been a long weekend; very emotional, very poignant, even a bit chaotic.

The Board Meeting

I arrive a bit late, walking in right as Donna Novak was wrapping up her heart-felt words of thanks to the Board and I waved as the family was leaving. There were a couple things on the agenda that initially interested me when I looked at them earlier; 1) Westview renovations since I have some friends who might send their child there next year, 2) Common Core update from Trevor, and 3) the Robeson Academic Spotlight. Unfortunately, they were having a series of technical difficulties which resulted in half the meeting not being broadcast via CGTV (I sure hope the recording survived! – I already requested it and will post it when I get my grubby hands on it), and several issues with presentations, including lack of sound and one projector not working. I had a chuckle when IT Director Roger Grinnip gave his report and boasted about all the technological advancements we have. Gotta love computers.

If I recall correctly, OWP/P gave their update on Westview first. They talked about the plans they have to expand the building south and refurbish the existing structure (I didn’t quite catch what exactly will be refurbished). They talked about how the exterior will be matched (new with the old) and showed us the floor plans. They wrapped up by talking about the budget. All of this is on the BoardDocs site. I just looked at a very comprehensive and colorful document summarizing all the new updates is on the “Construction Updates” of the Unit 4 main site.

I must have been a bit tired – the Robeson video did not really excite me at all. Sorry if you love Robeson, or sorry if you love the video. Part of it was the series of technical difficulties that made it hard to hear/understand the video. Part of it.

I tuned in a bit more when Trevor gave his pitch about Common Core. He kicked off with a video (after a couple delays – see above). I didn’t quite understand why we were watching a video about some director lady of State Farm talking about Common Core curriculum. What was the connection between State Farm and education? I totally missed it. Trevor then got on the mike; I like the new presentation technology they are using – a bit more dynamic, novel and fresh. (ever see Animoto for slideshows? This wasn’t the same level, but much better than powerpoint) He started off by saying how Common Core has “more depth, less breadth”, and compared Illinois to Japan, a leader in test scores apparently (Illinois does not got quite as deep as Japan does). He talked about how teachers from all the States traveled to DC to hash out the “whats” and the “hows” of this curriculum. I believe this is what G David Frye was getting at in a recent comment of a previous post. I was surprised to learn that Unit 4 is already phasing in bits and pieces of Common Core; portions of English and Math have already been introduced in some classes, with more pilots planned for next year and complete implementation scheduled for 2013-2014. On top of that, I was delighted to learn that Common Core allegedly focuses on individual growth. I hope this is a reality, not merely a theoretical talking point. Lastly, Trevor dropped some hints about Common Core gaining some retail space on the Unit 4 website.

After that, Roger Grinnip briefly presented his Technology Plan, stating that this is something they have to do every three years. I covered this a little bit back in September. So nothing new to see here. In fact, in felt very much like a Jedi hand-waving as to Board voted unanimously to approve his plan. Mind you, this is my own opinion.

That’s all I took notes on. The Board cruised through the Consent Agenda section and adjourned the meeting earlier than expected. Still clocked in at 1:40, but still better than I expected. 🙂

I have deep respect for the Board Members. I get it that they are elected and that they campaigned for the privileges and responsibilities of the Board Meetings – you might say “they knew what they were getting into” (right, Jamar? *grin*) But still, they put in a ton of time no matter how you slice it. I am amazed.


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