Notes from the April 22nd BOE Special Meeting

I took the time to watch the BOE meeting a little while ago and typed up some notes. Unfortunately, they are not yet formatted very well. Instead of delaying, I finally decided to just dump them here, and hope that readers will forgive the horrid formatting.

 

{the times listed below are elapsed times from the beginning of the video}

start at 5:02

spotlight on middleschool to highschool transitions: 10 minutes (music stops at 15:36 after all the credits roll *roll eyes*)
jamar brown – found it entertaining, found the whole thing very good, transitions are important

public comment:
laurie bonnett – only quotes from one vendor, are we reaching out and seeking participating from other vendors?

CFT:
Cathy mannen – thanks to the board for support of the early childhood center.

PTA Council:
Sheri Williamson – summer reading program, 300 books from UofI. Parent Resource Group.

Communications from board members:
Kristine – shout out about the amazing musicals past two weeks. Big praise for the stage design, acting, music, etc.
Van Ness – College Career Center; great facility, great idea. Shout out for the CUSF. Need to support them better.
Ileana – Make the College Career Center grow bigger – good stuff.
Brown – PSUs (?) at Novak, like a graduation thing. Lots of praise/congrats for many other events at other schools.
Stig – congrats to those who run board elections. Interesting thoughts about “supporting” more folks on future candidates, getting more folks to run.
Board retreat follow-up: how to make the school district a family-centered organization. hmm… not child-centered? 🙂

Asia Fuller-Hamilton & Joe Williams start with Transitions. jwtobe.org?? jw2b.org??
Jamar and Kristine mention how awesome this is. Kristine reiterates the pain/confusion of the first day. Mentions how awesome it would be for every freshman to have a mentor/guide. Joe says they are working on it.
Stig asks the same about middle school. He says why can’t we divulge as much information as possible BEFORE they come to school, and then handle the unknowns as they arise. A bit of discussion (even Wiegand intercedes); can the kids have the data before the first day of school? 🙂 Lots of great things are happening in pockets, working towards making those things consistent in general.

Elizabeth DeGruy (no presentation, just reporting).
Stig asks a lot of questions and makes comments. Very engaged. 🙂 Again, can parents have as much information as soon as possible? All about transistions. Importance of setting a first impression by making the first day in school a very positive one.
I think a question from the audience was fielded about “child time”? Yes, Sheri Williamson from the audience is given the floor. Awesome! 🙂

Tony and Cheryl are up at 1:05:40. Tony walks through the overview of the goals and “ideal reality”. Cheryl talks about the specific multiple recommendations. Elizabeth chimes in with SpecEd recommendations.
Stig asks how parents who are in these situations can reach out to a person (*not* a helpline). Maybe a FAQ?
Action Items:
Kleber announces the promotion of 3 assistant principals.
1:23:40
TALP – Orlando Thomas
Kristine wants to verify this is not fun, and that students don’t really have a choice once suspended.
student discipline procedure – lockman
confirming adoption for administrative reasons … ?? That’s not vague. 🙂

Kleber on adding an administrative position for overseeing the food department; one year appointment for a proof-of-concept.
Van Ness asks where the person will be housed. Kleber doesn’t really answer the question, saying they will be “everywhere.” Interesting that the Board is asked to approve the position even before the job description is finalized. Doesn’t that seem backwards?
Item A from Consent Agenda moved up – Champaign Telephone contract. curious, was this moved up in Executive session? Meg Dickinson mentioned that Phil Van Ness moved on it, but I did not witness it.
Brown asks, we will *never* bid out these jobs? Joe Davis assures the board that if they need to, they will. Who bids it out? “talk it out” with architects and superintendent.
Van Ness comes out and says he pulled it out of the Consent Agenda. Wants to make sure the board is putting things before the public. Likes that we are keeping this local.
Kristine mentions that consistency is very important.
Ileana: not exactly sure what she said, something about good for the community and taxpayers knowing.
Kristine, we don’t want everyone to know what the budget is….. interesting. In the context of bidding… they want contractors to bid competitively, not to the budget.

1:44:40 remaining items of the consent agenda

Answering questions about the Feb 25th Special Board Meeting

Over the weekend, I posted a series of questions about the Feb 25th BOE meeting (tonight). Dr. Wiegand was kind enough to respond (and with comprehensive answers at that) and has given me permission to post her reply. The following has only been formatted so it looks better on this blog (a la “the following movie has been formatted to fit your screen”).


q For Paul Fallon: how many of the 216 people who responded favorably to 19A make up the 170 people who said they were less likely to vote for it in question 19B? Similar question for question 20A and 20B.
a (from Paul Fallon) Judy, I will have to get that data file from my office, so I will try to send it to you tomorrow or Wednesday. Thanks, Paul
q How long as the Teacher Evaluation Committee been in place?
a The Committee was established at the end of last school year to address the need for a teacher evaluation system that would meet the requirements of PERA (Performance Evaluation Reform Act).  The committee began working this school year during first semester to collaboratively develop an evaluation document and process.  In previous years this was not done in a collaborative manner.  The Administration would develop a document and then present to the CFT for feedback. This is the first time a process was used that had both Administration and Teachers at the same starting point.
q Where are the meeting minutes?
a The work done during each session was documented by Pam Rosa from CEC.  Committee members were then charged with sharing this with the groups they represent to obtain feedback.  Since this work was ongoing and part of an internal committee, minutes were not posted publicly.
q Does the board agree with premises put forth by the Consortium for Educational Change? Read the rest of this entry »

Feb 25th Board Meeting

First, an announcement. Unit 4 is urging parents to take a survey from the ISBE that basically asks parents how welcome they feel at the school. I am curious if paper copies are being circulated. It’s a relatively painless and short survey:

https://illinois.5-essentials.org/2012/

And then the Board Meeting this coming Monday. It’s a Special Board meeting, which means there are more opportunities for comments. I am unable to go, but I encourage you to attend and ask some questions. Because questions need to be asked.

“Opinion Research”

First up is Paul Fallon (Fallon Research) in association with DeJong-Richter. In the BoardDocs agenda, the blurb only states that Mr. Fallon will be talking about the two 90-minute focus groups. However, I cannot see how he can completely skip the 400-person phone survey they did as well, which was the whole point of the focus group. I still very much dislike how the raw data is being held until it can be provided in all the glory of the “historical context”. I didn’t like how that went down the High School Siting options presented at the Community Discussions. The really major bad part of it is that folks will not have time to digest the data and formulate questions while the expert is standing right there. Yes, we can look at the summary reports we have now, and we can ask questions based on that, but the questions most pressing on my mind are answered by the raw data that I cannot see. For example:

how many of the 216 people who responded favorably to 19A make up the 170 people who said they were less likely to vote for it in question 19B?

We cannot correlate 19A to 19B at all. We have to wait for the “big reveal”, and by that time I fear it will be too late to ask further questions. Hopefully Mr. Fallon will answer this question (and the related one for question 20) and any others the community has been asking. Lastly, I am still very concerned that the “research” really only touched some 430 people – that is less than 1% of the voting population. Not a good sample size, imo.

“Community Collaborations”

Marc Changnon has the pleasant task Read the rest of this entry »

Preview of Jan 28th board meeting

The Jan 28th board meeting agenda is up. [I still do not know how to deep-link it, but here is the URL for BoardDocs: http://www.boarddocs.com/il/champil/Board.nsf/public]

Looks like the new board members (former board members Arlene Blank and Phil Van Ness) will be sworn in right at 5:30 before executive session. Back in open session, one of the first items is:

Dr. Patrick Rice, Director of Field Services from the Illinois Association of School Boards will describe services and training options available to the Board.

That means almost absolutely nothing to me. I know that Board members are required by law to take various training (like OMA) and “How to be a Board Member”. Greg Novak has shared a humorous take on that in the past which I cannot repeat. 🙂

Dr. Wiegand will be introducing three somewhat new committees that formed as a result of the board retreats last year. The one I am part of, the Advocacy Committee, has a website (woohoo!!) and even a public-to-read email discussion list via google groups. I do not know much about the other two at all (Transitions?). What is very interesting to me is that the PDF they have on BoardDocs is a scanned copy of printed documents. Why? Why oh why oh why?!? You have to turn your computer left, right and upside down to read it. 🙂 I don’t get it. Plus, the document for the Advocacy Committee is posted on our website in a true pptx form, which means it is searchable.

Next is the very wordy “audit and reporting system for Affirmative Action/Equal Employment Opportunity” (AAEEO). There is a monstrous 162 page report you can look at if you so desire. About half the document is charts and graphs, the latter half being some kind of analysis I think. Wow. I kinda feel bad for whomever had to put that together (Ken?).

And Educational Updates. I actually enjoyed this section. 🙂 Back in October 2012 I spotted a brand-new Drupal website that Unit 4 was working on (and quickly locked down), so during David Hohman’s presentation, he is going to take some of the wrappers off. Exciting stuff. He stuffed it full of colorful pictures and a playful take so as to chip away at the boredom factor. 🙂 Also, he has a “wireless proposal” – I am wondering if we can get some local folks to look at that, and maybe even urge the administration to seriously considering local vendors over distant ones. What do you think? Would you spend 2% more on a local vendor just because they are local? 5%?

Next up Dr. Joe Davis has a couple slides about bids for the proposed renovation projects (Robeson $2.7mil and Bottenfield $7.1mill). I am going to give Dr. Davis a break this time around and pick on the architects just a little. One thing that concerns me is that it seems Canon (and others) are putting a ton of resources into procuring new work, but they are not following-up much on old work. For example, I have to go back to Carrie Busey (but I am sure other schools have issues as well); brand new school with a really cool pod design. The new construction (right now) costs $1.3mil and breaks the pod design, and the proposed addition (some $3.5mil?) further breaks the pod design. No talks about how to fix it. And not to mention the punch list of outstanding issues – however, I am pretty sure that onus is on the construction crew, right?

 

Last of the major stuff, Dr. Wiegand will be sharing “Committee appointments”, a subset listing of committees and which board members are serving on them.

 

 

July 9th Board Meeting: review

To be honest, I was kinda surprised by how few “role-less” community people showed up for the Board Meeting tonight; I think I was one of two when the meeting started, and one other joined us later. The other 15 or 20 people seemed to have an official role, whether it be building staff, District official/administrator, CFT, Channel 15, architects or legal types.

 

To start things off, a list of Recognitions was read by each board member. And there were quite a few – most are the “good news” that have been showcased on the U4 website and Facebook page, with a few extra that I had not yet heard. Strange how the entire list is not online (not even on BoardDocs).

 

For Public Comment, I was the only one to say anything and I again urged the Board to consider ways to do community engagement, using the recent news paper articles about Urbana as a negative example and what Wheaton is doing as a positive example (based off a previous post). I sure wish I was eloquent. *grin* But at least I got the message across – I had also emailed the information to the Board so they can always look back on that if I communicated poorly.

 

During “Communications from Board Members”, Board Member Chalifoux (and somebody else?) Read the rest of this entry »