"High Achievement always takes place in the framework of high expectation." - Charles Kettering

Monday, June 14, 2010

"Regular School Board Meeting" Tonight at 5:30 in the TRIS LMC

I know this isn't the Eagle Eye View post, but I forgot I wanted to post the Board Meeting Agendas on this blog. I'm sort of hopelessly single-minded once I sink my teeth into a project with data. Anyway...

Click on the post for a listing of tonight's agenda. Discussion highlights include a new Senior Project Graduation requirement beginning with the class of 2014 and the Bullying policy (in its second reading). Action Item highlights include approvals of the co-curricular contracts, RESCINDING the Lay-Off Notice (!) and the third (final) reading of several policies including the National Honor Society (change was to increase candidate's GPA from 3.5 to 3.6) and the much debated co-curricular participation, fund raising and student conduct and dress policies brought forward for review after the poms debacle.

Just a few remarks about some of the topics. Bullying Policy: If you have suggestions or ideas for the Bullying Policy and Administration thereof, please come and share!

Co-curricular contracts: The cost of our co-curricular contracts exceeded $140,000 last year. This still flabbergasts me and I don't understand how what used to be a small stipend in the olden days has become a significant budget expense. Those who disagree with me say "BAH-in a budget of 20 million dollars, this is less than one percent. Pittance!" That approach may well have merit, but I will never be able to call $140,000 pittance. This is the equivalent of two entry level teachers including their benefits! Or think of it as numerous computers and software for our kids. Most of these advisors are already teachers in our district so these contract values are simply added into their salary base. Teachers who take on multiple roles get some hefty "stipends" added to their salaries. I'm not completely convinced about the cost/benefit ratio for this out of control aspect of co-curricular offerings, which continues to spiral because everybody is always trying to keep up with the Joneses.

Lay off notice: YEAH!

Co-curricular policies approval: I'll be looking for the "return of the Poms" at the meeting tonight, as they seem to have done every month since January whenever there is any action on the agenda regarding "co-curricular participation." I don't know what the final version of the policy looks like, but I trust it will meet the needs of Poms and Administration alike.

NHS participation Policy: As for the GPA increase for NHS consideration, I am not opposed per se to matching NHS candidacy GPA with our "high honor" GPA cut-off. However, I am opposed to the Administration supporting two very different sets of standards by bringing forth this proposed change. It's completely OK to raise the standards for the kids who work hard, have goals and set their priorities (high honors kids aren't all Einsteins, you know), but for those who have challenges in this area, keep that GPA at an abysmal 1.5. I also find it hard to believe that the administration thinks its OK to have violated their own policy since 2006 (when the policy was last revised) by excluding students with GPAs of 3.5 to 3.5999 from NHS consideration, even after it was brought to their attention. The technically correct response to this conundrum was to grandfather in everyone who wanted to be considered with the 3.5-3.6 GPAs and work on changing the policy so it matches practice. It is not ever acceptable to tell a kid and their parents "Oops, our policy doesn't match our practice. We've never done it this way and too bad for you." If the third reading goes through tonight, this should be Day One of using 3.6 as the standard.

I hope to get to the meeting tonight. I'm jealous that the board meetings are rumored to go much faster now that the committee meetings are "of the whole" board.

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