Saturday, April 8, 2017

School board agenda for April 11

Some of the items on the board’s agenda this week:

We’ll start the meeting by holding “public hearings” on the proposed certified budget for fiscal year 2018 and the Shimek playground renovation proposal. (At our last meeting, the board approved the purchase of the playground equipment; this hearing is about the renovation work itself.) Members of the public will have the opportunity to speak and to ask questions about those topics. I posted about the Shimek playground proposal here.

We’ll vote on adopting the certified budget, which we have to submit to the state by April 15. (More detailed information here.) At our last meeting, I pointed out that it didn’t make much sense to schedule the public hearing on the certified budget on the same night that we have to vote on it, since we’d have no time to incorporate any feedback we receive at the hearing. In other words, the board seems to treat these public hearings (and arguably the entire budget-setting process) as perfunctory. In the future, I’d like to see the board take a meaningful look at how it’s allocating the district’s resources and whether it reflects our real priorities; that should involve consideration of community input, too—all well in advance of the state deadline for budget certification.

We may vote on bond proposal language to appear on the ballot in September; it’s not clear whether the final proposal will be ready this week, or whether we’ll continue to discuss the proposal at our work session and then schedule a vote for the next board meeting.

We’ll hear updates on special education and on the legislative session.

We’ll review proposed amendments to our board ends policies (here and here), to some of our policies directed at students, and to the charter for our Education Committee board committees. (UPDATE: The item about the committee charters has been removed from the agenda and sent back to committee for further consideration.)

At our work session, we’ll discuss the facilities master plan, the bond proposal, and our future use of the ThoughtExchange platform. Previous post on ThoughtExchange here.

All that and more! The full agendas are here and here. Feel free to chime in with a comment about anything that catches your attention.


Karen W said...

If you know, what's the reasoning for changing the Ends Policies to a decrease achievement gaps, rather than increase performance of bottom quarter of students and maintain or increase performance of top quarter of students?

For the 95% Group, synthetic phonics, word roots study, types of syllables--these all look like things that should be part of universal classroom instruction. Are they? Or is this just for intervention?

Anonymous said...

It is indeed a sorry state of affairs when Karen W. apparently feels the need to be concerned that the ICCSD administration would close the achievement gap by decreasing the performance of successful students instead of helping the lower-achieving students increase their performance.

I wish I could say that her fears are misplaced, but I cannot.

What I see as the saving grace is that the administration has so little technical skills or interest in actually teaching that they would not be able to direct either bad or good teaching, and therefore couldn't change the achievement gap from top down or bottom up even if they wanted to.

Anonymous said...

My child said the school district is getting rid of a lot of computer labs that can be turned into classrooms. The number of labs going away was two dozen on the North Corridor Parents facebook. Are there new capacity numbers for buildings now? Will the facilities master plan change for this?

Anonymous said...

This doesn't surprise me at all. Keep moving the basic requirements lower and lower, eventually ICCSD will meet the goals that they set for themselves and start high-fiving each other. It looks like they are taking an ax to the Ends Policies - and not in a positive way. This kind of thinking reminds me of Vonnegut's short story Harrison Bergeron where the government attempts to achieve total physical and mental equality by handicapping its people. My son is in sixth grade and when they get done with work in class they are expected to help teach those students who are behind rather than getting additional challenging work - one on one help. This is a daily occurrence. It is difficult to blame the teachers when there are 30+ students in a class with such a wide range of abilities. We have had some excellent teachers, but they don't seem to have the tools needed to be successful to this environment. Advanced students are definitely held back. In my opinion the current ELP curriculum is a joke too and needs to be looked at for major changes.

Anonymous said...

11:59 is right. "Advanced students are definitely held back. In my opinion the current ELP curriculum is a joke too and needs to be looked at for major changes."

ELP program is understaffed and needs total revamp. For those who remember the good old days in Iowa City schools, they are gone for the high performing students.

Anonymous said...

Chris, is there any way to address the existing ELP program and possibilities to enhance the curriculum and programming for our accelerated students? The current options are minimal and highly variable from school to school in the district. It seems unorganized and there is very little information available about the program and curriculum, almost like it is an afterthought just to say we have an ELP program for advanced students. We did the ELP program for a year and decided that it didn't add enough value to continue to participate.