Some of the items on this week’s school board agenda:
We’ll discuss and possibly approve the district’s legislative priorities for the next legislative session. Proposal here.
We’ll hear a report about the district’s efforts to teach students about safe and responsible use of social media. Information here.
We’ll hear a report about reading assessment results. The district has been implementing a weighted resource allocation model to shift resources (including classroom teachers) toward schools with larger numbers of students from low-income households, students receiving special education services, and students who are English-language learners. This report will focus in particular on reading assessment results at those schools. Information here.
We’ll hear a report about school climate disparities when it comes to student gender identity and sexual orientation. Information here.
We’ll hear a transportation update, including an update on activities buses at the secondary level and a comparison of busing costs in the 2015-16, 2016-17, and 2017-18 school years. Information here.
We’ll hear an update on the progress at Hoover East and on its use by Longfellow students this coming year (while Longfellow is being renovated). Information here.
All that and more! The full agenda is here. Feel free to chime in with a comment about anything that catches your attention.
UPDATE: The administration came to us at the July 25 meeting asking to hire a contractor to create more rooms out of common space at Penn Elementary to make up for the loss of temporaries (which were relocated elsewhere). We were told that this change would permanently raise Penn’s capacity rating of the building to 683. This was the only option we were presented. It represented a change to the building’s capacity rating under the Facilities Master Plan that would have a lasting effect on how many students the district will expect that building to hold, and it came to us in the form of a consent calendar item just four weeks before school was to start.
Earlier this year, the administration had already revised the Penn building capacity up from 587 to 633, based not an any additional space but just on a reassessment of the building. But the building is still using the same cafeteria it was using when the building capacity was 387. Eight classrooms (200 seats) have been added since, and this project would have added 50 more. I don’t have confidence that that building can comfortably hold 683 students, even with more classrooms added. Moreover, I don’t believe the board should approve a permanent change to a building’s capacity under the Facilities Master Plan without receiving any input from the families at the affected school. I felt that the proposal at the very least should have been brought to the board much sooner, so the affected families could have a chance to comment on it.
I fully understand that the elementary schools in the North Corridor need more capacity—one of the reasons I’m against the bond is because it limits the district’s ability to respond to the expected growth in that area. But new capacity shouldn’t be achieved simply by carving more classrooms out of a building that is already too large for its common spaces. I saw the project as creating a long-term problem to address a short-term problem, so I voted against the contract proposal. The proposal failed by a vote of 3-3.
Three weeks later, the administration brought back the same contract proposal. I moved to adopt the proposal on the condition that the district would not change Penn’s listed capacity number without further board approval. The motion passed 5-1.