|November 14, 2012||New location||no comments|
|October 24, 2012||TPSD School Board 10.23.12||no comments|
|October 09, 2012||TPSD School Board meeting 10.09.12||no comments|
|September 25, 2012||TPSD School Board meeting 09.25.12||no comments|
|September 11, 2012||TPSD School Board 09.11.12||no comments|
|August 28, 2012||TPSD School Board meeting 08.28.12||no comments|
|August 14, 2012||TPSD School Board meeting 08.14.12||no comments|
|July 31, 2012||TPSD School Board meeting 07.31.12||no comments|
|May 22, 2012||TPSD School Board meeting 05.22.12||1 comments|
|May 08, 2012||TPSD School Board meeting 05.08.12||no comments|
Here are my notes from yesterday's school board meeting. I was unable to post them because the Internet was down at the Hancock Center. I had intended to post yesterday afternoon, but got tied up working on other stories.
Tupelo School Board meeting has begun. All five board members are present. The meeting begins with the board singing “Happy Birthday” to Director of Federal Programs Dale Warriner and Board Attorney Otis Tims. Board will hold its afternoon meeting at Tupelo Middle School at 5 p.m. and will take all votes at that time. This meeting will be for information and discussion. There will also be several recognitions tonight. 12:15 p.m. Executive Director of Curriculum Leigh Mobley is making a presentation about Classworks, a new computer program being used by the district this year. The program gives students different academic activities they can do and individualizes those lessons to the skills that the student needs most help learning. The district is using in grades K-8 this year. Mobley said it helps teachers meet individual needs. “We don’t teach to the middle any more. We teach every single student where they are, and this helps us do that.” She said they are able to use the data from school to school. Because all schools use the program, there is consistency. Thus far, this year, students in grades K-8 have logged 14,679 hours on language assignments and have completed over 49,000 units. A unit is a mini lesson, a practice, a game and sometimes and outside activity. Meanwhile, K-8 students have logged 11,944 hours on math assignments and have completed more than 25,000 units. More than 4,5000 students have used Classworks. That is all K-8 students. The amount of time spent on Classworks is equivalent to 1,000 days spent on additional math and language arts instruction, Mobley said. That is all without having to hire additional personnel, she said. Students can also access Classworks from home. If student doesn’t master given activities, the program gives them new set of problems to teach them the activities in a new way. Board asks about how much training is being provided for teachers. Mobley said they have provided training and would like to do more. They also ask about how easily each school has been able to meet the goal of students getting 50 minutes of time on Classworks each week. Mobley said it is easy at the sixth- to eighth-grade schools because of the laptops. She said that at the elementary schools, they can use computer lab time. 12:30 p.m. Finance Director Linda Pannell is making a presentation about the district’s financial audits. They came in mid-July and asked for information from 2010-11. She said it was difficult because it was asking for data that was two-years old as they were preparing to begin a new year. She said that audit will soon be over. She expects the audit for the 2011-12 school year to be completed by February . 12:35 p.m. Testing Coordinator Lea Johnson will make a presentation about the district’s state report card. The district’s “Children’s First” report card was just completed. That report card will be published in the Daily Journal soon. She also wants to speak about the MDE’s MAARS website that has information about all of the state’s districts and their test scores. The state has redesigned the website. It includes enrollment and demographic data, as well as test scores. You can see the data for the state as whole, or break it down by district and by state. There are also spreadsheets available with very detailed information. Board president Eddie Prather said that businesses now look at these report cards and use them to guide decisions about moving to a community. 12:45 p.m. Federal programs director Dale Warriner will seapk about expansion about the district’s pre-K program. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our community and our children,” she said. When the district recived its final federal allocations, they dicussesd how they would proceed with those funds. She said Superintendent Gearl Loden was really supportive of expanding the rpgoram. The district learned today the plan has been approved by the state. It will bring enrollment in regular education classes to 13 classroom serving 260 children. The district has more than 22 students who have asked to come, so it will be able to fill the classrooms. The goal is to open by Dec. 1. “We do have room for those 20 children. The building by May will be serving 293 children including special education.” Right now have 32 special education students who are 3- and 4-year-olds and six more who will be added when they turn 3. “I am excited about the opportunity to serve our children. The teachers there are excited.” They will have a licensed teacher and a highly-qualified assistant. They will expand resources for Early Beginnings Resource Center and will add a Parents as Teachers position. The other Title 1 schools also received additional money, WArriner said. “Our teachers continue to say they can tell a big diffence in the children who have attended the Early Childhood Education Cetner. They are reading, you can tell, they just take off, they are sponges.” “They have increased the rigor this year. Every time I go, I see them doing something different to encourage responsibility and engaged students more.” Warriner said the buildign’s capacity is about 300. They are taking the music room for this and rearranging some things, but they are about out of classroom space. She said there is room in front of the school that could support and expansion. There is also a little extra cafeteria space, she said. Loden: “In able to compete with Asians and Eupropeans, the districts in Mississippi have to provide pre-K and we can’t wait for the state.” 12:54 The school district will provide a new wellness benefit for teachers that has been developed in cooperation with the NMMC Wellness Center. Personnel director Jim Turner: “There are 152 school districts, and I don’t believe any of them have reached the touch of what we could possibly do with theis program.” Turner said Tupelo said be a leader in this. Turner said Hank Boerner of the Wellness Center and TPSD Community Liaison have worked on this plan. It is a corporate membership from NMMC. It covers everyone covered by district’s healthcare plan. IT will cost approximately $60,000 and cover about 1,000 employees. Turner said the district has enjoyed tremendous annual savings in worker’s compensation over the last five years. “This has come from a culture of being safe being developed in the district.” The district has saved at least $190,000 over the past five years from the high-water mark of five years ago. The district would propose a start date in December. Turner said that would be a way to allow staff to make their new year’s resolutions and to say “Merry Christmas” to them. “We can blaze a trail for others to follow and be leaders in the state,” Turner said. Turner said projected number of eligible employees is about 960. Prather asks if the district can get a report on how many employees enroll in the program. He would also like to track whether employee attendance at school improves. Turner: “Also, we are all role models for the children at the school. It is good for our students to see our staff become healthier.” Wellness Center Director Hank Boerner: ” Our mission is to improve the health of the people in our region. This is an exciting partnership between the school district and North Mississippi Health Services to help improve the health of the people in our region.” 1:15 Loden is speaking about a workshop he attended with Assistant Superintendent Matthew Dillon in Nashville. They were able to network with some educators in Florida. They spoke things that Florida is doing that Mississippi is considering copying. Last week, he attended a two-day conference in Jackson with representatives from the MDE. One thing they talked about was the MAEPP formula. He said there are concerns the “base student cost” used for the formula will be lowered. Loden said one thing that Mississippi is looking hard at is a policy that third-graders who are not reading on grade level will not be promoted. 1:20 p.m. Turner is now giving the personnel report. It includes a job description for the Parents as Teachers educator that will be added to the ECEC. There will also be a new pre-K teacher added at ECEC. 1:21 p.m. The district will change its mid-November meeting date from Nov. 13 to Nov. 15 because of conflict with MSBA Fall Conference. It will include a noon meeting and a night meeting at Milam. Otis Tims will explain a change to the board meeting schedule. The board is considering switching from bi-monthly meetings to monthly meetings. Current board policy requires two meetings per month so to accommodate the switch, that policy needed to be tweaked. 1:27 p.m. Meeting adjourns until tonight’s meeting at Tupelo Middle School. The meeting begins at 5 pm. NOTE: During the 5 p.m. meeting, the board approved all of the items on the agenda. Kenneth Wheeler abstained from voting for the NMMC Wellness Center Benefit because he is employed by the hospital.
Tupelo School Board meeting has begun. All five board members are present.
The meeting begins with the board singing “Happy Birthday” to Director of Federal Programs Dale Warriner and Board Attorney Otis Tims.
Board will hold its afternoon meeting at Tupelo Middle School at 5 p.m. and will take all votes at that time. This meeting will be for information and discussion. There will also be several recognitions tonight.
Executive Director of Curriculum Leigh Mobley is making a presentation about Classworks, a new computer program being used by the district this year.
The program gives students different academic activities they can do and individualizes those lessons to the skills that the student needs most help learning. The district is using in grades K-8 this year.
Mobley said it helps teachers meet individual needs. “We don’t teach to the middle any more. We teach every single student where they are, and this helps us do that.”
She said they are able to use the data from school to school. Because all schools use the program, there is consistency.
Thus far, this year, students in grades K-8 have logged 14,679 hours on language assignments and have completed over 49,000 units. A unit is a mini lesson, a practice, a game and sometimes and outside activity.
Meanwhile, K-8 students have logged 11,944 hours on math assignments and have completed more than 25,000 units.
More than 4,5000 students have used Classworks. That is all K-8 students. The amount of time spent on Classworks is equivalent to 1,000 days spent on additional math and language arts instruction, Mobley said. That is all without having to hire additional personnel, she said.
Students can also access Classworks from home.
If student doesn’t master given activities, the program gives them new set of problems to teach them the activities in a new way.
Board asks about how much training is being provided for teachers. Mobley said they have provided training and would like to do more. They also ask about how easily each school has been able to meet the goal of students getting 50 minutes of time on Classworks each week. Mobley said it is easy at the sixth- to eighth-grade schools because of the laptops. She said that at the elementary schools, they can use computer lab time.
Finance Director Linda Pannell is making a presentation about the district’s financial audits. They came in mid-July and asked for information from 2010-11. She said it was difficult because it was asking for data that was two-years old as they were preparing to begin a new year.
She said that audit will soon be over. She expects the audit for the 2011-12 school year to be completed by February .
Testing Coordinator Lea Johnson will make a presentation about the district’s state report card. The district’s “Children’s First” report card was just completed. That report card will be published in the Daily Journal soon.
She also wants to speak about the MDE’s MAARS website that has information about all of the state’s districts and their test scores. The state has redesigned the website. It includes enrollment and demographic data, as well as test scores. You can see the data for the state as whole, or break it down by district and by state. There are also spreadsheets available with very detailed information.
Board president Eddie Prather said that businesses now look at these report cards and use them to guide decisions about moving to a community.
Federal programs director Dale Warriner will seapk about expansion about the district’s pre-K program.
“This is a wonderful opportunity for our community and our children,” she said.
When the district recived its final federal allocations, they dicussesd how they would proceed with those funds. She said Superintendent Gearl Loden was really supportive of expanding the rpgoram.
The district learned today the plan has been approved by the state.
It will bring enrollment in regular education classes to 13 classroom serving 260 children. The district has more than 22 students who have asked to come, so it will be able to fill the classrooms. The goal is to open by Dec. 1.
“We do have room for those 20 children. The building by May will be serving 293 children including special education.”
Right now have 32 special education students who are 3- and 4-year-olds and six more who will be added when they turn 3.
“I am excited about the opportunity to serve our children. The teachers there are excited.”
They will have a licensed teacher and a highly-qualified assistant. They will expand resources for Early Beginnings Resource Center and will add a Parents as Teachers position.
The other Title 1 schools also received additional money, WArriner said.
“Our teachers continue to say they can tell a big diffence in the children who have attended the Early Childhood Education Cetner. They are reading, you can tell, they just take off, they are sponges.”
“They have increased the rigor this year. Every time I go, I see them doing something different to encourage responsibility and engaged students more.”
Warriner said the buildign’s capacity is about 300. They are taking the music room for this and rearranging some things, but they are about out of classroom space. She said there is room in front of the school that could support and expansion. There is also a little extra cafeteria space, she said.
Loden: “In able to compete with Asians and Eupropeans, the districts in Mississippi have to provide pre-K and we can’t wait for the state.”
The school district will provide a new wellness benefit for teachers that has been developed in cooperation with the NMMC Wellness Center.
Personnel director Jim Turner: “There are 152 school districts, and I don’t believe any of them have reached the touch of what we could possibly do with theis program.”
Turner said Tupelo said be a leader in this.
Turner said Hank Boerner of the Wellness Center and TPSD Community Liaison have worked on this plan.
It is a corporate membership from NMMC. It covers everyone covered by district’s healthcare plan.
IT will cost approximately $60,000 and cover about 1,000 employees.
Turner said the district has enjoyed tremendous annual savings in worker’s compensation over the last five years.
“This has come from a culture of being safe being developed in the district.” The district has saved at least $190,000 over the past five years from the high-water mark of five years ago.
The district would propose a start date in December. Turner said that would be a way to allow staff to make their new year’s resolutions and to say “Merry Christmas” to them.
“We can blaze a trail for others to follow and be leaders in the state,” Turner said.
Turner said projected number of eligible employees is about 960.
Prather asks if the district can get a report on how many employees enroll in the program. He would also like to track whether employee attendance at school improves.
Turner: “Also, we are all role models for the children at the school. It is good for our students to see our staff become healthier.”
Wellness Center Director Hank Boerner: ” Our mission is to improve the health of the people in our region. This is an exciting partnership between the school district and North Mississippi Health Services to help improve the health of the people in our region.”
Loden is speaking about a workshop he attended with Assistant Superintendent Matthew Dillon in Nashville.
They were able to network with some educators in Florida. They spoke things that Florida is doing that Mississippi is considering copying.
Last week, he attended a two-day conference in Jackson with representatives from the MDE. One thing they talked about was the MAEPP formula. He said there are concerns the “base student cost” used for the formula will be lowered.
Loden said one thing that Mississippi is looking hard at is a policy that third-graders who are not reading on grade level will not be promoted.
Turner is now giving the personnel report. It includes a job description for the Parents as Teachers educator that will be added to the ECEC.
There will also be a new pre-K teacher added at ECEC.
The district will change its mid-November meeting date from Nov. 13 to Nov. 15 because of conflict with MSBA Fall Conference. It will include a noon meeting and a night meeting at Milam.
Otis Tims will explain a change to the board meeting schedule. The board is considering switching from bi-monthly meetings to monthly meetings. Current board policy requires two meetings per month so to accommodate the switch, that policy needed to be tweaked.
Meeting adjourns until tonight’s meeting at Tupelo Middle School. The meeting begins at 5 pm.
NOTE: During the 5 p.m. meeting, the board approved all of the items on the agenda. Kenneth Wheeler abstained from voting for the NMMC Wellness Center Benefit because he is employed by the hospital.
TPSD School board meeting is about to begin. All board members are present. They had a work session this morning. At it, Superintendent Gearl Loden provided an update on progess that has been made toward the board goals since the summer, the board discussed a possible meeting schedule for next year, Executive Director of Curriculum Leigh Mobley provided an update on comming changes with the Common Core State Standards and Assistant Superintendent Matthew Dillon spoke of the district's marketing efforts. Mobley also showed some video of model lessons using the district's new Reading Street reading program.
Under the proposed meeting schedule, the board would only meet one day each month, instead of two, but it would have two meetings on most of those days: one at noon and one at 5 p.m.
The board also said it hopes to have work sessions twice a year to allow more in-depth discussion and monitor progress toward goals. Works sessions are less formal and allow board members to more easily ask questions.
Meeting has begun. Board President Eddie Prather said that because there is no evening meeting today, the board will do a recognition at this meeting. It recognizes all of the district's principals.
The board and Loden all came to the podium.
Prather: "Research tells us behind every great school you have outstanding principals. We have outstanding men and women to lead every school site. As an entire board, we wanted to let you know we recognize you and appreicate you for your hard work."
The board is calling each principal's name and presenting him or her with a certificate. It is also noting each school's ranking from the MDE: Milam and Tupelo High School are Successful, while Lawhon, Lawndale, Pierce Street, Rankin and Tupelo Middle School are High Performing.
Prather: "We can take pride in saying we have outstanding principals in the Tupelo Public School District."
Loden: "When you are doing your jobs like you do every day, people don't know know they are having a bad day, they know you are doing your job and everything is clean and orderly."
Prather: "We did have a work session this morning and were able to have some great discussion. Dr. Loden and staff, we thank you for that."
Finance Director Linda Pannell will provide an update on the procurement cards that will be provided by the Mississippi Department of Education.
Pannell: The state this year installed the procurement card, which we are told is the first in the nation. I hope they give us credit for that.
We have transferred those to the schools. There were some guidlines that were clear to the state.
Cards were not embossed with the teacher's name. There is a number and the district assigns a name to it.
Teachers must sign the card prior to use. The card number is unique to the teacher. The teacher is to never allow a person to use the card. They are to notify vendors that purchases are tax exempt.
Purchases are for classroom materials only and not for personal use. Card holders agree to not charge any travel-related expenses. Cardholder also agrees to card agreement.
Cardholder also agrees to abide by educator's code of conduct. It is cardholder's responsibility to maintain receipts for at least five years. They are subject to an audit. Monthly statements on their accounts can be reviewed online. If card is lost or stolen, teacher must call and notify bank immediately. Cardholder must notify district of any items that must be listed as a fixed assett.
Pannell said Loden approved secretary training, principal training and teacher training. Secretary training was held on Tuesday morning, principal training on Wednesday morning, teacher training on Wednesday afternoon and cards were given to teachers on Wednesday afternoon at staff meeting.
March 1 is the cutoff date for purchases. Previously, anything left on the cards went back to the school. Now that money will go back to the school's account to be redistributed next year.
The finance department made an audio recording for teachers about the cards. It was placed on the district's professional development website, PD360.
Pannell said the district had seven days to distribute its 534 cards.
Director of Federal Programs Dale Warriner will provide an update about the Early Beginnings Resource Center.
It will provide resources and workshops for parents of young kids.
A Read and Rise is going on right now at ECEC through Scholastic Initiative. There will be another one on Oct. 23. Two each day. And there will be one for ELL parents on Oct. 30.
The center will have an open house on Oct. 16 between 2 and 6 p.m.
They are still in the organizational stages, but they have come a long way. They've adjusted the media center to include resources for children and parents.
ELL parents also come in to use computers to help them to learn English.
Schedule varies throughout the week, Warriner said, and they also hope to have it open one weekend each month.
Janet Stratton, school nurse at Parkway and Lawndale, and Kathy Tucker of HealthWorks! will provide an update on the school health council at Parkway and Lawndale.
Last December, Tucker got a $250,000 grant through Blue Cross Blue Shield for the health council.
Stratton said they got the council together. They had a module with each of the components of school health and came back with information.
For health services, it asked about school nurse and that person's responsibilies. There was a rubric to grade the school. They council could then look at strenghts and weakneses and address those.
They sent all of the information to Tucker, and her staff compiled it and provided a list of things they could do to improve the health of schools. For instance, they began to train more in asthma education. A person from lung institute came to train teachers. Stratton said chronic asthma illnesses cause large number of absences each year.
It was a process so it took a while to put it all together, Stratton said. They developed a new wellness policy.
Stratton said they will continue with these plans this year.
Healthworks! borught an on-site fieldtrip where students were able to do a lot of things they are able to do at the Healthworks! facility. Also, parents came in and there were meetings to help them incorporate health into their homes.
Tucker: "The underlying message is health is important to your school and your staff...Ultimately this is for the students. There is data in Mississippi that shows healthy students perform better on tests, are absent less and get in trouble less...Although we were there for meeting mandates...I was able to come up with incentive for each school to get $500 to implement their action plan to improve school health...I wanted to remind, it is something every school is required to have. Blue Cross Blue Shield funded this project because many schools are not taking the bull by the horns on this. I want to offer myself as a local resource to help them with that."
Stratton said they are not fully running yet with school health councils but they are working to get them done for next school year.
Lea Johnson will now make a presentation about the federal accounability model.
There are two models: the state accountability model and the federal one. State model was QDI, student growth and participation rate.
On federal level, it is annual measurable objectives, participation rate and graduation rate or attendance.
"It is a completely different set of standards we go by."
No Child Left Behind was created in 2001 and said every child would be at grade level by 2014. AYP is set of goals set by the state for all schools to reach annually.
Performance is based by results on state tests, test participation and graduation rate or attendance rate.
Johnson said a lot of schools saw opportunity with Race To Top grants to waive different parts of that. The waiver is to help ease requirement of 100 percent of students being on grade level.
Johnson said they still want to get there but this will ease that requirement and make it more realistic to reach.
Mississippi was given a waiver. Schools are not required to meet 100 proficiency by 2014. Title I schools will not receive improvement labels (schools that didnt reach certain goals recevied certain penalties).
In 2012, the district met its AYP goals form mathmatics but not for language arts. It only met it for white subgroup for ELA. It met AYP for all subgroups in math.
Johnson said for K-2 schools, there is a differentiated accountabilty model with five levels. Priority and Focus have penalties. All but one district school was on target (second highest level; reward is the highest). The district had no schools priority or focus (two lowest levels).
Johnson said this whole model is put into place by the president, so if the president changes it could change.
K-2 ranking is based on how their feeder school goes.
Carver was approaching target (third highest of five levels). Joyner, Parkway and Thomas Street were on target.
Carner was not On Target because they did not meet Language arts goals for the last two years.
The model penalizes districts in the bottom 15 percent for achievement or for gaps.
Schools at the top would receive rewards and incentives, but it has been vague about what those would be.
Board approves consent agenda, claims docket and financial statements.
Board meeting adjourns. I lost Internet for a few minutes, but I will update a few things when I get back to the office.
Tupelo School Board meeting has begun. All board members are present except Amy Heyer. Board President Eddie Prather said that Heyer will not be able to attend today.
The board will also meet at 5 p.m. today at Tupelo High School. It will vote on agenda items at that time. During this afternoon's meeting, the board will get information about and discuss the agenda.
Prather said he wants to thank students, teachers and administrators for their great performance on last year's state tests. The board applauds.
Testing coordinator Lea Johnson is now making a presentation about the district's state ranking.
Ranking is based on three things. QDI is based on how students score. Percent of basic 2 times percent proficient 2 times percent advanced.
Growth is the second factor. On the MCT, third grade is benchmark year. Based on third grade score, they look at math and language arts to predict your math score the next year and they look at math and language arts to predict your language score. It is a complicated formula that looks at what you did the year before.
In high school, they take your math and langauge arts eighth grade scores to predict each of the four Subject Area Tests.
For a high school or a district, they also add the graduation rate. The federal model uses a four-year cohort. The state uses a five-year cohort. It must be greater than 75 percent to be High Performing and better than 80 percent to be Star.
For this year, graduation rate did not factor in. It will be back next year in some form.
Over the last three years, district's QDI has risen from 159 to 162 to 169. It has been above the state average each time. This year was the first year the district made growth.
Now Johnson is going through individual schools. TMS made small gains but kind of leveled off. The high school's score declined,but Johnson said the district believes is has things in place to correct that.
Johnson said Rankin made really big gains this year. All elementaries were High Performing. Lawndale, Pierce Street and Lawhon also showed growth.
Milam had growth last year, Johnson said, going from Academic Watch to Successful and they met growth.
Loden said you want to be above 180 threshold on QDI because it gives you leeway if they change the model. Only five districts have been star since the model was created four years ago. Loden said if you are in the 180s, you are in the top 15 or 25 distircts in the state.
Tupelo is 43rd in the state with its QDI. With a 176, it would be in top 30. A 180 would be top 25 and 188 would be top 20.
Johnson: "What is the district doing now?"
Loden has brought in P.E.T. model. Principals of Effective Teacing. It includes Bell-to-bell instruction, set, closure, questioning skills.
The district has more data tools: ELS (Computer database), common assessments, accountability analyzer (gives the big picture and senior snapshot information that helps with dropout prevention).
Other programs include Classworks, Reading Street, PD360. Those are designed to help teachers more effectively use their time, Johnson said.
The distcit is looking at the role of pre-AP in its transition to Common Core.
Areas of Concern.
U.S. history, Tupelo had 157. State average was 141. Cut score was dropped four points because so many students in the state couldn't make original cut score. It will be raised back this year.
Also, Johnson said, U.S. history test will count toward QDI next year. So will fifth- and eigth-grade science. SCores on those test are traditionally low.
Tupelo is projected to be at 74.6% for next year. That is the five-year cohort. Johnson said the state may switch to the four-year cohort next year.
Loden said that adding U.S. history would have brought the high school down to Academic Watch this year. He said the 3rd to 5th grade schools had higher QDIs, but adding the science scores could bring them down.
He said it looks like they will change how the state looks at graduation rate. He said there has been some discussion to track graduation the way Florida does. He said that changing to the Florida model so close to the switch to Common Core is concerning.
Loden: "We will focus on what we can control. Address the areas where we see issues and try to be proactive in the way we managa change."
Loden said the district is applying for a Race to the Top district grant. It could bring as much as $20 million over four years. The minimum is $10 million.
If Tupelo receives the grant, Loden said, it would use that for early-childhood education, dual enrollment and taking the current technology that the district has and enhancing it.
"An infusion of $10 to $20 million over four years would be wonderful," Loden said.
Diana Ezell is speaking about IE Day. On Oct. 30, Bill Daggett will be speaking at a community forum about education in Mississippi
The next day, Oct. 31, is IE day. That afternoon, all of Tupelo and Lee County teachers will attend Industry-Education Day. Dr. Sue Gendron (spell ?) will be the speaker. Her expertise is common core assessments.
"It should be a great two days, not just for our school district, but for the entire area that CREATE serves," Ezell said.
Loden said that the district has been approved for $4.4 million of Quaility School Construction Bonds. It is working behind the scences to look at its facilities plan to look at how best to use them. It will make a presentation soon. Loden said they are looking at enhancing pre-K, among other things.
The board will have a work session on Oct. 9. It will include an update on the Classworks and Reading Street Programs and an update on the budget process. It will begin at 9:30 a.m.
Lea Johnson is presenting about the district's test security plan, which needs to be updated every year.
Director of Facilities Julie Hinds is presenting about the TPSD school safety plan and crisis management plan.
Updates include: mass communication to parents is now accomplished through ALERT Now. There is also a flow chart for schools or whom to contact, and a chain of command for contacting different departments.
All communication to media is handled by superintendent or his designee.
Board member Kenneth Wheeler, who oversees security at the hospital, said the plan looks good.
Board meeting adjourns at 12:45 p.m. It will reconvene at Tupelo High at 5 tonight.
Today's Tupelo School Board meeting has just begun. All five board members are present.
TPSD Community Liasion Mary Ann Plasencia and Sally Gray, a parent coach for Parents For Public Schools, are making a presenation about the Council of Excellence the district will have at Tupelo High School.
Gray said it will serve as a vehicle to improve communication between the community and the school. "I think it is a great opportunity to support our students," Gray said. "That is the ultimate goal of these councils of excellence."
Parents for Public Schools will help facilitate these councils, Gray said. She said her immediate boss has lots of experience with similar projects and is "the perfect fit" for this.
They want to develop a climate of harmony and cooperation among all stakeholers. They are looking to develop, through application process, a council with 14 to 16 representatives. They want representation from the school community and the community at large, including people from faith-based community, city government, etc.
"We want people to be excited about serving on this council," Gray said.
They expect regular attendance. They plan to start with staggered terms. PPS will develop bylaws to guide the organization.
The council will be serving in an advisory capacity. They won't make any binding decisions or make any funding decisions, but the goal is to open lines of communication. The hope is that the community sees council members as go-to individuals when there are concerns.
"We also want to see that the council is able to gather information from the high school on how our students are doing," Gray said. "We want this to be a well-informed group that can answer questions as they come up."
The principal of THS will be designated as the chairman of the council. PPS has submitted a proposal to faciliate the council so they can get off to the right start.
The minutes will be available on the school's website. They will also submit regular reports to the board and Superintendent Gearl Loden.
Names and contact information of council members should be made available on THS website.
"We see this as a real positive for our high school, and we hope down the road this is something that will be broadened," Gray said.
The plan is to have applications available next month with a deadline of Oct. 19 to submit. Council members will be named 10 days to two weeks later. Plan would be to have one meeting before the end of this calendar year and to meet four times each year.
Ultimate goals are to help kids and to improve communication with community.
Plasencia said PPS's proposal was for a year's-worth of work for $16,320.
Board member Kenneth Wheeler: "I am looking forward to the feedback, especially the communication with the public."
Rob Hudson: Can you describe the role of PPS in this?
Gray: With that first meeting, getting that group off the ground and covering everything from bylaws to how meetings will run, to what role will be. People serving on this council are making a big commitment that they will be regular in attention and that they will respect confidentiality – there may be some matters that are a little more sensitive. Reporting matters and governing how meetings run, because we want them to be productive meetings.
I think keeping those meetings running and on-track so members don't get too sidetracked. And we can serve to better network these members with the community so they get more information.
Board member Beth Stone asks about other schools.
Gray said the request was to start with the high school. She said that makes sense becuase it is the biggest school and is the one that feeds the community with workers most quickly.
"I'd love to see this unrolled at other schools in the district, but this is where we will start it," Gray said.
Board President Eddie Prather asks if the council will make regular reports.
Gray said yes. She said the council will meet a minimum of four times each year and that it wants to provide updates after each meeting.
Testing coordinator Lea Johnson will now make a report about Tupelo's ACT scores. She said it measures how well you have gathered the curriculum into your brain, while the SAT measures how well you think.
ACT stands for American College Test. Scores go from 1, lowest, to 36. It is a more prominent test in the South.
The test is not part of the distirct's accountability model, but it provides interesting trend data, Johnson said.
Johnson said it can be somewhat tough to track the students who took the test because the data doesn't automatically go back to the high school. The student has to note the high school on their test.
Data reveals that Tupelo had started to slide the previous three years, but the score moved up this year to 20. The state average was 18.7. Tupelo was above the state average for every year.
There is not an ACT requirement to go to ICC, but to go to ICC and not take remedial classes, you need an 18, Johnson said. A 4-year college requires an 18 to not take remdial classes, Johnson said. 26-29 begins to bring scholarship money.
Another chart looks at student's college readiness, as measured by ACT. Tupelo is higher than the state on all four tetsts (English, algebra, social studies and biology). Twenty percent of Tupelo's students were deemed college ready on all four tests, compared to 11 percent statewide.
Loden said these ACT scores only reflect seniors. Nationally, SAT is more popular in the North. Tupelo students who take SATs will be college prep students.
If a student takes it as a sophomore or a junior and doesn't take it again, that score will be captured during the student's senior year.
Tupelo offers an ACT prep class, and students can use a website, www.actstudent.org. Also, during T period, students can work with USA Test Prep online software.
Johnson said the fee for taking the test is $65. She said that free- and reduced-lunch students can get that fee waived once. Students in the GEAR-UP program (11th-graders this year) can also get that fee waived once if they are not free and reduced lunch).
The district also gives the PLAN test to its 10th-graders. That test resembles the ACT for younger students.
Assistant Superintendent Matthew Dillon is now presenting about Tupelo's scores on the U.S. history Subject Area Test that high school juniors took last spring. Because it was a new test, those scores were not released with the other scores two weeks ago. Also, it will not count toward district's rankings.
Dillon said there was a shift on the test with more political cartoons and students having to infer information from two-line quotes. "It really was a difficult test," he said.
448 studnets took the test, he said, including 426 at Tupelo High School. The others were in alternative programs. District wide, 76 percent of students passed, compared to 72 percent for the state.
106 students failed the test. Dillon said that is an area of concern.
He said the test is tough and that the dynamics have changed. He said it is very comparable to the English II test, which he said is very difficult and is an endurance test. "The rigor of the test has jumped up a degree," Dillon said. "It is tough."
He said the district needs to look at what it is doing and it needs to gauge where students are before the test.
He said with the block schedule, attendance is more important. The flow of curriculum with the block is also important. He said that English III plays an important role with U.S. history. With the block schedule, you can have longer gaps between taking history classes.
"There are things we need to look at when we build students' schedules to ensure we give them a good opportunity to pass the first time they take the test," Dillon said.
With foreign language and math classes, it is also important not to have long gaps between classes, Dillon said.
Stone notes that because students don't take the test until their junior year, they have fewer opportunities to retake it before graduation.
Stone asks about things the district can do to prepare them for analyzing political cartoons and other similiar skills. Dillon said the district is doing some things to work on that, such as using bellringers at the beginning of class.
Dillon said there are several things the district is doing to improve its scores. During a T-period tutorial, history teachers work with students to help them.
The district is also working with someone to provide in-house tutorials. The 106 students who failed will be getting tutoring before the re-test dates. The district just got the scores back so it is hustling to get students prepared for the Sept. 20 test. It will keep working with those students to prepare them for the Dec. 13 retest. It will begin that preparation before scores come back in so that it will have more time.
Some students will audit a U.S. history class to have more time to prepare for the test.
Executive Director of Curriculum Leigh Mobley will now present about professional development.
PD360 is an online professional development tool being used to help teachers with teaching strategies.
One thing she has heard from teachers is the need to help students with basic reading skills. They can do it through PD360.
The program is online. Teachers can log into the website for "a wealth of information."
When teachers log in, they come to a home page that shows all of the videos they have watched and other educators who have connected to them.
Principals have asked teachers to reserve the third Wednesday of every month to talk about the videos that the curriculum department has assigned for the month. This month, the department has assigned six videos for teachers to choose. Topics include reading strategies, principles of effective teaching, common core, etc.
Mobley said this is an effective way to reach teacehers without interrupting instructional time. There are 1,500 videos, and teachers can use them to get CEU credit. Teachers can watch them on their own time.
It also allows Tupelo teachers to talk to those all over the country with questions and ideas, Mobley said.
Mobley siad hte PD360 program also fits well with the new teacher evaluation module that the state will use soon.
Principals using an iPad while obersving a teacher will be able to immediately send comments to a teacher through PD360. They can also send videos for the teachers to watch to help with those tips.
"There is a wealth of information that teachers can watch at any time," Mobley said.
Topics are arranged by elementary and secondary. Some topics include common assessments, classroom management or data-based decisions, Mobley said.
There is also a component that works teachers through the Common Core Curriculum. It helps teachers see what students are learning in other grades in the curriculum.
The program allows teachers to create professional learning communities, she said. You can become a "colleague" of other educators and share information with them.
There is also a "Oberservation 360 component." She said the district worked with teachers during the summer to help them implement this. It can be done on a laptop or iPad.
It keeps track of how long the observation lasts and automatically sends an email to the person who was observed once the observation is done. Principals can also send videos that demonstrate the components they note on the observation.
The district has trained the teachers and principals on the program.
The district can get reports on how many observations a principal has done. Administrators can also see which videos the teachers have watched.
At a faculty meeting, teachers can share the content of what videos they have watched. That can allow teachers to get information on more than the videos they have seen.
"It is my goal to make sure teachers don't have to go anywhere to get CEUs but that we can provide all of it right here," Mobley said.
Curriculum specialist Kenneth Griswald said the program is good for say a music teacher because that teacher can watch videos specific to his or her own needs. Because there are so few music teachers, it may be difficult for the district to provide professional development specific to a music teacher. With this program, the teacher can more easily specialize their professional development.
Rob Hudson: Prior to this, what have we had in the district for the superintendent to follow up on principals observing in the district?
Mobley said the district had an ELS program that could be used on computers or iPads, but it did not send immediate emails and it did not allow you to send videos.
Board approves consent agenda.
Board approves docket of claims.
Human resources director Jim Turner is making the personnel report. There is one resignation on licensed staff. Classified staff have four new hires and four resignations, among others.
The district has two regular licensed positions that need to be filled, but it is very close to filling all of its positions, Turner said.
The board approves the personnel report.
Assistant superintendent Kim Britton will make a presentation about free- and reduced-lunch students.
The lower elementary schools show a gradual increase. The increase is greater in the K-2 schools than others. There is a small increase in 3-5 schools and Milam. Middle school has a small increase and THS has a small decrease.
Overall, the district has increased about 2 percent. She thinks some of that is due to reporting with FRL forms online.
"Many parents feel more comfortable filling out the forms online rather than having stigma of filling out reports by hand," Britton said.
It may also indicate a change in the situation for some families, Britton said.
The district has had 502 online applications to date, she said.
"When you look at the data, it may suggest an increase, but it may be an increase in reporting, not necessarily the number of students who are in poverty," Britton said.
Loden said every month the district will provide a report on ADA and on FRL students. If there is a trend, they will present about it.
Teacher of Distincition banquet will be held at the Summit on Sept. 21. IE-Day will be held on Oct. 31. On Oct. 30, educator William Daggett will hold a presentation for the general community. Daggett is a well-known educator.
Assistant Superintedent Diana Ezell will now discuss a change to the school calendar. Ezell said the 60 percent days were intended to provide extra professional development. Adding programs like PD360 allows for greater flexibility of professional development. Teachers are also having meetings after school on Wednesday afternoons.
"Since we went to a block schedule, having the 60 percent day has really disrupted instructional time," Ezell said.
She said the district will eliminate all remaining 60-percent days except Parent-Teacher Conferences in September and AEE day in October. It will also have early dismissal on the last day of each semester. All other days will become full school days.
That is something the state department will require next year, Ezell said. It will only allow districts to have those two days – the last day of each semester.
Board approves the calendar change.
Board is considering a work session in October.
The board is now entering executive session at 1:36 p.m.
Tupelo school board meeting will begin shortly. Four of the five board members are present. Board President Eddie Prather is not here right now.
Vice President Beth Stone just called the meeting to order. She said she wants to give a special thank you to district employees for a successful opening to the school year. She said Prather will not be here today.
Assistant Superintendent Matthew Dillon is making a presentation about current enrollment, comparing projected enrollment, last year's enrollment and actual enrollment.
Grade K-12, district is up 14 based on projections.
"We were looking to see if there were any major spikes or declines."
Grade 3-5 down 18 based on projections. Milam is down 6, the middle school is down 51 and the high school is down 15.
Average Daily Attendance is based on K-12...it is down 76 based on projections.
I have not yet received a copy of the data to be able to tell you what the numbers are. I will work to track that down, and we will have enrollment numbers in the paper once they become official, usually that is after Labor Day.
Beth Stone asks if the new residency requirements have anything to do with the numbers being down.
Dillon: Im sure that might have something to do with it...We are following that protocol closely to make sure we are serving our kids."
Superintendent Dr. Gearl Loden asks about affadavits.
Dillon said last year there were 386 or 387 at this time. Now there are a little over 200 now. They have an Aug. 31 deadline to work through those.
Testing coordinator Lea Johnson will now resent on the graduation rate, preliminary data.
Johnson: I want to stress, this is considered preliminary and none of it is official until the state school board approves it on Sept. 15.
"For the first time, the graduation rate will not be used this year to determine accountability."
She said a nine-person committee has been formed to look at graduation data and determine if it is fair to use in the accrediation model. Next year it will be put back in the model but maybe in a different form.
Johnson said there are two rates. The federal model uses a 4-year cohort. Kids who started in 08-09 and graduated in May 2012. You need a graduation rate greater than 66 percent or you need to be 10 percent greater than the previous year. The state uses a 5-year cohort.
Tupelo's preliminiary graduation rate is 74.6 for the 4-year cohort. The 5-year cohort is 72.4. It was 70.9 the year before. She said the rate can go up if they find kids who left Tupelo and graduated somewhere else.
Johnson said with a new program, the district has a tighter way to track its students so it doesn't lose them.
"We're nowhere near where we want to be. I'm not going to sugar coat that. We are lower than the state and we don't want to be there. But we have such forward momentum...I think we're going to see a big change this year. I really do.
"We'd love to be like Clinton and have 85 percent. We'd love to get there."
Loden talks about historical data for graduation. He said the highest U.S. graduation rate was in the 1970s, 76 percent when graduation standards were lower (no state tests and fewer credits required).
"When you are serving all of your children and increasing the rigor, you may flat line," Loden said.
Johnson: District has put in place a couple of things this year. Graduation coaches and other support staff. It is using the Accountability Analyzer program to better track students. She also said the switch to block schedule will help.
Board member Rob Hudson asks for more about what the district is doing to improve its graduation rate.
Johnson mentions assistant principal Niki Peel calling parents of at-risk students. She said the THS testing coordinator is working hard to schedule re-tests for students who have not passed the state test.
Loden said the graduation coach has been making home visits, he said Peel is monitoring student absences and he said retired teachers have been helping students who are struggling to pass the state test.
Johnson said last year six former seniors who didn't pass the state test came back and passed the test so they were able to graduate. Dillon said the district is working with some students in a similar situation this year. He said some teachers are mentoring students to make sure they stay on track throughout the year.
Loden: "One thing we are trying to massage, passing on the state test is high basic. The odds are against someone massing the subject area test, if they are not proficient on the MCT2 tests."
Community liasion Mary Ann Plascencia will present on a draft for district-wide report cards.
Plascencia said this has gone through several iterations. They started with school-wide report cards. This is a consolidation of those iterations.
"We are trying to capture what we think are critical elements to keep track of, to keep our eye on those district goals."
Some of the information comes from state report cards and NCLB report cards and some is specific to TPSD.
It includes a snapshot of students in the district, information on teachers (attendance, experience, credentials, how well TPSD has done recruiting minority teachers and how often the district uses substitute teachers), graduation rate, QDI, ranking, where the district ranks out of 152 districts, ACT information.
"We are hoping to capture all of this on a three-year trend."
On second page, is information about schools. Elementary grades will focus on reading and math and Classworks and another assessment. Prek-K will look at assesments given at beginning and end of year.
Data will also be broken out by subgroups.
In upper grades, district will calculate based on QDI by subgroup and whether or not 95 percent of students took the assessment, MCT2. In high school, it would be based on subject area test.
"We tried to make this as accessible as possible to everyone."
Loden: "I'd like to elaborate on QDI rank. Even though state doesn't rank us officially but you can look at the QDI and where we rank and how we move."
Loden: "We're excited about the information. As we get into this, I'm sure we'l have to have some changes and additions and deletions."
Board member Amy Heyer asks how the district will use it. Loden said they can post them at different places across the district and on the website.
Amy Heyer: "It is a good tool for transparency."
Plascencia: "We look forward to brining this to you again at a later date."
Board is discussing consent agenda. Board adopts consent agenda.
Board approves docket of claims
Personnel director Jim Turner presents personnel report. Board accepts personnel report.
Loden is now making a superintenent's report.
He said that beginning in September, the district will provide an average daily attendance report and an enrollment report. He said the district will point out any trends in the data. They will also present a report on free- and reduced-lunch rate.
Also, in honor of employee birthdays, the district will provide a sheet cake birthday cake at each of its schools on payday of each month.
"They'll know on pay day, it is time for a treat as a way to say thanks from the board and the district."
Loden said the district has released about 2,500 yard signs. Also, at the end of each 9-weeks, students on the honor roll will receive a sign to put in their yards.
Loden said the district is surveying its students about the opening of school. It will soon survey teachers and parents. It will do the parent surveys after all of the open houses.
At the next board meeting, the district will ask the board to revise the calendar. The district would like to reduce the number of 60-percent days. In order to feed all of the high school students, it takes all day and you lose a lot of instructional time, he said.
The district will have IE day and a parent conference day and will then go back to a traditional schedule. Plus, Loden said, the state will only allow two 60-percent days next year.
Mary Ann Plascencia is presenting on board goals. She said an outsider would wonder, who is watching whether these goals are being met. She said there is a real effort being made.
Plasencia: "Just the meetings Dr. Loden intends to have and is having with principals on a regular basis will be mindful of whether we are meeting these goals, and everyone having an eye on these goals will be very fruitful."
Plascencia said the goals will be displayed publicly throughout the district.
Plascencia: "I'm just real excited about this. I hope we meet every one of these indicators."
Board member Rob Hudson said some of the goals are easy to measure and some of them aren't. Most of the one that aren't are task-oriented. Plascencia said some of those can be met with various processes that will be initiated.
Hudson: "The goals were put togehter wehre there is not much fluff in them at all. The tasks that are presented would most likely lead us to improvement."
Hudson: "I do have a sense, Dr. Loden, that you ahve the goal built in to the way we operate our district. I don't feel like this is just writing goals for the sake of writing goals."
Board adopts the district's goals. We will soon have more details on these goals in the paper.
Finance Director Linda Pannell said 55 mills was not going to bring in what the district's estimate was. She is presenting the board with a revised budget resolution. The general operating request has been lowered by $104,000. There was some money Pannell had not included in the initial because she knew the budget was an estimate. She said the revised budget will only have $4,000 less in revenue.
The board approves the revised resolution.
Board is discussing future agenda topics. Hudson asks for an update on the Councils of Excellence.
Loden said the district will have its test security and safety plan at its next meeting.
There is no need for an executive session.
The board adjorns at 1:01 p.m.
Loden asks the board, if the 57-meeting is a record. I'd say it may be the shortest one I've attended.
Today's Tupelo School Board meeting has begun. Board members Beth Stone, Eddie Prather, Amy Heyer and Rob Hudson are present. Kenneth Wheeler is not currently here.
Board Vice President Beth Stone is speaking about a conference that school board members attended over the summer. It was a regional school board meeting hosted by Mississippi.
Stone: "The issues we face are not unique to the Tupelo Public School District. In fact, they are quite universal."
Said it helps to bounce ideas back and forth. Also said district is fortunate to ahve a community that provides resources.
Stone said she attended a session about interactive white boards. She said they allow teachers to get instant response about whether students really understand concepts.
Another session dealt with ways to lower the dropout rate. It used a computer program that identified early warning signs. Once students had a certain number of warning signs, a team could come in and intervene to help the child.
Stone: "We don't just get information from the feelings of folks. We need data to back up that information...We need to look at our weaknesses and address those to make sure we become a better district."
Board President Eddie Prather said he attended a session of funding and using it to support programs in place to help students. He learned of some possible grant opportunities through AT&T.
He also attended a session about a code of conduct for school board members. "We have a great relationship with our administration, but you never know if something could go astray if you don't have a roadmap." Prather has an example of a code that the board may want to consider adopting.
At another session, an educator talked about the impact that teachers have on stuents' lives years after the student was in the classroom. "We don't ever need to mark anyone off," Prather said.
Superintendent Greal Loden said he enjoyed the session on graduation rates and learned from some things that Louisiana is doing.
The Board is now recognizing groups that helped get the school year started: transportation, technology and maintenenace departments. Representatives from all three departments are now present at the meeting.
Assistant Superintendent Kim Britton said in late May/ early June, the technology department began repairing MacBook cases. They did so for about a month when Apple gave the district the opportunity to send back 4,500 laptops for those covers to be replaced. She said they worked long hours to get them boxed and shipped to California. When they arrived back in Tupelo, they had to be re-barcoded. "They've worked long hours and done all of this for our students." Brittion said THS and TMS distributed all of their MacBooks the first week of school and that the district is currently working to distribute them to the sixth-graders.
Loden: The average person does not realize, when you have 4,500 MacBooks ready to go and then you replace the cases and when you get those back, every one had to be barcoded and re-inventoried.
Assistant Superintendent Diana Ezell is now talking about transportation. She said that Lee Stratton has done a tremendous job getting all of the buses ready to go this year. Stratton is executive director of extracurriculars and director of transportation.
Ezell: "They get up before the sun rises and they remarkably had all of our students in place last Friday by 4:40, which is a record for the beginning of school...The transportation department and bus drivers have done a fabulous job."
Stratton said the district has almost 70 drivers. Every position and every monitoring position was filled at the beginning of school, he said.
Stratton noted the department has worked through a few issues. He said they figured out a way to establish a route that allowed them to seperate students in the district's alternative school and students in the High School Advancement Academy on seperate buses. Another issue is that middle school and high school students share buses, Stratton said. They are trying to find a way to solve that so students are not waiting a long time after school for their bus.
Stratton said they've started their process of transporting teachers' children back to the teachers' school at the end of the day. He said that process started on Monday. He read an email from a teacher thanking them for the service.
Assistant Superintendent Matthew Dillon is thanking the maintenance department. He also thanks Pam Traylor from the Office for Student Services for her work over the summer handling residency issues.
Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Leigh Mobley is now providing an update on the department.
She said the department has worked hard to implement the new Classworks computer program and Reading Street computer program. She said Reading Street is the first consistent reading program (K-6) the district has had in a long time.
The department has worked to provide curriculum documents, assesments, professional development and support across the district, Mobley said.
She said the department will focus on consistency between what is required, what is taught and what is tested.
The department is making videos to help teachers get onto Classworks and Reading Streets. They will also communicate through newsletters and Haiku. They are developing calendars that will be on the website and that they can provide to teachers.
Board approves consent agenda with several items.
Board approves claims docket.
Human Resources Director Jim Turner is presenting about personnel. Board approves the human resources report.
Loden has two updates for the board. He said the district's homeless program was monitored on June 30 and was given satisfactory marks by the Mississippi Department of Education.
Also Dr. Loretta Hartfield of Rankin Elementary was chosen as a state-level finalist for the Presidential Awards for Excellence in Math and Science Teaching program.
Finance Director Linda Pannell is presenting the budget. She said there were a couple of tweaks but that it didn't change much since the July 31 budget hearing. The budget calls for .68 fewer mills this year than it did last year for debt service, meaning there could be a slight tax decrease, Pannell said.
Board member Rob Hudson said the distrit has its work cut out for it to manage costs and increase student learning. He said he spent a lot of time on the phone with Pannell yesterday and she was able to answer his questions.
Eddie Prather said the board will start work sessions to start planning for next year's budget.
The board adopts the budget.
Loden said that test score data will be embaroged until Sept. 15, but that the district is expecting good things from those.
Board goes into executive session to discuss a personnel issue.
School board meeting has begun at Hancock Leadership Center. All five board members are present.
Parent Kate Farabaugh presented a new "TPSD" car decal that will be available to parents.
TPSD Community Liasion Mary Ann Plasencia will now make a presentation on the district's goals for the year. It comes from the discussion the board had at its board retreat in June. The draft was also shared with principals and directors for their reviews and comments.
Five goals are:
1) Increase student achievement across the district
2) Provide a safe and orderly environment in all of our schools
3) Improve, develop and retain human capital
4) Improve internal and external communication
5) Increase managemenet effectiveness and efficiency.
Each goal has several measurable indicators. The goals will also be placed at the top of the board's agenda for each meeting to help the board to better focus on its goals.
Superintendent Gearl Loden said the district will also develop report cards for the superintendent, assistant superintendents, special education director and principals on whether they are progressing toward their goals.
Loden said he is looking for ways to offer dual enrollment courses at Tupelo High School.
Board Vice President Beth Stone said that the district must look for multiple ways to communicate in order to make sure all aspects of the community are being communicated with.
Loden said district's loft goal is to have 50 percent more QDI growth than the state.
Board President Eddie Prather said the district should have an indicator that it increases diversity of its faculty and staff to better reflect that of its student body.
Board member Kenneth Wheeler said district should develop a yearly plan related to school safety.
Board member Rob Hudson said he will be concerned throughout the year on how the district is doing on progress toward its goals. He'd like to see a regular update on progress, both for the quantitive indicators and the others. That might include an update on steps being taken for that improvement.
Plasencia acknowledged that some of these are harder to measure but equally important. Prather said it would be helpful to see a trend line to show which progress is taking place.
Loden said they have had several brainstorming sessions about how do you measure the human results, how do you measure job satisfaction.
Prather said the district will do a little more work on the goals and will bring them back to approve at a future meeting.
Plasencia said as a non-educator, she thinks it is so important for everyone in the district to have a fluent understanding of what the goals are. They hope to post these all over campuses so that everyone is on the same page.
"This is very exciting," Plascencia said.
Plascencia is presenting a summary of grants the school district received last year. Totalled $513,950.
The district will have a grant writer in the curriculum and instruction office to work on the big federal grants.
Director of Federal Programs Dale Warriner will present data on the Early Childhood Education Center.
Warriner said in the last two years, 79-83% of the center's students entered the 4-year-old program below grade level in language. At the end of the year, 64 to 75% of the students left at grade level.
Warriner also highlights the large number of English Language Learners who enter the program with no knowledge of English and also a large number of students lacking social skills.
Warriner said one thing that has changed in the past few years has been the implementation of reading skills in small groups. She said minority students have made big gains through the years.
Prather: "It will be our goal to get more kids in pre-K."
Warriner said Early Beginnings Resource Center will come into effect at the Early Childhood Education Center this year. The ECEC will also add a science lab this year, thanks to an AEE grant.
Finance Director Linda Pannell will make a presentation on tuition students in the distirct. Last year, the district had 96 employee children who were tuition and 256 non-employee children for a total of 352. Students came from many surrounding counties and school districts. The largest number was 271 students from the Lee County School District.
Pannell will now speak about Education Enhancement Funds. She said the legislature will change the way EEF funds for instruction will be distributed to teachers.
She said they warned districts that is the money wasn't given directly to teachers, the state would change the way it is done. She said every district she has been with has given the money directly to teachers but evidently some didn't which is why the state made the change.
It will give procurement cards to teachers for those supplies. Districts could opt-in or opt-out for this year but would need to use the procurement cards after this year. Tupelo agreed to use them for the upcoming year.
Each teacher will have a card with a number on it to use for purchasing school supplies. The state is hoping the cards are ready in September, but it may not be until October.
Loden said one concern he has is making sure teachers have what they need when school supplies. Teachers are used to being able to buy supplies in August and September, but now they will have to buy them later.
Pannell said teachers will be required to keep their recipts for five years. Pannell thinks Tupelo teachers will get $175 to $200. They will not be able to carry over any unspent funds. If there is anything left in Tupelo's account at the end of the year, it will be redivided among the school district next year.
Pannell: "I'm not sure if all of the teachers are aware of this because we didn't know it was coming."
Pannell will now present a summary the budget. The district will hold a public hearing about the budget tonight at 5 at the Hancock Center.
The budget won't be official until approved during the Aug. 14 meeting. Last year's enrollement was more than 7,500 students. Average daily attendance has increased since 2001-02. It was down slightly last year, which is what will determine funding for this year.
Enrollment predicted to be 7,300 students this year.
MAEP, in 2007-08, the district received $29 million. The district's projected for this year is $29 million. Pannell: "Teaher salaries have increased every year by experience but for the last five years, we have not seen an increase from the state....When our fund balance may be decreasing, that may be the reason."
Ad valorem tax reduction money has decreased. two years ago: $117,000; last year: $30,000, this year $0. Pannell said Tupelo can't recoup that by raising taxes because the district is locked at 55 mils.
She said Chickasaw Section payments are expected to increase by $200,000.
I have not yet seen a copy of the budget, but I will get one at the 5 p.m. budget hearing, if not before.
Pannell said major budget programs and initiatives include: Alert now, constrution and maintenance, debt service, curriculum and instruction department, food service, 1-to-1 laptop initiative ($1.6 million), other staff salaries, SAM, structure day program, summer curriculum writing program, teaching technology tools, technology, transporation.
Districts don't set the millage, the taxing authority does. Pannell said she has worked a lot with the city and predicts the millage rate will be down this year by about .6. Operation mills will be 55. Debt mills predicted at 64.53.
Pannell said district just refinanced two outstanding debts to save money.
Director of Facilities Julie Hinds will present a summary of summer construction projects. It includes replacing windows at THS with aluminum storefront windows, reworking main entrance at Rankin to better control visits entering campus (route them through the office), replacing four rooftop units at Tupelo High Scool and redoing restrooms at Carver.
Hinds is now presenting a facilities plan, a seven-year plan looking at projects the district is forecasting. It is based off current budget of $1.2 million each year for capital improvements. She said it is something that will need to be evaluated each year.
Hinds is now presenting projects that would be next priorities as funds become available. It includes renovations at Carver and Church Street, adding 15 classrooms to the ECEC and improving the Tupelo High cafeteria. It also includes three athletic projects: turf on the football field, middle school rubber gym and baseball renovations.
Hudson asks what is the likelihood of state funding appearing to allow for those projects. Loden said perhaps if there are low-interest bonds like the Quality School Construction Bonds. There is only limited money now available under that program.
Loden said he wants to commend the team in the room today. "There has been a lot of work going on this summer, and we feel like we are ready for school to start...We feel like we are ready for the buses to start the routes and young people to begin school."
Board approves the consent agenda.
Board approves the docket of claims.
Personnel director Jim Turner will present the personel report. It includes 23 licensed staff, one retirement, 17 resignations, 8 in-school transfers and one in-district transfer. There is a recommendation for a new dyslexia coordinator.
Turner said the district is within 4 percent of having all the staff needed to start school. There are about 20 positions that need to be filled, Turner said, noting he has several recommendations sitting on his desk.
Board accepts the personnel report.
Board is discussiing future agenda topics. School board member Amy Heyer said she would like to get more information on the Early Beginnings program at the ECEC.
Board clears the room for an executive session for a personnel matter.
Tupelo school board meeting is about to begin at Hancock Leadership Center. All five board members are present.
Meeting has started.
Interim superintendent David Meadows is making a couple of additions to the agenda. He is asking the board to consider other personnel recommendations in addition to what is in the board's packet.
He is also asking them to consier refinancing the district's 1998 bond note, something the board will discuss later. The board approves the new, amended agenda.
School Board President Eddie Prather commends the high school staff for conducting a good graduation ceremony on Friday and end-of-the-year celebration on Monday.
"It is always good to end the school year with a good graduation and a good end-of-the-year celebration."
Finance Director Linda Pannell will make an update on the district's budget process for the upcoming fiscal year that begins July 1.
Pannell: Local revenue is projected to be down about $700,000. Big item is donations. "We don't normally budget donations until it is received....It is not unsual to be down like it is...The other is fines and fees...That is another that is unpredictable so we budget low on that and change it accordingly."
"For state revenue we know we have Chickasaw money, we know we have $359,000-plus from that...Driver's Education Funds depends on how many students take that, so we never know how to budget each year...Distrit maintenance MAEP funds, we are showing most of our money going into that this year...Master Teacher funds, we no longer get that...Other things are small in comp
"Federal funds, eRate is predicted to be less next year. Total federal funds are down about $4 million....State stabilization, another word for that is ARRA (Stiumuls) and we won't get that. That is $1.7 million used for salaries and that won't be coming in. Federal ed jobs is another one we wont' get." Also won't get other various stiumuls funds...That is where major decreases are.
Meadows: "Dr. Burnham always said, remember with these ARRA funds, there will come a part where districts feel as if they are falling off the cliff...Of course, our district has planned for that."
Pannell: "Along those same lines, the finance department has been saying the train wreck would occurin 2013....They have prepared us for that."
"Our total overall revenue is predicted to be down about $8 million. We don't know for sure on our title or our special ed funds".....Don't know about special ed, but don't expect it to be a deecrease.
Board member Rob Hudson asks about the loan process. Pannell said it was a loan they needed in 2010-11 but she doesn't expect the district will need it again. It was 3-mil money and the district hasn't spent it yet. It will probably be in construction this summer and construction and the second round of the Apple purchases (capital lease).
Meadows: We made two purchases with Apples. $429,000 for teachers and 12th-graders three years ago. Then another purchase of computers for 6th to 11th graders. We have two more payments to make, in the 2012-13 school year and the 13-14 school year.
"The good side of that is our payments will free up money for district maintenance."
Pannell is now talking about ad valorem (local car tag and property tag money). They are anticipating a decrease of $272,236 that it had this year that it won't have next year.
Assistant finance director Rachel Murphree will now talk about expenses for the budget and what each school would like to have.
Main function is instruction. Support functions have sub-categories. Major budget areas include construction repairs, food service, instructional salaries, instructional supplies, operations, other staff salaries (anything not instructional), technology (increase bandwidth), transporation.
Murphree outlines the cost of various district programs:
A computer program: $94,000
Councils of School Excellence: $20,000
Curriculum Department and moving toward Common Core (includes summer curriculum writing project, the department itself and trainers during school year) $1.2 million
Distirct website: $25,000
Extended school year and summer school: $147,000
High School Advancement Academy: $1.1 million (includes replacing the Ombudsman program with the district's staff and adding a principal and counselor...Murphree said it is a savings of $90,000)
Intensified Time Counselors (for grades K-12): $292,000
One-to-one laptop program: $1.7 million. (Includes two debt payments on the two leases, adding 200 new computers to replace damaged ones ($200,000) and technology repairs ($313,000).
School Aged Mothers program: $400,000
Structure Day program: $600,000
Teacher technology tools (includes computers for third to fifth grade): $324,000
Ventures for Excellence (through Human Resources): $31,000
Rob Hudson asks if the district will save money when it goes to digital textbooks instead of hard copies. Murphree said not really because it will need to continue to replace laptops as they become outdated.
Hudson asks how many computers the district has now. Meadows said, last time he checked, there were 3,867 computers.
Mary Ann Plasencia and Jan Rogers will present on "Meeting Family Needs of TPSD Staff Members."
Rogers teaches first-grade at Joyner and is on the school's Teacher Advisory Committee. She has three students who are attending Tupelo Schools or have graduated from the district.
Rogers said the Teacher Advisory committee worked on this item. She said it is just informational; they are not asking the board to vote on anything.
One of the main recommendations on the TAC has been looking at improving transportational needs of teacher children. Rogers said because her hours are the same as her children's she has issues getting them to school and picking them up. Usually she has to stay a little longer than they do. She said it is a mental issue, thinking about not being able to get her children until a little later.
A subcommittee polled Tupelo employees about their transportation needs.
Plasencia will speak about the survey. She said Shelly Millier (spelling?) at Tupelo High School compiled it. They sent an email to all employees that they are exploring the possiblity of early dropoff in the morning and a delayed pickup in the afternoon to guage a need. She said the deadline was May 15, but most responses came that day. There were 103 employees who responded.
Plascencia said 75 kids of employees who need some kind of help before school starts and 96 kids who need some supervision after school.
Plasencia said she was overwhelmed by how employees saw this as a benefit and how it could potentially be another way to recruit employees into the district. She said the need is greater after school than it is before school.
Rogers said the subcommittee explored three options and they hope to bring a more definitve plan to the board.
1: Early dropoff at each site, 7 a.m. and late pickup 4 p.m....Would have some staff to supervise.
2: Early dropoff at each school and bus transportation to bring employee children to their school
3: Arrangement between principals and employees with specific transportation needs to have a flexible schedule only offered to employees who have teachers in Tupelo Public Schools.
Board member Beth Stone: "You hit a topic that is close to a lot of people. I appreciate all of the work you put into it and look forward to your presenting with more infomration."
Board member Kenneth Wheeler asks how option 1 would look.
Plasencia: It would probably entail gathering all kids in one location, maybe a cafeteria or gym and having two assistant teachers there supervising.
Rogers said it would also have to be organized and involve doing homework, etc.
Meadows said it would also allow for customizing to each school's needs. He said the morning and afternoon would look different. Meadows said some of this is already happening, it just isn't formalized.
Prather asks if the committee will be brining a recomendation in the future. Plasencia said they hope to have the conversation with the principals soon. She said it will look a little different at each school and it will involved leadership at all schools in some fashion. She said the committee felt like it could work out details in the summer and launch it in August. "The sooner the better."
Hudson asks about teacher's children going to feeder schools. Plasencia said they received a lot of emails asking for that to occur.
Meadows said: typically the buses that serve the feeder school...It would be an easy step in terms of that occuring, bus could bring child in and either go from 3-5 to K-2 or from K-2 to 3-5.
Plasencia said that was an outcome of this conversation. "Mr. Meadows said he knew this was a need, but it has really been punctuated by the responses we have gotten."
Board member Amy Heyer: "This is a great way to support our teachers."
Diana Ezell is making a presentation about school supply lists. She said the goal is to have a common district-wide list for each grade and to keep each list to $20 total.
She said the challenges are that schools have received a 20-percent cut in their school supply money from the state. Also, it is much more difficult to get supplies once school has started (and those supplies are more expensive after back-to-school sales). However, that makes it difficult to keep it to $20.
Ezell said they are still working on these lists.
Heyer asks about arrangements for students who can't afford supplies. Ezell said churches and other groups help with those.
Hudson said these lists are much more conscise (notes there are no glue sticks on the list; noting that glue sticks weren't even used this year).
Board is discussing the consent agenda. It includes the purchase of school buses. It would allocate the district to purchase six buses, but they may decide to purchase fewer after talking with incoming superintendent Gearl Loden.
Meadows said his original plan was to purchase four new buses but that the money is available for six buses, which would have them ahead of schedule.
Board approves consent agenda.
Pam Traylor is presenting the student transfer report. Board approves.
Jim Turner is presenting the personnel report. Meadows recommends consideration of an executive session at the end of the meeting because some information under other personnel changes may need to be discussed.
Turner will present it, but the board won't take any action until after the executive session at the end of the meeting.
Hudson said he has reviewed the docket of claims and he makes a motion to approve it. Board approves.
Pannell presents finacial statement for April. General funds received 77 percent of projected income and spent 60 percent. Special revenue funds (have to spend before get it), received 55 percent and spent 63 percent. Capital funds received 45 percent and spent 24 percent. Debt service funds: 91 percent recived and 85 percent spent. Total budget: received 74 percent and spent 60 percent.
Prather asks if there are any major repairs planned for this summer. He asks if he can get a report by the June meeting.
Board accepts financial statement.
Pannell presents cash flow statement.
Board will discuss policy changes.
First is updated policy on abstinence education. Meadows said by adopting policy with word "may" it will be an abstinence only policy. He said the district received the form from the state certifying which policy each district has chosen to adopt.
Meadows: I did give you the highlights of an MDE presentation done on House Bill 999 and where it talks about difference between abstinence only and abstinence plus...It follows with abstinence-only MAY include...Perhaps one that may not be clearly stated in our policy but it is in there is that districts can teach factual information about contraceptives but can not include any demonstration...
Meadows said the district has offered this curriculum for two years.
Heyer: The difference (between the two options) is the way we can choose our curriculum?
Meadows said yes and abstinence-only MAY include eight items and abstinence-plus MUST include.
Heyer: With our policy, we would not be able to use curriculum included by Mississippi Heath Department?
Meadows: Said the district can use those curriculums. It can use whatever curriculum it chooses.
Hudson makes motion to approve changes to IHAMB and authorize superintendent to notify MDE that Tupelo has adopted an abstinence-only policy. Wheeler seconds.
Motion carried 5-0.
Pam Traylor is presenting the student discipline report, recommendations on two cases. Wheeler said he does have a couple of questions, so they will discuss it in executive session.
Board will consider refinancing the general obligation bond from 1998 and the (general tax note?) from 2005.
Meadows said the district received this last night and wanted to bring it to the board because of the potential cost savings it would bring to the district.
Note would be split between two banks. Bond was purchased by Hancock bank. Pannell said it would be a total savings to the district of $299,080. The savings will spread over the life of the note, which expire in 2017. This would not add any life to the bond or the note.
The board approves the motion to refinance the general obligation bonds for 1998 and the limited tax note issue of 2004.
Federal programs director Dale Warriner is presenting a revised federal program allocation for the 2011-12 school year. It includes an additional $15,760. The district was obligated to set aside 1 percent for parent involvement and obligated to set aside a certain amount per pupil for neglected students. She said the central office is allowed 20 percent but that it never takes that among. The central office allocation for this was 7.2 percent, she said. That is to run the federal program office.
Board approves the new allocation. Warriner said the allocation over time increased by $194,000.
Meadows will make a presentation to declare Curriculum Advantage a single source for classworks software.
Kenneth Griswald from the curriculum office will make a presentation about it.
Meadows said the district has the option to purchase a liftime license instead of going with a three-year subscription.
For a $10,000 charge, the vendor would incorporate the district's pacing guides. Meadows said that is an important part and will give the district something he thinks it has been lacking.
Meadows said something he has read has said this software will truly allow equity for students. He said that Gearl Loden has had opportunity to use this software.
Meadows said the reason it will provide equity is those who need more intensified time for instruction get that. He said for a three-year subscription $529,000 would be paid for one year at a time across budget years.
For a lifetime license, the district would own the software. It would pay $503,750 up front. Total cost across time would be $639,000.
In the third year, the pepetual license is more expensive. After that, Meadows said, it would cost $171,000 in fourth year and only $60,370.
In fourth year, pepetual license would be cheaper and everything would hold up after that. In fifth year, you would save full $110,000, if everything was held constant.
Meadows: This is a piece of software that in my opinion, the district has been missing instructionally. He said it matches the management of the data with the curriculum, with the benchmark data, etc. Could streamline an individual lesson plan for each student.
Meadows said under this every K-5 child would get 50 minutes of language and 50 mintues of math one time a week. Students needing more instruction would come back for more time.
Loden said the program really focuses on being a universal screener. It flags problems children have and emails teachers.
Meadows: Ms. Pannel, Ms. Murphree and I have been studying it and we are looking at costing it out.
Griswald: Classworks is a tool that...is the currciulum and the assessment brought together. This year's state test results can be imported into their system. It will generate reports that can be used to generate individualized learning paths.
Any teacher who continues to get emails that a student is not mastering a particular skill will receive emails, it might recommend a different learning style for the student.
They look at a skill and choose best instructional activities to address that skill. They mix it up, so a child is not saying the same kind of activitiy again and again.
There will be different paths. One for those one grade levels and individualized paths for those who are behind.
"Over years of using this project, we can track a student's progress over a certain scale." (Can see if they are at or above growth).
There are reports customized for teachers, parents and principals at the school, class and individual student level.
Beth Stone asks if they will be able to access the reports at home. Griswald said yes. He said that with 1-to-1 laptop initiative, classwork exercizes can be assigned as homework.
He said that in a lot of schools, implementation team works with them to determine best way to implement it in their building.
Rob Hudson asks about Study Island and if this would take the place of that?
Griswald said it can. He said most Study Island contracts terminate in April. He said that the district would have both programs in the fall and they could make a decision in January about whether they would want to continue Study Island or not. That decision would be left to the principals instead of being made by the district as a whole.
Griswald said the schools that have Study Island, like Milam, was also using it for science and social studies. This new product is only for language and math.
Stone said that the product sounds so good becasue individaulized learning patters are very important.
Griswald said what is nice about this product is that it is instantaneous. As soon as they get results, they can make decisions to address needs that had just been identified.
Griswald said there is also an opportunity to assign activities above grade level to students.
Meadows: Ms. Pannell and Ms. Murphree and I have tried to predict cash flow into next year and even into the second year. Dr. Loden has received a response from an interesting question he asked the representative, whether the district could purchase a perpetual license for four K-2 schools and use three-year license of 3-6 schools.
Meadows said average per school cost of software with three-year license is $17,100. The average software cost for perpetual license would be $50,375.
Meadows would like to recommend the board to approve up to $518,750 for the purchase of Classworks but authorize Dr. Loden, Meadows, Pannell and Murphree to continue to work with vendor to see if there could be cost savings.
The $518,750 is the perpetual license amount.
Meadows said that the MAEP formula will be reworked and that assessed valuation in the city has declined. He knows the district needs to be financially responsible, but he would make the recommendation for the software.
Hudson: How do we know this has a five-year life to it?
Prather said that Classworks is probably one of the oldest software companies. Loden said that Amory has a license back to the 90s.
Hudson: Are you comfortable with spending $518,750 (for three years) given next year's cash flow?
Meadows: I'm definitely comfortable with $187,000 for one year....We are giving ourselves the option to study more in depth the cash flow.
Hudson amkes the motion to approve it up to $518,750 and the board approves.
The board will now go into executive session at 2:21 p.m. to discuss student and personnel matters.
Tupelo School Board meeting has begun at the Hancock Center. All five board members are present.
Interim Supt. David Meadows is handing out a packet with changes to the agenda. He is asking for the board to allow Jeffrey Norwood to start immediately as graduation coach and for incoming assistant superintendent Matthew Dillon to be added as a consultant before officially starting on July 1.
He is also asking for the board to consider a change in administartive organization.
He said that the state has affirmed there will not be any changes to the MAEP salary structure for teachers. Meadows is asking the board to consider its pay scales, which will allow the district to produce teacher contracts as quickly as possible.
The board will not vote on any items at this meeting, but will do so during its evening meeting, at 5 p.m. today at Lawndale Elementary. It will hear presentations about the agenda.
Board members Eddie Prather and Beth Stone are making a presentation about their trip to the National School Board Association's annual conference.
Prather said that school districts across the country are having concerns getting information out about Common Core curriculum. He also attended a session about boards and superintendents setting goals. At the session, they said that the important thing is to remain focused on student achievement. They also said that it is important to be transparent and not have a hidden agenda.
Prather also attended a session on improving board performance through self evaluation. He said it is important that the board hold itself accountable.
Prather said that Tupelo is doing some things to communicate the change to Common Core but that it should also look at other things it can do.
He attended a session about transitions to a new superintendent. Prather said it is important to create opportunities for successful and that the board and superintendent need to be on the same page.
Stone said that she and Prather attended seperate smaller sessions and met up for the general sessisons. One of her sessions was about strategic planning, it was led by a school district from Milwaukee. They talked about the theme of continuous improvement from day to day.
She said that the district sends a document to its stakeholders at the begining of each year outlining its strategic plan along seven different strands. Throughout the year, it studies and assesses the data it has and looks for ways to improve. The following year, the district provides a report from each of those strands with key results from the previous school year. It also had board learning sessions. They discussed things they wanted more information about and that they wanted to learn more about. They took onsite visits to see things in action.
Stone also went to a session on professional development that stressed importance of continuous improvement -- every day there should be some type of continual improvement that you could call "professional development."
She went to a session on one-to-one laptop program and ways to continuously improve it. One of the common sessions was on the Kahn Academy, an online program that particularly works with math and science. It is a free online site, and Stone said that if parents know about it, they can use it to give their children extra help. Stone said they can be very useful over the summer, perhaps churches can provide access.
Prather talked about boards looking at their policies in response to the incident in Florida where there was a shooting at a school board meeting a couple of years ago.
Dale Warriner will make a presentation with a synopsis of the district's federal programs responsibilities.
Warriner: We prepare applications with input from stakeholders and present to the school board and for approval at the state level. We bring ammendments throughout the year, hopefully for increased funding.
Mary Ann Plasencia will make a presentation on the "Conucils of Excellence."
"I've think we've just put more bones to this framework. We are open to suggestions. We are jsut at the starting phase of this."
Goal is to start the first council at the high school. Goal is to offer a structured way to gather information from stakeholders to improve student achievement.
Hope is that this is another vehicle, a meaningful vehcile for 2-way disucssions with the community.
Hope to do some preparatory work during the summer and launch in the fall. Still have gaps to work though.
The process will be supported through an outsie facilitator, who was not yet selected.
"We thought it would be helpful to have someone who is neutral and who is experienced in this type of conversation."
Idea is for council to identify two or three issues. May need personnel to gather data.
"Whatever we need to do so that subgroup can make whatever recomendations to remove whatever barrier that is to learnig."
Would then make recommendations to the larger group, to the district and to the board.
Suggesting between 12 and 20 members. At the high school, would involve faculty Senate, representation of parents from all grades, student members, representatives from the district, business community, faith community and alumni community.
They would hope for a two-year commitment.
Plasencia said that during the long-range planning committee there was a similar commitment. The hope is that members would take it serriously and would be take attendance serriously.
"We want to make this as simple as possible in terms of what is driving that counicl and we hope members of the council would focus on three questions."
what needs the most attention at this school? What could it look likfe? How do we sustain it."
Said it would be helpful for converation to stay confidential and for the issues raised to be ones that are universal in the school community. Said it is improtant to stay in line with strategic plan.
Would like to have a facilitator sometime in June to launch this and give it more structure. Would then like to identify members to serve. One way is to allow community members to appyly, to volunteer and go though an application progess. (Said other districts have done that).
Hope to launch the council some time before school starts and start making some recommendations by the falll and to have some solutions during the winter.
Plasencia said her hope is that this beocmes a permanet vehicle at our schools, that we consider this a best practice to continue two-way dialogue.
Meadows: "I didnt feel like we should rush into this. We should very intentionally design and systemically lay it out and gather input at we go."
Prather: Board meetings are bound by law to conduct business. FOr the community and stakeholders to provide input and share ideas, this would give us an outlet to do that.
He asks that they look at the legal issues of what the board can and can't do.
"One thing that would really effect us is if the council comes up with a suggstion that we can't do."
Stone suggests staggered terms for when people rotate off the council so you don't lose an entire group at once.
Pam Traylor will present the student transfer report. Approval of admission of six non-resident (tuition) students and of several students transfering to different schools.
Jim Turner is presenting the personnel report. Includes the hiring of two personnel for 12-13 school year, a new position, four retirements, 11 resignations, etc.
For 12-13 school year, there are 28 forcasted vacant positions for licensed staff and 6 non-licensed staff positions.
Meadows is now speaking about the graduation coach position. He said that as Ms.
"It seems almost impossible that a year has passed last April and May. I know now several things that I did not know earlier. One of the most positive things I can report on....Do y'all recall I almost casually mentiond that we started taking a look at Tupelo High School to see how many of our students were enrolled in classes to meet the right number of Carnegie Units." Found 100 students whose schedules were changed.
Meadows said the talk about there being 100 THS students who would graduate were untrue rumors.
Meadows said they found 71 people who were in jeopardy of not passing because of failure to pass state tests. Foucused on setting up a tutoring program. "I wish I could say all 71 passed one or four different tests. That didn't happen, but 41 did." Some had to pass all four tests and did.
"Thanks to those retired teachers and others who worked, regular classroom teachers gave thier time freely, it has been a joint effort."
Among those young people who will walk across the stage will be four people who left last year with a certificate of completition. On May 18, they will be given a Tupelo High diploma. They also have one or more people who have been out for at least two school years who will walk across the stage. They have 36 others who have passed the state tests.
If board approves Norwood to start now, he would work 55 days at his daily rate (until his current official start date of July 1). It will cost the district about $13,000. Said the he and new superintendent Gearl Loden know of at least 30 studnets who need that help now. They also need to work with students in the extended school program this summer.
Meadows said they will also be looking at High School Advancement Academy. 17 of the 24 students at the School Aged Mothers program will graduate. At HSAA, of the original students, 26 or 27 of them will graduate this year.
"I see the graduation coach, we need to get him in harness, so that we get that 100 percent," Meadows said. "While we can talk about graduation rate, what I am telling you about is the young people who will be walking across the state on May 18 who would not have....I literally had chills go through me when I learned about those young people who would not have graduated and they came back in."
Meadows asks the board to allow Dr. Matthew Dillon to come in immediately as a consultant at his daily rate of $540.
"We need help immediately," he said. "We are on academic watch...We are asking you to allow Dr. Dillon to come on and work as many days as he can, maybe 10 or so in May and a few more in June."
Loden said he will have fewer than 10 days in Mday because he is finishing at Pearl.
Prather asks about how many days they are expecting in June so they will know for the budget. He asks if Loden can provide that information during the next board meeting.
Meadows said they found money in the budget for that. They will vote on it tonight.
Meadows is talking about a first-reading of the abstinence education policy.
Last year, Haley Barbour signed into law HB999, which had specific requirements for abstinence education. Tupelo has had an abstinence education policy in place since at least February of 2000. Meadows said Tupelo's stretch was not in creating a new policy but in tweaking it.
There are two choices in the law: abstinence only or abstinence plus. Abstinence plus says you "must" teach all of the things in the law, while abstinence-only says you "may" teach these things. Meadows said that abstinence-only is the standard in Mississippi.
Meadows is recommending that the TPSD continue to adhere to state standard of abstinence education as standard of its sexual education policy. They will go with "abstinence-only" which says they "may" teach several of the points made in the law.
Meadows said the district has most of the requirements in its current policy but that it will tweak some of the points.
Meadows said the district has already been implementing it in 7th grade. It has been using a program called "Wait Time" that is taught by trained volunteers.
Meadows would recommend the district continue to designate seventh grade. This year, more than 95 percent of students participated in seveth grade, that means those students' parents opted-in.
The district also piloted it this year in health classes at Tupelo High School.
Meadows is recommedning abstienence only at grade 7 and is recommending "Wait Time" curriculum.
The law requires it to be an opt-in or opt-out program. Parents have to sign whether they want kids to participate or to sign that they do not want students to participate. In the event they do not have a signed form, he will recommend they do not put a child into the include group until they have contacted a parent or guardian.
This is the first reading of the policy. The board will not vote on it until May 22.
The district must send the policy, the identified curriuclum and the protocol to the state by July 1.
Meadows said that even if they choose the seventh graders, they can still continue to also offer it to the ninth graders.
Meadows said that Parkgate has trained a large group of volunteers.
Rob Hudson said that he did a five-day stint volunteering with it this year. He said there was a good turnout, that it was a surprisingly good experience and that the kids were receptive.
Hudson said that Parkgate's board also got good feedback about the ninth-grade curriculum.
Meadows said that parents would be free to come and read the curriculum.
Meadows is discussing update for the responsible access and use policy. The policy must be tweaked to contain langauge now required by federal law.
Dr. Fred Hill is presenting some changes needed to the extended school year and summer school policy.
Putting in correct dates and times, start of class and length of the day.
Also remove from 2008 draft, remove driver's education summer school schedule from that.
Dale Warriner will present about the federal programs aplication. They always guarantee 85 percent of the previous year's allocation. For Title 1 and Title 2.
The budget will include funding ECEC with the 12 classrooms (same number as this yaer), support staff, class size reduction for first grade, parent involvement, professional development, technology, software, materials and supplies.
On ECEC, Warriner said application process is booming right now and that it has seemed to have taken hold.
Warriner said the district received an extra $229 in flow-through dollars for the Juvenile Detention Center.
Warriner is presenting the application for the McKinney-Vento Education for Homeless Children and Youth Program grant.
Warriner said they tell you to write the grant for $25,000 but last year the allocation was about $47,000.
Children in shelters receive after-school tutoring. It provides school supplies and certain technology.
Warriner said the district has 437 homeless students as of April. Homeless is defined by several criteria: the largest group is dobuled-up (living with another family because parents can't own their own home), also some living in hotels, on the streets at the Salvation Army Shelter.
"We have various types of situations," Warriner said.
Warriner is presenting about Camp Possiblity, for homeless youth. Last year the camp was four weeks and allocation was decreased. They are now looking to offer it for two weeks. It has been coordinated to provide breakfast and lunch with the camp inbetween for homeless students. The lead teacher will be Pam McAllily. It will be at the middle school and will be an enrichment program.
Warriner inlcuded some details about what will be included in those weeks. There will be counselors and instructional types of counseling sessions. It will serve 40-50 students.
Finance Director Linda Pannell will talk about a consideration to refinance the district's debt.
She said each year Jim Young looks at the district's debt to see if it can be refinanced. Last year, it couldn't. This year, there are debts that may be able to be refinanced. The board's resolution would allow him to go to banks and see how much the district could save.
An estimate would be $289,000 to $300,000 between now and the 2016-17 school year. That is about $42,000 to $50,000 each year, Pannell said, noting that it is about a teacher's salary.
David Meadows will present an administrative/ organizational chart. The board has two policies that cover this now.
Meadows included both policies and quoted out of policy CC. It says the supt. is authorized to reorganize the lines of auhtority.
Under policy CCB, Meadows said it notes that lines of authority not restrict the cooperative working together of all individuals at all levels. Meadows said that Loden is working to create a cooperative team effort.
Meadows is recommending that the board approves the elimination of the deputy superintendent position from the organizational chart. It would move Diana Ezell in a lateral move into assistant superintendent.
It would allow Loden to reorganize with three assistant superintendents.
Meadows: "With the two assistant superintendents we currently have, I often can't tell where one ends and the other begins. It is a matter of being a team and doing what we need to do to support students and support teachers in an efficient and effective manner."
Loden said that this is the first step in reorganization. He will have new job descriptions in June. He looked at what 12 other districts have done.
Meadows said that for Ezell it would simply be a lateral move and would not effect pay.
Prather said that if the district wishes to eliminate the Chief Operating Officer position, which is currently vacant, it would need to adopt a new organizational chart anyway.
Board is discussing salary scale. Meadows said he always feels it is important to get teaching contracts to teachers before they leave for the summer.
Meadows said the district built itself a schedule that if the board approves, they will begin tomorrow calculating and printing contracts so they can put them in teachers' hands on Wednesday, May 16.Teachers will have 30 days once they get contracts in their hands.
The instructional staff salary guide will not change. The board approved a $100 increase to the local supplement last year. The district is at 55 mils on operation, meaning it can not go higher on that in tax collection. In local contribution, that amount will cost two teacher units, a little over $81,000. Thus, Meadows said at this time, he would not recommend, at this time, increasing the local supplement this year.
If the district approved it, the only way they could reduce it is to reduce the number of working days. Tupelo is currently at 189 days for teachers, two above the state minimum. Meadows said he doesn't want the district to be at the minimum.
Meadows also included the supplementary pay plan and said he would not recommend increasing those supplements. He said that the board and Dr. Loden could visit chaning that at another time.
Meadows said that if the board wants to increase the supplements, those contracts could always be ammended with that.
Meadows said that Tupelo's salary scale for a beginning teacher with a bachelor's degree is about $34,000, while for the state it is $30,900. "Isn't that a wonderful thing for the Tupelo Public School District?" Meadows said. "That is what prior boards and you have done for the Tupelo Public School District. That is what makes Tupelo a special place to work."
The board meeting is adjourned until its 5 p.m. meeting at Lawndale. It will vote during that meeting.