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.
School board meeting is about to begin.
Jeff Norwood, expected to be named Tupelo High School's boys basketball coach, is at today's meeting. His hiring would be pending board approval. The Daily Journal's Gene Phelps is also here to cover that.
Board member Rob Hudson is not currently present, but is expected to be on his way.
Interim Superintendent David Meadows said there are a few changes to the agenda. The board will review its policy on technology resources and responsible access. Changes to the policy will be made to include changes that were made to the federal Children's Internet Protection Act.
He would also like to give the board an opportunity to study its summer school policy because it has not had a summer school in so long. The district is proposing
Meadows said that the board will recommend the employment of a school graduation coach/ head boys basketball coach for 2012-13 school year. He said that the person to be recommended will be coming back home to Tupelo.
Meadows said that Glenda Scott will retire as of June 30. She is the district's curriculum director.
School board president Eddie Prather said the board will change its second July board meeting from July 24 to July 31.
Rob Hudson just entered the meeting.
The board approved the agenda.
The board approved the minutes from several board meetings. It includes four special-called meetings related to Calvin Ellis hearing.
Meadows is now speaking about the technology resources and responsible access policy. It includes the changes mandadated by CIPA (Child's Internet Protection Act). This is a first reading of the policy.
Meadows said district must include phrasing that technology protection measures are in place and are used for all Internet access. Meadows notes that the district has a very strong filter that keys on language and particular combination of language. He said that the filter is so strong that sometimes it keeps out good emails.
The policy also requires Internet safety training to be provided to minors.
Deputy Supt. Diana Ezell has been working with technology director Brenda Meriweather and the technology staff on the new policy, Meadows said.
Ezell said the district will have a curriculum on acceptable use of the laptops and other technology.
"We have a lot of systems in place to protect our children and we want to continue to do that," she said.
Ezell said they are also working on cyber bullying and that THS Principal Jason Harris has been working with the attorney general to bring a cyber bullying program to the school.
Board approves consent agenda.
Pam Traylor made the student transfer report, and the board approved it
Personnel Director Jim Turner is now presenting the personnel report. It includes two retirements, six resignations, 24 summer curriculum teacher leaders and two literacy team members. Under classified, it includes one new full-time security position and several others.
The substitute pool is now up to 195 individuals.
Turner said there are 3.5 licensed positions to be filled and 19 classified positions that are vacant.
Currently, the recruiting season has ended until October, Turner said. Since January, he has interviewed 161 applicants from throughout MS and LA. Approx. 25 of those applicants were minorities, he said. He said they acquired many secondary math, biology and special education candidates and that it is unusual to have an abundance of those.
Turner said that as of April 13, 10 individuals have given written requests to retire and nine who have said they will resign at the end of the school year.
Hudson asks about exit interviews. Turner said that everyone who resigns is given an exit interview form and asked to send it back.
Meadows welcomes new assistant superintendent Dr. Matt Dillon to the school board meeting. Dillon has been working at principal at Pearl High School.
Board approves the personnel report.
David Meadows now will make two recommendations
Meadows : "Ms. SCott, I can't tell you how much the district appreciates what yu ahve done during your time here. From the time you started as an administrative intern on to your time at Rankin, we truly appreciate your leadership. WE truly appreciate your leadership with the curriculum department. When I came to Tupelo, the things that Ms. Scott has done in the last 2 or 3 years with the curriculum department ahve been phenomenal. The summer work last summer served as a platform for the teaching and learing that have gone on in our district.
Words can not express it.
"I would ask that the board consider approving resignation of Glenda Scott effective June 30 to retire."
Prather: "I hate to entertain the motion for this, but I guess there comes a time for it."
Board accepts Scott's retirmement.
Meadow now makes another recommendation. "To welcome number 10 back home." He refers to Norwoods three state championships
AFter an extensive serach, I am bringing forward Mr. Jeff Norwood on behlf of Dr. Loden who parcitipated in interivew process and community members who ehlped us with the search, I am pleased to recommend Mr. Norwood today.
He brings not only a wealth of coaching experience in teh college ranks. I am also excited because I was on campus of USM up until 1995, so we almost corssed paths.
One of the things I consider a hgihlght, during Mr. Norwood's tenure there, in spring of 2003, USM recognized its boys basketball team for 100 pecent graduation rate. Isn't that wonderful? Cna you imagine the role model that MR. Norwood will be for our young women and men at Tupelo High School and particularly the men that he will be working with on the basketball court"
He is recommending Norwood as school graduation coach. Says it is a position that Dr. Loden has worked with before and that the board is getting a job description of that position. HE will work directly with middle and high school students encouraging them to stay in school and graduate.
Meadows is also recommending him as head boys basketball coach at Tupelo Hgih School.
The board approves the creation of the graduation coach position.
The board approves Norwood as head basketball coach.
Norwood is now making remarks to the board and those at the meeting.
Norwood: "I want to say thanks to the board and Dr Porter and MR. Harris. It is truly a blessing. THis whole process made me realzie I did have some dreams. I never could remember anything I was dreaming about. WHen I started pursuing this position I remembered going to the state tournament and playing against Gulfport High School (thought they would win). We played Gulfport the next day and it didn't unfold the way we expected. I thought I was in good condition. THose guys ran me to death. I always said if I had my own team, I would like them to take the court like Gulfport did.
There was a dream becasue I dreamed about having the same thing here. What makes me most happy is that it didnt even start about basketball it started with my pursuit of my faith and beleiving it was time to come back. (Said his brother Alex started asking him to try to come back and coach several years ago). It took a little maturity to grow up and realize it was time for me to serve and come back here...I've talked to a bunch of friends here in town and they are excited about teh basketball coach part. I'm excited that what really moved me was the graduation coach part. I was an average student and I didn't have hte ditection or foucs and I enver thought about going to college. I know there are so many students who can do it, but they jsut don't have that focus.
I know tehre are a large number that are so naive about if they can go out and do it and we ahve to reach out and go sit down and talk to them. I want you to know that I am here and ready to do that.
I know we will win basketball games becase Tupelo has always won in every sport.
My dad served as the first minority on the Tupelp Public SChool Districty board. I always wondered how I could measure up in this community and I am proud ot have the change to do just that.
AS each day got closer for this day to come, I got a little more excited. I tried to be cool about it, but I am very happy to be here.
I wnat to end by saying thank you agian. The main card is my mom is here in Tupelo and she still can fish...I am thankful. Let's go."
School board accepts claims docket and financial statements.
Finance director Linda Pannell also presents the cash flow statement
Prather asks when MAEP will be approved.
Meadows said the last update he has had is that they anticipate doing that right at the beginning of May, next week. That was as of this morning.
Diana Ezell is now making a presentation about extended school year.
The district will offer extended school year programs at Joyner (K-2), Pierce Street (3-5), Tupelo Middle School (6-8) and the Filmore Center (HSAA, Structure Day and School Aged Mother program). THere will also be one summer school program on the high school campus. It will be for 9th to 12th and will be tuition.
The district will also develop an afternoon program for students with dyslexic characteristics. They are still in the stages of developing that.
Rob Hudson asks when the district last did a program like this. Ezell said three years, but two summers ago. They've had two summers without it.
Extended school year is designed for studnets in danger of repeating or students in tier program who are receiving academic supports and need those supports during the summer.
Hudson asks if it will be mandatory.
Ezell: For K-2, teachers will recommend students. In order for them to be promoted they will have to attend. If they chose not to, they will be retained in that program for the following year.
Hudson: How will we measure its effectiveness.
Ezell each grade level will choose a beginning and an end assessment. They will also have assessments results from teachers to show which skills students mastered during the school year and which ones need extra help. Ezell said there will also be tests given during the school year to measure the progess of those students.
Ezell said the assistant principals who are working during this time will not be under their contract and that the district will need to pay them extra for this.
Ezell said the projections are about 500 students. 95 for 9-12 extedned day. She is not sure about summer school. She said they have also opened it up for school districts around them that need to repeat a course for carnegie unit.
They will not offer subject areas they will be taking for the first time but they can take classes they have failed. She said the hope is that it will repare them for the state test retest in August.
Meadows said the district budgeted for this last spring.
Ezell: "This is part of our dropout prevention strategy helping those students who need extra supports outside of the school year."
Ezell said this part of several summer programs: Opportunity camp, summer school, extended year, extedned school for special education students, adding a dyslexia program and a camp for ELL and homeless students.
On dyselxia program, Ezell said that three teachers in the district are dyslexia therapists and they will be planning that. They hope to have a K-2 group and a 3-5 group and if there is a need for more, "I hope to serve the students who really need it."
Wheeler: How will you determine need for me?
Ezell said those students who ahve been diagnosed with dyslexia or show characteristics, we need to identify those. Will need to see how many can come becuase those students will need to provide their own transportation.
Wheeler: Recommendation will come from the teachers? Ezell: yes.
Board approves motion to add extended school year this summer.
Board also approves offering summer school to students at Tupelo High School.
Board votes to move its July meeting from July 17 to July 31 because of a scheduling conflict.
The budget meeting will also be moved from the 17th to the 31st.
Prather is referring to future agenda items. He is asking about board retreat to state goals. At the May meeting, they will discuss agenda for the retreat.
Retreat will be June 12-13. They are still working on a location. They will discuss superitendent evaluation process and procedures for the school board to monitor itself.
Prather said National School Board Association will host a conference in Mississippi this year. It will be held on the Coast. It comes every seven or eight years, he said.
Rob Hudson said he would like Mr. Turner to think about the best way to provide us feedback from exit interviews. Maybe he can give feedback on his ideas. Maybe what percentage of people fill them out and what that content looks like. It might give us ideas of what we are doing well and what we can address to improve retention. Hudson said it might also show ways they can increase feedback.
Hudson: "Often people say everything is fine, but sometimes they don't. If we are not getting feedback, there might be other districts who are getting better feedback through other methods."
The Tupelo School Board meeting has begun.
Kenneth Wheeler was just sworn in as a new board member. After the swearing in, Wheeler recognized his family, which is in attendance, and thanked Sally Gray of Parents for Public Schools for her support. He recognizes incomming superintendent Gearl Loden, who is in attendance.
The board adds a line to the personnel report, which is the recommendation of an assistant superintendent.
The board will go through the agenda at this meeting, the noon meeting. It will vote during the 5 p.m. meeting at Lawhon Elementary.
David Meadows is speaking about component 4 of his "Moving Forward Together Plan." He said that at a meeting last week of Tupelo High School staff, he asked the school to become part of the first Council of Excellence. It would be a group of various constiuents to research various issues "of how we can support and help Dr. Loden as he builds this community of excellence." It would have students, teachers, parents, community members, administrators, etc.
Meadows is also share information from listening sessions with various constituencies. Board members met in groups of two with various community members. Administrators were present for some of those meetings.
Meadows is presenting a summary of some of the main ideas that emerged in those meetings.
He said one topic was safety and security. He said one group said the district should analyze its bomb threat procedure. Someone also mentioned the need to look at filters for the MacBooks.
Other categories that stood out to Meadows:
Building more trust: including exit interviews of families and employees and to continue to work toward outreach opportunities.
Academics: To strenghten foundational basis on which PK-5 schools are built. To focus on children without overemphasizing testing. State testing was mentioned several times. Along with that also came the importance of communicating the value of that testing.
Discipline appeared on several pieces of information supplied to Meadows with standpoint of consistency. It includes where does Postive Behavior Support System fit in. Several people noted that the district has decreased the number of assistant teachers in K-6 grades. Meadows said that came up several times.
Miscellaneous: Textbooks. Concern for maintenance of our buildings.
Meadows said communication appeared numerous times and making communication more than a one-way street. "Set up a system that would make communication have an easier route to travel from the hearers and the sharers."
Accountability that administration asks the board creates and make sure we always have job descriptions.
One of the things that came out repeatedly under academic achievement was the achievement gap. We need to be transparent about the achivement gap and we need to be working dilligently and consistently to focus on the achievement gap until it is eliminated.
Another thing that came up was alternative schools. There is a need to continue to evaluate that.
Meadows said he will continue to work on getting a thorough list completed. He said the district met to begin putting in a strucutre to establish a vehicle for councils of excellence. They will also meet with community to get input on the makeup of those councils, how they should be made up.
Beth Stone: Once we establish the councils, what happens with the information at that point?
Meadows: We proabaly want to ask the groups themselves, to the point of do we need an outside facilitator. In my opinion, the answer would be yes, but we need to ask the groups.
Meadows said the district would want to get the list (of what had been discussed). He would like to turn the list over to Dr. Loden and the school board. A next step may be to return to the council and ask them to break up into subgroups and have them be a part of identifying each part of an issue. For example, maybe a subgroup to work on discipline or on achievement gap.
Meadows said the subgroups would need to come back to the Council of Excellenace as a whole and share their research, discussion and points of action and how the district can move forward together. He said that one action will be, if there is a list of 5 or 6 issues, the larger council of excellence should provide input on priorities. "Establish a priority against which the district can measure itself in terms of moving forward in that particular area."
Wheeler asks about Positive Behavior Support System.
Meadows said it is a program that was adopted a couple of years ago. He said it would need to fall under the area of discipline but that it might need to be pulled out of there for more study of itself.
Heyer: We don't want people to think this is the end of our communication because we are moving on to the next phase. We want to keep that communication open.
Heyer said there may be some community members may not want to sit down with two board mebers but may want to email or call. She said there needs to be a way for those people to express their concerns and for the board to provide feedback.
Meadows said they need to use every avenue of communication. "We need to make sure it is not a one-way street and that it is not a street that becomes blocked."
Heyer said some people may be more comfortable with a phone call or email. Meadows agreed and said that the district needs to communicate that.
Hudson said he wants to make sure that the board will continue to monitor progress in these areas. He said they must avoid the temptation to take one issue, work on it and then move on to the next.
Stone said that some of this can be incldued into board goals. However, she said, some of them may not rise to that level and that board must also pay attention to those.
Prather said that he thinks it is good to break it down to the school level and to give elementary parents
Hudson: The board doenst know everything. This is a great opportunity for the board to know everything. All of that information will be shared with the board, and it gives us the ability to ask the right questions, the more that we know.
Several principals are presenting what they learned from their visits to High Performing and Star schools in Mississippi. The principals were to visit those schools to learn things they can take to the district.
Rob Hudson: There is a lot of good information gathered, do we know what things were so impressive that we will go back to our discipline and try to implement.
Assistant superintendent Fred Hill said he has heard from several formal and informal conversations some things they want to bring to the district. One example is a Study Island, a computer program that third- to fifth-grade schools have since added.
Prather asks about the dual-enrollment courses.
Talina Knight (of Tupelo High School): Each school was on AB block. She said that Northwest Rankin is looking to add 36 hours of college credit. It saves students a lot of money in the long run.
She said one thing that stood out at the high schools she visited was that they had a reading specialist who worked with students who were struggling in reading.
Denisce Salter of the School-Aged-Mother program said her visit to Pontotoc High School showed they did a good job with differentiated instruction. She said that is a key to closing the achievement gap because they are able to help students with their individual needs. Subject area teachers were able to get together to develop lesson plans that would help students in their class with respect to their individual needs and individual learning styles.
Hill thanks the board and Meadows for giving administrators this opportunity to visit high performing and star schools. He said it has been very helpful and that he thinks this is something the principals will continue to do if allowed.
Finance director Linda Pannel said that tax collections for operations and debt are above normal for this time of year.
Julie Hinds and T.J. Higgins will make a presentation on the district's security cameras.
Hinds said they have looked at the cameras that were put in seven years ago and they have a proposal for additional cameras they would like to add.
They would like full coverage of hallways, coverage of cafeteria serving lines and the small cafeteria and coverage of the stairweels in the ninth-grade building.
She said they met with high school administrators, asked them to list what they'd like to see covered. She said this list represents the top priorities.
They propose six exterior cameras. That would cover several areas and capture license plates as cars enter and exit campus.
They have seven cameras that they would like to relocate or adjust angles.
Total cost for the new cameras would be $64,890. That would include a new server and an upgrade of two servers. The servers would allow for longer storage.
The new camera would also allow for a greater range.
Kenneth Wheeler asked a couple of technical questions about the kind of cameras that would be used. He said the question is whether you want more clarity or more information. He said the question is the mission of the camera.
Higgins said for inside hallway cameras, they want clarity, they want to be able to recognize person's face.
On parking lots, Hinds said they currently have relative good cameras but they are focused on one area. They would like to put computers in both guard shacks so that when security officers have down time, they could monitre those cameras.
Wheeler asks about day-night cameras, which go to black-and-white at night. He said that helps see images in the dark. He said that would help and that it doesn't cost any extra.
Prather asks about the timeline. Julie Hinds said they can try to get an answer on that for tonight.
Hudson asks where the cost fits in on the budget. Meadows said there is a seperate line item on that and they had planned to upgrade security cameras. He said they had a portion of that money in this year's budget and with Dr. Loden's permission, they could also include it in next year's budget.
Wheeler makes a recommendation about the network and the ability for administrators to view the images from their computers.
Diana Ezell is making a presentation on projected enrollment for next year. The projection for K-12 would be 7,219 students. Pre-K would add about 275 more. There is also data for each school and grade level. Ezell said that Meadows worked on the projections and that in the past, his projections have proven to be accurate.
The report also contains projections for special education and for gifted. She said the district would like to add two teacher units for gifted. Right now the district's ratio is 45-1 for gifted. She said the state prefers 40-1 but has given district's flexibility becuase of budget cuts.
Pam Traylor is presenting the student transfer report.
Jim Turner is presenting the personnel report. It includes two retirements and one resignation for licensed staff. For classified staff, two new hires, two resignations, a change of status, a retirement.
Now have 195 individuals in the substitute pool.
Turner said he's just returned from recruiting for the district. There are three remaining trips. They have spoken with 111 applicants, 26 percent were minoritiy. That is currently five applicants for every open position, plus the applicants through the district website.
As of April 2, there are 12 licensed staff position and 23 non-licensed staff positions listed.
The board will go into temporary executive session to look at licensed staff for the next school year.
The board has just come out of executive session. Prather said that no action was taken in executive session.
Rob Hudson will present the claims docket tonight.
Julie Hinds is making a presentation about bids for uniforms for maintenance and transportation mechanics. Low bid is G&K Services.
AEE President Brent Waldrop said the organization will fund 17 grants totalling $67,000. It will reveal the names of the grant recipients at its annual banquet on April 19 at Thomas Street Elementary.
Board is discussing future agenda topics.
Prather said that with the process of having dialogue with community members, he'd like to have some structure with it, perhaps rotating two board members available at a certain time and day of the week. He'd like to find a way of doing that without having to change someone's schedule at the last minute.
Heyer said that the board used to set up at Kroger at set hours.
Board will adjourn. It will meet again at Lawhon Elementary at 5 p.m.