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.