Vibrant Schools: School Board Brief for April 28, 2016
VIBRANT SCHOOLS TACOMA COALITION
SCHOOL BOARD MEETING THREE PAGE BRIEF FOR
APRIL 28, 2016:
The Vibrant Three: Top Three Priorities, Comments or Concerns, April 28, 2016
- How can Vibrant Schools and its coalition members have advance input in the budget process before the budget is drafted and submitted for a public hearing and to the school board for comment and approval?
- Vibrant Schools heartily applauds Director Heinze’s recommendation to standardize benchmark reports to offer consistent data for comparison and analysis.
- Vibrant Schools members have worked with youth who use Edgeuity and would like students and families to have more orientation so that they can use the program effectively.
TOPICS AND ISSUES
- Bi-lingual/Multi-Lingual advocacy month (April)
- Gold Star Community Partner award presented to Lisa Keating for work she has done around inclusion at Geiger Montessori.
- City of Destiny Award Winners from TPS (Alan Mandigo from ROTC at Stadium, Michaela Smith (student at Wilson), the ROTC Marines at Wilson.
- Youth of the Year for Boys and Girls Clubs of South Puget Sound—Kalaea de Gregory
- National Board Certified Teachers were recognized. Tacoma now has 171 National Board Certified Teachers in the District
- Superintendent’s Report.
Michael Mirra of the Tacoma Housing Authority was present with a guest from Washington DC, Andrea Laveer, the CEO of the Corporation for Enterprise Development, an organization expert in designing effective programs for families to build their financial assets and move out of poverty. Ms Laveer spoke briefly about her efforts to work with the Housing Authority on the Children’s College Savings Program.
- Public Testimony and Lead in the Water Concerns
The preface to the actual testimony was a briefing on the lead/water issues that the District has been addressing. Dan Voelpel reviewed the many steps that the District has taken to address lead testing and replacement of fixtures. This information is on the District’s web site and the link is here: http://www.tacoma.k12.wa.us/information/departments/safety-security/water-quality/Pages/default.aspx
No one signed up or testified on the lead/water issue. President Vialle stated that the Board will be diligent in assuring that water issues are addressed.
- Curriculum and Instruction. Books are being purchased to use in small reading groups in elementary schools. By having multiple copies of the same book, teachers can work with a group of students and focus on one book.
The District is purchasing 500 Edgenuity licenses (the software used for credit retrieval). Dr Garcia noted that Edgenuity can also be used for students to take classes ahead (for acceleration) but that it is not being used that way at this time.
Vibrant Recommendation: Vibrant Schools volunteers have worked with youth who use Edgeuity and would like students and families to have more orientation so that they can use the program effectively.
- Director Ushka asked if “summer school” could be retitled and not called “credit retrieval” so that students would understand that they could use it to get ahead in their classes.
- President Vialle and the student reps concurred.
- Later in the meeting Director Cobb noted that summer could be a time to help students in the 8th and 9th grade catch up in Algebra and Geometry or other classes where they are behind.
- Middle School Boundaries and Community Input
Ros Medina noted that an additional step has been added to the Middle Schools boundary process, for community and neighborhood input to the Committee in September. This was in response to requests that community members be included on the actual Committee, which was denied.
- Report to the Board on Strategic Plan Goal #1 benchmarks.
The slides covered Rigor (% of students taking advanced classes, measured at the end of each semester), Algebra and Geometry grades (C or better). Gaps were noted. The staff noted that there needed to be summer bridge support for students who have not taken advanced classes previously.
Director Cobb said that summer bridge also needed to be provided for Algebra and Geometry for 8th and 9th graders.
Director Heinze asked if the report format could be standardized as to how progress is identified, how trends are displayed, common definitions, etc.
Vibrant Schools heartily applauds Director Heinze’s recommendation to standardize benchmark reports to offer consistent data for comparison and analysis.
- Budget report.
Ros Medina and Kristen Bell reported the impacts of Legislative actions on the TPS budget and identified four items for what they called the “budget watch list:”
- Compliance with the McCleary decision.
- The continued underfunding of salaries and need to pull local funds have to cover the shortfall.
- The emergence of the Education Funding Task Force, which was formed to address McCleary and the “levy cliff”
- A call for more work on the “levy cliff” which could result if the District was not able to run its own levies AND the state did not add more funding. Tacoma is estimated to lose $4 million in 2017 and $3 million in 2018 if this were to happen.
Vibrant Schools Concern: The coalition invites input during this budget process and would like to participate earlier in the budget development process for the next budget cycle. Details for the current cycle are offered in “A Call to Action”.
- Board comments.
- Director Ushka reported on the upcoming Louder than a Bomb event at TCC.
- President Vialle spoke about the Palmer Scholars luncheon and the need for and value of mentors for these students. She also expressed appreciation to staff people for their quick response on the water quality issues.
Future Board meetings: May 12 regular meeting; May 19 Retreat; May 26 regular meeting.
CALL TO ACTION:
- VIBRANT SCHOOLS WILL BE CALLING COMMUNITY MEMBERS TO PARTICIPATE IN MIDDLE SCHOOL BOUNDARY DISCUSSIONS IN SEPTEMBER.
- PART 2 OF THE BUDGET REPORT WILL COME TO THE MAY 12 BOARD MEETING. THE FINAL BUDGET WILL COME TO THE BOARD ON JUNE 23. JUNE 23 IS ALSO SCHEDULED TO BE THE PUBLIC HEARING ON THE BUDGET. JULY 14 IS SET AS THE TIME FOR ADOPTION OF THE 2016-17 BUDGET.
The link to the full report for April 28th is here:
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