Live From the November 19 School Board Meeting

Posted on November 19, 2007 by


7:08 – I just got on after having some difficulties.  The meeting has not started though.  There are a lot of people here though.

7:11 – Everyone is identifying themselves.

7:14 – There are a lot of supporters for the Potter’s Marathon here tonight.

7:20 – Right now, the Potter’s Marathon team is being recognized.  Bob Bieber discusses how the Potter’s Marathon started: at an intersection when he was at an intersection and saw a Marathon gas station.  Special recognition for Rachel Bollero (12, president) and Tracy Nissley (12, vice president) and to six members who individually raised over $1,000 each.

7:26 – Now all Potter’s Marathon participants are being recognized in front of the school board.  According to the check, they have raised $23,000 this year and $85,131 in the nine years of the Potter’s Marathon. The majority of the students that have been called are not present at the meeting.  After a long streak of absentees, Amy Kline (12) receives thunderous applause.

7:30 – I just realized that I forgot to bring a camera.  There really should be someone else here to take some pictures, though.

7:32 – The Potter’s Marathon recognition part is complete.  About half of the team was present to receive their awards.

7:33 – Four-minute break for the Potter’s Marathon participants to leave, then back to business

7:37 – George Dyer (superintendent) gives a restructuring update.  Moving from K6, 7-8, 9-12 structure to a K4, 5-6, 7-8, 9-12 structure.  There are nine committees working to answer critical questions.  Doesn’t touch on the critical questions during this meeting though.

7:44 – Review of Section 1000 of school board policy.  Dyer notes that board policies can be found on the Concord district website.

7:48 – Dan Cunningham (principal) gives an update to the community about Rich Matteson (resource officer).  Matteson has served to answer questions for students and staff.

7:55 – The AED committee (Automated External Defibrillator) makes a presentation.  The members of the committee unanimously support the use of AEDs in the Concord district.

Their rationale:  to conform with the law (P.L. 129-2007: the owner/operator of a health club to have AEDs present – according to the committee, CHS qualifies since the school serves as a community rec program), 21 other area school districts use at lteast one, and to make the school safer in program.

The committee recommends purchasing two AEDs:  one by the swimming pool and activity center and a mobile AED.

Ideally, according to the committee, an AED should be accessible within a 3 minute round trip from the location it is needed (22 would be required for this).

7:58 – Eight employees are trained to use it right now, but they would like more to be trained.

Funding:  Units are available for under $2,000 each.

8:00 – The policy is being presented.  Larry Jackowiak just mentioned that Concord schools is the only district out of all schools that responded to the survey that have not implented an AED program.

8:04 – The risk involved with AEDs is low since the AEDs verbally walk the user through the process, according to the committee.

8:05 – Dan Cunningham (principal) begins to present the CHS A+ Plan.

8:07 – Goal Area #1 – Reading comprehension – Students should become better readers (presented by Bryan Waltz [associate principal]). One implentation – students using reading strategies (SQ3R, KWL, etc.)

8:08 – Goal Area #2 – Students will improve writing skills.

Students do writing prompts, teachers use Simple 6 rubric.

The data says that most teachers have used the reading and writing strategies.

8:10 – An interesting note:  Cunningham says that committee wants to emphasize reading nonfiction (newspapers, magazines, etc.).  The A+ board is focusing on E/LA standards 1-3 (emphasis on 2).

8:12 – School has not meant 2% improvement on ISTEP scores, but Cunningham notes that this does not mean that students aren’t improving.

They are trying to get teachers to score writing prompts consistently.

Cunningham said that the English 9 and Algebra I ciriculums have been rewritten.

Freshman academy:  Positive impact of 4.3% on overall E/LA ISTEP scores (16 students who passed didn’t previously pass)

ESL academy:  ENL in English, Spanish, Biology, and Algebra I

Honors humanities academy:  English 9H and AP World History

Honors math/science academy:  Geometry H and Biology H

8:18 – Nick Cocanower (11) endorses the freshman academy program, saying that it has helped him catch up and improve grades.

Note from me:  In the freshman academy for math, nine less students passed the 2006 ISTEP in Grade 10 than in the 2005 ISTEP Grade 9.

8:20 – AP courses – CHS now has 10 AP courses; AP has approved the courses so that CHS could call it an “AP” course

Renee Cocanower (director of student services) presents AP test results to the school board.

They mention Chris Judson (AP English Language teacher) as someone who reads AP tests (care to elaborate Mr. Judson?)

8:26 – ISTEP GQE updates – last test = Fall of 2008.  Now students will have to pass end-of-course assessments in Algebra I and English 10 in order to graduate.  A Biology I test is also given but not required to graduate.

8:27 – A+ presentation plan is complete.

8:32 – To answer Mr. Judson’s question, I don’t remember anything specific besides the general “to help students become successful.”

8:33 – Problem with ESL academy program:  many students do not stay for all four years.

8:37 – New CHS course proposals coming up.

8:39 – Actually, CHS student trip proposal will be first.

8:43 – Proposing trip to gain greater language fluency and cultural experience.  In the past, trips have not been school-sponsored.

The tour next summer:  Paris, France to Spain.  Students will be supervised at all times throughout the trip.

8:46 – One transferrable high school credit will be given for coursework accomplishedduring the tour.  Cost: about $2500

8:48 – For students who cannot afford the trip, the nine fundraisers will not quite cover the cost of the trip, according to Eric Haffner (Spanish teacher).  The school board has approved the trip.

8:49 – Now, CHS course proposals…

8:53 – 1) Video II – Extends Video I – instruction to create movie montages, movie reenactment/remakes, and analysis

2) Art department Honors courses – Ceramics IV & V, Drawing III, Photography III, Computer Graphics II and III, Painting III, Mass Media Video II.  Courses will require a research paper, interviews w/ professionals in the field, comparison of college programs and a speech to the class, reflection on a visit to the museum, and 5-7 additional pieces/projects in the area of concentration.

8:54 – The classes will include both honors students and non-honors students with students opting to choose the honors portion at the beginning of the school year.  Students will be tested over the same material; the honors portion are justified by the extra projects.

8:56 – Waltz notes that since the extra work is over a 12-week period, it will have a significant impact.  Some board members seem skeptical.

8:59 – 3) Speech will no longer be a required course in the 8-semester graduation sequence; the class is proposed to be added as an elective.

4) Pre-Algebra – Will function as preparation for the Algebra I course; could serve as a GQE tutorial.  Could be a 3-trimester course.

9:03 – 5) Music – Jazz ensemble – offered first trimester that will provide a foundation for existing two trimesters of jazz instruction – for students who are not in the current jazz bands.  Could also be taken by non-instrument students.  Will not be a performing group, according to Gay Burton (director of music).

Intermediate Chorus – Boys – Provide foundational skills specific to the male voice.  Would require the addition of an accompanist for one period.  This would mean that 2 choir classes would meet first period.  According to Brittany Gableman (choral director), the course will enable students to receive specific instruction on pitch matching.

Advanced Chorus – Girls – Would extend foundational skills provided in beginning and intermediate choruses for girls.  Course would also require the an additional accompanist for 1 period, so the accompanist would work for 2 periods total.

Overall, this will split one choir into two choirs.

9:06 – Honors concert band, honors orchestra, honors concert choir (will meet for 2nd and 3rd trimesters only), honors dance performance B (dance team – 3rd trimester)

Honors music courses will require auditioning for all-state ensembles, taking a Group I solo (most advanced) to contest, performing in an honors recital, and also may include a research project.

9:10 – 6) Social Studies:

Modern World Civilizations – required extension of Freshman Humanities Academy.  It’s not weighted, but the course will allow the curriculum of AP World History to be stretched over 3 trimesters instead of 2, including a focus on Chinese culture – after the AP test in May.

Topics in History – Not weighted; will provide an optional extension of the curriculum completed in AP US History and will allow for enrichment and further test prep for those who elect to take the course

9:11 – As I understand, it will provide more flexibility, meaning that the AP courses will not be three trimesters anymore

9:15 – 6) Basic skills – transition & social – Will provide a basis for strengthening special ed students’ social skills and interactions

7) Tech Ed department – Civil Engineering & Architecture – A Project-Lead-the-Way Course – Will replace Architectural Drafting I

Will be a dual-credit with Purdue University (weighted as AP)

8) World Language Department – American Sign Language III – will extend ASL instruction to a third year, which will fulfill academic honors requirements

Chinese, Levels I-IV – Depending on enrollment, this course could be taught by locally hired staff or through distance learning

9:16 – Will not add any more AP courses for now – they want to stabilize the courses before adding more (will probably happen in the future though)

9:19 – Dyer says that new courses will have very little impact on staffing

9:20 – New courses have been approved by the school board

9:22 – Meeting is about to end; Dyer is going over the next meeting times (Dec. 3, 7 p.m. at West Side Elementary; Dec. 27, 7:00 a.m. at Education Center)

9:25 – Larry Mast (school board president) notes that meeting was “very meaty;” meeting has ended.

9:26 – Burton announced that Wicked has been cancelled but they have alternate plans