May 2, 2011 Minutes

Leadership Meeting

May 2, 2011
Media Center
5:00-6:30 p.m..

In Attendance: Barb, Eric, Carl, Jan, Teferi, Teresa, Mariann, Sidney, Donna, Jean, Sidney, Tamara, Shannon, Amy, Kerry, Jenny, Dan, Nancy, Abirabukhadra, Amanda, Chris, Eric, Tamsen, Amy T.

Agenda was approved with the addition of classroom assignments for next year.

Donna – Teacher placement for 2011-2012 school year
Donna received an email from a parent asking that she explain why she made changes to the staff placement. She followed a process that is outlined in the teacher contract. She was planning on sharing this with the Leadership council tonight. There were certain time constraints that she needed to work with. Teacher bidding started last Monday and she wanted to make sure that staff had the opportunity to go to bidding if they were interested.

Donna’s process was individual staff, whole staff and then leadership. Unfortunately word was given to others prior to this meeting. Donna cannot share personnel information in Leadership since there is a privacy issue. She would not have come to Leadership and asked for input on where personnel should be placed.

The principal’s job is to place teachers in the best possible teaching situation for our students.

What is your rationale for these changes? As you know we are 3.1 on AYP. Every year more that we are on AYP we have more sanctions on us. I am trying to make the teams as strong as possible. Last March, I told the staff that we would need to follow the district curriculum and schedule, these were in the non-negotiables. I am held accountable for these things with the district also. At the beginning of the year I shared the work rules with the entire staff.

How will these changes improve student achievement? The teams that have embraced the Professional Development have made some great gains in their teaching and in student learning. There has been some blocking with staff on these changes in some instances.

The teacher is the key to student improvement. A good teacher, no matter what grade level they are teaching at, are good teachers. Donna is happy to meet with any one on these issues.

There are lots of district changes and it doesn’t seem necessary to make staffing changes. The staffing changes have been made to improve teaming and student achievement.

These changes may weaken the grade-level teams. It could be looked at this way but I have made the moves to better serve our students and staff. I would not move them just for the sake of moving them.

This could jeopardize our magnet status and magnet money? This is not jeopardizing our magnet money since it is a gift and not tied to staff. I don’t believe it will jeopardize the open school philosophy since all staff are staying but moving and sharing their expertise in other areas.

The rationale is not about teacher performance. The move is to support student learning and teaming. Teacher performance is not something that would be discussed at Leadership.

How can we have a true-shared Leadership? I think that this is an on-going process. The staff was in a state when I first arrived. There were those celebrating that they drove the old principal out and those that were wondering what happened. We have a strong parent influence here at Marcy and we are trying to move forward. We sometimes tend to bring up the “ghosts” of Marcy past. I hope we keep moving forward with this and have families and staff who truly want to be on Leadership and move things forward.

There is trust issues. Some say the climate is bad at Marcy. There are teachers who don’t like what is going on in the district yet they stay.

I am here for the students and student achievement and I want the staff to stay strong.

How can we be transparent as a Leadership team? There are times that there are Leadership decisions and Principal decisions.

I will be here next year and I want to make sure Marcy Open School continues. We cannot always make everyone happy.

Extend the Parent Preference Forms for one more week so that parents can reflect on the staff changes and how it might impact their children.

TEAMS FOR 2011-2012
Kindergarten is 2(Joan and Barb) full time and 1 ½ time position is Joy
First and Second grade is Teferi, Nicole, Andrea, Polly, Pat, and David
Third and Fourth grade is Jan, Lisa, Rhonda, and Anne
Fifth and Sixth grade is Dan, Teresa, Julie T.(might be at the Bakken for one more year), and TBA (Mariann will not be back next year)
Middle is stays the same except that Amy will be teaching ELL along with French. She holds both licenses and she will work with Luda on this.

Students will stay together in the their home base and a new teacher will slide in. We want to keep the community of students together.

When will middle school eat lunch next year? Don’t know at this point.

Will there be less movement next year? I cannot say this for sure. We will have to wait and see.

What about sixth graders going to middle school? (This was from an email to Donna)

Questions:
Parent - Worried about the 5th and 6th grade team. Parent’s feel that their students are getting yanked around. There isn’t anything that I can do to reassure you. I read all the emails, forms, and take into consideration all the information that families share with me.

Parent - I wish I would have know about this in January so I could have moved my child to another school.

Donna - I appreciate you thoughts but I have to do what is best for all students.

Staff member - We used to have a different process for placing students in classrooms during the school year. The team was told we have a new student coming to the team and the team would meet together with the family and make the best decision for the student. The district is too top down in it’s decision making. As we move forward we need to make positive steps forward. We need to give the support to Donna that she needs and work together.

Parent – You said that moving teachers worked out well in the past but I am thinking that some of them might not have been good.

Donna – I have gotten only positive feedback on the previous moves and I am assuming that this will work out well.

Parent – Did staff decide on these changes?

Donna – No, I made this decision. It is my progetive based on student learning, data, and teaming. We have to move all our kids forward the students in the RED and the GREEN.

Parent – It seems that 5th and 6th grade is getting the brunt of the change.

Staff member – While moving is hard we are attainable as teachers. I told Donna I didn’t want to move but she moved me and I have enjoyed my new teaching position. The teachers will do a great job in their new position.

Staff member – I also got realigned and moved from 5th and 6th to 3rd and 4th and it has made me stronger and forced me to try new things. I have a lot of good experiences from this change.

PLEASE FEEL FREE TO MAKE APPOINTMENTS WITH DONNA IF YOU HAVE MORE YOU WOULD LIKE TO DISUCSS.

OTHER BUSINESS
We need to vote on the resolution for changing the Leadership make up. Parents will vote at the next meeting.

K-vote to change
½ - did not decide
¾ - did not decide
5/6 – did not decide
7/8 – vote to change
Specialists – vote to change
Administrative team – vote to change
Non-licensed staff – vote to change

Two Somali parents have volunteered to be on Leadership for the next year.

Specialists like the language of representatives from the diversity population of our student body.

Some parents want to know why we are looking at the diversity of the parents and not the diversity of the staff. (We cannot control the people who work at Marcy based on diversity.)

Could our community representative be the First Congregational Church? The pastor is interested and they would be willing to send volunteers here for tutoring and other things. What is the denomination of the church? Is the church inclusive for our Muslim students? They do have a partnership with a Muslim group. The make-up of the church is somewhat Caucasian but they are progressive. Donna will check on if there are any issues with a church being our Community partner.

SIP – (School Improvement Plan)
Shared with committee and is available online. A copy is available in the office if you would like to see this.

Family involvement goals – We are offering Somali family parent informational meetings, We have not offered Professional Development to families as much as we could have. We had a large literacy night in April for the K-8 community. Somali parents, whose children are behind in reading, have been encouraged to stay for after-school tutoring and those that are qualified for free and reduced lunch can qualify for SES tutoring.

We have to adjust our goals and update them three times a year.

The Marcy Staff will be discussing homework this spring for next year. We have had STRONG parent feedback on needing more homework.

We like getting input from families about improving family involvement in our school.

We have conferences, the compact, frequent reports to parents on their student’s progress, access to staff, they can observe classrooms, portfolio events 2 Xs a year, if a student is referred for a special program than families will be informed of these placements (Reading Corp, Junior Great Books, Math competitions, etc.), bi-weekly newsletters from classrooms to families, First in Math.