February Minutes

Parent Council Meeting Minutes
February 5, 2009
6:30 pm
Multipurpose Room
Board members present: Julia Janousek (chair and Marcy Family Network facilitator), Sarah Tittle (treasurer), Lisa Hondros (secretary, leadership alternate)
Agenda:  Presentation by Dorothy Hoffman
Institute for Learning (IFL) is an educational think tank in Pittsburgh that has taken Best Practices and turned into a framework for wider use.  Nine principles of learning.  Three strands:  Leaders (Donna and a couple of teacher leaders), how to teach pedagogy; Elementary, content focus teaching, like going deeply into how to learn to read; Middle school/specialists - Disciplinary Literacy, go deep into subject, e.g. Constitution
Concept of apprenticeship, apprenticing yourself to a discipline.  Elementary piece is newer, maybe has more problems.
Lynn Norgren (union president) – only initiative in 30 years that teachers will fight to keep.
Seeing teaching as constructivism.  Inquiry approach to everything and kids construct their own meaning around it.
Dorothy spent time with Marcy staff working on identifying open school theorists, philosophy and noting that same ideas/people underlie IFL principles.
Zone of proximal development (ZPD) – “wow” moment when learning
Need to create
More knowledgeable other (MKO) – can be student, teacher, text
Knowledge doesn’t necessarily make your brain change, but understanding does.  When you operating in ZPD, your brain is actually changing.
Finally match pedagogy to what we know about the brain and learning.  “Born with a brain but make our minds.”
Effort creates ability.  Talking makes you smarter – “deep talk”
Many problems with the way IFL was implemented.  Imposing practices without first providing philosophical base.  First principals brought in had no choice, didn’t understand the process.
Her belief:  grounding of IFL framework essentially the same as open school pedagogy.  Implementation in an authoritarian way is a contradiction of the philosophy, and there have been problems with implementation.  Some teachers see as a limitation of their freedom.
Middle school difference  - because they teach one subject (disciplinary literacy)
Donna currently being trained as an instructional leader.  We have a Content Focus Coach (CFC Coach).  Marcy has a half-time CFC.  Donna would like a full time person for better integration into the school.  Class size is most often mentioned barrier to implementation of IFL principles.  Marcy currently has 632 students, district had apportioned us at 599.
Also staff dealing with new math curriculum this year.
District says:  this is an era of accountability.  We are failing a large number of students in the district.
Question:  how do we evaluate teachers now?  PDP (Professional Development Plan) teams
Principals are evaluated four times a year.
Dorothy:  this style works best for lowest performing students  (e.g. Nellie Stone Johnson, Northeast)
Question:  how does IFL mesh with standardized testing?
Dorothy:  tests now demand written responses explaining thinking
All about meta-cognition, thinking about your thinking.
Meeting adjourned at 8:30 p.m.?
Respectfully submitted, Lisa Hondros (serving as secretary)?