November 8, 2010 Minutes

November 8, 2010

Leadership Council Meeting
Media Center

In Attendance: Jean, Donna, Shannon, Jan, Rhonda, Mike, Sidney, Carl, Kylee, Barb, Erin, Sara, Joan, Nicole, Sarah, Jackie, & Lisa.

Go over the agenda for meeting.

Approval of minutes from last meeting on October 25, 2010.

Questions and Answers with Erin Glynn:
Introductions of Leadership members to Erin. Erin did student teaching at Marcy and came back to teach in 1983. Taught here for 7 years. Taught various grade levels. Also taught at Windom Open, AP/Principal at an art focused school. Went into district work in various capacities. Ten years of her career is Marcy.

AYP status and Open School Magnet status – Limit the number of magnet programs but strengthens the programs the district does have. The 3 open schools and 2 art schools are being evaluated for the magnet status. There should be some common points to magnet schools. That is the work around the magnet work with the consultants hired by the district. Open programs do not have to be identical but should have some common threads.

AYP status of 3.1 for Marcy - Our data shows that we can target our areas of needs and make gains to get off of our AYP status. We want our kids to be strong academically so that they have choices. We still want them to be well socially and emotionally. This is a little bit of a wake-up call and a chance to look at how we can put in some policies to move thing forward for all our learners. We are working on our goals set in the SIP through our PD and our PLC.

Is there a danger that through these evaluations that we will have to give up our magnet status? The opportunity is to strengthen our magnet status and do some alignment with the other two open schools. Open is progressive education and lots of people have caught up to us. What are we doing to stay cutting edge? What are we doing to move forward in open and to make our AYP goals? If we continue to go further in AYP there might be actions put upon us.

Some teachers are saying that they cannot do things because of the AYP status and others are saying that they can do “open” and still move forward with our AYP status. Progressive education has always been high standards for all students. We might need to rethink things and do some adjusting but we can improve our student’s skills and still be an open school. High academic standards and open can and do work well together.

Some teachers are sending the message that they need to drill and drill to make progress and that open things don’t work for certain types of kids. If you are meeting the students where they are, then open should work for all students. Kids learn by doing stuff. The inquiry is what gets kids to think and problem solve. Leveling students in reading is to find where they are and move them forward. Sometimes teachers panic and say that they don’t have time for the inquiry-based lessons. Teachers have a wide range of students and how do you effectively differentiate for all of your students. Knowing where students are at and moving them all forward is our goal. The partnership with parents is also key, what can I do at school and what you can do at home for the benefit of the child.

Looking for ways to engage more parents, maybe ways to get parents in to have things for them to do with their child. What can we do to support teachers and our students? Parents like/enjoy curriculum nights when they can get ideas and hands on activities that they can use with their students at home.

We want a lot of people represented at Leadership. We don’t have it now but we do have a big turn out for parent conferences.

We do have a group of families that don’t even know what open is. Not sure if they will come to this group without education on the topic. Our school has changed over the last 10-20 years and we need to make sure that we educate all our families. Conferences are great but we would like to try and get more families involved in the workings of the school.

All kids that come to Marcy are our kids. There isn’t an open student and a non-open student. Not everyone chooses Marcy because we are an open school. Some simple come to Marcy since it is their neighborhood school. Parents coming to conferences is a step in the right direction but not all parents are going to join a committee or attend meetings.

Holding accountability of families their role in our open school. Have a triangle of all people who are involved in a child’s education. Should they have to sign an open school contract?

One parent who got a call from a parent welcoming her to the school and explaining what open is about. Was this a role of the classroom rep.? It was a wonderful experience for that family.

Parents could commit to so many hours to help welcome families to our schools. This might be away to welcome and orientate more families to our building.

All K families are called and welcomed to Marcy by Sidney. The Somali families talk about our school and promote it in their own way.

The process of the district hiring a consultant to work with the open schools… Leann Dow is working with the magnet schools and the consultant to create a rubric for magnet schools. The group came out once to meet with Donna and Carl and talked about our school and where we are at in relationship to the rubric. It is a beginning baseline and we will work to improve areas of needs.

Parents have felt that the district is trying to undermine open. Many past events have led them to this conclusion. The want the district to please give us a chance and we can succeed.

Some folks feel that magnets have gotten special privileges, though this is really not true. Up until last year, magnet programs received the same funding as other schools without a magnet status.

South open had to limit 150 freshmen to the open program. The district is re-looking at the core four in the high schools. Roosevelt has auto and health care programs and have citywide transportation for students. Students will get Go To bus passes for the city bus system.

Time, I like a schedule but working in years past I had much more freedom. I could do whatever I want to do. Where and when can the kids do the arts and choice activities? It was great learning but cannot fit it all in. Time is our biggest struggle right now. We have restrictions on our time because we have to make academic gains. I have seen teachers use time very creatively and have no time when academics are not taught. I know that you do a lot of arts here at Marcy. You have artists in residence (3/4 team musician) and Bridges on 5/6 in the building. We are not just having arts without a connection to where we are going and the standards.

It takes a lot of time for kids to all present in that classroom. Can they videotape and small groups watch? What other ways can they show what they know? Students in younger grades used to do presentations and every student felt proud and a sense of accomplishment at what they can do. Think about Science Fair and History Day.

Student presentations could fit well with Reader’s Writer’s Workshop. At the end of every Writer’s workshop there is an author’s celebration. This would be a great time for students to present to small groups. Another idea a ½ classroom did was have students study different people and they came in dressed up as that person during the sharing portion of Morning Meeting. Students knew what day they were supposed to come and would share with the class. This would also be a great time to invite in families and the community.

Students get one-on-one time with the teacher through the Writer’s workshop conferencing and through the Reader’s notebook with the letters that they have written to the teacher. Each student gets a personalized letter back to them. This has been very powerful for students. They get the same self-esteem boost from the Writer’s and Reader’s workshop as they do from the presentations of the past. All the individualization can happen in line, in the lunchroom, and during recess.

The specialists have a concern that the rigidity of the schedule seems to treat all students as they are students in the red and that it is a one size fits all mentality. Pull out programs cannot pull out during Reader’s and Writer’s workshop. With the rigid schedule the specialist feel that they cannot meet student’s individual needs.

I don’t see it as a rigid schedule by putting a time frame around what we do and managing how we spend our time. I see the pullout as a problem of being a K-8 and not a schedule issue. There is a lot that needs to be done in our day. Why can’t kids in the green be pulled from their reading, writing, and math time? Because all students need to have instruction in the core content areas and make at least a year’s progress, no matter what color they start at.

We have looked at other schools specialist and pullout schedules. Parents have come up with various schedules for the centers and presented the to the specialists. Donna approached Mike about teaching a zero hour or afterschool but it didn’t work in his schedule. We have to think creatively.

We have a great shot of getting out of or off of AYP.

Some staff and parents talked about creating a Marcy 101 class for parents. ALC worked on a video about open and this could maybe be helpful.

Reading, writing, and math seem to be more important than other subject areas. These areas, along with Science are the areas that we are being tested and evaluated on. We want our students to have the skills to be productive members of society who have choices in life.

Increasing student engagement is important. You don’t have to take the fun out of learning.

There are teachers at various levels of this process (adapting to the schedule and new curriculum). There are many who have figured out how to integrate their passions for teaching into the day and others are still working on this as they work through all the new teaching materials.

The district is behind our magnet status and us with our work with students.

We need to get a charge statement from Connie, staff development chair, about Staff Development.

Hopes and Dreams:

5/6 team suggests the focus on open and trust among adults (staff) in the building (lack of trust) The team has the feeling of fear because they don’t have trust.

There are a lot of changes and things to learn but there is a lot of support to help you get through this. Some feel that the fun is seen as frivolous and not important to open. All the changes can feel overwhelming. We are trying to do this together but there are some people who are unwilling for various reasons to embrace the new requirements.

How can we get open fully infused in our district mandates?

There was talk about having a committee that focused on the work of being an open school.

Other teams were unable to share their team’s thoughts on this due to time.