MINUTES FOR DEAL LSRT MEETING - 5-16-05
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In attendance: Parents: Linda Feldmann, Deborah Fox, Mary Froning, Mary Giffin (PTA liaison), Sarah Whitener (guest) Teacher: Michael Hughes Administration: Sondra Legall, Manuel Dacoba, Gwendolyn Logan
Meeting opened at 3:45 p.m., adjourned at 5:45 p.m.
1. Minutes from the three previous LSRT meetings were approved.
2. Community representation on LSRT: As required, the LSRT should have a community member. This is particularly important, given that that rehab and construction will affect the community. There was discussion of various ways to find someone that both feels positively about Deal and would represent the greater community. The new LSRT (as of 6/1) will make the final decision on a process for finding a community member.
2. Strategic Plan: It was noted that Superintendent Janey's new Strategic Plan calls for art and music in every school. Given that Deal already has those classes, there is a question about whether this could result in an additional teaching slot.
3. Standards: The LSRT reviewed the Math and Language Arts standards that have been proposed by Superintendent Janey. Michael Hughes said he was pleased with the new standards, including the new emphasis on teaching media (such as film, TV, computers). He and Ms. Legall noted that under this new unified plan, kids coming from feeder schools should be better prepared, because "the strands will connect." Adoption of the new standards will necessitate new textbooks this fall for Math and Language Arts (Science and Social Studies to follow). Teacher training will occur over the summer to begin implementing the new curriculum. It was noted that in Massachusetts, from which the standards were adapted for use in DC, it took six years to implement the new standards. Because of the requirements of No Child Left Behind, however, DCPS is forced to have the standards and appropriate assessment tools in place by next Spring. Everyone agreed that it would be a difficult transition, but that we have no choice but to make the best of it.
4. Deal Staffing: The school is still on track to receive two new subject teachers and two other new teachers funded by Title I. Deal is getting a new French teacher. There will be no abolishments to cover teacher pay raises, at least until after next year. The City Council is working to provide the additional funds to cover the collective bargaining agreements, so that any pay raises are covered and do not require another round of staff abolishments.
5. Scheduling/Team Teaching: Master scheduling for '05-'06 begins on May 23. All seventh-graders and 100 eighth-graders will be placed in "teams." Theoretically, 100 students will have the same four teachers for the four core subjects: math, English, science, and social studies. Twenty teachers are being trained in team teaching, including simulations in how to run a class. Each team of four teachers will have a common planning period, which is essential for this approach to work. This approach provides for better tracking of students, a more cohesive curriculum, and flexibility for longer teaching periods when called for (Example: a Science lab could be 90 minutes instead of 45 minutes on a particular day).
6. More Instructional Time: With the new standards, increased instructional time is paramount. To accomplish this, the school schedule will change next school year. For example, lunch will be shortened by a few minutes and recess will be eliminated. This change has benefits other than more teaching time. In addition, it helps with security issues (see 7. below), reduces the likelihood of altercations and injuries, and solves a huge logistical problem when the weather is too bad for students to go outside. There also will be no bells next year, because of master scheduling changes that necessitate staggering classes.
7. Security Issues: We will be down one security officer next year. Mr. Dacoba is trying to get a second MPD police officer placed p ermanently at Deal. He reported the current officer has helped considerably. He also mentioned talk of staggering school closings for Deal and Wilson, so the deluge of kids hitting Metro simultaneously isn't as huge.
8. Rehab: Amy Friend is trying to get DCPS Facilities head, Cornell Brown, to answer her email on the possibility of a joint project between DC Department of Recreation and DCPS to build the new gym building. This would free up money to do more modernization of the rest of the school plant. Overall, there will be some "little things" done this summer, such as painting and plastering, and maybe some bathrooms. The main money for modernization/rehab comes as of FY '06, which starts in October '05. No decisions have been made about the priorities for that money as yet.
9. Internet Wiring: Manuel Dacoba provided an update. Joseph Renard and Vincent Carter, from DCPS Information Technology were at the school today (5/16). The wiring of the building is already done, but we need electrical power where the "smart closets" are placed. We need equipment to make the wiring work throughout the building. Reportedly, there is money to complete this, which awaits release by the City Council.
Deal is a priority to receive funds to complete the wiring. Meanwhile, the
teacher's Computer room is up and running. This allows them to connect to the Internet. A new grading program will be available that will allow teachers to keep parents aware of their child's progress (or lack thereof).
10. Communication: With so much change in store, the LSRT agreed that clear communication will be critical. The idea of setting up an LSRT communications committee was raised. Ms. Legall noted that the new principal will need to do a lot of the communicating. ESL parents need translations. Related to communications, Mary Giffin suggested there be more transparency with regard to sports programs. The importance of extracurricular activities in general, was also discussed. The committee agreed that the summer newsletter include separate sheets explaining Deal sports and extracurriculars, so that parents would be better informed about the possibilities for their children. The Deal website, which has sat untouched for three years, could be revived as a communication tool. Mr. Hughes suggested that could be a project in one of the teams.
11. New Principal: Melissa Kim starts in July. She may attend the June 2nd
PTA meeting if DCPS agrees.
12. Extra Money: Deal received $20,000 for being a High Performing School. This bonus money is limited in its use and must go towards meeting standards. If we had met our AYP (Average Yearly Progress) last year, Deal would have received $100,000. The SAT-9 results should be available in June that will tell us if our ESL Reading scores (Deal's only substandard cell) improved sufficiently to meet our AYP, and whether we continued to meet AYP in other
Next LSRT meeting: June 13, 2005, 3:40 p.m.
Prepared by Linda Feldmann and Mary Froning, May 18, 2005
Mary L. Froning Deal LSRT Parent Co-Chair Phone
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