JUNCTION CITY SCHOOL DISTRICT

 

BOARD OF DIRECTORS WORK SESSION

January 8, 2007

 

MINUTES

 

Board of Directors

 

Administrators

Mike Bonner, Chair

Randy Trummer, Vice-Chair

Denise Pratt

Judy Croce

Mike Brotherton

Jacque Gerdes

 

Kathleen Rodden-Nord, Superintendent

Wanda McClure, Business Manager

Kathryn Hedrick, High School Principal

Bill Bechen, High School Assistant Principal

Tom Endersby, Oaklea Principal

Amy Lesan, Laurel Principal

 

 

 

 

Staff

Staff

 

Staff and Others

Stephanie White

 

 

Daniel Sorensen, Student Representative

 

 

 

 

Denise Pratt – The first three goals that we set; at the last meeting we talked about the laws and the testing at the high school level and how we weren’t sure that we were getting the kind of information that we needed from the test. How do we know if we are meeting these goals if we don’t have a structure in place that gives us the appropriate information back? Superintendent Rodden-Nord – That is a really good question and I think there are some budget implications that will be discussed later in the meeting. As it stands right now, the assessment data for the high school, aside from classroom level assessments, really is a snapshot of a student’s performance during their 10 th grade year. One of the things that the administrative team has looked at and Principal Hedrick and Mr. Bechen would like to have considered is the notion of utilizing an additional standardized test program and it’s more informative and more ongoing. Denise – I would like to see more kids take the SATs. Would there be any benefit to requiring kids take the PSAT to help prepare them for the SAT? Chair Bonner – I think we talked about that and one of the ideas was that the district would pay for those tests so that money was not an obstacle for the kids. Superintendent Rodden-Nord – That is something that is being considered by South Lane and is done routinely by private schools in Lane County. I don’t think the cost would be too prohibitive; I think the cost is under $20 per student. Kathryn – I think it is even less than that. Wanda – When I figured how much it would cost if we did pay for it, I came out with $1836, so it’s not too expensive. Kathryn – No kid has ever been turned away because they couldn’t afford to pay for the test. Jacque – Could you have kids take the PSAT in 9 th, 10 th, and 11 th grade? Kathryn – Not the PSAT. That’s because it’s a program that is a qualifier for the National Merit Scholarship. Jacque – Something like that though. Are we trying to find out how kids are progressing through high school? Superintendent Rodden-Nord – I’d like to set that aside as something we need to get more information on, as I know that some schools do test all students (9 th, 10 th, and 11 th) with the PSAT. Kathryn – I do think it is worthy of some investigation. There are some other things that we can do that can address some of these concerns through other testing avenues (NWEA). Denise – My goal is twofold: one is to get an idea of where we are at; whether we are meeting these goals; and the other is increasing the number of kids taking the SATs. Kathryn – On the 24 th of January NWEA will be at the administrative meeting to talk to the administrative team, and then will remain at the high school for the remainder of the day. I would invite anyone who is interested to stop by and talk with him about the testing. Judy – Are we going to continue later with this conversation? Superintendent Rodden-Nord – I would like to bring it back to the board because at this point I would just be speculating, so I want to get more information. Jacque – Do other schools have their goals and the tools they will use to reach their goals? Superintendent Rodden-Nord – I haven’t seen the tools so much but I have definitely seen in some districts that the goals might be more quantified. Like a 5% reduction in the number of students not meeting. Or a 3% increase in the percent of students meeting or exceeding in all areas. That would be the question that I would ask the board, ‘would that be helpful to have a more numerical way to evaluate progress toward the goals’? Randy – It makes the goals more lifelike. When you use the word ‘significant’ or ‘measurable success’ we don’t know what that means. Kathryn – A lot of the things that I will be talking about later might address some of these concerns. Mike Brotherton – We are talking about how the ship operates and what I see with these goals is that it is lacking a destination. The basics to get into college (4 years math, etc.) should be part of our graduation requirements. Each child, when they receive their diploma, has that opportunity to move forward. Judy – I think we are headed that way. Mike Brotherton – I think the state is forcing us to move that way. Michelle – Mike, I think that idea is brilliant because a lot of colleges are requiring that you have at least three years of math. If you know what the end goal is as a freshman, what the colleges require, more kids will be able to get into a college after graduating high school. Chair Bonner – If there were seminars for parents regarding college requirements, what grade level would you put that at? 9 th? Several members – 8 th, 9 th, 10 th, 11 th. Daniel – I never looked at graduation requirements when I came into high school. I always looked at college requirements, so that wasn’t a problem for me. I don’t think that a lot of students are unaware of the requirements to get into college. Mike Brotherton – Last year we started working toward this goal when Kathryn came up with the AP and Honors type classes.

 

Superintendent Rodden-Nord – You guys are definitely giving us some things that we need to think further about and get information and bring back to you. What other pieces of the goals jump out at you as in need of revision or maybe a recommitment to the value of that particular piece of the goals? Chair Bonner – Going back to the scores that were put out a couple of meetings ago where it shows the high school at or below average in a lot of these scores. I would like to see those numbers increase to above average in the Lane County Schools. Superintendent Rodden-Nord – So maybe incorporating some sort of statement in the part of the goal that speaks to achievement that says ‘students should perform at or above the Lane County average’, something like that? Let me be clear that what I think we need to do after this work session tonight is get all of your ideas together, try to synthesize the information, give it back to you in draft form and give you a chance to respond in maybe some multiple choice options. I don’t see us getting to the end of this revision tonight, but I do think it is important to get all of your questions and ideas out on the table. Jacque – I really like the article you sent out about the literacy. I have really been happy with what’s been happening when we started really focusing on that. Do we need to beef that up at all, or is it good enough? Chair Bonner – The presentation that Ms. Stahl and Mr. El-Sayad put on, has that gone district-wide? Jacque – It sounds like the middle school has a great team going, and I know that Laurel has a great thing going with all of the flooding with reading. Do the administrators need anything else that could help beef it up? Amy – I think our language arts adoption will be a big help. Mike Brotherton – Maybe we should have a goal that states that all students will be at reading level by the time they reach the third grade. Denise – Maybe the goal should say something like ‘all students will be at reading level at every grade level’. Superintendent Rodden-Nord – Maybe something like ‘ensuring that our students demonstrate proficiency in reading and literacy at every grade level’. Denise – I like Mike’s goal of having kids going into high school sort of forced into taking the classes that will get them into college. What I would say for myself is that if we concentrate what money we have K-3 that would make that goal easier to reach down the road. Kathryn – If it is the board’s goal to have proficient readers by the 3 rd grade I would be happy as the high school principal because that means that I would be assured that those students coming into the high school would be more ready for high school. Jacque – What about having it say that every student will be proficient readers at every grade level with an emphasis on the 3 rd grade? Then we are not saying that anyone is being left out, we are always working on it, and there is just a push at that 3 rd grade level.

 

 

Jacque – I would like to hear from the admin team. If we are talking about significant measurable achievement increases, do you have the tools to really judge that? Chair Bonner – And if not, what do you need to get there? Kathryn – The issue is the definition. Do you want me to get to ‘x’ point and know success when we see it; or do you want me to get to ‘y’ point and have success? We are moving in the successful. For example, our attendance rates have maintained at 95% attendance in the last three years. Is that successful? Or are there now expectations that we move up to 98% or 99%? It doesn’t matter to me what the percentages are or what the numbers are, but it I would like us to recognize success when we have it. Mike Brotherton – Using the word ‘significant’ or ‘measurable’ is like using the word ‘stupendous’; it’s meaningless. It’s hard to know what is significant or measurable. We need to give specifics. How much of an increase? We want to give them something that they can use to get from point ‘A’ to point ‘B’ with. Tom – We have our school improvement plans that we present to the board that shows our goal, where we were, where we are, and where we want to be. Mike Brotherton – Then why not use the school improvement plans as our goals? Superintendent Rodden-Nord – The school improvement plans are created using the board goals. Amy – We would have to be school specific and it would get pretty long.

 

Judy – Are we using the same process for reading that we used several years ago in math? Denise – Are you talking about bridging curriculum from building to building? Judy – Yes. That’s what I would like to see.

 

Randy – When schools work together to come up with something and there is that unity across all grades, which is great. We really don’t have a way of linking beliefs and values and missions across the whole district and the evidence of that is when we get to times of adequate funding. When Kathryn is telling us that she needs one thing and the other administrators are coming up and telling us they need something else that is when it starts getting difficult as a board to have these discussions. That kind of component is missing from this top level.

 

 

Michelle – I would suggest that we go back to the goals and replace the word ‘significant’ with a certain percentage, which would go right along with item C. Mike Brotherton – Our goals don’t seem to tell us what’s important to us. Denise – Back to the school improvement plans; that just seems lengthy. Doing it for each building would consist of several different lists that then need to be prioritized. I want our goal to be clear enough that if literacy is important to us, the board after us knows it. Mike Brotherton – I just think we need to make sure that all kids graduating from Junction City are college-ready. Chair Bonner – We definitely need to have another discussion about this, but right now we need to move onto the next agenda item.

 

 

 

 

Kathryn Hedrick – I was asked to make a comprehensive report on what changes to high school graduation requirements are being considered and how they might impact Junction City High School and implications for the 2007-08 district budget. The first five pages of my handout offer a narrative and the sixth page offers a summary in table format. The State Board of Education will meet on January 18-19, 2007 to determine the answer to the question: Should the State of Oregon increase high school graduation requirements? The question is being asked, at least in part, because Oregon high school seniors and graduates appear to not be ready for college or other postsecondary training and employers charge that they are not ready for the work place with appropriate knowledge and skills. The belief, for the sake of argument, is that if schools increase rigor in the curriculum, high schools will better prepare students. We need to recall at all times, for all students, and in all classes, this is not a high school endeavor: this is a K-12 endeavor. The high school must be aligned with elementary and middle school curricula, instruction, and assessment if we are to see gains in our outcome. Towards the end of raising student achievement, the 2005 Legislature increased the number of required credits in English to four and the number of required credits in Mathematics to three. The Board of Directors for Junction City approved those changes to the high school’s graduation requirements for the Class of 2010 and beyond in the spring of 2006. These changes will necessitate us to allocate certain resources, as estimated below:

 

 

 

PART I: CHANGES NECESSITATED BY 2006 ADOPTED GRADUATION REQUIREMENTS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

In your packets that were sent out by Superintendent Rodden-Nord, you have a survey that high school teachers and senior students completed and you have an opportunity to submit it for State Board consideration. They are scheduled to meet January 18-19 and make known its recommendations to the 2007 State Legislature. Superintendent of Public Schools Susan Castillo has added her voice to the proposed changes as reflected in the brochure, “ Oregon’s High School Diploma,” also included in the packet.

 

PART II: SUMMARY OF JANUARY 18-19 STATE PROPOSED RECOMMENDATIONS

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

For tonight’s budget and planning purposes, I would like to focus on the first three proposed recommendations. Each could impact the high school budget in terms of FTE, curricula materials, and facilities.

 

Recommendation I: Require demonstration and documentation of Essential Skills and Career Related Learning Standards (CRLS):

 

Explanation

 

 

 

 

 

Implications

 

 

 

 

Recommendation II: Increase rigor of mathematics

 

Explanation

 

 

 

Implications

 

At the November, 2006 JCHS Oregon Council for the 21 st Century Meeting, the math department proposed the following new class and it will be voted upon on February 1, 2007:

 

Foundations of Algebra – including Algebra I content. This would be a three term sequence for those students needing additional instruction in Algebra.

 

Food for thought: Oregon High Schools are being criticized for not preparing students well in Algebra II, as evidenced by student’s scores on placement exams for college classes. JCHS is considering if we could at least partially solve the problem by including more math in non-math courses during the senior year and/or offer a refresher course just prior to the placement test.

 

Recommendation III: Increase number of credits required in Science from 2 credits to 3 credits

 

Explanation

 

What should be the third year Science?

 

 

Implications

 

 

 

a.   Our agriculture, computer or technology teachers would have to be credentialed in Science for NCLB.

 

 

Conclusion

 

Any decisions the State Board reach should also include a timeline for implementation. We will report on adjustments as we gain more information from the State Board or ODE.

 

 

 

 

 

Wanda McClure – The administrators, along with their staff, have been going through a process that actually started last May, and we started brainstorming what our needs and wants were, as a district. The administrators talked with their staff, came back and we met at least monthly, to talk about brainstorming. The administrators came up with a list that you have, with all of the brainstormed ideas. We then, as a team, prioritized that brainstormed list. If we get that additional $300,000, what would that list look like; if we get $150,000 more, what on the brainstormed list would we put there; and so on. What the task is now is to mesh this list with the board goals. We did that some, and that is shown in your handouts. Superintendent Rodden-Nord – We took components of the current board goals, and administrators were asked to think about how each of their items on the brainstormed list fit into the goal statement. Wanda – Sometimes when you come to that first budget committee meeting it feels as though you are getting a lot of information and there isn’t a realization that there has been a lot of discussion and backup information.

 

Denise and Mike Brotherton raised some concern about adding all of these programs back and then not getting the money that was promised to us, since it has happened before. Denise asked if there was a way to add some of the one-time purchases to the list, but not some of the items that would continue costing us more and more money each year.

 

Wanda – This governor’s budgets have been pretty accurate. The previous governor’s budgets were not as accurate. Superintendent Rodden-Nord – Even with these projected additions in staff, that still doesn’t put us back to where we were in 2002-03 with total FTE. We will still be about 15 licensed staff members short. Some of what you see up here is the continuation of programs that were funded in a stop-gap fashion from the Long Tom Grange (the media position and music position); the administrative FTE, that was where we were in 2002-03. If the bottom falls out again, we will definitely be in the position of having to make staff cuts. That is not where we are going to be next year, or the year after based on the projections that we have. What the board and budget committee needs to start thinking about is, given increased revenue, what programs do we either want to enhance, and what additional new and different things do we want to focus on. I don’t think that any of these positions would be based on one-time money, at least as far as the biennium goes.

 

 

Superintendent Rodden-Nord – If the board and budget committee is concerned about the budget and the possibility of not getting the revenue that is projected, we can always base our budget on tiered revenue, like we did the last couple of years.

 

It was the consensus of the budget committee and board that a tiered approach to the budget would be a good idea.

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s hard to get the public informed if they don’t show up to the meetings. Maybe send invitations to more ‘key’ community members. Agendas are sent to all building representatives for both licensed and classified; agendas are posted at all schools; several members of the community and businesses get the agenda mailed to them. Web surveys? Denise was concerned that not that many people would respond. Paper surveys sent home with kids? Same as previous, concern that not many people would respond. Newsletters?

 

 

It was decided to hold another work session on January 22, 2007 from 5:30 to 6:30 and then start the board meeting at 6:30.

 

 

Adjourn at 9:05 p.m.

 

 

 

                                

Superintendent/Clerk             Chair, Board of Directors