Alright. [unintelligible]. Ah, it never ends. Mr. Castillo? Here. Ms. Gill? Here. Mr. Lawrence? Here. Mr. Reitlinger? Here. here here here here Ms. Ward. Here. Mr. Webb? Here. Thank you. Would you all join me and rise and say the Pledge of Allegiance? I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands, one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. All right, next we come to adoption of the agenda. Do I have a motion to adopt adopt the agenda? So move. Thank you, Mr. Lawrence and Mr. Webb. All in favor say aye. Aye. Sorry. I would actually like to make a motion to amend the motion. I’d like to, I would like to amend the motion so that the agenda would reflect a period of discussion of whether to recommend to the City Council that we establish a steering committee for the MEH GM expansion project. Okay. So the second? Second. Any discussion? I guess I’m kind of surprised. Why would we not have a group like we did last time? I mean, it sounds like I’m missing something, as if somebody said let’s proceed without a steering committee of some kind. Did I miss that? Because I missed the first meeting in the summer because I was gone. So, without getting into a substantive discussion, Mr. Lawrence, at the last joint meeting with the City Council, there was actually an extensive discussion about whether or not there should be some sort of steering group composed of representatives from the City Council, the school board, and community organizations or not. And there was, I think, a fair amount of controversy on that topic. At the end of the day, there was some discussion, or there was general agreement that, I think, a consultant should be employed to help the group, but there was by no means anywhere near consensus, and there were some opinions expressed that there should not be a steering group. I thought it would be helpful to have a discussion of that point among the school board in particular before going into our next session with the City Council. Okay. No action, just a discussion. Yes. Well I would note that item 7.03 does have on tonight’s agenda something about the Mount Daniel update and the GM MEH project. So could we just add it on to that?Do you think that would be a possibility for us to have that discussion at that time? Would that be acceptable? That would be fine with me. Mr. Reitlinger? Okay. I will withdraw my motion. Thank you. So, Mr. Ankuma, we are voting on a motion to adopt our agenda. Welcome. So. Without it … no we had an amendment that was subsequently withdrawn, so I believe right now we could call the question. All in favor of adopting the agenda say aye. Did someone second that? Miss Gill seconded it. [unintelligible] I seconded first motion. Yeah. And Miss Gill seconded the second. So all in favor of adopting the original motion to adopt the agenda as proposed say aye. Aye. Any opposed? Any abstaining? All right. We have an agenda. Now we come to item 2.01. Public comment. Any public comment slips? Well, seeing none, we will go now to item 3, the Apple iBook presentation, Dr. Jones. We invited Jeannie to come tonight after the discussion at our last meeting because the school board had indicated that you wanted to see what was in the iBook, which is, it’s really a performance-based rubric presentation, like a portfolio, and so Jeannie is just going to show you a little bit about what’s in it and what sort of evidence is inside the actual book. So again, this is at your request. So go ahead, Jeannie, and take it away. Okay. All right. Well, thanks for having me tonight. I just want to point out that there were certain criteria that we had to follow for making the book, and there were certain areas that we had to discuss, and the areas are here on this first slide right now. So we wanted to discuss visionary leadership, innovative learning and teaching, ongoing professional learning, compelling evidence of success, flexible learning environment were the key areas that we targeted when we made the book. So what I’m going to do is I’m going to go through this. I’m going to give you a preview of the book. I’m not going to go through everything. It’s an interactive book. It is in the iTunes Store, that when you go online you can download it for free, so that’s where it’s housed right now, so if you know anything about iTunes you could actually access it. So the first thing is I’m going to do an introductory video, and some of you may have seen this in the past, and some of you that are new, it might be new to you. Over the past few years, technology has changed a lot. Technology is transforming students access to learning. I remember the first week when I came to George Mason, they were actually installing the wireless access point. Having wireless in the school, I think, has been a huge game-changer. And I was like, wow, this is exciting because we have two in a library. So the thing is I can’t live without this, and I can’t expect my students to either. First, we had to sign up for computer labs, and if we were lucky we could get in. Then we had laptop carts, which made our access to the internet a whole lot better. I have these laptops for my French One class, but now that it’s made the material more authentic for them that I use it in my French Two class, and I use it in all of those classes every day, the whole class. Not only are we getting out laptops and using them every day, they fully change how we think about a group. Multiple kids can edit one document at a time. Have two students in the same group with laptops out. They’re kind of using one as the final product machine and one as the, like, research machine or the data processing and all that kind of stuff. It’s me being at home working on it. I can peek in on what they’re doing and write and read comments to them. And I think it’s my job as a teacher to prepare the students to be sound intended learners. It’s amazing how easy it is to change a textbook class to one that is based on the internet with real authentic situations. It’s making me more creative about the types of things I assign to the kids. I can’t always show them the rules. I feel it’s better to show them the tools to use to succeed, and that’s what this is. So that was an introductory video to the book, and the book’s title as you can see is Personalized Learning . So when we talk about personalized learning, we’re not just talking about technology, even though that has a lot to do with being able to personalize experiences for children, but it has to do with everything that we do to help and support our kids. So whether it’s the RTI process, whether it’s our GT program, whatever it is, any way that we can individualize the learning for our students is what’s really encompassed in this entire book. So, again, I’m not going to hit everything. but I’m just going to give you a little bit of an overview as we go through this. The first part gets into just talking about FCCPS, who are we, who are we as a school division, what’s our mission statement, what do we believe in as a school division. It also gets into communication as well, and it talks about like our Twitter feeds and and how you can follow to see the great things that are going on in Falls Church City schools, because we have a lot of great things. We really are a premier small school division, and we should publicize that, we should celebrate that. So, a lot of these Twitter feeds will do that, as well as the morning announcements that John and Carol work on every day during the school year. And it even takes you on to, like, the personalized learning website that John did and explains personalized learning a little bit more as well. And it gets into a little bit about our schools and so on. And then as we go through, it taught the first thing that we had to address was visionary leadership. And one of the things that we talked about, and when I say we, there was a committee. We had administrators, we had teachers, instructional technology coordinators that were all involved in this process. This wasn’t done by just one person. And you’ll see some of the credits at the end, but the credits are just some people that were key people to go to for more information, even though there was a lot more people involved. So here you can see some of you on the school board or up here from when this book was created. And it talks about the process a little bit and how it was a charge to really follow through the personalized learning and make this happen for our school division. Individual leadership. It comes down from school board to central office to individual leadership, and that would be our building administrators. Our building administrators are very key in the process for working with their teachers and students in the building, and their philosophy as well about personalized learning. Here you’ll see some of our newer admins since we did have a lot of new ones this year. And this also talks about the action steps in the action plan. So here you’ll see, like, year one and how it was a process. It wasn’t something that happened overnight, it was thought out, it was planned, and it explains what happened in year one, and the first thing that had to happen with the infrastructure. You can’t have the technology working properly if you don’t have the infrastructure in place, so I know Rick’s team did a whole lot with that. Year two. There is a community visioning that was done, so a lot of stakeholders from the community we’re involved in that process and discussing what should it look like in Falls Church City schools, and what do we need to do to get there. We had a lot of experts, parents, etc, that were involved in that process, and it’s also part of the school board work plan. And a lot of these things in here, if you have a chance to really go through this, there’s a lot of hyperlinks that take you to certain documents as well, so you can get some more of that information. And then your 3 and so on goes through that action step and, again, I’m not not going to go through all of this information here because it’s a lot, it’s a lot of things. The one thing I do want to do though is down here are some audio clips, and these audio clips were all done by the administrators in the buildings, and it pretty much tells, and they talk about their philosophy and their belief and the importance of having personalized learning in their buildings. So I’m going to play this first one and this is Ty Harris. My name is Ty Harris, and I’m the principle of Mary Ellen Henderson Middle School in Falls Church, Virginia. One of my mantras is that middle school is not just a pre- requisite for high school, it’s a pre-requisite for life. With that being said, it is imperative that schools are providing enough intake and engaging learning opportunities for every student, and the use of technology allows our teachers to do that. It allows our teachers to extend the classroom beyond the brick-and-mortar. Many students that are struggling at the middle school level are dealing with issues outside of the classroom, and so the ability to utilize technology to ensure that they can still access the information is important. Also, sometimes students need to see the material in a different way, and although we want our teachers to differentiate instruction, the truth is that teachers usually go with the delivery style that they’re most comfortable with. Technology provides ultimate opportunities to explore the content. It’s really equalizing the playing field because students, no matter what their learning style is, can utilize apps, websites, etc, to gain the required information in a manner that is effective for them. Students like technology. They get excited when they get to play a review game using a [unintelligible], build no connection robots or Lego rovers. They enjoy creating projects using iMovie and GarageBand. They love being able to share research using Google Docs. As administrator, I find it extremely effective to create Google Forms to gather information and share and organize everything with my staff using Google Drive. Additionally, we are an IB candidate school, and one key component of the IB framework is to provide opportunities for the teachers to serve more as facilitators rather than managers or directors. At Mary Ellen Henderson, students are encouraged to be reflective about their learning and personal growth. This focus on reflection truly prepares the students for success in college and career. One’s ability to problem solve and self redirect is critical. Employers want people that they don’t have to micromanage. At our school, students create digital journals, vlogs and blogs. Every student has access to a device and so they can record their thoughts immediately and share them with the world. Overall, I think that we do a very good job of utilizing technology. The students love using technology, and many just wouldn’t know what to do without it. The world that they know has always offered some advanced device or service. It would be a shame to not prepare them for world that is advancing on daily basis . And all of the other links that you click on from the other administrators are similar, but it pertains to their building and the developmental ages of the students that are in their building as well. One of the other areas that we had to address was about community engagement, and how the community was involved in the process with personalized learning, and how we get input from other stakeholders. So one of the things some of you may have been involved in the past was the community visioning that took place on October 21st, and a lot of the input and feedback from that visioning committee or group really fed the action plan for how things were rolled out over the the five years. On this page, you’ll also see year four, and year four is when George Mason started with distributing the technology to the students in in the building. and then it goes through a little bit and talks about year five and beyond and what our goals are for the future the other part that’s very important are some of the community stakeholders I’m sure you can recognize the mr. Rankin on here as well we had a consultant mr. L’Engle came in and and worked with our staff and our administrators for to make sure we had a successful rollout and they all have you know videos that they that will explain a little bit more about how they feel about the whole thing with personalized learning the one that I’m going to just kind of show you right now is is this one and it does take us out to our website and this is Morgan crafts. I’m Morgan crafts, I’m a director of technology and our Health Division for Northrop Grumman Corporation who are working on taking advanced technologies across all the sectors on national importance whether it’s intelligence defense or health and trying to take those big analytics big data analytics to challenge ourselves to say what are those questions that we can answer by looking at national and global issues and then bring them down to how they may impact you as an individual critical piece for building these new systems for Northrop Grumman in terms of innovation and science and technology is really the fundamentals of STEM I’m sure you’ve heard about that in your school but science technology engineering and math we’re really counting on the high school students to have those core capabilities across all technologies that we might use in the workplace so by the time you get to colleges and universities and we work a lot with colleges and universities the students are already familiar with those tools that are going to be critical for them to engage with us on doing scientific and technology discoveries and innovation over time we’re particularly interested in the rising amount of women who are getting into the engineering field so it’s going to be critical as we move forward so technology is really not the goal it’s not the objective it’s not the end game it changes everyday if you think about your own cell phone every three years or so we have totally new types of technology so fundamentally technology will be an enabler but each of us has to be ready to do the research and development to learn new things and to be ready for that technology to make significant changes as we move forward and he he really highlights the importance of preparing our kids for the future and making sure that they have access to the tools that they’re going to need to be successful in the real world and he really highlights the STEM or the “steam” component of it that it’s really about not the technology or the actual tool that they’re using maybe now but they need to have that along with problem-solving and so on for their future and the technology changes every every six months a year it changes drastically from what it used to be and can I just say for Morgan Crafts he actually was on our committee and came to all of our meetings which was absolutely amazing actually I could I couldn’t believe he found the time to do it and he still stayed engaged and followed up with us and those of you if he look familiar if you hadn’t met him or you might have met him at the city visioning that they had over at the church he actually came to that so and he doesn’t live in the city they’ve been a great resource for us to know what’s going on truly out in the world another area we had to address was innovative learning and teaching and how personalized learning changed the way teachers were instructing in the classroom how it made staff more productive more collaborative and how it also enhanced the learning of students and offered differentiated opportunities for them to show their understanding in different ways other than just taking a test or writing on a piece of paper or creating a poster board that hangs up that they could hang up they could do videos they can they could create music compositions they could do write do iBooks they had a venue now to choose from based on their interests and that’s how its transformed their learning so and I’m not going to play all of this but for example here’s one where some high school girls they were showing their understanding of some math concepts so they decided to do a rap video so again I’m not going to play the whole thing just going to the beginning I’m going to stop here I think you get the point okay so it’s just another way instead of them standing up in front of a class and saying how certain you know functions work and so on they can they just made a little video and they showed that to the class it was just a fun innovative way for them to show that their understanding another way is we have Miss Brown had all of her sixth-grade kids used iMovie to create documentaries and they use the primary sources from the Library of Congress and they were able to actually make those primary sources come to life through the iMovie and using those primary sources and then it highlights other ways like in Mount Daniel they were using a green screen to do something with Martin Luther King Day and expressing what they understood about Martin Luther King and so on for that way so it just how has our instruction and how has the teaching and learning of our students evolved and changed with access to technology or just personalized learning and looking at the pedagogy the way that we’re delivering that instruction so instructional practices again it gets into a little bit more like spiros and stem and steam and there’s the green screen with little Mount annual boys standing there was working on that and then to the left of that they were working with sphero’s in the technology classroom over at the middle school and then not only do the kids get excited about this but the teachers do too so I’m going to show again just a short clip I’m not going to do the whole thing here these are the fourth grade teachers at TJ the story of nine planets formed in the same solar system and having their lives taped to find out what happened we’re plants stop being polite and start getting real the real world solar system first one here the solar system for some reason I thought it would be a good idea to make this together in solar system it is only imagine what kind of orbital debris you’ll collect of these next billion years we’ll just have to wait and see right off the bat I can tell me and the sun are going to be pretty close hey my names earth I’m four and a half billion years old I’m just here to have a good time I’m Saturn some may consider me a little flashy I hope the other planets can handle this don’t your iPhone so well you have sometimes just gotta get hard look so far things are going fine they took a get heated a special incentive office I try to stay far away from that okay I’m going to stop it there but I think you can get the point they’re using it for instructional videos now to for kids to teach them certain concepts and this is something to a lot of teachers have been using the video so if kids are sick they can give them the link they can they can get the instruction through the video that way as well so there’s it’s just kind of neat they’re having fun they’re having fun with it curriculum design is another component and as you well know we are almost a K through 12 IB world school division we’re going through candidacy in November one of the things with our curriculum design and I think it was mentioned in the one video from mr. Harris as well is we need to look at the technology and making sure that we’re intergrading that into our curriculum so that it enhances teaching and learning with our kids so all the teachers when they were going through the curriculum process will will be aware of that component building it into that curriculum as they work on it throughout the years ongoing professional learning is very important as well you have to have good professional learning for your staff and one thing that’s always a challenge is that the staff needs differentiated instruction just as much as kids do and it has to be based on whatever their course area is the grade level and so on so it’s not just like a 1 way of teaching something to the middle for our staff either so the only way we can really differentiate is a lot of times through using our technology they all have laptops there’s a lot of online courses they can take we have a program that’s called elevate where we have a lot of professional development videos they can go in on their own choose the topics they want learn from that get recertification credit for that and so on and we also have as you know Steve Knight does a lot of digital learning workshops and he does a lot of it online and a lot of times he’ll do it at home because with busy schedules and so on some people don’t have a lot of time during the day so at 8 o’clock at night he’ll offer a digital online workshop and teachers can sign up to that and they can they can learn something from him and get those recertification points as well it doesn’t have to always be that face-to-face time so it’s relevant and it’s timely professional development that we can offer our staff and here’s one of the Flyers that Steve will send out and it has the dates and the topics and so on that are on there that people can sign up for and it’ll say if it’s face to face or if it’s online or so on Steve and Susan James will talk they talk a little bit about technology integration and pedagogy and so on and I’m just going to play one of these clips these are our teachers and teachers are from all the buildings from Mount Daniel through GM and about how the having access to digital professional learning really has impacted their profession let you know that I love the virtual classes this year as you know I’m a new mom and I hated to miss any extra time with her so the idea that I should actually do the professional development at home after Daisy went to bed was awesome and I will definitely be doing the VirtualBox of the connection so I hope you plan on doing it okay and the rest kind of tell their own little stories about how you know timewise they can they can go in and they can do certain things without having to be constrained to being at a certain location at a certain time on a certain date compelling evidence of success one of the components was how does personalized learning how is it really helping and enhancing preparing our students and providing equity and one of the subgroups that we talk about often our ESOL population really when you’re looking at equity a lot of times there’s there’s always that that pool of kids that don’t have access like majority of maybe our other students in the in the division so equity is very important and I know that this school board dr. Jones has always said that if if they need access we’ll make sure it happens the ED Foundation has been very helpful in that process as well so buying hot spots for those families that don’t have that access and that’s what that one little this one little thing here is a hot spot and if you click on it it’s very interactive it tells you what the hot spot is and what it’s used for as far as access and then we also have a short video here of some of our one of our ESOL students and just talking about what it means for him so and just so you know I mean so proud of him he was a what we call a level one student when he came to us level one basically means he knew no English at all when he came to us and this this video was done about a year after he arrived in Falls Church City so I mean for him in one year to learn that much English and be able to communicate I mean he’s really done well so it was very nice for him to be able to do that video this is a digital timeline I’m not going to go through it too much but it this kind of goes back through the the five year action plan and it’s a timeline of everything you know that’s been done over the five years in the different buildings to roll out personalized learning with our with our students and then compelling evidence gets into a little bit about you know how how what kind of data do we have and this was a teacher-student survey that was sent out on learning with personalized learning and this is some of the data that came back and some of you may have seen this you may not have so when the teachers were surveyed eighty six percent of the teachers felt technology was changing the way they teach in a positive way ninety-six percent of the teachers felt that technology has helped them to respond to a variety of learning styles again that’s part of differentiating ninety-three percent felt technology help them to differentiate the teaching more effectively 92 use technology in a classroom on a weekly basis and then we also surveyed students ninety-four percent students feel that it’s important to their learning eighty six felt it increased their productivity for the year and so on and then we got into a little bit about our data and again it’s not all about technology it’s just about who we are as a school division and how our students perform and we’re a high-performing school division and our kids you know we should be proud of the accomplishments that they make that’s going to be temperamental and not let me out of here there we go and there’s a little more data in there flexible learning environment was another area to address and it was like how are we not a traditional school system with the chairs and desks in a row you know how do we how are we innovative was really what this was all about what makes us unique in Falls Church City Schools how do we you know look at the needs of our kids whether it’s through the high C program whether it’s like classrooms the way teachers set up their classrooms with beanbags or yoga balls or you know outside classrooms or you know that type of thing that’s not that traditional approach to that learning environment that we’re unique and we’re innovative in a lot of ways with our the way our teachers do things and then we’re looking at the learning spaces as well a baker space was put in the MEH library area and also in the GM library area and I know that Thomas Jefferson and mountain daniel are working on areas as well so those are learning environments for our students again it’s not just all about the laptop it’s about technology and access to different equipment different tools different types of technology that our kids can go in and explore and be creative and actually create things and problem-solve information technology was another component we had to address how’s our infrastructure in our buildings can it handle certain types of technology that’s our Wi-Fi you know our hot spots and that’s this team right here you know Rick’s team have done a lot through pre-k through 12th grade making sure that we have that access at our fingertips for the technology to work and then we also have our students and how do we involve our students in this process and we have at GM especially they have an area a tech space where if any other students had problems they don’t have to wait for the tech team to come help and they have their peers that are knowledgeable that are volunteering their time you know to work the desk and be able to help the other students with changing passwords logging in problems you name it so they’re also learning a real-world skill as well as they’re doing that and then that’s pretty much it it we have the credits or in the back we had to identify people to contact for each of those categories for the book and it was published on the iTunes Store and anybody can download it for free so and that’s really it it’s really just talking about who we are as a division why we’re innovative why are we that little premier school division in the nation what makes us stand out it’s really showcasing and highlighting those types of things so thats it thank you. (unintelligible) are there any questions? how often does is this something that means I’m painting on a constant basis? it’s up to us and I do try to go in because I think it’s important because it’s we should showcase who we are you know and I think that it’s important to put that out there so I go in every now and then when I have some time and I try to update some of the pictures and things like that that change out like you saw the administrators and the data I need to update yet too and I’ll just republish it up to the website the one on the iTunes is the older one I haven’t had a chance to put this one up yet because I’m still working on it but yeah it’s up to us they we don’t have to so any other question other questions comments I just comment that I really like what I saw it’s really there’s a lot of people involved its like yeah there’s a good a good infrastructure and getting the teachers on board and understanding the technology it seems are really unique to the school system we don’t have that everywhere I’ve been here 12 years and since we rolled this out I mean I came from a school division was a blue-collar school division in Pennsylvania we had much more technology for many more years than Falls Church ever did when I first came it shocked me I’m like where’s the technology so to not have it was like for me stepping back in time and to get it was it was time to do that and our teachers I mean I was a teacher here in Falls Church City and they struggled at first because it was changed but now when and I want to update this to to showcase because now when you take a look at a lot of our teachers and how innovative they are and how good they are with using the technology a lot of times they’ll go to workshops and they will be amazed about other school divisions they can’t believe they don’t have access to certain things they don’t know what padlet is they don’t know what socrata is they are teachers use these things every day in their classroom and to take that away from them would be like detrimental to their profession if we tried to do that so we should be proud of our teachers and and what they do and our kids yeah thanks for sure any other questions comments I just say the Washington Post tends to have a habit of overlooking the good things that happen in Falls Church on things such as technology on September 2nd they talked about Fairfax County coming up with some great ideas about one-to-one use of technology and talking about some other places such as Arlington and obviously our thought leadership there establishes that were several years ahead of them-we’re ahead of them yes because of us (unintelligible) we have a lot of divisions that come visit us in Arlington was one of them I had dinner with a family in falls church yesterday and their son was talking about how much he’s enjoying high C math which he’s going to be taking this semester and he says it’s much better for him and his learning style so it’s good to see real real kids saying they they’re not running away from high c I think the student cooperative for helping with IT is great they do that at two of my kids at their school they also have that and I think that’s a great thing and one of my other daughters was saying the other day that the ability to collaborate online to have a dialogue at 9 o’clock with your teacher to exchange suggestions graphs markups really makes for a completely different learning environment so it’s it’s quite it’s quite impressive so thank you thank you all right well thank you for coming here this evening Ms. Seabridge (unintelligible) alright next on our agenda is item 3.02 disposition of public comments yeah. So this was one of the school board’s requested items and you know Marty and I did a little research probably two months ago since we did it actually where we called around to Fairfax called Arlington and really quite frankly everybody deals with the same thing was not really that helpful unless we were talking about maybe changing some sort of policy where and depending on which district you talk to where it’s more controlled actually in public comment where they can only address things that are on the agenda or were totally wide open but for the most part other school divisions are struggling with the same thing and that people come they give public comment and trying to find a person who can actually respond to that public comment is challenging because nobody has the staff to do it in any of the school divisions in this area and most of the school board members haven’t been able to take that on either so this was again an item that was requested to have on the agenda I’m not sure what you know what the answer is but I know I think at at the City Council they will actually refer and at least do some verbal on some of those things and I think we probably could do that I do know from a staff side we can’t respond to all the public comments we just we wouldn’t have time to do it so I turn it over to you because it’s really a school board discussion on what thoughts the school board has on how you want to handle that so you know there are multiple inputs obviously is as dr. Jones outlined and I’m not sure you know whether to what extent we want to develop or change processes for the way we handle some of these inputs so I think we’re sort of starting fresh it’s a Greenfield kind of situation so I’m I have no notions here of what is the right or the wrong answer so I would be happy to entertain mr. Webb maybe based on some of your experiences you can illuminate us as to-I guess-what the path forward might be. Is there a way that and I agree that that’s probably it’s probably very difficult of the number of requests that potentially come during public comment of responding back to the law is there way would that we can potentially prioritize what seems to be something that we can within reason respond back to an assortment of designated period of time? You mean for the staff for respond? Yeah well because even for us I have to respond it’s going to be we’re going to call or likely have to ask questions of you all depending upon what it is because you’re going to have the quicker access to some potential data that may be very important to giving the proper response I think I’ll speak for myself you know I would be willing to but I know I’m going to have to work with you Lisa or Hunter depending upon what the question is to make sure before responding back that you are giving the right information so then so that doesn’t circle back and you’re get caught giving the wrong information and then someone’s calling you on it. Yeah I mean I think we certainly could try to do a verbal response at the next meeting and know that there are things we can’t respond to we can’t because sometimes it depends on what the public comment is if it’s going to take six hours of research for us to go and pull stuff we just may not have the staff to do it and so that’s that’s part of the challenge is that you know I mean marty is your you know she works on behalf of the board and sets the agenda I don’t have a secretary that does stuff like that we just we have you know not added staff at central office for the last three years which you’re aware of we just we don’t have the we just don’t have the staff we don’t have the resources so we certainly could try to do verbal and do you know the very best that we could I would be nervous about responding and writing to some and not to others and you know it’s like whatever we’re going to do we need a good solid process but-I think what we I mean I think it’s important to respond to the public in some way whether to either maybe sometimes I’ve noticed that some public speakers are not they’re not well informed and even just directing them to the facts you know not sitting there and doing the six hours or to work but saying please refer to these websites and we can do that in the meeting format instead of I don’t feel comfortable for you giving your office any more work to do because I know you’re all overworked over there and really truthfully I don’t know about any of you but I couldn’t possibly undertake that as you know to do it on my own so or any one of us I don’t think has the time I know I don’t but I think if we address things you know in general often times I’ve noticed there’s when there is public comment several people comment about the same topic so we can like I said we and then we listen to what they have to say and then provide them either with it the correct information of the following meeting or provide them with the resources where they can find that information on their own and I think that’s probably the latter is probably the better way to go about it because some people don’t know how to navigate this websites and things this will help them be better informed citizens. Well I think another thing that’s important is to is to kind of do some upfront triage oftentimes when somebody writes something that’s very clear you can say okay this needs this particular action a lot of times somebody writes a comment and I’ll say you know give me a call I’d love to discuss this with you oftentimes it seems I don’t get that call and so sometimes I think people just want to have their say and then they’re fine in which case an acknowledgement would be sufficient so I think one of the things that we could try to do is figure out do you want what kind of information do you want what kind of conversation do you want so that we don’t respond in an overly or underly inclusive matter. Exactly and I think to when it comes to I don’t I think we need to respond to people’s direct questions and I know sometimes we do get we’ll get emails and we should maybe have something prepared at the following meeting or they’re not and within the next two meetings to respond to that with fax but I really feel oftentimes a public comment that’s generated isn’t is because of lack of full information it’s not necessarily misinformed but not fully informed and and once we get into routine of directing our citizens good to go where they need to go find out the information I think you’ll see less and less of these comments that they’re getting the facts themselves and actually understanding what’s going on does that make sense is there anybody I just I felt like that’s I think that’s the way to go. I think one of the issues is a lot of times you end up answering the same questions over the course of several weeks or months you know I mean it’s sometimes to say a long term project. You refer people back to the original response here’s what we said in this meeting it’s going to be in the minutes people have access to the minutes here are the directions here’s what you need to do here’s where you’re going to find this is you’re going to find that you know you need further explanation let us know. I still have to have somebody that does that though and what and I’m not trying to push back on that because I hear what you’re saying but somebody has to go find the right meeting on board Docs and it’s that even that sometimes is pretty it can be time-consuming trying to remember was that in June or July or then you’re going in and checking the agendas cause when you search it just doesn’t come up or. I think at that point it could be the onus should be on the person making the inquiry and we could say this was discussed in the spring please refer to the minutes and find whatever you need so we just don’t have time it that someone’s that interested and that concerned they’re going to take the time to look it up Well, I guess that raises the question,
have we made our materials as searchable and easily used as possible so that that
is something that you can do? And if not, we probably should because we’d save
ourselves some time. Absolutely. Mr. Reitlinger? Mr. Chairman,
clearly we haven’t made them as searchable as we can, but I don’t know
that we can. For example, I feel Dr. Jones’ pain because on occasions I
said what meeting did I say that in, and I’m going into board docs and there’s no
way with the search engine to find it, so you’re literally going up and paging
through each of the meetings to try and figure out where a particular topic came
up, and it can just eat hours. I’d suggest that we consider a couple of things. One,
I remember when we talked to Miss Patterson, the head of the VSBA. My
recollection is that she said that responding to public comment is
something that is normally done by boards, and it’s normally done by the
chair as opposed to everyone. I don’t know if that’s true or not, but it feels
to me that there are certain categories, what, there are certain questions
that you can’t answer because they involve student data or other sorts of
pieces or ongoing litigation or legal matters. There are others that are very
specific and detailed, and as Dr. Jones suggested, you just can’t get into
because it’s like, you know, who shot John in 1978, and it’s just not useful for
most people to go back and figure that out.
But there are topics that come up again and again, and there are questions that
come up, as I think Miss Ward is saying, where if you just point a person to
the right direction. For example, sometimes you’ll hear public comment, for
example, on awards from commercial entities, and there’ll be several comments
about that. I think at the end of that, the chair could just say something like
thank you for your comments. We’re going to be talking about that topic on
such-and-such a day because you’ve got the future agenda piece laid out. So I
just, I wonder if it’s possible to do a couple of things. One, to have the chair
respond generally to the extent he can to topics that come up. Not saying that
you will respond to everything or, you know, just sort of summarizing and
making a few general comments without committing the
board to spending several hours in a debate on a particular topic. And
secondarily, I was taken by, and there was some criticism of this as well,
but I thought what the administration tried to do with the bus stop questions
on the budget last year was useful. I just wonder if one could, you know, that
could be either bus stop questions or school board questions or something. And
periodically, as topics come up regularly in public comment, the administration
and Mr. Brett could make an effort, you know, not to hit all of them but, you know,
every few weeks or so often to, in one of the communications, say here’s a question
that came up generally, here’s the background on the data. And so it’s just
keep trying to communicate a little better and certainly, you know, you could
also at the end of a public comment the next time, if there was something that
you discovered more on or the board discovered more on, refer to something
from the last public comment. So I would say try to deal with it within the
parameters of the resources we’ve got, and honestly communicate with people but
not take on the burden of researching any question that’s raised. I mean, I
also feel your pain because we all get a lot of email questions. I still try to
respond to most emails that I get, but sometimes it’s just not possible, and
it’s not reasonable to ask the school administration to research each and
every one of those questions, so that’s my two cents. Other thoughts? I do like
the idea of questions that perennially come up, and if there’s, if
we can do some work on that, and then do that. FAQs. FAQ type of deal, like that, for some of those ones that continue to come
up because, I think, with those type of questions that they, you perennially hear
those in public comment, we probably need to figure out how to give the feedback
and data for those in particular. And I guess that’s what I meant by
looking at certain ones that you hear regularly, figuring out how to respond
to those because, I agree, that there are some that, as
Mr. Reitlinger said, that we get inundated with. Even us when there’s a particularly
big topic, we get a lot of emails from citizens that you want to respond
to them all, but you almost come to a point of trying to come up with a fairly
generic canned something to make sure that you’ve at least responded back to them
and hopefully give them that, you know, this topic is going to come up,
and hope that you will be there when we have a little bit more of a pertinent [unintelligible]
on it but I can’t necessarily do a deep dive into this right now because
there the other 15 emails waiting on stuff for me to try to say something back to
you, so that I’m at least being responsive to them. Miss Gill? So, when I
originally suggested this as an item, it was to set up a triage system. And one of
the items that comes to mind that, you know, kind of got shuffled away that
would have been nice for us to respond to was the football, are we going to get
rid of football? We got a lot of emails on that. I don’t know that we ever really
responded to those parents. That’s a pretty easy response to say, you know,
this is not an item that’s on our agenda right now, thank you for your attention.
You know I had a lot of parents saying you’re getting rid of football? When is
football going away? I was like, football’s not going away, it’s not even on our
agenda. You know, one person came to a meeting and made a comment that we
should get rid of football and, you know, the word spread throughout the football
community parents, and they were legitimately concerned that we’re getting rid of
football, and I don’t think we ever really responded to that. So, you
know, that’s just something, that it’s like, that’s a pretty easy, there are some
things that come in that are I think pretty easy for us to just knock out. And again, it
should be, you know, one for whether it’s the chair, the vice chair, one person. I don’t
think it should be as it comes in, somebody random on the school
board does it, and that’s probably inappropriate, but designate the point
person just to get some of those low hanging fruit. The questions that come in that
we can really quickly respond to and then not just ignore because it’s not on our
agenda, that’s not going to come up in a meeting, and then we’ve just got
misinformation flying around the community. My first job out of college
was as legislative correspondent. Every time I think I’m out they drag me
back in. Well, I think we, sounds as if what we should do is try something of
this nature, of a bit of a sorting. Yeah. I’ll get questions, personnel or student
related things, and those have their own treatment, then you pass those on to Dr.
Jones for disposition. So I would be happy to try that approach, and I can
copy the board, and we can see how that works.
And you’ve done a little bit of that with certain topics that have come
to all of us, and you’ve been the person who’s responded back and just included us on
it. So, I mean, I think that definitely works, that we’re in the loop,
that it’s being responded to, and we’re, I think, at that point we’re good, that we
know that they’ve at least heard back from someone. Okay. And then is it possible,
and it might not be good form or it might not be the way we do things, but is it
possible to respond, have a response after public comment, to respond briefly,
or is that not … I think, I don’t know what the, what your thoughts are on that? I suppose
it depends on the question. Yeah. I was just going to say it very much so depends on the question. That’s the triage system, right?
Some things are, you know, we should address address this right now and it’s [unintelligible] I would suggest some deliberation before
response might be good. I mean, there’s that, too, but if it’s something simple,
like Aaron pointed out the football issue, I mean that could be, you know, addressed,
done, off the table, and you don’t have to worry about it, instead of letting it linger
and let people worry and get all worked up about something that doesn’t exist.
I mean is that, I know, I believe, yes, deliberation is necessary for certain
questions or for certain comments, but for some, I think … Well, I mean, I guess,
for example, let’s say somebody says, somebody comes up and says I think we
should get rid of soccer because of concussions. Should we respond right
there and say we have no present plans to do that? Because, on the one hand,
that’s very quick and responsive. On the other hand it suggests, well, you know.
that suggestion’s dead on arrival. Thank you for your concern, you know, we
have no plans at this time, I mean, if it’s … Well, you could say it’s not currently on our radar but we’ll keep an eye on it. And, I mean, and that we
will, right? Yeah. Other thoughts? I agree with what Miss Ward just said. I think it’s,
quicker and shorter is often better. I would not respond after each comment but,
you know, one of the things I think I was suggesting before is that you do a
summary, the chair do a summary response at the end, not bothering, not responding
to every question, but where there are quick and easy things to say, to say them
at that point in time. And I don’t think you need to commit the board to anything,
but one of the things I’ve learned from the many, many times I’ve testified in front
of Congress is that you never say I’ll get back to you on that, if you can
possibly avoid it. Because getting back to someone later or in writing generates
such a volume of work, it’s much better to give a, you know, that’s not on our
agenda right now, or we’re going to be looking at this in the future, or just
thank you for your comment, the board will consider the other comments raised
during the course of its future deliberations, at least lets people know
that they’ve been heard. It’s completely up to whatever the board wants to do. I
don’t think there’s a right answer here, but I think one of the things that we
want to do is send the message that we’re listening to the things the public
says and respond quickly where we can. Because an immediate response is much
more meaningful to most people than a much more fulsome response a week later.
Okay. All right, well, let’s give that a try and then let’s see how
we’re doing, you know, November 1st. And we
won’t, you know, we, it’s, it’ll some time to refine this, so we shouldn’t
throw in the towel after if it’s not successful. A little check-in. We’ll see
how it’s going. Yeah. I think, I think we should give it a whirl. Okay.
All right. Anything else on that? All right. So let’s now go to discussion on
closed session. This, again, was a school board requested item. And on the
closed session, what we did provide for you on board Docs is the sheet that
actually comes from VSBA that lets you know, you know, how do we actually make a
decision on what goes in closed session? And it is very prescriptive and that it
has to fit into one of these items, otherwise, you know, it’s not something we
should be discussing in closed, and we try to be very thoughtful and mindful of
that. And I will say, you know, and I think this is a good time to say it, that we
have had more closed meetings, we’ve also had more meetings. You know, as you
remember, we talked, I think it was at our last meeting or the one before, where we had
gone from having 25-ish meetings a year to over 50. And on top of that, we’ve also
had a lot of issues that require closed session. Mount Daniel has needed a lot of
closed sessions over the last year and a bit. George Mason has required closed
sessions. We’ve also had, as you remember, the petition earlier last year which
required closed sessions. We also had some safety issues with a court trial
that was going on, there’s just, there’s been a lot. But it has to fit into one of
these areas, otherwise it’s not in closed. and so, and of course personnel is
in closed. So, I just share that with you in case this is a document that you have
not seen before, and when Marty or I are unclear about where something fits, we go
to Mr. Horn as our legal adviser to help us understand the best way to put that
on the agenda. Questions? Thoughts? Comments? Mr. Laurence?
Actually a question for Tom. Things on this list, if something fits on
this list, do we even have the option to talk about it in open? You do. The
elements of the Freedom of Information Act are discretionary to the body, with
the caveat, of course, that there are risks of disclosing certain things from
student privacy matters, personnel privacy matters, where there may be an
aggrieved party because you’ve chosen to discuss it in public. So going into
closed is your choice. It’s never required by the Act, but there may be
other reasons why the board is compelled to discuss something only in closed. Does
that help? Okay. Yes. Well, what about our fiduciary obligations? How does that play
into this? Well, and those are the additional risks that I was talking about. Could you elaborate on that? Yeah.
So, let’s say we’ll use a construction project as a for instance. While you
may have the discretion not to discuss ongoing contract negotiations and or
acquisition of land, there are things like that, you may have the discretion not to
go in closed, you may have some contractual terms that would expose you
to liability for breach of contract, you have proprietary and confidential information that is protected under the Code of Virginia
when submitted under certain acts like the VPEA. So there are other reasons why
certain topics must be in closed, but it’s not because of the Freedom of
Information Act in all cases. Does that make sense to everybody? All right.
Other thoughts? Questions? Mr. Reitlinger? So, I’ll break the issues into this
sort of a, well, they’re both, they’re all procedural, but the meeting procedure and sort of
the what we do in closed session part. I’ll start with the what we do in closed session part because that’s where what we’ve been discussing so far I think and this is one of the things that Mr. Sharpe said to me at one point there’s sort of three categories things that can’t be enclosed things that have to be enclosed like personnel decisions and big chunk of stuff in the middle. What I’m most concerned about is that we minimize that stuff in the middle and wherever possible talk about it in open session. Now there’s some places where we certainly don’t if we’re talking about land acquisition during those sorts of things we don’t want to undermine the bargaining position of the schools or the city I think there are places where we could lean a bit more aggressively and there’s no way to write this down. I don’t think other than how you exercise it but I as I think most of the people on the board know as and might have earned me some displeasure I started voting on the PPA matters awhile into the process to not go into closed session because I thought we could do our deliberations in open session. I don’t think there was anything wrong with going into closed sessions the you know SEC number 19 I think it is A19. They spent a fair amount of time analyzing what the board had done over time in terms of closed sessions and we’ve gone into or since that we the board started going into a lot more closed sessions around the time around a couple of years ago around when the PPEA started to come up and I think I think we just ought to lean to the extent we can towards discussing things openly because I think this is that kind of city where people expect to be involved. The other thing and I think I brought one of this topic up originally and the board has actually in the last nine months or so gone pretty far to address this. I thought there ought to be changes in closed meeting procedure in terms of how we schedule them. At least when I was looking before I joined the board last year it seemed to me that the common procedure was to always start with the closed session and at that and it wasn’t it was actually a City Council thing but pardon me if I told you guys about this before but I remember showing up at a city council meeting where my daughter was to get you know recognized for some piece of art she did as like a seventh or seven year old or something. She’s at Mount Daniel at the time and the City Council went to closed session and you know came back out about 9:30 or 10 o’clock at night and my kids are all like this at the school board meeting they’re fallen over sleeping and she didn’t she doesn’t have any memory of that at all. That’s all to say I think we need to try and do a couple of things. One we always want to try to do public comment first if we can. Second I think it’s generally better to do the closed session at the very end of the meeting or when only non-public interest stuff is at the end of the meeting when we can and when we can’t do those two things maybe we’re doing a closed session where we’re going to talk about a resolution of a personnel matter and there’s a member of the audience that’s sitting there waiting to hear about their future and you want to do that at the beginning I just think we ought to try to in that case have the chair as you have been doing estimate the amount of time that we’re going to be in closed session or maybe set a time certain. I’d sent around a rule change that would do that I think like in January or even in December before I joined I don’t think that’s necessary one way or the other. I just think our board practice ought to be to try to schedule things that way and I guess I think we’ve come pretty far in doing that we still get you know people get upset when there’s a closed meeting that lasts an hour at the start but at least one occasion I know we’ve had a time certain start for the regular meeting and there is you know I can’t say I’ve agreed with every decision in terms of how that’s done but I wouldn’t expect to agree with every decision so if we can if we can make administrative efforts to follow that set of rules if in fact the board agrees with that set of principles then I think we’ve done what we can do yeah I think before the PPA process occurred close meetings were very innocuous occurrence they happened for a few minutes there was there were personnel issues occasional I know people on boards where a third of their time is spent on student disciplinary matters, not here. So the PBA process obviously and some of these other projects have created a situation that frankly was unfamiliar to us and there were things that we encountered that we hadn’t encountered before I think we’re adapting well or fairly well I think you know with respect to the timing of closed meetings sometimes if council is billing at X hundred thousand dollars per hour you know that that has weight and you get your counsel in and you get council out. So I think that’s that’s a good thing to keep
in mind you know where closed should be I somewhat agnostic but I
would think that it’s you know it’s not the dessert that you save for last it’s
something that you have to get through and I guess if doing it when the fewest
people around are inconvenienced by it is worth doing when it when and if
possible. I think on the issue of what to put in close I think we’ve done a good
job. I think the you know the PTA process was what it was we were groping our way
through it and I think as a general matter it’s you know prudence given
given our obligations to the taxpayers of the city best to if we’re going to
err let’s err on the side of caution so as to not expose ourselves to
additional costs you know if there are other matters other questions where
sometimes I have not heard anybody say could this be an open instead of closed
if and when that happens please let me know because we should have a discussion about that. I would also say that we should always be mindful of what is and
isn’t in closed and if we should stray in some situation we should remind ourselves of that. You know we don’t I wish we could tell people what was
in closed because it’s really not very interesting and it’s usually and it’s
always closed for a reason it’s much more interesting if you don’t
know what’s going on than if you do so you know with that in mind if there are
other concerns or questions by all means please raise them so that we can
continue to be as you know there is that balance of openness and our
obligations as fiduciaries and we need to be mindful of those as well so any other thoughts I just wanted to point out with some of the longer closed
sessions it was because we were trying to learn about these processes I
was not familiar with PPA I don’t know how many other people were and some
other issues that came up and I found that especially when we had an attorney
present we’d be asking you know their presentation would precipitate questions
from us that we wanted clarification and what the public did not
know is that we weren’t discussing some really interesting details we were just
trying to educate ourselves in what the process was you know what our options
were so yes it probably does come across and we’re in there for 45 minutes that
we’re discussing some really something very important when all it is we’re just
getting enlightened Yes I agree thank you other thoughts Mr Lawrence No I’ll just say that
I think Phil’s right the changes we made go in the right direction. We have been
trying to minimize we we’re trying to schedule it so its least inconvenient for
others which another way to say it is probably this morning inconvenient for
us but I think it’s ironic that you know if you want to find seven people who
dislike closed sessions more than anybody it’s probably us because we do
know what goes on in there and it’s not overly thrilling so yeah I think we
should keep doing what we’ve been doing for about the past year Okay all right there’s nothing else on that we can proceed next to item 3.04 discussion of our first work plan. Dr Jones You have two documents that are on
here and then you do have hard copies just because we know sometimes it’s
easier for you if you want to make notes on a hard copy. On the triennial plan
of priorities taking your comments from last week some things that Mr. Reidinger
also sent yesterday and trying to update this one last time
there are some things that were suggested that are not in here certainly
that will be open for discussion for school board members want it in or not
what I’ve tried to do is look at work that was already the priorities that
were set that we’re in the middle of and you can’t just kind of toss them out and
then what are the things that we’re going to focus on for the year. I’m
going to look at the work plan and it’s always lengthy so I apologize before I
kind of walk you through it but with the work plan we actually have 65 key action
items instead of 62 that are in here and it’s looking at what is the school
board priority and that we’ve talked about over the last couple of weeks and
on the first one priority 1.0 which is right there on page two it’s talking
about the staff review of the performance and growth system that was
that’s going to be a huge task for us this year and we expect to have that
committee put together by October because we need to get working
on that right away we also do want to survey the staff about what are some of
those choices and the committee will make that decision on what
questions they want to ask which they did last time and what are the questions
that they want to get from their colleagues keeping in mind that we are
governed by Virginia code on things like we have to have seven standards we have
to count forty percent on student achievement and those are things that we
don’t have any leeway in then also issuing the TEL survey for the second
year to get comparison data on the eight different constructs that’s something
that our principals really want to do and I think they’ve
taken it on as a kind of a personal challenge in their buildings when they
were studying the survey data this summer and you know they have set some
goals for their own buildings and what they want to accomplish and then also
issuing a support staff survey but more than just a Climate Survey for them we
really feel like we need to be surveying them about the budget process in regards
to salary and adequate staffing. That is a main priority for us right now that
we are hearing from our support staff later on tonight I’ll talk about our
enrollment growth but it is challenging to say the least this year and our
support staff are those areas where we have not added staff really in a decade
and we are feeling it really feeling it also looking at making sure the
principals stay highly engaged in visiting classrooms and leading
instruction and being able to support them in that. By FY 18 and we really will
be at that point where we would like to get that special education administrator
at Mount Daniel and we need somebody in the office at Jessie Thackery. Right now we
have a supervisor she literally you know serves breakfast and and now that
program has grown again over the last two and a half years we need to get them
some assistance there and so that is just an item to get any support them and
the teacher pay one of the changes you’ll see on priority 1.2 just used to
always say 3% the board verbally called it out last year and said three to five
percent and as you remember we were in the budget this year we have
closed the gap between 3% and four point nine so we’re right and we’re right in
that zone right now but it’s making sure we continue that and then the
teacher turnover data which we have kept and Lisa will present that I
think in the next week or two for this year and then she has the previous two
years as well and making sure that we stay within that national trend and
nationally at 70 per– 17% is the average nationally of what you expect
for your turnover in a school system and are we staying within that target zone
then on priority 1.3 is differentiated professional development and this comes
straight out of the TEL survey as well and so it’s really providing which you heard tonight when Jeanie was sharing more of
the online kind of web ready for our teachers so that it’s on-demand when
they need it when they want it differentiating at the school sites for
different levels for teachers and then it’s trying to get that construct rate
of agreement from 34 to 40 doesn’t sound like a lot but that’s a really tough
thing for us to do so it’s going to be kind of little baby steps
differentiation is just difficult it’s often difficult for us to offer
different levels that matches where the teacher it thinks they really are so
sometimes as a teacher I may think I’m a really advanced skill set until I get
into a room with people who are really advanced for instance and then you
realize oh my goodness it’s kind of what Jeannie was talking about when our
teachers go to professional development in the summer they realize how far ahead
they are we had a teacher just sharing that last week and then also collecting
staff feedback from the divisions on school-wide professional development
and we’d like to see that go from 29 to 40 again and how its evaluated the
results are communicated and this was something that principals wanted to
focus on and they felt like it’s a pretty easy it’s an easier thing for
them they thought to get feedback on because we just haven’t necessarily done
follow-up surveys with all of their professional development and they feel
like they could do a better job with that We actually have already started
Jeannie created a survey to go out about our professional development for the
starter schools and our new teacher induction so we’re trying to gather data
and these are the teachers and that was that was again from our
principle team they all have that kind of on their radar if something they
think they can do a little bit better at providing-In terms of the staff feedback
forms what percentage do you get back does everybody have to- Actually what did you
get on the this last one Jeanne do you know? Its only been out since Friday and I think
I have 60 staff members have already responded it’s about 25% right now I’m
looking at that half of staff about 50 percent would be good to get back a
response rate okay I mean should that be one of the targets in here
well it because if you get few enough back it doesn’t necessarily tell you
anything maybe pushing it out yes is a lot teachers just don’t like to
take surveys that like our health survey we did really well and I think I think
it will do really well again getting people to once a year they know it’s
there but after every professional development it’s just annoying to some
teachers so I mean we can keep encouraging it but it’s just so busy
it’s like one more survey one more thing to do so yeah we try to keep them short
how long do they take two minutes we have to get the most if they really
think about yeah give them a chance at a Starbucks gift card or something go home
we can find stuff like that at the end of last year actually
yeah with a pie I mean seriously I’m not whatever that if that will move
the needle maybe we should think about that that’s true they’re anonymous it well
but it’s anonymous but one of the anonymous okay yeah we really don’t know
if this is your anonymous response come pick up your starbucks gift card it’s sitting in the
box marked there’s be honest where there’s a will theres a way but we do
you think that will we’re going to we have already started I think is what
they’re saying and the Principals are very aware when they do site based and
they want to get feedback to are we offering the right things and what could
we do better on that on priority one point four is providing clear
information for teachers on the amount of non instructional time available
which is unencumbered and what that means is and when the
Principal team met on planned time for instance teachers generally will say
they don’t have enough plan time but we as a school division cannot have any more
plan time than what we have now we couldn’t afford to do it and we would
have children not in class when they need to be having core content we have
some of the highest plan time in the country but we do think we can do a much
better job and it’s this is really building specific it’s not some
buildings are much better than others and the principals are very aware of
that and what they’re trying to do is make sure they’re not just ad hoc this
week I have a meeting Monday Wednesday and it’s there in your plan and then the
next week it might be Monday Tuesday Thursday and then the next week its on
early release so they’re trying to be very systematic about how much
unencumbered plan time do you have that your planning time and if a fourth grade
team chooses to collaborate together they can or if it’s the team really just
that’s going to be the time they get to choose what they do with that so that
those professional trainings that have to take place are very very much on
certain days of the week so they know exactly what their schedules look like
and as we get bigger that’s been a challenge for us because when we were
teeny tiny it was pretty easy to get four or five people around the table and
decide we’re going to meet but now you’re it’s just having your whole team
together could be a challenge because the teams are big especially when you add in
reading specialist and math specialists and all of those other people do you
have anything like that-I was saying we’re working hard to have administrators
communicate what is planning time and what happens in that planning time
planning time could be collaborating it could be professional development all of
that but the unencumbered part means this is your time to do what you need to
do whether it’s by yourself or with a group of your colleagues so just making
sure that teachers understand communicating that if you have 400
minutes of planning time it doesn’t mean that entire time it’s just yours because
we have to have time for you to collaborate with your colleagues and
work with your administrators and specialists to help improve student
achievements that’s what i’m trying to make sure we do that. And how often does this reporting
have to occur is this like one time here’s what it looks like and
that will suffice? Usually by for the year they create a schedule for the year
the administrators say on certain days and they work with the teachers to
determine you know is Monday going to be a team planning time and then Tuesday
through Friday is your own time is early release Wednesdays are we meeting the
entire time or just a portion of the time but that’s individual by schools
who are deciding that and depending on the focus areas as well. So I have a few
comments on these two sections now is a good time to talk about that the right
I agree quite much that we do need to look at the professional development
results and that’s a good place to focus a lot of efforts the first thing I
noticed the two that you’ve pulled out in the work plan under 1.3 we’ve set
a really low bar for what we want to achieve the provide the professional
development is differentiated to meet the individual needs of teachers yes we
were at 34 we say we’re going to raise it to 40 but Fairfax was at 65%
Alexandria was at 54 North Carolina was at 68 in Kentucky was at 70 point six
system-wide if we can’t meet Kentucky then I mean let’s at least be honest
about it we ought to set a higher bar than forty percent and the same for the
other one twenty nine to forty percent for professional development is
evaluated and communicated yes its differentiated a little bit by school
with one school having a lower result but where is that again we were below I
think everything but Alexandria right there we were at 29 Fairfax was at 83
Alexandria 46 North Carolina 66 and Kentucky 68 so I think we can set higher
goals even if those are the pieces that we select to pull out I think we ought
you know and I don’t know what the right comparison is but I would think that
with we ought to make enough efforts as a school board I don’t i’m not throwing this on
the administration we ought to make enough efforts as a school board and provide
enough resources or at least say we’re failing if we don’t do it to reach the
level of say Kentucky or North Carolina statewide the other thing is there
are there are some priorities that I pulled out in my proposed text that I
actually put in the overall triennial plan as opposed to the work plan happy
to discuss where the right place is for them but the it seems to me that the
things I was most concerned about I think you pulled out several very
important ones here I was concerned about the whether sufficient resources
are being provided to professional development and I know we’ve got
challenges but I think that’s one of the big pieces we ought to measure because
we’re going to try to do things in you know in a more scalable way with
personalized learning and all of those sorts of things I think the target ought
to be that 80% of the teachers say that we provide sufficient resources and if
it’s like I mean to me it’s sort of like that you know the three to five percent
goal for Alexandria’s or sorry for comparison to Arlington salary we may
not be able to do it one year but let’s set a stretch goal that we can make the
I think the so I think the goal one point four provide clear information for
teachers on the amount of non instructional time available which is
unencumbered up I think that’s the wrong priority I don’t think that we ought
to sign that as a communications issue I get that we can’t give people more time
I think based on my discussions with people that people think they’re planning
time is not unencumbered it’s not that they don’t know how many hours they’ve
got they think they’ve got a lot of obligations that they ought not have and
you can say they don’t understand all these things are state wide but you know
it’s again it’s we don’t do that well compared to other Virginia jurisdictions
or other states in this category an appropriate amount of time has provided
professional development we were at 58 point nine percent Fairfax was at 80%
Alexandria at 69% and in both North Carolina and Kentucky were over 80
percent so I think Communications is a part of that but I think part of it is
an examination of the other burdens that we’re putting on educators to see if we
can reduce those and if for the triennial plan at least I can’t tell you
what that’s what the best steps are to do that I just think we ought to set a
goal something like 80 percent of our teachers think that they’re the amount
of in planning time they’ve got is adequate and if we can’t do that then
you know we got to look at pulling down more barriers the last thing which I
don’t know is in the work plan or not but I’d like to see in the triennial
plan or if not in the triennial plan the work plan is improving our score on one
of the other things that came out of the survey which was the percentage of
teachers that think they are involved in educational decisions so I suggested
that we also set a goal of 85 percent of teachers report they are recognized as
educational experts and called upon to make decisions about educational issues
I think that would be a great goal to have if we can do it we’re again below
where we ought to be my recollection I didn’t pull that one up my recollection
is that that’s one that’s a little skewed by the results in a particular
location but I think I just I really would like to see we have the right
goals and stretch goals and measurable goals and particularly if we’re going to
use the TEL survey again I know there are a lot of people who don’t think
that’s a good idea I kind of I would like to do it for a second year both for
the cost reasons and because it’ll let us measure our effectiveness so it would
be nice to try and set some concrete and stretch goals to shoot for so that even
if we don’t make them we could say here’s what we did here’s where we need
to go and that can help us inform you know we can see what we were able to do with the
budget that we’ve got and we can ask for a realign budget the right way the next
time to try to get there so that’s kind of my view on this set of professional
development and teacher satisfaction goals. I’m just
looking talking you were talking about the planning time and I’m just wondering
I know with the state it says you know two hundred and fifteen minutes of
plan time a week and I’m wondering if it is communication we’re saying
unencumbered planning time but maybe we should if it’s 350 or 400 maybe we
shouldn’t call all of it planning maybe we should say you get 250
or 300 of planning and this amount will be for professional development or
collaborating so maybe it’s instead of administrators saying you have 400
minutes of planning or whatever it is this is the planning and this is the
collaborative or professional development time but we would have I
mean that would be a discussion with the administrators and the teachers to
put that. I mean just responded I don’t want to dominate the conversation but I think
we ought to we oughta our goal ought to not be we’re going to communicate better
our goal here ought to be you know X percentage of our teachers think they’ve
got sufficient planning time and if we think it’s all communications issues
then we can solve that problem with communications but the goal shouldn’t be
a we’re going to communicate more with our teachers because if the goal is
we’re going to communicate with our teachers we you know we send out a few
more emails we’ve said we’ve met the goal when our numbers don’t improve. Well
and I don’t think that’s what I’m saying as far as communication I’m saying say
this is planning and this is professional development whether it’s
just stating what the two things are. And I think- Just a foundational
question objectively how many minutes of planning time do teachers in our
division have with other divisions as I recall from the budget presentation they
had more-They do have more. So there could be a communication with respect to the
fact that people in adjacent jurisdictions are more content and yet
have less time so they’re it’s not necessarily a one-to-one correlation so
there could be a couple of variables here and and we don’t know and you know
well I agree that having stretch goals are important you know mal also try to
increase steel production and those stretch goals didn’t work out so well so
you know I would like to have things that work well I think
some of the things we need to understand is before we try to move the needle what
is holding us back because for all of our flaws we do a pretty good job I
think and so you know I think you know increasing rate of agreement on
professional development differentiation you know one of the things from me for
professional development differentiation is I think that’s great
but I do think the professional development is one of those ones whether
it is the certification for your National Board certification or
anything else that is one of the first things to go when the budget is getting
tight and so you know one of the things we need to say is if we’re going to move
that needle then it is going to take money at a time when enrollment is going
up by what five percent five and a half percent? As of today it was six point
six to six point seven. Six point six or seven so you know I think
professional development absolutely key and absolutely important and I would
support that but it means that we’re going to have another fun spring time so.
Can I just add to that Lisa and I talked about this and we went through all your
sheet today with great detail and one of the reasons we didn’t put it in here is
I’m a firm believer that and it’s just a different way to look at it and I could
look at it either way you don’t put something in the work plan that you know
you can’t accomplish and right now given everything I know about the school
division as far as resources and what I’m seeing with class sizes right now
the amount of teachers we are going to need to hire in the district next year
if class size is truly still the same priority it is we’re not going to
have additional funding to put towards professional development I think we’ve
done and I give these two ladies lots of credit for really doing a good job on
the budget that we have in bringing people in but that’s the reason we both discussed
it before quite a while and stayed away from the resource one because we knew
we’re not going to be able to do it now we can always put it in the work plan
and just say we’re okay we don’t need it but I just always felt like
what’s in the work plan I do take seriously and I would like to not have
things in a work plan that that we know are going to be incredibly challenging
for us to do it’s almost impossible and professional development is one of those
we just we’ve got to make the budget that we have work really really well for
staff and I think we’ve done a good job of that but I just I don’t see us having
resources for professional development if we’re going to keep the teacher pay
class size and because this is going to be a tough year. To just respond I agree
with you I think but if there’s one big lesson I think that comes out of the
survey there’s a lot of things you can look at the biggest one for me was
around professional development that was the one that was clearly called out we
need more here and so I don’t think we have a choice but to put more resources
into professional development even if that means compromising a little bit on
class sizes because I just I think we can do a better job you know not
necessarily of competing with Arlington but with Kentucky and North Carolina now
for sure they have a lot of it they don’t have all the challenges that we’ve
got in terms of teacher pay but I think we ought to be able to get to a higher
place and so maybe I do yes I’m importing some of my views about
what we need to do in the budget in terms of the goals that we set and I
don’t think we should set a goal that we can’t make but I think we should set
goals that we can make if we work really hard and do things the right way. Well
and I think one of the one of the issues that your point touches on is is where are we in this circle of budget outcomes priorities planning around and
around and around you know where we we have last year’s down to fumes in the
gas tank budget and now we have a work plan where I think we have to align to some
extent we aspire maybe next budget cycle to allocate more resources but right now
we have the resources we have maybe we can move things around me we can’t but I
think one of the things we need to do is you know I suppose in this cycle this
document to some extent is saying do the best we can with what you have but also
here’s what we as a board want to commit ourselves to doing next budget cycle and
you know I in my memory every single budget cycle everybody says and mr.
sharpe you can you can let me know because you go away farther back but
professional development has always been the redheaded stepchild and and it
shouldn’t be we did a little better on board National Board Certification for a
couple years but again that was one of the first things to go
so I think it is absolutely important and you know I
think we should try to do what we can do and I think we should do resourcing that
will generate some of those stretch things because I think with resources
the differentiation would follow so. Can I just add too I think professional
development is one of those areas it’s hard to compare ourselves to other
school divisions but I will just say that it’s kind of one of those areas and
Margaret as a teacher you can shut me up but the more you get the more you want and in
some districts in this area northern Northern Virginia area region four
they’ll set professional development but you don’t have to go and so if I’m a
teacher I may really kind of like that because you either go or you don’t but
you also really struggle as a school division to move a school division
forward when you’re not having consistent training so I just share that
because I chair region four so I know what we do and we talk a lot about these
different issues and it’s hard to compare and we do so much more
with professional development than most of our surrounding school divisions.
Ms. Gill. So my comment on 1.3 is a have we have we asked staff why they
said why they said this why they said why only 20-34 percent think that fresh
development is differentiated to meet their individual needs and why 29% think that their value and results communicated because maybe there are
some again some low-hanging fruit that we can we can go after that gets us
further along than 40% so we say I talked to some teachers during the
budget season and said that the opening training that starts at the beginning of the school
year is not useful to say preschool teachers or some of the latino teachers
they can’t find seminars to go to the apply to things what they’re doing in
their classroom just anecdotal so maybe you know that’s a maybe that’s a
quick way to get a bunch more teachers on board and say listen what can we do to
change that program that we’re already providing and maybe you know providing
on-demand opportunities as a way to get a lot more people along and say okay now
I have more options if I do think you know since there were no open comment
fields we don’t have the input to say why and what could what could we do what
do teachers think that the board or the administration could do differently to
get them further along and its part of maybe communicating listen this is our
budget and this is what this is what we can do within our budget this year to
provide more differentiated services and we’re doing everything we can to get you
what you need. And I mean we’ll get the results back from the survey that Jeanne
just again we did meet with our certs to talk about the survey we shared the
division survey with them and asked them to go back and have conversations with
their colleagues about the survey and you know professional development was
one that we spent a lot of time on budget was the other and so those are
two things that as our curriculum instructional resource teachers they
like to focus on and so we’re continuing to meet with them monthly to have those
conversations but the professional development is is a difficult one
because even though we may bring someone in for my MYP i’d much rather go
to California and be at a conference because that’s that’s just nice to do
and so I think some of that’s what makes it a little bit difficult because for
years we did send people to kind of singleton conferences one or two people
but now we’re trying to build capacity and the larger group of our teachers so
that we all get the same message and so we aren’t doing a lot of the travel that
we used to do and I think that made-And I was gonna ask is that
potentially a part play some level of that that dissatisfaction because-I can’t say for
sure but I just know that in previous years we did let people go to
conferences and the last two years we’ve more more brought people into the
division to be with our you know our whole staff or groups of teachers. I
think it goes back to asking why because 34 percent is very low 29
I mean these are to me this is shockingly low it’s two-way it’s
way too low and even 40 percent is way too low so we need to ask them why is it
because we can’t provide you the opportunity to travel comfortably you
know that’s just not something we’re going to be able to do you know and
you know just just addressing it saying I hear you on that that is that is
really hard and I we wish we could do it we wish me as the money to send you
there and we don’t so what can we do within our budget to help you feel like
you’re supported instead of saying you know we think it’s probably because of
this you just ask and maybe we can help them by just asking them. Yeah we can
update this section and really we can make 70 or 80%-I
mean if you know and maybe you can based on maybe
2017 as one and 2018 this is a you know three year work plan you know figure out
what can we can do with our different levels and we’re going to talk to people
we’re going to do each time try to get ourselves higher. Yeah see that’s what I
want to get to in terms of the stretch goal you do the stretch in your three
year you don’t do the stretch in one year I mean it’s like when we were
looking to increase the salary to get to within three to five percent I mean that
was a four year plan because that was a big lift yeah 34 percent is way too low
one question I have for Tony is you know why 40 and not some other number
but you can set a stretch goal to say you know we want to be at 65 70 75 but
not by June 2017 and this is just a one-year work plan so I think your
you’re right and trying to do two completely different things in one
document where only one thing can actually be done but I am curious how did
you come up with these numbers as opposed to other? Seriously I whenever I pulled the survey out looked at the survey kind of
where we were thought about what the Principals talked about in the summer
and what the challenges were and this is one of those that in order to
differentiate like we’ve spent a lot of time talking about MYP you can’t really
differentiate necessarily a lot of that MYP work they’re doing they’re
working as a collaborative team they’re writing the planners together and it’s
hard work and they felt like part of the influence there we went through PYP
authorizations last year which are really tough because you have to go back
and really look at everything again with a fresh set of eyes they felt like that
really impacted that so I think trying to get it with what we’re working on
right now to really differentiate technology is easy but the things that
we’re working on systemically are very difficult and this may it may shoot up
and you can we can put some in your AD here we don’t hit the target we don’t
hit the target but it was just trying to be realistic about having a target I
thought okay this is going to be little bits because we have an MYP
authorization again this year and we also have our PYP follow up from
our reports last year so we’ve got to do some work that’s not necessarily
differentiated so that that’s really I mean I just felt like I was trying to set a realistic target that’s what it what it is
like so if we want to up the ante that’s not a big deal at all and the next one
is really the same way as well and it’s trying to really look at how its
communicated to teachers and getting that follow-up and again I felt like you
know when you’re growing by 10 or 11 percent that’s actually pretty good but
it depends if you look at Alexandria the first year that they gave their survey
and then the next year a lot of their components went up like twenty percent
I mean I went in and looked at you know year one and year two Fairfax has
been doing it so long that every time you give it statistically they say
it goes up because you focus on different things and so Fairfax is kind of an
outlier and that so many of their staff have been doing
for a long time Alexandria was a good one to look at because you can actually see
that two-year trend but again I mean I was trying to have a ballistic target
but certainly if we would rather a goal on any survey educational survey is
really a goal to 80% I mean that’s where you want to be-except graduations- So if you can
hit 80 percent on any of those targets and anything that’s above 80 is like
that’s awesome but if we want to put 80 percent in here and then move this date
to be 2019 maybe it happens in a year or maybe it happens in three years or two
years. Mr. Reitinger do you have a question? just a couple of things one the 80% 85% one case
figures that I threw were in the triennial plan and I don’t know that I
thought how many years it would take to get there but it doesn’t strike me as
unreasonable that that’s a three year target as opposed to a one year target I
don’t know any way to set them other than to look at comparative
jurisdictions as Dr. Jones you say you were doing in general I think it depends
on the item but your generalization about 80% is about right for at least a
lot of the professional development when some are a little higher some are a
little bit lower the ones that I looked at were the last two Fairfax County ones
Alexandria and the two states I mentioned because they were the two most
recent statewide results that I could get from publicly available data if
it’s at all helpful to you and you may have crunched your own numbers I’m happy
to give you the spreadsheet that I put together that I spent a little bit
of time mapping since the questions changed over time to the current set and
it sort of breaks it down by all of those jurisdictions and by the four
Falls Church City jurisdictions so I don’t I don’t wanna give you something you’ve
already got but if it’s useful in terms of target setting I’m happy to send this
to you. Mr. Lawrence. Just one thing that you had said Phil you talked about you
would go more toward professional development which we cut after the
budget got cut last year right in our final budget? Yeah. You said you would
favor that versus class size and I think if you put it in that sort of frame I
mean that’s something that hasn’t been raised one versus the other so I just
want to make sure that it’s-So it we’re in a position where we’re
not able we’re picking generally in budget cycles now between bad
alternatives and you know look I’ve always been a huge proponent of
small class sizes I want to keep our class sizes as small as possible
but I also believe you got to go where the data takes you and you know I spent
a lot of time looking at the survey results and one of the things that they
convinced me of is that we have to do a lot of work around professional
development and I don’t know where that means but if at the end of the day it
comes down to another teacher or a hundred and six thousand dollars for
professional development I would weigh that differently now than I did last
year because I’ve got more data now and so there’s no absolute rule it’s just it
my view of what I think our responsibilities are and so I offer that
up for consideration by the public and you guys as the board wants to but we’ve
got I think we’ve got to put more resources in professional development
because as Erin said the numbers we’ve got right now are not acceptable in a bunch
of different categories and there are a whole bunch of reasons for that I’ve got
no doubt at all that part of it is we went from a place where we were you know
the school system’s got everything they needed to a place where we don’t and
professional development probably got cut a lot so there’s a differential
expectation component of a low survey result but you know that’s got to be a
part of communications but I think there’s also going to need to be some
additional dollars that go into it Because theyre just not acceptable and you
know if whatever that means we’ve gotta get those up. Well but I think to Mr. Lawrence’s point you
know i’ve received emails from people saying in all caps don’t ask our teachers whether
they want pay increases or smaller class sizes but now we are going to have to ask them what
Sophies choice do you want I mean is it a question of those three and you get two or
maybe you even get one because you know we’re in an environment where the projections are
best case revenue bump of 2-ish percent according to the latest estimates from CFO seeing enrollment
six and a half percent which is going to cascade into head count increases something has to
give now maybe something will give in that direction but we it may be what they’re saying
is all things being equal we’d like more professional development but they ay not be saying may
we please have more professional development regardless of what consequences may ensue
so you know we’ve got this is another variable and I don’t know the answer and there may
be mixed opinions I have no idea but. Mr. Chair I agree with you and I wouldn’t
ask teachers to make that decision that’s not that’s our decision to make informed by
some opinions that they’re got I don’t know that if I were a teacher that I could legitimately
answer a question would you rather have an extra kid in your class or get more professional
development. If I were a teacher I’d wanna be asked that
question though before somebody makes that decision for me. I would totally wanna be asked that. Yeah I mean to a certain extent thats more
the point I was getting too when if somebody on the board says something like you said
Obviously class size is a factor in the budget and that may have to go at some point but
if somebody says you know i’d support professional development even at the expense of bigger
classes and nobody else not the board says anything to me that would easily be seen by
the public and the teachers as oh they’ve pretty much made a decision and I could see
the teachers thinking we just got thrown under the bus for increasing class size so that
was you guys are sort of taking it way passed me I just wanted to make it clear we hadn’t
made any decisions on that because I think that would just look bad and be wrong. One second Mr. Ankuma it now is 8:51 and we
are on page 3 of a 8 page document I’m happy to keep going as are you probably but I just
want to check in and suggest that maybe we slog through this a little bit more Mr. Ankuma. You put it more eloquently than I did cause
I was gonna say theres 65 of these and we spent an hour on 5 I don’t know that we want
to be here this long so this is a budget question as far as i’m concerned can we. But I don’t think these all things these all
interlock. No I know and the point i’m making is to the
point you made we still have. At the end of the day we have a limited amount
of funds and everyones in agreement that we want our teachers involved in how the funds
are spent after all they’re the ones in the trenches so I don’t think it’s unreasonable
to ask them what they’re priorities are because and then we have to go from somewhere we can’t
just pull something out of the top of our heads and I also want to go back to what Ms.Gill
said earlier about the reasons why teachers are dissatisfied it might be something as
simple as they don’t get to travel to California anymore and if thats the case I mean I don’t
know again I’m speculating but i’d love to know why that rate is so low it could be something
that is not we’re sitting there agonizing over these results but we don’t know what’s
supporting these results i’d like to see reasons I don’t know if thats possible to get but
i’d like to see those reasons. Okay so if i might suggest that And i’d like
to move well and I don’t know I didn’t even say Dr. Jones should go through this whole
thing but that means that she’s reading to us that which we can all read ourselves so
perhaps we can just briskly go through here raise issues and let’s just try to move at
a good clip because right now we’re in slog mode so And since this is draft 1 why don’t
I just hit the overall categories what some of the highlights are and then if everybody
can do their homework between this week and next week and then you know that will provide
comments to me I can actually look at what your thoughts are and try to update the draft
the priority 2.1 is a division technology advisory committee again this will be the
year and i’ve tried to clearly define that the goal is to look at the devise structure
and the academic needs of the buildings that is what the purpose is it is not to rewrite
a huge 400 page document that we just submitted to the state again last year just with any
updates because we do have that plan in place and again we wouldn’t even have the staff
to do that if we wanted to do it and this is a big ask here also looking at some of
the data that we’ll be pulling and you’ll see the three year refresh looking at the
system wide technology staffing we did look at that in the budget this year and again
it does kind of goes along with that support discussion we’re gonna have to be looking
at not just teacher class size but at what point are we looking at some of these other
areas that needs some help priority 2.2 is really improving those performance for our
special populations a lot of this doesn’t change and thats because like on the first
one when it says maintain student growth that annual measurable objective is set by the
state so we don’t pull our own data and decide do we need it or do we not thats defined for
us also growth on the WEDA we have an expectation thats the assessment we must give to our students
it measures their reading writing speaking and listening so thats the measurement that
we use again we don’t need to put other things in here again tracking and reporting the four
year graduation rate thats a big deal for us and we’re known in Virginia now for having
100% of our kids graduate and i’m not sure the school board even realizes how much effort
goes in to make that happen literally the individual tutors and just hours and hours
and hours to help some of our students and thats a tough thing to do and it needs to
stay in here because that is we’re committed to it and it takes a lot of time and effort
and resources one of the newer things in here and it’s really just more clearly defined
is the report on student credentialing especially in regards to Arlington career center and
other opportunities made available thats a big push at the state level the state level
is really looking at right now and thats one of the things you had the portrait of the
graduate thats a state level things right now and they’re gonna push out to us kind
of what is the expectation for where we want students to be and so once that comes out
this fits right into it and we’ve been working on it the last really two years and our Arlington
career center has gone way up as well on priority 2.3 Tony sorry I don’t want to increase the
slog but on 2.2 you’ve got one that just says examine special education is there something
missing there? Oh you know what there is I’ll have to go
back good catch thank you I’ll have to go back and get that one thank you 2.3 was the
extending of class time and offering more flexible formats this has been critical to
us and again its taken a tremendous amount of effort and you know to have 300 and 20
or 40 students engaged this summer in our high school is unheard of it really is setting
pace in the country that our students are choosing in high school to be in school year
round and take a summer course we also the dual enrollment you’ll see that in here again
that’s another number we’re really proud of in the last 4 years you know we’ve gone from
6 students and 7 students trying to make one class to over 200 students this year in dual
enrollment on our high school campus so we’re excited about that STEAM is on here again
we still are in our 3rd year to implement that and thats been a big ask small class
sizes we didn’t make any adjustments but again this will be a big policy discussion for the
board later on as we get into budget trying to maintain class sizes the modern and secure
schools this really is about competing the renovation expansion of the elementary facility
the board debated the date last year a lot right now its at January of 2018 if we gotta
guess and then also to complete the RFP process for Mason to hit that November 2017 referendum
sate so you’ll see those listed below I will say that scheduled timeline produced by February
trying to get an RFP out in December of actually that should be 16 that was this December will
be a tough ask but we can certainly adjust those dates but thats again trying to hit
that target cause we are at capacity which I know the board knows that we are out of
space at MEH and George Mason again these on page 6 those are some standard things Mt.
Daniel construction completion the Weldon Cooper numbers making sure that those get
done updating our housing and demographic information and that seems like just a little
bitty task but it’s not and it’s really important for us as we start and when we’re trying to
project students and working closely with general government on some of the future development
thats they really rely on us for that and it takes quite a bit of time because e don’t
have a statistician and priority 4.1 is the risk mitigation plan and is informed by the
audit now this is one I know Mr. Reitinger had added one or two more sentences on his
but if the school board is going to want us to go beyond whats in the audit and this is
not for an answer just food for thought then you’re also going to have to think budgetarily
what is it you want us to contract to get more work done because thats where we left
it after the audit so and we don’t really have the funding built into it on readiness
for learning theres really not a lot new here but again this is kind of an area we’re very
proud of and we try to keep up with because we think it does inform that we’re taking
care of all children and those are how many of those meals we’re serving on the weekends
how many of our families are in crisis or need those boxed lunches or weekend meals
and also increasing the technology support pre-k through 8 we’ve done a great job we
have at high school once we’ve rolled out first year last year was the first year we
really focused on pre school through 8th grade and we had you know we only have we usually
have about 8% of our families that are on that quality for free and reduced meals which
is usually a good indicator of the percentage of families that struggle to fun things that
most of our families would have and we did have for the first time really last year elementary
parents reaching out and feeling like they needed help just having a computer they didn’t
have any access for their children and hotspots and they felt like their children were disadvantaged
so we were able to work with the foundation and other means to do that community engagement
there are quite a few things under priority 6.0 and this is trying to again some of the
things we did last year that we think did help but also hosting the school tours getting
you know the community out at our schools interesting enough when we did those this
year nobody came very very few people the year before we had a pretty good turnout and
people would come and kind of really see instructionally what we’re doing so we’ll see how those go
this year also doing hosting George Mason tours to share the condition of the site and
the facility and making specific invitations to broader community to see inside city council
planning commission EDA and school board as well so that people can see what really how
old are the boilers you know what are some of the issues you know with the building as
you walk around still holding another large scale visioning event this year before December
again on the GM project trying to get people engaged because every time we do an event
people are there that don’t know what we’ve done for the last two years so trying to kind
of keep people up to speed and know all the work the board has done we need to have another
really big event also on 6.1 community engagement in a positive and productive way thats looking
at input forums looking at some smaller again with the PTA in November getting feedback
from them on budget input and you’ll notice that November date is early trying to get
lets of feedback holding some listening tours out in the community at different spots off
site seeing if we can gain any sort of traction cause generally people don’y come to these
things but it’s worth a try again and then the listening tour at each school site little
different than the board just going gout it’s actually getting out early again making sure
before December comes the budgets actually put together just being available in the teachers
lounge like we did on the principals hiring Lisa and I went out hung out in the lounge
anyone that wanted to stop by could and we got great feedback so I think maybe on the
budget that would be a good approach this year and 6.2 is really looking at the budget
calendar which we’ve already started trying to tweak that again starting earlier and also
making sure that we’re engaged with city council on the budget and finance thats been new and
much more informative and then on the responsible fiscal management on the back this is again
just looking at our rowing three year and trying to set the priorities in the staff
work plan and I added this on gin here this really needs to be done before August 1st
you know doing thistle first day of school is not ideal because we’re supposed to be
starting the work of the year and even August 1st it’d be great to have it in July but it
may be too aggressive but definitely trying to get this work done before August so that
everyone is ready to go when school starts and part of that is not anybody’s fault we’ve
just been so busy just to get through everything The automation upgrades. We hopefully
by November will fully implement our timecard system,
purchase order system, any of the last little bits, we’ve been piloting our time
card system. And then, again, it’s in here to review central office staffing in
preparation for the FY 18 budget, and then just collaborating more on the
budget. And one of the things that we’ve talked about that is new in here is to
define, is to discuss and refine the strategy for actually crafting the
budget for the superintendent in regards to the general government projected
revenue and the budget approach. And we’ve talked a lot about that. The
guidance I get every year is you go and you put a budget together, and it’s
supposed to be what we truly believe we need for the school division. Well, I can
tell you if we if we do that this year, we’re going to be asking for a 10%
budget. It’s where it started last year, and that was what we needed. I think
we’re probably going to get a number this year that’s going to be a 2%. So, do
you want the superintendent to really ask for what we need to run our school
system, or do we want to say here’s the 2%? This is what it will do, the VRS
increase, we could hire one or two teachers, we may or may not be able to do
a step, you know, for staff. That’s what, that’s the Arlington approach. And then
they say, and here’s the gap. Truly this is what we need if we want to be able to
just step in all those things. So they take the gap approach, and I think that’s
one reason they don’t have as many battles. Because it gets out in the
community, you know, early November, December, that hey, what they’re saying is
2% and worry they’re all going to live with it and this is what it means to
live within our means, or we’re going to either, you know, change policy or class
size policy or something like that in order to, you know, be able to make that
budget work more effectively. So, I put that in here because I think it’s really
important for the school board to have that discussion. Is the 2%
without a tax increase? Yeah. And again, that’s, you know, we’re hoping that, you
know, you’ve also got a new development that was supposed to be opening with a
grocery store and, you know, and although that’s, I mean, though if you look
back over the last two years we’ve had a lot of discussion, and we’re going to get
children from that development, and now where’s the revenue on the bottom? It’s
not going to be there, so we’ll see how fast it comes in. One thing that
makes me nervous about that development is there’s no grocery store, they’re
competing with Pearson Square, they’re are competing with West and Broad, so is the
rent going to be cheaper, actually are they going to lower the rent because you
don’t have that amenity on the bottom, so could we see an influx of students? I
don’t know. West and Broad as of today was at 17
students, so the low projection is 32 and a lot of times that takes you 2 or 3
years. We’re there today. Last week, it was at 13? Yeah. So
he’s gone up by 4 in a week. Right, and 10 of those, because the other thing we
watch is the migration in the city, and 10 of those are brand new to the school
system. So 7 have moved from other places that usually, that gets back filled by
another family. At least, that’s the last 2 years. We haven’t seen other
development so slowly go down, but we’re watching all of that. So, that was as fast as I could do that. Everybody will study study and then let
me know. Thank you. Any comments or questions you just can’t not defer? All right. Now we
come to our closed meeting. Somebody want to move us into closed? Mr.
Chairman, pursuant to the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, I move that
the board convene a closed meeting for the following purpose, to discuss or consider
the identified subject matter, personnel under Section 2.2-3711a1, in
particular staff appointments, staff reassignments, staff resignations, staff
retirements, staff performance, EPED assignments, and advisory committee
appointments and resignations. Thank you, Mr. Laurence. So a second? Second. Thank
you, Mr. Ankuma. Call the roll, Mr. Kimball. acting Yes. Mr. Ankuma? Aye. Mr. Castillo? Aye. Miss Gill? Aye. Mr. Laurence? Yes. Mr. Reitlinger? Yes. Ms. Ward? Yes. Mr. Webb? Yes. Very good. [unintelligible] Thank
you, Mr. Laurence. Do we have a second?Second. Thank you, Mr. Reitlinger. All in favor
say aye. Aye. Any opposed? Thank you. Somebody want to certify
the closed meeting? Are those the new numbers? They are, I just didn’t put them on board Docs.
Mr. Chairman? Whereas the Falls Church City School Board has convened a closed
meeting on the state, pursuant to an affirmative recorded vote, in accordance
with the provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act, and whereas
section 2.2-3711b of the Code of Virginia requires a certification by the
school board, such closed meeting was conducted in conformity with Virginia
law, now therefore be it resolved that the Falls Church City public school board
hereby certifies that to the best of each member’s knowledge, one, only public
business matters lawfully exempted from the open meeting requirement by Virginia
law were discussed in the closed meeting to which the certification applies, and
two, only such public business matters as were identified in the motion convening
the closed meeting were heard, discussed, or considered. Thank you, Mr. Reitlinger. Do
I have a second? Second. Thank you, Mr. Webb. I would call the roll please, Mr.
Kimball. May I? Oh, I’m sorry. The roll of Mr. Kimball will be played by Mr. Warren. Mr. Ankuma? Aye. Mr. Costillo? All right. Mr. Laurence? Yes. Mr. Reitlinger? Yes. Ms. Ward? Yes. Mr. Webb? Yes. Thank you.
All right. Thank you very much. Now we come to the consent agenda. I
would seek unanimous consent to approve the consent agenda?
Seeing no objection, that’s approved. Now we come to item 7.01, the bus camera
update. And if you remember, I think, the school board asking me questions, was it
last week, and I couldn’t answer them because I didn’t have the legal side, so
Mr. Horn is going to actually give you the reasoning why we’re not running the
cameras right now. And I’ll try to do this as quickly as we can without
getting into the mundane aspects of it. As you know, legislation was passed
last year which seemed to get everyone’s enthusiasm up for the for the start of
this, and then as additional jurisdictions looked at implementing at
their end, two issues. And one involved access to DMV
records by third-party vendors. You may have heard about that. That is not the
case for us, and we’ve been assured by our police department and the city attorney
that the arrangement that we have with our vendor doesn’t provide them the
access that is prohibited by the Code of Virginia, so that is not an issue for us,
and as more people understand the mechanics of the plans, it will be not a
big issue for others, either. The issue that is keeping the systems from running
right now in issuing citations is that in Virginia, in order for a fine to be
prepaid, there is a uniformity across the Commonwealth for the fine amount. And
this is one of those violations that requires the uniformity, and it needs to
be on the Virginia Supreme Court’s uniform fine list, and although the
legislation was passed in the spring, the Virginia Supreme Court has not added
this violation to the uniform fine list yet. They meet in September. We
anticipate if the things fall the way they’re supposed to fall that it could
be on the uniform fine list, we’ll meet rule 3C of the Virginia Supreme Court
by two weeks from now. And we would be ready to run the very next day, because
the systems are obviously there and in place. So, we’re hopeful that by the end
of the month we will be able to operate the system as we did several years ago.
What’s the fine amount? It’s $250. Any buses, anybody? Seriously. Sorry. Just wo quick
comments. My first is, are you kidding me? I know, it’s too ridiculous to get it wrong. And the second is, is there a possibility
to, is, does it have to be on the uniform fines list to assess the fine and
provide the ticket, or does it have to be on the uniform fines list to record the
violation and later process the ticket? With the sole point being, can we turn
the cameras on now, record violations, and send the fines out when the, when the
violation is put on the Virginia Supreme Court’s uniform fines list. Yeah. So the
answer to that would be no. There’s a period of time from the, from
the recording of the violation to the issuing of the citation and we would not,
because it’s an unknown as to how long it will occur. The question about whether
or not the cameras can run and the system can start is sort of a resource
question, and it’s twofold. The vendor, of course, would need to have the full
staffing of the operation with the potential of receiving no income, no
portions of those citations. But also, probably more importantly from the
general government side, we would also have to commit significant resources
from the police department to operate a system that may or may not be able to
actually issue citations in a short window. Is there any
advocacy group pushing for this to be done sooner rather than later? I would say there is
substantial advocacy to get this done in the most efficient fashion as impossible, as
there was at the General Assembly in the winter. I mean, this is one of those bills
that was was put on and had very little resistance to passing, so. Okay. Right. Any other
questions? Yes. Sir. Is there any concern that because it
wasn’t on this list, which I’m note even going to try to pronounce, any of our old tickets
are in jeopardy, and we could have a budgetary problem where we had to refund
anything? Yeah. So that was sort of broached by the City Attorney
under the last, when the Attorney General’s opinion came out that the
previous legislation was efficient, the City Attorney looked at the same issue
and at that time declared that we were not in jeopardy of a massive budget
impact by having to refund those things. As you probably know from, if you read
newspapers from around state, some jurisdictions voluntarily returned
citations paid. It was not the decision of our general government to do that.
Okay, and then this would fall under the same opinion, so we’re good. Okay. All
right. Thank you. All right. Student enrollment update and class size. Well, I didn’t
actually put it on board docs, just because that makes me nervous this time of the
year, because we can go up and down little bits. But what we are seeing is,
as of today, we were two thousand, seven hundred, and one. So that’s a big
number for us. We’ve been sitting between six point six and six point
seven growth. It’s the largest growth that we have seen since I’ve been here,
and I don’t know for how long before that, but it’s big for us. And right now,
we’re plus one hundred and sixty seven students. So if you’re getting emails
about buses, you know, we did message everybody today. It is a challenge not
only to have that net number and volume of new students, we had to add a route
for elementary, middle, and also high school so additional route bus. And then,
on top of that, we have such a high volume of students, and I’ll get
the exact number for you, but it’s like six hundred new students. Because of the
kids that move out, that are [unintelligible] new families that move in, so
you’re adding additional new, but then you also have students who are new to
our system that are just a lot of, a lot of new addresses that you’re putting
through the system. So two thousand, seven hundred, and one. And just to give you the
numbers, Mount Daniel’s 388, TJ is 821, MEH is right at 600 as of today, George
Mason is 817. So I think again, it does, you know, the school board has been
thoughtful for many years about enrollment growth, and we contract this
step with Weld and Cooper. There are going to be some unknown factors like
the development that is taking place, that we just don’t know what we don’t
know, and we’re going to keep watching the new developments, but that’s where we are.
Class size spikes, just so you’ll know, and we said this when went into the
budget, that we knew we were going to have class sizes that were not where
we’d like them to be. Kindergarten is 24, so they are two over our class size
policy. First grade is 21-22. Our policy is 22. And as a reminder, we did have, we
have nine sections on kindergarten, eight on first.
We moved the ninth section from kindergarten to first and, just as a
reminder, I mentioned that, I think, a week or two ago. And so kindergarten has a
full-time assistant, first grade only has half, so we had to choose which one of
those was going to be larger. And then the other thing that went into it for us,
and Aaron and I talked about this, if we get a YES on construction, it’s that side
of the building where first grade is, that’s also outside, so we felt like they
needed to have the lower number. We did add a teacher in preschool. Preschool is
at 75 students. That’s a big number and, again, I talked last week
about some significant needs as well. Thackrey. Pardon? Thackrey. Thackrey?What did I say? I’m sorry. You said preschool. Okay. Oh, yes. Thackrey’s at 75
sorry okay okay yes Zachary is at 75 which is, it is a big number. Then we also
have second grade that is at 22 and 23, so they’re just over policy as well.
Still, it’s still a manageable size, but we are over policy. What it tells you
when every grade is spiking, this is what happened to us, like, you know, when we had
to fix this issue, and we hired 14 teachers one year, and we needed a about
a 14% budget to fix it. So I just call that out, because we said it was going to
happen, and it is. Third grade is at 22, which is with in, well, third grade
is 22-23, and so they’re within policy, fourth grade’s within policy. Fifth grade
is between 24 and 25. That’s where one of our
teachers was added, and we’re still at 24 and 25, and that class now is up to
221 students. We do have spikes in high school, again, not as many at middle
school, but in high school, just by enrollment and where this, where those
classes have fallen. We will have some sections with 30, which we don’t like, but
we’re trying to really monitor the course load to make sure that the
teacher doesn’t hit that 120 or go over 120. We will have a few as of today
that are going to be over 120. Yeah. That’s okay. So, and I’ll continue to update you over
the next coming weeks. And the scary thing is this is where we start. We get our
official count, you know, in October, but usually we’ll go up. We continue to climb,
so we’re just going to have to watch it and see, but they’re big numbers for us. Six
point six and six point seven is big. And again, those two teacher positions we had
went to fifth, and thank goodness we put it there, because now they’re at twenty-four and twenty-five, and in preschool was where the other one went. So that’s where we
are as of today. I’m sorry to be so depressing, but … Do we have any idea about others? I mean, are we unique, or is it just Northern Virginia exploding again? You know, our growth rate has been higher than those other divisions around us over the
last couple of years other than, I think it was Arlington Hunter last year that
may have been about the same we were or slightly higher, but we are definitely a place people want to come for the schools, so. I just have a quick question about Thackrey that people have asked. I know our mandate is we need to educate
students who have needs, so at what point, at what point do our classes get so big
that we we move away from our integrated model that we wanted to have there, you
know, where it goes back to being eighty percent students who have needs and twenty percent who … Right. Right now we’re, the six sections that we have, we try not to go
over 12. Well, you couldn’t have 12 special needs students anyway. Right. So
you have your special needs population, and then you can have those
other students that some of them are still economically disadvantaged. They
could be ESOL but they don’t have, like, health related issues. So that’s where we
try to, and what’s the age? If they’re two and three years old,
they’re very different than, you know, an older three-year-old so, yeah, we’ve had
to really watch our two-year-olds because, again, some of the health related
issues are … it’s really like you need a full-time nurse quite frankly. I mean,
really the way that it’s become has been, it’s getting really challenging. What we ask paraprofessionals to do, and our teachers? It’s a little scary actually, just simply some of the
significant needs that we have. So right now we can go with the twelve, but if, we
have one more classroom. We can have seven sections and then preschool is
full. And you really can’t change a whole lot from what we have now, but there would be no advantage because you can’t have twelve special needs children
in there, so we’ll be looking at another facility. Okay, so we would have to, we would have to grow to accommodate that. Right.
That the people, the students who need that. Right. Right. It is all dependent on our children who have special needs. And
so let’s say, and you don’t ever know. We we enroll special needs all year long
because of child find. They go out and have to make sure. So if we happen to get
another five or six little kiddos and then we need a seventh section, it could
happen in the middle of the year, but it’s definitely a faster rate. We knew
preschool, there were lots of preschool kids out in the community, but this is
definitely more than what we anticipated. But again, it’s just it’s on, the great
thing is it’s everywhere, you know, and honestly that doesn’t, I know it sounds funny, but it’s good that it’s spread out pre-K through 12, because had we just got
absolutely slammed in elementary and you had 170 kids at TJ, we would have been in
kind of crisis, so we’re lucky this year it is spread out, because it isn’t always
like that. But it also means that if 12 kids, children came one in each grade
level, you could tip to the point where a very, this is extreme, you’d need 12 new classroom teachers or something, you know, we’re at that point where … Oh, next year … each marginal child, you could create a teacher requirement. Highly likely, unless something really strange happens, highly likely next year we’re going to be back in that situation
where we need quite a few teachers, or it’s going to mean change to class size
policy which, you know, is always on the table but, when you look at secondary
right now? You know, we used to talk about like oh, that’s a class of 200, that’s
really huge. Well, when you look at six through 12, they are all over 200 except for sixth grade, and they’re at 177, they’re just a smaller
class. And then at elementary, I mean, you’ve got, you know, it’s 220, 198, 228, you’ve got a 178 that’s just that tiny class that
year we had the flip, they’re growing, but they haven’t got huge,
195, 193, so those will be two hundreds by next year or by the next two, so we’re a
two hundred kind of grade level cohort right now. Lots of kiddos. Okay, and in terms of our tracking of housing stock and what not in
our models for planned developments coming online and things like that? What is the future? Does this change how the longer-term models are going? In
other words, is this, do you redo all the models with this number and everything
then bumps up substantially, or what is, what are its longer-term implications?
Well, I think when we do our enrollment projections on that October 1, it’s also
the day we do the housing, so that they’re always consistent. That is our
official number, because otherwise you’d go crazy with the number of apartments
and move-in and move-out. So we’re going to try to really look at are we seeing,
you know, are we seeing changes in the housing market? Is it, again, just a ton of
single-family homes? That could very well be the case. We have a lot of new
single-family homes, and when you see preschool getting hit, these little
kiddos may have been there last year, they just weren’t in school, they weren’t
school-aged, so we’ve got to see where they’re all coming from. And then we’ll,
of course, contract with Weldon Cooper, and Weldon Cooper may do another level
set when they look at Northern Virginia again. And they do tweak a little bit
each year, but the cohorts of children are pretty consistent. It’s usually
kindergarten that is the challenge to know what’s coming in. And then on the
developments are we projecting, is the projection model working for Broad
Street, and is it working for the other new development that will open? And we
will be able to watch that this year, and you’ll have a pretty good idea if it’s
working or not. And right now I could say we’re halfway for the low projection.
We always do a low and a mid and a high. Well, we used to. We actually
really do a low and kind of a high now with the city, just two, and the low is 32
students out of that new development so, you know, it’s a little scary that you’re
already at 17, and it’s just opened, because it’s only at 60% capacity, that’s what
they said this last week. And then, of course, over time once families move in,
they may very well stay there. And I think another impact is the housing
market in Falls Church is a challenge. I mean, a lot of the homes that are on the
market are over a million dollars. So if you’re a family that’s looking for that
median range the, you know, 700,000? There’s not a lot there so the
apartments are, you know, an opportunity to get your child in school and be able
to start school and be happy and have a swimming pool and parks and great things,
so. Which raises another issue. I was at a party over the weekend, and parents said
we love everything about the schools. There’s just one thing that that we’re really
concerned about, and that is all the people in Sleepy Hollow who are sending
their kids here and getting apartments and basically having sham
transactions, so we’ve been over this. Can I address that? Yes. But it is, it continues to be a live issue in the minds of people. And I don’t know if this, in fact, materializes?
Can we and do we recover tuition from those families? We are pretty vigilant to try to chase them up, and in the last two years I would say we’ve
done a better job than we ever have before. At high school, they don’t get
their schedules. Right. And as of over the weekend, and I’ve kind of upped the ante
on the principals to say if you think these children are here, they need
to have their residency, it needs to be completed, otherwise they should not be
going, they shouldn’t be on a class list. Because it was, we did have some of that,
and we’ve really tried to do door knock checks, which Hunter usually does those
for us, and making them make sure that they have, you know, the correct
paperwork in. You know, Mason as of Friday had 50 students, which is a lot,
that hadn’t completed their paperwork. They worked all through the break,
calling people, making sure that they were okay to start school, and by this
morning they were down to three. Holding people accountable that you just
can’t be in class if you haven’t done what you need to do, and all of our
buildings did a fantastic job. Mount Daniel did the same thing.
Okay, we have X amount of kindergarteners that have gone online to register but we
really don’t have what we need. They called all the families and said if you
don’t have it, you know, you’re not going to be able to start school, and that
does it. I will say the first year we did it, we had some irate people, and so I
made a point this morning to stop in and check on the high school registrar
to make sure that wasn’t happening again. And the great thing was I think people
have gotten the message that they have to have the right paperwork. So you’re
saying people are house county, renting something in the city to have an address,
and then the kids come to city school but they’re really not. Well,
that’s what, that’s the word and people say, and I know these people but
I won’t tell you who they are, so. Well, and you know what, then the thing is shame on them. Because, honestly, if you have this information, you have
the concerns, you bring it up, and you’re not willing to at least give us
the information. We follow up every time there’s a concern. We follow up on it.
Well, I said, you know, just go across the street to my house, put it in the mailbox,
nobody will be the wiser, we’ll take care of it. Exactly. The other thing we started doing last year was doing the mid-year check in January. So the big
thing is when leases expire, because they expire every month all year long. So,
we don’t have, again, a staff that does this. So for a registrar to have 815 kids
in high school and try to go in and look at everybody’s leases, who’s expiring, when
they’re expiring, they’re trying to run the office with kids who are throwing up
and all other kinds of stuff. And it’s hard, but they’ve done a really good job
of making sure that they check them, they’ve got a list for, to start school you have to be, and then check them again in January if those leases are expiring. And it’s not easy for them, it’s very difficult, but they’ve done a great job with it. Well, and not to be Debbie Downer, but these people at this party
also said and it extends to people who own the houses. They may not live in the
house, but they say I own the house, I should be able to send my children here,
and it’s like well. Yeah, and we do battle with those and usually they’ll go to Mr.
Horn if we need a legal, you know, but when they come back, we have people
that do feel like if they own their home here, even if it’s rented to another
family, they should be able to send their kids, and we say no. I mean, we follow exactly what we’re supposed do. Well, it’s in the Code of Virginia. One dash three. Yeah. We’re pretty vigilant about, but I will tell you, do people try to sneak in? Absolutely.
We’ve had some of the strangest ones this year where, and a lot of times, you know, you have to be really careful in your questioning because they also may be
homeless, and we do have homeless families in Falls Church. And so you have
to be, the office staff has to be very careful about how they question people,
because they may be living in a hotel and they may not have, you know, all the
stuff they need that a normal family would be able to bring, so we have to, it’s very
careful. And then we’ll have sometimes two families that are living together
because they don’t have the income in Northern Virginia, you know, to have a
single-family home, so. And along the same lines with the homeless issue being very
careful about broaching that subject, because you also don’t want to have
somebody who’s clearly committing fraud and then give them an out in terms of
claiming homelessness. You can see Hunter’s passionate about this, too. That’s why we send him to knock on doors. We’ve seen it all. I remember I was at TJ years ago when we were doing that, and you told me to check on people.
people and usually once people realize And usually once people realize that okay, you understand you’re breaking the law, I mean, most people then don’t enroll, I mean, they don’t go that next step, but we have had to ask families to leave, and we will ask them.
And it is, I’ll tell you that is probably the, I always say snow calls are the
worst thing, that’s the worst part of my job is having to sit down and tell a
family that, you know, I’m sorry but you are not living here legally, and they
have been dishonest and put their children in school, because it’s devastating on the
kids. They have to pack up and move. Okay. Anything else on that? Mr. Reitlinger? Very
quick question. Dr. Jones, when will the the Karen Sharp chart be completed
showing origin? Yeah, that’s the one I was saying that I usually do that
on that October 1st when our official count is, and that way the number of
students living in the school division matches the housing. Okay. The next item is the GM MEH project and Mount Daniel as well. I had been on the
phone with Dr. Jones the other day saying, you know, we had to get cranking on George Mason MEH, what’s going on, and she said let’s have a conversation here
and she’ll explain where everything is, so Dr. Jones. I’ll start with Mount Daniel,
just as an update, I don’t think it’s anything new for the board but, again, we’ve gotta get through this week, and then next week we’re back in front of the Planning
Commission, and hopefully we’ll get a yes, and then that next day we’ll be working
with the team to get us in gear. I will say, you know, kudos to Erin and Jeremy
and Sevie who were tremendous on the traffic mitigation for us, and we’ve
really tried to put in even some newer solutions to get through this kind of
intermittent time, and there was not one car that belonged to our parents or us on Oak Street. The only cars that were there were either people that live
there or there’s a house under construction, and we’ve worked with them
to say can you please only park on one side of the street, and they forgot
this morning. Sevie was there first thing in the morning, they went out move their
trucks, but just have done a great job. We also want to thank, you know, the
American Legion, Ken Feltman, Harry Shevlin, worked through them to be able
to use their parking lot this week just because this is the week kindergarten
parents do all of their parent conferences. And so we wanted to clear
out another 15 spots out of the parking lot, and we have shut, we’re shuttling,
they’re parking at American Legion, we’re taking them by shuttle up to the
school and then picking them up at the end of the day, and so we’re doing that
all this week while those parent conferences are going on. But again, it’s just taken a huge team effort to mitigate traffic. We do have a little bit of parking on the grass area, if you haven’t been up there it looks really different.
But, again, that was just trying to have a solution to make sure that we’re being
very cognizant of traffic, so they’ve done a great job. So hopefully we’ll see
where we are next week on there, on Mount Daniel. On George Mason MEH, one of the things Justin said, what are we doing, we’re just sitting
still. Remember on our calendar we have those joint meetings coming up, and one of the
things we’re working with right now is trying to get the contract solidified
with Links to actually be the consultant for us. we were supposed to have a meeting on
Friday contract wasn’t quite ready we will meet this week I had an update on
that this afternoon and that really is to help the school board and general
government start to make those decisions and having a consult that’s going to
help us along the way once we have the contract in place we’ve
done the purchase order we’re just waiting on the last review and then I
will send that out to you so you’ll kind of know what’s coming up and one of the
first things they’ll be doing is actually kind of that broad calling like
they said would be a proposal I’m calling the School Board, City Council,
members of the community to get feedback on what are the questions we have what
are those pressing questions and I’m trying to think if there’s anything else really yeah which
raises an issue that I’ve been kicking around and that is since these processes
have been split now Mr. Horn will amplify or correct if need be but you
know the responsibility for school construction is the school board’s and I
think given that these processes are now separated it’s incumbent on us to define
what kind of school we’re looking at for what capacity so my sense is that we should
begin working on that as soon as possible because again given these projects have now been split there’s the school program and there’s
the development we should embark on getting our piece of the work done
especially because it is the axis on which everything else turns so I invite
you to mull that over since we still have some things to get into place but
I think we should start that sooner rather than later and then Mr. Reitinger
you had a something you wanted to discuss about a steering committee Thank you Mr. Chairman first up I support your notion very much that we should start on
the school specific pieces ourselves as soon as possible and start to devote a
significant amount of time to that because I don’t know I don’t think it’ll
happen otherwise and as you say it’s our responsibility on the joint pieces
including how to divvy up the land what the
options are all of the different pieces that were rolled into the PPEA process
before there was discussion in open session at the last joint meeting we had
with the City Council where the consultant made its presentation about
whether there should be a steering committee of some sort I actually would
not call it a steering committee because I don’t think it’s a steering committee
but it feels to me like the cadence of joint meetings with the City
Council is simply not going to allow effective governance by the school board
or the City Council or guidance if you will in between joint sessions I think
that if we go the process then that means that the lion’s share of
that work is going to be on the two administrations: the school
administration, and the city administration and it’s my personal
view that there ought to be more political involvement of elected
representatives in that process not to make decisions on behalf of either body
but to sort of show up at meetings to lend the weight the visual weight of the
school board or the City Council to help with options development to have a
number of people to come back and to bring in additional parties like the
Planning Commission maybe the EDA and maybe some community groups I feel not
completely hard over that that’s the only solution but I feel pretty strongly
that that’s going to be something that’s important and I understand you know one
of the downsides that was expressed to me either on the record or after the meeting in a group smaller than three either City
Council or School Board members not violative of the Open Meeting Law was
that one problem with that sort of group is that everybody wants to be on it and
nobody wants to defer to it when it’s decisions come back I think those are
fair points but I think we’ve all got to be big men and women and say not
everybody can be on it maybe just a couple of people from each
body and that the mission ought not be to make decisions but to aid with options development and to sort of do some to be conduits for
the whole school board both information flowing in and information flowing back
along with the two administrations so I think that’s a subject that’s likely to
be discussed by the City Council I know I have my own opinion I think some other
people do but I don’t really have a sense of what the board’s view is so I
was hopeful that we could have if not a decision on that obviously we can’t make
the decision ourselves but a discussion about whether that is a valuable step in
what the pros and cons of it might be as a means to being able to execute
effectively when and if a consultant is chosen then we move forward on the
process Thoughts, questions, comments? Mr. Lawrence I agree there needs to be
something my question is how will this be different because two and a half
years ago we set up the steering committee they had two from the school
board, two from the City Council, one from the EDA, one from the Planning Commission, they it had no authority we brought in development experts, we brought in school
experts, we brought in commercial development experts, we found the RTKL
people they did their great study, we did the ULI TAP, we’ve seen this play so the
question is why didn’t it work and why would it work this time because people
complained about how we didn’t have enough people as part of the PPEA
process how the meetings were closed how it was very opaque the steering
committee was very everything was as far as I know 95% was in the open It was always open it was never closed I was holding 5% just because I figured my
memory might be faulty it was all in the open you know Tom took long minutes,
posted them all the time we did nobody from the public, well two people from the public came well two people from concerned parties who were going to bid were the ones who have kept coming all the time who happened to be members of
the public members of the community really happy to see them there but we’ve
done this so I’m trying to figure out how’s it going to be different how would it be different or is this you know the old definition of insanity we’re doing the
same thing and expecting a different result so I understand the idea I
wasn’t at the last meeting but I’ve talked to several people who were at the
joint meeting and I got to tell you it was a bit disturbing to hear what came out
because you go down a process and at some point you say it’s not working
we’re going to go back to square one we’ll go back to square zero fine but
you go back with more clarity and more focus and it seems like that meeting
almost made it sound like we’re going back to square one with less clarity and
less focus than we had before and it just worried me deeply about the
possibility of where we were going because it seemed like we were in a very
bad place for getting anything done so I understand your point it’s just a
question how is it going to be different this time because you’re right people won’t Can I say something about the consultant too? Okay well yeah Dr Jones, and then Mr. Ankuma because on the one hand honestly not everybody wants to be on these but
nobody wants to defer to them so I think you’re half right there but that’s
almost worse than everybody wanting to be on them because if people go and they
actually get informed then it’s great then you know it’s easier on the back
end so I’m just trying to figure out how would this be different because we have
done exactly what you’re talking about because we all thought that was exactly
what we should do and we’re here so that’s my rant Dr. Jones has a quick comment and then Mr. Ankuma Yeah the only thing I would say is that we are the consultant has been selected it is LINX that came to our
meeting and what might be a really good idea they did mention having a committee
so that’s why we’re putting the consultant in place so they can guide us
through the process and maybe we let them get started and then allow them to
actually inform us on what they think we need to do because this is what they do
for a living and so they may very well say oh you don’t need a committee
because here are your questions these are school board because one thing we’ve
been really clear about we don’t really want city council making the decisions
for the school board or school board making City Council decisions like about
zoning and stuff so the issues may be so separated that the school board is going
to be answering the questions that you have and the general government City
Council will be answering theirs and on those big things where we come together
we just don’t know how many of them there will be so letting them get
started would probably, to see where where where we end up would be really
helpful for us Mr. Ankuma For the record I don’t want to be on it only because I don’t know anything about
building schools but I think what has happened in the past is been too many
politicians and too many people who don’t know what they’re talking about in
the process I’m gonna be very blunt I like the word options development,
send the folks in who know what they’re talking about let them come up with some
real high numbers we know we don’t have 112 million dollars so cut it out and
say go in set them a figure, give them 75 million I don’t know what the
number is let’s be very specific and we’re not doing a path forward John to your
point you raised a very good question we’re not going in looking for a process we won’t resolve this time so send the folks who know what they talk about it let them come up with something that is practical that could
be workable but the fewer politicians are in that room the better that’s what’s going to be different at least that’s my two cents Right but the problem is it’s still the people who are the politicians who are going to have to vote to do it After the options are developed but don’t get them in logging it down with pork, asking for everything which is why the PPEA process failed
to begin with we wanted everything everything on the planet in that and
that’s why we got two developers who didn’t want to do it anyway Well but that gets to the point of what are we as a body going to say we want is it going to be different than the size school we had last time We do what we can afford because clearly that’s where the rubber meets the road Right but we still don’t even know that I
mean that’s part of my It’s definitely less than 112 million I can tell you that Well but I think what you’ve
touched on is you know the issue isn’t the issue that is holding us up is
not what was what will the high school look like that’s not what is holding
this up I don’t think the issue is even it’s hard but what would
development look like I think the ultimate issue that’s hanging everybody
up is how do we pay for this and so I don’t know if there should be a finance
oriented steering committee that can really develop for peoples
understanding that but you know people buy things all the time that they don’t
have the cash for it’s called financing that’s what finance is it’s it’s finding
ways to afford things you don’t have the money for and if done properly it’s
responsible and sound but it’s also alchemy sometimes and people don’t
understand it and so it seems to me if and I’m we need to do it I don’t know
how we need to do it or whether it’s steering committees are able to do it but we need to
get the alchemy of finance explained so that people can say you know just
because we can borrow XD million doesn’t mean that we can’t find other ways to make things possible so at the same time that’s not always easy or clear so it seems to me that’s the central that’s the long pole in the tent right now I don’t know the alchemy and I know just enough to be dangerous I’ve dabbled in the
numbers a few times but I’m thinking we focus on what is affordable or what
this what if we go with 2% on our budget maybe we should ask the city general
government what can you give us can you give us 40 million can
give us 50 million can you give us 60 million and then we go to the committee
and say what can you design or build for us for this money because that’s all
we have you otherwise we’re spinning our wheels and running around in circles and
we’ll get nowhere trying to figure out little should we get this is what we
want let’s go with what we have what we can afford I like a Bentley but I can’t afford it so I drive my Honda yeah that’s how we should think But if you have a family of eight people and somebody says we can only afford a Civic you have a problem So Mr. Lawrence Well no I mean that’s exact it I mean this whole thing is foundered on the cost not on what the school is going to look like it foundered on the
cost and we don’t have that so to me the idea of going toward a steering
committee to talk about how do we build something and we still haven’t been told
how much we can spend seems a bit pointless so I think the finance is
key I mean fine it’s not 112 million well guess what it’s not 40 million either because that would be pointless but it’s got to being a smaller range than we have now which really lets us plan for nothing and lets the community not look at anything concrete and we’re never going to get any buy-in from anybody for somewhere between 40 and 112 so yeah to me that if it really
comes down to City Council saying we can only afford X we need to know what the X is and we’ve not come close to getting that That’s right so just a couple of quick things first off we obviously and a number of people they haven’t circled around it they’ve said it directly the affordability question is going to be the ultimate one and I agree with the chair very much that we have to have something we can afford and if we don’t answer that question then it’s going to be hard to make my progress that said I don’t think not having been on this body or involved with the steering committee last time it doesn’t seem to me like the steering committee was the reason the people in the process failed it feels to me like there were some decisions associated with how the whole thing what the package was going to be and some foreseeable perhaps but certainly some unforeseeable results of that process and trying to get two things done at once in fact everything I’ve heard from people about the steering committee process is that it worked pretty well last time although at the end of the day the most important metric whether we built a school or not was not successfully met it seems to me to respond to a little bit to Michael’s question I understand the desire to say this is a technical question and we need answers to the information I think that’s very much true but it’s also true that this is a mixed political and technical question that the technical people can’t they can develop options for us to consider but you know they can’t tell us if it’s better to you know broadness and do something more with Fairfax County or bring in additional private partners and add more money they can develop that options with the backing of the school board or the City Council they can have those conversations but at the end of the day whether something’s affordable or not is a decision made by the politicians and not by the debt consultants so I do think it’s important to have it remains my view that it would be very valuable to have a group of people broader than just the school board and the City Council but including some of the school board the City Council to be more actively involved on a day to day basis in working with the consultants while the consultants work their way and I don’t dispute what Dr. Jones said about you know hearing what the consultant has to say about that I just simply wanted to have the discussion about what we as a board thought the approach ought to be and I said I’ve expressed my view I think others have expressed their view my view might change based on what the consultant said but I don’t know that it would Well and I think as I puzzle this though I mean one of the things I think that we need to try to find a way to do is to allow the consultant and staff and associated experts to work as quickly and as clearly and as focusedly, if that’s a word, as possible and so maybe you have you know a couple of liaisons to those to the staff things where basically that there’s a conduit of information about how the staff work is going and adjustments to the staff work can be provided by the bodies if and as necessary but you know to some extent getting the politicians out of the way might dovetail with that in the sense that if we enable and empower the experts and staff and have a conduit of information from representatives of the bodies that might be another way to go I don’t know it’s hard to say but you know that was the thing about the steering committee was that it was largely not staff oriented it was us talking to each other and then engaging experts from time to time but it was a it was a concept validation rather than a prototyping or you know action-oriented thing so other thoughts? For me ultimately kind of agree with Michael I think it’s going to be bottom line what the cost is going to be and I get putting together some type of group as I think of bringing in some of the folks that we’ve mentioned and potentially the public just to kind of get a better sense of because when we were doing the all the other work 40 million dollars kept getting thrown around as what the city can afford to give and we all in this room know that’s not going to get us anywhere and really I don’t know it’s I’m interested to see what some of the schools within this region have paid for schools we’re not going to go Cadillac of DC spending the 125 plus million to do it but some of our neighbors who have done renovations and done brand-new I mean are they all in that price point and just trying to figure out and just figuring out what we can get and truly what we can get and see what a number is because I agree I think a lot of pushback has come back at the 112 million but I don’t know if we can get anything much less than that for what we all know that we need Well and getting a better understanding as to what the numbers mean because you’ll have some high schools say, oh we actually built our high school for 70 million, that was the cost of only building the high school it wasn’t any of the development work it wasn’t you know the FF&E I mean it wasn’t a whole bunch of other things and our price always included everything so we also need to be better at that because I think we shot ourselves in the foot several times by having people who could say look this high school got built for 70 million they thought it would be 90 you’re out of your minds like well no it didn’t cost that much overall to build it cost a lot more Other comments and questions? Something’s going on cause everybody’s on their devices There is a, an announcement was
made by a… I’ll let Dr. … I’m not going to say anything I don’t know my phone just started going off because someone must have had an alert set up for Dr. Jones’ name Well be that as it may is there anything else on the matter at hand? Then let us go adjourn