Student Achievement and Support Committee: January 16, 2020

By Lynda Rubin

The Student Achievement and Support Committee this month addressed a number of issues, including the problem of having too many teachers with emergency certifications and how the District supports hard-to-staff schools. Updates were given on the status of the School Progress Report (SPR) and school climate issues, if and how the number of special ed classes in any school affects a school’s status, and  how to include teacher contributions into the report process. The Charter School Office pointed out the time sensitive submission of written testimony on the two new applications: HS2L (Health and Science Leadership Charter School) and String Theory’s Joan Myers Brown Academy (JMB/ST). The Board’s notice about timing and method of submitting written testimony is included in this report. The Board has given conflicting information about whether previous testimony given at public Action or Committee meetings will be included as testimony about the two applications,  so it is advised that even if testimony was given at a previous meeting, it should be resubmitted per the information below.

Present: Co-Chairs Chris McGinley and Angela McGiver, Committee members Maria McColan, Mallory Fix Lopez. Pres. Joyce Wilkerson sat in.

Minutes from 12/12/19 Meeting were approved.

To read the rest of the report click here.

Policy Committee Meeting: January 16, 2020

by Diane Payne

The Policy Committee has committed to review all School District policies, some decades old, and to revise, update or eliminate in order to reflect current needs and practices. Despite repeated requests over the past year,  copies of policies on the agenda were not available to members of the public in attendance. One binder with one set of the policies under consideration was placed on the desk outside the meeting room with instructions not to remove. There is no way to be in the meeting and review the policy revisions at the same time. APPS continues to ask the Board to provide copies of all meeting materials so that the “public engagement” they promise will be more than a slogan.

Present: Co-Chairs Maria McColgan and Joyce Wilkerson; Committee Members Julia Danzy, Chris McGinley, and Lee Huang. Board members Leticia Egea-Hinton and Angela McIver also attended.

Minutes of the November Policy Meeting were approved.

Continue reading here.

Defenders of Public Education speak at the New Charter Applications Hearing, December 20, 2019

Click on the individual’s name to read a transcript of his or her testimony

 Topic: High School of Health Sciences Leadership Charter School Application (HS2L)

Monique Adkins

Susan L. DeJarnatt

Lisa Haver

Angela Iovine

Maddie Luebbert

Erika McFadden

Bob Nelson

Sally O’Brien

Coleen Orr

Ilene Poses

Emanuel Ramos

Lynda Rubin

Topics: HS2L and Joan Myers Brown Academy

Karel Kilimnik

Stephanie King

New Charter Application Hearing: Friday, December 20, 2019

by Lynda Rubin   

This hearing presented two new charter applications to the Board: Heath and Science Leadership Academy Charter (HS2L) to be located at 5210 Broad Street, and String Theory/Joan Meyers Brown (JMB) Charter School to be located in Wynnefield.

Despite the fact that this was the first of only two hearings on these applications, and that this was the only one of the two at which public testimony will be heard, the date for this hearing was set for Friday, December 20th, at 4:00 pm–for many the last day before the extended Christmas holiday. APPS members, in testimony at the December Board meeting and in emails to the District, protested this date. The Board did not accede to this request, stating that they were hemmed in by the State’s deadline and that public testimony could be submitted in writing.

Community Fights to Be Heard

Real public engagement means not only allowing educators, parents and community members to attend meetings and speak on important issues, but encouraging them to do so. Putting a banner on the website (2 clicks in) is hardly a substitute for real outreach from the Board.  Being heard and seen as a unified force is far more powerful, obviously, then sending in written testimony seen by a few people. Organizing by APPS and others brought out local school principals, District staff, neighborhood organizations and others who spoke in opposition to both new charters.

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