Joint Board Committee Meeting: May 14, 2020

By Diane Payne and Lisa Haver

Student Achievement Committee

Present via video:  All members of the Student Achievement Committee were present for this remote meeting: Co-Chair Angela McIver;  members Julia Danzy, Mallory Fix Lopez, and Maria McColgan. District Chief of Staff Naomi Wyatt gave a presentation. District Counsel Lynn Rauch attended via phone. McIver read an objection to the proceeding under the PA Sunshine Act raised by community member Michael Burke. McIver did not specify which part of the Act Burke was citing, but she stated that the written objection would be part of the official record and further noted that the Board’s position is that following the State health guidelines does not constitute a violation.  The Committee approved the Minutes from the April 23 joint Student Achievement and Finance and Facilities April committee meeting.  Four Members of APPS testified in defense of public education.  All Board Committee Meetings can be viewed on the Board website and meeting materials and agendas can be viewed on the Board Meeting Material page.

Staff Reports on Online Learning, Enforcement of Policy 252

Wyatt narrated a presentation on the Continuity of Education plan.  This Power-Point included information on distributed chromebooks, internet access, student participation in online learning, and efforts to locate and engage students not yet participating.  Wyatt stated that the District is working with City officials, including the Department of Human Services, to locate students who have had no school contact throughout the school closure in order to assure their well-being and attempt to re-engage them.

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Budget Presentation and Joint Committee Meetings: April 23, 2020

by Diane Payne and Lynda Rubin

The Board of Education held two consecutive remote meetings: the Lump Sum Budget Presentation and a joint meeting of the Finance and Facilities Committee and the Student Achievement and Support Committee. All members of the Board attended online; Dr. Hite attended the Budget hearing.                                                                                                       [The video of the meetings can be viewed from the Board’s homepage;  the budget power-point can be accessed by visiting the “meeting materials” page.]

Chief Financial Officer Uri Monson provided updated  budget projections for FY 2020/21.  Both President Wilkerson and Dr. Hite urged members of the public to advocate for continued adequate funding from the state. The City’s contribution to the District remains intact for now. Student Representative Doha Ibrahim read prepared remarks on how the Covid-19 has affected the District’s students, seniors in particular.  Her remarks served as a reminder of the human impact behind the budget data.

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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.

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Student Achievement and Support Committee Report, December 5, 2019

by Lynda Rubin

In response to repeated public requests, the Board Committees have begun posting the Committee agendas, including descriptions of Action Items to be considered, one week before the meeting. However, 7 new items were added to the agenda just hours before this meeting, 6 of which are charter renewals (including 5 Mastery charters). Yet the CSO had sufficient time to prepare an extensive power-point presentation. We also question how parents and students from all 5 Mastery schools were printed on the official speakers list. How did charter supporters sign up 24 hours ahead of time to speak on Action Items that were not publicly posted until 5 hours before the meeting? 

Additionally, the power-point slides prepared for the District Reports by staff were not posted until the day after the meeting. Board members continue to say that Committee meetings are where deliberation and dialogue take place, and have used that justification for not responding to questions at Action Meetings.  The Board continues to withhold information about charter matters until after the Board votes. How can people ask informed questions with limited information? 

Present: Chair Angela McIver, Committee members Mallory Fix Lopez, Julia Danzy,  Maria McColgan; Student Representative Doha Ibrahim. Leticia Egea-Hinton also attended. Co-Chair Chris McGinley was absent, but did review materials before the meeting and left questions for staff.

Minutes from the November 14, 2019 committee meeting were approved and will be posted on the website.

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