Student Achievement and Support Committee: November 8, 2018

by Lynda Rubin

The Student Achievement and Support Committee was called to order by Co-chair Angela McIver.  Also present were Co-chair Chris McGinley and Committee members Julia Danzy, Leticia Egea-Hinton, Mallory Fix-Lopez, and Maria McColgan. Non-voting Student Board Representatives Julia Frank and Alfredo Praticò sat in.  Members of the public who had not signed up to speak were invited to do so at the beginning of the meeting. The Committee voted to adopt Minutes for the last two meetings, September 13, 2018 and October 11, 2018. (Approved minutes are posted on the District website.) Dr. McIver announced that the next meeting of this Committee will be held December 6, 2018 at 5 PM, one week earlier than previously posted.

Focus Topic: Proposed District-wide Comprehensive Plan  

Chief Schools Officer Shawn Bird presented the District’s Comprehensive Plan, a 3-year plan that will be in effect from 2019 until 2022.  The Plan is posted for public review and feedback. You can access the Plan and the feedback forms here: https://www.philasd.org/teachingandlearning/2018/11/06/districts-comprehensive-plan/

Dr. McGinley asked whether district staff was notified of the Plan.  Dr. Bird responded that the district sent letters to all district staff for their review and response; they have 16 responses so far.  Dr. Bird said that the letters went out late so additional time will be given for staff to respond. McIver asked where the feedback is housed.  Bird replied that it is housed on a Google document that is not visible to the public. He said he would send a link to the document to the Board members.

Three district teachers narrated a power-point on “The Curriculum Engine and the Instructional Core” and discussed how to use it to plan instruction.  Teachers can access standards, resources and curriculum maps using the Curriculum Engine.

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Board of Education Policy Committee Meeting: October 11, 2018

By Karel Kilimnik

Policy Committee Meeting Convenes for First Time

Policy  Committee Chair Wayne Walker called the meeting to order. Also present were Committee members Julia Danzy, Lee Huang, and Chris McGinley. Board members (but not Policy Committee members) Mallory Fix Lopez, Angela Mc Iver, and Leticia Egea-Hinton sat with members of the public attending this first  BOE Policy Committee Meeting. District staff in attendance included Chief of Staff Naomi Wyatt, serving as liaison to Superintendent Hite; Chief of Schools Shawn Bird; Chief Financial Officer Uri Monson; General Counsel Lynn Rauch; and Chief of Student Support Services Karyn Lynch.

The ten policies under consideration at this meeting were:

  • 111: Lesson Plans
  • 126 Class Size
  • 230 Public Performance by Students
  • 232 Student Voice
  • 331 Expense Reimbursement
  • 620 Fund Balance
  • 703 School Cleanliness and Classroom Management
  • 719 Art Collections
  • 813 Other Insurance
  • 828 Suspected Financial Misconduct and Dishonesty

To read the rest of the report click here.

Student Achievement and Support Committee: October 11, 2018

by Diane Payne

Present at this second meeting of the Student Achievement and Support were Board Co-chairs Chris McGinley and Angela McIver, along with Committee members Julia Danzy, Leticia Egea-Hinton, Mallory Fix-Lopez, and Maria McColgan.  Three APPS members attended, two testified. Lisa Haver asked about the indefinite postponement of charter renewals which result in de facto contract extensions without public scrutiny. Cheri Micheau addressed the lack of equity in the school selection process for English Language Learners  and students with special needs. There were three staff presentations: The High School Selection Process/District-wide Comprehensive Plan, New Charter Application timeline, and Multiple Charter School Organizations (MCSO) revised timeline.

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Board Holds Student Achievement and Support Committee Meeting

by Diane Payne

The Board of Education’s Committee on Student Achievement and Support held its first meeting on Thursday September 13. Eight members of APPS attended this meeting; seven testified. There were several presentations by district officials: Superintendent William Hite, Head of Schools Shawn Bird, Director of Academic Support Dr. Malika Savoy-Brooks, Director of Early Education Diane Castlebuono, and Interim Director of the Charters Schools Office Christina Grant. (You can view all BOE committee meeting presentation materials at the SDP website.)

Angela McIver and Chris McGinley serve as co-chairs; Julia Danzy, Leticia Egea-Hinton, Mallory Fix Lopez, and Maria McColgan are members of the Committee. Also present for most of the meeting was BOE President Joyce Wilkerson.

The meeting was scheduled for an hour and a half, but adjourned after two hours due to the number and length of staff presentations. At meeting’s end, the Co-chairs acknowledged that the number and length of presentations will have to be reconsidered in an effort to be respectful of time and to allow for public discussion. The 3-minute speaker rule was invoked due to time constraints, and although some went over, no speaker’s mic was shut off.

Staff presentation topics included: Read by 4th literacy initiative, teacher recruitment and retention, System of Great Schools (SGS) procedure and public hearings, and multiple charter school organizations (MCSO). (As noted above, all power points can be viewed on the SDP website.) During the presentation, Committee members asked thoughtful questions that challenged the status quo. For example, in response to Shawn Bird’s presentation on SGS, McGinley told him that “there are elements of the model that I vehemently disagree with.” McGinley added that the Committee would be following up for more information as the hearings on the year’s cohort of targeted schools proceed. The SGS schools this year are all in West Philadelphia–Harrington, Lamberton, and Locke. In response to another presentation, Fix-Lopez asked what other indicators were used besides standardized tests to determine whether graduating seniors were “career and college ready.” McColgan, Fix-Lopez, and Wilkerson expressed concerns around equity in the administration of grants and donations.

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