Student Achievement and Support Committee: March 14, 2019

by Lynda Rubin

Co-chair Dr. Angela McIver called the meeting to order and chaired the proceedings.  All Committee members were present: Co-chair Dr. Chris McGinley, Julia Danzy, Mallory Fix Lopez, Dr. Maria McColgan. Board President Joyce Wilkerson and Student Representatives Julia Frank and Alfredo Pratico were also present.

Dr. McIver announced that the focus of the Committee meeting would be on Multi-Lingual Curriculum and Programs. Several public speakers had signed up prior to the meeting, most on the subject of EL policies and practices. She suggested that prospective speakers could sign up to speak at the Board’s Action meeting. She also noted that written testimony can be submitted at any time for Committee attention and to become part of the record by emailing it to: schoolboardcommittees@philasd.org.

The February 2, 2019 minutes were approved and will be posted on the website.

Multi-Lingual Curriculum and Programs Presentation

Chief Academic Officer Dr. Malika Savoy Brown, along with Deputy Chief of MultiLingual  Curriculum and Programs Allison Still and Director Patricia Ryan, gave the presentation and answered questions.

Dr. Malika Savoy-Brooks stated that the Multi-Lingual Curriculum and Programs Office is part of the Academic Supports Office. She noted three main goals: 1) ensuring that all students have access to grade level instruction, 2) supporting students through rigorous coursework and compelling programs, and 3) ensuring that teachers and leaders are equipped with the knowledge they need to ensure effective teaching and learning in the classroom. Savoy-Brooks said that there has been a shift in the programs to support schools and fill gaps with comprehensive efforts in the high school multi-lingual program as well.

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Finance and Facilities Committee Meeting: March 14, 2019

by Diane Payne

Lee Huang and Leticia Egea-Hinton co-chaired this meeting; Committee members Angela McIver, Chris McGinley, Joyce Wilkerson, and Wayne Walker (via telephone) were present.  Board Member Julia Danzy joined about midway through the meeting. One APPS member testified on behalf of public education. This meeting was held at 10:00 a.m. and was sparsely attended compared to last month’s meeting held at 4:00..  February Committee minutes were approved.

Meeting agendas and powerpoint presentations can be viewed on the SDP website by going to the Board of Education page and clicking on “meeting materials.”

Follow-Ups

Chief Operating Officer Danielle Floyd narrated a presentation on three still unanswered questions raised at a previous meeting. Floyd confirmed that the sale price of West Philadelphia High School was $5.1 million.  When looking up the property, a sale price of $1 is listed. However, this was a developer transaction that happened after the SDP sale. In answer to a question from Lee Huang, Floyd stated that the only way to verify any sale price is to search through the past resolutions for the specific resolution which approved the sale.  Floyd failed to note how tedious that would be and how difficult it is for a member of the public to find that information without the actual date and number of the resolution. In this age of computer information with everything at one’s fingertips, District information only goes back a few years and is cumbersome to search for–the antithesis of user-friendly.

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Student Achievement and Support Committee: February 21, 2019

By Diane Payne

Chris McGinley and Angela McIver co-chaired.  Also present were committee members Julia Danzy, Leticia Egea-Hinton, Mallory Fix Lopez, and the two student representatives, Julia Frank and Alfredo Pratico.  Board Member Wayne Walker attended this meeting and although Committee Member Maria McColgan was absent, she watched the meeting via livestream and texted questions to co-chair McGinley.

Five members of APPS attended this meeting and three spoke in defense of Public Education.  (Meeting agendas and power-point presentations can be viewed on the SDP website by going to the BOE page and clicking on “meeting materials.”   A large number of people attended this meeting.  As the room filled, members of the public had to sit in the atrium and watch the meeting on a screen.  Several public speakers had to come from this overflow room. If this first-floor meeting space constantly overflows for this meeting, it is hoped the Board will accommodate the public by moving to the larger, second floor auditorium where everyone can feel included.

Minutes of the January Student Achievement and Support Committee were approved.

District Presentations

Recruitment and Retention of School-Based Staff

Chief Talent Officer Louis Bellardine and the Deputy Staffer Teresa Ritz reported on three categories: school leaders, teachers, and support staff.  They listed the challenges and strategies in staff recruitment and retention for each of the categories (which can be viewed on the PowerPoint presentation).  Not mentioned in this presentation: the professional conduct, school-based resources, and building conditions that so many members of the public testify about before this Board (as well as its predecessor, the SRC).  Recruiting and retaining quality staff must begin with the heart and soul of the District’s philosophy–not just jargon on a PowerPoint.

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Finance and Facilities Committee Meeting: February 21, 2019

by Diane Payne

Lee Huang and Leticia Egea-Hinton co-chaired the meeting; Committee members Wayne Walker and Joyce Wilkerson were also present. Board members Mallory Fix Lopez and Chris McGinley attended the meeting.  Two APPS members attended the meeting; one spoke in defense of public education. Minutes of the previous meeting were approved. This meeting was held at 4:00 p.m. in response to community requests for a more public-friendly meeting time.  Huang indicated that they would try to schedule “some” of the F&F meetings at this time. The meeting was well attended and featured seven public speakers. Once again, it was difficult to hear Board members and District staff. Several requests were made from the audience (as have been made at previous meetings) for presenters to speak into the mic, which went mostly unheeded. In addition, the wall speakers were on the lowest possible volume.  The PA Sunshine Act states that meetings are not public if the public cannot hear the official business being conducted. Is “transparency” just a buzzword for the Board or will they make sure that the public can hear and participate at all meetings?

(Meeting agendas and power-point presentations can be viewed on the SDP website by going to the BOE page and clicking on “meeting materials.”

Presentations by Chief Financial Officer Uri Monson

Fiscal Year 2020 Budget Update: This first presentation highlighted the 2nd quarter’s actual fund balance compared to the projected fund balance.  Unfortunately, the balance is 26.1 million less than projected.  The reasons for this difference, as explained by Monson, are two-fold: the revenue impact of the City’s “tolling bill” and increased payments to charter schools.  (More on the charter school payments under “Speakers Comments” below.) Monson reported that once the City and State release proposed budgets and revised revenue estimates, the SDP baseline budget will be updated, and either priority investments or potential cuts are added.

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