Monday, August 22, 2005

Ashland School District No. 5, Jackson County, Oregon - The Board of Directors met in a work session August 22, 2005, at 7:00 p.m. in the Ashland Middle School Library.    Present were: 


Heidi Parker                 )            Chair


Ruth Alexander            )          

Amy Amrhein               )            Board Members

Mat Marr                     )

Amy Patton                  )


Juli Di Chiro, Superintendent

Pam Lucas, Business Manager

District Administrators


I.          Call to Order


            The meeting was called to order at 12:00 p.m. by Chair Parker.


II.         Roll Check


            A roll of the board was taken and all members were present. 


III.            Introductions


Introductions of all members present were made.


IV.              Review of Article, “Recurring Themes of Professional Learning Communities and the Assumptions They Challenge.


Members present discussed the article. Chair Parker recommended community and student participation on curriculum committees.  Director Amhrein asked how the information might translate into issues coming to the Board this year.


Superintendent Di Chiro explained the district’s desire to consciously increase teacher collaboration and job embedded learning. This might mean reviewing how teacher time is scheduled throughout the school year calendar and during late starts or early release times. Teachers will also study formative assessments this year.


V.            Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) Assessment Data Review and Analysis


Superintendent DiChiro reviewed the AYP Assessment Data explaining that, eventually, all school districts will not meet AYP standards. AYP does not compare a student's growth year to year. It compares the performance of students in one grade to the performance of students in that grade the following year.

Ashland School District did not meet AYP this year because of one dimension: mathematics for students with disabilities in 10th grade math.


Director Alexander recommended enhancements to math curriculum in elementary schools so students can do more advanced math in Middle School.

Principal Zundel recommended political action to reform the law so it makes sense and actually measures continuous school improvement.


Small groups analyzed strengths, concerns and trends in the data.

Strengths included:

In Elementary Reading and Math, less than 5% of students are not meeting state standards.

At AMS 60% of students are exceeding math standards.

At AMS there are fewer students each year in the Does Not Meet category.

AHS is consistently higher than state averages in all categories.

Student participation rate is 99% at AHS.


Concerns included:

4th & 7th grade writing scores.

At AHS, the percentage of students not meeting benchmark is similar to the number of students not participating in after school activities or athletics.

AHS similar percentage Exceed and attend college.


Trends included:

The number of Elementary students in the Does Not Meet category decreases over time.

At AMS, there is an increase in math and science scores, but flat in reading and writing.


VI.            Review of Continuous Improvement Plan Goals

Superintendent DiChiro explained the state’s new, more prescriptive process for creating a District Improvement Plan. A committee of teachers met last spring to develop consensus on four goal areas based on the Department of Education’s guidelines. These will be the basis for School Improvement Plans to be developed by Site Councils and due in December 2005.


VII.      Review of AQEM Goals


Superintendent DiChiro shared the AQEM goals


VIII.            Strategic Planning


Director Patton expressed her hope to enhance the AQEM by creating a Mission, Vision, Values and identify objectives. It is important to add details of who will do what, when it will happen, measurable outcomes etc. In this way, the District can prioritize implementation and align with the budgeting process  Superintendent DiChiro suggested that Kate Dickson, a consultant could support this process of strategic planning for the District.  Director Marr expressed the importance of analyzing the level of enrollment needed to make programs viable and how to get there.


IX.            Communication Strategies


Principal Rooklyn provided background on effective protocols with previous Boards. For example, if a concern comes to a Board member, encourage that person to go directly to the staff member closest to the issue then move up to principal and superintendent. He emphasized the importance of collaborative teamwork.


Superintendent DiChiro reminded the group that at the Board and District Office level you hear mostly concerns and not good news. It’s a good idea for Board members to visit schools and classrooms to have a well-rounded perspective. Newsletters are a good way to read monthly about school activities, events and issues.


Director Patton wondered if a monthly summary could come to Board members from each school.


Director Amhrein explained how Phoenix-Talent School Board has an agenda item: Accentuate the Positive at each meeting. Some discussion ensued concerning the Teacher, Classified and Student representative reports at the Board meetings.


Director Marr suggested that we implement public quarterly reports by each principal or a presentation by teachers and students.


Superintendent DiChiro suggested that the Board conduct work sessions at each school during the year to allow site councils to present to the Board.


Director Patton shared a handout from the OSBA Conference regarding value positions from which people may come forward with concerns. Those values are: Liberty, Community, Equality or Prosperity. She suggested that awareness of these positions might help with communication.


X.            Kindergarten Program


The following three issues were discussed:


Issue 1:    The District wants to increase instructional time for Kindergarten. Space and funding are the current obstacles.

Issue 2:    The District wants to allow parent choice among elementary schools. Currently new families living in the Walker area are redirected to Bellview.

Issue 3:    Conditions at elementary schools provide each school with one discretionary classroom, music room and special education room with all other rooms used as classrooms.


Director Alexander stated that the Eugene School District’s smaller school model is her preference. She posed the questions, “How can we have open enrollment so it works for everyone? How can we extend Kindergarten and allow choices for parents about the length of the Kindergarten day? Can we make Ashland School District accessible to all those options.” She expressed concern that the district is losing students to private school and home school options at a greater rate than past years, though she does not have data on that at this time.


Superintendent Di Chiro explained that, if we kept five elementary schools open, significant impacts on programs and class size at AMS and AHS would occur.


Director Marr offered a grocery store analogy to explain the importance of Kindergarten to the District.  Kindergarten is the time when people shop for education. If they commit to the District in Kindergarten, they are likely to continue. They won't shop again in third grade. Grocers see milk and eggs as a loss leader because it gets people in the door. Kindergarten is our milk and eggs.


Discussion occurred about the use of Lincoln and AMS space for Kindergarten programs. Concerns were raised about not having libraries, Child Development specialists and older students at either location. Additional concerns included the custodial, secretarial and administrative costs if the District used Lincoln classrooms. Discussion occurred about moving fifth graders to AMS.


Superintendent DiChiro shared current enrollment data.


Principal Fagan announced that an increase in enrollment at Bellview has caused a change in the Kindergarten schedule. Bellview students will have an AM/PM, M-F Kindergarten with a 2.5 hour/day. Bellview will add a teacher for a blended 2/3 class.


Director Alexander questioned the use of the District’s reserve funds. Is a 3% reserve adequate or do we need an 8-10% reserve? She expressed concern that district actions may create a self-fulfilling prophesy of declining enrollment.


The Board work session on September 26th will focus on the Kindergarten Program and will be located at an elementary school.


XI.       Update on joint City, Parks & Recreation Commission and School Board Meetings


            Director Patton reported on the ongoing work of this collaborative group.


XII.            Consensus Building on Board Goals for the 2005-06 School Year


The Board brainstormed 24 possible goals. This will go out on email for each administrator and Board member to suggest five priorities.


1.      Initiate a study of Kindergarten program with the goal of providing an extended day program.

2.      Develop a strategic plan for the implementation of the AQEM.

3.      Complete the Facilities Study leading to proposing a facilities bond.

4.      Study grade realignments (K-8, K-4, 5-8, etc)

5.      Develop Visual and Performing Arts improvement plan

6.      Return to open enrollment among elementary schools

7.      Stabilize enrollment numbers; use demographic data as basis

8.      Increase academic challenge

9.      Work on bullying/harassment issues

10.  Establish Professional Learning Communities at each site

11.  Work on long range financial planning; work with budget committee; include Levy planning

12.  Continue state-wide political advocacy

13.  Work on all students making continuous progress towards academic standards

14.  Establish guidelines for curriculum review – include parents, staff, students and community members in curriculum leadership

15.  Determine future use of Lincoln

16.  Develop assessment tools that can track student progress over time

17.  Improve communication among staff and with the community

18.  Map out future staffing needs based on retirement of teachers and administrators

19.  Second language program

20.  Evaluate food services program

21.  Analyze the school day and year based on the needs of students and staff

22.  Evaluate maintenance models for grounds maintenance

23.  Encourage alternative transportation to schools

      24. Partnership with other school districts and government agencies.


XIII.     Public Comment


            Chair Parker invited those members of the public who observed the meeting to share comments.


XIV.            Adjournment


              There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at 5:00 p.m.


Jeanne Peterson, Executive Secretary

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8-22-05 Work Session.pdf


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