1. City Interfund Reimbursement Agreement
2. GMSD's Strategic Plan
3. GMSD's Facilities Master Plan
4. Legislative Agenda for TSBA's Day on the Hill
Interfund Reimbursement Agreement
GMSD Strategic Plan
The plan calls for 5 goals:
1. Maximize Student Potential
2. Recruit, Develop, Retain Exemplary Staff
3. Mobilize Community Engagement for Systems Benefit
4. Establish 21st Century Classrooms and Schools
5. Work Effectively and Efficiently as a School Board
Goal 1: Maximize Student Potential
Much of the school board discussion centered around the first goal of "maximizing student potential" which according to the plan calls for students to "have the opportunity to pursue and attain academic excellence though a personalized education experience where success is evident." Then plan then lists seven objectives that emphasize: 1) community service learning 2) benchmarking student progress 3) classes & programs for all intelligence levels 4) good student conduct 5) available counseling services 6) parental involvement and 7) balancing state requirements such as testing and RTI with the social & emotional well being of students.
From the get-go, Mr. Dely criticized the plan for being too vague. He said he wasn't sure what was meant by the phrase "maximizing student potential." Mr. Manuel explained that goal linked up with the state's AMO's (annual measurable objectives). Then, there was a lot of talk about AMO's which we will spare you.
Suffice it to say the state requires school districts to continuously raise student test scores in both proficiency and growth while at the same time raising academic standards. As the learning material becomes harder (more rigorous if you are an edu guru), the state demands even more students master this new rigorous curriculum. And every student should be showing growth—even those students who are already at the tippy top of their grade level.
Both Mr. Dely and Mr. Hoover insisted that GMSD must set their goals higher than merely achieving the state AMO requirements. Mr. Manuel objected saying that the state was setting very stringent goals. During his entire tenure at Shelby County Schools, that district (ranked as one of the best in Tennessee at the time) was unable to meet all of the state AMOs. He felt that the demands from the state were more than sufficient to challenge the district.
At times, there was heated debate between Mr. Manuel and Mr. Dely over the strategic plan. Mr. Dely, supported by Mr. Hoover, urged the board to adopt specific goals that could easily be measured. One of his suggestions was for the plan to include Houston High School achieving the highest ACT average in the state. Mr. Hoover agreed and added that he wanted to see GMSD have the highest number of advanced and proficient students in the state. Mr. Manuel countered that the AMOs were measurable and showed the proficiency and growth of every student. He urged Mr. Dely to consider students who were not good test takers where just raising their scores was a victory even if it wasn't the highest score in the state.
Lisa Parker chimed in and said she had recently talked with a long time kindergarten teacher who retired from Riverdale. She said that kindergarten teachers are busy making sure their students are prepared for First Grade and not the ACT test. She wanted to know how ACT scores would measure the achievement of kindergarteners. Mr. Hoover said that he wanted GMSD to also produce the highest number of proficient and advanced scores in the state. JAM SIDE NOTE: GMSD joined an increasing number of school districts across the state with its decision not to administer standardized tests (SAT-10) to kindergarten students.
At some point, the board quit discussing test scores and moved to student participation in extracurricular activities. Again, there was a dispute between Mr. Dely and Mr. Manuel over the appropriate measure. Mr. Dely wanted to use participation numbers measuring the number of students who were in clubs, band, athletics, etc. Mr. Manuel felt the best measure would be the number of offerings available to students.
After spatting over how to measure success, the board began to focus on including a score card for the strategic plan so that the board could monitor the progress of the school system in achieving its goals. For the first goal, Ms. Fisher recapped the board's suggestions to include in the year end score card: graduation rate, ACT scores, EOC scores, TNReady/TCAP scores, extracurriculars, scholarships, college admissions, number of students entering college with college credit through dual enrollment/AP classes, etc...
Goal 2: Recruit, Develop, Retain Exemplary Staff
The second goal of the strategic plan calls for every student to have "access to a highly trained, committed, and motivated staff." The plan lists 10 bullet points that include using on-line job applications, providing differentiated professional development, training staff for internal recruitment, creating developmental programs for nontenured teachers, offering competitive compensation packages, using the TEAM teacher evaluation model, creating lead teacher positions, providing opportunities for student teachers, recruit recent college graduates, and offering opportunities for GMSD high schoolers to explore the teaching profession.
The board discussed the following items to include on the score card for this goal: percentage of teachers ranking 4 or 5 in evaluations, parent feedback surveys, teacher retention rate, track the reason teacher recruits chose other districts, and professional development plan
Goal 3: Mobilize Community Engagement for Systems Benefit
The third goal states that GMSD "respects the positive impact the community voice has in making schools a quality place for which children should learn. This voice, evident in School Board Business Sessions, surveys, committee meetings, and/or town hall meetings, is an important facet of allowing us to access the pulse of our parents and citizenry on how well we are doing in meeting our mission." The goal goes on to identify 8 ways for GMSD to interact with the community: surveys, informational communications, capital improvement meetings, solicitation for financial support, invitation to participate in school activities, relay school board news, and acknowledgment of time, talent & treasure contributions. The board added that it would like to see GMSD reach out to the community for expertise in committee work and to make sure they reached out to the entire community, not just current parents.
Goal 4: Establish 21st Century Classrooms and Schools
The fourth goal is the most elaborate of the entire plan.The first section focuses on "Foundational Priorities" which includes healthy buildings, safe environments, low teacher-student ratios, updated security & emergency plans, etc… The second section, "Blended Learning Communities" is much more extensive focusing on the 1:1 initiative. The board suggested providing a clear goal for rollout of the 1:1 initiative with a timeline to reflect necessary teacher training. The board also asked that a Master Facilities Plan be included to bring all five campuses up to date and meet the GMSD brand expectations.
Goal 5: Work Effectively as a School Board
The fifth goal says, "The school board's emerging best practices should be centered on doing what is best for students in this community. As public servants, and while working as a collective body, they realize the meaning of how important they are as a decision making body as they assist in structuring Germantown Municipal Schools, assess operations and costs associated with these operations, and how to renew cooperative dialogue when changes need to happen so that the system can take on new meaning." It goes on to say, "Most importantly, effective school boards carry themselves as unified in public, critical in private and supportive of the superintendent as he and those in the school system work together."
The score card for the board would essentially be the items on TSBA's "board of distinction" checklist.
New Mission Statement
The board agreed the new mission statement for GMSD should be "To prepare, inspire, and empower students to become life long learners and socially responsible citizens."