The video can be seen here or in the window below:
Riverdale Expansion Presentation
- Students may take an interest assessment and afterwards the program lists colleges with majors and programs that match their interests.
- Students who complete the Common Application may link/sync the Common App to their Naviance profile.
- There is a scholarship search available as well as college-resume building.
- Counselors and students can send transcripts with just a few clicks on the computer, and counselors can track when and where transcripts are sent.
- Counselors and administrators can see online reports of how many and which students have applied to college(s) and where they are in the process.
- At home access should be available by the end of the semester.
Eureka Math Overview
The money to purchase the textbooks was not available until July 2015, because it is an expenditure of this year's budget. This is why teachers did not have early access to the materials for lesson planning. However, in June, one teacher per grade level from each school attended a training session with Eureka authors. Those teachers then developed teaching materials used at each school, and these teachers serve as resources for other teachers. In August, the trained teachers solicited discussion and feedback on successes and difficulties with the curriculum and worked to make adjustments. In September, training videos were made available to teachers. A "Math Night" program for parents was originally scheduled for the end of October, but has been rescheduled for the first week of December due to conflicts.
Chauncey Bland reviewed several proposed policy changes:
HR 5.501 The superintendent can now appoint a designee to hear employee grievances. The policy now specifies Assistant Superintendent (Dan Haddow) and Director of Human Resources (Elissa Stratton) as the two complaint managers appointed for sexual harassment and gender discrimination claims.
SP 6.2062 Current policy requires a doctor’s note after 10 absences due to illness. Under the new proposal, students checking in or checking out of school more than 10 times due to illness will also require a doctor’s note. Any absences, check-ins or check-outs without physician verification beyond 10 will be considered unexcused. And an attendance hearing will be held for students with more than 5 unexcused absences.
SP 6.2062 Current policy allows students who move out of district after the first month of school to remain at their current school for the rest of the year. The proposed policy does not automatically allow students to continue at their current school. Instead, notice must be given to Student Services before moving and a request for a transfer must be approved.
Elementary School Guidance Counselor
A few months ago, Natalie Williams asked the board to consider hiring additional elementary school guidance counselors. Questions were raised by board members on whether schools wanted additional counselors or if they preferred the money to be spent on other things. Lisa Parker said nothing was being done on this request so she took upon herself to visit Dogwood and Farmington to get feedback from their counselors.
According to Ms. Parker, the guidance counselors at these schools seemed overwhelmed by their number of job duties and would appreciate having additional counselors. Mr. Manuel said he would also like to see additional counselors in the schools. Mr. Haddow weighed in, saying that the current emphasis on academic achievement has left little time for counselors to devote to the overall well-being of children. More counselors would mean more opportunity for them to focus on our students’ social and emotional health.
Ken Hoover asked whether board members are overstepping their authority by interviewing school personnel. There was a brief exchange between Parker and Hoover. As to the question of funding the additional positions, the new CFO Kevin Jones told the board that GMSD received approximately $80K more in BEP funding than expected and could use that money.
Board members and district staff were given copies of the legal agreements with Aramark but these were not made available to the public. Not seeing the documents made it a little hard to follow the discussion. But apparently, Aramark will begin enforcing a rule on no food fundraisers during the school day. Mr. Manuel said that if it came down to competing interests between fundraisers or or the district taking a loss on cafeteria sales, then his greatest concern was the cafeteria revenues. He also mentioned that some clubs were already exceeding the 30 day rule by selling food items at school throughout the school year. It was unclear as to whether he was referring to a district policy or some other rule. We suggest school clubs, booster groups, and other school support organizations check with GMSD to get the details on how this will impact their future fundraisers involving food sales at school.
Heath Insurance Budget & Miscellaneous Budget Amendments
Mr. Manuel said the district was fortunate this year in that it did not have a lot of teachers with cancer or other chronic diseases. Claims were much lower than anticipated leaving a budget surplus. There were two budget amendments. The first amendment added several unbudgeted expenses to line items and covered them with revenue from the alternative school housed at HHS. The other amendment added newly acquired grant money to the budget.
Future Work Session Schedules
Linda Fisher brought up the idea again of having both the work session and the business meeting on the same night. It was met with some criticism by Mark Dely who felt it would be confusing to hold two different meetings on the same night. But the board seemed favorable to at least trying it out so it will be placed on the agenda for next week.
Surprise!!! There's a New Parliamentarian on Board
No word on whether school board attorney Debra Owens will continue to attend GMSD business meetings. In the past, any issues regarding motions and procedural matters were resolved by Ms. Owens. So, it'll be interesting to see who will have the final say on procedural matter now-- the lawyer or the parliamentarian?