School Board Meeting: April 8, 2014

School Board Meeting: April 8, 2014


Alright let’s call the meeting to order
please. The first item on our agenda is a closed session if someone can please
read us into a closed meeting that would be helpful Yes pursuant to the Virginia Freedom of
Information Act I move that the board convene a closed meeting for the
following purpose to discuss or consider to be identified subject matter
personnel under section 2.2 – 3711 a 1 in particular staff resignations leave
of absence position adjustment eped assignments and Advisory Committee
reappointments Thank you very much. Thank you for that second.
We’ll be back in a few minutes All right can
someone please get us back reconvene to an open meeting and certify the closed
meeting Yes madam chair whereas the Falls Church public school board has
convened a closed meeting on this date pursuant to an affirmative recorded vote
and in accordance with the provisions of the Virginia Freedom of Information Act
and whereas section 2.2 – 37 11 B of the Code of Virginia requires a
certification by this school board that such as a closed meeting was conducted
in conformity with Virginia law now therefore be it resolved that the Falls
Church public school board hereby certifies that to the best of each
members knowledge one only public business lawfully exempted from open
meeting requirement by Virginia law were discussed in the closed meeting to which
this certification applies and two only such public business matters as were
identified in the motion convening the closed meeting were heard discussed or
considered Second I would move that we reconvene in an open meeting Thank you Second All right now I think we can do the roll call Mr Ankuma Mr. Castillo (yes)
Ms Carney (yes) Mr. Lawrence (yes) Mr. Sharpe (here) okay
Ms Ward (here) and Mr. Webb (yes) thank you All right thank you very much. The next thing
we’ll do is the Pledge of Allegiance if you’ll join us I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the republic for which is stands
one nation under God indivisible with liberty and justice for all Thank you the next item
on the agenda is actually the adoption of the agenda. Is there a motion to adopt
the agenda as presented? So moved Thank you very much all in favor please
say aye (aye) and are there any opposed or abstentions? No hearing none we have
adopted the agenda for this evening. The next is public comments and requests. I
don’t have any slips here Mr. Kimble are there any folks here for public
comments or are there other things that we need to read into the record? Not to my knowledge ma’am Thank you very much
I appreciate that. Oh fun next thing is recognition reports we have the GM
robotics team here with us. Dr. Jones do you want to say a few words or? I think
we will invite Mr. Ballew because he is such a master at this and I’ll turn it
over to you Mr. Ballew you’ve had a great season I have a challenging task tonight
part of what I’m trying to do is to communicate me incredible excitement and
just amazing experience we had this year in our robotic season. First of all we’d
like to introduce our entry that was in the finalists in the finals of two
regionals. I don’t think we have ever had a robot where we have had as much success
and as much excitement as this one not only were we in the finals we were the
captains of the alliances and that made it almost to the championship and with
Hairbrett’s competition the stats that are posted on the Blue Alliance which is
a you know a public forum might give you an idea of exactly how successful you
know we were ranked second in the Virginia regional with a record of
twelve four and oh and you know this is you know just any the the scores that
are posted you can see that we were scoring well on the hundreds almost all
the time a very very successful play and then when we went to the DC tournament
we’ve dropped all the way down to 27th at one time made our way all the way up
to number seven became captains of the sixth Alliance and went all the way the
finals against the number one Alliance and lost after four matches not just
three. It was just an incredible experience but as the underdogs of
course we had the whole crowd on our side. It was just great fun and we had
some you know just some amazing experiences but these are the guys who
put the work and the time and effort into making this thing successful and it’s
their story so let me turn it over to our team captain So this year for those who don’t know the
game was relatively simple compared to past years. We had together this ball
here as you can see and we had to pass it off to other robots and score into a
goal that’s about it but yes there was a truss in the middle of field as well but
the game itself is fairly simple Shane you want to drive it around a bit
yeah just go forward and backward so we
actually have Mechanam drive this year which means that our robot can go
sideways as well as well as forward and backward which is a rather nice feature
to have when you’re fighting against other robots and trying to maneuver around. I
am the one who actually drove it this year not him which is why it’s not very good
(haha) would you like to trade off Shane? This is of course very very carefully
driven but on the field its Full Tilt we all drain a motorcycle battery in about
two and a half minutes the you know the the power consumptions are something
that are pretty amazing but we also have this wonderful program interface which
Shane was very much apart of developing which also allowed us to be a very very
successful robot. The interface shows almost everything the robot does *unintelligible* Alright
so the basic functions that we had this year for that we have a goal suspended
above the field that we have to be able to fire into so for that we have a
shooting mechanism here as well as an ability to actually spit it out through
our accumulator because there was also a low goal and we use that if we had
trouble getting to the high goal or lining up because of defense *unintelligible* applause And then we have an accumulator there
which would suck in the ball or it could also spit it back out. *unintelligible*
that was for low goals We also you saw it
earlier the catapult arm is auto winching. A problem that we were having
early on is that if you drive it with just a motor the power required to hold
it down will actually burn out that motor so what we did is actually Nettie
spent a very long and difficult journey reverse engineering a gearbox so that he
could add a winch So we got this kit called a modulox gearbox kit which is
a modular building system for gearboxes oh it’s simple the parts all go together
easily you can do it in a few hours but obviously we had to make some
modifications as Shane said so this ended up being almost a two week project
of mine so some things that we wanted to incorporate into it to make it work a
little better for our purposes because we wanted it to be releasable so we can
actually fire the catapult And our releasing as well as our arm are
controlled by pistons which are cylinders with air in them that allow
them to move loads such as that so what would happen is that we when we want to
fire we have a piston which will push an arm that pulls out the gear in the
gearbox so that it can release and then puts it back in so that we can winch it
down and this is powered by originally rubber tubing
however we switch to speargun tubing which was much heavier duty and it gave
us more reliability as well as being more durable in the long run Behind all this of course is that we
were in a competition in Richmond with 65 other high schools and in a
competition in DC with 51 other high schools. We ended up having one of the
most successful ways of picking the ball up. We were always at you know the
scoring end of the the action. Really it was a testament to how hard they worked
to get this combination of ideas working together integrated into a design it
drove beautifully on the field it is championship caliber in many ways but
it’s still a student built robot and that’s also a feature that I’m
particularly proud of we received the industrial design award
recognition at the Virginia regional and of course we were finalists so that
means we got the silver medal instead of the gold medal which and you know the
just the you know their success on the field is something that I find again
It’s a lot of fun. It’s very exciting It’s you know it’s a thrilling
experience to witness and to you know to visit one of these competitions but it
really is a validation process that I think is you know particularly important
what we believe in as a school system. We think it’s important that these guys
have the you know the persistence and the bend the trial-and-error
experience it takes to put something like this.
This represents many many assemblies and disassemblies and rearrangements and
revisions and we were able to succeed despite a very you know difficult
schedule in the middle of all that snow and we’re still able to field an
excellent robot and it was just a very from my perspective as a teacher I
couldn’t have had a better report to make and you know this team is which is
not all here which is not it’s grown and you’ll notice that I have a number of
additional adult mentors who have been helping
Dustin Spinkuza is not here who’s who’s joined us and help
the programmers put together of a very very excellent program in as
great and educational manner as I can imagine. He was you know ask questions
and didn’t do it for them and had them go trial and error and test it and
that procedure has been you know something that has been very very
thrilling and very very much a mandate I think for you know the kind of
experiencal education I think we’re moving towards so the other thing is
these young men were responsible for nominating me for an award which I have
always envied. I received the Woodie Flowers award at the DC regional which
basically is a testament to their support for what we do as teachers and
it’s something that you know again I that’s of all the things that are
related to FIRST Robotics the Woodie Flowers who’s a professor emeritus at
MIT is probably the best spokesperson for what education is all about and why
the robotics program is important and being associated with that award is a
moment of a lifetime Great Applause So in regards to a few things that we
actually did outside the workshop and the competition field this year we wanted to
get a little more into the outreach which is really what a big part of first
is all about so Mr. Ballew actually got us a spot at his wife’s elementary
school Graham Road Elementary School. We got a spot for three Thursday afternoons
and we went over and we took all our our first Lego kits and we helped them work
through a problem and build a robot basically just like what we’re doing and
they did all the programming and everything and they came out really well
so that was a lot of fun. It got cut a little bit short because our
competitions were after that but we hope to go back very soon hopefully maybe a
little more this year a little more next year. We hope to continue that tradition
We did the same workshop that we’ve done in December for the whole greater DC
area. First teams all around the area are welcome to come out and learn all about
how to do everything on the robot even stuff off the robot like safety and just
team management business plan stuff like that and one more event we helped host
was the first lego league competition that was actually at MEH. We helped out
with that. We took our robot to show the kids we helped with setup and cleanup
and that was another good experience Great Another thing is this year a lot of our
senior members on the team are actually graduating so this was also a training
year for our team and that means that okay a lot of the younger members of our
team who I was going to point out but some of them aren’t here so Matt Pointez and stand up Tim winters were actually working on
leading the programming team this year This is the first year we’ve actually
had to be able to have a team which was nice yes of programmers . We’ve had a
robotics team it also meant we were able to broaden what we were able to do such
as vision tracking for our autonomous Another thing is nettie who is in 11th
grade and obviously and Adam were responsible mainly for building the
frames in the past so they spent this year teaching younger people and Adam
also has done all of our pneumatics in the past and he spent his time teaching
a protégé. You want to talk about that Adam? I like putting people on the spot I suppose just to mention a few more
names on the team who will have stood out this year who are on the younger
side one of the most notable is Dorius over there who is currently in 9th grade and
I’ll be honest I don’t tend to expect much from 9th graders. I expect them to
be learning stuff and not knowing stuff but Dorius has done an amazing job this year.
He was actually on the drive team and he’s the only freshman I know of to be
on the drive team for our teams though and he does very well so I would
definitely like to commend Dorius for doing a very good job this year. Jacob
right there was one of our main Scouters at the competition which meant he walked
around to all the other teams talked to them figured out game plans who he liked who
he didn’t like who he wanted to be on a team with and that’s a big job when there’s
50 to 60 teams at competition and Jacob has done a very good job of doing that
this year as well. He did it last year and hopefully he’ll be able to do it
next year or at least find someone to replace him. Yep he’s gonna be here *unintelligible* So like we said we are losing six
no five seniors this year which is a lot more than last year where we only
really lost one senior so the team will have a fun time next year figuring stuff
out but I’m fairly sure they’ll be able I’m sure they’ll be able to do
it. Nettie and Dorius are both very good at building the robot. Matt and Timmy are
both very good at programming it and I know the rest of team is either learning
to do these various tasks or are already good enough and I’m just forgetting
names Anyhow ladies and gentleman thank you very much for your continued support of this program I’m gonna continue doing outreach all
during the rest of the year. We have a couple of other smaller competitions to
get other people to practice with but we’ll be rethinking and you know what we
have to do again for next year. We always regroup but we want to say how much we
appreciate your support for an amazing season so thank you very much Oh Yea we have a
website that they have initiated here go ahead and log it in while we drive out
and we invite you to go in at your leisure visit that site So we want to share our new website with you just because we wanted to update our site. We
are inspired by some of the other teams websites we saw and we sort of wanted to
bring our old website to the next level so there are two ways you can get to it.
The main problem we have right now is we have a unpleasant URL but we’re working
on that to get the company because we’re nonprofit to get our domain so the
easiest way to get to it is to go to our old website so if you go to team
14 18 or search in Google the first one here team 14 18 org and at the top here
we have this nice red banner here that says we’re making a new website so if
you click learn more it’s gonna bring you to this site here you can see the
URL it’s kind of its team 14 18 dot Wix dot com / team 14 18 so we’re hoping we’ll
be able to use team 14 18 org on that but we just wanted to share this out
because we’re trying to incorporate social media and everything at our
website because we’ve been sort of sheltered so this website’s
under heavy construction so we have the basics right now so you can learn about
our robot all of our statistics in game and then you can learn about the team
and then we have a big media section so you can view photos and videos from our
most recent competitions. We have a contact page and a blog so if you want
to read some of the stories we’ve written about what we’ve been doing and
both on and off season so feel free to go
check us out Facebook Twitter and YouTube so if you use those websites you
can check us out there so alright *unintelligible* starting to
get up a caliber where they can qualify for some much more complex awards *unintelligible* but it’s this kind of outreach
these kinds of things like a webpage you know initiative to present publicly a message *unintelligible* No thank you for coming.
This is so fun to see what you guys have done. Congratulations on a great season
and we can’t wait to see you next year Alright Mr. Kimble do I understand
that we do have someone here who would like to (there is) okay Yeah is there someone in
the audience who wanted to address the board? Yeah come forward Yeah if you’ll come to the microphone
and tell us your name and where you live My name is Janet Tam. We
live an 142 spring Court. I just wanted to say we lived in this city since my
son was a kindergartener. I never seen him so enthusiastic about a school
program and I’m working like seven days 11 hours 12 hours every day. I don’t need
to push him like other things like hey you have to do this and he did
everything because he wanted to be in the team and I just suddenly see the
change like he become mature he responsible for his own thing and you know he
participates everything. I did not have time to drive him to just walk you know
in like 13 degrees temperature and to school and way home so I said this is a
very great program I wanted to support and I hope you can support them Great thank you so much that’s wonderful It’s my favorite thing when we have our
students come and show us the great things that they’re doing. Alrighty
the next thing is item six in the agenda which is the consent agenda and is there
a motion to approve the consent agenda as presented ? Thank you is there a second?
All in favor please say aye (Aye) Are they Nia posed or abstentions?
Alright the consent agenda has been approved as presented great. Business
action information approval of resolution O2-1 for VSBA 2014 business
honor roll Dr. Jones This is something that we try to do
each year and it’s really a signing off in saying thank you for all of the
businesses that support us throughout the year and so the resolution I know we
have that for everybody to sign. I’m not sure if that’s already up here on the
dias or not but we will be asking our businesses also that we’re recognizing
this year to come before us like we’ve done in the past so we’re looking
forward to that. Marybeth Connelly leads on that for us All right any questions
about that or is there a motion to approve this? Mr. Sharpe Just a quick
point. I’m the liaison to the BIE and I was privileged to be present
as this process was unfolding to select the winners and it was a really pretty
lengthy and detailed process a lot of the groundwork done of course by Mary
Beth Connelly to put together the really really long list of events and other
contribution types of activities that that various businesses did and several
of the businesses were on the list for numerous things that they had done
during the year and it was among those that had been the most active that these
that you see before you were selected There were as I recall ten that were
initially selected to be semi-finalists and these are the
ones that had gained the recognition from the entire Advisory Committee and
so I just want to say that these are certainly worthy of recognition and
I think all the committee members and Mary Beth for all their work in
getting this process to reach a good result thank you Excellent and thank you for
your part in that Kieran as the liaison so would you like to make a motion to
approve Mr. Sharpe? Make a motion to approve the resolution as presented Thank you so much. Is there a second Second Thank you are there any questions
or shall we call the vote All in favor please say aye (aye)
Are there any opposed or any abstentions? All right very good
that’s a fun thing to do. We have so many businesses in the city that support
our schools. I know it’s a hard decision for the committee to make but a
good thing to do. Next is approval of tuition rates. I assume this is for the
2014-15 school year Dr. Jones Just in that the
recommendation is 5000 for Jessie Thackery preschool of course has a
sliding scale if necessary fifteen thousand eight hundred and forty four
tuition at Mount Daniel fifteen thousand three hundred for Thomas Jefferson
sixteen thousand seven forty for Mary Ellen Henderson eighteen thousand for
George Mason High School and there is a hundred and fifty dollar per student
application. Of course we do have student parking fee at two hundred dollars as
well and just as a reminder we do have tuition students at Jessie
Thackery. We had our first parent meeting last week but at Mount Daniel
Thomas Jefferson and Mary Ellen Henderson we do not take any tuition
students right now so I just don’t want people to think that we’re talking about
being overcrowded and we’re also allowing tuition. We do have room at the
high school for next year and so we can allow up to 20 spots that probably won’t
last very long but that just lets you know we do have the rate set but that
doesn’t mean we necessarily take students Alright thank you very much
Are there questions anyone has about this matter? Does that mean that we have
a waiting list of folks willing to attend the high school on the outside? At the high school we don’t have a waiting list right now but if somebody applies
for tuition and had that interview with the principal they look at their
transcripts and see if we can meet their needs and vice versa so we are
accepting but you know most people in our high school unless they really know
it’s hard to get the word out that we actually have some tuition spots open
and we’re working on that because we don’t normally have them necessarily
open and especially people who have called when they are younger you know
we’ve been closed for several years at the elementary and middle level Any other questions about this? All right is there a motion to approve
the tuition rates? Yes madam chair I move that the Falls Church City Public
School Board approved the tuition rates as proposed Thank you very much
is there a second? Second Thank you Mr. Webb and all in favor please say yes I mean aye (aye) Are there any opposed?
All right that carries thanks very much The next is a quarterly budget status
report Mr. Kimble Yes Hi I’ll tell you just as an aside I previously in
previous years I’ve been was preparing a monthly budget status report and we
decided to go ahead and move to a quarterly budget status report which has
actually allowed me more time to go in and really drill down into the
numbers and I feel like I can spend more time and I’ve been able to provide a
better report so I thank the board for that. At this point with our our third
quarter of the fiscal year ended as of March 31st each of the funds the school
operating budget the Community Service Fund and the Food Service Fund are
projected to end the year with positive balances. The operating
budget with about 265 thousand dollars the Community Service Fund about 78,000
and the school food service fund but between 21 and 20 $22,000 just to let
you know as far as the school operating budget goes that this projection does
factor in the decisions that the school board made during their budget
development process in terms of use of the current year contingency the delay
of the bus purchase those kinds of things those those assumptions are
factored in here. As far as the community service fund goes an issue with
collecting revenue there has has been resolved so we’re moving full steam
ahead on that and and and that looks very positive and as I mentioned to the
school board in the cover memo continue to work very closely with Mr.
Kane on the school food service fund There been a number of challenges this
year meal sales have not been one of them honestly. The biggest challenges
have been lost revenue because of the snow days. Every snow day we lose a
between 3500 and 4000 dollars. It’s quite significant and then also food
prices have gone up this year and Mr. Kane does keep his ear to the ground and
food prices are expected to go up again next year. This is primarily
weather-related so we are working on strategies to address that both in terms
on the expense side and on the revenue side and we’ll be
bringing more information to the board later this spring about that but at this
point we’re in a very good position this year and as you can see on the second
page of the memo with our projected total ending balances in each fund. We
have adequate funds to meet the amount of carry-forward budgeted for next year
to support next year’s budgets and then if everything were to if I were exact
down to the penny how much it would then leave us to use in FY 16 to apply
to that budget so that’s where we’re at right now be happy to answer
any questions if you have any Alright so does anyone have any questions about that Mr. Lawrence Just one quick one you said
that the 90,000 that was owed for from Park and Recs have been resolved It has. That transfer was made last week Okay but your projected available fund balance of 416 on the second page stays
the same for Community Services because I assume you figured they would pay at
some point At this point that it would it would go up Go up by the 90 Yes because it was a
question mark and up until that Okay I didn’t know if your projected amounts And actually because
the transaction actually took place after I had prepared
these reports so it was a lot of stuff happening at once (yeah no I was
wondering if) thank you that’s being optimistic and assuming it was
gonna get worked out Oh I’m never optimistic Any other questions? Alright Mr. Kimble just for
the community’s knowledge and the community services budget we hold the
reserve for the daycare program and how much of the dollars that we have here
are represent that reserve roughly The daycare reserve is currently about I
think around three hundred and fifty thousand dollars So it’s certainly material
to the numbers that we see here and that reserve is generated by parents paying for
extended day care so to be sure the community doesn’t think that we have
you know four or five hundred thousand dollars sitting in this budget not doing anything That is a point well taken and also as an aside it’s part of the
daycare board’s internal policy that that reserve that they maintain
represents three months of their operating expenses Yes thank you for
that thank you for that all right The next item on the agenda is the
approval and adoption of language arts and social studies textbooks. That
explains why some of you are here. All right please come forward and let’s talk
about that. Dr. Jones do you have a few words to say or shall they just get
started Good evening. I’m excited tonight to have with me five
of our best and brightest to share with you the curriculum review and materials
review that we’ve done for two of our content areas both social studies and
language arts and we’ll begin with our social studies review with Rory Dipple
who’s our curriculum instructional resource teacher for social studies at
the middle school and also Jeannie Seabridge who is representing the high school
tonight and then I will introduce the rest of you in a few minutes Thank you
good evening school board members and superintendent Jones on behalf of the
eighth grade world history textbook committee we were making a strong
recommendation for the adoption of the world’s history one prentice-hall
textbook by Alice Esler. The committee was comprised of the reading specialists
at the middle school both world history teachers a special education teacher an
ESL teacher Ms Ashaheed and myself When the committee assembled this fall
and winter we looked at many different components of what makes a textbook
great. We looked at authorship reading levels supplementary materials content
and methodology but then we also looked at our particular students at MEHMS.
The list that we compiled beyond those that I mentioned were the
importance of outstanding maps and visuals and charts strong vocabulary
support religious sensitivity meaning that was in depth and balanced and fair
skill building activities like primary source activities differentiated reading
Spanish glossary and texts and an interactive and useful online component.
What I mean by that is we didn’t want just a textbook that students could
access online. We wanted to find a textbook that had videos that students
could click on to learn more about a particular topic and also an online
vocabulary support system so well beyond just having a textbook which was what it
was in the past when I did the textbook committee. The committee found that the
Prentice-Hall textbook had the strongest support for
all the areas mentioned except for one The whole book had outstanding resources
for English language learners which was the only area that Prentice-Hall did not
score the highest for the committee However Prentice-Hall has a clear
Spanish glossary resources and a Spanish textbook. Furthermore world history one
is taught in eighth grade at MEH yet it is a high school credit class so
something that the committee looked at was making sure that it was
developmentally appropriate which was a high priority for this committee. The
committee believed that the whole textbook which was another textbook we
looked at was too dense and not middle-school friendly. We also looked at
another book the Glencoe book but sure it just summarized a lot of different
topics but left out important facts details that students could look back to
Therefore the world’s history committee strongly recommends the Prentice-Hall
textbook because we felt like it sort of had the best of both. It had outstanding
supporting materials. It was laid out in a easy-to-read context and fully
supported all the SOLs all the details and facts needed for students to learn.
Thank you for your time. Any questions? Anyone? I guess not. Thanks very much and thanks to
your committee Good evening I’m Jeanie Seabridge and I think Rory
summed a lot of it up already so I’m not going to repeat some of the things that
he already said. The process is the same at the high school as far as going
through the text textbook adoption we have a committee and so on. We made sure
that we followed the Virginia Department of Education guidelines. There are
certain books that we can choose and certain ones we’re not supposed to so we
did follow those guidelines. The other thing we looked at was pretty much what
Mr. Dippold that we wanted to make sure there was an online component so if
the kids are at home and they don’t want to carry the textbook home with them
they can go online and access the textbook that way as well so we have the
the hardcopy which there are five by the way so we do have a little bit more than
the middle school does. We have five textbooks because there are three social
studies courses that are Sol courses at the high school. We have World Civ US
government and we have US History. We also have the the higher levels of AP
and IB so those require different books so that’s why we have the five that
we’re looking at. I do have them with me if you really want to look at them
you’re welcome to. We will also have them on display for a little while longer in
the George Mason High School office if you care to stop by and take a look at
them as well so if anybody doesn’t have any questions I’ll pass it on to
the next person Okay so I have one question really for both of you this is
my yearly when textbooks are brought to us for approval question
which is about when we will be moving away from those big heavy hardcover
textbooks to ebooks you can read on a Kindle or an iPad or you know
something like that that have in them the links to get to the places where the
kids can do all of the multimedia things they need to do when might that come That’s a very good question and we actually consider that and one of the
fears that the committee had was to make sure that the kids have access to
technology and that they have a MacBook or an iPad
that they can take home with them and use and once we know and with other
departments not just social studies but once we know that that is going to be
the case we will probably move away from textbooks because most of the teachers
and committee members felt too that carrying something around like this is
ridiculous. We did have the ebook versions that were available as well. The
concern there was it has to be downloaded on to the machine. It’s not
internet-based so you have to have that machine to put it on then you can access
it anywhere. The committee felt that that’s the best thing especially if
you’re playing sports and you’re on the bus and you’re on the way to a game you
don’t have internet access so if they had their laptop or whatever they could
pull it up and they could do their work on their on their laptop but right now
we figured the online version would be the best because we weren’t sure what
kind of access they’d have for next year So it sounds like maybe we’re only a
year or two away from that Yes definitely and the other piece is right
now the cost between getting the hardcover and getting just online is
about seven dollars difference (yes) Let’s say if it’s the book is $80 you’re
gonna pay 72 just to have the online anyway so we figured at this point because
we’re still not completely comfortable or the committee wasn’t completely
comfortable we were going to spend the seven or eight dollars more to just have
that security at this time but yes we’re moving that way. That was the same
question that Dr. Jones asked me when I presented the materials and she said the
school board’s gonna ask you and I said okay I’ll be ready And that’s a
great question. We definitely want to do that and the vendors were great. They
threw in a lot of free items too so there was two companies that didn’t have
it as a bundle and they threw in some of that for free like so it really worked out
well because we told them we needed it We negotiated I know that we tried I know Thank you very much
and thanks to your committee as well. We appreciate all that hard work. I just had a question. I know there are certain subjects where things change
quickly and others where things don’t change as quickly I I almost went into teaching history
history does change. It’s not static but what is the
refresh cycle for this type of text for world civ ? How often do you
think it’s wise to update and how long has it been since this
last exercise? Sure to answer that question for world’s history one it was since 2003. It was a textbook so there the copies were actually falling apart
so for the middle school we did not decide to adopt for civics which is
taught in seventh grade and US 2 which is taught in sixth grade because of that
for civics things are constantly changing. The teachers are providing a
lot of supplementary materials on Schoology and other in classroom and
also those were more recently adopted I believe 2006 and 2007 And just one
other question it’s interesting to see the Lexile scores for some of these
textbooks. Some seem flatter and more consistent and others seem to have
pretty wide variations. Does that reflect a committee design of these
books or it was that intentional or why the fluctuation ? Sure for the world’s
history textbook it was just based on the unit. Certain units just had
different more complex vocabulary so when Dr Hachar the reading
specialist looked at different sections we focused in on the
ones that the teachers use primarily for the textbook as a mostly in class so she
just looked at those specific sections and again that’s probably by the
variation based on the actual material Thank you And just for your information the
state has a seven-year cycle for their adoption where they look at Sols and
they look at materials and so they look every seven years so and we’re trying to
line ourselves up so that we’re adopting one year after they adopt
so that we are you know we have the most up-to-date materials and so
that’s one of the reasons why it’s a little bit overdue because
we didn’t purchase the time when we should have so we just try to really get on the cycle with the
state so we look every five years for new materials and do a curriculum review Well and with respect to that what’s the duration of an electronic book license?
Is it (typically six years) six years okay And do they update it over the course of
that six years? I’m sorry I’ve beat this dead horse every year. If this is the
first time you’ve been beaten you know you’re in a good company with your
colleagues. Any other questions about this? All right is there a motion to
approve these wonderful textbooks for our children? There’s two there’s
two motions here Yep anybody gonna make the first motion? It’s a lengthy one I move that the school board
approve the adoption of the following social studies and language arts
textbooks eighth grade world history one world history vol 1 Virginia Edition
Ellis and Esler 2011 publisher Pearson Prentice-Hall US history
the Americans reconstruction of the 21st century 2011 publisher Houghton Mufflin
Harcourt Modern World History patterns of interaction Modern Beck and
Hour 2011 publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt US government US government
principles in practice Fragra 2011 publisher Houghton Mifflin Harcourt AP
government government in America AP 2013 publisher Pearson IB America’s a people
and a nation is that a tenth edition Norton 2015 publisher Cengage learning
and that Stop for now Second
Thank you All in favor please say aye (aye)
Any opposed All right very good now we can move on
to the k5 reading and language arts program And before Summer Manos and
Shelley Schomer and Stephen Eric come up I did want to say that we did focus k12
where we talked to k12 as far as what we needed to adopt or look at for language
arts and for English for the high school and the high school is looking more at
ebooks but it was more supplementary material so we will
continue with that process so we really focused on k5 and I’m happy to say that
we’re excited about what we’ve chosen and I’m going to turn it
over Summer but I can’t guarantee that I will be quiet the entire time I’m that excited. I’m a K5 girl We both are. Hi thank
you so much for having me tonight. As Lisa already mentioned we are very
excited and very proud to be coming to this evening with this information. The
literacy task force started gathering several years ago really with the
purpose to articulate what is our core language arts instruction what do we
know all of our students k5 receive as far as best practices
research-based instructional methods strategies direct instruction
and so on and so forth and so we really focused on vertical and horizontal
alignment and so over the years we’ve made some decisions about those
practices but really this year being able to focus on a materials adoption
process has really empowered our group to kind of take take our practices to
the next step so we’re very excited. We really wanted to start with a process
that would be very strategic in nature and be very transparent and really
involve all of our stakeholders in the schools so we brought in Dr. Haneen
Mesmer from Virginia Tech last spring and her full summary is on board Docs
for you to review but ultimately we had her come in and collect really just an
inventory of what are our elementary language arts practices what do they
look like We had her conduct focus groups with all
grade level teams we had her send out teacher surveys we brought her back
again and she went in did observations and so she really put together a very
thorough document for us that highlighted our strengths because we
know we have many but also really honed in and allowed us to target the areas
that we know we needed to address with some materials moving forward. The three
main goals of her work again were just to describe our current curriculum and
instructional practices to analyze the strengths and needs and really to give
us some specific recommendations for moving forward with curriculum and
instructional practices improvements materials adoption assessment and PD so how
we were going to then roll those things out moving forward. From her report we
got several recommendations the first of which was to bring more structure to our
curriculum and instructional practices without dismantling the great practices
that were taking place in our classrooms The other recommendation that she had
was to identify a curriculum and instructional program that would include
those key elements of literacy that were so essential reading writing and word
study so really those big three components.
She also hit on the need for us to really look at our vertical and
horizontal alignment and to make sure we were very purposeful with the planning
and then also to create a plan to support what we were going to do how we
were going to roll it out and then support teachers in that process
so that was how we started this work and then we brought together a team of
teachers specialists administrators from from throughout our schools and we had a
kickoff meeting in November and Lisa presented both the TJ and the Mt Daniel
faculty. We brought everyone together with a very clear and focused plan for
the purpose of this process what we knew our language arts curriculum and
instructional excuse me instructional method was going to look like and then
what materials we would need moving forward to really match to that so we
use the you can pipe in any time Lisa No you’re doing well We used the
Virginia Department of Education resources to go from as a starting point
and we only looked at that materials that were approved by the Department of
Education and the materials that really seemed like a good match for us were
benchmark education by benchmark literacy in journeys by houghton mifflin
harcourt so we brought in both vendors We had the vendors present to our teams
We had our teachers go back into the buildings and do pilots of certain
materials. We went and did a site visit of a school in Fairfax County that was
using benchmark literacy and we had the opportunity to speak with their
classroom teachers their reading specialists their administrator and that
was really powerful experience I think for all of us and so we really wanted to
find materials that empowered our master teachers to build upon those great
practices that they’ve been doing while providing us some consistency throughout
our k5 continuum and then also providing more supports for our newer teachers so
provide them something that if they’ve never taught before they can step foot
in our classrooms and know what elementary language arts instruction
looks like in Falls Church City so we were really excited and the product that we
the committee really felt did all of those things and was the best fit for us
moving forward with benchmark literacy so I’m gonna ask Shelley Sckamra who’s
one of our teachers and was on our committee to just give you some
specifics from her perspective about what really spoke to her with benchmark
learners Thanks Summer. Hello Excuse me one of the things I
got to do was I got to pilot one of like I got to pilot one of the
reading series which was benchmark literacy so for three weeks
I took the full unit and I taught it to my classroom well with ten snow days in
between and so the idea was is that we were going to be able to figure
out how teacher friendly it was and it’s like Summer said how easily adaptable
the materials that we already do will fit into it and these ladies know me. I’m
a huge reading skeptic. I think I do it the best and nobody does it better
and I was blown away by this material It’s true. Yes she knows it’s true
and so math is (everybody’s favorite) different story math but reading and I
was actually blown away by I was almost upset that I hadn’t thought about some
of the ideas that they did and so what we did start out with was a whole unit
the first unit was on biographies. The benchmark literacy follows the genres of
versus cute little stories cut-up with the vocabulary handed to you first and
so because of that it’s a huge scope that you can go under and
so when we started with biographies the way that they taught biographies was
basically to have one biography a cute little passage and then compare it with
another one and then they talked about the important things they should have
and I’m not doing it justice you have to come to my classroom to see it but
the way they did it the kids really grabbed on to it. It was a beautiful
thing so we went from that to actually there was a writing
component where they could actually write about the person that they were
doing not your typical little you know this he was born here but they wanted
them to get the hook why is this person important so they focused not only with
doing biographies but also focusing on main idea and details which happens to
be one of the things that we’re really working on to bring up with
some of the SOL scores. It’s a very hard concept but they actually managed to do
it. The next thing we went on to was I’ll skip that one it wasn’t that big a deal
was fluency which the way that we’ve taught fluency I’ve been a little shaky
about but what they’ve done is they start off talking about monologues but
they go right into a dialogue and so they have a poster of what they have
would they have a dog lover versus cat lover it’s very concrete and the
children learn back and forth what a dialogue is so then what we do is we
went from there for them to looking at different kind of
dialogues and then looking at different kind of reading materials and
how they would actually read it so if you were reading a riddle or a joke you
would read it fast tongue twisters so this whole thing. They got that down
which was really good. A fter we went through all that then they had to go
back and create a dialogue with each other so they were in partners which is
something I’ll show you up here is that we actually they had to write the
dialogue and then this was my favorite part they had to create a storyboard
that would go with their dialogue and so let’s see if I can find it because it was a
little tricky here. All right so this is one by Elizabeth Creed and she worked
with another person another person on the another student and they had the
exact same dialogue but yet when they created these they had to do them
separately. They were not to see each other’s and the idea behind it was that
way they could see each other’s compare it and then you can bring in the visual
imaging strategy as well so what she could what they did is they made these
and we put them on my Schoology page which if anybody’s interested in
that I’ll give you the access code you can go check that out and so they can go on to Schoology right
now and they can click on this and it’ll show them a slideshow. We worked
on this for two days. I thought it would be like you know an hour or two. I was wrong
so they did this and if you go back and forth and they had to actually come
up with a dialogue that was similar to the ones we talked about so it because
it has to be concrete for them and they went in and they were able to create
their own comics and I was like very you know impressed with what
they could actually came out with which I was surprised about so but the beauty
of it all is this is all text this is all from the benchmark literacy
benchmark so it was a very impressive thing all the way around.
I find it oh this is the Schoology website. The Schoology page that i have
this is for my classroom and then if you look down here i was able to go and
they’re called storyboard that and embed it in there and then they can go right
in there into their own account which is protected and they can continue to
create more dialogues back and forth which they were doing about 20 minutes
ago so I’m impressed with that That’s great Wow Any questions? No wonder you’re excited. This is really awesome The integrated storyboards I was going to show you some of the positive heard the
benefits of Schoology I don’t know if you want to can finish up at the
benchmarks. We can do that and then because you’d asked for us to
highlight a little bit of technology in schoology He’ll show that Let’s finish the language
arts yeah So and one of the things I didn’t mention is there is a huge
technology component with benchmark so we get an online subscription. We get
access to ebooks and a lot of smart board lessons and other technology items
with the benchmark and also one of the things I didn’t highlight is it includes
differentiated texts and it also includes a focus on nonfiction which we
know is a new push with the revised standards of learning so we really want
to make sure that our students are being explicitly taught how to read nonfiction
just as much as there were taught fiction so those were some of the
components that really spoke to us again about the benchmark so any questions? Anyone? I guess I have one issue obviously our brains had to come to reading. We weren’t
all born to read and I know kids don’t all read at the 1st grade level in first
grade and how much these materials seem to have differentiation built into them.
I guess could you talk a little bit more about how that it seems there are many
pieces here. There’s obviously the teachers are the most important. There’s
the Waterford which seems to be really effective and then this hows-
what’s the integration? I’m glad you brought that up because one of the
things that’s most unique about this program is it focuses on differentiated
texts and matching text readers so we know to expedite reading We have to instruct students at
their instructional level and so benchmark includes over 160 different
texts that each classroom teacher will get and they’re on a variety of levels
so if I’m a 3rd grade teacher and I have students that are still reading at a
first grade level I can teach them content wise the same content but I have
access to a text on that level just like I have access to text on a 5th grade
level that’s the same content. It looks very similar but the level texts
libraries that each classroom teacher will get in this program are massive and
was definitely a biggie for us because that is exactly how we would address
differentiated instruction with reading and then does that dovetail them
with the star reading. Does that dove tail then with the
STAR reading in terms of it when does star reading kick into
all this and that Well the STAR reading is our assessment tool (right because ) teachers the ability to kind of gauge again that
level and how to match text readers and then to monitor their growth as they
continue to grow as a reader so that data that STAR data would inform their
instruction Great any other questions All right why don’t we- I wonder how this
relates to our ESOL students and what the response of their
teachers happen to be. Was it also very enthusiastic ? Shelly has a sample of the
differentiated texts that we’re talking about. Yes we had an ESOL teacher that
ESOL cert was part of this committee and then we also brought in another ESOL
teacher from Mt Daniel to sit on the committee because our ESOL cert does
teach at the middle school so we wanted that elementary perspective and she was
also very impressed with these materials again a lot of it goes back to matching
text to readers so ensuring that even our English language learners if they’re
reading below grade level they have access to text at their instructional
level so that we can continue to expedite their literacy growth and
development and again one of the things about benchmark that I thought was
really unique and will be helpful to us is the fact that it still incorporates a
lot of rigor even within the differentiation which is essential for
our kids in our classrooms today. Do you want to show them the leveled text? Yeah one of the things this is I just brought set one but I’ll show you
just two examples. This is Harriet Tubman and the Underground Railroad and this
goes with the fluency component and in this is it’s written on three
different levels so you’ve got an easier reader a harder reader and then the
advanced reader but the way that they did this is that the parts in here it’s
the exact same book but the parts are designated for different levels of
readers so they’re all reading the same but you might have an advanced reader
who is able to read a more in-depth part and then your lower readers will be able
to also be a part of it but the words the frequent the high-frequency words
will be a little more and they’ll be a little more visible. They’ll have more
time to practice those words so this is one of the ways they do it. With the
biography unit we did and this was really fun trying to figure this all out
by the way. This is the George Washington Abraham Lincoln okay but this came also
in two or three I think it’s three different levels so when we get the
books we’re kind of going through them and we’re like this is good
okay and then you look at another book you’re like wait a minute and what
they’ve done is they’ve done them on the DRA levels so you’ve got a DRA 28 (mhmm) 34 38
yeah and so that’s how they differentiate it and the idea behind it
is is that every kid gets this book but it looks exactly the same.
The pictures are identical. The content is exactly the same except it’s written
at a lower comprehension level for some and then higher for others and so
and then with each book there is an ESOL component that goes with it that
really focuses on yea focuses on the vocabulary it does a really good job of
giving them concrete ways to grasp the vocabulary and then go into the
comprehension because that’s the big thing is that ESOL kids have to incorporate
knowledge yeah and it lines up with the SOLs beautifully. The other thing as
Summer was saying is it doesn’t integrate a part so each unit has
two math books that go with it one was fractions this is probability the solar
system gold which talks about Molly and then perfect for third grade and what
was the other one we do Oh ancient Greece forgot them so
that’s just a little idea of how it works and there’s no I’m sorry there’s
no thick textbook No there is no textbook It’s all different data texts because that’s great what they’re doing over there Any other questions for us about? Can I just ask one more question? It
strikes me that obviously we’re all old-fashioned and didn’t have any of
this stuff back in the day. It strikes me the one that there there have to be
copyright reasons why nonfiction is driving this because you can’t get the
Trumpet of the Swan written in three or four different levels. Is that I mean
are we or is that the case am I wrong? Are they taking some some fiction
and getting rights to do that? There’s just as much I believe it’s I don’t have the exact percentage of fiction and nonfiction texts but it’s pretty close. I think it’s 60 40
and that’s a shift that’s coming down from the Virginia Department of
Education which is just teaching students how to digest and really
comprehend nonfiction text because of the cross-curricular exposure and the
fact that we have students that have to really read and digest that nonfiction
text for the rest of their lives and so I’m not sure if it’s because the
leveling of certain novels or not but um so that would probably be a big part of
it *unintelligible* and again that there’s just so much out right now about really just matching
text to readers and being able to put you know appropriate text at their
reading level in their hands so And I’d just like to close with the next step is
we’re pulling together a cadre for every grade level or for k5 to begin to do the
work on exactly what will happen in our classrooms the length of our language
arts block exactly what should be happening during the language arts block
as well as professional development We’ve already once you approve it I
will solidify with the company for professional development date to come
out and work with our teachers because we think that professional
development ongoing all year is what we need to do. We can’t just give the
materials and then not provide there the professional development to our staff so
that’s something that we’re committed to for next year as well Great thank you Ms High okay so
what we’re gonna do is we’re gonna see if we can approve these materials and
then we’re gonna learn a little bit about Schoology so is there a motion to
approve these materials? It’s the last couple lines in the okay Madam chair I
move that the school board approve the adoption of the following instructional
materials k5 reading and language arts benchmark literacy program Tammy Jones
and Carrie Smith 2010 publisher benchmark education (Second) Thank you very much
for the second Ms Ward all in favor please say aye (aye).
All right are there any opposed All right very good thanks for your hard
work on that and Ms High you as well that’s really exciting stuff. I can
understand why you’re excited about it tonight. That’s great I have to say I’ve sat on a number of
these presentations where we were adopting textbooks I’ve never seen
people so excited in my life. I think it’s awesome. It’s so great.
It’s just great. It’s wonderful Ok now we’re going to learn a little bit
about Schoology The teachers at TJ and I’m sure all the
teachers at Falls Church just want to thank the school board and Dr. Jones for
bringing us such wonderful technology into our classrooms and giving us the
accessibility to use the things that we learn about as we read online and
research the best practices and we go to professional development that’s passed
maybe was two weeks ago or last week I went to Edcamp in Arlington and just
saw the wonderful things that teachers are doing and to know that we’re able to
do that here at Falls Church I just wanted to thank you guys very much but
I’m sure also you’re curious what we are doing with some of the things that
you’re giving us and Schoology has been a new program for us this year a new it’s
a web-based program or website where we’re able to continue dialogue with our
students and with our families outside of the classroom. We’re able to post
questions that they can go home and they can discuss with their families. They can
post or reply back to us throughout the evening. You can see some of these
posters come in even after school. I think one that was up here earlier was
that from like 417 or a little bit after school let out today so students are
going home and they are accessing these things and we do get great feedback from
families that they appreciate the fact that they’re able to see really what
kids are doing and they’re also able to really participate in what they’re doing
so I just wanted to walk you through a couple of the pieces to Schoology and
some of the things that we find that are very useful. I am on Ms Coms
Schoology account so all these wonderful things are you know really put together
by her hard work but they’re things that our team shares we’ve learned how to put
things on here and then not just show them by word of mouth but actually share
them so I can link them to my account she can link them to her account. We can
go across grade levels using Google Drive which isn’t necessarily Schoology
but it is an app that you can access through Schoology. I’ll just kind of show
you if I go up here to material as you go to resources and there’s apps and you
can you can access your google drive right through Schoology and my third
grade students have created a cartoon Hall of Fame where they’ve
nominated some of their favorite cartoons in different categories and
they’ve shared them with fourth graders in Mr. Kerry’s class and they are
editing them on Google Drive and sending them back
to us so eventually we hope to use the forms to actually vote and put together
our Hall of Fame and it really was very simple we just had to lead
the students to it and it spread like fire really. When you get on to
Schoology you’ll see there’s courses at the top and we share some of the courses
with each other. There’s a digital learning team for FCCPS. Ms Camra
has hers right here so her kids will log in if you’re not in any of the courses
if you’re just in the home you’ll see really what everybody in the school is
doing so here you’ll see activity not just for Ms Camra but I think if I
scroll down you’ll see Mr. Fitzpatrick Ryan O’Rourke I’m not
sure who that another Schoology educators. You’ll see educators from even
outside of FCCPS but we really we have the kids go right to their course or
right into our classroom where we’ve linked specific things for them and so
here’s Mr. Dahmer’s courses and within that you see that you have the class
calendar here on the side you can see that the ice cream party is coming up
and spring break. We have a couple of class birthday’s coming up.
Lulu’s gonna be leaving us so that’s you know kind of sad for the class but it
really it not only helps us it helps the students and it helps the families to
know you know not just when the test is but when are students coming and going
and what’s going on you know really daily in the classroom so we have our
calendar and then the students can post right here in the middle so they can
post questions to each other but they really want to get more in depth they
can go into the materials and there is a discussion there is an area to have
discussions I’ll scroll down more Oh sorry it’s way down here There we go
discussions and thats an area where students can really focus on a certain
topic because the posts do run very quickly and they’re updated and a lot of
them are just you know they’re up there for a day or so and then they kind of
get buried much like a Facebook I would assume but here you can actually put
real conversations or students could keep on going and keep track of day
after day so here’s some famous quotes from famous people. You can see some of
her different topics new reading series students have
discussed this Schoology rulogy so Schoology rules the things that do’s and
don’ts and really it all leads up to some of the awesome things that you saw
here this afternoon from the technology team that came in with a robot. It
starts in the younger grades just learning how to access the technology
learning how to work as a team together not always in the same room with each
other so Schoology brings that to us They also have in here our materials and
I’ll click on actually just the big materials. You’ll see reading math
science social studies we can link things into different topic areas and
underneath the materials this is where Ms Camra’s handed out her digital
storyboard assignment for the students to access and share so when Daniel
Marshal click on it this one will be blocked but you saw it
earlier in the website here where this is really their project
that they worked on they worked on together and they were willing to share
it right here. Oh it popped up this time I don’t know why
last time it was blocked but there it is right inside of Schoology and students
can share it. Other materials that are on there are really any websites
that we use. I use a website called Symbaloo where which kind of makes each
of my websites reach my bookmarks into a tile and I’ve linked that right into my
Schoology and it embeds right there and whenever I go to a new unit
I just update my websites for that unit so right now we’re in soil so all my soil
units are on the I call it scienceloo so they go to into school I’m sorry
yeah they go into Schoology and then I have my Scienceloo my history they all
play off of this symbaloo website but they’re all embedded right there and
it’s easily accessible. Also underneath the materials isn’t just a link to
websites but there are assignments. You can give the students assignments and
they can access them and they can turn them back in so here’s every night
homework free write and geometry what can you make out of a triangle so
these are just some of the recent assignments in the past week from Ms
Camra’s class. Not only assignments though students can access tests and quizzes. I
believe Ms Cama has some some really cool ones. You can see a measurement test
that she created. How can you preview? Oh questions. There we go
so measuring distance by inch foot yard and mile is called and it was
multiple-choice and the students.. what’s that preview… begin test or quiz… There we
go these are things are called and then this multiple-choice I believe some of
them have pictures embedded in them so as we learn more and more about
Schoology we learn better ways to use it better ways to access it certainly we’re
learning every single day. Every time I attend a digital learning session for
Mr. Knight or Mr. Lanz we learn something new every time even
if it’s something I feel like oh I’ve attended this before I’m familiar with
this I still go home with something new in my
toolbox. I just showed you the Google Drive that’s linked to it. Another thing
that’s just kind of fun but it encourages the kids is there is a album
on here so you can put in class pictures so I think we had pictures of the tiger
hippo games linked to it leave page there we go and the students are able to make comments
on the pictures. I think we have a couple of the teachers working on
report cards and there’s kind of the kids had a fun time just really you know
going through there and having fun with their learning and explaining their
their enthusiasm and what they’re doing with their day and then they posted some
comments for you guys today just as far as what they really like about Schoology So Ms Camar wrote to her students: I’m
talking with the school board tonight. They are really interested in how we are
using Schoology in writing dialogues. What should I tell them about what we
are doing in our classroom? They would love to hear from you and not so
much for me. Share your most honest thoughts and I won’t read all of them as
you can see there’s 23 comments but they range in all variety. Here Isabella said
a life Schoology because it’s like you’re a school but you’re at home
you’re able to access things. Courtney says you can put discussions on the post
and you can reply and Ms Scamra and even to Ms Scamera and you can even put
your homework on it. Students who are absent from school who need to know what
happened that day or where spelling words are how to access something they
can access it right there. Do you guys have any questions or anything we’d like
to see from Schoology or comments? Justin’s going unless for somebody else All right
So here’s a question some one of these kids 20 years ago their kid
says well what was it like in Ms Scamra’s class and she says well let me
show you their storyboard what happens to this stuff? How long is
it there? Where does it go? Who gets it to If you look up there’s a little crown by the administrators name I’m the queen. So it stays up there until I decide to take it down or schoology shuts down or we decide not to do it To go along with that maybe just a quick
plug that I know is a concern for some of the teachers not so much a
concern but you know we put a lot of time and a lot of effort into these
things and if for us to have the buy-in to continue to want to put in the time
and the effort we appreciate the fact that you guys allow us to use this and
access this and you know nothing takes us further than knowing that it’s gonna be
here next year and that it’s going to be here the year after that and that the
kids can access it. I know just myself personally that’s one thing that
I think about as I spend my weekends and my nights using this is you know is
this going to go by the waist side so with that side I just want to say thank you Question What’s there another system before Schoology ? That’s exactly where my
comments kind away come from it a little bit things do change very quickly So to Justin’s point where did that stuff go ? Great question
I personally use I have an old web site that I created and even today I was
using it Dr. Jones came in and observed and we were accessing student newspapers.
We have the Washington Post for kids and Time for kids. It’s classic news and
I think Sports Illustrated for kids as well to my old website and I’ve linked
it to Schoology. I can like I’ll log out of Ms Camras and show you mine but I
know that a lot of teachers put in effort to Teachernet last year or
teacher web and so I think Schoology is great and it’s really working and I
think a lot of teachers would love to see it stick around I don’t know if
anybody has a Yeah and I just want to you know give the commitment that we
are committed to Schoology and with the process we had a system that a lot of
the teachers really liked. It was heavily used at the high school called Angel
Angel went away and it kind of threw everybody for a twirl I think. What we
implemented was not working and so in 2011-12 I’m trying to think what year
there’d be two years ago we knew the system wasn’t working so we had teachers who
were just trying to find whatever they could because they wanted to be
progressive with their kids and so in 11/12 we did a pilot at the high
school of Schoology and a couple of other ones as well and so this was
really chosen by our teachers and Schoology we made a commitment to it. We
opened it to also purchase it for middle school if they wanted it the very
first year middle school wanted it so it hasn’t been something that’s been
forced all the way down and that’s when you know it’s really working. This year
we opened it and said if you want us to buy it at TJ we will buy it for you. We
had we actually bought them Teacherweb to get them started on something last
year and the teachers have self selected to say now we love what Schoology is
offering and now you see it’s heavily used all the way through second grade
and we’re very committed to Schoology to the fact that even the Schoology folks
know us and we had an email today where Schoology is
actually recommending there’s some people here from New Zealand that are
touring the United States and they’re going to visit the school system to see
how we’re using Schoology because we’re using it all the way through the system.
The interesting thing is you ask some of our high school kids and they’re
probably still trying to wrap their head around Schoology or once a while
compared to how our second and third graders are yeah yeah I mean I was
having the TJ classrooms today and it’s just amazing to see just you know how
the kids converse and it’s just so easy for them so really in our middle school
and high school it’s gonna be exciting to watch these kids start to move up and
and what a breath of fresh air for middle school and high school teachers
because they’re not going to be training the kids are going to come in having all
of these digital skills. It’s awesome So as a follow-up question I guess this is more
for us and less for them but are there privacy concerns here with the
content ? No that’s one of the reasons we needed an LMS. We needed an LMS that we
purchased that has all those protections built in where you know it’s on a
secured servers. The kids are logging in things are protected. We did not want our
kids out just or you know 20 different teachers on 20 different websites. The
school division doesn’t know where they are. We can’t monitor.
We have admin rights at the division level. I could go in and see any anything
that I wanted on Schoology and everything is very safe and secure and
you pay for that and so I mean that’s that’s part of it And can I add one thing real quick. With the Schoology
when we create the classrooms I and myself the kids and their parents are
the only ones who can get into our class unless I let somebody else in so with
like with Steve or Don England when we share things across and I can let them
in and then we can cross our classes over but there has to be an access code
that for you to get into and even the parents have like they have to sign on
and do it so it’s a very secure site but going back to Justin’s question about
how long will it last each year that we get a new class we
will establish another members classroom which will allow the just those kids in
that class so the kids that I have this year will not be able to go and access
the class that I have next year and so that’s I think that’s one thing why it
is a secure site and we do comfortable using it And I know we’ve
had lots of discussions on the tech committee tech advisory that one of the
things we have to be training our kids to do that’s why housing their
things in the cloud or even on a flash drive but as our kids leave our high
schools they don’t want to lose all their content and the old days they
would have lost it all when it was just stuck on our server so we’re really
training kids in that way Do we let me ask Shelley can you access like from several
years back say a student wanted to look at what they did two years ago can they
still access that information or that fall? No they can they as far as I know
they can access it. Do you know how far
into the future they can access it? I have no idea but I know at this point they can access it and I know well I
know that it the with my two at the high school they can go back and access
classes they’ve had in the last couple years but as long as they have as long
as they’re logged in as a member then they can get in. The other thing that
Schoology also allows us to do is because we have the crown is that when
we see that a student and we’ve had one or two of those is not using it
appropriately we can go right in and unenroll them which means you don’t get
to be a part of this until you learn how and then we work with that student to
get him back in so I’ve had three unenrolled three put back in two
unenrolled again now there’s just one unenrolled but we’re hopeful he just has
to quit writing his potty words on it but *unintelligible* so editing but so that’s also the
thing we can do so we’ve got complete control of this. They can’t control it. It’s
just them. We’ve worked a lot on the safety about logging off that anytime
they’re gone from Schoology they have to log off every time and log back in
because then somebody else if you don’t log off well then somebody else can go
into your account and then write you know a potty word on it
and then that shows up. Yes that did happen by the way It doesn’t log off
like after a certain amount of time? No you have to go in and log it off (okay) which is what we that’s one of the things there it’s ingrained in them log
off log I mean there’s really kind of sick of hearing me say it log off log
off log off so before they leave and they have in the classroom with my
group they have monitors so they have to watch each other to make sure that
they’re logged off and that way we don’t have the issues. At home I you know the
their computers at home would be different. They can’t get into it but
at school because of the kids that are around each other we just want
to make sure that they’re safe with that Any other questions? All right thanks yall
-thank you appreciate it *applause* All right what a diverse agenda we have
(oh my goodness) The next item on our agenda is the approval of a transfer from the FY
14 contingency fund Dr. Jones And this is just what the school board decided to
do by using the hundred thousand of the current year to purchase materials
furnitures and supplies for the classrooms and so we’re just we need
your approval because it is contingency Anybody have a question about this? I
think we discussed it all during budgets so is there a motion? you jump in Okay I
recommend that the Falls Church City schools approve a transfer the school board
approve a transfer of the funds in the amount of 100,000 from its FY 14
contingency reserve to purchase classroom materials furniture and
supplies Thank you Mr Ankuma is there a second for that motion? Second
Thank you All in favor please say aye Aye and any opposed ? All right very good Dr. Jones please go make it
happen so our kids will have desks Absolutely I’m on it right now For the city water proceed this was just to kind of update you.
I actually thought they weren’t going to be discussing it at all and then it kind
of appeared on their agenda last night and so I wanted to be sure that the
attachments were on here for you. This what the the Retirement Board was
present for City Council meeting last night and put forward a proposal that
they are pondering at the end of the comments that did seem as though they
just kind of took the straw poll it wasn’t official it was a work session
encouraging the Retirement Board to bring back a more detailed plan and they
were looking very seriously at utilizing and as of last night what was presented
it would be 11 million towards creating an endowment within the retirement fund
and they want to be sure that that’s how it’s communicated is that it’s an
endowment. When those proceeds 11 million would go into that fund it would
generate according to what the actuaries were saying last night $800,000 would be
the average per year that that money would generate. That money would then be
used to fund CIP only projects and the intent would be not to utilize all
800,000 every year but to use a portion of that on a project and then a portion
of that would then go into a reserve for CIP so just keeping you up to date
watching that closely because I saw that the school board had said what are they
planning to do with the water money. They still have not given the actual total of
complete fund and what that number will be but in again I just I’ve added these
documents on here for you and I did check today and Mr. Shield said he
believes that you know by June 30th they were trying to make a decision on this
so I’ll keep watching it and keep updating as things come
forward The reason I asked Dr. Jones to put this on the agenda is that we did
have a conversation a month or so ago about this topic and whether the board
should take a position on the use of these proceeds so I wanted her to give
you an update. We do have this as a work session item on our April 22 work
session which is our next work session to talk about whether we think we should
take a position or whether we should so all righty the next item on the
agenda is the George Mason Mary Ellen Henderson joint process and
planning committee update were you planning to do that Dr. Jones? Or would
you wanted me to do it? Or shall we have Mr. Lawrence do it? Alright I’ll
give a quick update for the community First for those in the community who
aren’t familiar with this group this is a group comprised of two school board
members two City Council members a member from the Planning Commission and
one from the Economic Development Authority. The purpose of the group is to
collectively create a process for moving forward to determine how to whether to
develop any of the land up at George Mason and how to and what to do to get
the high school that we so desperately need including a number of details about
the high school itself as well as a funding plan and a financing plan. This
group was formed earlier this year. We’ve been meeting most Thursday mornings at
7:30 here in City Hall. We’ve had a number of folks come and talk to us to
give us their benefit of their expertise either in school buildings or funding
and financing or development. The group will continue its work for I think
another short amount of time before we come up with what will be a high level
kind of conceptual process big big categories of things we should be doing
and in what order and with relative timing to them. These are open meetings
the community is invited. If you want to attend they’re posted here in City Hall.
They’re posted on our website and also elsewhere that all our school things are
posted. The minutes for those meetings are available on the city website also
on the school board web site so if you want more information about this
particular group you can find it. The purpose of evening was just to let folks
know that since the water referendum passed we are moving forward to try to
sort through this. It’s going to be a complex project and it’s going to
take a little bit of time but we’re moving as quickly as we can while still
trying to pay attention to making sure we’re doing the right thing Questions ? Alright and we do have one
meeting tomorrow morn- the Thursday at 7:30 a.m. so feel free to join us.
Alright the next thing student liaisons on advisory board committees Dr. Jones This is just a question the school board had asked early on and so we’re
looking at and I had Marty go ahead and pull for us. These are those formal
committees that we approve each year the ESOL committee gifted and talented
already have active students. We’re looking and working closely with for BIE
extended daycare. The difficulty about BIE is when it does meet its you know
early in the morning so that poses a little bit of a challenge. Extended day
care tends to be quite late at night but again we’re looking at that and the
technology we actually have students coming and our students have been very
involved and our students are coming to our next meeting some high school
students but getting some students actually active on that committee would
be great going forward next year so just to let you know that we’re looking at
all of those. Probably the only committee where we have a little bit of hesitation
is the family life and that’s just because sometimes some of the topics
that you really need to talk about sometimes have more of an adult focus
deciding what is best for children and even though some of them could be in
high school and just giving that committee the flexibility to speak
openly about topics and but we’re explore exploring all of those and
getting more student reps on our committees All right and our
student rep Mayve Curtin is engaged with that not just with decisions about who
it when where but also she and Dr. Jones and Mr. Bird will figure out the process
for finding and getting the right kids to us and so they’re all on top
of that so I think that’s terrific.
Great the next is approval of 2014-15 staff calendar. Dr. Jones what is the
staff calendar? The staff calendar as you remember when we brought the school
calendar to you it had just the student days so that our families could
start planning vacations and do all of that. We asked for a little bit more time
to work with our staff. We had a big committee meeting really looked at
what were the options for adding our professional days to the calendar. From
there we narrowed it down to I think it was four options. Those four options went out
the entire school divisions so everybody could vote and have a voice and it was
pretty much unanimous in what they wanted. They wanted to add the days on
August 21st and 22nd and then they added the extra day in June so we get that
little bit of training before school which were excited about but we’re also
getting that day at the end which I know Mr. Sharpe referenced after you had
set through that meeting coming back and really analyzing the school year at the
end and looking at the curriculum and how things worked and what we need to do
to go forward so again the blues and the greens and the staff know
this we’re still working on exactly what’s blue and what’s green. That means
a division day or a site day and we’re working actually on that tomorrow with
all the leadership team. The number of days will not change. We’ll have ten
green and four blue. We just want to make sure they’re in the right place based on
also like Lisa talked about literacy training. We now have our literacy
person booked for I believe it’s the 27th yeah
August 27th so we know that that’s going to need to be a division day and be blue
and right now it’s green so that’s but we’re excited about having our staff
calendar so now our division calendar is set Is there a motion to approve this calendar ? Madam chair I move that the school board approve the 2014-2015 Falls
Church City public school staff calendar as presented Thank You Mr Castillo.
Is there a second? Second All right very good
All in favor please say aye (aye) Are there any opposed? All right and Dr. Jones and
Ms High I want to recognize and thank you for the hard work you did with all
of your staff to get some consensus on this and get everybody happy with what
we’re doing because I think that’s important so thanks for that.
All right next we have a crucial item on our agenda which is the approval of a
mascot for the new Jessie Thackery Preschool And we’re so excited. This is
so fun and actually brought some pictures just because it makes it more
fun and we really we’ve been so excited our office today about this.
Now this is not necessarily the exact graphic and she will morph and
change I’m sure and you know and this kind of has a fun little story behind it
which always makes it be exciting as well because the pre-k team for whatever
reason fell in love and said we should really this should be Jessie Giraffe and
that was very early on and so whenever we put out the call for the mascot it
was really fun to see giraffes and pandas and owls and bugs and all kinds
of things come in but overwhelmingly and I think the pre-kick team may have been
out you know generating community energy but the giraffe overwhelmingly beat the
panda bears teddy bears but the story that was really and I still don’t know
because it was anonymous on who you know put who was recommending mascot names
but somebody shared in their nomination of giraffe they said you know we think a
giraffe would be wonderful because Jesse’s middle name was Gertrude. She
never liked to be called Gertrude and it was a little bit of a family funny that
she loved to be called Gertie that she liked Gertie didn’t like
Gertrude and she also loved giraffes Could you think about Gertie giraffe and
so it just so happened that the pre-k team also you know had loved a giraffe
and so I reached out to the family to Keith and Sue Thackery to say is this
story really true and they said yes it is and Keith shared that his I think
was his daughter actually called Jessie’s car Gertie so it kind of has a little
history to it as well so Gertie giraffe is what the ASAC team is recommending
after community input. We’re so excited about it and our littlest people I think
I’m more excited just to watch Gertie race at the football game because she’s
gonna be so tall with her big long neck and we even found John Brett found the
costume online so we know there are giraffe costumes and if we can get it in
place for Memorial Day Gertie is we’ll have her out so we if we can make that
happen but that’s our recommendation and we are just so excited about Gertie
giraffe All right I’m glad to hear that
we’ve identified the costume because otherwise I would have to move not to
approve this thing tonight if we didn’t have all of our
details. Any thoughts or questions about this particular item on the agenda?
Mr. Sharpe do you have something you’d like to say ? Thanks for the really detailed
research on this. It’s really really really nice. I just wonder is the costume
intended for one person or two? That was a discussion item because we thought
having those two kind of horse kind of things are hard and we found a costume
that’s one person Since it’s only one person I get both ends That person has to be able to hold their arms up for If I get a chance to wear this costume you
have to come with the Cat in the Hat costume Alright anything else before
we move to approve this ? Would anyone like
to make a motion to approve this? Madam chairman I move that the Falls Church
City Public School Board approve Gertie giraffe as the mascot for Jessie
Thackery preschool Thank You
Is there a second? Thank You all in favor please say aye
(aye) Are any opposed? All right very good we have a new mascot to join our zoo of
other mascots. That’s great. That’s very cute And you know what I just realized
this will be a perfect way to teach the preschoolers the difference between the
hard G and the soft G There you go and thanks for that. I’m glad that’s been worked out
too. Just amazing. Okay that was really fun. The next thing who says it’s dull
being governance at the local level? Next is a construction update Dr. Jones It should be quicker tonight we’re full steam ahead. Cherry is on target and
everything is progressing well there. I’m gonna head over this week and do another
walkthrough that’s pretty once the walls knocked out and just looks all
clean and fresh right now. At Mount Daniel we finished our at 5:30 this
evening we convened to narrow down the proposals to three proposals.
We feel very very confident about those three and they’ll be officially notified
within the next week and we will be coming back to the school
board very quickly with the detailed RFP that then goes to those three finalists
to make sure that the RFP meets exactly to the letter of what we want it to
so very excited about that and that’s all because we’ve already
spoken to GMMEH Yeah I would add one thing which is that Dr. Jones will be bringing
our recommended shortlist to this group at our work session on April 22nd for
our approval so that’s something to look forward too. Just one quick question about
Cherry Street. Is it is that what but I’m sorry excuse me about Jessie Thackery
school the timeline and the beginning of the school year Right and I think at the
last meeting I addressed this just to make sure people know that we’re still
expecting to open on time. What we don’t have is the guarantee from Hess anymore
is what we lost in that time loss so let’s say we have huge storms
this summer and another duratio we can’t hold Hess accountable if they miss
the deadlines. The deadline that we can’t hold them accountable to is on
October 1st. However right now we are on target to open on time as long as we
don’t have any disaster this summer Thank you good question and response appreciate that. Yes Mr Sharpe Before we leave this item at the previous meeting I asked about whether
we might have a celebration for the completion of TJ and all the punch lists
and all those items and I think May 3rd is the PTAs Festival for the
spring I again I wouldn’t want to definitely suggests that that’s a day
but without you know discussing it with them but just that’s a day
that’s kind of set aside for a large group to be there and for a kind of
spring celebration in any case and perhaps that’s a good way to coordinate
but again I would just ask if we might explore with the staff and some of the
PTA leaders there what’s a good time to do this and really have a
closure with the project that TJ Alright thanks for reminding us
about that Keiran. I appreciate that The next thing on our agenda is future
agenda items. If there are things that members of the board have been wanting
the board to take up or discuss that they haven’t seen on an agenda or don’t
know is somehow in our workflow for the next few months. Anybody have any things
that they’d like to bring up? Yes Mr Ankuma Madam chair these are not I don’t know if they’re
pressing issues but I’d like to learn more about it. I’m not sure if this is
the forum or have a one-on-one with the supe maybe Lisa two things STEM how its
run and ESOL how that you know especially with how much money
was cut off before the budget came in and sort of like to get a little better
understanding of it but that’s (okay) those are my two issues That’s great
– I’d like to learn more about Yeah so my question to the board
would be are there other members who would like for us to have a work session
for example to talk about those things or if not if everyone else kind of feels
like they know what’s going on then I’ll ask the superintendent to work with Mr.
Ankuma one-on-one. Are there folks interested? Yea I would have an indefinitely
interest in a little bit more about that Okay sounds like there’s enough interest
to put this on a work session agenda Yeah great
Anyone else have something? Mr. Sharpe I thought I saw you reaching for your
button The calendars full day calendars have been pretty well set and I wondered
about the early outs if those have been identified completely and what
process might be ahead of us for for that determination Yeah that’s part
of what we talk about tomorrow but I don’t anticipate any change next
year because we made the adjustment this year which means if we’re out on a
Monday or a Friday we don’t have early release which is what we did this year
so we’re not anticipating any changes there next year from what we saw this
year All right very good all right. Not seeing anything Quick question. I’m not sure the
protocol here maybe L can straight me out with this legislative job I hav.e I
didn’t know if that I sent an email out today I don’t know how many of you had a chance
to read it. Is that something that needs to be on the agenda for discussion at a
work session or is it something we just handle outside of the meetings? It kind
of depends on the time of year and the timeliness of it.
We will generally in the fall of the year we’ll put together a legislative
package that’s gonna have a formal discussion and approval and adoption and
it goes down to Richmond. On the interim basis of there are things that we think
we need to have a discussion about speaking out on it can come in an agenda
at this meeting It can come on an agenda at a work
session for us to decide if we want to take a position or if we don’t
and what it’s going to be and then we kind of press n from there
so what’s the timeliness on this particular Well what’s the issue and
what’s the timeliness? Well the issue is the state budget but it’s not really
pressing because that’s all in a holding pattern right now Okay so maybe on the
April 22 work session agenda we can set aside a few minutes to take this up sure
and I can you know find some more information out. I know you all know
through that email that’s all I know at this point but I’ll see what else I can
glean from my contacts and try and give you some more information That’s great and
in the interim it sounds like everybody has something from Margaret
in their inbox. If you have questions or concerns or issues or whatever just
respond to her and she’ll pull that stuff together Great (great thank you)
thank you Yes Mr. Lawrence Will be WIlla
coming in briefing us? She’s done it in the past after the sessions over. I didn’t
know that was a regular thing or okay no no if she wasn’t counting on it we can
we can deal with it. I was just curious yeah I dont think we have her planning to come this year. I think it’s a little bit quieter session with the exception of Sol tests I’m meeting her
for lunch tomorrow I could ask her I don’t know that she needs to. I’m sure
she would be happy to. I dont know that she needs to. All right the next item on the
agenda is the superintendent’s report And I really don’t feel like I have to
say a whole lot tonight because the teachers talked so much and you saw
their excitement you know and it’s really nice actually to not just have
more program or you know really getting to see how teaching and learning is
transforming and I was actually out in TJ today and it’s just a fun to walk
around and see all the classrooms Just a couple of highlights of some
things that are happening we are hosting and the teachers actually referenced it
tonight at Google summit in August and that’s a really big deal for us.
Google does summits all around the world and we will expect about 500 people in
attendance it’s Google certified trainers that come
from all over the place and a lot of our staff you know will attend and be a part
of that if their Google if they’re trained / certified they can actually
teach what a session as well but that’s going to be a big deal for us. We also
have our visioning tomorrow. I know several of you are attending and we’re
excited about that. Mary Eggards will be back with us again and so she’ll be with
students and teachers at the two o’clock session and really getting a large
volume of their input on both of the issues kids in the middle
alternate diplomas other diplomas is there something that we want to do
curriculum wise when we look at the future and then also looking at
service-learning and civic engagement how much are we doing what are we doing
are we doing enough do we need to do more and really I think hearing from our
students as well. They did do a survey that was posted on Schoology where
Mr. Bird has some kind of just good data about the kind of community service our
kids are doing right now so I think it’s gonna be really exciting and I think
both sessions will be different because the one in the evening is community so I
encourage you know anybody that is watching or if you have a friend or a
neighbor that plans change at the last minute they can come and check in
if they can register it helps us because our we try to balance our tables so that
it’s just not all friends sitting together. The other thing I’m going
to just mention very quickly but I don’t want to say too much tonight is because
Maeve is not with us but she did receive and a wonderful scholarship through UVA.
We will honor her when she’s here so I want to acknowledge that but since she
wasn’t with us tonight we thought we’re gonna wait so we can kind of all give
her the accolades she deserves because as far as we know we think she is the
one and only that we’ve had in Falls Church who has actually received a full
ride so yeah and so we will recognize her when she’s with us. We don’t want her
to miss her own accolades yeah thank you That’s great Dr. Jones for the visioning
session tomorrow afternoon and tomorrow night how many folks do we have coming
at this point that you know of I think in the evening session it was about 80
right now and then the day session of course it’s an early release and we did
that intentionally because we wanted huge staff engagement so
every staff member will be there from George Mason and then I’m not sure how
many students I want to say they were up to about 20 I think they’re trying
to grab those kids before they go to athletics and other activities and I
told Mr. Bird if we would just really emphasize the community service aspect
they all are really interested in that so I’m hoping they got the word out
because we really need to hear from them and we need to hear from diverse a group
of students that are involved in different activities and different
levels Alright thanks for that moving right along we have board and student
liaison comments. We don’t have a student liaison this evening so we won’t
go there we’ll start with Ms Ward A booster meeting was last night and I missed
because I went to an away lacrosse game which we won our first one hooray by a
lot and girls won too so I have nothing to report. I expect to get an email giving
me minutes so I just keep up to date with what they’re doing but as far as I
know nothing major is going on Alright thank you very much
Mr Ankuma I attended my first PTSA at George
Mason but it wasn’t the formal meeting even though I met that
the chair. It was a presentation by a group organization well the owners
honors presented it but I had to do with wellness and counseling for kids and
all the things they’re going through kind of interesting and I plan to reach
out to see if that presentation is something I could lay my hands on but
that was the meeting. That was pretty much the whole presentation there from I
forgotten the name of the group. Wait a second I may have their card These things in here that’s it. Project
safe strategies aimed at family empowerment group family and individual
counseling that’s who did the presentation pretty good. It was pretty good telling us
about kids and you know the changes they’re going through at different
stages and what parents and teachers should look out for so it was quite
informative. I was also at the Chamber of Commerce board meeting this morning. Not
much — nothing substantive other than their you know the usual rah-rah after
the gala which was pretty successful on Saturday. I guess Kieran was there as
well. I had to bail out early had a previous engagement
but yes so they talked about the gala which is like I said pretty successful
and Maeve and her mom represented that Maeve’s dad received an award and so
Maeve and her mom were out there at the podium to receive that for them so
that was good because their dad was out of town and
then just another quick update yes this morning about plans moving on the West
and broad project of the spectrum and you know I guess we’re expecting those
kids sometimes soon so whenever that comes around we do have those. There was a
there’s a ribbon no there was a groundbreaking today at the for the yeah
Lincoln properties thing so I didn’t make it but there was that and so that
and the obviously that Harris Teeter stuff is going on full steam ahead if
anybody else has any updates let us know Great. Wonderful.
Mr Castillo I would just advise everybody who gets a
chance to go watch the George Mason girls soccer team. They’re doing very
well and they’re the games are extremely entertaining. I don’t know how it turned
out tonight but I have a feeling thank know I don’t know. I gave the
board a little bit of a heads up the process of searching for a city attorney
is moving along I was involved in interviews. I was
really impressed by the slate of candidates that we have and I think
over the next few days and weeks we will reach an end point to our search
and I think we will be in a great position. The past two town hall meetings
for the budget have been well attended and I’ve been impressed by the
the turnout and the interest of citizens and we’ve got some technology meetings
coming up in the next few days which I’m looking forward to and other than that
it’s very quiet these days in Falls Church Alright and Mr. Sharpe I’ve been attending the partnership for
youths planning sessions that they’re looking toward next year and trying to
get sort of reorganized. They do have a presentation to the Board of Supervisors
later this week. On April 30th they’ll have a shopping day at the well it’s the
Neiman Marcus last call which is sort of their off-price
facility at the mosaic in Merrfield That’s on April the 30th and you would
if you buy a ticket you get $20 off of whatever you buy. You pay $10
for that and the ten dollars goes to the partnership for youth so they provided
that kind of partnership for this fundraiser. Also there’s a golf
tournament with the partnership for youth on May the 12th so I hope many of
you will want to enjoy that. Sign up for that is on the partnership for youths
website which is the Fairfax youth dot org. The BIE recent meeting was very very
well attended mainly due to Mary Beth Connolly’s good recruiting for current
members and new members and you saw some of the fruits of that this evening with
appointment of a new member for the upcoming term that would begin in July
from Body Dynamics I did attend just briefly the GM
planning meeting. There’s really a great work going on there. Thank You Susan and
John very very diligent work and great many outside folks are being asked to
come in and speak and many more planned to do so and I think those additional
expert consultations will be very very helpful there. I do want to suggest that
Susan’s recommendation I think at our last meeting that we not just look at
the particular site that we’re concerned about up at GM but that we also think
about the economic development that could occur at other sites in the city
and that those might be a source of funding for the school development that
we need and the ongoing school operations but also there may be some
opportunity for additional school sites if there are just as there’s kind of a
private public potential arrangement up at GM we may find that similar
opportunity elsewhere and so I hope that the Planning Group will
continue down that path. Michael mentioned the Chamber gala and I was
very very happy to attend that I know Toni was also there Mary Beth Connelly
and a number of the City Council members Don Beyer who’s a candidate for Congress
Maeve Curtin was there with her mom to accept the humanitarian award on behalf
of her dad who’s been working with the DC central kitchen. Gordon Tease was the
pillar of the community Award winner and I got my picture taken which my
wife may not like too much but I got my picture taken with Miss Vietnam of
Washington DC and had a very nice chat with her because she is currently a
student at GMU but she previously was a student and then graduate at Falls
Church High School and she was there during and her siblings were going
through Falls Church High at a point where they were changing from one kind
of calendar to another and then back again. They had the traditional calendar
for many years then switched to a modified calendar to begin in mid-august
and then they switched back at the time the recession hit and I asked her about
well what the differences seemed to be there and she generally thought
the early calendar was a good thing but she also said that in her
particular case it didn’t really matter very much because she was a member of
the marching band and they started in the first week of August
even before the early calendar modified program was to begin she
was there and she was you know getting ready for school and it was
something that she was used to and she was getting into the academic you
know reconditioning at that point if you will. Our old friend Karen Acar was also
at the dinner. She used to be our schools publicity communications person and
she’s now a similar position for the Fairfax County Park Authority.
Just before coming here tonight I was pleased to review a display of art
by the children who are in the home stretch program and that display is at
the United Bank up on route 7 near Tyson’s Corner. It’s going to be there
for an additional two weeks and it’s a really really great display. I encourage
you all to go by and see it. It gives you a great insight into what their
experience is and what their family’s experiences are and what home stretch
does which is help homeless families to transition back to regular participation
in the community. I did attend the school board budget forum on the Thursday night
and then the city budget forum on Saturday and I agree both were very well
attended and lots of good questions very pleased to see Lou Oland there and I know
he expressed I think a very strong support for continuing the kind of
school effort that he began to have an even better school system here than what
we could obtain anywhere else and he remains firmly convinced that we still
have that and I think Maeve helped us to confirm that that is the case
that our last work session meeting when we had the opportunity to hear her talk
about the differences between her experience in the IB program and what
she was able to learn about similar high school experiences that others were
having in the area with AP and all that that involves. I think she was very
articulate in describing why the IB program is a really strong
preparation for the kind of college activity that she expects to have
and that she’s heard that those who have graduated from George Mason and
other high schools in the area have have had and I know at the forum
that was on Saturday when person question about the quality of what
our students are able to do I’m hopeful that Maeve will help with some
education about why our program is still probably the best in
the area and lastly I hope we will have a celebration to close at TJ and I would
hope we can get some invitations out to people who were also instrumental in
getting that done people who were who were on the board at an earlier point in
time and helped to put that effort together and also I think are eager
to see the close of that project Thank You Thank you Mr. Webb Now real quick took part in the school board forum on last Thursday
evening was a pretty well attended. Susan and I were speakers at
that forum that I thought was very educational for a lot of folks in
learning a little bit more about the process and my role was kind of giving
that perspective of seeing saying that the budget process from both sides of a
member of City Council as well as a member of the school board and just kind
of give them the perspective of how thorough the process really is of
looking at in some cases I thought that the schools gets a little bit more into
the weeds of point to employees and you do see on certain things from the city
side of not getting that detailed but I thought it was a good opportunity for us
to kind of educate the community and I hope that we have other opportunities
like that and hopefully well as susan has suggested to the council that we can
start doing some of that type of work immediately after the budget season
wraps up and then finally the other thing I’ll do is just remind folks as
well as my colleagues here if you have not already to make sure that you
purchase your tickets for the gala for the Falls Church education
Association on Friday May 16th thank you Alright Mr. Lawrence Just one thing
we’ve mentioned Maeve a lot tonight I just want to point out that she’s not
here tonight because she’s fulfilling her duties as the the best buddiez
person. She founded the chapter at GM and she’s I believe still the head of it so
she would be here normally but she’s she’s doing her best buddies work
tonight. Just a couple things on Schoology as a parent you know I use it
every day. My son uses it every day It’s really wonderful. You just have
to learn how to use it. I’ve talked with some teachers and it’s clear that the
the biggest problem to making it really useful in homes is the parents aren’t
figuring out how to use it and they’re expressing frustration and
you know they’re more the problem than the solution but you know
it’ll happen and having some remember this time I think last year two
years ago we approved a French book which you know thank God we got the
online version because you know books get left at school and at one point we
you know I knew we had Tabor on Shea and we’d gotten the online version so we
went and he was able to get his homework done simply because we had done that
otherwise he would have been out of luck Spent a lot of time in the last few
weeks going to construction meetings on the RFP. We’ve been keeping for Mount
Daniel we’ve been keeping supervisor Foust very well informed. We met with him
the other day. I’ve talked with the school board member from Fairfax for the
Drainsville district. We have kept congressman Moran involved and the
neighbors so we’re trying to keep everybody around there aware of what’s
going on. I’ve also been on the GM meetings and finally I just wanted to
point out one thing because when we were going through the budget it hit me and I
sort of joked with Tony here that the the day care program budget contingency
fund is equal to the entire school division contingency fund. It was just
sort of ironic this day care program has three hundred fifty thousand and I’m not
even sure we still have that now but it just shows that you know our discussion
about contingency funds and Michael you know talking about how we’d like to have
some more that really put it in perspective if our daycare program has
the same as the entire division Privatization of work All right thank you. For my comments I
won’t say a lot about the Town Hall last Saturday because a few of my colleagues
have mentioned that. I do want to very specifically thank the VFW the CBC the
Democrats and Republican parties in Falls Church for pulling together and
sponsoring last Thursday evening the forum on the budget and sustainable
schools which was just a terrific evening event this is the
second forum that group of civic organizations has pulled
together and I think it’s just a fantastic resource for our city to have
them doing that. Specifically I want to thank Carol Laughterthon who
convened us here and did a great job of managing the panel and also Sally
Eckfelt who moderated the Q&A session. They did a really great job so thanks
everybody for making that happen because from the school board’s perspective the
more community understands our budget and how we think about educating our
kids and the resources we need the better it is.
In terms of Lawrence webs participation in that event thank you very much. I
think you did a great job of helping people the community understand that our
process is quite detailed and in-depth and there’s a lot of discussion and
there are a lot of community opportunities to comment and that we do
a quite thorough job here and we’re very proud of our work so thanks for thanks
for that Lawrence I appreciate that. In terms of the budget I want to let my
colleagues know and also the community know that I continue to meet with any
number of folks in the City Council to help them understand how we got to our
budget and to discuss their thoughts. I had an opportunity to have coffee with
Phil Duncan who chairs the City Council’s Budget and Finance Committee
and we had a good conversation Justin Castillo and I had our weekly
sit-down with the mayor and the vice mayor last Saturday at 7:30 in the
morning. I feel like it’s too many 7:30 in the morning meetings for me and a
good part of the conversation that we had was on the budget and the schools
and we were coming from and what’s going in the city so I also hope that my
colleagues here on the dais are continuing to talk with you know their
buddies and I think that they are we’re really trying this year to be if
anything overly collaborative to make sure that everybody understands what the
key issues are so we’ll see how that moves forward I think we’ll know more in
another week or so about where city councils
head is on our budget. In terms of things coming up that are fun to know about and
for us to all participate in I mentioned this Thursday morning at 7:30 upstairs
in the oak conference room we all have the next meeting of the George Mason
process committee on April 16th which is next Wednesday there will be a gang of
eight meeting pre prior to the City Council meeting and I’m not sure the
location it’ll be posted look for that if that’s going on for my colleagues if
there are things you’d like to make sure on the agenda for that meeting please
let me know because we have not set the agenda quite yet I’m sure there’ll be a
budget update but but we’ll see what else there is we have our next work
session at 7:00 o’clock in the central office on April 22nd where we have a few
items to chat about that will be that agenda be posted soon on April 26th
starting at 9 o’clock in the central line for scon firts room we have the
school board’s retreat on governance and please please please everybody be there
bright and early and on time because we have a lot to do there and we’ll run
till noon 12:30 and we’ll see where we are and whether we’ve made some
decisions whether we need to schedule a second session and then finally I will
add on to Lawrence’s comment about the gala on May 16th and just let people
know that I go to the gala every year and it’s always a lot of fun but I have
to say last year was the absolute best it was just absolutely wonderful at
Washington and Golf sitting outside on the back terrace on a beautiful night so
many people there that I knew as my children grew up in the schools and got
a chance to reconnect with and people I’d never met before that I got a chance
to know so if you haven’t bought your tickets you know you probably better do
it quickly because they do sell out and they’re still looking for sponsors for
that as well so if you work with a business or know of a business that
might want to sponsor the gala for us you know
please let Debbie know that so that’s I think that’ll take us pretty much
through the Memorial Day Parade right or where the rookies get to
bring the bell and ring it during the parade. You didn’t know about that
initiation ritual did you so that’s coming up. All right very good so the
next item we have is approval of minutes I’m going to ask for unanimous consent
that we approve the minutes of February 8 11 18 and 25 March 5th 11th and 20th
unless someone has objection all right without objection that’s so ordered and
so we’ve approved our minutes. There are a couple of things for board review here
under those materials and unless there are other things we need to discuss this
evening we will call it a night and we will adjourn. All right very good thank
you everybody

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