The Board of Education started the meeting by congratulating the Lego League teams from Edison and Washington Jr. High Schools. Washington Jr. High math teacher Kathy Evanchyk introduced students on the school’s Lego League team: Franky Jones, Jason Wells, Jakob Bierlein. Three other students were also on the team: Dom Holland, Mike Durham, Blake Cantrill, Julie Myers, Emily Burden and Kyle Johnson. “Our students had a good time and showed a lot of teamwork.”
Dr. Susan Neece from Edison Jr. High acknowledged co-coach Jason Meredith (from Deere and Company) and thanked Pat Barnes for allowing him to work with the team. The students won trophy for having the best robot. “Most intense challenging project ever had.”
Dr. Neece praised Mr. Meredith’s involvement, who has taken off from his job on many Fridays to help the team and has also spent money out of his own pocket. Edison students are going to the state competition in Ames, Iowa on Saturday, Jan. 16: Hannah Price, Jacob Huisman, Alex Lavery, Cody Franks, Hannah Price, Max Friestad, Harry Phillis, Brady Wilkerson and Dean Zeglin. John Mutum & Packer Westmorland were also a part of the team but are not attending state.
Students gave a presentation to the board. “Who wants to be a biomedical engineer?” Students developed their own medical device product: Insta Breath, which troubleshoots asthma before harsh symptoms occur.
Board members enjoyed the presentations and Ms. Dothard felt that students in the school district should present projects more often at the meetings.
Reports from Board Members
Ms. Dothard will be going to Naperville for Illinois Liquid Asset Fund Meeting this weekend. The organization is in charge of making sure monies are invested properly and safe. Mr. Strupp visited the new Center for Math & Science and got a demonstration of the operations of the building processes via computer. Building operations were controlled through a web-based interface, everything from lighting to climate control.
Student Board member Jazmin Taylor reported that the Lady Rocks basketball team has game against United Township tomorrow and would like everyone’s support. Board member Sam Ferry thanked the board for their support at the various winter concerts at Rocky. A recording of the concerts is available upon request. He also congratulated the Jr ROTC unit for their successful change of command.
Updates from the Superintendent
Dr. Oberhaus said the second semester of the school year is off and running. He encouraged the board members to get out and visit the buildings. The State of Illinois is continuing to struggle with its budget gap, which is estimated at $14-18 billion.
The state is a major player in the school district budget, and the district receives 37% of funding (about $20 million). Discussions may be coming from the state about major cuts to organizations, including education. Dr. Oberhaus encouraged audience to contact local representatives about not cutting funding to education. As of today, no board members have signed up for Franzek Law Conference on Jan 29 8:30 a.m. – noon. Ms. Dothard and Mr. Cleaver will attend. On March 23, The Illinois Association of School Boards (IASB) will have a Blackhawk region meeting at the Rock Island Center for Math & Science. Please let Kim Colson know if you can attend. Finally received in the mail today from IASB the data first for school governance, which will be held in Geneseo. Please let Kim know if you can attend as well.
Committee of the Whole - School Improvement Plans
The School Improvement Plan for Thurgood Marshall Learning Center (TMC) revolves around four performance goals: attendance, discipline referrals, math and reading. Principal Phil Ambrose said that the school exceeded their goals and outcomes in the 2009-2010 year. TMC saw a reduction in discipline referrals and attendance reached 75%. Students are pre-tested and post-tested throughout the year. The goal for each student is to improve each month for every month they are in the building. The school has graduated 51 students and anticipates another 10 or 12 students will graduate in 2011.
The Rock Island High School School Improvement Plan focused on five major initiatives that administrators at the high school feel are critical to student’s success: team collaboration, enforcements of policies, attendance, 9th Grade Academy and the Career Development program. Goals for 2009-10 were not met for reading and math.
Mary Mendelin (English teacher and data team leader) and Mike Smith (math teacher and data team leader) presented the testing goals for English and math. Teachers at the high school are building coarse specific exit goals and focusing on skills that they want students to master before moving on to second semester. Smith has seen a huge benefit with the approach. Test taking strategies for PSAE and ACT are being taught which help students get through a major test without a lot of anxiety. It’s important to keep things in the class that students enjoy, and weave them into the items that are important to the test.
Michelle Lillis (math teacher data team leader) Chris Elsberg (parent and business leader who assisted in building the school improvement plan) approached the board with recommendations of how the board can help. Exploring ways to provide ACT prep courses, in ways of basic instruction of teaching support skills, will help students do better on testing. Ms. Elsberg suggested that the Explore test be given to all 8th grade students to prepare the students. Students are starting high school at a lower level. Starting the Explore test earlier will allow teachers to catch problems sooner and able to intervene.
The current RIHS School Improvement plan has been around for two years. Next year, the school will be writing a new plan.
Principal Gary Flecker presented the School Improvement Plan for Edison Jr. High. Teachers and staff do everything they can to keep kids in the classroom and Mr. Flecker thanked all of the teachers and staff at Edison for everything they do. Edison met 77% goal meets/exceeds in 7th grade math but did not in 8th grade math. The school did not make AYP in 7th and 8th grade reading. One improvement that was made was creating the Edison Plus program. In the Edison Plus program, school changed the schedule to allow time after school for students to get help they need. From 2:33 – 3:00 p.m. is “sacred time” for that purpose. Teachers meet from 3:00 – 3:30 p.m. for planning and BIT team. The school is participating in a pilot with State of Illinois for assessments with a program called Rising Star. Edison picked six indicators and the School Improvement Plan Team was able to come up with action plans based on the indicators.
Principal Mark Hepner from Washington Jr. High reported that the school’s math scores great however reading needs some help. Mr. Hepner gave credit to the Washington Jr. High math department for the successful scores. Reading scores slipped back a little on the ISAT and the school is providing additional classes and reading activities as a part of the action plan to improve those scores. The school is also using the Rising Star format for assessments. Many people are involved with the SIP, and the Washington PTA is also participating. Teachers and staff are making sure students are on task every single minute and the school practices active teaching until the very end of the period.
Dr. Oberhaus thanked the schools for their effort on putting the school improvement plans together.
Assessement Revisions process
The administration formed a sub-committee to lead the charge in reviewing and analyzing current student assessment systems. The current assessment processes used by the district are not efficient and timely as administrators would like it to be. Implementing a computer-based assessment system would standardize and align assessments throughout the school district in a timely manner. Dr. Oberhaus stated that there is a movement in education to get away from “teaching to the test,” and NCLB will be a growth model and based on how students are performing in that growth mode. Implementing better assessment systems now will help the school district stay ahead of the curve.
A group of teachers were engaged in the process and the systems have been narrowed down into three vendors. Feedback will be collected from teachers, parents and students. Gary Flecker, John Frieden, Mark Hepner, Mike Nitzel, Bill Osborne, Dennis Weiss served on Assessment Selection Committee. There is an item planned in the budget for next year.
Budget cuts overview and discussion
Jo Ellen Bunch, 4974 Norwood Drive Bettendorf, Iowa. She is an employee of Head Start is concerned with quality continuance in the program. Find her work rewarding in disabilities transition for Head Start Program. Has some fear for continuation of service quality. Some Board of Education members have served on policy council and she asks that before decisions are made, that they be given pertinent details of proposals and be able to ask questions of the proposals. Need to have all the fact to be made an informed decision. It’s a dilemma: please carefully decide.
Last October the board was given the review of local, state and federal funding issues. The school district revenue picture looked very bleak – there has been a decline in interest income, property taxes are not growing. The biggest loss was seen in Corporate Replacement taxes, which is down to $3.8 million. The State of Illinois is still in a financial crisis and continues to be behind in payments.
Dr. Oberhaus reviewed preliminary budget additions and reductions for the 2011-2012 school year. In the next two months, there will be more definitive answers. Tier One and Tier Two will be presented at the next board meeting on January 25. On February 22 the board will act on recommendations. The district has to give 60 days notice before the end of the year for staffing purposes. Budget will be placed on file May 24. View 2011-12 Budget Additions and Reductions >>
One way to improve our funding will be to increase average daily attendance and continue to reduce the drop out rate. The State uses these calculations, not just enrollment numbers.
- The board approved an overnight field trip request for Edison students to attend the Lego League State competition in Ames, Iowa, January 14-15, 2011.
- The board approved the revisions to Board Policies 2:220, 2:230, 2:260, 4:10, 4:170, 5:10, 5:30, 5:90, 5:120, 5:220, 5:260, 6:300, 7:50, 7:100 and 7:310.