Teacher Advisory Committee to the Superintendent
Meeting Summary Notes: November 6, 2017
Meeting Summary Notes are intended to serve as the superintendent’s reflection on the discussions that occur during advisory committee meetings. They are not intended to be exhaustive. Instead, they are intended to serve as a general record for our on-going efforts to assess our needs, determine our goals, map out our strategies, and evaluate our policies, procedures and programs. Participants should contact the superintendent if they observe any critical oversight or misinterpretation in these notes.
Participants present: Jackie Almarode (AHS), Tommy Crawford (MVES), Jeanne Smith (CES), Cindy Fox (CMS), Tonya Jones (CMS), Rebecca Johnson (SES), Lorie Bess (Administrative Asst.), Mary Jane Mutispaugh (Director of Instruction), Jan Hobbs (Director of Assessment and Accountability), and Eugene Kotulka (Superintendent)
1. A participant stated parent/teacher conferences should be over by 6:00 p.m. because 7:00 p.m. is too late on a school night. Mr. Kotulka replied the times are designed to accommodate working parents.
2. A participant stated it would be helpful to have half days at the end of the six weeks as work days, instead of designated workshops. For example: School staff had a 2 hour workshop instead of a workday. Ms. Mutispaugh replied the second one was not a designated workday. The principals designated what to do on that day, she noted. Mr. Kotulka added as a reminder that bank days are for instruction, they aren’t “free days.”
3. A participant asked why MVES has not been renovated with a security door like Callaghan School has, especially with the YMCA program in the building. Mr. Kotulka replied the tentative plan is to extend the glass across the hallway and this is part of the capital plan. He stated we wanted to see how efficiently it worked at Callaghan first. He assured everyone that safety is our top priority.
4. A participant asked if students could be released at the same time (12:00) on early release/teacher workdays so teachers have more than 1 ˝ hours to work on grades. Ms. Mutispaugh replied they cannot be released at the same times because of shared buses and also because of lunch times.
5. Several participants stated the American Education Week lunch was much appreciated.
6. A participant asked why sick days have to be approved. Mr. Kotulka replied sick days are supposed to be used for sickness. He stated he and Mr. Vaughan are looking at a rewards program to allow employees to use these days for lifetime events if the employee has a lot of sick days built up and are in good standing. He said examples of a lifetime event may be a child’s graduation, child’s wedding, or a retirement but these details would have to be worked out and a policy created.
7. A participant asked if mental health issues are considered for sick days. Mr. Kotulka replied they are not.
8. A participant asked if Thanksgiving and Christmas breaks could be extended using bank days, since they haven’t been used for inclement weather. To make Thanksgiving an all week break would only require using 2 of the 7 bank days and many students are out all week anyway for family trips or hunting, and also would be a good morale booster for teachers. Mr. Kotulka replied bank days are part of the calendar and we are still required to have 90 days per semester, so if we gave 2 more days at Thanksgiving or Christmas, we would have to start school 2 days earlier in August. He reminded participants bank days are not just for inclement weather and they have been used in the past for days there was no heat or water in a building. He also noted losing a week is a lot for students.
9. A participant reported the high school is cold and students are walking around with blankets wrapped around them. It was reported that the gym was 67 degrees that day. Mr. Kotulka replied he would discuss this with Mr. Truett and encouraged everyone to do a work order when they need help.
10. A participant reported issues with the Wi-Fi at the high school. Mr. Kotulka encouraged everyone to contact the technology department with such issues.
11. A participant stated some teachers at the high school are still not convinced that project-based learning will work for us. Some teachers were told on their last visit to another New Tech school that they used their own money to purchase instructional supplies. Mr. Kotulka assured everyone the school division will pay for all instructional supplies; however, if a teacher chooses to provide a meal for students, or a special treat, that is their choice and it would be at their own expense. This is what occurred at the New Tech school visit, the teacher supplied meals and snacks for the students at her expense.
12. A participant stated she needs chairs for her room. Mr. Kotulka replied she should email him or Mr. Truett to get some chairs.
13. Ms. Mutispaugh stated there is a link on the division webpage to access Power School but we recently received information of hackers trying to obtain student info from this link. She asked everyone to survey their schools to see if anyone uses this link or ask if it can be removed.
Follow up results:
CMS – remove the link
CES – 3 people expressed concern about having access to their gradebook at home, that this is how they work on Power School from home is through the division website. Some also voiced concerns that the Chromebook is not compatible with Power School.
MVES – remove the link
SES – Three people said they access PowerSchool at times, through the school website. The majority of responses indicated they access it through other means.
14. Mr. Kotulka presented a copy of the Profile of a Virginia Graduate. He explained there are 16 “career clusters”, which lend the possibility of employment right after graduation. He stated he hopes to have 10-15 students in the internship program during 2nd semester. The 16 career clusters include:
· Agriculture, Food & Natural Resources
· Architecture & Construction
· Arts, A/V Technology & Communications
· Business Management & Administration
· Education & Training
· Government & Public Administration
· Health Science
· Hospitality & Tourism
· Human Services
· Information Technology
· Law, Public Safety, Corrections & Security
· Science, Technology, Engineering & Mathematics
· Transportation, Distribution & Logistics
15. Mr. Kotulka discussed the budget. He noted there are many variables this year and we should get our revenue sheets over the holidays. He stated the local composite index is being reconsidered, which affects funding.
16. Mr. Kotulka encouraged everyone to exercise their right to vote on Election Day.
The meeting ended at 5:15 p.m. NEXT MEETING: February 7, 4:00 p.m.