Teacher Advisory Committee to the Superintendent
Meeting Summary Notes: April 23, 2018
Meeting Summary Notes are intended to serve as the superintendentís 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: Tommy Crawford (MVES), Jeanne Smith (CES), Tonya Jones (CMS), Melissa Nicely (SES), Rebecca Johnson (SES), Lorie Bess (Admin. Asst.), Mary Jane Mutispaugh (Director of Instruction), Jan Hobbs (Director of Assessment and Accountability), and Eugene Kotulka (Superintendent)
1. Mr. Kotulka reported there is no budget news from the General Assembly at this time.
2. Mr. Kotulka discussed Responsive Classroom and noted the program is in its 4th year and has shown positive results.† He noted there is more interaction between the students and teachers.
3. Mr. Kotulka discussed the New Tech program noting it is more than project-based learning, it is a change in culture.† He noted SOLs are still incorporated in the program, which begins with 9th and 10th graders.
4. Mr. Kotulka stated Chromebooks would be available for grades 1-4 this fall but they will not be taken home with students.† He noted funds to purchase Chromebooks are not part of the operating budget but come from textbook funds and VPSA funds.
5. Mr. Kotulka discussed school safety.† He noted he recently met with parents and realized they were not fully aware of our current safety plans.† He noted all schools would be going through a school safety audit the next week to ensure all doors are locked and everyone is wearing their ID badge.† He emphasized the best defense is a locked door.† He reported entrances all schools will be renovated so that anyone coming in will go straight to the office.†
6. Mr. Kotulka addressed comments that he does not support raises for teachers.† He explained he and the School Board supports raises for employees, however, it has to go to the General Assembly.† He noted our local government supports more than is required.† He encouraged everyone to contact Senator Creigh Deeds and Delegate Terry Austin to let them know how teachers are struggling payday to payday, and to give real life examples of how little their salaries have increased over the last ten years.
††††††††††††††††††††††† Senator R. Creigh Deeds
††††††††††††††††††††††† P.O. Drawer D
††††††††††††††††††††††† Hot Springs, VA 24445
††††††††††††††††††††††† P: 434-296-5491
††††††††††††††††††††††† Fax: 540-839-6306
††††††††††††††††††††††† Delegate Terry L. Austin
††††††††††††††††††††††† P.O. Box 400
††††††††††††††††††††††† Buchanan, VA 24066
††††††††††††††††††††††† P: 540-254-1500
7. A participant expressed concern that our school division gets negative feedback on individualsí Facebook pages and asked if more could be done to focus on the positive things our schools are doing on the division Facebook page.† Mr. Kotulka replied we do not have a staff member designated specifically to monitor our division Facebook page.† He explained Ms. Mutispaugh posts pictures and notices as often as possible and will continue to post positive things going on in our schools.†
8. A participant asked if we could go move to a 10-point grading scale because other divisions use it, which puts our students at a disadvantage when comparing GPAs.† Further, even though students are making the same numerical grade in other school districts, the letter grade isnít the same, and our student will have a lower GPA.† Mr. Kotulka replied he would bring a group together to discuss this.†
9. A participant asked if a 9-week grading period is possible.† Mr. Kotulka replied with 9-week grading periods, teachers have to do mid-terms and he isnít sure if they want to do that.† He asked participants to poll their fellow teachers to get some feedback on this and report back to him.†
10. A participant asked which funds are being used for the New Tech program and why is it a total school program instead of a school within a school, as originally discussed.† Mr. Kotulka replied the New Tech program was originally selected by the high school teachers.† It is a total school program because it was decided that what is good for some students, is good for all students.† He explained the funding is a one-time deal and is not part of the general operating budget.† The Board of Supervisors is funding $250,000 toward the program, he noted.† He encouraged everyone to talk to teachers who have visited New Tech schools.†
11. A participant asked why teachers are being required to grade all work for students in Turning Point when those teachers should be responsible for their own instruction.† Ms. Hobbs replied those students are in the program because of discipline reasons and it is often too late to place them in Plato.† Turning Point currently has students in grades 6-12 and if they can be placed in an online program, they will be, but not all can.
12. A participant asked why guidance counselors are not able to give SOL tests.† Ms. Hobbs replied because at any given moment a counselor may have to deal with a crisis, which would have to be dealt with immediately, and not after testing is complete.
13. A participant asked if everyone is held to the 24-hour response time, including administrators and central office staff.††† Mr. Kotulka replied it is his expectation that all staff respond within 24 hours and if this is not happening, to let him know.†
14. A participant asked if a teacher in the school system applies for a position and has the teaching licenses to go into that position, why do we hire outside of the system and shouldnít current staff be given first option?† Mr. Kotulka replied the criteria of a position is looked at and the principal has the final determination of who is hired.† He explained just because a person has the required license, that doesnít mean they meet the criteria.†
15. A participant asked if anything had been decided about the sick leave days being converted to personal days.† Mr. Kotulka replied Policy GCBD-RA allows 10- and 11- month full-time employees to convert two sick leave days to personal leave days if they have been employed by the ACPS for 10 years and have a balance of 50% earned sick leave.† This policy was approved in February 2018.†
16. A participant asked what would happen if a parent does not want their child to participate in the New Tech program. Mr. Kotulka explained New Tech is a full school immersion program.† It isnít an elective or a chosen class, all students will participate.†
17. A participant asked why employees canít be given something when they do not take the insurance through the school system because when additional money is given to help with the cost of insurance, it is not helping all employees.† Mr. Kotulka explained the School Board discusses this each year and have consistently elected to help with health insurance costs.†††
18. A participant stated everyone is very happy with the fence at Sharon school, especially with the sports starting up.† Another participant stated it was a great year at Callaghan school.
The meeting ended at 5:05 p.m.
NEXT MEETING:† This was the last meeting of this year.† Meetings will resume again in September 2018.††