The Board of Directors of the Little Rock School District held its regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 20, 2003, in the Boardroom of the Administration Building, 810 West Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas. President Tony Rose presided.
Morris L. Holmes, Interim Superintendent
Beverly Griffin, Recorder of Minutes
I. CALL TO ORDER / ROLL CALL
Mr. Rose called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. All members of the Board were present at roll call. In addition, Tara Gurley, teacher ex-officio representative from Stephens Elementary School was also present. The student representative, Dewon Jones from J. A. Fair High School, did not attend.
II. PROCEDURAL MATTERS / WELCOMING COMMENTS
Mr. Rose welcomed the audience and asked Danny Fletcher, Director of Fine Arts, to introduce the student performers for tonight’s meeting. The Rockefeller Show Choir, directed by Sandra Young, performed two selections: America and We Don’t Wanna Grow Up.
III. REPORTS/RECOGNITIONS/PUBLIC COMMENTS
The single citation was presented to the teacher ex-officio representative to the Board, Tara Gurley, from Stephens Elementary School.
Dr. Holmes announced that Yang Dai, student at Central High School, had achieved a perfect score of 1600 on the SAT college entrance exam. Only 900 students across the nation made a perfect score on this year’s test. Yang also scored a perfect 36 on the ACT exam that was taken last school term. She will be invited to a future board meeting to receive further recognition.
B. Partners in Education
Debbie Milam thanked all the volunteer readers who participated in this year’s VIPS reading day.
She then announced the new partnerships and introduced representatives from the schools and businesses, as listed below. Dr. Mitchell made a motion to accept the new partnerships, Mr. Berkley seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Mann Magnet Middle School, represented by Jim Fullerton & Becky Webb , in partnership with Colaianni Piano & Organ Company, represented by Gil & Terri Colaianni
Metropolitan Career & Technical Center,
represented by Mike Peterson, in
Maverick Transportation, represented by Sam Carr & Mike Jeffress
C. Remarks from Citizens
Beverly Lyn-Cook introduced herself as the president of the Hall High School PTA. She asked the Board to investigate and review several areas of concern. She stated that too many students are transferred into Hall High out of the attendance zone for reasons other than academics. She feels that it would “even the playing field” if students were assigned to Hall from the attendance zone and for entrance into the programs offered at Hall, such as the University Studies program. She perceives a lack of recognition for the students and faculty at Hall, stating that only two high schools in the LRSD are perceived as having successful academic programs. In addition to the University Studies program, she named the CISCO Academy and the successful math and science, fine arts and music course offerings at Hall.
Jody Carreiro, parent of students at Dunbar Magnet Middle School and Central High School, spoke in support of the proposed student assignment plan which includes race, free & reduced lunch or socio-economic factors, and test scores or achievement factors. He stated concerns about eliminating race as a factor in assignment to the magnet school programs, and stated his support for making sure all students within the boundaries of the LRSD are given an opportunity to be assigned to a magnet or specialty program offered by the magnet school program. He stated that the magnet schools are good for recruiting students and faculty members to our District, but, more importantly, serve to prepare students for success in the future.
Rhonda McTyre, parent of a Franklin Elementary School student, stated concerns about the lack of textbooks and workbooks at the elementary school level. She feels that parents are at a disadvantage when the core subject areas do not utilize a textbook for instruction. She feels that textbooks and workbooks allow parents an opportunity to review lessons and help their children with homework assignments.
Katherine Knight announced that the day before the meeting was National Educational Support Professionals Day. The CTA hosted a program to recognize the importance of para-professionals, security personnel, cafeteria workers, school secretaries and other support staff. She noted the recent Arkansas Times recognition of Carolyn Foreman, a music professional at Parkview Magnet High School.
Ms. Knight also noted that the National Board certified teachers would be announced to the public next week. These individuals work hard to achieve national certification and should be congratulated for their hard work and dedication to their profession.
She reported that the committee was still working to finalize an agreement on the attendance component of the PTAS, and it was hoped a report would be ready to present for the Board’s review next month.
Ms. Knight noted that an informal partnership has always existed between the CTA and the schools to improve school performance. She noted that the CTA has an impact and individual teachers can make a difference to improve the perception that our students are not achieving academically. She suggested formalizing this partnership and following that by holding public conversations about NCLB in churches, civic meetings, clubs, sororities and fraternities to get the word out that we do have successful students and successful schools.
E. Joshua Intervenors
IV. REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
Mr. Kurrus thanked Ms. Knight for her comments and thanked the District’s support personnel for all they to do make our schools successful. He then congratulated all five of the District’s high school football teams, and announced that Central and McClellan were still in the running for statewide championships. Central was scheduled to play Springdale the following Friday night.
Mr. Kurrus announced that he had spoken before the Arkansas Department of Education regarding the LISA Charter School proposal. He stated that this type of school would do harm to us by duplicating programs already offered in the LRSD and would draw the most successful students in our District. He noted that the recent newspaper advertisements were misleading and that the graph was an inaccurate representation of the text.
Mr. Day reported that he had read at Franklin Elementary School and he thanked the students and staff for making his visit very enjoyable. He also thanked the VIPS staff for coordinating this effort.
Dr. Daugherty congratulated Dr. Watson on the publication of her book, and reported that he had attended the recent book signing.
Mr. Berkley discussed the District’s interest and investigation into the “value-added” accountability system. This process would provide more meaningful information and data on student growth and achievement and a better measure of student classroom performance and success.
Ms. Strickland reported that she had read to a Pre-K class and a kindergarten class at Otter Creek on the VIPS reading day. She found the students happy and eager to hear the story she read.
Dr. Mitchell applauded Debbie Milam and the VIPS office staff for coordinating VIPS reading day, but reminded the audience that parents and other community members are welcome to go to a school to read any time during the school year. She invited patrons to make reading a part of their weekly schedule.
Dr. Mitchell also thanked Katherine Knight for her statement regarding forming partnerships between the union and individual schools. She noted that experienced teachers and principals can help those who need assistance in improving student performance and overall classroom experiences. She stated that Dr. Lloyd Sain had made an excellent presentation to a church / community group, relating NCLB challenges to parents and citizens who are in a position to ensure we do all we can to meet the needs of our children.
Mr. Rose acknowledged the educational support staff as invaluable to the day to day operation of the District and he thanked Ms. Knight for calling that to the Board’s attention. He noted that our districtwide Strategic Plan emphasizes the importance of the process of National Board certification of teachers. He encouraged those who have gone through the process to continue to aim for success and to encourage their fellow educators to do the same.
Mr. Rose thanked Mr. Kurrus for his remarks on the LISA Academy, and for making an effective presentation to the Arkansas Board of Education. In addition he stated that NCLB is an assault on public education, that it has shaken the confidence of the public and has had a detrimental effect on the morale of educators.
He closed by wishing a happy Thanksgiving holiday to all the students, parents, employees and patrons of the District.
Mr. Babbs reported that the Board was provided a copy of the NCLB timeline and official enrollment counts in their most recent weekly update.
Dr. Stewart reported that he had been attending school finance committee meetings at the State Capitol, noting that these committees were preparing recommendations for the probability of a legislative session before the end of the year. He noted that most of the decisions made were regarding how to spend the least amount of money, and he doesn’t feel that a consensus will be reached before the end of the year, even if the legislature meets.
Mr. Goodman reviewed the report printed in the Board’s agenda, noting that 75% of the budgeted amount had been allocated and 75% of the on-going construction projects were complete or in process.
It is expected that Mann and Mabelvale Middle Schools will be complete and students will return after the winter break to new and complete facilities. In addition, the plans for renovation of Mitchell school are expected by the end of the month, with construction beginning soon after.
Sandy Becker was present and his report was part of the Board’s agenda. In addition, he reported that Sharefest had been a success and that a detailed report of projects would be available on the LRSD website. Local churches partnered with six schools, Bale, Otter Creek, Romine, Henderson, Southwest and Mabelvale to enhance the grounds or classrooms. The Sharefest volunteers are highly skilled, professional workers and will be recognized at a future meeting.
Lucy Neal reported that we had been notified that e-rate funding in the amount of $1.2 million had been granted and should be received in the near future. This is a reimbursement of a portion of the costs of the wide area network and the telephone system upgrades.
She reported that construction at the tech center was continuing and should be complete within a few months. In addition, 131 teachers from all grade levels had enrolled in an on-line staff development course that provides integration between technology and the curriculum. All teachers who applied were able to take the courses.
Minutes from the regular meeting of the Board of Directors held on October 23, 2003, and from a special meeting held on November 6, 2003, were presented for review and approval. Mr. Berkley made a motion to approve the minutes as presented; Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
B. Personnel Changes
The routine personnel changes were printed in the Board’s agenda. Dr. Holmes recommended Board approval. Mr. Berkley made the motion to approve and Dr. Daugherty seconded. The motion carried unanimously.
C. Attendance Report
Beverly Williams provided a written summary report of absenteeism by school as requested by the Board. The report provided a two-year summary of teacher absences including sick time, personal leave, and professional leave.
There was also a report showing the number of teachers who had accumulated sick time, varying from 0-5 up to 175+ days, and a report showing the number of substitute teachers called to duty for the first 74 days in this school term.
The Board took a brief recess and returned at 7:00 p.m.
First Reading – Policy Revisions:
ACBB – Equitable Student Assignment, JC – School Attendance Zones, and JCA – School Choice
Board policies ACBB – Equitable Student Assignment, JC – School Attendance Zones, and JCA – Student Assignment / School Choice were placed on the agenda for first reading approval. At the October 23 meeting and at the November 6 special meeting, these policies had been placed for action, but were tabled for further review and public input. Mr. Berkley moved to approve these policies on first reading. Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
B. Student Assignment Plan
Mr. Babbs provided a summary report of the recommendations developed by the compliance committee in conjunction with developing a student assignment plan for the 2004-05 school year. Attorney Heller provided legal counsel and advice and was present at the agenda meeting to respond to questions from the Board.
Mr. Day made a motion to approve Plan A, and Mr. Berkley seconded the motion. In discussing the options, Mr. Day stated that the administration’s Plan A recommendation promotes diversity and complies with the law. He asked the Board to support his motion.
Mr. Berkley and Mr. Rose spoke in favor of Plan A, stating that this choice would be the closest option to the current assignment process and would be easier for the community to accept. Race would be included as one factor in school choice assignments and would continue to provide a method to achieve diversity in our school assignment process.
Dr. Daugherty spoke in opposition to the motion and stated that poor children, Black and White, would have a difficult time getting a seat in a magnet school unless they lived in the shadow zone of the school. Dr. Mitchell also opposed the motion to approve Plan A, and suggested the administration develop another way to assign students without using race as an indicator.
Mr. Kurrus stated that he would be voting in support of Plan B and is in favor of promoting racial diversity and continuing the LRSD’s tradition of providing a viable, adequate and equitable system of education.
The Board requested a roll call vote and Mr. Day’s motion failed 3-4, with Day, Berkley and Rose voting in favor of the motion and Kurrus, Daugherty, Mitchell and Strickland casting “no” votes.
Mr. Kurrus then placed a motion on the floor to approve Plan B. The motion died for lack of a second. Mr. Rose stated his interpretation of the failure to approve either of the plans as a directive to the administration to continue with the current student assignment plan.
VII. SCHOOL SERVICES
A. Security Plan for Central Office
Ms. Mitchell and Bobby Jones presented recommendations developed through consultations with the Little Rock Police Department Crime Prevention Office and the District’s Safety & Security Department. Eleven safety measures were proposed which would enhance and improve the safety and security of the employees who work at the 810 West Markham Street office. The report was printed in the Board’s agenda. The Board was asked to approve the plan and then authorize the allocation of funds to implement the recommendations.
Dr. Mitchell made a motion to approve the recommended plan and the expenditure of approximately $35,000 to implement the recommendations. Mr. Berkley seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
VIII. CURRICULUM & INSTRUCTION
A. Waiver for Students Taking AP Exams
Central High School student Tyler Fuller brought a proposal before the Board in October that would allow students the option of taking the AP exams in lieu of second semester tests in AP courses they are enrolled in. High school principals, curriculum and instruction staff, and AP teachers provided input and a proposal was developed for the Board’s approval.
The objective of the proposal is to encourage more students to take AP courses and to provide incentives to AP students to maintain their grade point averages and good attendance. Mr. Glasgow presented the recommendations and responded to questions from the Board. The full proposal was printed in the agenda. The student, Tyler Fuller, was present and was applauded for his efforts to improve the academic environment for his fellow students. Mr. Kurrus moved to approve the proposal. Mr. Day seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
B. Program Evaluations for Elementary and Secondary Literacy
Dennis Glasgow presented the proposed evaluations for elementary and secondary literacy programs. The program evaluations are intended to improve the educational opportunities for all students by evaluating specified programs each year to determine their impact on achievement. The revised Desegregation and Education Plan requires submission of the program evaluations to the District Court for review and approval. Programs will be maintained, adjusted or eliminated based on the recommendations provided by the long-term evaluation process.
Mr. Berkley moved to approve the submission. Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
C. Program Evaluation Agenda, 2003-04
Mr. Glasgow recommended Board approval of the continued program evaluations for Elementary Literacy, Secondary Literacy, Mathematics and Science programs in K – 12, and new evaluations of the Reading First Project in grades K-3. The intent of evaluation is to improve the educational programs and processes for all students by evaluating the impact on individual student achievement. Mr. Berkley moved to approve the recommendation as presented; Dr. Mitchell seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
D. Proposed Changes in Middle and High School Curriculum
The Board was provided with a summary of all proposed course changes in middle and high school curriculum offerings. Presentation of these recommendations complies with Board policy IG, Curriculum Development, Adoption and Review. Mr. Glasgow was present to respond to questions from the Board. Dr. Mitchell moved to approve the recommendations. Ms. Strickland seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
IX. BUSINESS SERVICES
Act 671 of 2003, amended Arkansas Code 6-13-618, requires signatures of the Superintendent and one Board member, president or vice president, on all checks issued by the District. Policy DGA formalizes compliance with this state legislation. The policy was given first reading approval at the October board meeting and the administration requested second reading approval at this time. Mr. Kurrus made a motion to approve, Dr. Mitchell seconded, and the motion carried 7-0.
The Board was asked to approve the acceptance of recent donations to schools and Departments within the District. The donations are listed in the following chart. Dr. Mitchell read the donations listed. Ms. Strickland made a motion to accept the donated items, Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Central High School
$250.00 cash donation to the completion of the reflecting pool
1991 Yamaha golf cart valued at $2,000.00
Merry Golds Garden Club Members
Forest Heights Middle School
56 American flags, valued at $83.44 to be used in classrooms
Kelvinator water fountain, valued at $100.00
Mardell’s Christian Family Bookstore
Fulbright Elementary School
$3,000 cash to be used for student incentives, instructional materials, and technology supplies
Initial brand DVD player, valued at $58.00 for use in 4th grade classroom
Sony brand CD/cassette/radio, valued at $60.00 for use in 4th grade classroom
Fulbright Elementary PTA
David & Judy Nelson
Jerry and Sue Mauldin
Geyer Springs Elementary School
$75.00 cash to purchase magazine subscription to promote writing as a means of learning to read
Southwest Writers Group
The monthly financial summary reports were provided to the Board as part of the printed agenda. Mr. Milhollen was present to review the reports and respond to questions. Mr. Berkley moved to approve the reports as submitted, and Mr. Day seconded the motion. It carried 7-0.
X. CLOSING REMARKS
Dr. Holmes reported to the Board his support for District employees who participated today in the Great American Smoke-out. A summary report provided by employees of the Pupil Services Division of the LRSD reflected that 25% of the adult population in Arkansas are regular smokers, and Arkansas spends more than $600 million per year in health care costs for smoking related illnesses. In last year’s survey, 36% of Arkansas youth admitted to smoking cigarettes. Students in the LRSD participate in partnerships with community groups who provide prevention strategies and intervention programs and state funding has been provided through tobacco settlement legislation.
The superintendent also reported that he had spoken this morning to 350 high school students from across central Arkansas who participate in the Teachers of Tomorrow program. The program was held at the University of Central Arkansas and provides interested students with assistance and guidance into the teaching profession.
Dr. Mitchell announced a program that will be held the first weekend in December, sponsored by the Greater Little Rock Citizen Leadership Group and the Foundation for the Mid South. The conference will provide information to young people and parents, and will be held at St. Mark Baptist Church.
There being no further business, Dr. Daugherty
moved to adjourn at 8:30 p.m.
Ms. Strickland seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
APPROVED: _ 12-18-03 __ Originals Signed by:
Tony Rose, President
R. Micheal Daugherty, Secretary