November 21, 2002
The Board of Directors of the Little Rock School District held its regularly scheduled meeting at 5:30 p.m. on Thursday, November 21, 2002, in the Boardroom of the Administration Building, 810 West Markham Street, Little Rock, Arkansas. President Judy Magness presided.
T. Kenneth James, Superintendent of Schools
Beverly Griffin, Recorder of Minutes
I. CALL TO ORDER / ROLL CALL
President Judy Magness called the meeting to order at 5:30 p.m. Six members of the Board were present at roll call; Mr. Kurrus was absent. Vicki Gonterman, teacher representative from Gibbs Magnet Elementary School, and Gierre Godley, student from Parkview Magnet High School, served as ex officio representatives for the month of November.
II. PROCEDURAL MATTERS / WELCOMING COMMENTS
Ms. Magness welcomed the audience and introduced Barbara Strickland choir director from Williams Magnet Elementary School. The students were preparing for their Shakespeare festival and performed several numbers from that production, dressed in elaborate period costumes.
Ms. Magness invited Gierre Godley to announce the upcoming production of When We Were Young and Gay, to be held this weekend at Parkview Magnet High School.
III. REPORTS/RECOGNITIONS/PUBLIC COMMENTS
Dr. James introduced Katherine Wright Knight and announced her recent selection as the Arkansas Teacher of the Year for 2003. She received an award in the amount of $15,000 at a ceremony at the State Capitol. In addition, Ms. Knight was selected to receive the Horace Mann – NEA Foundation Award for Teaching Excellence. This honor carries a cash award in the amount of $10,000. As a recipient of the Horace Mann – NEA Award, as one of five national finalists, Ms. Knight will travel to Washington, D.C. for the national awards ceremony on December 12.
School Nurse of the Year awards were presented prior to the Board meeting at a reception held in their honor. Victoria Barney, nurse at Otter Creek Elementary School, and Beverly Heron, nurse at Parkview Magnet High School shared the Nurse of the Year Honor. The new school nurse award went to Beth Lentz of Carver Magnet Elementary School.
Jill Johnson, 4th grade teacher at Gibbs Magnet Elementary School, was presented with a citation in recognition of extraordinary dedication to her students and their parents. She fell while at school on a recent parent conference day, breaking her leg. She was rushed to the hospital, had her leg casted, and then returned to school that same day to continue her schedule of parent conferences.
Gloria Wilson was congratulated on her recent retirement. Ms. Wilson taught at Forest Park Elementary School for 31 years, and in another district previously for 12 years, for a grand total of 43 years in the teaching profession. Ms. Wilson could not be present due to illness, but her plaque will be delivered.
The November ex-officio representatives to the Board were recognized with a certificate of appreciation, Vicki Gonterman, teacher at Gibbs Magnet Elementary School, and Gierre Godley, student at Parkview Magnet High School.
B. Partners in Education – New Partnerships
Ms. Milam reported that 682 readers volunteered to read in our elementary schools on November 19. The VIPS reading day has become a very popular activity, and several readers have volunteered to come back and read to students on a regular basis.
In addition, Ms. Milam presented certificates in recognition of a new business / school partnership as noted below. Ms. Strickland made a motion to accept the new partnership, Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
The new partnership was:
Forest Heights Middle School, represented by Eloise Hudson, M. E. Sneed and Vincent Dodson, in partnership with Corky’s Barbeque, represented by Karla Hilburn
C. Remarks from Citizens
Frank Martin briefly updated the Board on progress of the attendance review committee. He was pleased that progress was being made in establishing this group. In addition, he said that a committee was meeting to develop a process and an instrument for the evaluation of coaching staff.
E. Joshua Intervenors
IV. REPORTS AND COMMUNICATIONS
Dr. Mitchell reported that she had read to fifth grade students at Rightsell Academy on VIPS reading day, and that she had met the new media specialist at Rightsell.
Ms. Strickland stated that she enjoyed reading to the first graders at Otter Creek Elementary School. Mr. Rose read at Meadowcliff to second, fourth and fifth graders.
Ms. Magness thanked Ms. Milam and her staff for coordinating the reading day activities. She read to kindergarten students at Gibbs Magnet School.
Mr. Babbs reported that an appeal of the judge’s ruling in the desegregation case had been filed and that our attorneys estimate it will take from six to eight months for the final determinations to be made. In addition, he reported that “choice plans” were being developed as required by the No Child Left Behind legislation, and that letters explaining transfer options would be sent to families within the next few weeks.
Dr. Stewart reviewed recent reports of problems within the State teacher retirement system, noting that these problems may eventually impact the District’s budget. He stated that the final calculations of state and local taxes were expected in December and that a final tax revenue report would be presented to the Board at the December meeting.
Mr. Goodman prepared a report which was included in the printed agenda. As highlights, he reported that construction at Mann Magnet School began on Monday and that the official groundbreaking would take place sometime during the next few weeks. The bidding process has begun for renovations to the interior of Central High School. The actual work on Central will take place over a long period of time, in phases, so as to be as unobtrusive as possible to the learning environment. The media center at Terry Elementary is complete.
Mr. Becker was present and reported that his monthly update was printed in the Board agenda. In addition, he announced that Sharefest would be held this Saturday, with thirteen of the District’s elementary and middle schools participating.
Ms. Neal’s report was printed in the agenda. She reported that the District’s e-mail changeover would be effective December 2, 2002, with e-mail addresses configured as firstname.lastname.lrsd.org. In addition, she reported development of the plans for installing computers in each classroom at the promised 5:1 ratio. This schedule is expected to be complete after the first of the year. Mr. Berkley expressed a desire to see the implementation of a schedule to keep our technology up-to-date.
Dr. Hurley prepared a written report of this year’s donations to the United Way. He introduced John Nazarro and Melissa Simpson from the local United Way office, who presented plaques to school-based and administrative level coordinators for their achievement in increasing contributions. Nearly $58,000 was raised by LRSD employees.
Minutes from the regular meeting of the Board of Directors held on October 24, 2002 were presented for review and approval. Mr. Rose made a motion to approve the minutes as presented; Ms. Strickland seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
B. Personnel Changes
Routine personnel items were printed in the agenda and were submitted for the Board’s review and approval. Mr. Berkley made a motion to approve the personnel items as presented; Ms. Strickland seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
Dr. Lesley presented a complete copy of all proposed changes to middle school courses as required by Policy IG, Curriculum Development, Adoption and Review. She reviewed the most significant changes, and responded to questions from the Board. Mr. Rose made a motion to approve the course changes as submitted. Ms. Strickland seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
A complete copy of all proposed changes to the high school curriculum was provided for the Board’s review. Dr. Lesley explained some of the more significant changes and highlighted those items which were being deleted from the magnet course offerings at McClellan. She responded to questions from the Board regarding credit requirements, and the number of electives a student could choose over the course of their four-year high school program. Ms. Strickland made a motion to approve the revisions as presented; Mr. Berkley seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Policy IKF, General Graduation Requirements was presented for the Board’s first reading review and approval at the October 24 meeting. Dr. Lesley presented the policy for second reading and final approval. Mr. Rose made a motion to approve the policy on second reading; Mr. Berkley seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
Dr. Lesley presented a report of all grant proposals prepared and submitted by Linda Austin since she was named Director of Planning and Development. Ms. Austin and her assistant, Blondell Wilson, coordinate strategic planning, policy development and dissemination, grants writing and coordination of grants submitted by individuals within the schools and departments. The report indicates that over $19.5 million has been generated over a three-year period by receipt of grants coordinated and / or submitted by Ms. Austin. She was commended for her hard work and dedication.
Dr. Lesley presented a report of the District’s Advanced Placement program implementation over the course of the past three years. She reviewed the highlights of the detailed summary, and provided copies of the slides for the Board’s review. The full report was printed in the Board’s agenda.
The Southwest Education Development Lab (SEDL) formed a two-year research partnership with Southwest Middle School during the 1998-99 and 1999-2000 school years. The project, entitled Facilitating Implementation of Reform Strategies and Tactics (FIRST), involved five schools in a five-state region and focused on areas for improvement in literacy and mathematics achievement, student attendance, health, wellness, and safety. The reports were presented to SEDL at the conclusion of their project, and copies had been previously provided for the Board’s review, but no official action had been taken to approve the reports. Dr. Lesley asked the Board to approve the reports as presented. Mr. Rose moved to approve the reports as submitted. Mr. Berkley seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
The Collaborative Action Team Project began in 1996 with assistance of the Southwest Education Development Lab (SEDL). The LRSD was selected to participate as part of the study of “urban” districts, and was included in the final SEDL report in the fall of 1999. Dr. Ed Williams, the District’s statistician, and Debbie Milam, Director of the VIPS program, provided data to SEDL, which was included in the final evaluation of the program.
The Board was provided copies of the report at that time, but no official action was taken to approve or accept the report. Dr. Lesley provided a brief overview of the report and a summary of the pertinent data for the LRSD. She requested that the Board accept and approve the CAT Report as the program evaluation of the project. Ms. Strickland made a motion to accept the report as submitted. Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it carried 6-0.
The recently adopted LRSD Compliance Plan requires the Board to approve program evaluations that were conducted and submitted to the Board, but not officially adopted by the Board. Two of these evaluations were for the English-as-a-Second Language program for 1999-2000 and 2000-20001. Copies of the report were provided in the fall of each of these years, and were presented to the Board by staff members who participated in the evaluations: Ed Williams, Karen Broadnax, Ken Savage, Eddie McCoy, and Bonnie Lesley. In addition, Mark Vasquez, of the Office of Civil Rights also participated in the writing and presentation of the reports. The Board was asked to formally adopt these two reports at this time. Mr. Berkley made a motion to approve these reports as submitted. Mr. Rose seconded the motion and it passed unanimously.
A. Post-Unitary Transition
Mr. Babbs presented the District’s Plan for post-unitary transition. The Plan was printed in the Board’s agenda; Mr. Babbs reviewed significant points and responded to the Board’s questions. The federal district court granted the LRSD partial unitary status on September 13, 2002, finding substantial compliance in all areas with the exception of program assessment. The Post-Unitary Transition Plan outlines a process for ensuring that all student assignments are made in a manner that ensures compliance and equity in the decision-making process. Mr. Berkley moved to approve the Plan as presented; Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
A. Donations of Property
The Board was asked to approve acceptance of recent donations to the District. Gierre Godley, the student ex-officio representative, read the listed donations. Mr. Rose made a motion to accept the donations as listed; Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously. Donations are listed in the following chart:
Central High School
Maytag refrigerator, valued at approximately $500.00
Forest Heights Middle School
Food, valued at $1,987. to the PTA for a tailgate party. Proceeds to be used to purchase a school marquee
Two $25.00 gift certificates to be used for teacher incentives
Oak Forest Cleaners & Laundry
Pulaski Heights Elementary School
Services of two art teachers for the 2002-03 school year. Value of this donation is $15,000.
Pulaski Heights Elementary PTA
Mr. Milhollen briefly reviewed the budget reports provided in the agenda and reported that tax and revenue projections will be reported at the December meeting. Ms. Strickland moved to approve the reports as presented. Dr. Daugherty seconded the motion, and it carried unanimously.
IX. SCHOOL SERVICES DIVISION
No items for review / approval.
X. DISTRICT OPERATIONS
No items for review / approval.
XI. CLOSING REMARKS
Dr. James reported his attendance at the recent 2-day SREB Urban Leadership training, and noted that teachers and staff members who attended were also providing valuable and positive feedback. Another SREB planning session is scheduled for January.
He reported that the Circuit Court had affirmed Judge Kilgore’s ruling in the Lakeview case, with the exception of areas relating to early childhood and pre-K education. The up-coming legislative session will be very contentious and many hard decisions will have to be made in the area of educational reform.
Dr. James announced that a press conference was scheduled to formally announce the Public Education Foundation and several significant contributions. It will be held at the Greater Little Rock Chamber of Commerce on Monday, November 25.
The Superintendent, as well as representatives from Rockefeller and Stephens Elementary Schools, attended a TAP conference in Phoenix last weekend. They were given an opportunity to visit schools where TAP was being implemented.
Dr. James reported that he had submitted an appeal to the Arkansas Department of Education on the ten LRSD schools on the “improvement list.” He is awaiting a response from Director Simon.
He also reported on attendance at a meeting of the Little Rock Realtors Association and stressed the importance of linking with them in order to form partnerships with our schools. These individuals are in the most influential position to recruit new families into our city.
There being no further business before the Board, Mr. Rose moved to adjourn at 7:15 p.m. Mr. Berkley seconded the motion and it carried unanimously.
APPROVED: 12-19-02 Original documents signed by:
Judy Magness, President
Larry Berkley, Secretary