Superintendent’s Report February

BREWER SCHOOL COMMITTEE

Regular Meeting

6:00 PM, Monday, February 6, 2017

Brewer High School Lecture Hall

Superintendent’s Report

  1.  MSSA Legislative Committee – Position on Bills 128th Legislature-1st Session (enclosure)

Important takeaways:

  1. An Act to Strengthen Requirements for Water Testing for Schools – Brewer is currently testing the water through free testing sources provided by the state as a precautionary measure.
  2. An Act to Provide for Fairness in the Transfer of Students – This has to do with Superintendent’s agreements and superintendent’s continue to be concerned about the appeal process and the impacts this process has on our current student population.
  3. An Act to Improve Science and Engineering Education for Maine’s Students –This bill ensures that science and engineering standards are established.
  4. An Act to Amend the Laws Governing Teacher Certification – This is related to the updates provided to you two months ago. There are some concerns regarding additional costs and training district will need to provide teachers.
  5. An Act to Realign the State-Municipal Revenues Sharing Distribution – This bill proposes to realign the percentage of revenue from the sales and use taxes, 6 the service provider tax and the income taxes that is transferred monthly from the General Fund to the Local Government Fund under state-municipal revenue sharing.
  1.  Budget Overview with City

Gretchen and I met with Steve Bost and Karen Fussell to review our budget situation for the 17-18 school year.  We reviewed special education costs, teacher contract negotiations, salaries and insurance, state subsidy proposed reductions, and other expenditures impacting our budget.  This will be an unusually difficult year as many of our expenditures are items we cannot cut.  Increase enrollment is a good thing in some regards but we have seen an increase in 37% to our special education department which impacts our budget significantly.

  1. State Subsidy Concerns (MSSA Letter to Commissioner Hasson)

A letter was sent by the Executive Committee of the MSSA representing the Superintendents requesting we receive our ED 279 which will let us know our state subsidy.  With the governor’s proposed budget cuts and not having the ED 279, makes it incredibly difficult to prepare our budgets.  Some of the proposed cuts by the governor are:  no state subsidy for central office staff, no funding of MLTI, and increased coverage of our portion of Maine State Retirement.  We also do not know what the proposed EPS funding formula will be.  The state is also looking at a statewide teacher contract.

  1. 8th Grade Recruiting Visits/Step-Up Day/Parent Night

We have visited Hermon, Dedham, Orrington, Holbrook and All Saints.  There are 201 eighth-grade students in these schools and the visits went very well.  If we continue to receive similar percentages, we are looking at a large incoming 9th-grade class next year.  This also will impact our budget as current freshmen teachers teach one class off team and will most likely need to teach all freshmen classes next year.  We will know more as students register for classes.  The due date for enrolling into Brewer is March 31st .

  1. Proficiency-based Diploma Transition High School Update (Implementation Steps and Progress)
    1. Identify Content Area Measurement Topics and Learning Targets: We are finalizing this work through department meetings aligning to courses creating multiple pathways for students.  Teachers are also creating additional learning targets that are beyond “graduation requirements” for additional learning pathways and our more rigorous diploma options.
    2. Developing Scoring Criteria: All learning targets currently in Empower, our reporting system, has scoring criteria.  We will need to practice scoring student work to this criteria next year to ensure reliability and validity of our scoring system.
    3. Assess the Guiding Principles: Our educational system of planning learning, addresses the guiding principles on a regular basis.  Scoring criteria exists for the guiding principles.  We need to ensure that all guiding principles are being assessed multiple times throughout high school and are beginning this alignment.  The capstone project will be the culminating assessment.
    4. Align Learning Targets: We are currently meeting with all content areas aligning our learning targets to all of our courses.  This will then be put into a comprehensive program of studies and grading guide for students and families.
    5. Review and Revise District Policies: We have a plan and timeline to address the list of proficiency-based policies needed to be in place by September.
    6. Develop a Reporting System: We have a reporting system called Empower that allows students, teachers and parents to view proficiency on learning targets. It prints progress reports, report cards and transcripts.  It can be used as an online classroom as well.  Teachers are being trained on this system on March 3rd.
    7. Conduct Public Forums: We have held two public forums that have addressed proficiency-based education and two parent nights.  We will continue to address this with parents and our community.
    8. Redesign Organizational Structures and Strategies: This one has to do with scheduling, intervention systems and supports for a personalized learning environment.  The high school continues to work on these processes.  The teacher advisory group is currently working on scheduling options.
    9. Developing Assessments and Units: Teachers have many materials created that they are able to still use that are aligned to learning targets.  Once learning targets are completing aligned to courses, teachers will need to “tweak” current assignments and assessments to make sure they are aligned to the learning targets.  Creation of new learning opportunities may also be needed to help students benefit from diverse way of demonstrating achievement.
    10. Revise the Student Transcript: By being part of the Maine Cohort for Customized Learning, we have done this.  Our Empower system helps with this.  You will see an example of this when the transcript policy comes forward.
  1. Proficiency-based Diploma Policy List and Timeline (See Timeline)
  • Graduation Requirements (Policy File IKF) FEBRUARY
  • Multiple Pathways (Policy File IKFF) FEBRUARY
  • Academic Recognition: Latin Honors and Grade Point Averages (Policy File IKD) MARCH
  • Transcripts (Policy File IKC) MARCH
  • Grading and Reporting System (Policy File IKA) MARCH
  • Dual Enrollment and Early College (Policy File IHCDA) APRIL
  • Assessment of Student Learning (Policy File ILA) APRIL
  • Promotion, Retention, and Acceleration (Policy File IKE) APRIL
  • Demonstrations of Learning, Exhibitions, and Capstone Projects (Policy File ILA) MAY
  • Academic Interventions (Policy File JCDL) MAY
  • Personal Learning Plans (Policy File ILAPL) MAY
  • Portfolios (Policy Files ILA and ILAPL) JUNE
  • Attendance (Policy File JEA) JUNE
  • Academic Eligibility: Athletics and Co-Curricular Activities (Policy File JJIC) JUNE
  1. PBE Lesson 101:  Why we need to change to PBE? (Presentation)
  1. Strategic Planning Update

Met and reviewed the feedback data from the surveys. 96% positive from the community and teachers.  We are making final changes and placing into charts with timelines for our goals.  Meeting one more time in February and bringing forward in March.

  1. Principal Search Survey Results and Posting Update (Results shared)

We had over 400 people complete the survey. Posting for the Principal will be posted by the end of the week based on the survey results and our high school principal job description. I have already received one application from an out-of-state applicant based on viewing the survey.

 

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