Superintendent’s Report March

BREWER SCHOOL COMMITTEE
Regular Meeting
6:00 PM, Monday, March 13, 2017
Brewer High School Lecture Hall

Superintendent’s Report

1. Planning for Proficiency Based Education 101

a. Assessing Multiple Pathways (Handout)
What you need to know:
Students attain proficiency on graduation standards and the Guiding Principles by demonstrating their knowledge and skills on learning targets.

Students can accumulate evidence of learning from a variety of tasks in a variety of courses, programs, and experiences.

In Maine, it is the responsibility of the diploma-granting school to determine if students have met their district’s graduation standards, regardless if the learning occurs in a Career and Technical Education (CTE) program, an alternative program, or another approved experience, as we have defined in our Multiple Pathways policy.

b. Transfer Students (Handout)

What you need to know:
The assessment and interpretation of a transfer student’s transcript is the responsibility of the principal or his/her designee, as required by state law and determined by local policy.

A student’s transcript is the official document representing the full range of student work and achievement.

Proficiency-based transcripts should provide a more detailed representation concerning what students know and are able to do.

2. Maine Teacher of the Year Program communicated the following nominations for 2017 Penobscot County Teacher of the Year of Laura Stowe, Special Education Teacher at BCS; Al Chambers, Grade 6 teacher at BCS; Brittney McElvaine, Penquis Pre-K Teacher at BCS and Arthur Libby, Science Teacher at BHS.   (letters enclosed)

3. Budget Talking Points and Testimony March 3rd (Letter Enclosed)

Specific changes as proposed as part of the Biennial Budget bill include:

·         Title I Revenues Adjustment for Elementary & Secondary removed from per pupil rate calculation
o   Teacher Student: Staff Ratio for Grades 6-8 changed from 16:1 to 17:1
o   Teacher Student: Staff Ratio for Grades 9-12 changed from 15:1 to 16:1
o   Ed Techs Student: Staff Ratio for Grades K-5 changed from 100:1 to 114:1
o   Ed Techs Student: Staff Ratio for Grades 6-8 changed from 100:1 to 312:1
o   Ed Techs Student: Staff Ratio for Grades 9-12 changed from 250:1 to 316:1
·         System Admin Support for K-8 and 9-12 removed from per pupil rate calculation and funds directed to regional solutions instead
·         Targeted Funds for Pre-K Pupils discontinued
·         Targeted Funds for K-2 Pupils increased from .10 to .15
·         Declining Enrollment Adjustment discontinued
·         Minimum Special Education Adjustment increased from 30% to 33%

Gretchen will review the ED 279 during her report and what these proposed changes have done to our subsidy for the 17-18 year with 48 MORE subsidized students. This should have been a year where we saw a gain in subsidy. Instead we are seeing a loss in state subsidy.

4. Principal Hiring Process Update

The position has been posted and applications are coming in.  Committees have been formed.  Interview questions for each round and writing prompt are prepared, as well as, presentation topics selected.  Training for the committees has been scheduled.

5. Update on Federal Reversal of OCR Guidance on Transgender Students

Summary: As educators in Maine commonly know, the Maine Human Rights Act protects students from discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.  Moreover, the Maine Supreme Court, in a historic 2014 decision – Doe v. Regional School Unit 26, 2014 ME 11 (Jan. 30, 2014) – ruled that denying a student access to a communal bathroom consistent with the student’s gender identity constituted sexual orientation discrimination in violation of the Maine Human Rights Act.  MSMA previously issued a memorandum explaining the Doe decision in February of 2014.  We also have a school policy that supports our transgender students.

The Maine Human Rights Commission has also issued guidance on the rights of transgender students, and that guidance makes clear that the Commission liberally construes the Maine Human Rights Act and its rules to facilitate inclusion and educational opportunity for transgender individuals.  In sum, schools in Maine cannot separate or segregate students, restrict their access to communal bathrooms or otherwise treat them differently because of their sexual orientation, which includes gender expression and gender identity.  The current loss of Title IX protection previously extended by the federal government to transgender students does not alter that responsibility in Maine schools.

6.  Strategic Planning Meeting was postponed due to a snow day.  This delays the presentation by a month as we need to meet one more time before we present to you.  The plan is completed, we just need to review it and then bring to the board for formal approval.

7.  Provided updated legislation list for the 128th Legislature.  Things to pay attention to:

a. An Act To Allow Municipal Governing Boards of 3 Members To Perform Official Duties via Technology – This could allow for official duties to be performed via technology including meetings.
b. An Act To Amend the Mathematics Requirements for High School Graduation- This helps all high school students graduate as it amends that not all students need all of Algebra II in order to graduate.
c. An Act To Reduce Absenteeism in Students from Kindergarten to Third Grade – While the intentions of this act are good, the incentives to offer gift cards to get students to come to school may cause problems and may entice some families to keep kids home to get the gift cards.  We need to create school systems where students want to come to school and are excited about learning and help parents with the issues they are facing at home.
d. An Act Making Unified Appropriations and Allocations for the Expenditures of State Government, General Fund and Other Funds and Changing Certain Provisions of the Law Necessary to the Proper Operations of State Government for the Fiscal Years Ending June 30, 2018 and June 30, 2019 – This one is opposed by MSSA.  Please read my testimony letter for March 3, 2017.

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