Tuesday, December 13, 2016

December Board Recap

December 2016

Our Board meetings are always streamed live and are available on our Youtube Channel - The "U" Tube.  To make things simpler, improve transparency, and increase the usefulness of this document, all Youtube links now take you directly to the portion of the recording being referenced.

All supporting documents are also available online on Board Docs .

Questions?  We answer any and all questions - we're always happy to hear from you. communications@ucfsd.net



Highlights from the December Board Meetings

Annually, in December, the Board selects its president and vice-president.  Additionally, this month the Board held an executive session, an abbreviated Curriculum/Ed Tech meeting to review the International Baccalaureate Program report, and an abbreviated regular Board meeting to take action on a few items.

  • International Baccalaureate Presentation and Recommendation
  • Board Leadership Remains the Same
  • Justin Webb Hired as New Director of Technology
  • Ken Batchelor Hired as Superintendent of Radnor School District
  • The Board Plans for John Nolen to Become our Next Assistant Superintendent
  • Denise Miller
  • ​​​​​​​Board Comments



International Baccalaureate (IB) Presentation and Recommendation

The idea to evaluate the IB program for the high school came from the AT and STEM committees last year and became a Board goal for this year.  Members of the committee presented their evaluation at the last Curriculum Council, and this month they provided a review and recommendation to the Board.

While the committee noted many potential benefits for our students, they recommended we pause this initiative for one year, using the year instead to develop new scheduling options for the high school.  The committee noted that more time was needed to continue to investigate IB and further involve faculty, parents, and staff in the discussion.

Click here to review the PowerPoint presentation



Board Leadership Remains the Same

Vic Dupuis and Jeff Hellrung were reelected to their posts as president and vice-president.

Click here to watch the process and final vote



Justin Webb Hired as New Director of Technology

Justin Webb joins UCFSD as Director of Technology.  He comes to us from a similar role at The Spring-Ford School District.  Justin will begin in mid-January.

Click here to review the discussion and vote



Ken Batchelor Hired as Superintendent of Radnor School District

It was with reluctance that the Board accepted Ken's resignation, effective January 27th.



The Board Plans for John Nolen to Become our Next Assistant Superintendent

Pending Board approval, John Nolen will move into Ken's role in January, and the Board will begin the process of hiring a new Director of Curriculum.



Denise Miller

It was with great sadness that John Sanville announced to the public the passing of Denise Miller, a valued member of the UCFSD family for over 30 years.  She was the Board Secretary and was recognized by Dr. Sanville for her support to him and the Board.

Click here to watch John's remarks



Board Comments

At every Board meeting time is reserved for comments from the public and the Board.

Click here to watch residents' comments 
Click here to watch Board comments





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Wednesday, November 23, 2016

Board Meeting Recap

November 2016

Our Board meetings are always streamed live and are available on our YouTube Channel - The "U" Tube.  To make things simpler, improve transparency, and increase the usefulness of this document, all Youtube links now take you directly to the portion of the recording being referenced.

All supporting documents are also available online on Board Docs .

Questions?  We answer any and all questions - we're always happy to hear from you.

communications@ucfsd.net

Correction to October Board Recap

In the October Board Recap, I erroneously reported that the auditors recommended that we eliminate the PSERS reserve and collapse it into the general reserve.  That is not correct; the auditors did not recommend the change; it was a recommendation of the Business Office.  

Having a separate PSERS fund is a valid accounting option and is utilized by other Pennsylvania school districts.   The Business Office recommendation to move the funds from the PSERS reserve to the General reserve was reviewed with the auditors but did not originate with them.

The reasons for having separate reserves can be complicated and nuanced.  This link will take you to the point in the Board meeting where the Board discusses their rationale for keeping or eliminating the PSERS reserve.


Highlights from the November Board Meetings

  • Curriculum Change Proposals
  • Growth and Achievement Report
  • School Start Time Study Update
  • New Wellness Committee
  • Finance - Use of Refinancing Savings
  • Resident and Board Comments



Curriculum Change Proposals

A large number of curriculum changes were approved this month.  Below is a summary of the approved changes with links to more detailed explanations.

About Curriculum Planning

Our district has a formal curriculum review process.  Individual disciplines are reviewed yearly based on a rolling schedule, commonly referred to as the curriculum cycle.

The best practices and current philosophies of each discipline are carefully studied by teams of experienced teachers and administrators in order to develop curricular creativity and examine understandings leading to changes in the curriculum.  The team develops and recommends needed changes to the curriculum, aligning resources and professional development as part of the process.  

The curriculum changes are then presented to a "Curriculum Council".  This district-wide committee of parents, students, teachers, administrators, and board members helps identify curriculum and instructional needs and provide feedback on plans to improve curriculum and instructional programs on a yearly basis.

Finally, the curriculum changes are reviewed and approved by the Board.  This month the Board approved the following changes:

Social Studies

Four courses are being revised. 
6th Grade Social Studies 
7th Grade Social Studies 
8th Grade Social Studies 
10th Grade World History

One course is being replaced. 
12th Grade Civics

Technology and Engineering

Based on the success of the new Project Lead the Way (PLTW) engineering courses, an additional PLTW course was approved.
Computer-Integrated Manufacturing

As part of last year's curriculum cycle, several new programming offerings were introduced.  This year, a proposal was approved for a new 7th grade programming course, building on the existing K-6 offerings.
7th Grade Computer Programming

Health and Physical Education

The Health and Physical Education educators presented a new theme for their instruction - Mindful of the Present… Preparing for the Future

The new Health and Physical Education curriculum represents a significant reorganization and rethinking of the curriculum from K through 12.  They will begin utilizing a common language, "Be Safe, Be Open, Be Present", that will be used in all grades and buildings.

The new curriculum is wellness-centered and is designed to focus on educating the whole child with an array of innovative offerings, providing students greater flexibility and variety.

The curriculum will be upgraded with the following courses:

  • Wellness I = 9th Grade Health (3 days per cycle) 
  • Wellness II = 11th Grade Health
  • Lifelong Fitness Through Activity = 10th PE
  • Games
  • Adventure Based and Mentoring Education

New courses added:

Graduation requirements have been reduced from a 4 year requirement to 3 years.

Health and Physical Education (PowerPoint presentation) 
Watch the presentation on our YouTube Channel

Sports Medicine

A new sports medicine course will be offered as a partnership between Unionville-Chadds Ford School District and Technical College High School designed to prepare students for future careers in healthcare.

The course will be a comprehensive, 1-year, partial day (1.5 hours/day) program combining classroom theory and hands-on experience.  CTE-certified teacher with years of sports medicine field experience will teach the course.  

In partnership with Technical College High School, the course will be housed at UHS and eventually offered to students throughout the county.

Sports Medicine (PowerPoint presentation)  
Watch the presentation on our YouTube Channel



School Start Time Update

The advisory committee had their first meetings this month and Dr. Owens presented the science.  The committee has developed a website intended to support its process and to make its evaluation transparent to the public.

  • Six transportation options have been developed by the Transportation Department as a baseline for discussion.
  • A blog has been developed recapping the meeting discussions.

School Start Time Committee Website



Growth and Achievement Report

Each principal provided their annual update to the Board.  The presentations drew heavily on data derived from the Pennsylvania Value Added Assessment System (PVAAS).  PVAAS provides educators information to help measure student learning.  The administration uses the information to ensure they are meeting the academic needs of groups of students, as well as individual students.

Overall, the report showed excellent achievement scores across the district, meeting or exceeding the growth standard in all subject areas when looking at the district in aggregate.  The School Performance Profile scores were impressive.  Notably, UHS received the top score in Pennsylvania this year.

Each principal reiterated that there is always work to be done and there are certainly areas for improvement.  The theme of continuous improvement through careful analysis of student learning needs came up time and again.  Instructional adjustments through the curriculum cycle and a commitment to teacher training and professional development were noted as strengths of the district's approach.

Growth and Achievement Report (PowerPoint Presentation) 
Watch the presentation on our YouTube Channel



New Wellness Committee

A new Board Wellness Council has been developed and will have its first meeting December 2nd.  The function of the Wellness Council will follow roughly the format of the Curriculum Council. This district-wide committee of parents, students, teachers, administrators, and board members will help to identify wellness needs and provide feedback on plans for wellness initiatives.



Finance - Use of Refinancing Savings

The Board agreed (7-2) to move savings from this year's bond refinancing to the capital reserve where the funds would be used quickly on approved capital projects.  



Resident and Board Comments

At each Board meeting, time is set aside for resident and Board member comments.  Click on the links below to watch this portion of the meeting.

Resident and Board Comments - Work Session 
Resident Comments - Board Meeting
Board Comments - Board Meeting



Dave Listman


communications@ucfsd.net





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Tuesday, November 1, 2016

Board Meeting Recap

October Board Meeting Recap

An overview of the committee meetings, work sessions and formal public meeting

Topics

  • School Start Times
  • Finances
    • Ten Year Plan Update
    • General Fund Reserves
    • PSERS Reserve
  • Transportation Report
  • Dr. Sanville's Annual Review



School Start Times

This month the steering committee sent out a survey requesting input from all stakeholders.  Over three hundred community members have shared their thoughts with the steering committee.  The input from the survey contains valuable insights and key questions that need to be answered as part of this process.

An invitation to volunteer to be on a newly formed community advisory committee was sent out this month.  There were over 80 volunteers, well over the target size for the committee.  The steering committee thanks all who volunteered.  Final selection, based largely on choosing representatives from all stakeholder groups, has been made, and the first meeting will take place in early November.

Dr. Judith Owens, a renowned expert in the sleep science  field  will be on hand November 7th at 7:00 at Patton Middle School for a presentation and Q&A.  The community is encouraged to attend, to learn about the science and to have their questions answered.  The event will be live streamed on the UCF website.

Click here to go to the UCF School Start Time website - there you will be able to learn more about the evaluation and how to get involved.



Finances

Financial considerations dominated the discussion this month.  The discussions centered around reserves, budget forecasting  and the Ten Year Plan.  

Ten Year Plan Update

The Ten Year Plan is a facilities plan that lays out the needs and costs for capital improvements and maintenance.  The plan looks at needs and costs over a rolling ten year period. The benefit of this approach is that it provides a mechanism for predicting cash needs, allowing the Board to better provide funds when needed, through a combination of taxes and borrowing.   

Here is a link to the actual plan so you can see the types of items included.

~$3.7M of facilities expenses are planned for the next year.  The Business Office proposes using the 2015-2016 surplus, reserves on hand and savings from the recent debt refinancing to fund these needs.

To date (since 2014), the Ten Year Plan has been funded without additional borrowing.  The first round of additional borrowing is currently forecast to be $4.3M in the winter of 2017-2018.


General Fund Reserves

School districts commonly set up reserves.  Reserves are set up as a kind of "rainy day" set aside - intended to be used when the unexpected happens (either extraordinary expenses or unexpected revenue shortfalls).  Reserves provide a buffer to help minimize the negative impact of these unexpected fluctuations in the budget.  Setting the correct size of reserves is important - too low and the Board is not providing enough buffer, too high and the Board is creating an unnecessary burden to current taxpayers.

The Board had a lively debate on this topic.  The Board reasserted that the Business Office should target general fund reserves in the range of 5% to 8% of the total expense budget.  It should be noted that members of the Board have varying opinions on whether the actual general reserve should be closer to the low end of the range (5%) versus the higher end of the range (8%).  

Click here to watch the meeting video and listen to the General Reserve discussion

Another part of the discussion on reserves had to do with budget forecasts.  The Business Office explained that they develop a budget plan that should be within 2% of actuals at the end of the year.  Last year (2015-2016) the Business Office met this goal.  The variance to budget was a surplus of about $600,000. The Board agreed to apply the surplus to the reserve balance for the current fiscal year and discussed eventually using this money to fund the Ten Year Plan (that discussion will be part of the  2017-2018) budget review later this year).


PSERS Reserve

The final piece of the reserves conversation centered around what is commonly called the PSERS reserve.  This reserve was established years ago to help cushion the impact of rapidly increasing (mandatory) PSERS contributions.

A recent auditor recommendation was that the remaining $2.5M in this reserve be moved and managed as part of the general reserve (unassigned fund balance).  These PSERS funds, although now moved to a new "bucket" will still be able to be used to offset the impact of future PSERS increases.  The auditor's recommendation was based on accounting simplicity.

After some discussion the Board agreed with the recommendation.  The downside to the move, noted by some Board members is that eliminating the PSERS reserve "bucket" reduces the visibility of the original intent of these funds and that over time UCF would have less available in overall reserves.

Click here to watch the meeting video and listen to the PSERS Reserve discussion.



Transportation Report

~4,000 students, 77 square miles and a million miles driven a year - the Transportation Department provided its annual report to the Board.

Click here to view the report




Dr. Sanville's Annual Review

The Board (as per policy) reviews the superintendant performance against goals on an annual basis.  Dr. Sanville received a rating of Distinguished for the 2015-2016 school year.

Click here to watch the meeting video and listen to the report on Dr Sanville's performance evaluation.

Click here to go to the website and learn more about the evaluation criteria.



Link to Oct 24 Public Meeting Video

Link to Oct 17 Work Session Video

Link to Board Documents


Comments and questions - communications@ucfsd.net





Unionville-Chadds Ford School District would like to continue connecting with you via email. If you prefer to be removed from our list, please contact Unionville-Chadds Ford School District directly. To stop receiving all email messages distributed through our SchoolMessenger service, follow this link and confirm: Unsubscribe

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Saturday, October 1, 2016

Board Meeting Recap

September 2016


Our Board meetings are always streamed live and are available on our Youtube Channel - The "U" Tube.  To make things simpler, improve transparency, and increase the usefulness of this document, all Youtube links now take you directly to the portion of the recording being referenced.

All supporting documents are also available online on Board Docs

Questions?  We answer any and all questions - we're always happy to hear from you.
communications@ucfsd.net



Highlights from the August Board Meetings

  • In Car Driver's Training Program Approved 

  • School Start Times Discussion and Evaluation Proceeds

  • Bond Refinancing Approved, Saving Taxpayers over $9 Million

  • K-12 Comprehensive Counseling Program Published

  • Hillendale Lawsuit Public Discussion



In Car Driver's Training Program Approved

An agreement was approved to provide In Car Driver's Education through Unionville High School.  The advantages to parents and students are that it is a more cost effective and convenient program.  By using this In Car program parents and students can by-pass road test scheduling through the DMV.



School Start Times Discussion and Evaluation Proceeds

The Board and Administration have now announced the next steps in this evaluation.  A call for public input has gone out from Dr Sanville to the community and there is a website now dedicated to providing resources and keeping the public up to date.

The community is encouraged to learn more and participate in this evaluation.

  1. Volunteer to be on the Community Advisory Committee.

  2. Come to the public meeting on Nov 7th.,

  3. Share your thoughts and concerns by  filling out our Committee Input Survey.

  4. Ask us questions? Contact the communications team - communications@ucfsd.net.

NO CONCLUSIONS AND NO DECISIONS HAVE BEEN MADE ABOUT SCHOOL START TIMES.  The public meeting on Nov 7th will help educate us all on the science behind the recommendations from the American Medical Association, The American Academy of Pediatrics, and The Centers for Disease Control.



Bond Refinancing Approved, Saving Taxpayers over $9 Million

The District was able to refinance some of it's debt achieving a $9.6 Million savings.  The debt was incurred largely from past borrowing to finance the high school renovation project.

The Business Office, working with it's financial managers have been monitoring market conditions to identify the opportunity and determine the most advantageous time to refinance.

It was noted that our District's excellent credit rating (Moody's - Aa1) enabled us to take advantage of this opportunity.  The high credit rating is based on the credit industry's review and evaluation of sound and reliable business practices.



K-12 Comprehensive Counseling Program Published

The K-12 Comprehensive Counseling Program is the culmination of a year's worth of work and consideration by counselors and stakeholders throughout our District.

The mission of UCF Counseling Department is to provide a comprehensive, developmental counseling program addressing the academic, career, and personal/social development of all students. We work in partnership with with all stakeholders, including: educators, parents, business leaders and  community members.  School counselors facilitate the support system which empowers all students to succeed in life and contribute to society by unlocking the potential in all of us.

The plan is part of a mandated state requirement - documenting our extensive program.



Hillendale Lawsuit Public Discussion

We are sad to have to report that a community member has filed suit against Principal Dissinger and the HES PTO.  The core complaint alleges that the PTO Board election was not legal.  The complaint goes on to allege improper actions by the Principal and PTO president.

The Board and Administration had very strong words in support of the Hillendale PTO and Principal Dissinger. John Sanville said the suit was specious and without merit, pointing out that the courts are not the place to work out disagreements between volunteers.

John went on to say,  "The good name of an exemplary principal is at stake, along with PTO volunteers and a PTO president.  Principal Steve Dissinger is a man of the utmost integrity, he is respected by his peers and beloved by the community he serves.  His record of excellence, years of dedication and service to this community stand as an unimpeachable testament to the quality of his character."

Speaking on behalf of the Board and Administration, John declared, "The Administration and Board strongly supports and defends Steve in this matter, we also strongly defend the HES PTO and your volunteers, and Jennifer Scattolino (HES PTO President)."

About 40 members of the Hillendale community came to the meeting, over 200 signed a petition and several spoke at the meeting.


Watch the meeting video to learn more



Kim and Dave - Your Communications Team




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Unionville-Chadds Ford School District would like to continue connecting with you via email. If you prefer to be removed from our list, please contact Unionville-Chadds Ford School District directly. To stop receiving all email messages distributed through our SchoolMessenger service, follow this link and confirm: Unsubscribe

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Thursday, June 23, 2016

Board Recap - Special Year End Edition

June 2016

Our Board meetings are always streamed live and are available on our Youtube Channel - The "U" Tube.  To make things simpler, improve transparency and increase the usefulness of this document all Youtube links now take you directly to that portion of the recording.

All supporting documents are also available online on Board Docs

Questions?  We answer any and all questions - we're always happy to hear from you.ucfsdcommunications@ucfsd.net

​​​​​​​


Highlights from this Month's Board Meetings


  • Honoring Retirees

  • IB/AP Capstone Committee Report

  • Welcome Devin Layton - New Patton Assistant Principal

  • 2016-2017 Budget Approved

  • Wellness Committee Update

  • Climate Survey

  • High School Delayed Start Time Recommendation



Honoring Retirees

Teachers matter - they matter a lot.  The Board and administration recognize that the single most important factor in student success is the classroom teacher.  We are fortunate to have some of the best in the business.  Each year we honor retiring teachers and invite them to our Board meetings where they are recognized and honored for their service.  Below is a list of teachers leaving us this year with a link to their tribute (where available).  We thank them all and wish them the best going forward.


Ann Bielle - UHS

Jodi Byrne – UHS

Dan Cipollini – Patton

Barbara (Bobbe) Curry – CFE

Audrey Frank – Transportation and Food Service

Cheryl Fulginiti (school nurse) - UE

Jim Fulginiti - Patton

Valerie Harris (Cafeteria Manager) – Food Service

John Horn – Transportation

Janet Jennings – Patton

Beth Kelisek (library para)- CFE

Susan McDermott – UHS

Marita Miller – Patton

Dennis Nelms – UE

Mary O'Connor - UHS

Jean Russell - CFE

Susan Shelley - UHS

Anita Spizzari – Patton

James Wanstall – Transportation

Ricardo Williams(Custodian) - UHS



IB/AP Capstone Committee Report

UCF embraces a culture of reflection and continuous improvement.  In keeping with that theme the Board set an emerging goal to evaluate the International Baccalaureate (IB) program.  The program is offered in some very prominent school around the country and is held in high regard around the world.  This month a preliminary report was reviewed with the Board.

The International Baccalaureate Program is a comprehensive, rigorous, two year curriculum for high school students beginning in the Junior year.  It is designed as a deliberate compromise between the goals of specialization and breadth. Students are encouraged to demonstrate a strong commitment to learning, both in the mastery of content and the development of the skills and discipline necessary for success in a competitive world.

The committee also evaluated the AP Capstone program as an additional or complementary program.  AP Capstone builds on the current AP program, adding two additional courses.  AP Seminar is offered to juniors and AP Research is offered senior year.  The two-course sequence provides students with the critical thinking and research skills needed to succeed in college and stand-out in the admission process.

  • Common Elements - 2 year diploma programs, external assessments, critical thinking, long term research and allows for cross curricular connections

  • Distinctions

    • IB has been around longer and is better known and regarded

    • AP Capstone initially fits in with current program

Findings

  • There is much more work to be done.  It is a 2 to 3 year process to become an accredited IB provider.  

  • The committee at this point would not recommend AP Capstone.  They stated a variety of reasons, chief among them is that it is a very new and unproven program.

  • Further review of the high school schedule should be looked at - lots of alternative schedules have been implemented by other schools and are worth further investigation

  • The committee thinks that IB may have exciting implications for adoption by UCFSD

  • Many questions about costs, staffing and PD have yet to be studied and should be evaluated next

Next Steps

  • The Board will take this report into consideration and review options as part of its 2016-2017 goal setting and planning process this summer.

Presentation - PowerPoint



Welcome Devin Layton - New Patton Assistant Principal

After reviewing 100 applications and putting the finalists through a rigorous evaluation program the administration is pleased to announce that Devin Layton will be the next Assistant Principal at Patton, filling the vacancy left by Jim Fulginiti.

Watch the video including comments from John Sanville, Tim Hoffman and Devin Layton



2016-2017 Budget Approved

The budget process that started in December concluded this month with the final 7 - 2 vote at the final meeting of the year.  The budget document is available online.

The budget spending plan supports the existing program as well as the costs of new technologies (the Canvas learning management system and Chromebooks for all middle schoolers) with additional professional development to support the program.

This year, a new staffing model was developed and approved.  The staffing guideline can be used to evaluate staffing needs based on student enrollments.  This model improves transparency, manage class sizes  and ensures consistently high standards.

In the past few months the budget discussions narrowed to the funding plan.  Planning for future contributions to the staff retirement plan (PSERS) and deciding how best to fund the 10 year capital plan requires long range, strategic financial planning.  Discussions on how best to balance current needs, long term needs and tax rates has been a central focus of the Board for the past few months.

In the end, the Board approved a budget that supports the current program, new initiatives and long term needs with an average tax increase of 2.66%, using about $74,000 of reserve funds.

Watch the final discussions on tax options and the final vote



Wellness Committee Update

Wellness is a concept that has gained traction in our district.  This committee has helped evaluate and implement some important processes and has served as an incubator for other ideas as well.  As a result of this committee's work, new concussion policies and protocols were introduced.  The High School Late Start Initiative was reviewed and supported by this committee.  This past month the committee also reviewed high level results of the recently conducted climate survey.

Elise Anderson and John Sanville have recommended that the Board create a Board-level Wellness Committee with a focus on the "Whole Child".  There are currently six Board committees and they are; Finance, Curriculum and Ed Tech, Personnel, Policy, Legislation and Communications. The Board will consider this recommendation during their summer Board retreat.



Climate Survey

The climate survey is the first step in a continuous improvement process that focuses on the environment of a school.  The survey provides input on 13 dimensions in 6 categories, including safety, teaching and learning,  relationships, institutional environment, social media and staff perceptions.

This first step (conducting the survey) provides input into a cyclical process that starts with evaluation of findings, leading to developing and implementation of improvement plans and then circles back to resurveying - to assess success and to keep a gauge on these important issues

The next step for the principals, in the fall, is to work with their staffs to evaluate the findings.

We thank all of the stakeholders who took their time to provide valuable input.

Take a look at the high level presentation to the Wellness Committee.  The results were terrific!


Review the Presentation



High School Delayed Start Time Recommendation

Our district has been on the forefront of this idea for the past two years.  It started in 2014-2015 with a class project.  In 2015-2016 the IU's Student Forum got involved and recently the Student Forum (our very own UHS High school student Matt Daniels is now the president of this group) concluded its study and is going around the county making formal presentations to each district.

The Student Forum has found strong quantifiable evidence for starting high school in the morning at 8:30.

The Student Forum has also evaluated the experiences of districts who have implemented delayed start times and has provided information on known obstacles that have been overcome and tradeoffs that have been made.

The Board would like us to spend the next year evaluating how UCF might implement this proposal.  This year-long evaluation will involve all stakeholder groups, with plenty of opportunities for discussion and debate.A committee headed up by Ken Batchelor and Jeff Hellrung will be formed to focus on this opportunity and to provide a recommendation to the Board.


Student Forum Presentation to the IU Board

Student Forum Recommendations

Hanover Group Research Findings





Unionville-Chadds Ford School District would like to continue connecting with you via email. If you prefer to be removed from our list, please contact Unionville-Chadds Ford School District directly. To stop receiving all email messages distributed through our SchoolMessenger service, follow this link and confirm: Unsubscribe

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Friday, May 20, 2016

May Board Recap

May 2016


Our Board meetings are always streamed live and are available on our Youtube Channel - The "U" Tube.  To make things simpler, improve transparency and increase the usefulness of this document all Youtube links now take you directly to that portion of the recording.

All supporting documents are also available online on Board Docs

Questions?  We answer any and all questions - we're always happy to hear from you. ucfsdcommunications@ucfsd.net




Highlights from this Month's Board Meetings

  • Budget

  • Staffing Guidelines

  • Class Rank Reporting

  • Strategic Planning




Budget

One of the main topics of discussion this month was next year's budget.  

Below is a brief outline with links to the discussion

  • The business office presented a spending plan that supports the district's existing excellent program.  Additionally this year's plan also supports new technology innovations (the Canvas Learning Management System and Chromebooks for all middle school students).

  • The business office developed a funding plan that works well within the allowable state taxing limits.  

    • The proposal offered 3 options for increases to tax rates next year.  The options varied based on how much of the budget reserves are used this year.  The more used this year, the less this year's taxes increase.  On the other hand, the more used this year, the less that is available to help offset anticipated future staff retirement program contributions in future years.

    • A quick note on this topic - PSERS is the staff retirement program and the district's mandatory contributions to it will continue to increase over the coming years (anticipating 3 years of steep increases).  The reserve is set up to help the district pay for these increases without larger annual tax increases or cuts to programs in future years.

    • The Board chose by a 6 to 3 margin for an option that results in  annual tax increase of 2.72% for Chester County residents and 3.06% for Delaware County residents (one of the other options was a bit higher, the other a bit lower).   Watch the Board deliberation on this topic.

    • The budget plan now becomes the proposed final plan and is available for public inspection of the district website. Proposed Final General Fund Budget Public Inspection Copy

 

Budget details are available on the business office webpage of the district website.

  

Staffing Guidelines

This year the administration developed staffing guidelines that are based on that year's student enrollments.  The guidelines help add transparency to the annual staffing plan, making it easier for the Board to evaluate the administration's recommendations.  These guidelines support the current program and help to insure class sizes are in line with existing policies and guidelines.  

 Review the staffing guidelines



Class Rank Reporting

Much debate within the Board and around the community over the past few months led to a revised class rank reporting policy (approved last month) that eliminated decile reporting to colleges.

As part of that discussion the Board asked the administration to address community concerns about rewarding and recognizing academic excellence and providing some kind of grade distribution information.

The new administrative guidelines introduced this month provide a grade distribution that will be part of the UHS School Profile.  The guideline also calls for the recognition of academic achievement as part of commencement.

Review the class rank/GPS reporting guidelines

  

Strategic Planning

The Board considered the vendor presentation that was made last month but could not come to consensus on a direction forward.  The goal of strategic planning is to bring together stakeholders with a common vision - to move forward and improve our district.  Without consensus at this time the Board decided to revisit the matter during it's summer retreat.  





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Tuesday, April 5, 2016

Board Meeting Recap

March 2016


Topics for the Month

  • Next Round of Patton Middle School Renovations Approved

  • Keystone Test Requirements Modified by the State

  • Patton Middle Schoolers to get Chromebooks Next Year

  • Class Rank Reporting Policy Changed

  • Strategic Plan Update


Links are provided to key reference documents and specific "scenes" within the Board video stream.  

Access all documents and videos on the Board web page.


Next Round of Patton Middle School Renovations Approved

The next round of renovations to Patton Middle School will focus on the auditorium.  As background, these renovations are part of a 10-year capital plan.  The Board developed this plan with the Buildings and Grounds team so that facilities keep pace with program needs and so that funding needs can be better anticipated and managed over time.  Funds for the next phase are available and will not require any additional borrowing.



Keystone Exam Requirements Modified by the State

Keystone Exams are still required but will not be a graduation requirement until class of 2019.  Previously the graduation requirement was to begin with the class of 2017.

Background:  Keystone Exams were developed by the State to replace PSSA tests.  When fully implemented, Keystone Exams were planned to be a graduation requirement.  Questions have arisen around remediation and alternatives for students who do not pass the test.  The delay in implementation will allow the State to work with school administrators to develop practical alternatives and options.

See the FAQ's provided from the State for more details.

For now, the District has decided to keep the test as a UHS graduation requirement for the class of 2017.  For those who take the test and are not proficient, they will;

  • Take a 4-day remediation program (over the summer) with its own assessment before retaking the Keystone a second time.

  • If these students do not pass the Keystone the second time but do pass the remediation program assessment, they will qualify for graduation

  • If they pass neither the Keystone nor the remediation program assessment, they will be allowed to complete a project-based assessment.

Also… The current senior final exam exemption will be abolished starting with the freshman class (Class of 2019).  Beginning in 2019, these students will be required to take finals.



Patton Middle Schoolers to get Chromebooks Next Year

This project has been a topic of conversation over the past few months and in this meeting a few key decisions were made.  The implementation of this new Ed Tech foundation will be phased in over the next few years, starting at Patton.

  • All Patton students will receive a Chromebook next year.  This piece of equipment is seen as essential to the educational program and will be supplied by the District to students (a $20 insurance fee option will be included).  Parents will also be permitted to purchase the Chromebooks.

  • All courses (grades 6 - 9) will be managed through the Canvas Learning Management System starting this Fall (2016).  All Patton educators will receive professional development to support this initiative.

  • UHS will continue to implement Canvas next year using classroom Chromebook carts.  

  • The requirement for grades 10-12 to be managed through Canvas will be one year after Patton (Fall of 2017).  

  • All UHS teachers will receive professional development in the use of Canvas and, over the next year, they will move their course resources from their individual websites to Canvas.



Class Rank Policy - Decile Reporting

Hours and hours of conversation, research, deliberation, and debate have resulted in the Board's approval of a new Class Rank Reporting Policy.  The new policy eliminates class rank reporting to colleges.  The administrative guidelines will address issues brought up during these discussions.

The Board synthesized the community's input into four major issues:

  • Timing?

  • How else can we provide context (some kind of distribution on school profile)?

  • How can we provide recognition for top academic students?

  • Can we allow for selective disclosure?


Click here to watch the Board deliberations.  In the end, the decision was made to

  • Implement this policy starting with the class of 2017.

  • Provide context by supplying grade point average distribution information in the UHS School Profile (available on the UHS website)

  • Provide recognition for top academic students (details to be worked out)

  • No selective disclosure (except where required by the college)



Strategic Plan

The Board committee reported that they had found a suitable vendor for this project.  The Board has decided to delay further deliberation and action on this project pending further discussion and review of next year's budget.

Board member, Michael Rock, voiced objections and concerns about the process.  I usually avoid referencing specific member comments but in this case Mr Rock's bring up concerns about school board processes and so I point you to his comments (Click here to watch).  John Sanville's' response can be viewed here.



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