Thursday, October 23, 2014

Board Meeting Recap - October 2014

The Board encourages community involvement in District governance.  This month members of Mrs. Grilliot's AP Government class attended and participated in the meeting.  Watch the video (go to minute 49.20) to see their comments and the Board's response.

Use this link to see the full agenda and all documents.
Board meetings are also video taped and are available
online.



Highlights

+ Academic Integrity 
+ Homework Committee 
+ Capital Ten Year Plan
+ Redistricting



Academic Integrity

A committee was formed last year focused on the issue of academic integrity.  This effort was in direct response to an article and survey done by the Indian Post (UHS student paper) about cheating in the High School.

Jim Conley (UHS Assistant Principal) presented the committee findings.  Overall the situation at the high school was found not to be beyond what might be considered expected or average levels.  However, the committee found that technology has introduced new challenges (such as smartphones with cameras) that need to be addressed.  The committee made some short term and long term recommendations.  Among the long term recommendations was the development of an honor code.

Board comments to the findings centered around two themes.  First and foremost, that a person's integrity is critically important to them in life, and that our students should graduate with a good understanding how important integrity is.  The second theme from the Board was that the Administration should  continue to explore an honor code but not to postpone implementing some of the other committee findings now.  



Homework Committee

Through surveys and focus groups last year, UCF parents asked the Administration to take a look at the District's homework policies and practices.  A committee has been evaluating this and presented their finding to the Board.   

The document presented to the board includes a set of beliefs and guidelines.  Next steps are for this document to serve as a baseline for further discussion with the faculty and with the community.  A survey will be put together to collect input.

The Board discussed these findings at some length.  The Board generally recognizes that there is a prevalent community-wide drive towards excellence which can sometimes lead to over committing.  The Board recognizes the District's mission to develop the unique skills, talents and passions of each individual student.  Processes that identify and encourage students to match their course and participation levels to their own needs are critical.  Counselors, Administrators, Teachers and Parents all have important roles in this.  

Resources such as the UHS Course Syllabus and the Patton Middle School Action Plan provide parents and students with accurate upfront information to help insure appropriate placements.

The Board agrees that the next step is to gather stakeholder input and to have an open dialog on this important issue.



Capital Ten Year Plan

The Long Range Capital Plan was last reviewed by the Board in March of 2014.  Surplus funds are available now that could be used to fund another year of the plan before having to go to a bond issue.  The board was presented funding options to consider for a vote next month.



Redistricting

McKissick Associates was approved as the consulting company for our redistricting study.  McKissick Associates is a highly recommended firm with years of experience and local knowledge.

The vetting process started with a fromal Request For Proposal (RFP). 

Two responses to the RFP were received and evaluated. Additional information was requested.  The candidates were interviewed and references checked.  Examples of prior work and specific deliverables from those engagements were also reviewed.  

The team of evaluators felt that McKissick Associates understands the local issues involved in this study and would provide more "boots on the ground".  They recently completed a successful study for Downingtown.  They were slightly more expensive but the evaluators felt this vendor was a better fit for us.

The fact that McKissick is a local company familiar with the unique issues surrounding a multi-township and county redistricting process was an important factor favoring McKissick, whereas the other company was based in Texas. 

The process and analysis explained by McKissick led the Administration to feel more confident in the ultimate product to be delivered by McKissick.


Next Steps:

  • Develop enrollment projections - due by Winter Break. 
    McKissick will do a study of enrollment projections to see if any redistricting is needed.  The next step of the process is only to develop enrollment projections.  If enrollment projections require action the process of developing options with stakeholder input will begin after the Winter Break.
  • A stakeholder committee is being formed now and will meet in early November.


Review the contract for further details and an updated schedule of project milestones.

The District has created a website and a blog to help keep all stakeholders up to date with the study.



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