Thursday, November 20, 2014

Board Meeting Recap

November Board Meeting Recap


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

This month the Board dealt with two major items.  During the work session on November 10th the Board reviewed (and later approved) a set of new courses.  The November 17th session focused mainly on the Annual Achievement Report.


+ New High School Courses
+ Achievement Report



+ New High School Courses

The district updates (and the Board approves) curriculum by department and across grades based on a defined five year "Curriculum Cycle".   Between review cycles additional changes are made, keeping the curriculum focused on skills our students will need in a rapidly changing world.

STEM is a current area of emphasis (one of the Board goals for the year) and the Board approved changing the name of the current Tech Ed Department to the Technology and Engineering Education Department.  The name better reflects State standards and the mission the department.


The following new courses were developed by The Technology and Engineering Education Department and approved by the Board.

  • Robotics - course description

    • In this course (high school level) students will learn how to design, build and program robots that can solve specific problems.

  • Introduction to Engineering Design - course description

    • A full year, honors level course that, when fully implemented with "Project Lead the Way", will provide students who earn a B or better to take a term-end qualifying exam and earn college credit.


The Computer Applications Department will be adding a new programming course.

  • Apps for Digital Devices - course description

    • This innovative class will utilize MIT App Inventor.  App Inventor was developed at MIT and is a blocks-based programming tool that allows students to start programming and build fully functional apps for Android devices.  Students will learn important technology concepts and logic.


Additionally the Board approved several modifications to current courses.

  • 3D Sculpture and Design III - course description

    • Enrollment in 3D Design I and II has increased, with 6 students currently taking Design III as independent study.  The addition of Design III will provide student artists with with greater opportunities in their field of interest.

  • Accounting I - course description

    • The course is changed from a full year course to a one semester course, with corporate accounting being eliminated.  Entrepreneurs needs accounting skills and a course focused on entrepreneurial, sole proprietor accounting will better fit the needs of our students.

  • Honors Foundations of Western Thought - course description

    • This course will be be an honors level course, co-taught by the English and Social Studies departments.  The course will emphasize advanced connective thinking and discussion.  Instruction will cover two class periods and include research and other projects.




+ Achievement Report

The Board review of the Annual Achievement Report took about 90 minutes with some very good Q & A and discussion.  The video is available on the website.  But if you don't have 90 minutes, take 5 minutes to listen to Ken Batchelor starting at minute 2:55 through about minute 7:55.  In these five minutes Mr Batchelor explains changes to Federal and State accountability metrics and addresses the end of "No Child Left Behind" and the adoption of "Common Core", Keystone testing and the new "School Performance Profile".


The Achievement Report is available online.  Overall the report reflects the types of results that have driven the District to gain increased national prominence.

  • The new School Performance metrics rank 5 out of 6 of our schools over 90%.  

  • The traditional measures of PSSA results show that in most cases the district has met or exceeded it's 3 year running average (a Board goal), in some cases with the highest scores the district has ever achieved.

  • 4th grade math results stood out, reflecting the success of the new math program

  • Keystone test results (a relatively new measure) show marked improvement

  • SAT test results remain steady

  • AP enrollment has jumped significantly

  • The number of National Merit Scholars has also risen sharply


Board comments were centered on how the metrics reveal the District's relentless focus on the individual student with a strong commitment to continuous improvement.  The District's profile has been raised nationally and there was some discussion of steps the UHS counseling department is taking to reach out to college admissions officers with the good news about our students.


In response to discussions about the metrics, John Nolen (Director of Curriculum and Instruction) commented that "Good curriculum and good instruction should test well".


One of the final summary Board comments to the Administration was to continue to focus on areas of improvement.


John Sanville commented that "We focus on standards and we won't rest until all students are achieving those standards to their best ability"



We are committed to transparency and encourage community participation.  If you have any questions please email us at 

ucfsdcommunications@ucfsd.net










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