Wednesday, February 24, 2016

Board Recap - Feb 2016

February 2016

New Feature!

Now, whenever we add a link to the Board video it will take you to the exact point where the conversation begins - no more scrubbing and scrolling - making it easier than ever to stay informed.

Top Topics for the Month

  • Delayed School Start Times Update
  • UCFSD Educational Technology Initiative Proposal
  • Decile Rankings Proposal
  • Climate Survey Approved
  • Strategic Planning Update

Delayed School Start Times Update

This county-wide effort originally initiated by UCFSD students continues.  The Board received an update from UHS students Matt Daniels and Alice Liu this month.  Alice and Matt reported that the research and evaluation is complete and the benefits of a delayed start time are clear.  The team has identified the obstacles, though significant they have been overcome in schools across the country.  The IU has commissioned research of other schools/districts that have done this.  The next step is to devise a plan to overcome those obstacles (due in the spring).  

Video of student update

UCFSD Educational Technology Initiative Proposal

This is a pretty big deal for the district - over two years in development with countless hours of study, prototyping, discussion and planning.  The proposal made to the Board would create a single landing point for all courses 6-12 through the Canvas Learning Management System.  All teachers would have all their assignments, syllabi and course resources in one standardized system.  All students 6-12 would have Chromebooks, providing easy access to digital resources.

The Curriculum and Ed Tech committee meeting was recorded for public review and comment.  Board members were provided detailed binders and are developing questions for the administration.  The March committee meeting will be focused on Board discussion on this initiative.  

The Board is generally in favor of the recommendation.  There are a few key points of deliberation.  Student Chromebooks - should all students get them and take them home?  What are the pros and cons of this model and could it be different by grade level or student preference?  The second important topic up for discussion is how to finance this.  The administration has recommended a tech fee to be paid by parents to offset the cost of the devices.

Presentation document

Video of the Curriculum and Ed Tech meeting

Decile Rankings Proposal

This topic has driven MUCH conversation.  Since the initial proposal from the administration we have asked for and received hundreds of comments through surveys and a special evening public forum held at the high school.

Video of Special Public Forum on Decile Rankings

This month's regular Board meeting was dominated by community input on the proposal as well.  With over an hour and a half of public comment.

It was a proud moment for our community as parent after parent came to the mic to provide input to the Board that was intelligent, well thought out, researched and respectful.

The video is long but a few key themes became evident.

  • Decile ranking can be a reward and recognition of high academic achievement.  If this proposal goes forward, how can the Board preserve this benefit?

  • Decile rankings can be motivational, encouraging students to work harder.  If rankings are eliminated will this benefit be negated?

  • Decile rankings may help students in the top 10%.  Can the district add information to the UHS school profile that helps colleges in their decision making process? Can the reporting of deciles be optional?

  • Decile rankings harm those not in the top 10%.  Can the district move quickly and eliminate decile rank reporting now while it addresses the items above.

There certainly were many other points made.  A lot of conversation about competition and preparing students for the competitive world they will find themselves in as adults.  Watch the video.  It provides interesting insights about our community and it's values.

Video of Public Comment on Proposal

The Board deliberated on the public input - watch the video for more details.  The bottom line is - the Board is not ready to take action and they voted to defer to the March Board meeting.  The administration was asked to put together alternatives for implementation that would address the community's concerns.

Video of Board Discussion on Decile Ranking Policy

Additional Resources and Feedback:

Letter of Explanation

Parent Survey

Student Survey

Curriculum Council Review

Climate Survey Approved

The Board approved a plan to execute a district-wide climate survey.  UCF is committed to continuous improvement and climate surveys are an excellent vehicle for collecting information and attitudes from all stakeholders that can be used to improve processes and practices.

More information will be coming out soon.

Strategic Planning Update

Strategic plans are used by most top tier companies and districts to affirm goals, prioritize resources and align efforts that drive improvements. The Board is considering options for developing a strategic plan for UCFSD.  A request for proposal was put out and those proposals are being reviewed now.  

Strategic Plans, done correctly, also require a lot of time - competing with other goals and objectives.  The scope of this project has not yet been determined or funded.  The upcoming presentation of proposals will lead to more clarity on scope, costs and benefits.

Video of Board Discussion on Strategic Planning

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