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.

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

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