Fw: June State Board Meeting News
- ----- Original Message -----To: aldyer@...Sent: Tuesday, June 30, 2009 10:45 PMSubject: June State Board Meeting NewsThe MonitorA report of the State Board of Education's monthly meetingJune 23, 2009AnnouncementsBoard President DeGraffenreidt opened the meeting by announcing two State Board member resignations. Board Vice President Blair Ewing submitted his resignation due to health concerns, and board member Rosa Garcia resigned after having accepted a new job that prevents her from fulfilling board member duties.
Adults with Disabilities Program Regulations
The State Board granted permission to publish proposed amendments to regulations governing MSDE's Division of Rehabilitative Services administration of programs for adults with disabilities. Amendments update the sliding scale to determine financial eligibility, the fee schedule, and the extension of the disability employment tax credit (COMAR 13A.11.01, 13A.11.02, and .08). The timeline for adopting the proposed regulations includes publication in the Maryland Register on August 28, a 30-day comment period ending September 30, and final adoption by the State Board at its October meeting.Employee RecognitionPresident DeGraffenreidt recognized Ms. Sue Page, director of the Maryland Disability Determination Services (DDS) and Dr. George Albright, DDS chief medical advisor, who both received awards from the federal Social Security Administration.
National Distinguished Principal and Assistant Principal of the YearDebbie Drown, Executive Director of the Maryland Association of Elementary School Principals (MAESP), introduced the National Distinguished Principal of the Year, Dana M. McCauley, from the Crellin School in Garrett County; and National Distinguished Assistant Principal of the Year, James T. Richardson, from Highland Park Elementary School in Prince George's County.Alternative Governance Plan for Schools in ImprovementThe State Board heard a brief overview of the process required under the federal No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) regarding the development and implementation of restructuring plans for schools and school systems demonstrating continued failure to make adequate yearly progress (AYP). Dr. Grasmick and staff noted that they recommend approval of the plans submitted by the Baltimore City and Dorchester County school systems.
Dr. Andres Alonso, Baltimore City School System CEO, presented the alternative governance proposal for Moravia Park Elementary/Middle School. The system is proposing "Option 1", among several options under NCLB, which features replacing all or most of the school staff, which may include the principal, who are relevant to the school's inability to make adequate yearly progress.
Dr. Alonso explained the system's strategy has become very aggressive about putting kids in high performing schools instead of working with schools that are persistently failing and highly dangerous. In deciding to work with Monrovia, he noted the school was never on the list for schools where closing is considered. He shared that enrollment data and parent choice indicated families wanted their children at Monrovia. He said he also considered the fact that first and second graders' Stanford test scores in 2009 showed remarkable progress. Dr. Alonzo said these factors argued for the school system continuing to work with and support the school. He related that the proposal is driven by the school community who recommended replacing all or most staff. He shared that administration and staff positions were posted, interviews are on-going, and all staff hired will be "highly qualified" in accordance with NCLB.
Dr. Alonso shared that benchmark assessments, and literature and math professional development, will be provided along with additional services made available through the school-based Fair Student Funding program. He highlighted the school's demographic and student performance data on enrollment, attendance, the high percentage of free and reduced price meal eligible students, and the declining rate of suspensions. He emphasized that MSA scores have increased as opposed to the flatness of past years and that while 2009 data is not yet available, he believes the trend will continue. He feels the school has huge potential and wants to see it realized.
Board member Dukes asked Dr. Alonso about the difference in language between option one stating 'replacement' and the presentation stating 'reapplication'. Dr. Alonso explained that in Maryland, zero-based means staff reapplies for positions. He stated that all schools have great teachers, even if the school overall is problematic. He explained that failing to meet AYP may be caused by just one subgroup of students. He added that in some cases, only replacing the principal may be indicated, or the community may decide to keep the principal but provide more support. Board member Dukes stated there is an incongruence in the language that may lead parents to think the whole staff will be new and while she agrees with Dr. Alonso's explanation, she sees a resulting misunderstanding. Dr. Grasmick stated she agreed with Dr. Dukes but that is the language provided. She also stated that some teachers may be qualified but not suited to certain environments.
Board member Finan asked about the percentage of highly qualified teachers. Dr. Alonso stated that Monrovia had an average percentage compared to the rest of the school system but that percentage will increase with the zero-based option being implemented. Board member Brooks noted that the school was missing AYP by a few points and while that was unfortunate, the school did show real progress. He stated that after the zero-based option was implemented, there would probably be a core group of staff left that had been responsible for past success. Mr. Brooks noted that NCLB insures that the slope continues to get steeper, and we need to be talking about adopting the growth model approach when NCLB is reauthorized. He commended Dr. Alonso for making progress.
Board member Walks asked why, if the bar was being raised higher each year with NCLB, were there less schools coming before the board for restructuring. Dr. Alonso answered that for Baltimore City, he would like to think it was because of genuine progress but also stated that the school system is closing schools that are not working for kids and increasing the effectiveness of others. He also stated that if NCLB is not reauthorized, more schools will be having difficulty making AYP. Dr. Grasmick added that last year, many systems were at the 80-90% level so progress will become more difficult. She predicted that trend could be evident with this year's scores. Board member Pizzigati stated that this is a concern at the national level, and discussions regarding the growth model are ongoing between the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) and the U.S. Department of Education.
Dr. Pizzigati asked Dr. Alonso about communication with Monrovia's community. He answered that communication is always challenging; noting staff must work to involve all constituencies, and that if parents attend functions they understand what is planned. He added that communication will continue over the summer so the community is aware of changes at Monrovia.
The State Board voted unanimously to accept the alternative governance proposal for Moravia Park Elementary/Middle School.
Dr. Fred Hildebrand, Dorchester County Superintendent, and Henry Wagner, Assistant Superintendent, presented the alternative governance proposal for Mace's Lane School. The system is proposing "Option 1", among several options under NCLB, which features replacing all or most of the school staff, which may include the principal, who are relevant to the school's inability to make adequate yearly progress.
Dr. Hildebrand stated that Dorchester is a small county with limited resources, a small number of schools, and is therefore restructuring from a small pool of staff. He related the plan has been presented to Dorchester's middle school task force, their system wide task force, and a wide range of stakeholders. He stated they have revamped the appraisal and evaluation process with staff, restructured the Human Resources Department and the recruiting process, and worked closely with MSDE's Mary Carey and the Breakthrough Center.
Dr. Hildebrand shared that at the end of the year, Mace's Lane was 55% minority, 11.8% Special Education, and 1.1% English Language Learners (ELL), with over 62% free and reduced price meal eligible (FARM) students. He said that over the past four years, the number of highly qualified staff has improved. He stated while there has been improvement, AYP had not been met in the African American, FARM and Special Education subgroups. He stated that next year 33% of the staff would be replaced, remaining staff was assessed for their commitment to the school, and that the restructuring plan has been shared with the community. He added that Dorchester County was in the same budget crunch as other counties, and they were forced to reduce staff in all schools except Maces Lane where they are increasing staff.
Mr. Wagner presented the process and timeline for the alternative governance plan which included replacing staff. He shared that Maces Lane will have a new principal who was coming from a school that was removed from improvement status last year, and that all staff were now highly qualified. He related that the school has a new curriculum, several new intervention programs, an afterschool program, and a summer school program. He also shared that the Maces Lane Alumni Association was becoming involved in the school.
Board member Walsh asked why the school was not designated Title I, given the percentage of FARM students. Dr. Hildebrand explained that only elementary schools in Dorchester county are designated Title I schools, a decision made by a prior administration but one with which he agrees. He stated that Title I options for funding and programs are best used at the elementary level, and that Maces Lane feeds from four different elementary schools.Board member Walsh asked about population trends at the schools. Dr. Hildebrand explained that Dorchester County lost approximately 100 students last year which resulted in a loss of funding.Board member Walks asked why more teachers were not highly qualified. Dr. Hildebrand explained it was difficult to recruit teachers to a small, rural county. He further explained current teachers were not highly qualified because of failure to maintain their certification or teaching out of their area of certification.Board member Walks inquired as to how the State Board can help in the hiring of highly qualified teachers. Dr. Hildebrand said higher education needed to produce more teachers, and there needed to be incentives for teachers to come to small, rural counties.Board member Finan thanked Dr. Hildebrand for his explanation about replacing teachers, and the interview and implementation process.
Dr. Hildebrand thanked Dr. Grasmick and Mary Carey for their support. He also thanked Board member Goodall for his service to the Eastern Shore school systems.The State Board voted unanimously to accept the alternative governance proposal for Maces Lane Middle School.
HandoutSeed School UpdateEric Adler, co-founder of the SEED School, and Jerry Koons, the head of the school, reported on their first year of operation. The SEED School is a publicly and privately funded residential school to serve at-risk students, modeled on a similar school in Washington DC, which was established by the Maryland General Assembly in 2006. The school, located in Baltimore City, opened in the fall of 2008 with 80 sixth grade students. Mr. Adler and Koons thanked the board and MSDE for their support in the first year, with special thanks to board member Rosa Garcia in helping with outreach to Latino community, In addition they thanked Dr. Grasmick for support in the transition phase and Dr. Rhona Fisher for providing her expertise.
Mr. Adler presented end of year data including test results and student enrollment. He reported that the SEED School now has an active PTA and parents involved with activities. He stated that students have come from 14 different counties and the school has increased its racial, ethnic, and geographic diversity. He reported that next year the school will expand enrollment by adding the seventh grade, schedules and courses are set, and RFPs have been issued for support services.
Board member Dukes inquired as to the reason students leave before graduation. Mr. Adler answered that most leave due to their own homesickness or a parent's desire to have the child at home. He related that one parent wanted a track team which the school did not provide at that time.Dr. Dukes asked about the students' daily schedule. Mr. Adler described a basic day which included classes, study hall, character values education, and chores.Board member Walks noted the higher percentage of male students enrolled and asked if that would cause them to rethink the admissions process. Mr. Adler answered there was an option to do that now but they do look at students as individuals.Dr. Walks noted there are two kind of success stories, students that graduate and students that leave the school but still do well. Mr. Adler said according to their data from Washington, D.C., the population they draw from generally has a less than 50% graduation rate, but students that attend SEED and leave before 12th grade have a graduation rate of 90%, indicating the SEED experience had an impact.Board member Staton inquired what the school offered students over the summer months. Mr. Adler stated that no summer school is offered but a position is being created for a staff member that will be able to advise parents of summer opportunities.
President DeGraffenreidt and Dr. Grasmick both offered their congratulations to the SEED School for a successful first year. Board member Finan observed that Joann Carter would have been pleased by the report as she devoted much time and energy to the SEED School.
HandoutLongitudinal Data SystemDr. Leslie Wilson, MSDE, reported on the progress of the Longitudinal Data System (LDS) and the fact that MSDE is now required to make progress with an LDS in order to receive stimulus funds. She reported on the current system, grants received, data quality comparisons, data quality surveys, and the ongoing process of adding components. She reported on the 2009 legislation authorizing MSDE to develop standard course codes, which the department is doing. She noted that although MSDE will not require school systems to adopt standard codes, school systems will need to provide a "crosswalk" to indicate what local number corresponds to the MSDE course code.
Dr. Wilson reported it is a huge project to provide student level transcripts, and school systems will have to make adjustments in order to provide information such as which student took which course in a specific grade. She noted that MSDE is a long way from away from having that data. She reported that next steps include a teacher specific identification number, also authorized by 2009 legislation, that will protect the teachers' privacy while connecting the teacher with the student performance data. She added this will be a major undertaking for school systems because not all have systems in place and MSDE cannot collect data that the school system is not collecting. She emphasized that MSDE will need to work with school systems on that issue.Dr. Wilson stated MSDE was taking a modular approach by breaking the whole project down into chunks and costing out each chunk individually. She stated they were limited by the procurement process, and the fact that years have to pass to acquire longitudinal data. She added that they need to plan carefully, involve the local school systems, and use the money wisely to produce the necessary results.
Board president DeGraffenreidt asked about the expertise of the people managing the project. Dr. Wilson answered that the staff is adept at managing process but that a full time project manager familiar with LDS is needed. She added this would be hard to provide on a state salary scale, and they would need to be careful with the procurement process. She stated a contractor will need to have done this project before in another state, and that MSDE would need more people to run the system. She added there would be hardware and software issues, along with licensing issues, server problems, and regular maintenance issues regarding the system's infrastructure.
Dr. Wilson explained this would not be a real time system, that schools systems will prepare their data and submit it to MSDE, and that at this time, all 24 jurisdictions had different data systems. She added that some states accomplished an LDS 'top down' and provided their school systems with funding, but that was very expensive. She stressed the need for the State Board's support and advocacy.
Dr. Grasmick highlighted the Department's responsibility to supervise contractors and that since the Department just lost six positions, that would be problematic. She added the procurement process was problematic and slow, and would pose many challenges.
Board president DeGraffenreidt commented that it was timely to provide the Board information on the LDS process as they will be able to use it locally and in Annapolis. He added this was not a single issue item. He asked Dr. Grasmick where Maryland stood as opposed to other states, and if Maryland was at a disadvantage with regard to "Race to the Top" federal stimulus grant funds. Dr. Grasmick reported that four assurances had to be in place for those funds, and Maryland was strong in three out of four (standards and assessment, highly qualified teachers, and restructuring chronically low performing schools). She added that with this LDS plan in place, perhaps that would inspire confidence that Maryland is making progress on the fourth assurance, and added that we have proven to be a good investment in the past.
Board member Walsh expressed concern about the fact that unless the teacher identifier is in place, Maryland will not be considered, and Race to the Top money will not fund the teacher identifier. Dr. Wilson explained that stimulus funds will be used for the teacher identifier.Board member Staton asked about the cost for the LDS and whether any funding would be available for the local school systems. Dr. Wilson related that the U.S. Department of Education has stated that local systems received stimulus funds and already have sufficient data systems. Dr. Wilson added that MSDE had provided local systems with a needs assessment that will not only give MSDE information but will help local systems with planning. Board member Pizzigati asked about information from other states that have strong data systems. Dr. Wilson stated there are collaborative efforts underway, and that a full needs assessment will be done in the fall of 2009.
Board member Walks asked how the public will understand the LDS and not think it is related to tracking and stereotyping students. He added that they need to talk about the higher education system and the statewide perspective, and asked what issues need to be brought forward with the U.S. Department of Education, and what issues were there surrounding Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA). Dr. Grasmick responded that some are objecting to the LDS because they believe it to be a violation of FERPA. Dr. Pizzigati noted there are many states currently administering LDS. Board member Brooks suggested using higher education as resource.
Dr. Walks asked if Maryland is at a disadvantage if only relying on federal funds. Dr. Grasmick answered yes. Board President DeGraffenreidt stated the issue had been discussed with legislators, and that a proposal to develop a system that is not concrete, is four years in the future, and costs millions of dollars, is not popular. He added this type of project needed a strategic presentation and high level stewardship through the legislative process.
Dr. Walks asked why a poor state like Louisiana is funding an LDS but Maryland is not. Mr. DeGraffenreidt responded it was a matter of perspective, and one purpose of today's presentation was to educate board members so they may answer legislator's questions. Dr. Grasmick added that in fairness to the General Assembly, this issue had not risen to their level, and Louisiana does not have a high level of student achievement because funding had been diverted elsewhere. Mr. DeGraffenreidt stated the Governor has made this a priority and is working to understand the issues.
Dr. Grasmick asked Dr. Wilson about 2009 HSA data. Dr. Wilson reported it is due the third week in July and a preliminary analysis would be provided at the September meeting of the State Board.Transfer of Adult Education Programs & Diploma by Examination MOUDr. Grasmick introduced Department of Labor, Licensing and Regulation (DLLR) Secretary Thomas Perez, and recommended to the board the signing of the Memorandum of Understanding between MSDE and DLLR. She advised it included assurance that control is provided regarding the awarding of a Maryland high school diploma including regulations that insure clarity and a method for updating regulations that includes MSDE input.Secretary Perez expressed his pleasure with the MOU and reported that staff is ready to begin work and attend an upcoming retreat. He added that DLLR will continue to provide the great service that Marylanders have come to expect.Board President DeGraffenreidt expressed his appreciation for the amount of work accomplished in a compressed time frame.The MOU was signed by Secretary Perez, President DeGraffenreidt, and Dr. Grasmick.
Board Member RecognitionOutgoing Board members Richard Goodall, Dunbar Brooks, Karabelle Pizzigati, and student member Derek Wu, whose terms expire on June 30, 2009, were recognized for their Board service.State Superintendent's ReportDr. Grasmick reported that the issue of the word 'voluntary' in Voluntary State Curriculum will be brought before the State Board at their next meeting with a recommendation to remove all references in COMAR.
Dr. Grasmick reported that she and Governor O'Malley signed onto the National Core Standards and Assessments. She related this issue is on a fast track, and in July they will receive the relevant materials. She stated it would be MSDE's job to look at the materials with stakeholders, and at the appropriate time the Board will decide whether or not to replace current state standards. Dr. Grasmick noted Maryland's synergy with the national standards due to the ongoing participation in the American Diploma Project which is an initiative of Achieve Inc. and the National Governors Association, two of the entities crafting the national standards.She related that the application for federal Race to the Top grants includes commitments to work on common core standards and the four assurances discussed earlier with regard to the longitudinal data system. Dr. Grasmick also related that one issue will be whether states place a cap on the number of charter schools, which Maryland does not. She observed that Maryland has 34 charter schools in 4 to 5 counties, which is not many considering Maryland's size, and added that while other school systems do not want them, there are legitimate reasons for that.
Dr. Grasmick reported that MSA data has been sent to the local school systems and the appeal process is underway. She added results will be reported to the State Board in July.Dr. Grasmick also reported on the Drop Out Prevention Summit held the prior day. She related that Maryland has a low rate of 3% but that is still too high. She added that each local school system will incorporate a drop out plan into their Master Plan.
NASBY ReportBoard member Pizzigati reported that the National Association of State Boards of Education (NASBE) held study groups in June, and that former board members Ewing and Garcia were both on study groups, along with MSDE staff member Anthony South. She also reported on NASBE's support for adopting the growth model approach when NCLB is reauthorized.
Public CommentDr. Jerome Dancis suggested using federal stimulus funds to provide math and science teachers with content knowledge, and expanding the principals academy. He also noted that Massachusetts has higher standards for teachers.
Enrique Melendez, Anne Arundel County school board member and member of the MABE board of directors, thanked the Board and MSDE for facilitating the Drop Out Prevention Summit and stated MABE's intention to continue to work collaboratively on this complex issue. Mr. Melendez also shared news and data from Anne Arundel County.Legal OpinionsThe State Board issued opinions in the following cases:
Gardner v. Montgomery County Board of Education, affirming the local board's decision; Hearn v. Montgomery County Board of Education, affirming the local board's decision; and Piper v. Allegany County Board of Education, dismissing the appeal.
Maryland Association of Boards of Edu
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