Summary of August State Board of Education Agenda

August 5-6, 2009

The following State Board of Education Committees met on Wednesday, August 5: Business/Finance and Advocacy Committee (8:00 AM), Globally Competitive Students (10:00 AM), Leadership for Innovation Committee (1:45 PM), and the 21st Century Professionals Committee (1:45 PM). The State Board of Education met on Thursday, August 6.

Wednesday, August 5, 2009

Business/Finance and Advocacy Committee Meeting

Action and Discussion Agenda

Action on First Reading

  • TCS 1 Approval of Grants Approved the grants.

-2009-2010 Unallotted Reading First Fund North Carolina has $1,188,571 in Reading First funds, that schools have reverted this year. The purpose of this item is to allot all the remaining funds directly to the grant schools to offset the 62 percent budget reduction of the US Department of Education. Supplemental allotments are based on ADM. WCPSS is not included in this item.  A list of the schools receiving the supplemental allotments is available upon request from this office.

-Education for Homeless Children and Youth Grant Awards The North Carolina Department of Public Instruction receives funds from the US Department of Education under the Title X-McKinney-Vento Homeless Assistance Act. The allocation to North Carolina for the 2009-2010 school year is estimated to be $1,503,440. The estimated funding to be awarded to LEAs are $1,127,580. Wake County Public Schools requested $80,000 (the maximum allowed) to support the 1,745 homeless children in our schools.  WCPSS was granted the full amount. A complete list of funds allotted to each LEA requestor is available from this office.

In response to a question from Board member Howell, staff indicated there are approximately 15,000 homeless children living in shelters in North Carolina. However, the number of homeless children not living in shelters may be higher.  Mr. Howell urged the members to speak to their local Boards regarding this most important issue.

  • TCS 2 2009-10 Special Provisions This item was included in the agenda this month. Committee Meeting: The State Budget was due to be read in both Chambers for the third time on Wednesday and sent to the Governor for signature. Mr. Price indicated there was little to discuss until the bill was ratified. He did briefly mention the $225 million cut to the education budget representing a decrease in per pupil allotment of $153.60.  The impact to WCPSS is $21.7 million. However, class size would remain the same for grades K-3 for the 2009-2010 school year. In addition, the Stabilization Funds are ready for distribution, though it was unclear when they would be sent to the LEAs.

Contract Update

Contracts over $25,000 – 66 Proposals

Board Meeting: Board member Taft had concerns with two contract items regarding the large amount of the contracts written to individuals and requested additional information from Mr. Price.

Contracts under $25,000 – 23 Proposals

New Business

-Communications Update Ms. Jeter indicated, during the month, staff was preparing communications regarding the State Budget, School Report Cards and the ABC/AYP report.

-Intern Update- Presentation of Projects/Reports Interns, Corliss C. Brown, Shanyce L. Campbell, and Breonte S. Guy reported on the two projects researched this summer. Project 1: Assessing Current Course Scheduling Practices of North Carolina’s High Schools. High School is a critical time for students, preparing them to graduate and immediately enter the workforce. Creating a schedule that ensures students will graduate ready to move to their desired next step is a complex task and impacts the school’s instructional and social climate. The scheduling methods studied included traditional, block and hybrid models. The sample size included 62 NC high schools in 38 LEAs of which 30 used the traditional model of scheduling and 32 the block schedule model. Research is inconclusive on evidence supporting the benefits of block scheduling for students, teachers, administrators or the government and should be reevaluated The recommendation submitted was to implement a hybrid schedule model for all North Carolina high schools. This model would give students an opportunity to take additional courses, it would alleviate the need for extensive planning and professional development workshops for teachers, administrators would have the liberty to match teachers with the appropriate time structure for their subject matter and state government would benefit from the cost savings of hybrid freeing funding for additional initiatives or programs to improve student achievement. Project 2 Determine if there is a Relationship between Health and Dropout Rates that could Create Future Policies Addressing High School Completion. Obesity is one problem facing North Carolina High School students. The state is ranked 14th in the nation for childhood obesity and this may impact academic achievement and school attendance potentially leading to disengagement from school or dropping out. The recommendation is to incorporate a wellness center in all North Carolina middle schools. By attending the physical fitness classes, students can work toward meeting the recommended requirement for sixty minutes of daily activity, see the importance of healthy lifestyles and become more socially engaged. Physical activity has also been shown to improve cognitive functioning. Members of the Board commended the work of the interns and indicated the importance of a follow up on this data.

Globally Competitive Students

Action and Discussion

Action on First Reading

  • GCS 1 ABCs/AYP Report for the 2008-09 School Year (Presented on Thursday at the end of the meeting, followed by press event) Approved the ABCs/AYP status of each school for the 2008-09 school year. The report is published electronically at http://abcs.ncpublicschools.org. The report includes results for all schools. Retest scores in grades 3 through 8 were used for the first time in calculating ABCs performance composites and AYP results.

Board Meeting: An extensive report was provided by Dr. Lou Fabrizio.  The full report and attachments are available on the SBE Meeting web site http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/stateboard/meetings/2009/revisions/08revisions. There were 103 schools meeting High Growth, 18 with Expected Growth designated Honor Schools of Excellence, 502 Schools of Distinction, 1,062 Schools of Progress 253 Schools with No Recognition, 361 Priority Schools and 75 Low-Performing Schools. Low-Performing school in Wake Co. for 2009-2010 is PreEminent Charter School. For 2008-09, 70.8 percent of schools (2,416) met AYP. Retest results for students in grades 3 through 8 were used in the 2008-09 school year results if they were higher than the students’ initial test scores. In the AYP Subgroups the total number of Targets Met was 39,440 of 41,324 (95.4 percent) and increase from 84.6 percent in 2007-08. There were 987 schools that obtained AYP by using Safe Harbor. However, 734 schools did not make AYP (401 due to one Subgroup and 127 schools missed AYP due to two Subgroups. The 2009 4-Year cohort Graduation Rate (9th graders in 2005-06) is 71.7 percent and increase from 70.3 percent in 2008.  The 5-Year Cohort Graduation Rate for 2009 (9th graders in 2004-05) is 72.9 percent. Schools will have 30-days to report mistakes and make appeals to the Compliance Commission.

Discussion

  • GCS 2 Supplemental Educational Services (SES) Evaluation Policy The SBE discussed the proposed policy. The reauthorization of ESEA requires the State Education Agency (SEA) to develop, implement, and publicly report on standards and techniques for monitoring the quality and effectiveness of services offered by approved supplemental educational services (SES) providers. The SEA must establish procedures for withdrawing approval from providers that fail, for two consecutive years, to contribute to increasing the academic proficiency of students served by the providers. A copy of the policy and evaluation rubric is available upon request from this office. Committee Meeting: Elementary Secondary Education Act is the reauthorization of NCLB. Staff presented an overview of the policy and the evaluation rubric indicating the criteria for evaluation was determined by three factors: 1) student achievement, 2) parent satisfaction and 3) attendance. There are 14,000 students in North Carolina eligible for services from outside providers. Currently there are 8,000 students being served. Educational service providers must show students are improving in proficiency. According to the law, they have a two-year period in which to show their programs are successful, otherwise, they will be removed from the list of service providers.  The new policy and evaluation rubric establishes a procedure for the removal process by creating several steps before action is taken toward removal. Board member Taft had concerns with the two-year time span, stating if they were not providing adequate service to students who are already at risk, why wait two years to take them off the list. Staff was asked to see if this time frame could be shortened to one year. The Board also indicated they wanted a higher level of monitoring and more evaluation feedback from teachers and parents. They also wanted the authority to remove service providers from the approved list of providers if their students were not showing growth. Suggestions regarding the evaluation form were made for staff to consider. This item will return again in September for discussion.
  • GCS 3 High School Courses Taken in the Middle School Considerations for English Language Arts The SBE discussed the expansion of the existing policy to include English Language Arts courses, specifically, English I. DPI staff will share information with the Committee on expanding the current policy GCS-M-001 to allow middle school students to take and receive credit for high school English Language Arts courses.  Committee Meeting: Members indicated the title should be changed to the English I Course rather than English Language Arts. Middle school students would not receive honors credit for taking the course, it would only fulfill the course requirement toward graduation. Board members had concerns for the number of clock hours for middle school students, 135 versus 150 hours and would this be a mandate for LEAs to offer this course or would it be voluntary. There was also concern regarding the high school English requirement. Would this leave a gap in the English courses for high school seniors? Would they choose not to take an English course during their senior year? Ms. Willoughby spoke in support of the option to offer English I to middle school students, stating it would raise the expectations for redesigning education, raise the graduation rate and eliminate barriers for students wishing to achieve higher standards. This item will return again in September for discussion.
  • GCS 4 K-12 Mathematics, English 10, Occupational Course of Study, and K-12 Information Technology Essential Standards The SBE reviewed the new Essential Standards for K-12 Mathematics, English 10, Occupational Course of Study, and K-12 Information Technology. Staff is recommending policy GCS-F-006 be deleted, because the  North Carolina Standard Course of Study for Computer and Technology Skills and the Information Skills courses have been merged and the policy is no longer needed. These essential standards are the result of analysis of current research, national and international standards, as well as business and labor market standards. Essential Standards are presented by content area and grade level with clarifying objectives. A draft of these standards can be found at:

http://www.ncpublicschools.org/acre/standards/

Committee Meeting: A lengthy slide presentation was made to Board members introducing the new Essential Standards. Dr. Garland presented the background on the Assessments, Standards, and Accountability. Angela Quick presented information and research regarding the national and international standards. An extensive report was made on the work of the staff in developing these new standards. (The power point presentation can be accessed from the link above). Ms. Williamson presented the overview of the Standards that included the content areas. Mr. Tate questioned the rationale of creating new standards, if the country is pursuing the move toward national standards. Dr. Garland indicated it was the hope of the Department that these new standards would be a part of the national standards and that we would have something to bring to the table. There are currently 46 states involved in the Race to the Top (RTTT), working to develop national standards. There is also approximately $350 million in assessment grant funding available to assist with budget challenges in developing new standards.

New Business

-Honors Review Follow-Up The report provided data between students’ performance in honors and non-honors performance for the EOC courses reviewed. There were 27 high schools selected to participate in the review. The data used was from the 2007-2008 school year.  Many course codes were not clearly identifiable as “Honors” courses or “Regular” courses and with this limitation only a small percentage of data for each course could be used. The average scores shed no light on the difference in rigor due to the expected higher performance among students choosing honors courses over regular courses. There were several recommendations for changes to policy including a list of courses that are eligible for “Weights”, adding a definition for Honors Courses, and the purpose of Honors Courses. In addition, an Internal Honors Committee was established to develop an Honors Course Review Process. Professional Support recommendations included a revision to the NC Honors Course Rubric, and Honors Course Implementation Guide. New policy recommendation will be available at the September meeting.

Old Business

-Graduation Project Status- With the passage of HB 223, which delayed the Graduation Project until July 2010, a survey was conducted to determine how many LEAs still plan to require students to complete a graduation project during 2009-2010, as part of a local exit standards. There was a 97 percent survey response rate from LEAs (112) to the survey question. There are 80 LEAs that will require the graduation project, 31 indicated they were not going to require the project and 1 was unsure. WCPSS indicated they were not requiring the project. Board members were enthusiastic with the response to the survey and the number of LEAs requiring this as a local exit standard. The Counties that did not respond to the survey were: Anson, Halifax and Weldon City.

Leadership for Innovation Committee

Action and Discussion Agenda

Action

  • LFI 1 Recommendations for Preliminary Approval of 2009 Charter School Applications Approved three applicants to receive preliminary charters.  There are three openings for new schools at the beginning of the 2009-2010 school year. Seven applicants have been interviewed by the LFI Committee. They are: Bear Grass Charter School, Duplin Charter School, Henderson Collegiate, Lake Lure Classical Academy, McKinney Academy Charter School, Mountain Island Charter School and New Bern International Academy. The Committee discussed the underlined schools as a recommendation, but there was some disagreement so the Board will take Action this month on the final three to be chosen (whomever). There were no applicants selected from Wake County.

Board Meeting: Paper ballots were provided to the members for the purpose of voting for the three remaining charter school openings for new schools in 2009-2010. Mr. Moyer explained how the votes would be counted.  The members would rank each of the schools and the three schools having the lowest number would be selected as the new schools.  Lt. Governor Walter Dalton, Mr. Reginald Kenan, and Mr. Kevin Howell were recused from voting. The vote results for the three new schools were: Henderson Collegiate, Lake Lure Classical Academy and Mountain Island Charters School.

Discussion

  • LFI 2 Charter Termination of PreEminent Charter School The Department of Public Instruction recommends termination of PreEminent’s Charter as of July 9, 2009. Renewal requirements for PreEminent to retain its charter were stated in a letter dated February 6, 2009. The charter school shall meet or exceed expected growth in the next two consecutive academic years (2008-09 and 2009-2010). Failure to meet this growth for any reason will cause PreEminent Charter Schools’s Charter to be revoked. PreEminent has been below 50 percent proficient four years in a row.

Board Meeting: There was no discussion of this item.  It will be placed on the September Agenda.

New Business

-Redesign of High School Turnaround Ms. Ashley indicated the results from the Turnaround Teams was very positive and she would present a detailed report in September.

21st Century Professionals Committee

Action and Discussion Agenda

Discussion

  • TCP 1 Addition of Elementary (K-6) Content Area Concentrations as License Areas The Board discussed the addition of the elementary (K-6) content area concentrations as license areas (English, math, science, and social studies). Individuals with an elementary (K-6) license would be eligible to have the elementary concentration areas added to their license based on the completion of 18 semester hours of graduate work in the content area. It will become effective upon Board approval.

Committee Meeting: This item was discussed briefly and there seemed to be some confusion over the graduate pay issue.  There is no additional pay for add-ons. In order to be paid graduate pay level, you must teach the subject at least 50 percent of the time.  This is not an option for (K-6) teachers. This item will be back in September for discussion.

  • TCP 2 Proposed Qualifying Score for the Revised School Leaders Licensure Assessment School Leadership Series The SBE discussed changing the scaled score to 163 for the revised School Leaders Licensure Assessment (SLLA) School Leadership Series. The current score for the SLLA is 155.  The revised SLLA test will be administered in September 2009 at which time the current test will no longer be available. This is a regeneration initiative by the Educational Testing Service (ETS), whereby the core content remains the same; however, the structure and formatting of the test have been updated. This item will become effective upon State Board approval.

Committee Meeting: Dr. Murphy explained the reason for changing the format of the test that resulted from several concerns from the field: test was too long and required to many written response questions. It was apparent from the discussion that the only reason to use the new test will be to license out-of-state administrators and would this be practical as an interim means toward licensure during this transition period. The new process will require “electronic evidence” or a portfolio to be submitted beginning in 2011. The question now becomes, will there be two different standards for licensure. Ms. Willoughby asked how many individuals would this involve? Staff will provide this information in September when the item will be back for further discussion.

  • TCP 3 Revised Mentor Standards and Training The SBE discussed the proposed mentoring and education program standards. During the 2008-09 academic year, the SBE authorized a task force to address the new program standards, the establishment of a network of mentor programs, a new training program for mentors, and a review of the current NC SBE policies on Beginning Teacher Support. The standards for mentoring and induction programs developed by the task force include: 1) Systemic Support for High Quality Induction Programs, 2) Mentor Selection, Development and Support, 3) Mentoring for Instruction Excellence, 4) Beginning Teacher Professional Development, and 5) Formative Assessment of Candidates and Programs. This item is scheduled for discussion in August and will return for Action in September. A copy of the standards is available upon request from this office.

Committee Meeting: Mr. Hirsch provided the Committee with the background and work of the task force to align a model mentor program with the new teacher evaluation and standards. He shared information researched from other mentor programs from other states, and the results from the responses to questions regarding mentoring on the Teacher Working Conditions Survey and then explained the development of the proposed model. He explained the various components of the program. Recommendations for changes in Board policy will be brought back to the Committee for discussion possibly as soon as December.

3:30 PM Board Convenes in Open Session

Closed Session

Board Reconvenes in Open Session

4:30 PM Adjourn

Thursday, August 6, 2009 (9:00 AM)

State Board of Education Meeting, Dr. Bill Harrison, Chairman

Call to Order,

Pledge of Allegiance

Swearing-In Ceremony for New Board Members

-Mr. Wayne McDevitt, Marshall, Education District 8, SBE Member (Reappointment)

-Ms. Tricia Willoughby, Raleigh, At-Large SBE Member (Reappointment)

-Mr. Reginald Kenan, Warsaw, Education District 2, SBE Member

Approval of Minutes

Special Recognition-New State Board of Education Advisors

-Mr. Vann Pennell, Wachovia North Carolina Principal of the Year Advisor

-Ms. Jessica Garner, AT&T North Carolina Teacher of the Year Advisor

Information Agenda

Globally Competitive Students

  • GCS 5 Field Testing and Special Studies for the 2009-10 School Year According to State Statute, the Superintendent shall notify LEAs by October 1, of each year of any field tests that will administered during the school year. No school will be required to participate in more than two field tests at a given grade and LEAs are permitted to file an official appeal requesting that school be excluded from a specific field test sample. There are eight field and pilot tests scheduled for the 2009-2010 school year.  A copy of the field test calendar is available upon request from this office.

Board Meeting: There was no further discussion on this item.

21st Century Professionals

  • TCP 4 2008 Teacher Working Conditions Survey Data and Research In the spring of 2008 more that 104,000 (87 percent) teachers and administrators statewide completed the NC Teacher Working Conditions Survey. There are reports on-line from traditional schools (100 percent), charter schools (62 percent), and special schools (81 percent). The presentation is a summary of the 2008 finds, including connections to student achievement and teacher retention, support for new teachers, tools for using data at the school level to inform school improvement conversations, principal working conditions, and support for the new teacher/principal evaluation instruments. Data from the 2008 survey can be accessed from:  http://www.ncteachingconditions.org/

Board Meeting: Mr. Hirsch presented a summary from Teacher Working Conditions Survey to the Board. He briefly reviewed some of the changes that were made and provided a brief historical background regarding the survey. Snapshot of Findings from 2008 “What’s Important for High Student Achievement,” include: 1) Supportive school leadership, 2) Sufficient facilities and resources and 3) Time for teachers to plan and collaborate. “What’s important for teacher retention”: 1) Overall perception of the school being a good place to work and learn, 2) Effectiveness of the School Improvement Team, 3) Presence of an atmosphere of trust and mutual respect. Other findings: Educators are more positive about their working conditions and principals and teachers have differing perceptions on working conditions. Board members were appreciative of the work done on the survey and voiced appreciation for those organizations that provided the initial financial backing for the project. In response to a question regarding an annual survey, it was determined if the survey were done annually, it would not be as effective and the turnaround time would not be adequate.

Late Item: Action on First Reading

  • TCP 5 Clarification of the Effective Date of the Adjusted Praxis II Scores for Physical Education The recommendation is for the Board to establish May 6, 2009 as the effective date for the adjusted Praxis II Physical Education passing score and that applicants for the physical education license after this date with a score of 152 or higher on the required Praxis II exam for Physical Education be deemed to have satisfied the testing requirement regardless of when the test was taken.

Board Meeting: Board members asked for clarification regarding the dates involved and how many candidates would be affected by this change. Unable to provide adequate information regarding the change, the item was pulled from the agenda and will return for the September meeting. Staff will make the necessary clarifications.

Board Meeting and Committee Chair Reports-Listed Above

Superintendent’s Report

Dr. June Atkinson indicated the third Career-Ready Commission meeting was held on July 28 and the members have begun formulating recommendations. DPI has created a web-based Performance Management Tool to give the SBE, DPI staff, a view of how DPI has organized its work to move the state toward achievement of SBE’s measurable objectives for NC students. Other activities included: NCDPI Career and Technical Education Summer Conference, Halifax County Schools Professional Development Series and WRESA Virtual Summer Leadership Conference.  Secretary of US Dept of Education, Arne Duncan, will meet with Dr. Atkinson, and Dr. Harrison on August 17.

Chairman’s Remarks

Halifax County Update Highlights include: ongoing staff development, recruiting efforts, and K-2 Assessment training. With the 64 percent low-performing proficiency, the Board reviewed the options of appointing an interim Superintendent and replacing their local Board.

Legislative Update Ms. Minard reviewed some of the highlights of the State’s $19 billion budget. Public Education would be allocated $7.5 billion.  She indicated that due to the change in the admission date for kindergarten, 11,562 children would be affected. The per pupil allotment will be $5,523 for 2009-2010 school year and $5,577 in 2010-2011. Math textbooks for Grades 6-12 have been delayed with a 2-year moratorium on all textbooks. The Central Office allotment for LEAs with 30,000 ADM or more will be decreased by 18 percent. Testing will also be reduced. A brief report was made on the Special Provisions. The Session Adjournment Resolution calls for them to reconvene, May 19, 2010.

Old Business

New Business

-Approval of SBE 2010 Meeting Schedule

January 6-7, February 3-4, March 3-4, March 31-April 1, May 5-6, June 2-3, July 30-July 1, August4-5, September 1-2, October 6-7, November 3-4 and December 1-2.

Globally Competitive Students

Action on First Reading

  • GCS 1 ABCs/AYP Report for the 2008-09 School Year (followed by a press event in the Board Lounge, adjacent to the State Board Room)

12:45 PM Adjourn

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