Summary of November State Board of Education Agenda: November 4-5, 2009


All of the State Board of Education Committees met on Wednesday, November 4: Globally Competitive Students, the 21st Century Professionals Committee, the Leadership for Innovation Committee, and the Business/Finance and Advocacy Committee. In addition, on Wednesday the Charter School ad hoc Committee met immediately after the Closed Session. On Thursday, November 5, the State Board of Education met at 9:00 AM. Access to the Executive Summaries and back up documents are on the SBE website at:

HYPERLINK “http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/stateboard/meetings/2009/11” http://www.dpi.state.nc.us/stateboard/meetings/2009/11.

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Globally Competitive Students (10:00 AM)

Discussion

GCS 1 Changes to Policy Delineating End-of-Grade and End-of Course Retests and Review Procedures DPI presented the option to the SBE to eliminate the third administration (Retest 2) of the end-of-grade and end-of-course test effective with 2009-2010. Retest 2 is no longer required by the State and scores are not included in ABCs or AYP. Following Retest 1, schools may use the results from both the Regular administration and Retest 1 along with other available information to make promotion decisions. After Retest 1 the standard error of measurement (SEM) may be used at the discretion of the LEAs. The policy change must be made in November so the change can be effective for the fall block testing at the high schools.

Committee Meeting: After lengthy discussion members agreed there were two separate issues to be decided with this item, the testing window and the elimination of Retest 2.  Some committee members were supportive of the elimination of the Retest 2, but others were not. Board member Howell asked Bill McNeal to stand and address the committee on the issue. He told Board members there are 15 LEAs, who by their policies require the 2nd retest and he urged the Board not to eliminate the 2nd retest option. Give LEAs flexibility and if they want to provide the 2nd retest they should be allowed to do so. They had some problems with the policy change with respect to the testing window and they agreed not to make any changes to that issue. They went back and forth on the policy changes. They asked about the cost of the 2nd retest, they talked about the success rate for the 1st retest (Dr. Fabrizio indicated 10 percent pass rate increase last year). They decided even if they were to eliminate the 2nd retest they would not implement it until 2010-2011 to give LEAs a chance to plan accordingly. They talked about how it is unfair for students who take a Spring semester course and fail opposed to those who take a Fall semester course and have until June 30 to pass the test, taking it up to three times. Mr. McNeal requested the Board meet with superintendents to hear their issues and the Board said they had heard from their LEAs.  Ms. Willoughby said the retesting policy is a bandaid and as soon as they finish their new standards and assessments it will not be an issue for discussion. This item may be back again next month for more discussion.

GCS 2 Discussion of North Carolina’s Proposed New Accountability Model The Board heard a presentation on the EVAAS system. Components of the proposed model include student performance, value-added performance for teachers, schools and districts, long-term growth, graduation rate, Future Ready Core, and postsecondary readiness. Dr. Bill Sanders and Dr. June Rivers will present the EVAAS system to the GCS Committee. A worksheet enumerates several issues for consideration: Exploration and planning for other widely used assessment, like ACT, SAT, WorkKeys or Accuplacer. The Committee has discussed the desire to use a national test(s) as a measure of post-secondary readiness. Included in this worksheet is a series of questions: 1) Will we continue to have and use the gateways? 2) Do we need a model than can make a single “up or down” decision for an LEA? 3) How should we balance the components in the model? 4) Are there other components in the model that should be added? 5) What set of additional incentives could be put in place to support school improvement and student achievement? 6) Extra points for increasing number of Level IV students? A copy of the worksheet is available upon request from my office.

Committee Meeting: Dr. Sanders and Dr. Rivers provided a detailed power point presentation that included various reports and examples of the data collection and information available through the EVAAS system for every student enrolled in North Carolina public and charter schools. They talked about how to predict the success of students in high school math and reading based on test scores in middle school and or elementary school. Board members seemed very impressed with the information and Dr. Sanders talked about the huge increase in use of EVAAS by the various LEAs. They are working to provide training so more systems can access the data. He did note the data is not intended to be used to determine whether the student has a good or bad teacher. A review of a sample district level report from EVAAS was presented showing student academic progress and projected academic achievement for every student in that particular district. Dr. Rivers addressed the Committee’s concerns regarding the confidentiality of the information collected and the distribution of the information. The impression from the meeting was Board members were excited by the information this system could provide and its value. There was no further discussion by staff about the accountability model.

New Business

K-2 Diagnostics The SBE is piloting a developmentally appropriate diagnostic assessment for students in elementary grades during the 2009-2010 school year. The assessments will 1) enable teachers to determine student learning needs and individualize instruction and 2) ensure that students are adequately prepared for the next level of coursework as set out by the Standard Course of Study. There will be 20 schools chosen for the Reading pilot and 13 schools will be selected for the Math pilot. Kickoff meetings will be held in November with implementation beginning in December. The purpose of the project will be to provide ongoing assessments to help guide instruction, to use Personal Digital Assistant (PDAs) to record information from the assessments, to monitor the progress of all students, and to provide interventions for students in a timely manner. Evaluation of the project will be used to determine how the use of technology increases the fidelity of the assessment, is progress monitoring being used and how, and are teachers using the information and the data collected in their daily instruction.

Committee Meeting: Dr. Garland presented an overview of the development of the pilot and the selection process. A list of the selected schools was distributed and a brief summary was provided on the selection requirements. LEAs were asked to submit a request to be a pilot. There are 21 schools in 16 districts participating in the reading pilot for diagnostic assessments and there are 13 schools in 11 LEAs participating in the Math pilot for assessments. DPI attempted to ensure there were schools in every region (district) in the State. They will be using PDAs to record information on assessments. They plan to have a report to the Governor by December of 2010, but may request an additional six months so they can have a full year using the assessments. Information was provided on training sessions and implementation of the assessments. This information was provided to Committee members as an update of the activities occurring in their Regions.

21st Century Professionals Committee (12:30 PM)

Action and Discussion Agenda

Action

TCP 1 Addition of Elementary (K-6) Content Area Concentrations as License Areas APPROVED the proposal to add content area concentrations (an add-on license) to the elementary license area as presented. Individuals with an elementary license would be eligible to have the elementary concentration areas added to their license based on the completion of 18 hours of content-based graduate coursework designed for the elementary teacher in the core content areas of mathematics/or science. Based on defined master’s degree requirements at the universities, some or all of these courses may be applied towards existing degree programs.

Committee Meeting: A brief review of the item was presented. No further discussion was necessary. Mr. Howell recused himself from the vote as an employee of NC State.

Action on First Reading

TCP 3 Recommendations for the Advisory Board on Requests for Exceptions from Teacher Licensing Requirements (LATE ITEM) APPROVED the requests as presented. A panel chaired by a member of the State Board reviews the requests by individuals who have not met licensing requirements due to extenuating circumstances. They may request an exception from the requirement or an extension of time. Closed Session Item.

Discussion

TCP 2 State Evaluation Committee Teacher Education Program Approval Recommendations The State Board discussed the SEC’s recommendation’s related to the Brevard College Teacher Education Program based on the Spring 2009 follow-up visit.  The revised programs are based on the standards for teachers adopted by the Board in June 2007 and the redesigned program approval process agreed upon by the Board in January 2008.

Committee Meeting: Brevard College is now in compliance and this item will be presented for Action in December.

New Business

-Update on Special Education Licensure Issue Dr. Garland provided information to the Committee regarding the notification by the USED that some North Carolina exceptional children’s teachers were not in compliance with the NCLB’s highly qualified requirements for middle and high school teachers.  Several options were discussed as a solution to the licensure issue to bring these teachers into compliance. Changes in the delivery of core content and changes in scheduling along with the option for EC teachers to co-teach with content teachers were among the suggested options.

Leadership for Innovation Committee

Action on First Reading

LFI 01 Final Decision in Contested Case: Provisions Community Development Corporation DBA Provisions Academy v. State Board of Education Voted to uphold the ALJ ruling on the expiration of Provisions Academy’s charter. Provisions Academy filed a petition for a contested case to challenge the expiration of Provisions Academy’s Charter. The Administrative Law Judge upheld the State Board’s Decision. Closed Session Item.

New Business

NCVPS/LEO Director’s Update In a video presentation, Governor Perdue gave a brief historical background of NCVPS and spoke in support of the program. Dr. Setser spoke briefly about the new Virtual Learning Consultant website and the recent workshop held for the staff in Alexander County on blended learning and online courses. Dr. Setser indicated that end-of-grade and end-of-course data would be provided in a presentation in January.

Business/Finance and Advocacy Committee Meeting

Discussion

TCS 1 Establish Front-end Funding for Governor’s School The State Board discussed the need for front-end funding of the Governor’s School for the 2010 Summer Program. The Governor’s School’s appropriations for FY 2009-2010 covers program costs for the summer of 2009 programs. Due to budget reductions there was no unexpended/carryover balance to cover start-up preparations costs for the summer of 2010. To ensure there is funding for the 2010 summer programs a proposal for a one-time non-recurring reduction to the Academically/Intellectually Gifted Student allotment is requested in the amount of approximately $80,500. The proposal is to reduce the AIG student allotment for all 115 LEAs by $700 each to create the start-up pool. LEA allotments range from $28,171 in Tyrrell County to $6,629,538 in Wake. Every LEA will be reduced by the same amount regardless of the total funding or number of AG student’s being served.

Committee Meeting: Mr. Price presented the proposal to use the AIG funds to fund the Governor’s Schools summer program start up costs.  Committee members strongly objected to using AIG funds to cover the cost of this program and suggested they find another source for the funding. In the proposal, the AIG allotment for each district would be reduced by $700, creating a hardship for the smaller districts who receive the least amount of funding. They discussed changing the cuts to the districts. They talked about the importance of the Governor’s School. They asked how many LEAs send students. Each LEA is guaranteed 2 slots, but not all LEAs have students attending. Some members said AIG students were using the program and others disagreed. They argued back and forth for quite some time. Superintendent Advisor Jack Hoke suggested LEAs be given a chance to remit $700 from somewhere in their funding and if they don’t DPI would take the funds from AIG. One member suggested they take it from Superintendents’ salary. One member suggested getting grant funds. The Committee ended its discussion and asked Philip Price to come back in December with a final recommendation. They also mentioned if he could find the funds elsewhere he should let them know next month. The topic of student tuition was also discussed. Recent legislation stated that $500 per pupil tuition is to be charged and recommendations for policy changes regarding this issue will be provided next month.  Board members talked about how students could pay these funds and it was noted that some LEAs will pay for their students who are accepted to attend.  DPI is planning to have the LEAs charge the students who are accepted the $500 and then those funds will be collected and distributed to DPI by one check. This would be handled by the LEAs since have the ability to collect funds.

TCS 2 North Carolina Virtual Public School (NCVPS) Funding Formula The State Board reviewed possible options for a funding formula. The NC legislature, in the 2009 budget act, required the SBE to report a formula for NCVPS by December 15, 2009. Originally the legislature had adopted a provision requiring an NCVPS formula be effective with the 2009-2010 school year and at no cost to students. In addition, DPI was to communicate guidelines regarding enrollment of nonpublic school students in these courses.  A formula was never adopted in 2008/2009 and thus the new provision (2009 budget) stating the continued funding of the State Board was dependent on the adoption of the new formula by December 15, 2009.  Three options are presented for discussion: 1) Develop a formula where NCVPS is treated like an LEA with its own ADM (LEAs could capture a 25 percent savings by delivering a course via NCVPS), 2) Charge a fee per course allow LEAs flexibility to convert teacher positions to dollars to cover the cost of courses, and 3) Develop a formula based on the formula used to support Florida’s Virtual School. This is similar to ADM formula outlined in #1. The “per pupil” funding is based upon one FTE equals 6 credits of courses per year. The dollar value of the FTE varies from district to district within the state. Funding is based on projected course participation.

Committee Meeting: Mr. Price presented three options for a funding formula for NCVPS. A recommendation is to be submitted to the General Assembly by December 15. The Committee suggested that only one option be recommended. The members were focused in on the ADM option and the FTE option. After a lengthy discussion about the formula the Committee discontinued its discussion without any direction to staff. Staff will return in December with a formula for the Board to vote on and be sent to the legislature by the December deadline. The funding formula would be effective July 1, 2010.  To fully fund the program for the 46,000 students in 2010-2011 would cost approximately $17 million. The General Assembly appropriated $5.6 million in continuation funding for 2010-2011, which leaves about a balance of $11.4 to be funded based on projected needs. It is also possible the legislature may cut some of the continuation funding or they may provide some additional funding as they did this year ($11.8 Million 2009-2010) to cover the cost of delivering the program. LEAs are going to have problems with funding this program especially through ADM so the best formula may be Option 3 (FTE). The item will be back in front of the Board in early December for final recommendation. Stay Tuned.

New Business

Communications Update Ms. Jeter briefly outlined the activities of the Department. The highlight for October was the posting of the School Report Cards on the web. Staff presented an overview of the information included in the report cards and provided a short tour of the website. Ms. Taft noted that news of the report cards was not widely publicized in the media. Ms. Jeter indicated that additional efforts would be made to remedy this situation.

Bond Update –QZAB bonds available to 64/69 LEAs worth $272 million. Buncombe was the only district having any luck selling bonds from the above group of LEAs who applied. DPI has re-established the Bond Advisory Counsel for 2010 to provide some further assistance.  Academy Bonds are available to 12 LEAs and worth $34 million, however there are still no bond buyers. These construction bond funds will remain available for 2010-2011 with the hope that LEAs may find some bond purchasers.

NCVPS Non-Public School Students The policy addressing this issue will be presented for Action on First Reading in December. The current policy will be modified recommending that non-public school students be classified as visiting students, charged tuition ($350 per course), if accepted and agreed to attend NCVPS, and be required to buy the necessary supplies and textbooks for the courses. LEAs would collect funds and pay DPI. Students attending Learn and Earn Schools would deal directly with the Community Colleges.  Dr. Setser also suggested that the policy may address students from military families. Florida, Georgia and Texas already have established policies to include military families. Other future discussions will include out-of-state students taking NCVPS courses. NC has already started to receive some requests, and the possibility of trading seats with other states would be beneficial in increasing course access with no additional costs to NC.

Contract Update

Contracts over $25,000 – 7 Proposals

Contracts under $25,000 – 12 Proposals

 

Thursday, November 5, 2009

State Board of Education Meeting, (9:00 AM) Dr. Bill Harrison, Chairman

Call to Order

Pledge of Allegiance

Approval of Minutes

Report on Findings from the Student Debt Tour State Treasurer Janet Cowell Financial Literacy reviewed her report on the student debt tour. She provided 6 observations, including most students have not had financial education in high school or college. She also shared 6 recommendations. High schools should enhance financial literacy programs for students 16-19. Colleges and universities should provide debt and credit card programs when student are freshman. College campuses should restrict credit card company access to students, etc… A copy of the Treasurers report is available upon request from this office.

Key Initiatives Reports and Discussion

ACRE Update: The Goal is to institute an accountability model that: improves student achievement, closes the achievement gap, and increases the graduation rate. The power point presentation included the discussion on how to choose indicators, how to use them, and to what level to apply them. The proposed indicators were student performance, Post-Secondary readiness, and Gateways. Topics for December meetings will include: weighting of indicators and applications of rewards/sanctions at different levels, with continued discussion of Gateways, Constructed Responses, Value-Added, Long-Term Growth and setting ambitious and feasible targets.

District and School Transformation Update– Dr. Pat Ashley Comprehensive Needs
Assessments (CAN) that will be occurring in the LEAs. In 2009-2010 there are an additional 55 schools being added to the program to provide Comprehensive Needs Assessments. Wake County does not have any schools on this list. There are 17 high schools, 9 middle schools and 20 elementary schools. There are many more schools who would benefit from the CAN, but funds are limited. Board members asked the cost which was estimated at $30,000 each and wanted to know if Dr. Ashley were paid by other districts the cost could they provide the CAN. She responded absolutely with the additional funds they could help other schools.

Performance Navigator- Adam Levinson– Manage accountability–review objectives and targets – Adam reviewed the new performance navigator which is intended to provide the SBE and DPI with links to goals and priorities for each division and to be able to track the information.

Consent Agenda

GCS 3 Report on LEA Status for Title III Improvement APPROVED by Consent the annual report. As part of NCLB, LEAs receiving Title III funds must meet a series of Annual Measurable Assessment Objectives (AMAOs). The three objectives: 1) AMAO 1 (Progress) the percent of students who demonstrate progress in at least one of the subtests on the English Language proficiency test 2) AMAO 2 (Proficiency) An annual increase in the percentage of students identified as limited English proficiency who attain English language proficiency on English language test. 3) AMAO 3 (AYP for LEP subgroup) The LEP subgroup must annually meet AYP in academic proficiency in reading and mathematics. LEAs that do not meet their AMAO targets in the same set two years in a row are required to develop a detailed improvement plan as required by NCLB. Title III Improvement for 2009-2010 (Based on 2008-2009 data) is part of the report. Wake (AYP Reading HS) is listed along with Charlotte, Durham and Forsyth as an LEA missing at least on AMAO for FIVE consecutive years.

Board Meeting: No discussion.

Superintendent’s Report

-Dr. June Atkinson’s Reported on graduation achievement awards presented to the ten LEAs in the State with the highest graduation rates. Dare County had the highest with 90.2 percent and Orange was one of the lowest with 81.4 percent. She also recognized the 2008 and 2009 Presidents awards. There were two teachers from Wake County who were given plaques and recognized.

Chairman’s Remarks

Dr. Harrison

-Report on the NC Center for the Advancement of Teaching-Linda Suggs Chairman of the NCCAT board and Mary McDuffie executive director presented information on NCCAT. NCCAT was moved under the direct supervision of the SBE during the last budget (away from the University System). NCCAT noted their programs and no cost to LEAs for teachers who attend. Their work with teachers at both their Cullowhee and Ocracoke site was discussed.  They did receive a 15 percent cut in the budget and are reducing some of their costs and courses to manage the cut. Mary reviewed the retention of teachers who attend their seminars and participation, how teachers are admitted to the seminars, how many are not accepted, the number of years teaching, national board support, beginning teacher support and renewal seminars. Mary also discussed their budget and where they get their funds and an overview of 2008-2009 participation.

-Update on China Initiatives Millie Ravenel presented on travels to China and her work with the Memorandum of Understanding signed with Jiangsu Province by Senator Lee when he was Board Chair. She talked about China partnerships with 24 schools and an additional 15 schools to be added in 2010. Eleven LEA administrators, as well as State Board members and others, are going back to China in December to visit.

Charter School ad hoc Committee Meeting: A meeting was held on Wednesday afternoon to review several new polices to be brought to the State Board in December at the LFI committee. The first policy involves the Accountability Procedures for Charter Schools. The second policy is Termination for Charter Schools Designated as Priority or Low Performing. The third policy and the most controversial involves the Charter School Application Review Process. The issue with this policy is it contains a section about contacting SBE members and how this is not allowed and a violation of this section could include removal of an applicant from consideration. There will also be no attempts by non-applicants (political figures, lobbyists etc.) from influencing the process. There is a question whether or not this section will eliminate the option for LEAs or school boards to communicate on charter applications to the SBE. There will be some minor changes to the policies and they will come to the State Board in December for consideration. A copy of the draft policies is available upon request from my office. The policy changes will not be ready until prior to the December meeting.

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