I distributed an “assessment notebook” that contains recent Portland student assessment data from the State of Connecticut, CollegeBoard, and school survey data. The material included this year’s SBAC results, Advanced Placement data, and Connecticut School Day SAT data from last year’s juniors. The intent of this notebook is to serve as a centralized source for pertinent data. As additional results are reviewed with the BOE throughout the year, the notebook will serve as a data warehouse and resource.
I reviewed paraprofessional staffing at each school for the 2016-2017 school year and also share my plan for partially filling the current vacancies. I described my observations from three of the Open House events I attended. I also shared my rationale for choosing the CABE Online Policy Service for the online management of our existing policies. (Among other things, this will provide any online user the ability to use a search engine tool for finding pertinent school district policies.)
I shared the recent notification I received from the Open Choice (Sheff) office, informing me that the incentive portion of our “Academic and Support Grant” was severely reduced due to the State’s budget challenges. I clarified that we will still receive the per pupil allocation of the “Academic and Support Grant” grant as well as our “Attendance Grant,” and our “Early Beginnings Grant” for our kindergarten students.
I introduced two new policies to consider. One of these is a policy that further details the leadership responsibilities of both the superintendent of schools and the Board of Education. Another describes the new coach evaluation process that was created by Athletic Director, Chris Serra.
Board members spent a considerable amount of time talking about a method they would like for regularly reviewing the district’s financial data and a procedure for approving transfer of funds between budget lines. While they agreed to ask the Policy Subcommittee for a review of our current policy on transferring funds, they also asked that I provide a quarterly document that details the district’s financial data quarterly throughout the fiscal year.
The Board went into Executive Session (without me) for the purpose of superintendent contract discussions.
Finally, I shared with Board members the final draft of the 2016-2017 Teaching and Learning Priorities for the Portland Public Schools. They unanimously approved this document, which I have attached to this email. You may notice that these priorities are a subset of our master plan, and build on last year’s advancement of our Teaching and Learning Priorities crafted in 2015.
Other News and Updates
As many of you know, Portland has been using the STAR Universal assessment for all K-8 students and selected areas in the high school for 4 years. As of last week, all these grades have completed STAR student testing, which will add an additional data point for our teachers as they assess student growth in the areas of reading and math. The STAR Universal assessment is administered three times a year (fall, winter and spring) and has become one tool we use for identifying students in need of intervention in math and reading. Please contact your child’s teacher/principal for more information about this assessment.
Our 2016-17 Professional Learning Calendar has been developed and distributed to the staff. This calendar highlights the professional learning scheduled for our six late starts and our full day professional learning events. With the guidance of our PDEC committee, we have identified the 2hr delays as time for vertical team collaboration facilitated by our curriculum specialist. Our full day professional learning sessions will be focused around Tier I & II development. All Pre K-12 teachers will participate on a content area committee and will serve as an integral role in helping us make curricular and instructional shifts.
Najla Staggers, our CREC literacy consultant for the last 2 years, will continue to play an important role in our rollout of Reading Workshop and Writing Workshop in the elementary grades. Ms. Staggers is a former elementary teacher and administrator and received specialized training from Teachers College at Columbia University in the area of student literacy. I have asked Dr. Karch to provide additional information to you in a future update so that you better understand both our professional learning and our curriculum work planned this year.