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Lifelong Learning

ISD#152 Instruction & Curriculum Advisory Committee

November 10 ICAC Meeting

When: November 10, 2016

Where: Probstfield Center for Education Board Room


  1. Introductions
  2. Minutes from October 13, 2016
  3. Update on the Horizon 1-to-1 Implementation
  4. Title I Update
  5. Middle School Task Force
  6. AdvancED External Review Update
  7. Other


Instruction and Curriculum Advisory Committee
Nov. 10, 2016, Meeting Minutes
Members Present: Chizuko Shastri, Sadie Anderson, Julie Wellnitz, Mary Flesbrg, Josh Haag, Rachel Hohn, Lauren Graftaas, John Wirries, Missy Eidsness, Teresa Shume, Rebecca Guest, Cindy Fagerlie, Carol Ladwig, Bill Tomhave and Karen Jacowitz.
Guests: Dr. Lynne Kovash, superintendent, Carla Smith, S.G. Reinertsen Elementary principal, Jeremy Larson, Horizon Middle School principal, and Tony Huseby, assessment and federal programs coordinator .
1. Approval of Oct. 13, 2016, Minutes
Cindy Fagerlie moved, Bill Tomhave seconded, to approve the minutes with the correction to change kids to students. Motion carried.
2. Middle School Task Force Update
Carla Smith, principal at S.G. Reinertsen Elementary and principal next year of Horizon Middle School West Campus, provided an update on the planning being done by the Middle School Task Force during fall meetings. They are planning for 1,030 students in the grades 5-6 school with 17-19 sections possible per grade. Smith reviewed the task force’s guiding principles and the parameters. The task force’s goals were to work on programming and facility needs timeline, recommendation for programming for 5-6, creation of transition program for staff and students K-4 to 5-6 to 7-8, and recommendation for personalized learning, technology integration, 21st century skills and innovative programs.
Connections/advisory time will use a supplemental curriculum. The Building Leadership Team and PBIS (Positive Behavioral Intervention and Supports) team will make decisions on the curriculum and the creation of a common school-wide calendar and work together to create the plan.
Spanish Immersion will be integrated into both grades 5 and 6. A smaller focus group met in November and developed a plan to recommend three grades 5-6 combination classrooms to establish the program successfully. This will maintain programming for grade 5 and add programming to grade 6 for students to continue with the immersion program an additional year.
Recess will be scheduled daily, but what recess looks like will be a building-level decision. There are still questions and decisions for the grades 5-6 team to make about what will best serve students.
Both Horizon West and Horizon East will follow the current start and end times for Horizon. There was discussion that some buses may drop off students for both schools, but parent drop-off areas are separate and about security for visitors moving between the two schools, which still needs to be determined.
The grades 5-6 schedules will include literacy, social studies, math, science and advisory connections. Physical education/health, music and art will be on a rotation. Opportunities include integrated and innovative programming such as project-based learning, AVID school-wide and 21st century skills; flexible learning spaces with maker spaces for hands-on learning; and smaller team sizes that allows for rigor and relationships. After-school and before-school programming is still being discussed, but could include academic support like Excel, intramural sports, arts, technology or other areas based on student/family interest. The building leadership team will discuss and consider options.
Transition teams will discuss other issues pertinent to the school day and other building-level concerns. Smaller focus groups formed by invitation include Spanish Immersion, PEMA/Specials (physical education/music/art), learner support services and space design team. The space design team will bring in students and teachers to get their feedback
3. Title I Update
Tony Huseby, assessment and federal programs coordinator , provided an update on Title I, II and III. The Title programs provide federal funds for schools with high percentages of children from low-income families.  Title I and II are for working with students from low-income backgrounds based on free and reduced lunch counts. The district receives $1.2 million (up from last year) to support Title I Part A (low income); $56,400 (down from last year) for Title I Part D (neglected and delinquent); $247,300 (down from last year) to support Title II to train and retain teachers and principals; and $64,300 (up from last year) to support Title III (EL students). This changes each year depending on student populations and changes to the funding formula. The district employs approximately 14 FTEs with federal program dollars.
Title I is broken into seven categories: continuous improvement (Hopkins), homeless, neglected and delinquent (support for tutoring, support at Red River ALC, support for equitable access), parent involvement, general (Hopkins, Robert Asp, St. Joseph), LEA activities (Read 180, preschool and summer school), administrative and indirect costs.
Robert Asp and Hopkins have schoolwide programs, which require a school to be at least 40 percent free and reduced lunch in the 2015-16 school year to apply for the 2016-17 school year (percentages may change under the new federal law ESSA). Last year Robert Asp was at 42.3 percent while Hopkins was at 52.9 percent. Next year the district will add a fourth elementary school, and estimated free and reduced percentages are Ellen Hopkins, 47 percent; Robert Asp, 48 percent; S.G. Reinertsen, 32 percent; and Dorothy Dodds, 38 percent.
Title II is broken into professional development and class-size reduction, which helps fund instructional coaches and two positions for class-size reduction for primary grades. Title III is support for English Learners, but no teachers are funded from this. The funds provide program support, including a 10-hour per week parent liaison, supplemental curriculum materials, and technology/software; professional development, including ongoing Sheltered Instruction Observation Protocol (SIOP) training and an EL conference.
The federal education law, originally called the Elementary and Secondary Education Act, became No Child Left Behind in 2001. In 2015 the federal education law became Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The 2016-17 school year continues as if under the NCLB waiver. Minnesota has a timeline for ESSA rollout, and a statewide committee is planning how this will work. The goal is for Minnesota to submit the state plan in March 2017. Under ESSA states are required to have an accountability system that includes these five components: academic achievement on state tests, academic growth, graduation rates, progress toward English language proficiency, and at least one indicator of school quality or student success. The greatest weight is on the first four indicators. It was discussed that states and school districts are encouraged to emphasize the need for every child to receive a well-rounded education when providing support to students.
There was discussion of the parent involvement plan and ideas that would provide meaningful opportunities for schools to collaborate with parents. Robert Asp and Hopkins each have about $4,000 to use for family involvement with parents. There was discussion of opportunities for parents and teachers to get to know one another (events like a meet and greet with teachers; provide food and activities; possibly hold at different locations), investigate transportation options for families who don’t have their own, share links from media center in parent communication, and math nights.
4. Update on Horizon 1-to-1 Implementation
Jeremy Larson, principal at Horizon Middle School, provided an update on the implementation of the one-to-one computing environment for grades 6-8. Two chargers were purchased for each device, but chargers were on back order so devices for grades 6-7 were not going home with students during first quarter. About 85 percent of students have parent contracts signed and returned, which allows devices to go home. Devices can be secured and left at school if parents don’t want them taken home. Each house has three carts to hold them during the day and charge them. Parents can pay a $40 insurance fee. Scholarships are available for students eligible for free and reduced lunch. Devices can be taken home without paying the insurance fee. The school will work with families if there is damage. An additional technology staff member was added full time to help manage the additional devices. Spare Chromebooks are available if students forget their devices, they aren’t charged, they are being repaired, etc. Those can be checked out from the media center and then returned.
Staff training has been built in, including time on Nov. 11 and having teachers share with others on their team. There was discussion of looking at how devices are used and whether it’s substitution or transformational. BrightBytes surveys will help measure the student and teacher use. Some of the positives of use include the online collaboration between students, online book talks, and use of options like Newsela, which has different reading levels for differentiation for students.
5. AdvancED External Review Update
Superintendent Lynne Kovash provided the committee with an update about the AdvancED external review. After interviewing 207 stakeholders and visiting 48 classrooms, the six-member AdvancED external review team provided Moorhead Area Public Schools with a recommendation for accreditation at the end of the three-day review on Nov. 2. The district’s early learning program also received a recommendation for accreditation. These recommendations are being forwarded to the AdvancED Accreditation Commission for final approval.
Kovash noted the district is of one of three districts in Minnesota to be accredited, but in North Dakota accreditation is their school district accountability so it’s important for a border city like Moorhead.
The district was above average on the index of education quality. Strengths or powerful practices include: family, student and community collaborative engagement; communication to stakeholders and reporting of student progress; autonomy given to district and school leaders to set and meet improvement goals and manage operations; and long-range resource management, which includes passing the 2015 bond referendum to provide facilities needed for growing student enrollment.
Improvement priorities identified by the review team are curriculum, instruction and assessment alignment to ensure secondary schools will know skills students will have learned and use of data to diagnose, change instruction and meet student needs; initiatives and innovations and the need to set specific long- and short-term goals for academic excellence by focusing on fewer initiatives; and continuous improvement and conditions that support learning, which focuses on the framework and timeline needed to maintain the five-year accreditation process.
The district will receive a written report. The improvement and accreditation process is a five-year cycle with the external review done every five years. Kovash commended Eisdnesss for her work on implementing AdvancED for continuous improvement, and she expressed her appreciation for all the principals, teachers, parents and support staff who shared their thoughts with the review team. Kovash and Bill Tomhave also noted the successful renewal of the operating levy and appreciation to the community for its support.
6. Other
It was noted that applications are due Nov. 11 for the Designing Moorhead High School’s 21st Century Academic and Instructional Program Community Task Force.