Instruction and Curriculum Advisory Committee
Dec. 14, 2017, Meeting Minutes
Members Present: Donna Norquay, Rebecca Guest, Carol Ladwig, Bill Tomhave, Kara Gloe, Pam Gibb, Karen Jacowitz, Chizuko Shastri, Cassidy Bjorklund, Michelle Dorsey, Teresa Shume, Ellie Viou, Leigh Dornfeld, Josh Haag, John Wirries, and Missy Eidsness.
Guests: Josh St. Louis, S.G. Reinertsen Elementary principal, and Carla Smith, Horizon Middle School West principal.
1. Approval of Nov. 9, 2017, Minutes
Josh Haag moved, Donna Norquay seconded, to approve the minutes. Motion carried.
2. Gifted and Talented Overview
Leigh Dornfeld, gifted/talented coordinating teacher, provided an update to the committee. Dornfeld shared the percentages of students who are being served through the gifted/talented program. There are 9.5 percent of grade 4 students served with 4 percent from underrepresented groups. In grades 5-6, 7.1 percent of students are gifted/talented with 12 percent from underrepresented groups. In grades 7-8, 9.1 of students are gifted/talented with 18.6 percent from underrepresented groups.
Dornfeld spends Monday, Wednesday and Thursday at an elementary building for sessions of eight or nine days. On Tuesday morning she is scheduled for meetings and/or testing. She spends Friday at Horizon West and Tuesday afternoon at Horizon East.
New this year is the K-2 gifted identification pilot lessons using the book “10 Black Dots,” and then seeing what students do with their dots. This is one of the ways of finding underrepresented students by the time they get to grade 3. She is working to build relationships with teachers at the schools also.
Grade 3 CogAT screening has been done. In a few cases students are identified that teachers wouldn’t have recommended. Dornfeld said it will need to be evaluated as to whether it is worth doing.
Last year’s goals includes universal screening starting at a young grade level and identifying students who are from underrepresented student groups and providing them opportunities. For instance English Learners may struggle on verbal portions, but do well on nonverbal parts.
Discovery projects involve project-based learning with the 4Cs of communication, collaboration, critical thinking and creativity. The first project for the grades 5-8 students involved answering the question: How can you help human survival in a natural disaster?
Most students picked a natural disaster to become an expert on, and some groups have plans to protect water sources, provide shelters and protect human life. The students collaborate using the technology with the screens available for them to cluster around. Students present their projects, which is how they are held accountable.
Goals going forward are to consider K-2 district wide whole group lessons and develop a plan for identifying students from underrepresented backgrounds when looking at CogAT data. Dornfeld is still hoping to plan a few events at Moorhead High, but the schedule is difficult with one person. Missy Eidsness, assistant superintendent of learning and accountability, said they would like to get something in place for grades 9-10 on a regular basis, and they would like to look at the Minnesota Scholar of Distinction program. One of the needs may be social skills work and giving students a place to have conversations.
There was discussion of having an identification committee, using student portfolios on Haiku or in Google Drive, testing at different points to find students who may be late bloomers, and using multiple measures to identify students (student work, teacher recommendation, test data, CogAT test to measure problem solving), and the emphasis on identifying underrepresented students. It was noted that some students have much less opportunity and hard work doesn’t necessarily make a student gifted. Teachers need to look at problem solving and not just math and reading scores.
3. Elementary and Horizon West Parent and Student Guidebooks
Josh St. Louis, S.G. Reinertsen Elementary principal, and Carla Smith, Horizon Middle School West Campus principal, reviewed the planning and registrations guides with the committee. This is the first year with the documents. St. Louis explained that the document summarizes many services and programs available at all our elementary schools and the curriculum overview of all the academic areas. Links to the state standards and the parent curriculum guides let parents get more information, including grade-level specific standards and literacy and math tips and online resources.
Smith said they used the guide for the team as they opened Horizon West. It was helpful to give new staff an understanding of the district and the work.
There was discussion that there is crossover between the guides and the student handbooks. The committee was asked if anything should be modified for next year. Other information for families are the student handbook, standards-based progress report brochure (shared with the committee), and school supply lists.
It was discussed that with the mobility of students the document can help answer questions. Printed copies can be made if needed. It is not currently available in other languages, but liaisons have used the information with families. The idea of a video summary was discussed, and it was suggested that technology concepts should be considered. Eidsness said the documents will be updated and go to the School Board.
Eidsness noted the Dec. 12 retirement celebration that was held for Dr. Kovash.
She provided an update on the Moorhead High School Task Force, which met Dec. 13. The task force has been meeting since last December, working with Terry Quist and Jeff Olson, consultants with MSBA. Last spring they toured three other high schools. The focus is on programming and guiding principles — what do we want students to have access to and what do we want instruction to look like. The Dec. 13 discussion focused on technology. The report from the task force will go to the School Board in February.
There was discussion about providing access to computers through media center nights and how that no longer made sense, that some schools are partnering with Best Buy to find devices that meet the requirements and give bulk purchasing prices to families, and that 702 Communications gives low-cost Internet service to families qualifying for free/reduced-price meals.