Specifically Policy 616 and Personnel

 The Farmington School Board Meeting is set for this Monday, April 24, 2023, 5pm at Farmington City Hall. Wanted to collect and share my thoughts on the agenda items. Public Comment will be open at 5:15pm and be on any topic. Meadowview, Riverview Elementary Schools and Dodge Middle School will showcase learning projects prior to the meeting.

I was quite alarmed by both the Personnel Report (on the consent agenda) and the Probationary Teacher contract non-renewals. I had a very insightful conversation with our HR Director, MaryAnn Thomas in these regards. Based on the parameters the board set in February (realigning $3 million for the 2023-24 school year), each principal is given a set number of FTE to restaff their building. Given contractual language, seniority is always awarded positions first. In addition numerous staff are employed with an Out of Field Permission from MDE that is only valid for 1-year and have to be renewed annually. Many of the terrific staff on this list of non-renewals will be “rehired” at the May board meeting. I was also please to see some positions that were realigned seemed to find similar positions in different buildings.  

Policy 1018 on pertaining to COVID-19 will be completely eliminated as it is no longer necessary or relevant to implement. 

Policy 806 on Crisis Management seems like a strong policy. I am seeking to understand long-term recovery intervention and what that means. The policy doesn’t supply much information.

Policy 616. I truly think this is a solid policy. However, it leaves me with many questions about implementation. The purpose of this policy is to “promote higher academic achievement…and ensures broad-based community participation.” I believe this entire policy seems to be in alignment with Minnesota State Statue, however, I am less certain of the implementation of the policy within our district and hope to understand more.

IV. A. School District Goals.
A. 1. that “established school distich-wide goals that provided broad direction for the school district,” I believe refers to our Strategic Plan and Objectives.
2. establishes the Instructional Program Review Committee and should “ensure active community participation.” 

3. The school districts goal setting process including individual site goals. I would understand this to be our District’s Operating Plan and Q Comp Goals.  I am working to see if my assumptions are correct.

B. System for Reviewing All Instruction and Curriculum. I am curious as to what this system entails. Is it at the discretion of the Principal reviews?

C. Implementation of Graduation Requirements 

1. States the the recommendations of the IPR Committee are published annual to the community and that the school board receives public input on this policy annually. Does this happen and when? Is it our April 24 Board Meeting (this Monday)? 

2. Touches on making sure we are meeting federal exceptions. What are the federal expectations? Is it the Every Student Succeeds Act? If so, what are these?
3. Speaks to measuring individual student progress. Is the NWEA the used assessment?

D. Comprehensive Continuous Improvement of Student Achievement

2. Is the IPR Committee  and other district committees providing “active community participation in” (a.) Reviewing instructional and curriculum plans, (b.) Identifying annual improvement goals, (c.) Recommending an evaluation process, (d.) Advising budget? Does this happen in the IPR meetings? I’ve only seen meeting minutes from one meeting and it didn’t seem the case. 

3. (c. )Speaks to building teams as subcommittees and I want to make sure that this aligns with Minnesota State Statute 120B.11 Subdivision 4 that mandates site teams “must include…1 parent.” Do these? Further I am concerned about the make-up of the IPR Committee and is it comprised of at least two-thirds community representatives reflecting the diversity of the community. 

4 a-i. Includes a list of ideal membership including a director, principal, school board member, student, teacher from each building, 2 parents from each building, 2 residents with non-school aged children and 2 representatives from local business/industry. Prior to being elected to the school board, I was told that if elected, I couldn’t serve on the IPR.

E. Evaluation of Student Progress Committee. Is this committee established in our district to develop assessment plans for literacy and graduation?

F. Reporting. 

1. We are obligate to publish a report in local newspaper (SunThisWeek) and on district website, and to hold an annual public meeting to review and revise “student achievement goals, local assessment outcomes, plans, strategies, and practices for improving curriculum, instruction, cultural competency,” I am wondering if this happens during a regular board meeting and if so, should it be highlighted to the community as an annual public report? I recall the October 24, 2022 Business Meeting included a World’s Best Workforce/Data and Assessment Overview. Was this the report? 

2. Performance report that calculates proficiency rates as required by the Elementary and Secondary Education Act. I’m curious as to what this is. Is it the MCA Report Card?

One item I believe should be included in this policy comes from Minnesota Statue 120B.11 Subdivision 2. (2) "assess and identify students to participate in gifted and talented programs and accelerate their instruction." I believe it's so easy to overlook these students because we are necessarily concerned about making sure no student is left behind.

I understand that my role as a board member is to create policy and the superintendent’s job is to implement, however I am seeking to understand how this policy is implemented and believe in checks and balances. 

Please reach out to me with your thoughts and opinions on school board issues. 


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