Do the Right Thing for Kids Board Watchers con­tin­ue to observe the two Board of Directors meet­ings of the Kansas City Public Schools held each month and reg­is­ter their com­ments. Following are obser­va­tions from the January 14, 2015 work­shop meet­ing.

The meet­ing began with a dis­cus­sion of whether or not to sub­mit to the Missouri Department of Elementary and Secondary Education (DESE) a let­ter of intent for the dis­trict to serve as a char­ter school spon­sor. The vote did not reflect the com­ments made in the dis­cus­sion. Where was the dis­con­nect? The issue was not pro/con char­ter schools but that such a com­mit­ment would dis­tract the dis­trict from giv­ing full atten­tion to their pro­vi­sion­al­ly accred­it­ed stu­dents. There was also dis­agree­ment over the amount of infor­ma­tion the board was giv­en pri­or to the meet­ing for due dili­gence and com­mu­ni­ty engage­ment.

The work­shop pre­sen­ta­tions were High School Assessments and Personnel Standards. District Quarterlies EOC showed improve­ment in Algebra I (11 points) and Government (43 points) and decline in Biology (11 points) and English (28 points) when com­par­ing 2nd quar­ter 2014 to sec­ond quar­ter 2015.

“Next Steps” for increas­ing stu­dent scor­ing on assess­ments and a review of per­son­nel strate­gies promised prin­ci­pal obser­va­tions of class­rooms and eval­u­a­tions of teach­ers, after school tutor­ing, reg­u­lar pro­fes­sion­al devel­op­ment, prin­ci­pals choos­ing staff, and ear­ly hir­ing process­es, all stan­dard prac­tices in suc­cess­ful school dis­tricts.

DTRTFK asks:

  • The dis­trict is try­ing to catch up to stan­dard strate­gies, but do these strate­gies show enough inno­va­tion and inten­si­ty to pre­pare ALL OF ITS STUDENTS to be work force ready?
  • What are the cri­te­ria for stu­dents to receive tutor­ing?
  • How will the data on the “Next Steps” be com­piled? From each build­ing or by group­ing dis­trict stu­dents by grade lev­el?
  • What is the date for the eval­u­a­tion of “Next Steps” to be pre­sent­ed to the com­mu­ni­ty and the board?

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