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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