Wednesday, November 15, 2006

Synopsis of Board Meeting, 11/14/06

Since official Board of Education Meeting Minutes are generally not available to the public for one month I will be posting my notes here for the public to review. These are my personal notes and are not intended to be all-inclusive or official minutes for the BOE meetings. Although I have diligently tried to make these notes as accurate as possible, I am only human and do make mistakes. Please follow-up for official minutes upon approval. For copies of printed reports presented visit

Public Forum

  1. Mitchell Elementary parent concerned about large class sizes. 1st grade classes of 27+. Only three 1st grade classes. Teacher problems giving individual students attention needed at this young age.
  2. Mitchell Elementary parent. Board meetings need to be moved to a more community friendly time. Concern of large class sizes. 30+ students in daughters 4th/5th grade math class. Principal promised 1 teachers aid per grade. Has not happened as of yet.
  3. Mitchell Elementary parent concerned with class sizes.
  4. Wants the next school named after his brother, Walter Melvin “Johnny” Johnson, Jr. Killed in action during WWII at age 19.
Action - Approval of Minutes from 10/10/06
Abell questioned why the table summary of votes was not included on the minutes. Per last months meeting it was requested to be included in the minutes in order for the Board to be in adherence to policy. Staff response was it would be forthcoming momentarily. (Did not receive by end of meeting.)
Yes=Coggins, Crawford, Marshall, Young, Wade; No=None;Abstain=Abell;Bailey=no vote

Correspondance/Board Member Updates

  • Coggins relayed information on meetings he's attended as well as upcoming seminars and meetings that might be of interst to other Board members.
  • Crawford emotionally spoke about his tenure and experience on the Board.
  • Young relayed comments she received from teachers regarding the new elementary math program. i.e. - lack of supplies, premature introduction of abstract ideas, willingness to give the program additonal time, etc.
  • Young relayed concern over increase in emails from parents feeling as though CCPS is "pushing" them out of their child's school experience.
  • Marshall was adamant that he did not like Young's comments and asked for her to continue at the end of the meeting.

Later resumed

  • Young requested concern over the use of social security numbers within the school system.
  • Young relayed concern over the Drama department at oneof the high schools. The teacher has lost her official office space due to overcrowding issues and is now located in the boys dressing room. The boys and girls are now forced to share one dressing room.
  • Young relayed concern over comments she hear at the Economic Development Summit regarding the new high school. Seems as though it is a done deal for it to be a space school.
  • Young expressed concern over Board members lack of access to Executive Session notes/minutes ad they how they are not approved by the Board. She has filed a complaint with the Open Meetings Act Compliance Board.
Report - EACC
Collecting data via survey regarding teacher workload and testing. Reviewed festivities for American Education Week. Welcome and farewells to Board members.

Report - Student Board Member
CCASC Meetings. Legislative positions discussed amongst members. Pursuit of voting rights for student members. Upcoming Legislative Conference to be hosted at North Point and video played.

Report - Superintendent
Charles County is one out of five counties in the state with NO schools on state improvement list. Redistricting committee for next elementary school has begum meeting. Student Recognition will take place 11/27 at North Point. American Freedom Week festivities. School Safety flyer provided by Sheriff's Office will be provided to PTA/PTO/PTSO's. SAT/ACT/AP consultant (Kregar) has made a history CD to be provided to students and aired on the CCPS station. Additional subjects will be made as time and funds permit. Young stated she had tried to locate Kegar at Central Office and could not. Staff stated he is located in New Jersey. Young requested staff consider using different colored badges for contractors/consultants etc.

Report - Deputy Superintendent
Student enrollment numbers are up 217 students fromlast year.
  • 26,623 total count
  • 3,303 first time to Charles County public schools
  • 1,354 first time in school
  • 1,037 from other counties
  • 558 from other states
  • 52 from other countries
  • 284 from private schools
  • 218 from home schools

Report - CIP

  • North Point students from construction related classes are receiving tours of Davis Middle School throughout the construction phase for on-site training.
  • Soccer fields at Lackey are complete and will be available for play by fall 07
  • Diggs playground is complete
  • Smallwood is undergoing boiler replacement
  • North Point is having an underground sprinkler system installed
  • State report from IAC should be forthcoming
  • Abell questioned the portable classroom report which states there are two portables at Craik. Abell doesn't recall portables at Craik. Staff confirmed the report is correct.

Report - Curriculum Update - Adult Education
FY06 there were 224 graduates. (Please see the link above for complete report). All teachers in the program have degrees. Young asked if we are restricted by NCLB guidelines in this program. Staff response was negative. Young asked our GED success rate compared to other counties and states. Staff did not have that data.

Report - Budget
(Please see link above for complete report) Item of note was the Nutrition/Food Services Department is suffering due to high cost of freight and delivery charges in direct relation with rising gas prices.

Report - School Naming Committee
New elementary school to open in August 2008 on Piney Church road. (Please see the link above for the complete report.) Suggestions by committee: Piney Church Road Elementary School· Mary Keech Edelen Elementary School· Mary Burgess Neal Elementary School. Vote to be taken in December.

Report - Suggested Changes to Bylaws
(Please see link above for suggested changes). Bailey asked the attorney (Schwartz) for his legal advice on the proposed changes to the policies and bylaws. Schwartz advised that all changes to policies and bylaws remain on hold until the new Board is in office. Young motioned, seconded by Abell to move ahead with the proposed changes.

Yes=Abell, Young; No=Coggins, Crawford, Marshall, Wade;Abstain=None;Bailey=no vote

Action - Personnel
Yes=Abell, Coggins, Crawford, Marshall, Young, Wade; No=None;Bailey=no vote

Action - Month of the Young Child Resolution
Yes=Coggins, Crawford, Marshall, Wade; No=Young;Abstain=Abell;Bailey=no vote

Action - Salute to School Food and Nutrition Service Personnel Resolution
Yes=Coggins, Crawford, Marshall, Wade; No=Young;Abstain=Abell;Bailey=no vote

Unfinished Business

  • Young asked if date-stamping had been implemented on Board Doc as of yet. Staff response was they are still working on the logistics of it.
  • Young asked if the committee for the vision of the new high school had met yet. Staff stated they were in the process of identifying members at this time.
  • Young asked if the meeting between the Board and the Economics Development Commission had been set up as of yet. Staff response was negative.
  • Abell requested an update on the possibilty of audio tapes of Board meetings being broadcast on CCPS station. Staff response was negative.

New Business/Future Agenda Items

  • Abell relayed concern over the state nutrition guidelines and emails from parents concerning their enforcement during special occassions such as holiday parties. Abell requested the Board send a letter to MSDE requesting clarification on their policies and procedures and their pertinance to special occassions.

Yes=Abell, Young; No=Crawford, Marshall, Wade;Abstain=Coggins;Bailey=no vote

  • Abell relayed parent and teacher concern regarding foods sold in the school cafeteria and their lack of being within the policy guidelines. Abell cited numerous nutritional values of foods currently sold in the school cafeteria. Abell requested a review of the policy and a future staff report on food items available in the school cafeteria.

Yes=Abell, Young; No=Crawford, Marshall, Wade;Abstain=Coggins;Bailey=no vote

  • Abell relayed concern over the parent visitation policy and rules. The current restrictions are two 45 minute classroom observations per quarter. Abell's concern was now we are implementing block scheduling in some of our schools and the classes are longer than 45 minutes in duration. In addition, if a child is having difficulties in more than two subjects, the parents are unable to observe the other classes. Abell requested the Board review this policy. Chairman Bailey stated thatall policies are due for review on an annual basis and would defer this to the incoming Board in January.
  • Young requested the Board send a letter to the State Highway Administration requesting confirmation on the new high school site.

Yes=Abell, Young; No=Coggins, Crawford, Marshall, Wade;Abstain=None;Bailey=no vote

  • Young requested an update on the number of violent offenders at each school. Young relayed teachers concerns and fears regarding the number of students required to wear "ankle bracelets" by juvenile services/sheriff's department. Staff was uncertain if we have this data and will be getting back to us.
  • Young requested a meeting to gather public input on the vision for the new high school.

Yes=Abell, Young; No=Coggins, Crawford, Marshall, Wade;Abstain=None;Bailey=no vote

  • Young requested the counties NAEP test results. Staff is checking on this data to see if we have received as of yet.
  • Young requested a report on the new initiative for a 10-digit student identifier number, who has access and what information it contains. Staff could provide in update.

Yes=Abell, Young; No=Coggins, Crawford, Marshall, Wade;Abstain=None;Bailey=no vote


Anonymous said...

Jennifer! This is wonderful!

You are such a dedicated board member, I think the county voters have made a wonderful decision in re-electing you.

Thank you SO MUCH for all of your continued hard work.

I heard about that space school comment by Middleton at the summit - seems as though somebody is presenting the whole matter as a "done deal" - meanwhile drama teachers have no space to do their work! GRRRR!

Heather Brooks said...

Yay for Margaret Young for filing that complaint.

If you all are supposed to have access to the executive meetings minutes then there is NO EXCUSE for you not to have them!

It seems a select few are allowed to know what's going on around here - there is a board of seven for a REASON!

LegalBeaglette said...

Thank you for this! It's so aggravating to get Board of Education news a month or more after the fact!

As you can probably tell, I DO read Board Minutes. As a matter of routine.

Question -- What can you tell me about these "Weekly Updates" I often see mention of? Who generates them? Is there content in those Updates, which I don't find published anywhere, that is of interest to the public, or about which the public should be made aware. I can't help but feel they're part of the "behind the scenes" information and discussion I cannot be privy to...but maybe I ought to be?

Jennifer Abell said...

I'm glad everyone likes these notes. I will be sure to continue.

3291 - The weekly updates are generated by central office and placed on Board Docs on the "Members Only" side. They are basically updates generated by the Superintendents Office on items or questions from the Board meeting as well as reminders about upcoming meetings. I don't see why they couldn't be open to the public and if you requested them they would probably have to release them.