Madison Metropolitan School District
Madison, Wisconsin

Art Rainwater, Superintendent
Minutes for Performance and Achievement
April 28, 2003
Doyle Administration Building
545 West Dayton Street, Room 103
Madison, Wisconsin

The Performance and Achievement Committee meeting was called to order by Chair Bill Clingan at 5:02 p.m.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Bill Clingan, Ruth Robarts


OTHER BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Ray Allen, Carol Carstensen, Bill Keys, Juan José López (arrived at 5:35 p.m.)

STAFF PRESENT: Rita Applebaum, Jane Belmore, JoAnn Bradley, Lynda Chen, Diane Crear, Valencia Douglas, Mark Evans, Mary Gulbrandsen, Roger Price, Joe Quick, Art Rainwater, Mary Ramberg, Chris Stoner, Barbara Lehman - Recording Secretary

OTHERS PRESENT: Dr. John Odom, National Association for the Advancement of Colored People; Hartwig Huemer of Decision Support, Inc.

  1. Approval of Minutes

    It was moved by Ruth Robarts and seconded by Bill Clingan to approve the minutes of the Performance and Achievement Committee dated March 13 and March 18, 2003 as distributed. Motion unanimously carried by those present.

  2. Public Appearances

    There were no public appearances.

  3. Announcements

    There were no announcements.

  4. National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) Educational Committee's Report on the Board's Three Priorities

    Dr. Odom distributed copies of the presentation (a copy is attached to the original of these minutes) and introduced Hartwig Huemer who reviewed the data with the committee.

    Discussion: Dr. Odom commented that it would be great to close the gap at a fixed rate much less than on a variable basis. Confirmed 36 total points on the ACT. Verified that more students, both black and white, are taking the ACT. The Board questioned the use of the ACT as an educational measure in terms of ability and training between white students and African American students. Some information was given on the national averages and scholarship ranges on the ACT. Suggestion to use a scatter diagram v. group averages because of the small numbers in terms of African American students. Inference made that the ACT data is consistent with low GPAs for African American students and that the trend is positive. Verified that the three board goals around reading, algebra/geometry, and attendance were created in 1998. There was some discussion on how enrollment data, over time, for geometry would not tell the same story as enrollment data for algebra because algebra is a prerequisite for geometry and has to be completed.

    Juan José López arrived at 5:35 p.m.

    Discussion continued: Additional charts were presented and reviewed on suspensions and expulsions. Confirmed that in-school suspensions are not recorded. Verified that total number of suspensions is the figure used. The Superintendent verified that the data is accurate. It was suggested that another year of data be watched to see if there really is a trend, taking into account other solutions for kids than getting them out of school. The reading results were affected by more kids taking the tests. The percentage of kids enrolled in algebra has taken a huge jump for all groups of students in all the high schools.

    Dr. Odom noted that they purposefully did not get involved in how the district delivers services but are looking at the big picture. They are very concerned about the data and hope things turn around.

    Discussion: Hard to receive accolades when the goals are not being reached. Giving leadership accolades to staff and refusing to use results from district programs in anyone's evaluation. Accountability issues throughout the country on the same issues and need community help to get better. Committee might want to consider looking at programs targeted towards low-income and minority children and how effective those programs really are.

    The Superintendent noted that the district has not made the progress in algebra that it wanted to but significant progress has been made in 3rd and 4th grade reading. The one year blip after seven years of increases is attributable to getting everyone to take the test. The same thing is true of attendance as in math. There are some things that are good and some not good, but it is not a completely bleak picture.

    Discussion: Not doing well in other states. Cannot accept this level of performance. Have not heard African American parents say that progress is being made; have to hear that in order to know that things are getting better.

    FOLLOW UP: Scattergram of ACT data.

Recessed at 6:05 p.m.
Reconvened at 6:08 p.m.

  1. Tina Murray Technology Presentation relative to Using Macintosh Computers versus Personal Computers in the District

    Tina Murray, Technology teacher at Shabazz City High School, began her presentation by saying she thought the district could save money but she came to talk about performance and achievement. She distributed presentation binders (a copy is attached to the original of these minutes).

    Highlights: Cannot look at one way of doing things. The minority view needs to be protected. Important skills to be learned from using Macs for college and jobs. She stated that no more would have to be spent but that better choices could be made. Three benefits of the Macintosh platform-fewer viruses, uses less electricity, allows for more direct teaching time. She stated that students who use Macs outperform others academically and the district's investments could be maximized. She talked about what the user needs and what drives learning, tying into the district's educational framework and learning and how Macs provide that. She gave a list of local businesses that were contacted and what they want. Better technical support from Apple. Macs better suited for alternative learning styles. Apple provides their own multimedia hardware. Easier to learn and easier to teach on. The status of teachers using technology is overestimated. Teachers have been told they can get Macs but it has not proven true. Macs and PCs are needed to teach the students. She has $17,000 worth of software that will only run on a Mac and she has been told she can only have a PC. She stated that Technology Services should not be deciding what computers are used in the classrooms. She stated that her proposal can save millions of dollars by following her seven recommendations (listed in the binder).

    Roger Price distributed a list of platform issues (a copy is attached to the original of these minutes).

    Discussion: Confirmed that the list explained districtwide resource issues and are almost all instructional. Discourages the purchase of new Macs but depends on the need. Defined what cascaded means. One-platform schools are increasing. With the exception of graphic arts, would like to move to one platform for ease of management, support and maintenance. Working toward getting critical mass of computers inside the classroom. Using a dollar analysis as the standard. Need for an Information Technology committee. Issues of financial savings, curriculum, vocational skills, preparing students for college; not just teacher preferences. No question that the vast majority of the business world, with the exception of graphics, Windows is the platform with 80 percent of the market. No used Macs available for purchase; large market share of PCs. Replacement cycle should be three years; district has 7-8 year replacement cycle. Little money to devote to refurbished machines. Pitiful that 54 percent of the district's computers are six years old or older. Staff struggles to deploy and service them and keep everything secure. PCs and Macs get old and can no longer run new software. New machines need upgrades or new software versions. Easier to repair PCs because there are more sources. Do not have the cash flow to guarantee a commitment to a leasing program. Understaffing creates for all kinds of things; no one gets short-shifted because they have a Mac. Change happens slowly. Process involves listening to people and having these debates.

    Mr. Clingan concluded the discussion by noting that there is no Information Technology committee and he was not sensing a compelling enough argument to direct the district to do something different. He added that they needed to rely on the people hired to do these jobs and thanked Ms. Murray for her input.

  2. Other Business

    No discussion.

  3. Adjournment

    It was moved by Ruth Robarts and seconded by Bill Clingan to adjourn the meeting at 7:25 p.m. Motion unanimously carried by those present.