Madison Metropolitan School District
Madison, Wisconsin

Art Rainwater, Superintendent
BOARD OF EDUCATION
Minutes for Performance and Achievement
September 8, 2003
Doyle Administration Building
545 West Dayton Street, Room 103
Madison, Wisconsin

The Performance and Achievement Committee meeting was called to order by Chair Juan José López at 5:07 p.m.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Juan José López, Ruth Robarts

MEMBERS ABSENT: Bill Clingan

OTHER BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Ray Allen (arrived 5:51 p.m.), Carol Carstensen, Bill Keys, Shwaw Vang

STAFF PRESENT: Jane Belmore, Valencia Douglas, Mary Gulbrandsen, Kurt Kiefer, Bob Nadler, Tim Potter, Roger Price, Art Rainwater, Mary Ramberg, Ken Syke, Barbara Lehman Recording Secretary

  1. Approval of Minutes

    It was moved by Ruth Robarts and seconded by Juan José López to approve the minutes of the Performance and Achievement Committee dated April 28, 2003 as distributed. Motion unanimously carried by those present.

  2. Public Appearances

    There were no public appearances.

  3. Announcements

    There were no announcements.

  4. Attendance Data of Southeast Asian and Hispanic Students

    (Packets included Southeast Asian and Latino attendance rate charts and in transition from Grade 8 to Grade 9. Copies are attached to the original of these minutes.)

    Southeast Asian:

    Mr. Rainwater indicated that the data was gathered in response to a question raised by Mr. Vang last spring when the specific performance data was shared with the Board on the three priorities relative to the district's Hmong students. There was a specific concern about the sharp drop in attendance when the Southeast Asian students reach the high school level. Mr. Rainwater noted that finding out why it is happening would take structured interviews with those students whose attendance has dropped significantly and that the district did not have the staff to do that kind of research at this point in time.

    Tim Potter, Research Analyst, presented the data showing Southeast Asian attendance rates from 1998 to 2003 by instructional level on a scale ranging from good to severe. Additional data was shown by gender and the transition from 8th to 9th grade. The data showed over 470 transitions over the course of six years. Rates have been going up steadily.

    Discussion: Reasons for decrease in percentage of Southeast Asian students in the severe category since 1998-direct contact by social workers with those students who are missing a lot of days and tracking interventions that work to change attendance patterns. Includes both excused and unexcused absences and students from all alternative programs. All groups show a decline at the high school level; this group shows a 25 percent decrease in attendance rate in the 9th grade. Trying to confirm whether it is a large group not attending or a few students who are in the severe or problematic categories. Confirmed that there are about 1,200 to 1,500 Southeast Asian students in the district, primarily Hmong, and about 500 per level.

    More interested in what kinds of interventions are being implemented for the transition into high school. Confirmed that there are not a large group of adjudicated youth. Middle Schools are working with high schools to plan for the transition. Need to identify those who are having academic problems in 8th grade along with the attendance issue. The small number of students would have to be looked at individually. It is not known which school(s) is showing the highest drop-out rate for these students. Assuming these are not ESL issues. Daily contact most effective strategy. Social workers intervened last year with those whose attendance was worse than 97 percent and intervened in different ways depending on the situation. Results were better with those students in the severe range than with those in the mild-to-moderate range. Every school now has an attendance committee.

    Need to work in the community and maybe with individual parents who have taken leadership roles at certain schools or use high school resources to look for solutions. Have to work with the community and families, not just the students. Issue is more culturally unique to Lao, Cambodian, and Hmong populations.

    FOLLOW UP: Provide same data for white students. Provide attendance data by school. Schedule presentation to report on action plans for intervention strategies and expected change at the high school level.

    Latino:

    The same data was presented for the district's Latino population. Rates have been going up steadily. Information was presented by instructional level, gender, and the transition from 8th to 9th grade. The same drop-offs occur from 7th to 8th grade by gender and the bigger one from 8th to 9th grade as a whole. The same patterns show up as for the Southeast Asian students and is also small in number.

    Ms. Gulbrandsen noted that the district has been watching the drop-out rate for a long time. The district is very aware of the 8th to 9th grade issue and has been targeting that which is resulting in the increase in attendance rates. She stressed again the need to look at each child and the use of a number of interventions tailored to the situation.

    Discussion: Drop-out analysis is just beginning for last year. Defining a drop-out student and when they get counted.

    Ray Allen arrived at 5:51 p.m.

    Discussion continued: Rates still unacceptable. Separating Southeast Asians from Asians results in a higher drop-out rate; Hmong lowest drop-out rate, Cambodian higher rate. Talked about different circumstances under which students leave and whether or not they are served and counted as drop-outs. Attendance is mandatory until children are 18 years old. Number one problem is pregnancy.

    FOLLOW UP: Same as for the Southeast Asian students. Provide the same charts for low-income population. Provide further updates on the drop-out rate after Third Friday count is taken. Provide counts for drop-outs by race.

  5. Other Business

    No discussion.

  6. Adjournment

    It was moved by Ruth Robarts and seconded by Juan José López to adjourn the meeting at 6 p.m. Motion unanimously carried by those present.

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