Madison Metropolitan School District
Madison, Wisconsin

Art Rainwater, Superintendent
BOARD OF EDUCATION
Minutes for Performance and Achievement
October 4, 2004
Doyle Administration Building
545 West Dayton Street, Room 103
Madison, Wisconsin

Performance and Achievement Committee meeting was called to order by Chair Juan José López at 6:03 p.m.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Bill Clingan, Juan José López

MEMBERS ABSENT: Shwaw Vang

OTHER BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Carol Carstensen, Bill Keys, Ruth Robarts, Johnny Winston, Jr.

STUDENT REPRESENTATIVES

PRESENT: Oliver Kiefer

STAFF PRESENT: Sue Abplanalp, Jennie Allen, Jane Belmore, Mary Gulbrandsen, Roger Price, Art Rainwater, Mary Ramberg, Ken Syke, Barbara Lehman Recording Secretary

1. Approval of Minutes

It was moved by Bill Clingan and seconded by Juan José López to approve the minutes of the Performance and Achievement Committee dated May 24, 2004 as distributed. Motion unanimously carried by those present.

2. Public Appearances

Don Severson, Active Citizens for Education, read a statement (a copy is attached to the original of these minutes) recognizing the value of early childhood education, however, it was their belief that there are community-based public and private organizations which should provide these developmental experiences and not the Madison Public School District. The recommendation made by ACE on November 20, 2003 was reiterated and reinforced and rationales were listed.

Vernon Blackwell, Dane County United, supported the 4-year-old kindergarten initiative. They are aware of the fiscal concerns but hoped the district would pursue avenues to address that issue. He has done research on this issue and encouraged the district to implement the program to strengthen the existing child care system. He suggested that child care providers should be stakeholders but Dane County United has not taken a position on the proposal. He also encouraged that the program address the education for all 4-year-olds. When asked, Mr. Blackwell responded that he understood that the Department of Public Instruction (DPI) has standards which would imply that the district would play a significant role in the development of the curriculum but he did not know to what degree.

Tim Carlisle, Dane County United, stated that Mr. Blackwell covered all their views well.

Christie Howell-Yrios, Madison Area Association of Accredited Early Childhood Care and Education Programs, Inc. ("The Association"), gave a brief history of Madison early childhood care and their role. She felt strongly that 4 year-old kindergarten should be a collaborative program with both the public schools and private, accredited early childcare programs that are already offering this service through its current curriculum and teaching staff.

Sarah Adams-Kollitz, Association of Accredited Childcare Centers, distributed three handouts: 1) a continuing timeline of 4K-4All; 2) Madison's Accredited Early Educators proposal for a solution for 4-year-old kindergarten; and 3) the MMSD's Early Learning Standards for Ages 3-5 (copies are attached to the original of these minutes). She provided a brief summary of the Early Learning Initiative (ELI) and the issues they explored. Their organization made a significant contribution but it was a frustrating process. ELI was halted. Several attempts were made to continue to advocate because they did not want their efforts to go to waste because the MMSD staff was not at the meetings. They have continued to spend countless hours. They know the district is aware of all the efforts made and asked that they not close the door on these but reexamine the district's role.

She was asked about the impact on 4-year-olds if the district began to contract with The Association. The speaker replied that collaboration would bring more financial support to the programs that have a fairly tenuous existence and would help support those who might not be able to pay tuition. She did not have an estimate on the number of children who could be served and was not sure how much it would bring in.

Theresa Lustgraaf, Madison Area Association of Accredited Early Care and Education provides 4K collaboration. They fully supported a 4K program based on the Early Learning Initiative (ELI) community model. She noted how many children their Association serves, the credentials of their staff, and how they go about delivering their programs. Staff is kept abreast of research, many have attended workshops, they mentor other staff, and they are cooperating teachers and early childhood specialists. She described what could happen if there is a non-collaborative program - teachers would be pulled from their classrooms for 2 1/2 hours, making their day longer with unpaid breaks and noted that very few early childhood programs could pay the difference. It would devalue their skills and send negative messages to parents and staff. She added that duplication of services should be avoided.

Marcia Huemoeller, 4K Association, supported 4-year-old kindergarten through community providers. She noted that Madison and Dane County accredited providers have been working for three years and developed a great community program. She suggested that the Board has an opportunity to capitalize on a unique system that already exists. They are ready to partner with the district and already are serving a majority of Madison's children.

In response to a question from the Board, she summarized the role they play and stated that they serve about 1,200 of the 1,800 four-year-olds in Madison. A partnership with the district could make the programs stronger and better because they do not have the tax base that the district does. Their staff would feel demeaned and demoralized if a Madison teacher went into their centers to provide the same kind of program that is already being provided.

There were three written registrations all in support of a collaborative program.

3. Announcements

There were no announcements.

Items 4 and 5 were taken up together.

4. Evaluation of the 2003-04 Glendale 4-Year-Old Kindergarten Pilot Program

5. Exploring the Possibility of Establishing a 4-Year-Old Kindergarten Program in Elementary Schools in the Madison Metropolitan School District

(Packets included Dr. Arthur Reynolds' research regarding the Glendale 4-Year-Old Program (9/30/04), the district's issue paper with no administrative recommendations (9/30/04), Madison's Early Learning Initiative (ELI), DPI's Policy and Information Advisory on Four-Year-Old Kindergarten (2/02), and a Budget Communications Memo for Early Learning/Strengthening 4K. Copies are attached to the original of these minutes.)

Jane Belmore referenced the two separate agenda items adding that the model that would be discussed tonight could not be provided because of lack of funding. The district did join with the Waisman Center to implement as a partnership a pilot program at Glendale Elementary School and LakePoint Head Start. There is one more year to go on the pilot. The District has been working very hard with the community and Sue Abplanalp and Jennie Allen have been very instrumental in bringing those people together. Ms. Allen would be presenting the evaluation of the program and Mary Gulbrandsen would be talking about a universal 4-K program.

Jennie Allen introduced Dr. Beth Graue, Professor of Curriculum and Instruction at UW-Madison, and Dr. Arthur Reynolds, a researcher at the Waisman Center and professor in Social Work at UW-Madison. Ms. Allen described the program, which is in its second year, as a truly collaborative effort where staff has remained constant. The program is 2 1/2 hours and was modeled after the Chicago Parent Center program which has a long track record of success for four-year-olds. It is based on Wisconsin and District standards and those of Head Start. There is a waiting list at Glendale. The percentage of Glendale low-income students served last year was 35% and 38% this year and students of color last year were 53% and this year 50%.

Dr. Reynolds highlighted the findings and implications of the results of the four-year-old kindergarten pilot program evaluation for the 2003-04 school year. He noted the value of early education and research, trends in the last 10 years, and the increase in funding at all levels of government. Two-thirds of all U.S. 4-year-olds are enrolled at least part day in some program of some kind. In Wisconsin 42% of providers offer a program and 25% of 4-year-olds are enrolled in some program. The government wants to offer people an opportunity to enroll. He spoke about why the particular model was chosen and the collaboration of the partners. The focus in the programs is school readiness and parent involvement.

Dr. Beth Graue reviewed implementation of the curriculum. They start with the early learning standards good for 4-year-olds that could be implemented in diverse sites. Planning the program involves a thematic balanced literacy program that looks at the whole child. They constantly try to bring families closer to the children so there is lots of going back and forth between home and school. Dr. Reynolds reviewed the tables showing the results on the Woodcock-Johnson subtest, teacher-rated domain, and type of parent activity. The programs are very successful and constant and provide a strong foundation for further implementation.

Discussion: Of those who participated in the 4K program 71% scored four or less errors on the Kindergarten Screener; 4 is the cut-off and now has to be compared to those who do not participate. The children showed not just specific gains but generalized gains in all domains of functioning. Low-income children tend to gain more in spelling. There are more gains in both literacy and math when parents participate. No pattern was found for those Hispanic children who are recent arrivals versus those born here. A typical day was described. Head Start and Glendale staff ran their own programs. Scores were similar for those that remained in the programs versus those who had to make a transition.

The Superintendent referenced the position paper that describes where the district now stands. It was agreed that the best way to provide the programs is in collaboration. There are significant barriers, one being money until there is some change in the state law. The current proposal from DPI would not begin to approach this because they are providing only $3 million across the state. Estimated costs are $7 million and there is no way to do that at this point in time. The law for 4K is that it must be universal. The district is lobbying the legislature. Vouchers allow people to begin immediately. The Collective Bargaining Agreement with Madison Teachers requires that anything offered by them requires that they be members of MTI and a district teacher. Control has to remain with the Board of Education. Mr. Price explained the financial picture relative to the tax base and the lack of a funding source for the $4.2 million. There was some question about the legality of The Association's proposal. Administration would try to work through the issues.

FOLLOW UP: Mr. López will try to schedule a review of the proposal from The Association at a future meeting.

6. Other Business

No discussion.

7. Adjournment

It was moved by Bill Clingan and seconded by Juan José López to adjourn the meeting at 7:10 p.m. Motion unanimously carried by those present.

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