Madison Metropolitan School District
Madison, Wisconsin

Art Rainwater, Superintendent
BOARD OF EDUCATION
Minutes for Performance and Achievement
August 29, 2005
Doyle Administration Building
545 West Dayton Street, Room 103
Madison, Wisconsin

Performance and Achievement Committee meeting was called to order by Chair Shwaw Vang at 5:06 p.m.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Bill Keys, Shwaw Vang

MEMBERS ABSENT: Ruth Robarts

OTHER BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Carol Carstensen, Lawrie Kobza, Juan José López (arrived at 5:08 p.m.), Johnny Winston, Jr.

STUDENT BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Connor Gants

STAFF PRESENT: Sue Abplanalp, Diane Crear, Jeannette Deloya, Roger Price, Joe Quick, Art Rainwater, Mary Ramberg, Barbara Lehman-Recording Secretary

1. Approval of Minutes

It was moved by Bill Keys and seconded by Shwaw Vang to approve the Performance and Achievement Committee minutes dated January 31, 2005 as distributed. Motion unanimously carried by those present.

2. Public Appearances

There were no public appearances.

3. Announcements

There were no announcements.

4. School Attendance of the Madison Metropolitan School District's (MMSD) Hmong Students

(Packets included the agenda for a meeting at Kajsiab House and the work plan for the 2005-06 school year. Copies are attached to the original of these minutes.)

Juan José López arrived at this point.

Jeannette Deloya, Social Work Program Support Teacher, stated that she and Chao Her, Hmong Community Liaison, would be working together to continue this work over the next school year. She was looking for feedback on the plan of action. Presentation highlights attendance trends; legal parameters for attendance policies; Board of Education attendance policies; districtwide priority; progress towards goal; MMSD's population of Hmong-speaking students and the schools they attend; average attendance rates and attendance rates by elementary, middle, and high school level; percentage of all students that meet the 94% attendance goal; Hmong students that meet the 94% attendance goal; what contributes to the change in attendance patterns as Hmong students move through their high school years; what strategies are effective in supporting students and families; how schools and community agencies can work together to implement effective interventions; student focus groups; and the plan for 2005-06.

Ms. Deloya commented that high school attendance rates show the first drops from their peers. There have been some gains but a gap remains. The district has been aware of this gap for the least two years and have asked questions of different groups what it is that is contributing to this gap. The focus has been on the group of students from grades 10-12. A survey revealed motivational, social, gang influence (not a high number) as reasons for decreased attendance. Once removed from the larger schools and put into smaller schools, the students show marked improvement. The meetings have been well represented and the student voice is being heard. Transition conferences will be continued.

Discussion: Definition of Southeast Asian. Size of alternative programs. Determining who will be in charge of working with the students, guidance counselors, and social workers. First semester recommendations will be implemented first semester. Rates will be looked at longitudinally and retention rates for 9th grade. No significant difference between genders. Income as an issue. Generating ideas for placing students together. Debate about creating cohorts of students who look alike in the same class vs. creating diversity in all classes. Students more comfortable going to school with people like themselves; how to get there is a problem. Gathering hard data from Hmong students about their experiences and perceptions. Targeting high school staff of the cultural understanding. Perception of racism from other students. As students get older, they identify more with others like themselves. Contribution of diversity training. Remaining open and changing practices accordingly. Ongoing opportunities.

5. Race Relations among MMSD Students

Diane Crear shared some data from the Dane County Youth Survey items relating to race--a summary and broken out by elementary, middle and high school students by ethnicity, parents and staff (copies are attached to the original of these minutes). For every ethnic group, percentages have decreased for choosing the "strongly agrees" answer for some questions related to how students treat each other and how adults at school treat students because of their race or group. For the question about wanting to learn more about people of other races and cultures, the percentage by race was up. Ms. Crear has met with students with the Superintendent since 1998, sometimes together or mixed by high school (majority by race). It is a relaxed atmosphere. Feedback from the students indicates that teachers who get to know the students, one-on-one help from staff, freshman orientation, extra-curricular programs, and sharing worst memories were things that help. There have been many suggestions for things the district could do to help minority youth--eliminate stereotypes, increase minorities in class and on student council, decrease the drop-out rate, encourage better student-teacher relationships, increase minority involvement in the community, create atmospheres for learning about other cultures, ask students about their experiences, encourage administrators to take notice of them too. There was some discussion about the counselors; Pam Nash will be working with them. Dr. Ron Ferguson's findings indicate that students who are successful have good relationships with teachers. Continued work will focus on examining classroom interventions and relationship building. Many things are going on with staff development. The Minority Student Achievement Network students will take the lead to meet with principals on a regular basis.

The Superintendent stated that it is the objective of the district to change race relationships one person at a time. Dr. Ferguson's work is the accepted standard. He added that working toward modeling the behavior, not accepting anything negative when it is seen, and becoming more conscious of what is offensive to all cultures are the goals, but it will take time.

Sue Abplanalp distributed copies of the 2004-05 equity book studies around the district (a copy is attached to the original of these minutes). There is a wide variety and many schools use articles. In addition to school-wide activities, there are activities to build peer-to-peer relationships; moving toward clustering students more than one year at a time; providing anti-bullying, anti-harassment, and anti-gang programs; and providing programs to build community. Families come to various activities either into the schools or community centers to affirm cultural diversity. Staff is paying attention to making sure the student council body represents the student population. There is also peer mediation, restorative conferences (work to talk about the responsibility of everyone involved), student centered clubs (many have academic support), lunch bunch groups with support staff, Tribes, Multico, homeroom focus themes, the ROPES course, and the Minority Student Achievement Network group.

Discussion: District has changed in the last five years; needs attention in this area. Many good things happening but hearing in the community that there are issues among students, primarily high school students, which should be addressed now. There is a need for socialization with other students like themselves but they also need to feel comfortable outside of their cohorts. Both kinds of opportunities have to be made available and students need to be taught to work with all other students. High expectations should be required at home, at school, and in the community.

FOLLOW UP: Provide copies of the book studies list.

6. Other Business

There was no other business.

7. Adjournment

It was moved by Bill Keys and seconded by Shwaw Vang to adjourn the meeting at 6:40 p.m. Motion unanimously carried by those present.

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