Madison Metropolitan School District
Madison, Wisconsin

Art Rainwater, Superintendent
BOARD OF EDUCATION
Minutes for Performance and Achievement
November 7, 2005
Doyle Administration Building
545 West Dayton Street, Room 103
Madison, Wisconsin

Performance and Achievement Committee meeting was called to order by Committee Member Bill Keys at 5:01 p.m.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Bill Keys, Ruth Robarts

MEMBERS ABSENT: Shwaw Vang

OTHER BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Carol Carstensen, Lawrie Kobza (arrived 5:04 p.m.), Juan José López, Johnny Winston, Jr.

STUDENT BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Connor Gants

STAFF PRESENT: Sue Abplanalp, Mary Gulbrandsen, Pam Nash, Art Rainwater, Mary Ramberg, Ken Syke, Barbara Lehman-Recording Secretary

Bill Keys chaired the meeting for Shwaw Vang

1. Approval of Minutes

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

2. Public Appearances

Shari Entenmann, recently moved to Madison and has a first grader, began working with the district's Talented and Gifted (TAG) program. Concerns were: 1) person who tested her son from the Wisconsin Center for Academically Talented Youth (WCATY) told them to consider private schooling or moving to a different district, that the MMSD will "stonewall" the subject and uses a rigid, heterogeneous approach with limited achievement testing.

Lawrie Kobza arrived at this point.

Ms. Entenmann received a clear message from the administration that heterogonous classrooms are one of the district's goals and that differentiation within the classroom can serve the gifted. She wondered if this was practical to expect with such a range of needs and large class sizes. She also indicated that the district is only serving 1.5 percent of its TAG students and missing the other 3.5 percent.

There was some discussion around the district's strategies for serving TAG students. The Superintendent offered to follow up in this case.

3. Announcements

There were no announcements.

4. Behavior and Discipline Plan

(Packets included a memorandum relative to new plans for supporting positive student behavior (10/6/05) and a chart depicting the comprehensive system supporting positive student behaviors in elementary schools. Copies are attached to the original of these minutes.)

Mary Gulbrandsen, Chief of Staff; Karen Kepler, principal of Emerson Elementary School; and Ron Lott, Staff Improvement Planner for Elementary Schools; gave a Power Point presentation on the MMSD plan for supporting positive student behavior (a copy is attached to the original of these minutes). Mr. Lott described how he guides a school through this process. Guiding principles are talked through at the beginning. The goal is to come to consensus about what everyone will do in response to behaviors in order to bring about consistency and lead to an agreed-to, finalized plan. Ms. Kepler described what they have done at Emerson to reduce suspensions and the impact of mobility. She detailed the "above-the-line," "below-the-line," and "bottom-line" behaviors that simplify the rules of the school as opposed to the regular student handbook. They are working on some trial curriculum to help determine when staff intervenes and when the administration intervenes. Features of the plan include the "Fix It" Plan (a copy is attached to the original of these minutes) that is completed by the child to help him/her process the behavior. The Fix It plan is given as an alternative to consequences and comes in pictorial and written versions. Mr. Lott noted that there are some children who are taking some time to change their behaviors but a number are having one experience with a Fix It plan and are not having another incidence. The data seems to bring on good conversation with the staff. Suspensions are down. Lunch clubs have been formed, there is now only one calming room that includes things the students can do to help them process, teachers are processing with these students while the principal covers the class, etc.

Discussion: How the decision is made about which schools receive this program. Plan for rolling out within two years. Using principal groups to eliminate those disciplinary plans at odds with this plan. Middle schools will be rolled out through the Middle Grades Design Team. Plan was well received by high schools. Agreement that suspensions do not change behavior; people are looking for something like this. Athletic code will also mirror this kind of restorative practice. Encouraging the involvement of Educational Resource Officers (EROs) only when necessary. Fall meeting revolved around teaching positive behaviors. Parent groups will be part of the entire process. Data is being tracked.

5. Other Business

There was no other business.

6. Adjournment

It was moved by Ruth Robarts and seconded by Bill Keys to adjourn the meeting at 6:02 p.m. Motion unanimously carried by those present.

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