Madison Metropolitan School District
Madison, Wisconsin

Art Rainwater, Superintendent
BOARD OF EDUCATION
Minutes for Performance and Achievement
November 14, 2005
East High School
2222 East Washington Avenue, Library Media Center
Madison, Wisconsin

Performance and Achievement Committee meeting was called to order by Chair Shwaw Vang at 7:39 p.m.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Bill Keys, Ruth Robarts, Shwaw Vang

MEMBERS ABSENT: None

OTHER BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Carol Carstensen, Lawrie Kobza, Juan José López, Johnny Winston, Jr.

STUDENT BOARD MEMBER PRESENT: Connor Gants

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

1. Approval of Minutes

It was moved by Ruth Robarts and seconded by Bill Keys to approve the Performance and Achievement Committee minutes dated November 7, 2005 as distributed. Motion unanimously carried.

2. Public Appearances

Joe Powell noted his concern that low-income and minority students are not being served. They are still at the bottom of the class and there are low expectations for them. Teachers focus on programs, not students. Schools should be allowed the freedom to do better, but not worse. Aids should be given to kindergarten parents so they have precise information about what children need to know.

3. Announcements

There were no announcements.

4. Overview of the Work of the Middle Grades Design Team to Develop a Consistent Curriculum for 6th, 7th, and 8th Grade Students

(Written materials provided: Powerpoint presentation Middle Grades Design Team Fall 2005, attached to the original copy of these minutes.)

Pam Nash noted the design team was formed at the request of the Superintendent and charged to design a consistent sixth through eighth grade educational experience across the middle grades that address the areas of learning, engagement, and relationships. The goal is that all middle grade students will have an equal opportunity to gain the academic and interpersonal skills necessary to be prepared for the rigor of the ninth grade. She presented an overview of the work of the team to date. Recommendations will be provided to the Superintendent by the end of December and then to the Board of Education.

DISCUSSION:

Considerations/affect on a magnet school program (Spring Harbor).

Board opportunity to review recommendations. Board needs a real role before decisions come about budget and curriculum change.

Focus of "learning" is that all students are prepared in the same way for the rigor of high school curriculum. Parents (not just low income) are concerned about rigor.

Focus should be on priorities and a way to measure progress.

Question is how to guarantee equal challenge as well as the opportunity to explore.

Focus has been on emotional and social aspects and not enough academic challenge. Part of the issue will be bringing the staff along.

Real goal is a consistent, rigorous academic program that does not look different from school to school, or teacher to teacher. Upgrade academic program and make it as consistent as possible.

With continuing budget cuts, different schools made different choices about curriculum; widened from each other. Issue has been visited. At a point to do this now because it is the right thing to do for students.

Ask for input from students as well. Need to know any budgetary impacts.

Follow-Up: Shwaw Vang asked for another presentation in early December. This would also be an opportunity for Board members to provide feedback or input.

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 8:35 p.m. Motion unanimously carried.

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