Madison Metropolitan School District
Madison, Wisconsin

Art Rainwater, Superintendent
Minutes for Performance and Achievement
October 22, 2007
Doyle Administration Building
545 West Dayton Street, Auditorium
Madison, Wisconsin

Performance and Achievement Committee meeting was called to order by Chair Lawrie Kobza at 5:02 p.m.

MEMBERS PRESENT: Maya Cole, Lawrie Kobza, Johnny Winston, Jr.


OTHER BOARD MEMBERS PRESENT: Carol Carstensen, Beth Moss (arrived 5:17 p.m.), Arlene Silveira


STAFF PRESENT: Sue Abplanalp, Steve Hartley, Pam Nash, Art Rainwater, Marcia Standiford, Lisa Wachtel, Ann Wilson - Recording Secretary

1. Approval of Minutes

It was moved by Johnny Winston, Jr. and seconded by Maya Cole to approve the Performance and Achievement Committee minutes dated October 15, 2007 as distributed. Mr. Winston requested the last three words of the motion be deleted - (revised) be approved and the words, be moved to the full Board, be inserted instead. Motion to approve the minutes as corrected was unanimously carried.

2. Announcements

There were no announcements.

3. School Models (Charter, Magnet, Alternative, Specialty)

(Written materials provided in advance: School Organizational Structures dated 10/22/07 - attached to the original of these minutes.)

Art Rainwater reviewed the written information provided about school organizational structures, noting the document provides descriptions rather than advantages/disadvantages or any type of recommendation. He described the two major ways of assigning schools: by geography (typically called a neighborhood school, which may or may not be in the neighborhood), and by choice (including charter, magnet, specialty, and alternative schools).

Lawrie Kobza suggested that as items were discussed, those that could be categorized as agreements or assumptions be added to a list that could guide further discussion.


East agriculture might be an example of a specialty program, but is not treated as such. Courses are not listed in other high school course catalogs.

Spring Harbor and Wright - when are students assigned, when is the lottery used? Open to anyone, with first option to students in the neighborhood, then lottery. No balance or quotas attempted, cannot be based on race, can establish geographic boundaries. Miscommunication/lack of information about how students are selected.

History about selection of focus for Spring Harbor - environmental science.

Expansion possibilities for Jail, Huber, Detention programs now that more space is available.

Issues of equity, and setting up specialty schools/programs that reflect the study body.

Transportation is a barrier, as is attracting students away from home school/friends.

Geographic assignments are the base, choice fits within that. There is interest in the community or certain people in the community for choices.

Force choice plan proposed by Superintendent Wilhoyte was opposed; no support for concept.

Families like schools they are currently attending.

Have no choice other than geographic school, or require transportation. Parent choice now might be moving out of the district.

Alternative programs are successful, serving vast majority. Would like to expand type, are niches for special programs.

History of programs for middle school students; city-wide program may not be a successful draw; difficult to get middle school students to attend.

History of high school School-within-a-School programs - funding cuts, person dependent, success rate dropped, attendance uneven - programs did not serve all schools.

Could have several strands within the high schools, e.g., program for girls to go into math and science. Need to make sure strands attract a variety of students; concern about equitable distribution. Different issues at different levels. Strands option at elementary and middle school is complex.

Must be student interest for a strand. Need clear discussion about what is offered, but may not get desired results. Need reason - why are we doing this? Ask for ideas from staff.

Process for deciding whether an option is needed. Need commitment to broadening choices. Decide level. Find out what options are attractive to students for the purpose of connecting to school and moving a student toward graduation. Need two years from planning to implementation, specialized staff, equipment, facilities, and a well-planned curriculum.

Find out how to engage students in different ways in order to meet a goal. Neighboring states do exciting things. Ask staff.

Strands in long run may be cost saving. Need to be broad enough and appeal widely so all have access. Imbed alternatives in strands.

Identify what needs to be done to engage broader range of students. Alternative strands may not be the best way. Talking with staff is a good idea.


Information about how students are selected for charter schools. Memo from principal about recruiting. How do people know about alternatives?

Possibility for expansion of Jail, Huber, and Detention programs.


Geographic location is the base (attendance areas).

Change is difficult. Families like the school their child currently attends.

Some people in the community would like choice schools.

Schools/strands should reflect the population of the district.

Could offer both choice schools and geographic location schools - not either/or.

Options are important for the large high schools - magnet/strands.

Alternatives are important: expand capacity, expand types, expand middle school options.

Location of alternatives is important - transportation cost.

Costs, including transportation.

Use existing space vs. new space, look for other space options/partnerships/cooperative efforts.

Alternatives/choices enable Board of Education to be more successful in meeting Board priorities.

School strands should reflect the diversity of the district.

Success requires student interest. Need discussion/clarity about goals for strands/alternatives.

Strands are one way to engage a broader range of students.

Solicit ideas from students about student needs.

Lawrie Kobza indicated she would use the list of agreements as a starting point for further discussion about what the committee would like to accomplish and the reasons for that. She would also like the committee in the future to discuss revision of the charter school policy and placing all policy provisions regarding school choice in the same section so that it is clear to the public about what is offered.

4. Other Business

There was no other business.

5. Adjournment

It was moved by Johnny Winston, Jr. and seconded by Maya Cole to adjourn the meeting at 6:35 p.m. Motion unanimously carried.