Notes 02-13-13

  • Impactful Teachers Who was the teacher who made the greatest impact in your life? Our icebreaker topic provided some interesting insights into their characteristics:

    • Compassion, perosnal interest
    • Emphasized writing- rewrite, rewrite, rewrite
    • Wouldn't let me settle and showed me the fruits of hard work
    • Pushed me beyond and made me double in math
    • Inspired me to teach

    Strong Schools Strong Communities Enrollment Plan We invited Chief Engagement Officer Jackie Turner to help us understand Reflecting Saint Paul (RSP). RSP is a new priority in the school choice plan. First priority remains the Community School Zone (CSZ), formerly called neighborhood attendance area. Second is now RSP, then Area F, the rest of Saint Paul, and out of the District. Siblings are enrolled before new students in each priority area.

    Reflecting Saint Paul was created by the Choice and Integration Action Team comprised of parents and staff members. This team researched, discussed, and finally agreed to a plan. The team was able to divide the city into areas that are similarly racially diverse. Next the team learned that you could use census blocks to decide enrollment based on socioeconomic status and school performance. Finally the team decided to intervene in schools that were the most racially segregated, both those that were primarily white students and those that were primarily students of color. Schools that primarily enroll students of color are improving marketing efforts and curriculum and instruction. Schools that primarily enroll white students will reserve 20% of their available seats for students in poverty until August 1.

    Here is an example.

    • 3 classrooms of 26 Kindergarteners = 78 spots
    • 78 spots - 50 CSZ students = 28 available spots
    • 20% of 28 spots = 6 seats saved for RSP
    • 22 seats remain for siblings, Area F, Saint Paul, and out of District

    Although the plan has the potential to impact siblings of families who currently reside outside of the CSZ, the team felt that it was vital to begin the work of better integrating the schools. Every effort will be made to keep siblings together, but it cannot be guaranteed. Members of our Connections Council expressed their concerns with the decisions.

    Staffing Changes and Building Programs The Council held a discussion on changes and planning for next year. Ms. Maria Fields, 3rd grade teacher, and Mrs. Kathy Ames, 4th grade teacher, have announced their plans to retire at the end of the year. The Council wishes them the best as they approach new adventures. With 6th grade leaving, the retirements will allow for all teachers to remain in the building, but it will require some changes to staff member positions. Overall feedback from students and parents is positive for programs this year. Music, Social Studies, Visual Arts, and Science were all mentioned with high regard. No changes or improvements were suggested.