Calendar Committee Update:
Parent surveys regarding the school calendar showed that parents value the fall conferences more than spring conferences. They also prefer a start date after Labor Day, (heat in classrooms an issue.) They are working now on the 2018-19 calendar. Ideas include moving from trimester to semester grading period for all schools K-12. Beginning discussions now to give time for board policy changes and time to prepare stakeholders for changes.
Wisconsin Forward 3-8 and ACE Results Update
Matt Rose presented information about EduClimber, a data warehouse system purchased by the school district to track the data from different assessments and behavior reports, (PBIS). The system allows teachers to access multiple data points (test results, attendance, behavior etc.) about students.
State mandated assessments are an Early Literacy Screener K-2, the Wisconsin Forward Exam 3-8, ACT Aspire 9-10, ACT 11. Maria Kucharski presented WFB test results and also showed results from similar school districts, (Mequon-Thiensville, Elmbrook, Shorewood.) Whitefish Bay outperformed these districts on most assessment measures across all grade levels and subjects. State trends in math show a decline in performance over the past five years, but Whitefish Bay has been improving each year. There is work to do to close the achievement gap between African American and Caucasian student populations. There is evidence of this gap closing in 3rd grade. Maria Kucharski credited this to the recent implementation of Response to Intervention (RtI) practices at the elementary school. District is considering replacing STAR testing at the middle school with the ACT Aspire because many students have reached the top scores of the STAR test.
World Language Pilot Update
The purpose of the district language program for elementary students is exposure to foreign language instruction, not acquisition. In the 2016-17 school year the district has been piloting a blended approach to their elementary language program. Students in grades 1-5 have face to face Spanish language instruction four times a month. They also have four sessions of online self-paced language instruction using the Middleberry Language program. For the purposes of the pilot, students at Richards School studied Spanish using the online program. At Cumberland, students were able to choose between German, Spanish, French or Chinese. To assess the impact and effectiveness of the pilot, students and staff were surveyed. Students were very positive about the online instruction. They especially liked having a choice of languages to study. Staff had some need for more training around the technical aspects of running the software and using the microphone enabled headsets. Staff also expressed reservations about the effectiveness of the online program for the first grade students. (Length of time to log on etc.) It was recommended that the district continue the blended program next year with some changes to how resources were allocated. (Potentially giving the 1st grade more face to face instruction and the 5th grade more online time to explore language options that they will have in middle school.)
Board Report: Seven Thriving Dispositions: Initiative/Entrepeneurialism
Board member Kristen Yunker gave a report about the importance of initiative and entrepreneurialism for our students.
Community Radio Station
Because a proposed community radio station was not able to generate sufficient community funding, the board withdrew its support of the project.
Please note that these are unofficial school board meeting notes taken by an AFE board representative.