DORCHESTER COUNTY BOARD OF EDUCATION
Board Citizens Advisory Council on School Environment Minutes
September 13, 2018
Present: Katie Holbrook, Donna Payne, Angela Mercier, Clare Spillane, Lt. Shane Hinson, Shamonie Gaines, Morgan Wright, Shay Lewis-Sisco, Laura Layton, Chairperson; Beth Wilson, Co-Chairperson.
Absent: Larry Windsor, Greg Meekins, Zulieka Horsey, Lesley Jackson, Sheriff Jimmy Phillips; Erin Hill, Katie Tolley, Elder Craig Mathies
➢ First weeks of school – questions and concerns
Ms. Lewis felt the transition from elementary school to middle school was challenging for her son. Mrs. Payne stated that the parents she has talked with felt it had gone well. Ms. Lewis stated that a parent conveyed a concern about how school nurses/schools handle situations when students are hurt. Ms. Payne stated that there really is not a protocol, but the parent can call the school nurse and let her know when and how she would like to be notified. The parent can also ask the school nurse what her protocol is. Ms. Holbrook stated that DE had their first building rep. meeting, and everything is going fine.
Mr. Hinson stated a parent had brought a concern to him regarding the area around the nurse’s room and near the Spanish room at C-SDHS which is a dead zone, and the students know they can’t be seen. He asked if a camera could be installed in that area. Mrs. Wilson stated she agreed and shared all the cameras at C-SDHS needs to be replaced.
➢ Staff training for ALICE – Alert, Locate, Inform, Counter, Evacuate
Mrs. Layton stated that all DCPS employees have participated in the mandatory ALICE training, including school nurses and anyone who works at the schools. Mr. Hinson summarized the concept of ALICE trainings. Ms. Wilson stated that scripts will be written for each grade level - elementary, middle, and high students. DE would like to see this training continue at least two times a year for review. It was asked if the ALICE training would be available for the community. Ms. Shockley conveyed that she would check to if the ALICE training could be offered by an outside organization, possibly faith-based community.
➢ Student schedules and counselor availability – Dr. Zulieka Horsey Mrs. Horsey was absent. Defer to future meeting.
➢ Subcommittee status – Nancy Shockley
Mrs. Shockley and Ms. Goff attended the last Parent meeting hosted by Ms. Hill and Ms. Smith, unfortunately there was not good attendance. This enforced the fact that we need to engage parents in the greater, broader conversation.
She has talked with the consultant who is willing to assist in this process.
• Develop a brief 2- or 3-minute survey that goes out to all parents at every level. Look at the four original categories:
2. Mental Health
An example – Ask basic discipline questions of the parents from a positive perspective to gathering climate information about each school.
Can do survey electronically and it will be anonymous. Survey will need to have BOE approval. Will filter by school and then will know what to focus on. Survey will probably have about twelve questions. Feel we can better engage parents since it will be school specific. Would be able to have the survey ready in a couple weeks.
Ms. Lewis stated that she had previously made a recommendation suggested sending a form home at the beginning of the year asking parents how they would prefer to be contacted.
There was discussion regarding procedures for parents to visit schools. If the parent wants to observe in the classroom, the parent needs to give the school a 24-hour notice. If you would like to speak to a teacher, parent should schedule a meeting with the teacher.
Ms. Lewis stated it seems that Open House at schools seem to have better attendance than Parent Night. Could they be combined?
Shamonie Gaines stated that Mr. Bromwell has more control this year at C-SDHS. Changes have been positive, can’t use cell phones, she feels safe and she likes school this year.
➢ Communication status – BOE, staff, parents, and community – Valerie Goff
Valerie Goff, Communications and Community Outreach Specialist, shared she is trying to:
• Set up networks in the schools to gather information that can be shared
• Seeing an increase in Let’s Talk
• Longer term – looking at revising the DCPS website, not user friendly.
Ms. Shockley said the county has a specific educational block on the county website and could provide a link to Let’s Talk.
➢ Priorities of the committee – what are our goals?
Bring to next meeting what you believe the goals of this committee should be.
➢ Raising staff morale to limit teaching turnover
More recognition needs to be given to long-term employees and/or all employees.
• Suggestion Box on website – recommending someone for recognition, such as, Teacher of the Month, and then be recognized at a BOE Meeting with certificate
• Recognition at Professional Development Days
• Previously had Star Fish Award Ceremony
• Positive email to staff from principal
• Small flower arrangement from BOE with a handwritten note
• Do something like TOY on a smaller scale
Ms. Holbrook reported that having Regina Teat overseeing both elementary and secondary schools have been a positive move in the right direction. She is passionate about education, and her goal is consistency. She noted that a lot of the problems with teacher turnover is frustration, overworked staff, staff not feeling appreciated.
It was shared that teachers feel that the central office does not support staff. It was suggested to survey all staff using Survey Monkey. Ms. Holbrook stated that not all staff have access to a computer.
➢ Questions – concerns of committee
Ms. Payne stated she was asked how it is determined how many staff members are injured by students or just injured. Ms. Wilson stated that HR must report to Workman’s Comp. If an incident report is not completed and sent in, we have no way of knowing.
Ms. Mercier asked what the Board feels this committee’s goal should be. Ms. Layton explained the origin of the committee to Ms. Mercier, who replaced the former Health Department participant.
Ms. Holbrook conveyed she knows the Board is working to get NDLA-E running. She understands that the teachers who volunteered to teach the elementary component cannot begin until their positions are filled, her concern is if NDLA-E needs to be utilized for elementary students it is not possible at this time. Ms. Wilson explained that there is a referral process and it would take at least 30 days. HR is actively recruiting to find replacements for these teachers. Ms. Holbrook asked why are secondary students at NDLA at this time? Ms. Wilson explained that most of these students are behind grade level and are there to do credit recovery and get more individual instruction. She noted that there maybe a couple students who were behavior issues last year and could not return to their home school. Ms. Holbrook stated that there is concern from secondary teachers who have referred students and are being denied. It was explained that credit recovery is for high school students. Ms. Wilson explained what classes are offered at NDLA for secondary students. Ms. Lewis stated that parents should know why their child is at NDLA. Ms. Wilson conveyed that if a student is at NDLA the parent participated in the process.
➢ Comments from spectators – 30 min. maximum
Laronya Dobson shared some suggestions:
• Teachers can email parents information about chapter books.
• There are websites the teachers can make parents aware of.
• Books can be purchased at Barnes and Noble to help parents prepare for PARCC.
• There are websites such as the Khan Academy that can be used as a resource.
• Scholastic Books are another resource for parents.
• Assign parents timeslots for parent/teacher meetings.
• She has observed that age level and transportation are factors as to why parents don’t participate.
• She agrees that cell phones should be lockers.
• Teacher recognition should come from the principal.
• Have a career day every Friday to get parents involved.
• End of every quarter lunch can be on the Board.
• Transportation can be provided to parents to attend meetings and open house. Parents and teachers need to work together.
Theresa Stafford stated that she is concerned about the make-up of the committee and personal issues being discussed, instead of discussing solutions for all students. She noted that PARCC information should have been given at the school. She agreed with the websites for resources. She stated that she is concerned that the committee does not know what the goals are. She doesn’t agree with the students going to NDLA for credit recovery.
Ms. Lewis stated that Joe Kelly has a faith-based organization that works with other faith-based organizations in the community to provide additional supports for students afterschool or weekends. She pointed out that we must assure that students are getting accurate information. She commended Shamonie and Morgan for sharing their feelings and concerns.
Ms. Stafford stated that the surveys need to go out to everyone not a select group. She feels things are being done to a certain segment of the population. Recognitions need to be done at the school level. She felt that the CAC should be held in different areas.
Ms. Holbrook conveyed that as an elementary teacher she does not recommend anyone going on any websites for PARCC information. PARCC is constantly changing, and you may not get accurate information. She agrees that Khan Academy is great resource and is aligned with the standards. She clarified that teachers have a contract for 7.5-hour day. A teacher’s day cannot be mandated.
Ms. Scheer shared a few concerns:
• Hours for parent conferences are not good for working mothers.
• Her child attends CES and 4th and 5th graders were told that they must try out for the Band. How can they tryout if they have never had band? She conveyed that the Band teacher said he was looking for more quality than quantity. How can this happen?
• Her son went to NDLA last year because of his behavior, he did not go through the pre-steps.
Next meeting – October 11, 2018, 5:30 p.m. sharp, in the Pit at the Central Office
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