OFFICIAL MINUTES OF THE SPECIAL MEETING
OF THE MOUNTAIN HOME SCHOOL BOARD OF EDUCATION
A special meeting of the Mountain Home School Board of Education was held on Thursday, January 7, 2010 at noon in the Administrative Office Board Room.† The following members of the Board were present for the meeting: †Robert Nelson, Neal Pendergrass, Jason Schmeski, Doug VanDolah, Lisa House, Ben Strider and Bill Wehmeyer.† At 12:00 noon Mr. Nelson called the meeting to order and welcomed Board Members, Administrators, Faculty, Media and other guests to the special meeting.
Mr. Pendergrass made a motion, seconded by Mr. VanDolah, to approve the agenda as presented.† The motion was unanimously approved.
Dr. Scriber explained that Dr. Tom Kimbrell, Commissioner of the Arkansas Department of Education (ADE), is asking all school districts in Arkansas to ratify the Race to the Top effort established by the ADE.† It is for a competitive grant that Arkansas is applying for through the federal government.† If Arkansas gets the grant, it will not come into play until the 2010-2011 fiscal year.† †The money received will be used for all districts, but primarily for those poorer districts.† Money will be used for professional development in an effort to raise teacherís knowledge base to affect growth for students.† Race to the Top is somewhat of a continuation of No Child Left Behind.† We are already doing most of the things that are prescribed within the Memorandum.
He spoke to Dr. Kimbrellís office this morning to clarify some unanswered questions.† Specifically one issue that concerned him was the teacher/principal evaluations being tied to student growth.† Since Mountain Home is already at a high level in their academic test scores, growth is not as easily obtained in our district as it would be in a district that is not performing well.† Dr. Kimbrell assured him that schools that are already at a good performance rate are okay.† As long as schools meet their AYP (Annual Yearly Progress) they will be acceptable.† The State will be looking for normal growth which is meeting benchmarks from grade level to grade level.† If a school is in an AYP alert status and teacher/principal evaluations come into play, then he was told it would affect no more than 25% of a personís evaluation.
Another question Dr. Scriber had was whether it will affect core subject teachers (i.e. Math and Language Arts) more than the specialty area teachers (i.e. Spanish, Agri, Art, etc.) since there is a measurement of growth for core areas but no measurement for growth in the specialty areas?† The State Department will be working that out.† He was told that the largest systems in the state that have strong teacher unions have already signed off, as well as the AEA organization itself.
Dr. Scriber went on to say that he has a high respect for Dr. Kimbrell.† He is a well-respected man who has been in education for a long time.† He knows education and knows what is best and therefore Dr. Scriber does not believe that he would try to steer the districts in a wrong direction.†
There is a FOI (Freedom of Information) matter included in the Memorandum.† That is, by signing on with the other districts in Arkansas; we are required to the freedom of information as it relates to programs instituted for academic improvement.††† For instance, if we were to come up with a program or idea that we implemented to improve students academically we are obligated to share that with the other districts for free.† We could not sell our idea to another district.
Arkansas is really ahead of the curve in the benchmark testing.† We wonít be going through another big program where we establish benchmarks.† We must use data to assess our development.† That is nothing new for us.† Weíve already been doing that for years.†
There was some discussion that followed.†† The board consensus was that although Mountain Home might not benefit as much financially from the grant if received, itís the right thing to do for education in Arkansas.†
Mr. Pendergrass made the motion to approve Mountain Home School Districtís participation in the Memorandum of Understanding with the State Department of Education for the Race to the Top.† Mr. Strider seconded the motion.
The motion passed unanimously.
Inclement Weather Change for Hackler Intermediate School Tour
It was the consensus of the board to postpone the tour of the Hackler Intermediate School since the wind chill was below freezing.†
At 12:30 p.m. the meeting was adjourned.†
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††† ††††††††††††††††††† Robert Nelson, President†††††††††††††††††††††††††††††††† ††††††††††† Jason Schmeski, Secretary