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Wednesday, May 4, 2016

New 8-Step Process working well

Friday, February 11, 2011

(Photo)
Mary Ray
A program officials with East Side Elementary School implemented earlier this school year is proving to work well for students.

On Thursday, East Side principal Mary Ray spoke with the Clay Community School Corporation School Board in reference to the 8-Step Process the school started this year.

Ray said the program is based on the Effective Schools Research of Larry Lezotte, among others in the educational field. She said the program includes "proven qualities" from studies, including those from Michigan State University.

"As with anything new you learn, there will always be bumps," Ray told board members.

Ray said school officials had the chance to take part in a school improvement process through the office of Title 1 with the Indiana Department of Education.

The training was provided by Pat Davenport, co-author of "Closing the Achievement Gap: No Excuses," as well as Supt. Of MSD Warren Township Schools, Indianapolis, Peggy Hinkle.

Ray added Warren Township Schools implemented the 8-Step Process several years ago and have seen results.

Ray said she, four East Side teachers and Title 1 coaches attended a week-long training seminar in September. The school implemented the program in November.

The process involves eight steps, including:

* Data Disaggregation -- Analyzing student test scores to understand weak and strong instructional objectives,

* Calendar Development -- Creating an instructional timeline that gives the right amount of time to each objective and/or standard,

* Instructional Focus -- Delivering objective: Focused lessons according to the calendar and enlisting all staff in the effort,

* Assessment -- Administering a short assessment after teaching each focus to identify master and non-mastery students,

* Tutorials -- Scheduling time for re-teaching non-mastery students and augmenting learning for mastery students,

* Enrichment -- Scheduling time (same as tutorials) to deepen understanding,

* Maintenance -- Providing materials and activities throughout the school year to ensure students retain learning, and

* Monitoring -- Ensuring teachers (and students) have continuous support and instructional leadership from principal.

"It takes time to implement this," Ray said. "But we're well on our way. I'm excited."

Ray said through the program and with the help from Title 1 coaches, the school developed its instructional calendar. She added state standards were divided and grouped for instruction and printed for ease of use for teachers.

Ray said the daily schedule at East Side has been "altered" to give one-half hour each morning where all the students are then divided into groups for focus standards. Short assessments, she said, have been given at the end of each unit with documented meetings for all grade levels.

During the meetings -- or "Learning Log Time," -- Ray said strategies for student progress are discussed.

Ray's discussion Thursday is part of an ongoing effort by all the schools in the corporation to provide updates to board members.

Meanwhile, Interim Supt. Kim Tucker thanks all involved for helping students and teachers get back to school after the area suffered through severe weather conditions last week.

"We had a lot of effort and support," Tucker said.

Still, Clay County resident Jenny Moore approached the board asking it to consider adding additional snow days to the school calendar in the future. This year, the school calendar had only one snow day built into it.

In other business, the board:

* Learned from Business Manager/Treasurer Mike Fowler the corporation should be in store for a good year financially.

"We need to stay on the financial course," Fowler said. "But not only have we maintained what we have, we're moving forward. We're not recommending any cuts at this time," and

* Heard from Tucker regarding possibly having board meetings rotate from school to school. Tucker told the board she had discussed the issue with building principals recently, all of which came to the conclusion it would be best to have meetings at the Northview High School auditorium if the board elected to move them from the North Clay Middle School Media Center. Tucker said the building principals all agreed the NHS auditorium was best equipped for board meetings.

The Clay Community School Corporation meets regularly on the second Thursday of each month. Its next meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m., March 10.


Comments
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There was one event during this meeting that I noted as odd, the addition of two items to the agenda that was published in the Brazil Time and posted at the entrance after the meeting. This action appears to circumvent Indiana's "Open Door" law.

Kim Tucker assured me that she had checked on the legality of making additions to the meeting in progress prior to making the suggestion and I do not doubt her word. However, on reading of the "Open Door" law IC 5-14-1.5, I must doubt the validity of the advice that she received for the following reasons.

The intent of the Open Door is declared succinctly in it's first section; " It is the intent of this chapter that the official action of public agencies be conducted and taken openly, unless otherwise expressly provided by statute, in order that the people may be fully informed."

If agenda items can be added after a meeting is called to order, how is the public informed of what business is to be conducted and why would there be a requirement written into this law to post the agenda of the meeting if it can be changed without public notification of the change?

Why does School Corporation Policy 1630 contain a provision for removing items from the agenda when the administration can recommend and any board member could make a motion to table any business agenda item when it comes up?

Why does that same policy state that no changes can be made to the agenda after it is set if it can, indeed, be changed during the meeting by the board?

1. IC 5-14-1.5-4 (Posting agenda): (a) A governing body of a public agency utilizing an agenda shall post a copy of the agenda at the entrance to the location of the meeting prior to the meeting.

2. IC 5-14-1.5-5 (Public notice of meetings): (a) Public notice of the date, time, and place of any meetings, executive sessions, or of any rescheduled or reconvened meeting, shall be given at least forty-eight (48) hours (excluding Saturdays, Sundays, and legal holidays) before the meeting. This requirement does not apply to reconvened meetings (not including executive sessions) where announcement of the date, time, and place of the reconvened meeting is made at the original meeting and recorded in the memoranda and minutes thereof, and there is no change in the agenda. (Note that if you change the agenda, you would have to give forty-eight hours advance public notice of the new meeting date, time and place even if you announced the same at the original meeting before recess.)

3. With the exception, also under IC 5-14-1.5-5 (Public notice of meetings) of (d) If a meeting is called to deal with an emergency involving actual or threatened injury to person or property, or actual or threatened disruption of the governmental activity under the jurisdiction of the public agency by any event, then the time requirements of notice under this section shall not apply.

Violations; remedies; limitations are set forth in IC 5-14-1.5. For your reference, http://www.in.gov/legislative/ic/2010/ti... .

Frankly, I understand that the additional agenda items needed to be addressed prior to the next regular meeting due to there being deadlines, but I do not see being either emergency situations or disruptive of business. My concern is that the corporation is within the law.

The School Corporation Policy Handbook, Section 1622 on Special Called Meetings stipulates that Public Notice of such a meeting must be accomplished forty-eight hours prior to the meeting and Section 1630, on the Agenda, states rather plainly that "No item may be brought up for action after the agenda has been prepared." While Section 1630 contains a provision for removal of an agenda item by the vote of a majority of the board, there is no provision within it for additions to the agenda. Reference: http://www.clay.k12.in.us/corp/PolBk/Pol...

In light of both Indiana Law and School Corporation Policy, it appears that without at least forty-eight hours lead time any addition to the agenda is a violation of both. The only recourse that I see would be to recess the current meeting for the time it takes to meet the requirement of law or to call a Special Meeting on those items that occur after the agenda for the regular meeting is set that must be dealt with prior to the next Regular Meeting.

So far, the additions I have noted (the agenda has been modified twice during meetings in the past four years) have not seemed contentious to me; however, I'm not sure if another citizen might object or that some item might be added to which the public might object. I believe that this needs to be researched thoroughly and addressed in school corporation policy clearly so that there is no uncertainty and no violation of the law.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Sat, Feb 12, 2011, at 8:57 AM

Isn't_it_obvious_to_us? - It was noted by both the board and the administration as something that needs to be considered. The administration has plans to add more "snow" days and was aware of the need before the meeting.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Sat, Feb 12, 2011, at 9:01 AM

What bothers me is that Kim Tucker sought advice, as she was unsure, and acted according to the advice, but the advice appears to be contrary to the law which makes me doubt the reliability of the source. Another troubling thing is that no one on the board questioned the action which tells me that while they participate in these public meeting, they are unfamiliar with the wording of this law and its implications.

The two agenda items were not about any individual's safety nor did they threaten a shut-down of the school corporation's activities in the time it would have taken to comply with the posting / publication requirements for a special meeting. They were also about as non-controversial as anything could be and be before the school board. However, if the agenda can be modified after posting and/or publication as is specified, why would the General Assembly write and pass a law that stipulated that posting / publication is mandatory in a specific time frame except to bind these government bodies to their agendas as set?

Now, there are things that come up in these meetings that also have a legal requirement that a special public hearing be held to comply with Indiana law in addition to any mention of them in a regular or special meeting of the board.There are times when the attendance at meetings is almost nil and there are times when the place is packed, usually because of one specific item on the agenda. Imagine the public reaction if that item was removed from the agenda during the meeting or, even worse, had been added after the meeting began. Think on that not only in relationship to the school board but on all local government bodies that set and publish agendas as they are required to do by the Open Door law. WOW!

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Sat, Feb 12, 2011, at 12:26 PM

Legal or not it doesn't have the APPEARANCE of being transparent and above board. The board and administration should know that to be trusted, they need not even have the appearance of irregularity as this will raise distrust as to what goes on in closed sessions no matter what happens in them.

If the door remains open, no one can attempt to guess what goes on behind it. Seems that by now they would have learned that much. If education is truly a team effort, all stakeholders should be included on said team...deciding things that weren't on the agenda could be perceived as attempt to leave certain portion of stakeholders out of the loop. Doubt does a lot of damage.

Again why hasn't this lesson been learned yet?

I am not saying that anyone did anything wrong intentionally but perception is important when it comes to having trust in an organization.

Have a good evening.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Sat, Feb 12, 2011, at 8:31 PM

My comment about the snow days was more to illustrate that those at top of the administration need to be accountable for their performance as if not they cannot expect to correct it at the building level and "weed out" the few poor performing teachers... and this has a snowball effect on academic level and morale of the good teachers in the corporation as they not only get treated the same way as the poor teachers but also have to make up for the lack of preparedness when those students later come to their classes.

Chronically poor performing teachers have a ripple affect that touch all of the faculty, staff, and students when not corrected year after year. Just claiming that the majority of the teachers are good is not enough if the poor ones are not being dealt with appropriately.

That is not happening here...or hasn't been for the past 15 years I've lived here...and suspect for longer than that as when my kids got into a class where teacher was absent every Friday and Monday, or covered less than half of the prescribed syllibus, or did not know the material themselves, it did not come as a surprise to others whose children or even they themselves had that same teacher. One is too many as it cheats multiple students over multiple years.

I still don't think they "got" it.

Maybe if I asked if they would be satisfied with their child being cheated by those teachers I found when my children were in 3rd, 5th, 7th, 8th, 10, and 12th grades...What if I had had only one child and they got the unlucky draw of getting every one of those teachers?? How handicapped would they have been academically?..and that doesn't include the few non teaching staff who should have been documented for poor performance over the course of the 16 years my children attended school in Clay County.

The building principals need to be challenged to put effort into documenting poor performance and if they do not, then they too must be. How many years did each of those teachers cheat classrooms full of students?? Despicable situation.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Sat, Feb 12, 2011, at 8:45 PM

Leo & Jenny,

Google "Indiana Public Access Counselor Handbook" and go to page 9. You will find that the INDIANA OPEN DOOR LAW was NOT VIOLATED at the school board meeting. Superintendent Tucker and the board DO know what they are doing. Please don't jump the gun again and state the board doesn't know the laws that govern it. Your inaccurate statements may undermine confidence the public has in their school corporation.

The Open Door Law requires public agencies to schedule and conduct meetings in a fashion that enhances the public's access to and understanding of governmental meetings.

A governing body of a public agency is not required to use an agenda, but if it chooses to utilize one, the agency must post a copy of the agenda at the entrance to the location of the meeting prior to the meeting. In addition, the public agency must describe each agenda item specifically during a meeting and may not refer solely to an agenda item by number.

THE OPEN DOOR LAW DOES NOT PROHIBIT A PUBLIC AGENCY FROM CHANGING OR ADDING TO ITS AGENDA DURING THE MEETING.

Unlike the meeting notice, the agenda is not required to

be posted 48 hours prior to the meeting.

Again, no law was violated. They do know what they are doing.

Try working with them sometime, instead of against them.

-- Posted by Claycountian on Sun, Feb 13, 2011, at 12:08 AM

Allemagne - Thank you for the reference and I agree that is does state that the agenda can be modified. Had someone given me the reference when I asked the question, I would not have posted anything on it.

I would say that insuring that the school corporation and the board of trustees stay within the law is "working with them" and for them. I consider these people my friends and neighbors, although that doesn't mean that I will not disagree with them or debate issues with them. I bear no one any malice and never have. We are all working to maintain academic excellence and achieve more while holding down costs.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Sun, Feb 13, 2011, at 1:44 AM

I echo Leo's last comment. There is a huge difference between working against an institution and trying to improve it. Too many are afraid to bring up problems and try to work around the elephant in the room because it is unpleasant or perceived as not be "nice"..but how "nice" are you when you let problems go on year after year.

There is a perception of good ole boy politics in school corporation that will not go away if choices aren't made to always appear transparent. It also needs to admit that there is a problem so it can be addressed. Ignoring those chronically poor performing teachers does not mean they don't exist. It's going to be unpleasant to finally deal with but necessary. JUST like it's necessary to always appear above board so when decisions are made, like employee/contract ones that seem to get reversed so often....the people making those choices will be trusted.

Having people to question policy and procedure is what keeps an organization on the proper path. There is nothing wrong with being an imperfect system as we are all human, but to wear blinders and say that all is fine means someone is not doing their job and that poor performance goes all the way to the top in chain of command.

Have a good day.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Sun, Feb 13, 2011, at 8:38 AM

Jenny,

Your words remind me of the old saying, "The beatings will continue until the morale improves". Can you list any positive changes you have brought about by your many bitter tirades?

Have a nice day.

-- Posted by Claycountian on Sun, Feb 13, 2011, at 9:34 AM

Allemagne, perhaps you have not heard of some of the old sayings that I have heard, such as "if at first you don't succeed, try, try again" or "the squeaky wheel gets the grease".

Please forgive me if I'm wrong, but from your comments it appears to me that you believe that people should not ask questions and should meekly go along with whatever happens.

I am not that type of person, as a matter of fact, I have already requested clarification as to why a published agenda can be modified during the meeting that it covers from the Public Access Counselor as it appears contrary to both the letter and intent of Indiana's Open Door Law. If I get a clear answer, then I will contact my legislators to have the law modified to prohibit any such action on any major issue as that the ability to modify the agenda basically negates the Open Door law. Many public meetings are routine, many of their actions are non-controversial but some of them are. The public must be informed of what issues are to be discussed to determine if attending the meeting is more important than something else, say attending a basketball game or a dance recital a relative is in or even another public meeting of another government entity.

-- Posted by Leo L. Southworth on Sun, Feb 13, 2011, at 1:28 PM

Isn't it obvious:

yes that 8 step process sounds good...but if and when a teacher is identified as not performing, will central office back up Ms Ray to get that properly documented??? In my mind THAT is the weak link in this corporation. Few building supervisors have the backing from central office to be able to follow through for the two years it takes to discipline, provide improvement plan, and follow through on a poor employee...this has led to the building principals really not doing their job completely as well but it is such a hard wired pattern in this county that it's going to take an edict form the top to correct it all the way down to the student.

All I heard at the board meeting besides this were the corporation's ability to retain teachers. Unfortunately the teachers aren't why the corporation is here. It's because of the students. I can give you at least ten examples off the top of my head where academics have been whittled away in bits and pieces over the past 10 years or so...No not huge things each year but to compare things between now and say 2001...yes many deep cuts have been made to academics. Yet all Mr Fowler talks about is saving teacher's jobs...I don't want anyone to lose their job BUT if we retain employees at the expense of academics we are at cross purposes with what should be our goal here. The corporation is not here to employ teachers. It's here to educate students. A hard line I know but can't figure out why it is commonplace to cheat students of their educational opportunities in favor of buildings and employees...Don't they realize that if we did a better job at educating, we would attract more families to educate and therefore also more tax revenue to hire more teachers??

I have knocked my head against the wall here in this county to try to get standards raised and am told that there is "no need as your children are so much more advanced than any local families here in Clay County"...[that is almost a direct quote]I was insulted for the many young men and women here who just have never been presented with the opportunities so who knows how high they could go?. This is the mindset of the people in central office. do you still wonder why I am so pessimistic?

My husband and I have presented ways to stimulate learning that doesn't cost anything, like remixing two 3rd grade classes to regroup for reading and math...

Now I see these same things happening finally in one school that our kids were getting in rural Virginia before we moved here in 1995..and was state mandated. But we were accused of being transients and outsiders.

I wish Ms Ray much success and dearly hope if she finds a teacher who impedes the program, she gets the backing to follow through with the long term documentation that is needed to truly correct the situation...but not holding my breath.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Sun, Feb 13, 2011, at 3:59 PM

Leo,

Asking questions is one thing. Accusing folks of incompetence is another. You were not asking questions. You were making accusatory statements. Perhaps you should do your homework before you cast doubt on the ability of the superintendent. You stated she assured you that she had checked into the legality of adding to the agenda, but you felt you were better skilled at determining the legality of this action than she. Again, ask questions, but don't accuse before getting your facts straight.

Regarding the Open Door Law, it was designed to prevent secret meetings and deals about public business from taking place behind closed doors. It was not designed to impede the progress of government.

Jenny,

You state "The corporation is not here to employ teachers. It's here to educate students". Please tell me how these two statements can be mutually exclusive? How does a corporation educate students without employing teachers? It is no wonder that corporation has not paid much attention to your suggestions and claims if this is the type of logic upon which your ideas are based. Find something productive to do with your time instead of bash others. I speculate you don't hold a teachers certificate, principals license, or superintendents license, but you want to bash everything they do, yet you've never walked a day in their shoes. Am I right? Is it possible that these "rotten apples" don't meet YOUR expectations? Is it possible that you aren't fond of them because they don't manage their classrooms like YOU tell them to? Based on your many opinions expressed in the Brazil Times, I get the impression you are not satisfied with much of anything in life. Perhaps if you found personal happiness, you would not be so very, very critical of everyone and everything around you.

Have a nice day.

-- Posted by Claycountian on Sun, Feb 13, 2011, at 5:07 PM

Isn't it obvious to us,

I believe there is room for improvement in the school system, but bashing the teachers and central office staff over and over again will not bring about the results you people are seeking. I believe there may be teachers who are burned out or aren't cutting edge who are working in Clay County, just like all over the country and all over the world. You can't tell me that Clay is so far worse off than most like school systems in this country. No, I am not satisfied with the status quo, but I am not a fan of beating people down when you can bring about changes by bringing people up. Are you willing to listen to someone who is constantly telling you how incompetent you are? I don't think you would. Instead of gripping, you should find a way to help out. Serve on a committee, volunteer to tutor, donate an item to your favorite classroom or subject. Get involved in a positive way and stop the betching!

-- Posted by Claycountian on Sun, Feb 13, 2011, at 8:08 PM

Allemagne:

Teaching students and employing teachers are not mutually exclusive BUT employing teachers has to be the result of the main goal of teaching students. The teachers are the tools to do this, not the main objective. I think sometimes the corporation confuses their main objective to keep teachers employed no matter what it does to the quality of the teaching. I say this only because I have seen the symptoms of this being the ongoing employment of poor performing teachers.

1] I am NOT saying that there are CHRONIC poor performing teachers across the board here...Maybe 2%?? [a guess from what I've experienced]. that 2% however is dragging down the entire population, both staff and students and totally avoidable.

2] I have complained through proper channels and have found the either my child is removed from the situation or the staff member [these are not only teachers but staff such as guidance and building administration] and they are either transferred to other buildings or PROMOTED! Mind you these are not simply people in which I personally have had a difference of opinion, but those in which many others have experienced similar lack of performance. This leads me to believe that those higher on "the food chain" have more allegiance to the employee than to the students OR their own job performance.

3] I never ONCE said that ANY of these people weren't nice people. Just not doing the job for which they were hired. Those not performing are not good stewards of education or the students in their charge. THAT is what needs TO BE corrected.

[I capitalize the words TO BE because it is omitted incorrectly even by some of the teachers in this corporation who, to this day, are demonstrating to students incorrect sentence structure].

I do not hold a teacher's license BUT I know a lot about work ethic and employee performance having been nursing supervisor at a teaching hospital for years prior to raising our daughters. It's not about the actual knowledge of the subject but that the job is being performed is the problem here with a few chronically performing employees in this corporation.

My mother was a teacher. I witnessed her spending night after night preparing for class so she could do her job well. I remember those two weeks worth of lesson plans she had to submit every two weeks so if she were absent, a sub could know a little bit about what to do to keep the syllibus on schedule. [this also allowed for principal to make sure she was in line with completing ALL of the course material each semester]

Now I have a husband who does the same. He is up late many nights so he can give his all to his students and his course work.

I imagine that 98% of the teachers/staff here in Clay County have this same work ethic...It's only that approximately 2% who are allowed to continue to be employed here year after year that I find totally unacceptable. If I am "beating down" anyone in the corporation it is they and those who allow them to continue to be employed here. So be it. I will continue to do so and feel that if more would join me in addressing this to the school board we would finally make some progress in this regard.

My daughters have received a decent education here BUT it could have been a WHOLE lot better if we could have avoided ...

1]third grade; one daughter had a teacher who was absent almost EVERY Monday and Friday during the entire year, leaving a different sub each time to "baby sit" and even though I volunteered to come in to provide some consistency to the daily schedule, I wasn't notified. Shows poor performance on principal's part to not deal with chronic absenteeism and the effects on the students in the class.

2] In 6th grade a daughter had a teacher who constantly lost the work students handed in so they had to do it over again and then a week or two later the teacher would then discover the lost work in a pile somewhere....This happened year after year after year. I helped at times in that class and witnessed students sobbing for "not doing" book reports that later were found. We started making photocopies of all the work before her handing it in but how many could not do this??

2]in 6th grade a daughter had a teacher who berated the 5th grade teacher for challenging a group of her students and taking them into 6th grade material using a discontinued text book since they had completed a portion of the 6th grade material....She was so hardwired into what she did that she could think of no other way to stimulate these kids. We had her transferred out of this class but how many couldn't be and lost a year of learning?

3] in eighth grade TWO daughters had a teacher who stretched out a reading unit from a six week period [references all indicated that that unit should be taught in 5-8th grade in 3-7 weeks total] to entire semester and only thing done was that the principal removed his own child from the class....the second year I complained.

4] in high school, ....a teacher who had gossip circle every friday to talk about fellow students instead of teaching material, another who was unable to explain problems..could only reference answers in rear of the book and didn't know how to work them out...NO there were two teachers who did that in at least three courses. We eelcted to have two of our daughters take the second course the one taught at local college to avoid a second wasted year...seems one of the board members knew this too as he had his grandson take BOTH of the courses this person " taught" at local college instead. Then there was the teacher who taught less than 33% of course subject matter and well known as the teacher to ask for so you could get the needed credit for playing sports and graduating and not have to work. Class time consisted of students chatting amongst themselves and teacher playing games on his computer. A complete waste of a semester when my daughter could have taken a different class...Guidance would NOT allow her to withdraw due to this complaint two weeks into semester. All we could do was document and complain after the fact.

But how many other parents complained? How many have gone to school board? Worse than that how many principals have done little to change the situation? AND at last what has central office done to send the message to the principals that this is unacceptable? And I haven't even given examples of those on building administration level who didn't do their job ....

These were not just problems for MY children. they affected entire classes. All of these children have been cheated and could have gotten a lot more out of their years in school here.

this has to be corrected.

These were not mere differences of opinion with a teacher. These were CCSC employees NOT doing their jobs. Students getting short changed in their education, and our tax dollars getting wasted. YEAR AFTER YEAR.

Wake up people!!! Getting that diploma means nothing if you don't have the education behind it. There is no EASY button to education. Your children will pay for this later when it comes to jobs, colleges and scholarships while we pay for it now with our taxes.

Have good day.

-- Posted by Jenny Moore on Mon, Feb 14, 2011, at 10:38 AM

I check my son's homework every night, and I am routinely amazed at the level of difficulty being tasked to 5th graders. I applaud all those children who succeed in academics, athletics, music or any other aspect of a total education.

-- Posted by almostfootballfree on Tue, Feb 15, 2011, at 6:30 AM


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