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Meeting Recaps

February 19, 2024, Board of Education Recap

Marcie Pfeifer-Soderbloom
February 23, 2024

School Counselor Recognition

The meeting began with recognition of the expertise and work of VASD’s seventeen School Counselors. Carri Hale, Verona Area High School Lead Counselor and 6-8 Co-Lead Counselor, and Ben Laxton, Glacier Edge Elementary School Counselor, K-5 Lead Counselor, and 6-8 Co-Lead Counselor, shared information   on the structure of counseling supports in VASD and the American School Counselor   Association Student Standards that undergird the counseling team’s work. The graphics below show the variety of supports and services the team provides our students. Dr.   Clardy and the Board of Education (BOE) expressed their appreciation for the   counselors' service, their positive impact on students and the school climate, and their district-wide   collaboration.


 

Superintendent’s Report

Academic Achievement Monitoring Reports: Health and Physical Education and Creative and Performing Arts

Relevant Policy: Results (R) 2: Academic Achievement, Indicator 2.2.4 and Indicator 2.2.3

The BOE operationalizes desired policy outcomes and ensures accountability through a monitoring report system. Each monitoring report includes a more detailed interpretation of the policy, definitions of related terms, and indicators. Indicators are the measures, assessments, surveys, and data points presented by staff members and used by the BOE to assess compliance with expectations and progress toward achieving results.

Director of Secondary Education and College and Career Pathways Amy Engelkins provided the BOE with monitoring reports regarding Results (R) 2: Academic Achievement, Indicator 2.2.4 and Indicator 2.2.3. R2: Academic Achievement holds that each student will be literate and numerate and able to achieve their personalized goals, with 2.2.3 relating to Creative and Performing Arts and 2.2.4 relating to Health and Physical Education. 

Director Engelkins’ report for Indicator 2.2.4 related to Health and Physical Education provided evidence that an increased percentage of students overall and focus group students enrolled in elective Health and Physical Education courses. In addition, the monitoring report provided evidence of the development of K-5 physical education that meets Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction requirements.

The BOE engaged in a robust conversation around the intent of policies and indicators and whether the indicators are providing the information the BOE is seeking. All BOE members actively participated. Member Stier Christensen raised that the BOE has learned a great deal since implementing monitoring reports and indicators and may be at a place to reconsider some policies and, consequently, for staff to reconsider indicators. Themes that emerged are (a) what is the most valuable and productive way to define compliance with indicators, keeping in mind that the BOE is interested in understanding the student experience as well as progress toward acquiring knowledge and skills necessary to achieve students’ personal goals and (b) how can we move beyond solely quantitative indicators to develop a more holistic understanding including the process and decisions that students make related to class selection? The BOE concluded that these conversations are a vital part of the BOE’s work and that they would like to continue to work through these questions at an upcoming workshop.

Director Engelkins’ report for Indicator 2.2.3 related to Creative and Performing Arts demonstrated an overall increase in the percentage of students enrolled in Creative and Performing Arts Courses but no increase in the percentage of focus group students enrolled in these courses. Director Engelkins shared that students have limited space in their course schedules for electives such as physical education, Creative and Performing Arts, and other courses. Therefore, when the percentage of students enrolling in physical education classes increases (as shown in the R-2.2.4 report referenced above), the percentage of students who still have space in their schedule to participate in other electives like Creative and Performing Arts classes decreases. The BOE engaged in a robust conversation around the intent of the indicators.

The BOE continued to dialogue around the need for indicators that provide more qualitative evidence. In addition to a conversation regarding what the BOE values understanding about student outcomes, the Board examined how BOE members are thinking about compliance (e.g., is there interrater reliability and understanding of language currently used to indicate compliance (e.g., “compliance with exceptions,” “reasonable progress not yet achieved”), if the ratings are equidistant from one another, and if they inadvertently value outcomes over processes. The consensus among BOE members remained that these conversations are a vital part of the BOE’s work and that they would like to continue to work through these questions at an upcoming workshop.

Definitions, Interpretations, and Indicators Proposals

Related Policies: Operational Expectation (OE) 8: Communicating with and Support for the Board Indicators 13 and 14, Operational Expectation (OE) 10: Learning Environment/Student Behavior Indicator 1, Results (R) 2: Academic Achievement

The BOE operationalizes desired policy outcomes and ensures accountability through a monitoring report system. Each monitoring report includes a more detailed interpretation of the policy, definitions of related terms, and indicators. Indicators are the measures, assessments, surveys, and data points presented by staff members and used by the BOE to assess compliance with expectations and progress toward achieving results. 

Deputy Superintendent Chad Wiese provided information on Operational Expectation (OE) 10: Learning Environment/Student Behavior Indicator 1 related to adding a focus on nutrition and amending the interpretation and definitions accordingly. He proposed an additional indicator (10.1.5) that states, “The VASD Food and Nutrition Department serves meals meeting USDA Guidelines and Standards per nutritional guidelines” and provided examples of evidence to demonstrate meeting this indicator. He proposed another indicator (10.1.6) stating, “The VASD will develop, maintain, and utilize a Health and Wellness Committee to inform nutrition options comprised of membership including staff, students, and parents.”

Member Medina pointed out the USDA Guidelines are a helpful starting point because they are clearly defined and that VASD may want to consider surpassing these guidelines as a future goal. The BOE discussed that a Health and Wellness Committee will be helpful. The BOE suggested and agreed upon several edits to the proposed policy change and indicator.

Superintendent Dr. Tremayne Clardy provided information on two additional indicators for Operational Expectation (OE) 8: Communicating with and Support for the Board related to the BOE being appropriately included and effectively represented in District communications and the BOE having the necessary staff to successfully meet its governing commitments and responsibilities. The proposed indicators focused on BOE representation on various platforms and work between the Superintendent and the BOE.

The BOE provided feedback on the proposed indicators. Members Stier Christensen, Porco, Vafadari, and Hanes raised questions clarifying that the critical element of one of the proposed indicators is the accuracy of communication and collaboration between the BOE and the Superintendent regarding communication. Member Murphy and Member Hanes shared suggestions for indicators written for expediency in providing evidence. Member Stier Christensen provided feedback on maintaining clarity around the Board’s work and the BOE owning meeting agendas and, therefore not being able to use them as evidence of compliance. The BOE suggested and agreed upon several edits to the proposed indicators.

Superintendent’s Update on American Association of School Administrators National Conference on Education

Dr. Clardy briefly summarized his learning experiences at the American Association of School Administrators National Conference on Education last week. The conference provided a rich environment for learning and spending time with other education leaders. The current and quickly approaching future status of Artificial Intelligence (AI) in education was omnipresent throughout the conference and calls for VASD to continue to attend to our stance on AI and how we support it in VASD among students and staff. Of particular importance is an awareness that AI can serve to support all students or to increase opportunity gaps if it is not implemented well. Dr. Clardy emphasized that human intelligence will continue to serve as the springboard for all learning environments and relationships. Member Vafadari requested an informational presentation on AI with attention to VASD’s stance, approach with staff and students, and potential negative aspects of AI (e.g., implicit bias). Member Medina mentioned the difference between generative AI and open AI and how they may be used differently in classrooms. A second major topic was the importance of providing reports (e.g., Strategic Framework Priority Area updates, academic outcomes) more often than annually to keep the community and BOE informed on VASD’s priorities, what we are measuring, and how we are measuring it.


 

Board of Education Action


Approval of Results (R) 2: Academic Achievement, Indicator 2.2.4

Board Member Vafadari motioned to approve the presented R 2.2.4 Health and Physical Education monitoring report. Board Member Murphy seconded the motion. The motion carried 7-0.

Approval of Results (R) 2: Academic Achievement, Indicator 2.2.3

Board Member Hanes motioned to approve the R 2.2.3 Creative and Performing Arts monitoring report. Board Member Vafardi seconded. The motion carried 7-0.

Approval of Operational Expectation (OE) 8: Communicating with and Support for the Board Indicators

Board Member Vafadari motioned to approve the proposed OE 8.13 definition/interpretation/indicators with edits discussed by the BOE. Board Member Murphy seconded. The motion carried 7-0.

Board Member Medina motioned to approve the proposed OE 8.14 definition/interpretation/indicators. Board Member Hanes seconded. The motion carried 7-0.

Approval of Operational Expectation (OE) 10: Learning Environment/Student Behavior Additions

Board Member Porco motioned to approve the proposed OE 10.1 definition/interpretation/indicators. Board Member Murphy seconded. The motion carried 7-0.

Updates and Planning

Board Member Vafadari reminded the rest of the BOE that, for those members running, campaign finance reporting is due for those who have not absolved themselves from reporting and that related information is available on the VASD BOE website.

Board Member Stier Christensen shared a reminder that the BOE election takes place on April 2, 2024.


Board of Education Consent Agenda

Board Member Stier Christensen brought the Savanna Oaks Middle School Heating, Ventilation, and Air Conditioning (HVAC) equipment and controls replacement project to the attention of the BOE.


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