10/25/22 Regular Board of Trustees Meeting Summary
To watch the YouTube of this meeting click here.
All 23 consent items were passed, totaling $5.34 million.
Several Consent Items were pulled for discussion:
2.08 Possible action to provide final approval to revisions to Board Policy 9100. Board Policy 9100 addresses - Members of Public Bodies
Section 4 b) - Reappointment. Members in good standing may be re-appointed without the District opening the position for recruitment or being required to submit a new application or be interviewed.
iii.) Appointment and/or re-a[[ointment of members of Public Bodies shall require the approval of the Board.
There will be a mandatory 13-day public review period, the policy will be placed on future agenda for final approval. (Please note: the Board will not have further discussion of this item at the future meeting)
BBME is of the opinion that all public body reappointments should allow for any new interested parties to be considered for the position. We do realize that these are volunteer positions and that interest is low. This is all the more reason to allow at least the public to be allowed to throw their hat in the ring. If WCSD truly believes in “Diversity, Equity and Inclusion” they would not have automatic appointments.
The Board voted 6-1 to approve; Trustee Church voted Nay
2.11 Possible action to provide final approval to revisions to Board Policy 9115. Board Policy 9115 addresses - Meeting of the Board of Trustees
Purpose: The Board of Trustees believes the work of WCSD is strengthened when done with full transparency and with a primary focus dedicated to student achievement.
BBME would like the Board to take to heart the actual purpose of their existence. From our observation , student achievement seems to be far down on their priority list.
The Board voted 7-0 to approve.
2.20 Approval of the Agreement for the Van Woert Bigotti Architect Design for the Debbie Smith CTE Academy for $1.23 million.
The Board voted 7-0 to approve.
3.02 Approval of the donation of real property to Academy for Career Education (ACE) High School associated with the recent completion of a pupil-constructed residence.
The parcel of land was donated to WCSD for ACE to sell the home. The property and home is currently estimated at $530K. This is the 10th student build home by ACE.
Incredibly impressed with ACE, we wanted to find out more. ACE started in 2002 and is a 5 Star rated school. But the most impressive stat is that they had a 100% Graduation rate last year and the average graduation rate is 96%. ACE is the epitome of career readiness.
As one of the highest performing schools in the state, ACE is also one of the lowest funded. They do tremendous work with NO facility funding at all. WCSD had to pass WC1 to even survive, yet ACE does it all with much less - and it’s not easy! ACE has had tremendous growth the last few years, because kids attended school versus staying home, and parents appreciate choice. ACE is looking for a corporate sponsor for their transportation costs which are about $160,000/year. If you are interested in donating, helping, or learning more about ACE, please set up a tour with Bob DeRuse 775-324-3900. Any donations can be sent to:Friends of ACE
2800 Vassar Street,Reno, NV 89502.
3.03 Presentation and Discussion on Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC) Data for 2021-2022 school year, in grades 3-8 and how WCSD uses the information to improve student learning outcomes in our school.
This is the first presentation regarding Quality of Education that the Board promised to the community that would be addressed on a regular basis.
The presentation shows WCSD overall demographics breakdown, ethnic breakdown and Special populations (English Language, Children in Transition, Individual Education Program, Free and Reduced Lunch and Foster) English Language Arts test scores for the past 5 years (excluding 2020-2021).
Included in the Presentation is WCSD Strategies Needs and Responses to those needs.
Some takeaways from the SBAC data and presentation are that the 2021-2022 scores rose 1%, they are still 4% below pre-pandemic scores.
WCSD CLARK CHARTER
2015/16 51% 46% 57%
2016/17 49% 47% 57%
2017/18 49% 47% 57%
2018/19 49% 48% 60%
2019/20 44% 37% 53%
2020/21 —-- —-- —--
2021/22 45% 41% 56%
There is also a comparison of WCSD scores to several other States scores. BBME is not sure how they pick those random states but we do know that WCSD always pushes back when they are lumped in with the state of Nevada in other nationwide comparables. They say they are not Clark County. So, in that vein these states are not a sum of their individual counties.
The major complaint that the Administration has with the SBACs is that it does not show student growth. The Board wanted to know if there were other tests for WCSD to choose from but Deputy Superintendent Keo said that the Assessment tests approval process is approved by the Nevada Department of Education. Dr. Enfield did say that MAP (Measure of Academic Progress) testing will be reinstated just so our district can look at our students' growth data and proceed accordingly. MAP testing will begin this December, this will be in addition to the SBAC tests.
The WCSD Strategies and Response slides to the SBAC scores show all of the ways the District plans to address the gaps and learning loss from the pandemic.
Adult Learning & Staff Support
Middle School Pathway
Conditions for Learning
Family & Community Support
No public comment was allowed on this item.
BBME spoke to teachers in the District who reviewed this Presentation. They said it all sounds great on paper but they do not have the time, resources, hands or support to implement the responses the District has set forth. Administration says they have all of the new materials (LLI, Heggerty, Phonics First) for the teachers that will help improve students test scores but they are not given training on these material and are expected to learn them on their “down” time or in the case of Leveled Literacy Intervention there is only 1 Kit for the entire school. Another criticism from current teaching staff is that the District spent way too much money on new technology (Lexia, Paper, GoalBooks) when what they really need are extra eyes and hands in the classroom.
3.04 WCSD Response to Recovery Strategic Plan reporting of metrics from the 2021-2022 school year related to the following measurable outcomes:
Goal 1 - Provide and continuously improve rigorous and relevant curriculum, instruction and assessment practice for all students. Goal was to increase “Meets Standards” as measured by the SBAC rates English Language Arts and Math for grade 3-8. Science for 5-8 grades.
ELA target was 63%; Actual ELA was 45%
Math target was 54%; Actual Math was 34%
Science target was 55%; Actual Science was 51%
The Admin. Stated that these goals were cumulative numbers. The target numbers were built upon the previous quarter and because they did not meet the original number, they will always be behind.
Interesting point: 8th grade students passing core classes was 81%. But, their SBAC scores were:
ELA 43.7% and Math 25%.
Where is the disconnect? Inflated grades for the students' mental health?
Goal 5 - Provide and continuously improve a climate of belonging and self worth amongst students, staff and community that is centered around inclusive, collaborative, and engaging learning environment by providing equitable practices, strategies and materials.
In the surveys sent to students and staff, the numbers are basically the same as pre-pandemic.
The next step for Administration is to focus on getting all of the students back in school.
President Taylor pointed out that “we can see how SEL helps students.” She did not elaborate on why she believes that SEL was the reason for the climate survey being back at pre-pandemic numbers. That is an assumption on her part. The assumption could also be made that students were just grateful to have a normal schedule, without masks and happy to be back participating in school and participating in extracurricular activities with their friends.
3.05 Presentation and possible action to approve the grant application to the Nevada Department of Education related to the 2021 Assembly Bill 495 regarding the American Rescue Plan. Addressing the impact of learning loss and closing funding gaps in the amount of $20.5 million.
Assembly Bill 495 was passed in May 2021. The revenue from this bill comes from a Nevada Mining Tax
This $20.5 million to be spent on Covid related learning loss. This is in addition to all of the Federal Covid Relief money WCSD received. The timeframe for the district to spend the $20.5 million is extended until 2025. That gives the district the ability to hire aides for at least 2 years in the Special Education Department (SPED) and for regular teachers trying to teach a class of students whose abilities vary wildly. This is what teachers and staff have been asking for, more eyes and hands, not new technology, more instructional materials or more administrators. Bonuses should be given to overburdened Special Education Teachers who are leaving in droves due to the lack of help, they are burned out mentally and physically.
Administration does however have enough money to fund the following positions for 1 year:
Mental Health Administrator
Attendance Officers (how many is not given)
CIT Liaisons (how many not given)
Graduate Advocate and Native American Graduation Advocate
Substance Abuse Counselor
MTSS Specialists (how many not given)
Even though Deputy Superintendent Keo assured the Board that these positions were only for one year, we find it hard to believe that these positions will be easily eliminated after one. We are certain they will “find” the money to continue funding these positions. We hope the SPED and regular instructional teachers will continue to drown in their classrooms, on a daily basis.
Here is the breakdown of Coronavirus (Taxpayer) Funds given to Education in the past 2 years:
ESSER I or Coronavirus Relief and Economic Security Act (CARES):
Nevada - $183 million
WCSD - $11.2 million
ESSER II or Coronavirus Response and Relief Supplemental Appropriation Act (CRRSA):
Nevada - $430 million
WCSD - $35 million
ESSER III or American Rescue Plan (ARP):
Nevada - $966 million
WCSD - $77.2 million
Washoe County School District has now received a total of $143.9 million in money for Coronavirus learning loss.