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Agenda Review (1/16/2013)

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*Special Legislative Session-6pm

            All board members were present and voted (Shealey over the phone)

The board had a special legislative meeting preceding the regularly scheduled Agenda Review session, regarding the following two items:

     1) Acceptance of a Grant from the Fund for Excellence for Envisioning a 21st Century Education Model

     2) Approval of a Contract with FSG, Envisioning a 21st Century Education Model

 Concerns, Questions, and Comments from the board on these two items:

  • Brentley expressed frustration as to why we had to bring in outside resources rather than using local resources. Fink supported this contract and noted that while everyone would like to use local resources, it was not a conscious effort to not use local firms, but to work with the best firm and that’s what our children need.
  • Holley inquired about FSG’s experience in this field, have they had positive results? etc. (Dr. Lane responded that they have worked with Chicago and Seattle public schools, districts that are our size and bigger and while they have done different projects based on the needs of those districts, their results have been positive).

 The items were passed with a 7-2 vote from the board (Brentley and Holley voted no)

 

A. Preliminary Information

  • Agenda Review Materials
  • Board Members Present: Brentley, Collaizi, Fink, Hazuda, Isler, McCrea, and Sumpter
  • Board Members Absent: Shealey
  • Meeting Time: 6:45pm-9pm
  • 3 Volunteer Contributors

 B.  Summary of Meeting

During the Agenda Review, the following agenda items and/or topics raised the most discussion during the meeting:

 Committee on Education

  • Item #6 (Grow Pittsburgh-Edible School Yard
    • Holley, Brentely, and Fink expressed their support for this project, McCrea suggested checking the soil before children eat the produce.
  • Item #15 (Propel-Hazelwood Charter School)
    • Hazuda, Holley, Isler, McCrea, Brentely, Sumpter and Fink all expressed concern with the Charter School not meeting the 2 more important criterias of providing the school district with expanded choices in the types of educational opportunities currently being offered and serving as a model for other schools in the district. If the Charter school is doing neither of these things, why open it? 
  • Item #13 (Partnership Agreement with Harvard Graduate school of Education (HGSE)
    • Brentely, Hazuda, and Holley asked for clarification on this item, why is it free?  (Dr. Lane explained this is simply the first stage of a potential partnership, to open the door for communication)

  Committee on Business and Committee on Finance

  • Item #2 (Child Plus.net Software)
    • Hazuda and Isler questioned why the information gathered about children and stored in this system cannot be integrated or transferred into the other system once the child is old enough. ( Committee on Business and Finance is working towards a solution for this)
  • Colaizzi had general questions on technology regarding WiFi, who has access to it, and why there are dead spots. (Dead spots can be the result of weather and/or old buildings with thick walls and copper in them; WiFi is actively monitored and there are restrictions as to who can connects. 
  • Item #15 (Acceptance of Audit Report)
    • Hazuda suggested the audit be done in a more timely manor, so they have the information sooner
  • Brentely suggested designating a space for historic items coming from schools that are closing and reiterated that it needs to be monitored who is taking what from these schools (Dr. Lane responded that they do monitor that but if anyone is aware of a school where this is not happening, please let them know)

 Agenda Items Board Members Identified to be further Discussed at Legislative Meeting:

  • Brentley: any and all items, if necessary
  • Colaizzi:  Item #15 (Propel-Hazelwood Charter School) on the Committee on Education’s agenda

 

C. Reflecting on Meeting

 Good Governance Practices:

Focus on Mission-Fink noted that while using local resources is always wanted, it is more important for the children to have the best firms coming in and improving the district, despite whether they are local or from outside

 Transparency- The board meeting was moved to conference room A, a bigger space for community members or concerned citizens to attend the meeting and feel more welcomed

Conduct- Sumpter was respectful of everyone’s comments and concerns as the prompter of the meeting.

Competency- Holley was informed and familiar with the Grow Pittsburgh-Edible School Yard project and praised it, noting that it should be expanded to more schools

Role Clarity- Isler wanted to confirm that all the schools will eventually be wireless (exemplifying oversight on the technological improvements in the district)

 Board’s actions supporting equity and great teaching:

A large portion of the meeting was spent discussing and asking questions about the possible opening of Propel-Hazelwood Charter School. The board was questioning what the purpose of opening another charter school was if it was not innovative and used as a model for other schools.  The board did not want to simply approve the Charter school because it had closed another public school in Hazelwood—they want to make sure this school would be set up for success before approving.

 

**** A regular public hearing for citizens’ comments on agenda items and other school matters is held each month in Conference Room A of the Administration Building, 341 S. Bellefield Avenue (Oakland).  The public hearing is normally held during the third week of each month at 6:00 p.m.

 

Testify at the next public hearing on Tuesday, January 22! Call 412-622-3868 by noon on the day of the hearing to request to testify.  Testimonies must be no longer than 3 minutes.  Bring 15 copies of your written statement to the meeting.

(All speakers must be city of Pittsburgh or Mt. Oliver residents, those representing a group in the community or District, firms eligible to bid on materials or services, or PPS students and employees) For more details click here.