The following are my notes from the March 15, 2022 Superintendent Advisory Council (SAC) Meeting. These notes are extremely rough and incomplete; however, I’m posting them to share the topics that were discussed and to give some context of what was stated. These are rougher than what I like to post and were not fully cleaned up.
Dr. Stokes – Welcome
“First meeting where masks are optional” iLearn testing is starting soon. Just completed SAT for Juniors. Just completed iRead – err. Corrected to say it just started. Spring Break is coming up.
Amy Selby – Disability Awareness Month
City of Fishers has Advisory Council. This year’s theme “Achieving more together.” Shared same video from School Board meeting. (This is an old video as well).
Student Spotlight was also shared highlighting Geist Elementary teacher’s child that goes to Southeastern Elementary School. (Look for video online)
Referenced the Ally stuff online as well. (This information can be found in my board meeting notes)
Age 3 to when they age out of public-school services. Examples of programs in Hamilton Southeastern Schools includes the Best Buddies program. Unified Sports at the high schools.
Dr. Stephanie Loane – K-6 Resource Review Update: Literacy Review Process
Every 6 years they take on a new content area. Lat year was music. They evaluate current resources they have and determine what they need. Reading, writing, word work, grammar, etc. are part of the K-6 review happening now. This started in January with the teachers on this. Th have a k-2, 3-4, and 5-6 groups that are currently getting presentations from publishers on content. There is a parent meeting the end of this month where invited parents will come to central office to see resources that are available to review. They expect top choices to be determined around a time soon after Spring Break. They will bring recommendations to the School Board. The week before, they will generally display resources in hallway at Central Office so parents can come in and see what is being proposed.
They focus is to suggest the “Cadillac” of content. The last time was in 2016 with one-to-one. They are looking at more digital content that is easier to consume. Fiction is harder to digest in digital, so they will look at print for that. Classroom libraries – trying to make those more robust. Some content is outdated or tired. Novel setting books for 5th and 6th. Bringing that to 3rd and 4th, which is good for book clubs being done by teachers.
Dr. Stokes asked that the dates for when the content will be available for review be shared so that the community knows when they can see what is proposed.
Q&A – how were parents determined. Principals worked with the PTOs. It has already been discussed, but they haven’t met yet. Principals gave back names they ranged from 0 to 3 at schools. This is K-6 for parent night in looking at vendors and asking questions about literacy and such… They are not looking for more families (they have 15), but they will add for those schools that were overlooked. Principals were supposed to ask the PTOs.
There is no community night date yet. Usually, the week of the board meeting in May. Dr. Stokes will look to add an announcement on this in a Friday Update.
Michelle Brittain-Watts – World Language
Resource adoption for secondary. They did a training session to guide the world languages department. Looking towards more whole language and application approach rather than a word (subject/verb) learning style. They are working with department chairs and have developed a rubric to help narrow down texts that the teachers are interested in. Timeline for adoption is similar to elementary review. Hoping to present to Board in May. Once ideas are narrowed down, they will present materials to community where anyone will be available to review.
German is likely to not change. French and Spanish is likely to change.
Q&A – Why the change in approach away from subject/verb learning? They will still do some of this, but would like students to learn the language in a way that is more practical in a conversation style of learning. The IDoE has a PowerPoint presentation online. The State is moving. The subject/verb style is still being learning.
What grades are taught Junior High through High School 7-12. High School requirement. 4 years.
Will the changes be effective for the Fall?
Global Studies – 6 or 7 elementary schools. They are adding global studies as they need additional related arts classes. Language is taught as a part of covering culture and such. ((NOTE: This should be compared against what was “promised” with the last referendum)).
Katy Dowling – Referendum Update
Gave an abbreviated version of what was presented at school board meeting. Last referendum was 2016.
“Talk about the referendum and not the context around them….”
- Now Education and Operation Funds. Can transfer 15% or less to operations. We don’t transfer any. We transfer the other way. We as a district wanted to indicate our money was focused on teachers. The referendum
- Petition-remonstrance process – Pre 2010 – if you had a big project, then you had to do a special process.
- Shift from property taxes to state funds happened in around 2010. This is also when property tax caps were put in place.
- Controlled projects can be authorized without being voter approved.
- Fishers Junior High and FCJH renovations are controlled projects. These are generally done in HSE as part of the existing debt service levels.
- Changes in funding from state since 2010 have been good and bad.
- Funding increases have not kept up with inflation ß what she said, but I find that hard to believe since this started at around $16 million and is nearing $25 million).
- Operating (IC 20-40-3-5), school safety, and debt <- three types of referendum
Class sizes K – 21 in Kindergarten and then up by one each year in first through 4th. Wanted a n overall average of 22-1/2. Targets are wonderful if enrollment is static. Pandemic has made enrollment volatile. Students are starting to come back. Going into next year, they based numbers off of August….
They look at historical enrollment data to estimate what they think the numbers will be. They are looking at a lot of different numbers to try to be close. At K-4 they feel it harder than in High Schools…. In 5-6 the way high ability schools are staffed makes it more complex. They can’t look at overall numbers, because specialty areas impact this.
No measurable reduction in student programming since referendum.
Teacher salaries are better.
New ballot languages are being presented. Instead of rate, a percentage is being presented. A percentage doesn’t really show what you want to know. The word ‘increase’ is now added.
Q&A – What is the intent? Is there an intent to increase the rate at this time? The wording may seem to indicate this, but there are no plans currently to increase it.…
Q&A – Wording – There is no language that says class size and such.
Q&A – Fourth lowest in state funding of Indiana schools. (Used to be third lowest). Foundation is equal, but complexity is not the same. Used to be based on Free and Reduced, now tied to State services. This number is usually lower than free & Reduced Lunch qualifiers.
What happens if we don’t pass the referendum? What is it going to cost me? Most people don’t understand the numbers. Dr. Stokes commented that the biggest loss is staffing.
What does HSE get per pupil? $6131 is the foundation of the state funding, but there are other factors that influence the funds received.
Referendum was increased to .2275 in 2016
What are current average class sizes in K-4?