Tuesday, September 27, 2016

Board of Ed opening comments

Sagan opens, introduces Board, comments that his (Sagan) comments will be lengthier than usual this morning
reading this aloud

"vital to Commonwealth" that they continue Constitutional duty
"want to note that there are sometimes distractions from this work"
interest in election, extends to ballot questions
some of that is what we work on
"remind folks that we don't decide how many charter schools there are in total in Massachusetts"
restate what for the record
"I am a dedicated supporter of all of our public schools in Massachusetts"
"honored to serve as chair of this Board"
carry out responsibilities in line with applicable statutes and regulations
"none of us is asked to renounce our position as a private citizen"
"rights as a private citizen consistent" with responsibilities as Board members
"out of an abundance of caution" reported to Governor
"recipient of funds may not reference my official title"
"think diversity of Board is a great strength"
"deeply committed to serving the Commonwealth families"
"take seriously the oath that I took"
"none of us gets to pick which of these laws we get to follow and which we can ignore"

very pleased with ACT results that were released
our students scored higher than everywhere else in the nation
Presidential award in excellence in math and science teaching
social and emotional learning: one of eight participating states
some efforts of NASBE, as well
back to school communications to Board; sent a back to school video
"which is mercifully short given that my face appears on it"
parent flyer for parents
updates on reorg in DESE "very excited about this"
strengthen internal and external communciation, align instructional roles
"very pleased with how this is emerging"
Eagleton School, Chamberlain School: emerging issues on special ed schools
Peyser taking a direct role in this
working with other organizations on these schools; examining "our own systems"
have shifted leadership and oversight; currently interviewing
update on New Heights Charter: aware school encountered obstacles in opening
"have been in close communciation"
temporary change in calendar; temporarily opening in Norwood
must be back in Brockton in January 2017
concern around finance, watching closely
"transportation is at the school's expense, not at the district's expense"
"will continue to watch the school closely; there are quite a few students on the wait list"
"unfortunately I thought the press really mischaracterized" his visit to Brockton
presented on "our role" Brockton's work
"a lot of questions I thought the press did not pick up on"
"finally, Mr. Chairman, we deal with a lot of issues"
"tremendous work happening on a lot of issues"
"just want to restate to you"
have visited Lawrence, Holyoke, Southbridge since the start of the school year
visited with Dean School in Holyoke, Southbridge High
both have brand new leadership: so impressed with what I encountered there
"working on re-centering culture and climate"
"where kids are respected by adults, kids are expected to respect each other"
"very excited about that"

Peyser praises Sagan's "transparency, grace" in his handling of donation

Public comment:
Jonathan Rappaport:
would like to see measure of arts education, participation, and frequency in ESSA evaluation
going on in other states around the country

comments on Minuteman Vo-Tech from member of Belmont Town Meeting
Belmont voted against new Minuteman building; triggers special town meeting to see if Belmont will leave Minuteman
suggestion is that Belmont students then would send students to Minuteman as non-member students, which would save Belmont money
question as to if that savings would last, as new school will be smaller
new agreement that non-member towns should be charged based on average cost
ask if gap between member and non-member tuitions is likely to state or to close over time?
Chester: refers to Wulfson "to guide me through these discussions"
Minuteman relies to a large degree on tuition from non-member towns
"it's come to a head with a new building project that member towns needed to endorse"
worked on upgrading vo-tech regulations, specifically on out-of-district tuition
offers to set up a time to talk more about this
Sagan: sounds like a broken model "Why wouldn't you take the cheaper offer?"
Chester: the question becomes who's on the hook for the building
Belmont not interested in being on the hook for the building
"is it fair for non-member towns to pay capital costs that a region has made that they're not a member of"
McKenna: seems to be some dispute about the facts, and is asking for some help about the facts, and "timely since October" is coming up
Craven: Madison Park is the other partner: many students in Lexington from Boston (students choosing to be in Minuteman rather than Madison Park)

comment on assessment: stakeholders of parents not represented
"department does not engage with parent stakeholders"
separation between what children require and department and districts are doing
challenge to engage with transformative issues in education
"please address this year the underlying reality" that Massachusetts discriminates against students based on their age (by keeping kids in grades by age)
"to teach students what they are ready to learn"
"age is not a proxy for learning readiness"

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