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HCPS Board Meeting Highlights

Monday, December 13, 2004

Questions regarding these Board Highlights may be directed to Don Morrison, Director of Public Information, 410-588-5203.

At the business meeting on December 13, 2004 at the Center for Educational Opportunity the following actions and discussions took place.

Recognition

Paula Torres, senior at C. Milton Wright High School, was honored by the Board for having produced the artwork that was used for the cover of the official 2004 Harford County Public School holiday greeting card. Ms. Torres presented the Board with signed copies of the greeting card and was given a certificate by the Board.

General Public Comments

A number of teachers spoke to the Board about their concerns with scheduling, workload, pay, and other issues. Addressing the Board were Keith Goodell, President of the Harford County Education Association; Brian Rhinehart, Ken Simmers, and Mark Anticole of C. Milton Wright High School; Maureen Webster of Bakerfield Elementary School; Randy Cerveny of Bel Air High School; Pat Anderson of Churchville Elementary School; B. J. Rafferty of John Archer School; Stu Chapman of Harford Technical High School; and Patricia White of Ring Factory Elementary School. In addition, Kevin Kimmel and Kelly LaValle spoke about the need to renovate and air condition Joppatowne Elementary School.

Old Business

Action Items

Acting on the motion of Board Vice President Robin Rich and the second of Board Member Lee Merrell the Board voted unanimously to approve items on the Consent Agenda including Affirmation of Monthly Contract Awards; Award of Contract for the Purchase of Electricity for Edgewood High, Harford Technical High, Fallston High and C. Milton Wright High Schools; and Minutes from the October 18, 2004 Board Work Session.

Acting on the motion of Board Member Mark M. Wolkow and the second of Mrs. Rich the Board voted unanimously to approve an adjustment in the school attendance areas of Aberdeen/Edgewood and its feeder schools. The area impacted is in the Nova Scotia Road vicinity and involves a small number of students who are being redistricted to the Aberdeen schools effective next school year. As part of the Board motion, the school system will be considerate of individual circumstances which may result in boundary exceptions and/or grandfathering options.

Acting on the motion of Mrs. Rich and the second of Board Members Salina M. Pleasant-Grice the Board unanimously approved the agreement to supply supplemental education services for Magnolia Elementary School students by the Sylvan Learning Center in excess of $100,000. This agreement for supplemental education services is in connection with the No Child Left Behind federal legislation mandating such services for Title I schools that are in improvement.

New Business

Presentations

The Board received a presentation on funding trends for special education - passthrough, pre school passthrough, and comprehensive system of personnel development. Federal IDEA (Individuals with Disabilities Education Act) funds are non-competitive funds allocated to states based upon such factors as the total number of students with disabilities, the total public and private school population, and the number of students living in poverty. These funds are to be used to provide a free, public education to students with special needs. The U.S. Department of Education distributes these funds to State Education Agencies (SEA) that in turn, distribute the funds to Local Education Agencies (LEA) or school districts. IDEA funds must be used to supplement, not supplant, programs to provide assistive technology, extended school year programs, parent training, teachers, instructional assistants and related services staff for federal IDEA initiatives; provide special education interventions for eligible preschool students age 3 through 5; professional development opportunities (CSPD - Comprehensive System of Personnel Development). Grant awards to Harford County Public Schools for IDEA funds have steadily increased over the last three years.

The Board received a presentation on teacher retention supports - "What are we doing right?" Kim Schmidt, coordinator of staff development, provided the Board with information from a series of interviews her office had done with teachers to determine why they continue as teachers in the Harford County Public School system. Mrs. Schmidt reported there were three areas that teachers reported as being positive - the Harford County community, the school system, and the individual school. Chief among the statements of positive influence was the "team" approach used in the system.

In her superintendent's report Jacqueline C. Haas provided the Board with an update on Professional Learning Communities. During the 2002- 2003 school year the leadership staff of the Harford County Public School System began to explore methods of organizing instructionally related supervisory staff to support improved achievement. The process included a review of literature on districts that engaged in systemic reform to improve academic achievement, convening a workgroup of varied stakeholders that worked with a facilitator to discuss system organizational structures, and intense discussions with focus groups and within the leadership team. As a result of this discussion, a reorganization of staff was implemented to commence in the fall of the 2003-2004 school year. The reorganization of supervisory staff removed approximately 26 people and reassigned them to the roles of Instructional Facilitators or Mentors serving either several elementary schools (typically 4) or serving a middle and high school in the same regional area. The Superintendent recommended that the Board of Education continue to support the expansion of the positions of Instructional Facilitators and Mentors. The Superintendent further recommended that the Board of Education engage in conversations with school-based administrators about the impact of this initiative on their schools.

Meeting adjourned at 8:20 p.m.


This document contains a summary of issues that came before the Board of Education of Harford County and actions taken by the Board at the public business meeting at the meeting date referenced on the document. These are not official Board-approved minutes. Board minutes are not posted on the HCPS web site because of the time lapse that occurs between the meeting, their preparation, and ultimate approval by the Board.
For copies of approved Board minutes, please e-mail Lynn.Hutchinson@hcps.org