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May 2009 meeting minutes

Minutes of Ray Local School Council Meeting
May 11, 2009
Staff Lounge

In attendance: Bernadette Butler, Heather Edelman, Christine Lancaster, Ray Lodato, Sean Murphy, David Myles, Ken Schug, Jennifer Washington, Willie Walter (arrived 7:08 p.m.), Angela Williams-Walker (arrived 7 p.m.). Absent: Blake Davis, Ken Schug.

1. Call to order
R. Lodato called the meeting to order at 6:41 p.m.

2. Approval of agenda
On a motion by H. Edelman (second: D. Myles) the LSC approved the agenda.

3. Approval of minutes
On a motion by J. Washington (second: D. Myles) the LSC approved the  April minutes with the addition of the “Approval of minutes” section.

4. Principal’s Report (see attached)
*Chinese Language – Principal Butler will be informed by the end of May if Ray will host a Chinese language teacher next year. Ray is the only finalist for the grant in Chicago.
*Discipline – Incident report numbers are probably similar to last year, however, discipline is handled more consistently than last year.
*LCD projectors – Principal Butler requested the LSC move $10,000 remaining in a reduced-class-size teacher budget line and $10,000 remaining in the Youth Guidance budget line into the equipment line in order to purchase LCD projectors. LCD projectors received the most votes in a teacher survey. The projectors cost $600-800. Several would be available on each floor of the school, and the technology teacher or a teacher from each grade would be responsible for housing the projectors. H. Edelman asked if the projectors would be connected to a laptop or CPU on a cart to ensure all teachers could use the equipment. S. Murphy, R. Lodato and C. Lancaster requested the decision be delayed until the LSC technology committee finished making a recommendation on the total technology picture, including computers, LCDs and printers.
D. Myles made a motion (second: A. Williams-Walker) to move $10,000 remaining in a teacher budget line and $10,000 remaining in the Youth Guidance budget line into the equipment line. The LSC voted 6-3. The motion failed because it required seven votes to pass.
*Teacher assignments – Families will be notified over the summer of their children’s classroom assignments for next fall.
*A flier was sent home to parents asking them to contact CPS officials to request they restore the Spanish positions cut for next year.

5. Status of Friends of Ray
A. Williams-Walker drafted bylaws for FOR. She has names of five people interested in being involved in the separation of FOR from the PTA. The next step would be discussion with the incoming PTA board.

6. Subcommittee reports
*Bylaws – none
*Facilities (see attached) – The $239,000 needed to scrape and paint areas of the walls and ceilings that are peeling has been funded. The work should be done over the summer. Ray will not host summer school. Front office functions will be moved to the new wing of the school during the process.
*Vision and Priorities – H. Edelman passed around a 5-year plan created by Nettelhorst School which is divided into subject-area categories.
*Principal evaluation – The LSC discussed the survey of parents and teachers that was conducted related to the principal evaluation and whether more parents should have been surveyed. A parent present in the audience said he was there to support the principal.  Principal Butler asked for a transparent and positive process. A feedback session must be scheduled.
*SIPAAA/Budget – no report
*PPLC – C. Lancaster handed out a draft list of recommendations from the PPLC. (See attached)
*Bilingual education – no report
*Special education – no report
*Technology – S. Murphy reported that Sun Microsystems will come to Ray on Wednesday to demonstrate SunRay to teachers. A call is scheduled for that same day with the school from Cincinnati that is using SunRay. The committee will meet after the Sun visit to make recommendations on purchases of computers, LCD projectors, and possibly printers.

7. Kindergarten lottery process – no report

8. PTA report – H. Edelman listed the PTA board nominees for next year

9. Old business – A. Williams-Walker reported difficulty getting information from the LSC office about LSC training.

10. New business – none

11. Public comment – none

12. Adjourn

Principal’s Report to the Local School Council
May 11, 2009 6:30 p.m.

Special Education
E-IEPs:  As of May 22nd, all CPS schools will be required to use the e-IEP.  Ray may be asked to start sooner due to completion of training on May 13th. Training is taking place in two parts.  One Special Ed. teacher, the case manager and all clinicians are attending the trainings.  At a later date, the Ray Special Ed. Team will discuss how to provide training "in-house" for all special ed. teachers.

The special education team now meets on Monday mornings in order to include the entire team of itinerants. This includes the psychologist, speech therapist, social worker, teachers and counselor.  Meeting at this time enables all team members to give input on issues related to special Ed and creates an opportunity for collaboration.

Assessments: The Ray Language Arts Committee has purchased three new Fountas & Pinnel assessments, one specifically designated for the Special Ed. Department.  The team discussed where to house it, along with other assessments and communicable resources (i.e. teacher editions).  The group decided to keep a lockable cabinet in Room 306 and designate a "key master".  A check-out system will be devised. Mr. Coyne volunteered to hunt down such a cabinet (and has ordered one already!). .  The team agreed to ask the administration to order an updated version of the Keymath.  For the next meeting, team members will bring a list of the assessments they currently use/have in their classrooms so a "catalog of assessments" can be put together.

Joffrey Ballet Middle School Dance Club Grant
Mrs. Butler attended an informational session to gain information about a grant that would allow the Joffrey Ballet to work with students in our school next year.     Mrs. Butler subsequently wrote and submitted the grant and is waiting for a response from the company. The MSDC curriculum satisfies the Illinois State Board of Education’s state goals 25, 26, and 27 by allowing students to gain a familiarity with the language of the arts.  Social /Emotional Learning goals 1 and 2 are central to the curriculum.  Through the program students refine their interpersonal and communication skills.  Student progress is measured using a set of assessments administered throughout the program skills are   MSDC participants receive complimentary tickets to three Joffrey Ballet performances.  Teachers are invited to three workshops specifically designed to assist students in the creative process, rehearse ballets and help students develop musical skills.  An additional opportunity is provided to MSDC participants to participate in a summer program, preparing students to audition for the Joffrey’s production of the Nutcracker.
Once we know if we received the grant we will choose the grade level to participate.  Since Ms. Krecik has agreed to be the coordinator (she has a degree in dance) we will have to work out a schedule that allows her to be a part of the class.  The other two teachers who agreed to hold rehearsals are Mr. Martin and Mr. Walter.
Critical Languages Program
Mrs. Butler also wrote and submitted a grant for Ray School to receive a Chinese Language Exchange teacher.  We were notified that we are one of the finalists and as a result were interviewed by phone from Washington DC.   If we receive the teacher she will be responsible for teaching and going to staff development. She must also collaborate with other teaching staff and work with the community.  Several Chinese American families have agreed to help the person adjust to life here.

Report is included in the packet
Student Awards
Latin:  Two Ray School Latin students will be awarded gold medals at the annual Latin Gala on June 4 for achieving perfect scores on the 2009 National Mythology Exam. They are fourth grader Rachel Clendenning and fifth grader Angela White.  In addition bronze medals will be given to fourth grader William Burke and fifth grader Phillip Parker Turner.

Young Authors Winners:
1st Place: Madeleine Hall- from Murray
2nd Place: Ashbey Kinkpatrick- from Ray
3rd Place: Akhiyah Vaughn- from Bret Harte
1st Place: Carolina Cannon- from Murray
2nd Place: Parris Harris- from Mayo
3rd Place: Amore Shaw- Pershing West
1st Place: Mansur Soeleman- from Canter
2nd Place: Bennett Hensey- from Ray
3rd Place: Alexis Scott- from Till
The first place winners’ manuscripts will be sent to the Office of Literacy for the City Wide competition.
Our Area Young Author’s Celebration will be held on Tuesday, June 2, 2009 at Shoesmith School from 9-11. Invitees include 1st-3rd place winners, 7 runner-ups per grade cycle, and one parent/guardian for each student, and the Principal from each school (or their designee).

Special Activities
The Science team planned our first ever science week.  Parents and other community members who work in the field of science were invited into the classrooms to give science lessons.  The week culminated in a Science Gallery Walk. At 8:00am. student projects were on display for parents walk throughout the school to view.  Some students were on hand to explain their projects.  The projects were exemplary and the children seemed to enjoy demonstrating their projects.  The classroom presenters were a wonderful addition to this day.  I look forward to this becoming an annual event.

Presentation on Spain
Mr. Martin invited Mr. Jacobo Mir who coordinates the Spanish Academies in Chicago to do a presentation on Spain.  Mr. Mir gave two presentations where other Spanish classes were invited. He compared and contrasted cities in Spain and the US.  Architecture and artists from the various cities was shown to children. He showed famous architecture and art down by Spaniards that are here in Chicago.  Children learned that cities in Spain are similar to cities here. He actually ran out of time due to the many questions and interest that the children had.
Family Reading and Math Night – Thursday, May 7 was Family Reading and Math Night.  Each grade level pre-k through 6 was invited to participate.  Teachers made up math and reading games and activities for parents and student to do together.   The night ended with students having to guess the number of M&Ms in a jar and the number of pieces of bubble gum in another jar.  Our winning students were Russell Schmidt and Kamila Karim.  Mrs. Butler has requested that we keep some activities on the walls and next year make them a part of what is always on the walls so that children can engage in meaningful activities as they wait in the lunch line or when they have finished lunch.  This will keep children in a continuous learning mode.

Cinco de Mayo Assembly This production was spectacular. Mr. Cisneros and Mr. Corona from the Back of the Yards were the artists who choreographed and taught the dances and provided the costumes.  Our students performed regional dances done in authentic costumes and they recited poetry by the Mexican author Manuel Acuna.  Two students read in English and Spanish, the reason Cinco de Mayo is celebrated.  At the end of the program, room 304 sang songs while some students accompanied the artists who were playing guitar by beating on their wooden boxes and playing a tortoise shell. Their performance was the result of a music residency by visiting artist, Mr. Fernandez with Mr. Martin. The residency was free to us.

Community Involvement
Chicago Children’s Choir will hold a free community concert here on Thursday, May 14.

Staff Development
At the last staff Development Session teachers listened to a presentation by Mrs. Zeber and Ms. McNulty on RTI (Response to Intervention).

Mrs. Butler and Ms. Alexis Scott attended a staff development session for the Community Schools initiative.  The purpose was to learn about providing more health services within the school.  Panels of health care professionals and providers discussed their experiences securing funds and setting up programs in the school.

See enclosure
Internal Accounts
$190,349.80 in our account
Request to move money into equipment lines ($20,000) for the purpose of buying LCD projectors.

Facilities & Safety Committee
May 7, 2009

Present: Bernadette Butler, Ralph Mirro, Star Breit, Therese Wasik, Marcy Schlessinger and David Myles.

•    Floor tiles in corridors – Ralph and Ms Butler working on a letter to go to the head of the CPD Facilities Department as the punch list work has not occurred.

•    Peeling paint – David attended the Capital Hearing in May.  Facility Department has funded the $239,000 needed and will award the project. No use by school staff will occur in the old building over this summer. ☺

•    UPS back up system – No up-dated information at this time.

•    School cleaning concerns – Ralph and Ms Butler has met to pass on cleaning concerns for the maintenance to correct.  Work appears to have happened or in the process of being addressed. Other problems when noticed need to be communicated directly to Ralph for quick resolution. Suggest wall racks for equipment that clutters Running Track.

•    Technology/Equipment – Ms Butler meeting with teachers this Wednesday to have conference call with another school using the Sun computer products to learn of strengths & weaknesses of products.

•    School Emergency Management Plan (EMP) – On-going – Week of April 27th, a Lock Down Drill occurred and went well and the Principal noticed the area for improvement(s).

•    Sand box – Removed, gone. Base of sand remains and Ralph to call to see if asphalt patch can occur.

•    Recycling – No discussion.

•    Art Room –  Marcy area to ”re-set” this room the way is was after the major cleaning later today.  Later that morning, the room was cleaning and all of the affected parties were notified and appreciative of Marcy’s efforts. ☺

•    Parking Lot –Authorized the purchase of a convex mirror.  David to see that Jean in the office has the ordering information.  The Alderman’s office cannot have a STOP sign placed at the public alley but is looking into whether “speed bumps” can be installed.  Ralph authorized to lock gate from the parking lot to the open park area.  Suggest sign be placed indicating locked gate for safety purposes.

•    Landscaping –Several community volunteers who along with U of C students have begun to work the gardens this Spring. Marcy to attend the May 13th school staff meeting to inform and gauge teacher support for working the planter boxes this season.

•    Courtyard repairs – Have one proposal for $13,490 in ‘05.  Some volunteers discussed making some pavement repairs themselves but this work is not advisable.

•    Fluorescent light fixture lens covers are needed throughout old building.  Ralph has 3rd & 2nd floor survey and approximately $5,000 needed to fund replacement lens covers.

•    Window air conditioners – Prices ($32,235 in ‘05) obtained but there is a City moratorium on installing these window units in CPS properties.

57th Street Business Association – No update at this time. David to follow up w/Alderman’s office for 57th Street “bump-outs”.

Next Meeting:  June 4th 2009,  8:00 am

Minutes by:  David Myles

PPLC FINAL Report     2008-2009
The following is a list of topics surrounding curriculum and instruction at Ray that the PPLC discussed in a series of meetings in March and April. The input of the PPLC is as follows:
1.    Technology Teacher – Consensus of this group was that a full-time technology teacher would better meet the needs of Ray than a part-time technology teacher. The PPLC would like to see technology classes for grades K-6. If the computer teacher were to take care of some maintenance of machines, it might be possible to free up their schedule for that by having K classes one semester and 1st grade the next semester so these grades would receive a semester of technology instead of a full year.

2.    Language Arts Curriculum at Ray – These ideas varied. These included: continue with balanced literacy – although some teachers may need frameworks on how to best do this in their classrooms.  The basal should not be used as the core of curriculum, but as an assessment tool. However, part of the basal and parts of balanced literacy without the basal may be disjointed and leave out skills. If this is the case, returning to all parts of the basal may be necessary to ensure that all areas of language arts are being covered. Or, a complete balanced literacy approach without the basal may be best as long as grade levels are using the same standards and sequence of skills (i.e. All 4th grade doing inference at the same time). This scope and sequence of skills would need to be given to teachers in September.

To strengthen Language Arts in the upper grades, more books need to be added to the Guided Reading Library in the mid/upper level books. Also if Ray continues to use the Accelerated Reader program, ALL grades should participate. Updated AR tests are a necessity.

Overall, we should explore opportunities for PD in Area 15. We should use school resources (including Amy LeVine and Jenny McFarland) to better implement our language arts curriculum.

3.    Sixth Grade Language Arts – The sixth grade team would like to investigate assessments to use to justify letter grades given in Language Arts.

4.    Professional Development – We have several teachers at Ray who have led FOSS PD or who have attended it. We could use in-house resources for this.

We have teachers at Ray who lead Everyday Math PD. We could use these teachers to spend some time talking about implementing Everyday Math in the classrooms.

For Language Arts, a combination of outside consultants and in-house resources would make excellent PD. These PDs should include all grade levels and should develop models implementing Language Arts in the classroom. A stronger administrative influence over the Language Arts curriculum may be effective.

5.    “Walking Reading” – As a follow up to an idea mentioned at an LSC Budget Subcommittee meeting, the idea of implementing “walking reading” at Ray was discussed. This would entail students within a grade level being grouped for reading and different teachers teaching different levels.
Pros and cons included: Grouping as high – medium – medium or high- medium-lower may be best. These groups need to be fluid an change weekly or monthly. In addition, the higher group would need to be larger, so that the other groups would benefit from a lower class size. This model can challenge higher students and give extra attention to lower students, however, there is some loss of instructional time when changing classrooms.
In order for this to be successful: High standards need to be held for all students. Everyone across a grade level would need to be doing language arts at the same time. Grade levels would need to use the same evaluative tools.
In all, this is an idea should be given further consideration.

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