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Minutes April 8, 2014

William H. Ray Elementary

LSC Meeting Minutes


APPROVED 2014-05-06


Roll Call – Present


Bill Schmidt

Kirsten Esterly

Alysia Tate

Dr. Antonia Hill

Gordon Mayer

Patrick Brutus

Tim May

Amy Levine

Gabriel Sheridan

Don Willard

Matthew Christian


Approval of Agenda


Kirsten Esterly moved and Bill Schmidt Seconded approval of the agenda. Vote was unanimous in favor with no abstentions.


LSC Election Results


Gordon Mayer congratulated the newly elected LSC members for next term


Jenny Wejman (4th grade)

Sylvia [] (1st grade)

Kara Scott

Cynthia Horth

Andy Carter

Paula Florell

Don Willard


All stood and introduced themselves


Principals Report


A written report was provided to the council.


Beyond the Bell has been extended to June 7


Computer purchase for laptops – Dr. Hill asks that the LSC suspend the vote to purchase those until our next year’s budget drops (comes in).


Books were purchased for the library.


Also expenses were incurred for updating the system (of what . . . ?)


Discussion of Proposed Purchases of Library Books and Laptops


Kirsten Esterly: Brought this up last time but was not on that agenda. Asking to vote on a $5000 purchase of library books from internal accounts. Librarian says needs more books particularly in the upper grades.


Had discussed purchasing of laptops and laptops carts but now Dr. Hill is asking us to table that until we get the budget which should come out tomorrow.


Tim May: Moved that we approve the actual expenditure, regardless of the budget, to allow that expenditure authorization to be in place if or when funds are available.


Don Willard: My preference would be to wait and see what those funds look like.


Gabriel: I would add that the use of the technology we already have in the building needs to be discussed as part of the purchase of that technology. If we move ahead without assessing . . .


Tim May: We could approve it subject to funds becoming available.


Gabriel: There were more details to it – there were grade levels that didn’t have the technology so they needed purchases. But it may turn out that the existing technology is underutilized and carts and laptops are not necessarily the best.


Gordon Mayer suggested that the motion be withdrawn. Tim May agreed to withdraw the motion from the floor.


Vote to Purchase Library Books


Kirsten Esterly moved that we authorized $5000 for purchasing library books. Don Willard seconded. Vote was unanimous in favor.


Safety Committee


Don Willard noted that he will be away Thursday and Friday and others will be filling in, and that volunteers would be appreciated during those days.


Don also registered his concern about the kiss’n’go area on 57th street. CPS owns Bixler Park up to Dorchester (from Kenwood to Dorchester). What Don would like to have is a path from the cul-de-sac across to the basketball area. Then the cul-de-sac could be another kiss’n’go area. The safety Committee is considering this but it probably would not happen until next year.


Budget Committee


Kirsten Esterly: At our last committee meeting, the accountant who audits our internal accounts came and spoke, and that was very helpful.




Met April 3, 8 am, in the library. Very exciting, had full ILT and PPLC. We heard from the principal and other leaders. Our next meeting will be May 8, 4 pm, immediately after school. These are public meetings and all are welcome. Meetings are held in the school, but specific location is TBD.


Public Comment


Katy Gruber: Hyde Park Kenwood Community Action Council. A CAC works closely with CPS staff to develop a vision for the local schools in the community. A CAC member is going to all LSC meetings in the area, and Katy is doing that office for us tonight.


The CAC would like to reach out to LSCs and ask specifically what your ideal configuration of the school would be for grades. I would like to return at the next LSC, and I would like you to give some thought to what, in the perfect world, the ideal grade configuration would be for Ray School.


Gabriel: Are you surveying other stakeholders, or just this body.


Katy: We are still in the process of getting other stakeholders involved.


Principal Selection


Mr. Peters and Michael McGehee from the network were welcomed and acknowledged by Gordon.


Gordon Mayer: Asked Don Willard to give an overview of the process.


Don Willard: We have sent a timeline around to a lot of folks. These are in yellow.


The timeline is very important to look through, to appreciate how much is involved in being involved in the search process. It is a time commitment for those who work 40 hours per week that is onerous, and for others as well.


We are expecting that Ray School will attract a lot of applicants. There will be a lot of resumes that have to be scored individually according to a rubric established by the search committee.


The rubric will be how you individually score the resumes. For example, there were 86 applicants to Bret Harte’s last opening for principal.


From the time we post the job, we have a set amount of time before the resumes come to develop the rubric.


Once that happens and the selection goes on and narrows the field, we develop an interview process, which has to be standardized and scoreable according to some rubric as well. We have to think through what sort of questions are appropriate.


All of this is important in order to fully justify the choices made by the search committee to the public and to candidates who are not selected.


Don also noted that we are given performance standards from the Illinois Principal’s Association are used in developing the rubrics, and that we can define amendments to the standardized contract if that is considered desirable.


Site visits to applicants’ previous workplaces are also part of the process.


Gordon Mayer: It will be a lot of work. For today we can vote to begin the principal search process. Because we have been through this process recently, we have numerous people who have a good sense of that process and what kind of candidate we are looking for.


Our agenda is (1) to approve the application form that is to be used for anyone who wishes to be part of the principal selection committee, then (2) vote to approve the job posting, and finally (3) to take applications for the committee and determine its membership.


Votes to Initiate Principal Selection Process


Bill Schmidt moved and Patrick Brutus seconded that we vote to open the principal search process. The vote was unanimous in favor with no abstentions.


Discussion of Principal Job Posting and reference to “ILT” versus “PPLC”


Don Willard moved and Kirsten Esterly seconded that we vote to approve the principal job posting.


Patrick Brutus spoke about the process of developing the job posting we are examining.


Gabriel Sheridan: 2nd to last page – asked to have ILT specific reference removed, because ILT and PPLC serve overlapping purposes and both are teacher leadership bodies.


Dr. Antonia Hill gave her views about the function of the ILT and PPLC.


Patrick Brutus: The CIWP specifically calls out the requirement for the Principal to lead the ILT and the PPLC.


Mr. Peters, from the network addressed the question from his perspective.


Don Willard: In our LSC reference guide, CIWP team works with PPLC


Mr. Peters: The PPLC is a contract agreement we have with our union counterparts. Where principals and administration come together to solve problems, and that is a legal and binding group we have.


The ILT is a group including admin and cross section of teachers, and they drive strictly the instructional vision of the house, where the PPLC may concern scheduling, preps, books, The ILT focuses strictly on instructions, looking at data. Teachers are the main driver of the ILT.


The ILT is a principal requirement, but also an expectation of the CEO and the board, that there be a team of instructional leaders on campus that the pp can identify and work with to work across all grade levels to drive the instructional vision of the school.


Gabriel: I understand that the PPLC is not just a contract but also state law (hence elected), and that the ILT functions could be carried out by the PPLC, and that is why my union advises that we have just one.


Mr. Peters noted that these things are understood expectations, non-negotiable, of the CEO/board. Even if that language is not in there, there is an expectation that there is a team on campus to perform that function.


Final Votes on Principal Job Posting Language


Don Willard moved and Gabriel Sheridan seconded that “ILT” should be replaced by “PPLC” in the principal job posting. Vote failed with 4 in favor, 5 opposed, 2 abstentions.


Amy Levine then moved, and Gabriel Sheridan seconded, that “ILT” should simply be removed without replacement from the principal job posting. Vote passed with 6 in favor, 5 opposed. The “ILT” reference in parentheses will be removed from the job posting.


Principal Selection Committee Membership


30 were on the one before last

24 were on the last


Gordon Mayer: We have no lack of qualified people, and we are looking for people who can be critical, have good judgment and are open minded.


Don Willard requested that people in the audience who have experience in the principal selection process speak about how it is organized.


Amy Levine: I was on the last selection committee. I don’t’ think it was the number of people that slowed down the process.


3 current LSC members, 3 teachers, 8 parent/community are interested now. That is 20


I think 20 is too many but 5 is not enough.


Patrick Brutus: The composition of the committee should be very diverse to represent the student and parent community, gender diversity, should include some teacher voices, staff perhaps. Some people with experience in the process.


Gordon: If you have to recommend a number what would it be?


Patrick Brutus: 13.


Alysia Tate: I agree with Patrick’s experience. In my experience more than a dozen is difficult.


Kirsten Esterly: I was part of the process. Our group was way too large, a huge time suck just trying to get 24 people seated. I think a dozen is probably a good number.


Bill Schmidt noted that the size of the group was not necessarily what slowed the process down, but that it was the design of the process itself and the multiple rounds of advertising and interviewing that were the problem. He also noted that we are starting the process later now than last time, and that last time around our final candidates were poached off by other schools before our process completed.


Don Willard: 1 staff would be enough, let’s say 5 teachers, 5 parents, 4 community, 2 outside stakeholders (Gordon: we have no such), and 1 staff person.


Gordon Mayer: There are only 4 teachers who have applied


Don Willard: If 4 teachers applied, I would say 5 parents, 3 community, 1 staff (if any apply).


Gabriel Sheridan: I am impressed always that people are willing to give their time to this. Different people took different responsibilities for site visits, etc. I did not have to go visit every school but I was in charge of contacting candidates. I thought that worked out well.


Substantial discussion ensued about the composition of the committee.


Alysia Tate: It sounded like there are a dozen people when you take all the current LSC and future LSC and teachers together.


Gordon Mayer: As with any committee of the LSC, the Principal Selection committee has to follow all the rules of LSC committees. They can go into closed session. Must post agendas, define quorum, begin with open session and end with open session, tape closed sessions.


Gordon Mayer: Whether you are on the committee or not, people want to know what you think. You don’t have to be on the committee to have a say.


Patrick Brutus: You mentioned that we are going to release a survey, so that is about the process?


(Several: No, it is about the vision for the Principal we want)


Gordon Mayer: You do a survey to get information to go along with other information you already have.


Don Willard: I have difficulty as the only community member who applied for the committee – I would suggest that Michael Scott and Bill Gerstein is a community member, and they both have experience. We have a lot of parents, heavily loaded.


Gordon Mayer: Parents and Teachers have the largest stake.


Vote to Close Principal Selection Committee Application Period


Patrick: moved that we close the Principal Selection Committee application period. Alysia Tate seconded. Vote passed with 5 for, 2 against and 1 abstention. The motion carried; Principal Committee applications are closed.


Discussion of Principal Selection Committee Initial Composition

Alysia Tate moved that we approve all current and incoming LSC members who applied, and all teachers and staff members who applied, to form the nucleus of the committee, and they can decide from among the remaining applicants which, if any, to add to the committee.


Patrick Brutus asked for clarification.


Gordon: 3 groups who will be on: teachers who applied, LSC members (who applied), LSC elects (who applied), and that leaves some other applicants who could be drawn upon by those who form the nucleus.


Tim May seconded Alysia Tate’s motion.


There was some further discussion of the number of parents involved in the proposed nucleus


Vote on Principal Selection Committee Initial Composition


Motion passed with 5 for, 2 against, and [3?] abstentions. The Principal Selection Committee nucleus will be formed as proposed.


Vote to Approve Roles and Responsibilities Document for Principal Selection Committee


It was moved and seconded that we vote to approve the Roles and Responsibilities document as drafted.


Vote passed with 10 in favor, 1 abstention. The Roles and Responsibilities document is approved.


Vote to Approve Principal Selection Timeline


Mr. Peterson: Job posting would go in bulletin, then 10 working days


Kirsten Esterly moved and [?] seconded approval of the Principal selection timeline as assembled and presented to the LSC.


The vote was unanimous in favor. The selection timeline is approved.


Change of LSC meeting date


The next LSC meeting will be Tuesday May 6, 2014.


Public Comment


[?] I have a comment and question. In the Warrior News, from the Principal, it says currently we are considered a tier 4 school. We would be a tier 4 school if we took the test now. Now we are level 2 close to level 3. The other thing want to say is that with all due respect to the 2010 [Principal selection] process, it kind of failed, and we did not get the principal we wanted.


Kirsten Esterly: One of the big things that happened was that the process did not happen fast enough. we had 3 great candidates, and 2 dropped out.


Gabriel Sheridan: there are no guarantees in this process and we thought we were hiring someone terrific.


Michael Scott: I was chair of LSC Principal Selection Committee in 2006. I would be happy to come talk with the selection committee. There are 3 things worth noting. First, when we set up, we did not call ourselves the Principal Selection Committee, but the Principal Screening Committee. This gave us a lot of permission to let people come in and out. Second, the principal for eligibility was that if you were an LSC member, you could be on. We added others to add representation and skills to the committee, whether or not you had a connection with Ray. I would suggest that when the selection committee looks to expand, ask the others what they bring that would add skills or perspective.


You can speed things up by not insisting that everybody be there all the time. If you start on time, move along,


Teneeka: Quick question. I don’t recall hearing about considering who we have now (Dr. Hill) and in light of what we have experienced and what she has endured and who we have now.


Gordon Mayer: I did have an opportunity to talk to Dr. Hill and I want to express appreciation for her and what she has done.


Teneeka: I have been through the process but what I did not hear is that we were going to consider who we have.


Paula Florell: For the record the Tier 4 thing is “simulated” and we are not in fact Tier 4. Also for Ms. Sheridan, I want on the record the ILT is newly formed at Ray. (Ms. Florell asked Ms. Sheridan for further elaboration of her views on PPLC and ILT.)



Sherry Hallas: I want to be sure parents aren’t being shoved to the side in this Principal selection committee. We have a big stake. We haven’t been made a part of the process. Before Dr. HIll was a mess. We want to make it right. Dr. Hill had to come in and take all the kinds out (of the mess). Can we make sure we do it right, because we are stakeholders.


Tim May: I agree but would also add that most of the people on that committee, most of them are parents.


Sherry Hallas: I am fully aware, but I am saying get some extra parents in there, involved parents, will be helpful.


Sasha Austin: I went to as many of the Principal Selection Committee meetings as I could both for the last time and the time before, and I want to make clear that the quality of candidates really matters. You get what you get and there aren’t always tons of qualified people coming through the door. A lot of it is determined by who comes in, not by the selection committee. I also think it is important to ask the last selection committee what they think went right and what went wrong. People who have done this are a treasure trove.


Sylvia A: Asked about the completeness of the information for Principal Selection Committee applications.


Sarah O: There in addition to all we know about, there are other things. Things that were published . . . when those pieces are in place we will be way more likely to succeed. How does this process drive our vision for the school? Want to put that out on the table. Vision for the school, how we fit into the community.


Denise [?]: Asked to clarify Sarah . . . 5 essentials for successful schools – a lot of it is about vision and collaboration.


Mr. Peters: At the bottom of the timeline, I have found that my network and team, every day we support principals. There is a value-add that my team can have to the process. Part of what I ask is that once the committee boils down the last 3 principals about leadership and about teaching and learning. I’ve been a part of scores of Principal hiring processes. That process is transparent, open. Walk-through, walk through classes, conversations about how do you know kids are learning, what would you do to support this teacher. That is what I do every day, and I would like to offer my support in this, while respecting the role, the very tough role, of this body.


Vote to change LSC meeting date for May.


Tim May moved and Patrick Brutus seconded that we vote to shift the date of the May 2014 LSC meeting to Tuesday, May 6, 2014. Vote was unanimous in favor.




The LSC voted unanimously to adjourn at this point. Meeting adjourned at 8:15pm

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