The meeting began with discussion of Mid-Level issues and the PTA’s desire that we collect thoughts, concerns and questions to be answered later by the appropriate parties. I have altered the sequence of some issues/questions to better group them. Time and Recess Concerns
- Recess time is limited by lunch time
- Overall lunch time is too short
- Lunch portions have been reduced (Brooke had researched this and learned that this was due to a change in federal food service law that limits portion sizes for all students (i.e. every child will get 4 nuggets.) Salad/veggies remain unlimited
- Food shortages for Mid-Level have been reported (Brooke reports that this is due the the uncertanties of initial food ordering with substantial lead time, and should be resolved)
- There are limits on the play-structure and Mid-Level students are not allowed to play on it (placard on structure apparently limits it to 5–12 years of age)
- It is also limited due to HeadStart students needing it, but they don’t use it
- There is a plan afoot for a different structure better suited for older kids
- Student expressed a desire for a natural play area and more balls
- Currently scheduled two minutes to pass between classes is not enough to visit restrooms, lockers, and get settled in next classroom on schedule–This is difficult for teachers and students
- Will we get a covered play area? (Not listed in the Bond up for vote in November) Filip didn’t know further
There followed a general discussion regarding length of school days and options to adjust times for better flow. The length appears fixed by contractual agreements.
- We need a Mid-Level Parent group or PTA
- We need timely communication
- Several parents suggested bimonthly Mid-Level meetings
- Conferences were poorly communicated: “do I just get 5 minutes?” “Is it student-led?”
- Parents asked for a Mid-Level newsletter and argued that better communication will save time later in confusion and missed opportunities
- Brooke mentioned the Mid-Level list-serve and suggested we need a critical mass of parents subscribed to effect good communication
- The abrupt decision not to go to Eagle Fern prompted some discussion as to the level of communication and the lack of Mid-Level parents available
- Why was the Hancock Trip not done this year?
- The group discussed the Halloween Dance and why there was a fee to attend. Some students indicated this would be a strong dis-incentive
- Again, there were questions as to how decisions are made, and by whom
- Where did choice electives go?
- We will have Fine Art Instruction possible through the CAP starting in January
- Where was the decision made for Spanish as the only elective?
- Student asked where is music for Mid-Level?
- Diedra noted that the PTA has funded art and music for the Mid-Level but we are awaiting scheduling help.
- We want a curricculum overview
- Diedra noted that in her survey last year on Site Council, she found that we are similar to other K-8 schools in the number of electives offered; generally there is one choice
- There is an option for “Compacted Math” that we are not using; can we add this in next year?
- Where are we in our plans to teach health and sex-ed?
- One parent noted that we are letting Mid-Level slip into the shadows and ignoring these children who should be celebrated, “This is the zenith” of their time at Creative Science School. She hoped that we might honor and connect our 8th graders to the rest of the school and give them the lead in more events “…we need photos and Parades”
- One parent noted that there was little tangible evidence after the Mid-Level years and hoped for a portfolio of work and results
New Model for CSS Mid-Level
- We have changed to a subject-driven Mid-Level program, and this reduces the direct teacher-student connection. We do not have Home Room; we do have “Advisory” which has different functions
- HR teachers have this “housekeeping” role that assists communication
- We have class reps for the Mid-Level and they will each represent a grade, but more frequently they will work together to improve the Mid-Level experience and communication
- Principal Filip reminded the group that we have growing pains with several changes to our Mid-Level which may take some time to sort out
- He asked that parents continue to provide very specific reports of when “you were left in the dark”
- Char will be organizing DI teams again this year
- She need interested kids and parents and will be scheduling an informational meeting soon and will let parents know via e-mail
- For more info visit the Destination Imagination Website
Technology - Rawls
- Technology teacher Rawls Moore explained that he will be setting up “Google Drive” accounts for students who want them. These provide all the on-line documents without the cost of an easy-to-lose flash drive
- The accounts are free and will not include email. Details
- Rawls will provide more information throughout the fall
- The PTA recommended votes on three money issues:
- $125 for a gateway to better define our garden space as a classroom
- $2000 for the Creative Arts Run to order shirts and other supplies (This money will be earned back by the run, but needs to be spent now)
- $100 for Rawls Moore the new Technology teacher to assist in setting up his classroom supplies
- Ericka Moved to support all the above spending changes, Colleen seconded
- All were supported by the group
The meeting ended at 8:30p