Superintendent's Advisory Council on Instruction (SACI)
Meeting held via Zoom
Minutes

January 14, 2021

Approved

7:11 p.m. Welcome- Karen Martin, Chair SACI

Normally we would be approving the previous meeting's minutes, but they were not approved to be published on our website so we will hold off on approving the minutes until you have the opportunity to review the minutes. Keep an eye on the website for the minutes. We expect them to be posted shortly.

Technology

- Mr. Ken Bassett, Director of Student Learning, Mrs. Rita Goss, Associate Superintendent for Student and Professional Learning.

*Responses provided by Matthew Guilfoyle, Associate Superintendent for Communications and Technology.

Tonight's presentation is in response to feedback from our December meeting. Any additional questions can be sent to bassetke@pwcs.edu and the question will be routed to the appropriate person.

When the pandemic threw us into the need for virtual programming, we did not have a learning management system. We had limited experience, but we did not have a system in place. We had to implement a whole system. Feedback from this group helped us solidify the need for one system.

  • IT and Student Learning implemented Canvas and Zoom.
  • Usually this would take 2-3 years to implement and we had to implement in 3 months without testing. IT and Student learning are continuing our efforts to streamline and implement best practices in the use of Canvas with staff.
  • We are continuously working with our vendors to troubleshoot and find solutions as concerns arise.

Communication on Student Achievement

  • The official location for grades has been and remains in The HUB.
  • Families can login to see grades in ParentVUE.
  • Canvas is used for assigning/submitting student assignments.
  • Canvas allows teacher to provide immediate feedback on assignments.
  • Regulation requires teacher updates on a weekly basis. If you are struggling to get timely feedback on your student, your first stop is to reach out to the teacher. If you continue to struggle you can speak with assistant principal and/or principal.

One to one

  • Digital equity of one to one was something that SACI has asked for and previously it seemed that this goal would take a long time to implement.
  • In December 2020 IT was able to fulfill digital equity Division-wide for all PWCS students.

Connectivity

  • Wi-Fi hotspots have been provided and are still available to any student in PWCS. Families need to contact their school for more details on how to secure a hot spot if the need is there.

Communication to Community

  • PWCS sends weekly communication to all parents and guardians called The Scoop with key reminders and information.
  • Schools are regularly reminded to share key information with their families.
  • All critical information is translated into nine languages.
  • Principals meet frequently with peers and Level Associate Superintendents frequently, often weekly.

Communication to Staff

  • PWCS sends weekly all staff communication to every employee called the Communicator with critical information.
  • PWCS sends the Admin Instant with information 2-5 times a week to administrators.
  • When needed additional communication is sent out with critical communication.

Community Communication

  • PWCS has updated frequently since April a robust FAQ related to the COVID-19 changes.
  • A COVID-19 dashboard is available is available and updated daily on the PWCS website.

Questions:

(Questions are copied and pasted from the Zoom Chat- answers are the bullet points)

Can you say more about what "digital equity" means?

  • One thing that the division tries to address is that kids have what they need to participate. We wanted to make sure that internet access was not a barrier to obtaining access. The goal was to not let financial situations to stop kids from obtaining an education.
  • We also have a Technology Improvement Plan that covers refreshes technology in schools to help maintain digital equity across schools.
  • This also includes supports to open up access to all users.
  • We are also looking at digital literacy for our families.

Have the WIFI upgrades been completed at all of the schools to handle the hybrid model?

  • Yes, they have all been upgraded to 100 Gb. And that should support all of our schools as they transition to hybrid.
  • Also related to equity: When we designed the material in Canvas we ran accessibility checks for all the materials we put into our modules. And we expect all teachers to run these checks as they add additional content.

Are there Helpdesk access capabilities available off hours for working parents

  • https://www.pwcs.edu/helpdesk is the link to the HELP Desk information.
  • If the posted issues do not meet your families' needs, email the help desk and they will work with you.
  • There are some self-services offered on this site and some frequently requested links.

Can you also say a little more about MasteryConnect and how it might be used?

  • This is an assessment program that is made by the same company that runs Canvas. It is a companion to Canvas. It provides formative and summative assessments. We have 17 schools doing a test run trying to work through the bugs. It does require additional training. We have a training plan to deploy it to the whole Division.
  • It is an awesome test/quiz generator to do quick checks for students. These questions are linked to standards. It has a dashboard that allows teachers to check how students are doing in relation to standards. It gives good feedback to the teacher. This will allow teachers to make changes quickly to instruction. It is not confined to just multiple-choice questions. It can allow short answer, rubrics, labeling, sequencing. IT does take training. We are working heavily on the backend piece. It will take a few weeks to complete this process.
  • This tool will allow us to share excellent assessments across teachers/schools. We will be able to replicate excellence across schools. And will save time and to allow teachers to pool resources. It will allow us to have Divisionwide data to see performance on a common assessment.
  • From a parent's perspective we can get more precise feedback on exactly where students are struggling or excelling down to the exact standard.

Sorry if I missed hearing you say this, but are teachers the only ones designing the assessment items or are there pre-plugged in items from the company based on SOLs? Have the "pre-plugged in" items been vetted for true alignment to the SOLs?

  • Yes, there are. We purchased a SOL aligned question bank that teachers can utilize.

How would the content of the questions/assessment be vetted before administering to the students?

  • We can have groups of teachers and content supervisors to review assessment items. It will allow us opportunities to do review/collaborative professional work to ensure assessments are high quality

Are we able to connect home printers to the PWCS devices?

  • Ken was not sure of the answer so the whole group was asked. One member answered- "We were able to use a Bluetooth connection to the computer to our printer"
  • We learned it is possible. If you are having trouble reach out to the Help desk. You can also call the school's office and they have staff there that might be able to help.

Work Session: Budget and CIP

  • We will have a presentation in February. We will cover the proposed 2021-22 budget which will be presented to the school board the first week of February.
  • We will also discuss the Capital Improvement Plan which includes construction, renovation, and major projects in the Division.

Budget Process

  • The Superintendent proposes a budget based on critical unmet needs. Presented to the School Board on February 3.
  • The school board takes that budget and will have work sessions. They will then add things into the budget and take things out of the budget. The budget is required to be balanced.
  • We are given a marker that is approximately 58% of county budget. This is connected to the tax rate. When that is set then we will know what our actual budge will be. If you want to increase the school budget in general, you would talk to the County Board of Supervisors.
  • So, the amount is decided largely by the County Board of Supervisors. What is done with the money is the decision of the school board.
  • The State revenues can come in and that might mean adjustments in the budget throughout the budget process.
  • 3 Funding sources
    • Federal
    • State
    • Local

Questions

Can the budget be reassessed even after its approved based on the priorities of new superintendent? How will the withdrawal of students impact PWCS? I know we lost $16M I thought with all the withdrawals.

  • The new Superintendent inherits a budget the first year. There are some priorities that the new Superintendent may have a say over if expenses come in under budget in some categories (ex. snow expenses). But in general, the new Superintendent will be under the approved budget.

Do we know if we are any closer to getting ParentVue and Canvas to talk to each other so that teachers aren't having to manually input data every week into ParentVue?

  • Short answer is, we are working on that. But it a complex process. We expect it to happen but not sure of the timeline.

Announcement:

We have monthly Parent Support sessions that cover multiple topics. Please look for sessions on PWCS and we put it out via social media. We will also start sending it out through SACI to help get the word out.

Hot Topics:

Mr. Bassett answered additional questions from members for about 20 minutes.

 

 

Next Month we will cover budget.
March is the report writing session.
April will approve the report and hold elections.
May will be the Best Practices Conference.
We need to organize a committee to review the by-laws. Should just be one meeting. If anyone is interested contact us.

We recognize that the SACI webpage is not being updated in a timely manner. We are working on it.
Adjourn: 9:13 p.m.