There’s A Protocol For That

The School Board’s been working on rules and procedures for dealing with simple questions like who decides what we talk about at meetings (the Board Chair and superintendent come up with a draft agenda, then send it to all Board members for input) and more complicated issues like publicly supporting a Board decision even if you voted against it.  Now we’re hashing out what I thought was one of the simpler matters, should Board members regularly visit the schools without an administrative escort?  Members already agree to giving school administrators a heads up that we’re in the building, and no one seems interested in interrupting classes or putting teachers and students on the spot, but some disagree with my opinion that there’s value in visiting the schools both with and without administrative oversight. Obviously, it’s great to have someone show us what we might miss on our own, and tell us things we don’t even know to ask.  But I think we get another valuable perspective, from things we see and people we talk to, without an administrator standing by.  The discussion continues in October.

Also at the September meeting we heard some interesting facts about Fluvanna’s Adult Education program. Last year Adult Ed served 58 students, split about evenly between African-American, Hispanic, and white populations.  Most were age 25-44.  57% were employed.  About 3000 people in Fluvanna have less than a 12th grade education.

September’s budget discussion included a report on enrollment.  We’re down from last year by 33 students.  The state estimated we’d be down by 99, but fortunately they count and adjust our revenue several times during the year.  Attrition rates are lower in the middle grades than at upper and lower levels.

One of the final items at the September meeting was a throw back to August’s failure to gain a second on the motion to approve that month’s policy updates.  With all members present this time, the same items were presented for approval and all passed, though not unanimously.  I voted against the policy on leaves and absences (there’s more information about this in my last post) and Mr. Rittenhouse voted against alternative paths to attaining standard units of credit for graduation because he felt it lowered the bar for graduation requirements.

Meeting adjourned!

 

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This blog is a personal blog written and edited by me.  The views expressed in this blog are purely my own and do not represent the Fluvanna County School Board, the school superintendent, or anyone else. Comments added by others are not necessarily my opinions and I am not responsible for their content.

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6 thoughts on “There’s A Protocol For That

  1. I’m glad to see you posting online again. In November 2015 we discussed student enrollment going down by 225 students from 2012 – 2015. Now student enrollment went down another 33 students. The non believers will say it is because the county population has lowered. From what I can tell it is because more county private schools are opening and more male students are enrolling in FUMA. In November 2015 we also discussed one main reason for the new high school was the expected increase in student enrollment. The projected increase in student enrollment was an increase of ~30 students per year. For years I listened to the educational experts laugh at Mr. Doug Johnson who was against building the new high school. Well maybe what he said is true. I will ask the same questions I did last year. What is the plan to stop the decrease in student enrollment? How many classrooms are now empty in the new high school? Will the 7th grade eventually move into the new high school?

    • Fluvanna’s total county population has been fairly steady in recent years and school administrators have told the Board (in agreement with your speculation) that enrollment is probably dropping because other local options keep opening up. Maybe we can attract more students as Career and Technical Ed opportunities continue to increase at the middle school and high school, STEM receives more attention all the way down to elementary school (MANY thanks to the Rotary Club’s Rose Deborah Altschull Endowment to start up a STEAM lab at Central/W. Central) and dual enrollment classes with PVCC and AP class offerings are more publicized in local and social media.
      You’re also correct about the capacity of the high school. According to the School Efficiency Review it was built to accommodate 1750 students and including 8th grade it houses between 1400-1500 students. The idea of re-configuring grade levels assigned to school buildings was discussed last Dec. by the staff advisory council. They were told FCPS was not anticipating any changes for 2016-17.

  2. Last year 83 middle school students visited me and they wanted to know how to build a float. We gave them great ideas on how to manage this project. I also told them that once the float was built I would place their float in the James River and video this to see how well they did. Do you know the outcomes of this project?

    My wife is now the lead on the VCEF Inclusion and Innovation Council which will be focusing on special education children getting them more involved in CTE/STEM. This will be a great project throughout VA. Stay tuned!!!!

  3. Perry, they will never let you enter a school unescorted by an administrator because they want to steer you away from image-damaging truths. For example, they will never let you walk through the halls at FCHS during the new Fluco Focus twenty minute per day time to see that most students are eating candy bars and honey buns from the always-on junk food machines, or they are playing games or texting friends on their smart phones, or that quite a few students don’t bother to show up to their assigned FF room and spend that time socializing unsupervised in halls and restrooms. If you were not with an administrator, most teachers would feel free to tell you that it is a waste of over an hour and a half per week of instructional time.

    Administrators would never let you walk down the 4100 hallway at FCHS to see that some English classrooms have only eight students while others have thirty. They will never let you see that when they added College Prep English for ninth and tenth graders this year, they reduced the number of collaborative classrooms for those important formative grades from four or five per grade level to only one (ninth) or two (tenth) per semester. Of course, this means that the number of special needs children in each ninth grade section increased from seven or eight per classroom to over double that number. They would never let you see a “small group” testing session of seventeen hyperactive ninth graders and their poor collaborative SPED teacher yelling, “Sit down,” for five minutes. You will never be allowed in schools unescorted by an administrator to control your access to truths they are ashamed of.

    • Great post! My wife and I want to know is this a special ed classroom or gen ed classroom since she is now the Lead on the Governor’s Virginia Career Education Foundation (VCEF) new Innovation and Inclusion Council. There is a huge difference in the two.

  4. A few things occur to me as I read this but I’ll just stick to the one that seems most important. I can’t believe anyone is discussing whether or not school board members have the right to visit schools without an administrative escort. Not only do they have the right, they have the responsibility. Any argument otherwise is nothing more than a flimsy, obvious attempt to hide something(s) from the people’s elected representatives.

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