August 2019

Thanks for reading Fluco Blog!  I’m Perrie Johnson, Fork Union’s representative to the Fluvanna County School Board.  My goal with Fluco Blog is to let people know what’s going on at School Board meetings beyond the reports available online.  Be forewarned, when it comes to discussion, most of the comments I remember turn out to be mine!  Here’s the latest….

The Board held a seminar on July 30 mainly to look at test scores, but we also talked about discipline and started on the 2021 budget.  There was a lot of discussion about how the Measures of Academic Progress test (MAP) compares to our SOL scores.  The theory is that the winter MAP scores tell us who and how to remediate so SOL pass rate predictions should improve with spring scores. This did not hold true for 2 of the 5 grades in reading and the math predictions were really unreliable.  The testing director said the math disparity is because MAP is making adjustments that won’t be reflected until next year.  The spring MAP scores are held out as predictors of who will pass the spring SOL, but I maintain the better predictor is the classroom teacher who knows not only his/ her students’ capabilities, but their reactions to testing and stressful situations.

My thoughts about discipline remain constant with it’s been the most commented on item in the staff survey for years. We should understand that teachers know and care about their students and before referring them to the office they’ve already requested, cajoled, given time to regroup, and applied small, sequential consequences to encourage better behavior.

As for the next budget, 2021, I’d like to incorporate compensation for individual employees who literally give their time away for free when they, for example, prepare classrooms on their own time before the beginning of the school year.  I’m also still interested in changing the format of Teacher Scale B which grows very slowly for the first 20 years before picking up speed in the last 10.

As for the August meeting….. the board voted 3-2 to charge nothing for requested recordings of school board meetings.  Previously the charge was $75. I hope we’ll be uploading video of the meetings to our Facebook page soon.

We voted to hire a part-time additional athletic trainer.  I requested the board keep in mind when school nurse compensation comes up, that our athletes are voluntary and their parents accept some of their risk, while daily school attendance is mandatory and it’s our responsibility to maintain a high level of care during the school day.

Mr. Pullen added an action item to vote on eliminating the MAP test.  I didn’t bring it to a vote last month because I didn’t perceive it had support from a majority of the board.  If he thought otherwise I was all in favor and seconded the motion.  Ms. Stewart (rightfully) objected to the surprise of the added item and the motions were rescinded.  It is scheduled for a vote in September.

I got the board’s permission to look into ways we can improve our employees’ experience working for Fluvanna Schools in addition to improving compensation and financial benefits.

Two people spoke during public comments.  One was a retiree commenting on health insurance policy changes.  The last was a citizen unhappy with many aspects of board proceedings.

The September board meeting begins 2 hours early with a close look at the current year’s line item budget, starting at 3:30.  Standing room only!

 

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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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