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MHCA Area Director's meeting minutes

October 2015 Area Directors' Meeting Minutes

jgchipault Sunday 22 of November, 2015
Midvale Heights Community Association Annual Meeting
Tuesday, October 27, 2015 – 6:30 p.m. – Sequoya Branch Library

Area Directors Present: Chuck Kreimendahl, Jane Sherwood, Ron Rotter, Gary Poulson, Wendy Weber, Jim Thoreson, Ed Rogers, Greg Fischer, Jenny Chipault, Denise Lamb, Paul Haskew, Jonn Lager, Tim Trapp, Kay Reuter-Krohn,Tom Jarvis

  1. Guest Speaker
    1. Gary Poulson introduces guest speaker.
    2. Topic of schools came up when MHCA board was talking about who to invite for our annual meeting. Schools have been a big topic in the news lately: safety, discipline, voucher, charter, graduation rates, equity for students, war on teachers, dual language immersion. Recent articles about medical experts telling us we send our kids to school too early in the morning. Education is a topic that's been talked about for the past few years, so we invited Jennifer Cheatham back in September and were told she might have been conflict in schedule. Gary was an alderman and was city school district liaison and knows there are lots of knowledgeable people in the school district. Tonight's speaker has been very involved with elementary education in Madison. Been with the district for 3 years. Came from Chicago. Welcome Nancy Hanks from Madison Public Schools.
    3. Good evening. Happy to interact and meet with people to talk about what's going on with our district. Excited about work we're doing. There are challenges that we face but she's extremely hopeful and optimistic. She is Chief of Schools for Elementary schools; there are 32. Counterpart to her does same similar work for middle and high schools. She's a former teacher, coach, and mentor, and 3K to 8th principal. She believes strongly in transformative power of education. Grew up west side of Chicago; poor, single parent, dad incarcerated most of her life, and yet she's chief of schools now because of the support of caring adults in her life, high expectations, and opportunities they provided her. She comes with that background to try to make it a reality for all students in our community. She will share progress of two years of superintendent's strategy. There's a sense of urgency to do something, but we have got some indicators that we're moving in the right direction. Also got a good idea of what you can do to help us on this journey. We want to improve outcomes for all kids and are on a quest to prove that public education can work and does work.
    4. PowerPoint slide: "Strategic framework: Every school will be a thriving school that prepares every student to graduate from high school college, career, and community ready"
      1. Want to raise achievement for all students and close the gaps in opportunity.
    5. PowerPoint slide: "Excellence with Equity: We must hold all children and all adults to high expectations and provide the unique support they need to meet and exceed that high bar. With high expectations and strategic support, our students will rise to the challenge of college, career, and community readiness."
      1. We don't serve any child or adult well by lowering expectations. Every school should have unique supports that they need. 32 schools that she serves are all unique. Part of process is tailoring the strategy and not giving one size fits all approach to all schools.
    6. PowerPoint slide: "Moving the Needle: Sustainable improvement is a journey, but we are moving the needle on key metrics in our schools."
      1. Lot of work that goes on is maybe not public but instead is providing foundation behind the scenes. We're defining what great teaching is as a district because we never had a common definition that is culturally and linguistically responsive. All of our professional development is now aligned to that common definition.
      2. Attracting good teachers to our district also happens behind the scenes.
    7. PowerPoint slide: "10 percentage point gains in literacy and math in elementary schools. Student growth in literacy and math far above the national average on almost every measure. Specific student groups starting to see positive results. English Language Learners saw improvement on almost every metric"
      1. We need to make sure that both students behind or accelerated continue to grow to reach their potential. Metrics are elementary reading, graduation rates, math, etc.
    8. PowerPoint slide: "Graduation rates going up for almost every student group, with pockets of accelerated results. Four year graduation rate for African American students at La Follette increased to 75%. ACT participation 25% above the national average with ACT scores above the national average."
      1. Seeing increases in number of students taking ACT to get into college.
    9. PowerPoint slide: "Reclaimed 1900 days of lost instruction, 1200 for African American students while still receiving high marks on safety"
      1. You probably read a lot about this, but it demonstrates our values. We're moving away from punitive and toward restorative. But transitions are bumpy. We regained days that would have been lost to suspensions, etc. Disproportionate practices might impact some student more than others (e.g., African Americans). Parents rated schools a 4 out of 5 for safety. Tweak and learn along the way to make sure the implementation is stronger year-to-year. She does 150 school visits and she wants to see everything and get a feel for each school. She wants to know where the struggles are so the districts can support.
    10. PowerPoint slide: "Next steps: focus on reading in K-2, focus on middle schools, strengthened support for 9th grade transition, support with students with disabilities, strengthening partnerships with families."
      1. Staying with current plan and strengthening the implementation instead of switching plans. ###On state assessment for early literacy only 72% performing at proficiency. These are basic skills so could indicate some struggle for them in their academic careers. This year, we're bringing Kindergarten through 2nd grade teachers together quarterly to dig into K-2 literacy and we're seeing a lot of innovation and cooperation.
      2. Middle school is the area that has been flat so we're looking into what has been going on in middle schools and building strong cohorts for kids in elementary to make sure that they can make a nice transition. Need to understand adolescent learners that need patience and a community of support. Need to keep in mind that they don't make good decisions, so need help with that in addition to the curriculum for success. Might need to change not only content but the environment.
      3. Work toward improving graduation rates will be stalled if we don't pay attention to 9th graders. Need to pay attention to success in 9th grade. Every student who is a 9th grader is creating an academic career plan because they don't necessarily see the relevance of high school to what kind of life or career they want to have. Has to be individualized to their own interests. This is the first year that they'll have that plan and they'll grow that program in the future. Next board meeting, this Monday, will look at these plans. Board meetings are televised.
    11. PowerPoint slide:"Call to Action: youth leadership, mentoring and tutoring, services and supports to high-needs neighborhoods. mmsd.org/action"
      1. Youth leadership - one of the things we've realized in our plan was that we didn't have a plan for being proactive for how people can use their voice. Our community is struggling with the death of Tony Robinson. She was supervising students who had walked out of school that day. She wasn't in the front giving them orders, but instead she was behind them allowing them to lead her. We're not involving kids in the change process and not allowing their voices to be heard. This is a missed opportunity. There is now a group of students involved in minority student achievement network and they are crafting an achievement framework that will be lead by the youth. Once the youth identify what they're interested in then they need our support and us affirming their ideas. Memorial will be a key place where we'll be doing targeted work and there will be more to come.
      2. Mentoring and Tutoring - important that every child has a supportive adult, doesn't need to be a parent. Now have a common tutoring program in our district and a clearance house for best practices and we're bringing everyone under one umbrella.
      3. Services and supports to high-needs neighborhoods - we've been exploring and learning in the last year about a certain approach to schooling in high-needs neighborhoods so that families get support they need integrated into the actual school building. Families are already at the school so why not put other services too so that they don't have to seek them out in other areas of their community. Have a committee to work on exploring the idea to see if it's feasible. The public can make financial contributions to continue this work. If the family is better supported the kids will certainly do better.
    12. Questions:
      1. Q: Who is monitoring the plans the 9th graders are making?
        1. A: Principal and school-based leadership team (teachers, administration, counselors) that have data dashboard that monitors 9th graders. East High School has 9th grade academy housed in their school. Next week they'll all be at the Sheraton to look at metrics and they do that on a quarterly basis.
      2. Q: We sometimes try to push all society's problems onto schools and wonder why they can't fix it. How we zone housing and affects transportation and might affect how kids learn or not learn. Have you assessed access and safety so that not creating pockets of poverty?
        1. A: This is at the top of our minds right now. This year for the first time in a while we're engaged in professional development and conversations about just that, not just technical work but equity. How our communities and families are situated to resources and how that impacts school's ability to support them. Transportation, health care, library, it matters a lot. She encourages us to dig into this.
      3. Q: Many of our kids go to Lincoln/Midvale pair and several months ago it was suggested that pair be dissolved. Has anything started at district level on that topic?
        1. A: She had asked how pairing came about and it was like she dropped a bomb. Those were complicated decisions at the time. They are engaging in review of master facilities because they don't have a long-term facilities plan in the district. Research will take about 18 months to look at facilities and where we're situated regarding resources. It will comprehensively look at the city (not just Midvale and Lincoln).
      4. Q: Schools are a target in Madison because of politics, but do you interact with Milwaukee school districts to learn from them?
        1. A: Yes, we interact with them and understand overlap and differences. Problems we have are not unique. Also looking at Twin Cities and Middleton and Verona.
      5. Q: How does school look at voucher program and what makes you think students will pick this district?
        1. A: We try to recognize it for what it is but not let it paralyze us as a threat. Focus on how do we make ourselves a world class district so that when people have choice, they want to choose us. Think about innovation, facilities, access to technology. We all have limited energy so we could choose to fight against things that are a tax on our schools or we can focus our energy on making schools better.
      6. Q: What are you doing for teachers?
        1. A: Climate matters. Teachers need support. They need to be heard. They also need compensation and wellness packages. Just launched an RFP for an organization to look at our compensation and benefits package. No one goes into this field to get rich, but we need to make sure compensation ad support is competitive. Leave, sabbatical, etc. make for a healthier climate. When she was an elementary school principal she saw it as her responsibility to create the best environment for kids. Teachers are in the classrooms with the kids every day.
      7. Q: There are new ideas on how to teach but how do you figure out or plan for professional development to implement the bright new idea?
        1. A: Some ideas are new but a lot are not. We find ourselves going back to the practices that have been tried and true for years. Try to imbed professional learning within the structure of the school day. Try to promote balance. Offer classes on weekends but recognize that's the time teachers might need to rejuvenate, study, or go abroad. Last year we had lots of negotiation with the teachers union to open up more time for teacher planning. As a district we have to be mindful of the sense of urgency, but not going into initiative overload. Be targeted and focused and use time you have in a smart way on high leverage strategies.
      8. Q: Speaking of high leverage strategies, one is relationships and partnerships between the schools and the city, county, and private sector. Can you talk about what you hope to see or are currently seeing regarding partnerships.
        1. A: For the community schools approach, what you do is work with the community to assess their needs. Ask what resources would be most beneficial to the students in that school and work with city and county to make the school the hub of those resources instead of having families have to find all those resources scattered.
        2. Partnership with UW is another example. Partner with them in a number of ways but trying to up intensity.
        3. Cuna Mutual provides funding. All new teachers receive mentors and education support, as well as new principals. Have instructional coach in each building. Use it as first position to go to prioritize resources.
        4. We have a supportive and resource rich community but need to work to coordinate.
      9. Q: Who was the adult that was instrumental to her?
        1. A: Her Mom, of course. But also Sharon Horwitz, who was her third grade teacher and she was a tough cookie. She drank Royal Crown cola and smoked cigarettes in the parking lot. She wore penny loafers and jeans. She held her to extremely high standards. She had started to check out a bit and was not working up to her potential and Sharon kind of leaned in to that. Sharon taught Nancy how to write. Gave Nancy the ability to see beyond. Nancy was showing up because Sharon believed in her. Everyone needs at least one adult like that in their lives.
  2. Call Business Meeting to Order - C. Kreimendahl
  3. Board of Directors Election - C. Kreimendahl
    1. This year the odd-numbered neighborhood areas have directors up for election. We have dedicated directors and almost all are willing to serve again. The only change is that Jason Butler has resigned from Area 13 but there has been a nomination for Steve Fitzsimmons to be a co-director with Mary Jane Armstrong for that area. Rules allow for nomination from the floor, with that said he'll open up the floor to nominations for area directors in odd number districts.
      1. Movement to close the slate and elect the slate of candidates as shown
        1. Second
          1. Motion carries.
  4. Elected Representative Reports
    1. Carousel Bayrd with Dane County
      1. This is her tenth year on the county board. Tough life these days to be in politics but local politics in the place to be because even though they're cutting our funding, our values are being represented. So think positively about the fabulous things local government can do and still does.
      2. Two main areas of focus are criminal justice reform and cooperating on education
      3. Racial disparities in Dane County are unacceptable and divisions are worse than we've ever seen. We don't know how difficult and discouraging it is in the neighborhoods predominantly African American, and vice versa, because there are two worlds. Working on huge criminal justice reform. Released drafts. Had community-lead teams that included the sheriffs. Three workgroups: alternatives to incarcerating, length of stay, and mental health. From these workgroups came 31 recommendations and 1 overarching idea that everyone agreed on: we need more data. Can't analyze what we don't know. We have anecdotal information about what's causing problem, but that isn't good enough. So we're hiring two data people to analyze trends. Crisis intervention ties back to youth having crisis troubles and not getting mental health but instead going into juvenile court. Now can call crisis team instead of calling police. Program expanded to all Madison middle schools. Now the police can even call the crisis team because they're not social workers. Doing implicit bias training - we all have it and you can't help it. Having conversations about solitary confinement - it will make your mental health situation worse. Unacceptable. We still need segregation in the jails (gangs, etc.) but it shouldn't be choice between general population or scary black box. Remodeling and changing jails that because it's unacceptable. She has spent more time on this than anything else in her ten years on the county board.
      4. Cooperating with schools. Madison public schools need our help. She doesn't know how to run a school but she knows to support them. Chipping in to schools, outside of school time, for after school programs. Surround them with services that the county knows about.
    2. Maurice Cheeks is alder for district.
      1. District 10 includes Midvale Heights, Nakoma, Allied Drive, Orchard Ridge, Dunns Marsh, Meadowood; it's a sociologically and economically diverse district.
      2. After 2 years of service (re-elected this past spring), he is now president pro tempore (VP, essentially) of city council. So now your alder spends more time with the mayor.
      3. We've been speaking about schools today. He started public service as a volunteer tutor in the schools (algebra at Memorial). If you're interested in seeing alder embarrass himself, he'll be supporting fundraiser next Friday that is a lip sync for schools. Doing a Jimmy Fallon style lip sync.
      4. His priority on the council is to help the city of Madison be a national leader on a few things, including closing the opportunity gaps. Madison is very clearly one of the best places to live, but we have ton of room for improvement. Can be a model for what it's like to close the gaps between the "have"s and "have not"s. Also could be a national leader in engaging the public and transparent government. Third, it's critically important for us to get serious about planning for expected growth. It worries him when he sees signs that we are not adequately preparing for that growth.
      5. This year the council joined him in an effort to close food deserts. Wanted neighborhood to respond. Looked for grocery store. But neighborhood already had cooperative established and partnered with Willy St and the university and solved their own problems. Just getting started, but already seeing national attention.
      6. Board of estimates supported yesterday increasing funding for summer youth internships. Ton of crimes are happening by youth who just aren't engaged. Youth jobs immunizes young people from that life style for up to 14 months. Having opportunity to feel engaged and empowered and make a bit of money for themselves and their families can change a life. We are going to be almost doubling the number of students we're serving this year: it's been 250 but now have additional funding so at least 350.
      7. Interested in expanding cities across the country that investing in local broad band. Doing an early stage, pilot study in thinking about internet access as a utility and making it available to low income neighborhoods.
      8. Engaging citizens: last year at this meeting he talked about effort in participatory budgeting, which is something that calls for elected officials to give over some power and trust constituents. Colleagues didn't support that, but it did start conversation about how to do the city budget and now there's traction toward outcome-based budgeting. We think about it as a cost-to-continue budget, but we should think about what outcomes we want to see and plan budget based on that. It's not just keeping police on the streets, but how do we keep neighborhoods safe. Want to move us into 21st century in terms of budgeting - not 100 page PDF, but website with filters.
      9. Regarding planning for the future, one of the things he'll talk about over and over is the need for us to continue to expand options for housing. Cost of housing goes up and taxes go up. Rate at which your neighbors can sell their house goes up. Our community is growing faster than we can keep up with it. We are severely under-sourced for apartment housing. That makes it harder for average working folks to afford places to live. It makes it harder for seniors to stay in their homes. Our city is going to continue to grow and it has already grown to the west and now our west police district is the largest in the city. 1/3 of Madison lives in our police district, which is one of five. He's excited to support keeping Midtown police district on schedule for development to keep our families safe.
  5. Announcements
    1. Area director Paul Haskew brings ups that Midtown police station has been delayed because of Judge Doyle Square. West police station is way overcrowded . It was designed for 58 and there are 90. There are no interview rooms or secure spaces. Station is assigned to more residents per officer than any other station. There is land that has been purchased on Mineral Point Road and it needs a bit of lobbying effort. We've been contacted by local homeowners association and various organizations a lot like this one and Paul wonders if someone in this room would like to see Midtown station as serious agenda item and possibility of district-wide organization that would form and they'd like to represent Midvale Heights in the formation of that group to pay attention to our agenda but also group that relates to District 10 on the west side of Madison and represent us in the formation of that. If so, let Paul know you want to be involved.
      1. Question to Alder Cheeks: Did Judge Doyle Square delay Midtown station?
        1. A: No direct or immediate effect. It's been described as an either-or in the press but mayor is proposing delay to Midtown just as part of his choice of priorities. Board of Estimates (essentially joint finance committee) added it back in and there will be a vote.
    2. Steve Fitzsimmons is head of neighborhood watch. He has signs available that make us feel a bit safer and advertise our neighborhood watch to our community. We enjoy beautiful landscapes and safe neighborhood and great people and neighborhood watch is a positive thing. Neighborhood watch meets once a month, usually second Tuesday. Try to educate so have speakers like Chief Koval, FBI, canine unit, mounted patrol, speakers about personal safety, to help you learn and get more comfortable with your surroundings. Send out crime alerts once a week to let people know to be aware. Simple thing to remember is to just lock your doors (car and house). Last year we had more break-ins than this year. Neighborhood watch grew from 10 people to 500. List of notes go out once a week or more frequently if there's a stolen car or break-in. Not vigilantly, just helping each other stay aware and working to break down barriers of communication. Ride-along program allows people to get to know officers. Can Google Midvale Heights Neighborhood Watch or go to Midvale Heights website or website is on the yard sign.
    3. Next week they start having meetings on beltline study, including the environmental impact process, and there are a number of meetings, some in Fitchburg, Monona, etc. You can log in to DOT to see schedule and it might also be on city's website.
    4. Public library system is doing a long-term planning and they have a web-based interface through which soliciting input for long-range plans for the libraries.
  6. Adjourn: 8:10pm
    1. Next MHCA Board Meeting: November 24, 2015 6:45 pm Sequoya Library
Notes recorded by J Chipault, secretary