LSC MEETING – 20170403

OA Thorp Scholastic Academy
Monday, April 3rd 2017 @ 5:30pm

Attendees: Monica D., Tim A., Debbie D., Ms. Alper, Jerry C., Mr. Robles, Amy E., Efren T., Tammy W., George M., Jason Q. Tim D.

  • Call to Order
  • Roll Call
  • Review/Approval of Minutes
    • Motion to approve the Minutes Motioned: Debbie D. , Seconded: Tammy W.
    • Vote: passed w/unanimous consent
  • Approval of Agenda
    • Motion to approve agenda Motioned: George M. , Seconded: Tammy W.
    • Vote: passed w/unanimous consent
  • LSC Committees Updates & Reports:
    • Professional Personnel Leadership Committee (PPLC)
      • No formal meeting but did meet with Toledo, was positive. Also attended ILT. ILT will be focused on Capstone and PBL, and PPLC will be focusing on writing program and its focus. Will have a team meeting over the summer on these subjects.
    • Communications Committee
      • Web site
        • Reviewed additional changes and staff page
        • Hoping to have a nearly complete site potentially next meeting
      • Discussed communication changes coming out of the gas incident
        • Will be doing a test run of parent notification at next fire drill, diagnosing issues with the texting portion.
    • Principal Evaluation Committee
      • Survey is up and live, has been included in Friday letter and other media. 56 responses so far, with 16 teachers and staff. Will have computers out on report card pickup.
    • Friends of Thorp
      • ToT, close to $25k in funding
      • Next year’s focus will be on the 100 year celebration
    • PTA
      • Discussed the need to have a meeting for problem based learning
      • Upcoming principal coffee
      • Some discussion of getting incoming parents involved
      • Discussion of the parent luncheon
      • Mr. Toledo would like to see a welcome for new parents.
    • 8th Grade Committee
  • Principal’s Report including CIWP updates
    • Capstone projects
      • 3rd: Sole Hope 4/27
      • 5th: Adding science to the history portion of wax museum: “Inventors and World Changers” 5/30
      • 6th: Solving Chicago’s Problems 5/9
      • 7th/8th: Academic Showcase
    • Team Meetings
      • Surprises is a theme. Teachers don’t want to be surprised on things changing and so admin is adding more methods of communication beyond the DIY report.
    • Writing review
      • Gathering writing assignments to aid the writing committee, average and exemplary examples.
      • Discussed within PPLC, debated on how to better involve writing across subjects. Desire is to be able to demonstrate those writing skills across disciplines, potentially with culminating projects.
    • Note: Will be doing amazon lists instead of the boxes from last year for school supplies.
    • Held a 7th and 8th grade drug prevention assembly
      • Focused on the science, how they effect people.
      • Kids will be exposed to these issues (“brownie” incident)
      • Want the school to be supportive and not focused on judgement without being permissive of what is a serious issue.
    • Professional Development
      • Summer opportunities:
        • Golden apple for non-STEM teachers on STEM topics.
        • Problem based learning program with IMSA.
      • Co-teaching
      • Math PD
  • Old Business
    • Internal Accounts Review
      • Reconciled view not yet available, will be coming in the next couple of weeks.
    • Field Trip for students K-8th
      • Established, will be removing from the weekly agenda.
    • Update on PPLC/ILT working status
  • New Business
    • Safe Schools Initiative
      • Examples
        • Student driven unity pledge at one high school
        • Large know your rights training, read the unity pledge, and the LSC resolution and went from there.
        • Special needs school adopted a pledge tailored to the needs of their families
        • Lots of schools providing training and resources
      • Believe that the strongest schools are those where the school community is unified and supporting and trusting.
      • Rights trainings:
        • Basic rights
        • Bystander training
        • At work training
      • Some have had followup with law services for families
      • Ms. Dean is opposed, doesn’t necessarily feel like it’s needed in our school community. Feels like we’re already united.
      • Jerry highlighted the transportation issues and the political focus
      • Mr. T spoke to need to engage with both our Spanish speaking and Polish speaking communities. Spoke to the fact that there is real risk to our community.
      • Mrs. Dean spoke to having a multicultural evening.
      • Questions about patronizing if we just hold a meeting
      • Tim A. took the input and will come back to the LSC with a more focused proposal.
      • George will draft an initial resolution
    • Homework Policy
      • Parent input
        • Ms. Chickering’s note and then heard from Ms. Chickering about whether homework is optional in Kindergarten and what the value of the investment may be.
        • Another parent of a 3rd grade spoke to homework being up to 4 hrs. and the amount of fighting in the home over homework. Spoke to overlap of homework from teachers that seemed like they weren’t collaborating over it. Also spoke to the problems with having to carry all of their materials rather than using book bags. (Ms. Alper spoke to this previously being driven by CPS policy but that may not be correct anymore. Mr. T and the teachers may need to discuss a change in policy)
        • Parent of a 2nd grader mentioned that Ms. Plummer presents the whole week and while he hates homework they’re working on dealing with his anxiety over homework.
        • Another 3rd grade parent spoke to the workload in 3rd grade of 1.5-2 hours with weekends being up to 4. Mentioned forcing him to do all of it to avoid grade penalty and how detrimental it was to him thinking about school. Missed tutoring in order to focus on homework.
        • Another 3rd grade parent which talked about how much wrote work there was, that they aren’t really focused on understanding but rather just getting through it. Homework reading crowds out other reading for pleasure or otherwise.
        • Amy E. messaged comments from 3rd and 4th grade parents:
          • Concerns that with decentralized classes they’re not communicating across each other.
          • Amount of homework across weekends, especially when overall school times are expanding with lengthened year and day.
          • Quality of homework and that it’s really reinforcing something happening in class.
          • Lots of articles about elimination of homework for 3 and under, Hamilton’s ban on homework, and studies that indicate that homework has less value for younger grades.
          • Questioning the buildup of executive functioning skills.
      • Mr. T asked about whether these comments made it to the teachers. In the case of some of the parents yes, but not all.
        • Spoke to recommended times that are in the handbook but that it’s not a formal policy from CPS and schools have discretion.
        • Spoke in terms of his personal approach to using a timer, and then allocating time with a parent. Note on the homework: “We worked on this for 30 minutes but were not able to complete all the work”.
      • Robles discussed the push from parents to have more homework assigned.
      • Admin spoke to teachers’ desire to meet with individual parents on this topic to hear those concerns rather than in a large group.
        • Parents spoke to poor response from some teachers
      • Question on us improving the approach:
        • Toledo spoke to the guidelines that do exist in the handbook
      • Mention of the 5th/6th grade survey approach and the value of that data for parents.
      • Should Communications committee will help put together some parent surveying on homework?
        • Teachers see less value of that compared to working with individual teachers.
        • Potentially have teachers create it.
      • Toledo will help facilitate a phone conference with parents on some of the specific 3rd grade issues.
    • 5th grade Fight Club
      • Has been organized for something akin to a week, week and a half
      • Kids weren’t angry with each other
      • Student was hurt after being thrown into the dome
      • Pretty sophisticated
        • Lookout on the dome to watch for monitors and then switch to a dance-off.
        • Randomized fights
        • Egalitarian: girls fought boys
      • Majority of situations were pushing and shoving, but did have a couple of situations which involved punches and had different responses.
      • Roughly 10 kids were punished for participation and lying.
      • No generalized punishment.
    • 5th grade very rough play
      • Resulting in scraped knees etc.
      • Have spoken to entire fifth grade.
  • Public Participation/Announcements
  • Adjourn Debbie/Tammy