Leadership Team/Department Heads Meeting – October 15, 2013



Leadership Team/Department Heads Meeting








Leadership Team Agenda


Marcus called the meeting to order at 11:20am.



I.          PSAT


–Nancy told the group it will be tomorrow for all 10th graders and 74 11th graders who have signed up to retake it.     


–Nancy distributed a list of rooms where students will take the test.  They will be in their homerooms, but it may be in different rooms.


–Stan asked if the information could have been sent out earlier.  He mentioned that he just learned he would lose his room tomorrow.  Nancy said she sent it out at the end of Friday.



II.         TA Assignment Policy


–Marcus said the UBC asked the administration for a policy on how the TAs are assigned.  Some TA’s do not attend, some do not want to work, some teachers are not getting TAs, etc.  We need to revamp our TA policy.


–Jessica said she was part of a task force several years ago discussing these same issues.  She wondered what happened to this whole process.  She thought it would be helpful if the TA list could be made public.  It could be on a Google Doc.  The Google Doc should be updated with changes.


–Doug said we don’t have a policy on how many TAs a teacher can have any one period.  He suggested a Google Doc to find out who has what in the TA assignments.


–David said there are legitimate situations where teachers can have more than 2 TAs.


–Lisa suggested creating a TA system for assigning TAs at the beginning of the year.  If all the TAs were together at the start of each period, then they could be assigned to teachers.


–Marcus felt that we should assign the TAs to teachers and the students could take it or leave it.


–David felt this should all be done on the PD days before school starts.


–David also said if his TAs are former students of his, it is much more useful and they know the topic, etc.  He felt that teachers should be able to turn down an inappropriate match.


–Joseph agreed—he only wants former students of his to be his TAs.  It is important to have a previous relationship between the teacher and the student.  They should be given priority.


–Alicia needs TAs that speak Spanish, and her other teachers need TAs with other foreign language skills.


–Nancy suggested sending a list of who is a TA each period, then teachers could say who they want.  The question came as to who would make the assignments and how will this be done.


–Nancy said this whole process was put on hold at the beginning of the year due to the problems with Synergy.  Priority was getting students in classes.


–Jessica thought it could all be done online and it is a Google Doc for everyone to view.


–Josephine says this could be a very long process.  She said the students often times drop a class and then they need to have a TA period.  She gave all the student excuses for not going to certain teachers that were suggested by counselors.


–Lisa said TAing has a wide variety of expectations and they do get a grade for it.  She felt teachers should have choices, but students should not have choices.


–David felt if teachers have 2 TAs per day, they should not have any more.  One per period and no more than 2 total for the day.


–Josephine said there is enough for everyone to have 1 per period.


–Marcus said he was in a class last week where there were 3 TAs and they were not utilized at all.  They sat on their phones all period.


–Nancy said that up to the first 10 days of school, there are about 400 on the TA list.  Now there are 270.  Some may be in a classroom now taking an elective.


–Some need more than 2 TAs, like Wellness every period.



–Next steps—Jessica and Nancy will bring the old policy to the next meeting and Nancy will create a Google Doc.  She asked the group if they would like to institute this next semester and the group agreed.



III.       Back to School Night Feedback


–Michelle like the 10-minute class period, rather than the 15-minute one in the past.  Teachers could give their information and then the bell rang.  Most everyone agreed.


–Joseph liked the shorter auditorium program.  He likes the volunteer students.  There should be a volunteer student on every floor with an elevator fob.


–Mat asked about the turn out. He sensed fewer parents this time.  Nancy said it was about 300 parents.  We could not use the autodialer, so they notified parents with flyers and phone calls.  She said they also put out a School Loop and announcements on G-House TV.


–Mat also suggested announcing the periods when the bells rang.


–David asked what we had last year.  Last year we had 400-500 parents.


–Nancy said in years far back, there were 900 parents.


–Parents involved with School Loop already know what their students are doing.  About 25% of parents are on School Loop.




Department Heads Agenda



I.          Vending Machines


–Joseph said his team of investigators came up with the district policy that vending machines cannot be turned on at all during the school day.


–Joseph would like this in the minutes: The SFUSD wellness policy can be found at: www.sfusdfood.org.



  He read the following:


“At all schools, K-12, teachers, staff, parents and students may not sell any food or beverage at all during the school day—this includes bake sales, student stores and classroom food sales.  The only exceptions are the four days per year when high school students are allowed to sell food.”


–To continue:  “But even if only healthy foods are sold, there’s another important reason.  The federally subsidized National School Lunch Program provides the ‘lunch-line’ menus at all schools, offering free or reduced-priced lunch to low-income students.  Other students pay full (though reasonable) price for those meals.  If more students buy those lunches, the income allows the quality of the cuisine to be improved for all students.



‘Competitive food’ sales at lunchtime drain money from the lunch-line operation, which then reduces the quality of those meals and drives more students to the competitive operations in a downward spiral.  When the lunch-line menus drop in quality because kids choose competitive foods instead, those who suffer are the most vulnerable kids—the younger children (since elementary schools don’t have competitive sales) and the lowest income kids, who can’t afford the other foods being sold.”



–Marcus said he has not heard that policy.


–Ethan asked how can we get better cafeteria food.


–Some in the group said that the cafeteria food has improved.  Discussion followed.


–Lisa said the food is local and it comes every day.


–Marcus said this policy has been brought to his attention before and the vending machines are not on the list.


–Marcus told of all the buying he likes to show his appreciation to many.  The vending machines will help to pay for these items.  We need the money.


–Marcus said the items in our vending machines meet the criteria—the drinks will be changed.  Marcus has asked for an updated list of companies.


–Marcus said this addresses the stores around us that sell food to students.


–Stan says everything in the machines is off limits for him due to sugar.


–Marcus said he and Nurse Kitchell and Jessica looked at the items and everything but the Kerns drinks meets the criteria.


–Marcus said the nutrition policy dates back to 2003 and does not cover new items today.



II.         CPT Check-in


–Lisa asked for the agendas and sign-in sheets.


–Lisa asked Joseph to share what Lisa has been working on with his department.  His department was grateful to work on their objectives, including language objectives.  His department was not enthusiastic about this in the beginning.  He told them about the common core and that students not only can be creative, but also need to be able to talk about their work.


–He mentioned the work they did last week with the ELD department teachers and it was extremely helpful.


–Lisa said she and Joseph have talked a lot about this and she said she would set aside 4° on Fridays for these types of discussions.


–Michelle asked about communication about part-time teachers, coaches, etc.  For coaches, if there is a game that day, they are excused, otherwise they must be present.


–Marcus talked about the part timers and how this fits into their schedules.


–David suggested there should be a bare minimum for part time teachers attending meetings.


–Marcus said he did not want part time teachers because of this.  He would not like to reduce schedules to part time and any future part time hires will only be based on school need.



III.       What Can I Do Update


–What can we do as classroom teachers/administrators—to continue at the high level? Marcus distributed a few documents.


–19 AA students are not Spec. Ed, 7 who are Spec. Ed. in the 9th grade—26 total.  Marcus is calling them all in for a chat.  Of the 19, 5 of them are proficient in at least 3 areas.  We can look at the students who have the potential, then we can work with them.


–Marcus said the Latino list is longer and more challenging. 


–Every AA student has been assigned to one of our experts for support.


–David asked for this information digitally.


–Michelle asked who works with the students who are seniors.  Nancy said Donald Harper works with 11th and 12th grade students.



IV.        Grade Changes for Athletes


–Doug asked the group if any other departments have been questioned by adults about athletes’ grades.  It is disconcerting to Doug that this is happening.


–David has heard of it, but not in his department.


–Alicia said she was approached by the kids.  She said she is willing to work with students on an individual basis.  Two of her teachers were approached by the students.  One teacher was really upset.


–Ray said he would have a problem if he was approached and asked to change a grade.


–Marcus asked Ethan and Nancy what has been said to coaches about grade changes.


–Nancy said that athletes must maintain a 2.0 average to play.  She said 2 years ago there were some problems.  She said new staff members need to know the policy.


–Ethan said students can approach teachers, but no coach or other teacher should approach another teacher about a grade change.


–Nancy said it would be helpful to know what sport or who the coach is in each case.


–Doug said the issue is of changing a grade or implying a grade change.


–Ethan will approach all the coaches and remind them not to talk to teachers about grade changes.  The current at risk sports are football and soccer, and most students in this situation are AA or Latinos. 


–Doug said it is student/athlete, not athlete/student.


–Ethan also said it is a problem when a student has an academic class 6th period and has to miss it due to a game.


–Marcus talked about his experiences in all aspects of this situation.



V.         Miscellaneous


–Marcus said this Thursday is the annual principal visit and he will have visitors.  They will be looking at co-taught classes.  He asked everyone to let their department members know.



Meeting adjourned at 12:15pm.