Leadership Team/Department Heads Meeting Minutes – December 10, 2013



Leadership Team/Department Heads Meeting








Eric and Myra returned for session #3.  There will be one more meeting in January of next year.






Teachers were asked to respond to 2 questions in writing at the start:


1.  What could a teacher do to support a student that feels like they can no longer pass his or her class?


2.  What is MISSING in the school experience of students who are failing?  What school structures or resources can help students believe that they can be successful?



Outcomes will be the same as in the past two meetings.  What are the responsibilities of teachers and grading and supporting students?  We will discuss this during the meeting.  How can we be intentional in class to get the struggling student in class working?



Eric reviewed the norms—raise hands, step up/step back, assume positive intentions.



Framing of the Day:  Assume every student at Galileo can graduate and be successful in college or in a career.  What are Galileo teachers doing to ensure students’ success?



Myra introduced an activity involving scenarios.  She went over the handout and the Scenario Discussion sheet.  White papers were placed on the walls, markers distributed and members broke into groups of 3 to discuss one of the 3 scenarios.



Scenario A:


Mario is a current sophomore at Galileo High School.  He attends class daily but is not very engaged and rarely completes his homework.  Mario does not participate often in class; however, Mario is NEVER a behavior issue either.  His exam scores are inconsistent. He does not have an IEP.  He is a native Chinese speaker, but he was reclassified by 5th grade.  Mario received an F for the semester due to his poor HW grade, inconsistent exam grades, and lack of participation. On his final exam he got an 86%.



What are some support structures or policies that a teacher, department, or school can put into place to support a student like this?



Scenario B:


Wendy is a Junior at Galileo High School. She has never missed school and works hard in class to complete every assignment perfectly.  She often attends tutoring sessions in the library after school and finds teachers at lunchtime for extra help.  She is a native Spanish speaker and was reclassified in 6th grade.  She does not have an IEP.  She does poorly on quizzes and exams.  Wendy received an F in class based on her poor exam grades.



What are some support structures or policies that a teacher, department, or school, can put into place to support a student like this?



Scenario C:


Derek is a Freshman at Galileo High School.  Derek rarely attends school and when he does he walks in tardy. Derek lives across town and takes two busses to get to school.  Derek is a native English speaker and does not have an IEP.  Due to his excessive truancy, Derek is missing numerous assignments and rarely tries to make up work.  In class Derek is often disruptive and off-task.  On exams, Derek frequently outperforms his peers.  Due to poor attendance and missing HW and CW, Derek receives an F.



Recognizing that attendance is a primary issue with Derek, what are some support structures or policies that a teacher, department, or school can put in place to support a student like this?



Members were asked to use a chart provided to record their responses along with creating a poster of their action plan.



Eric asked the group to star items on their charts to highlight those items that are “out of the box.”



Group C was called upon to report first.


Derek was the center and areas he needed to work on were highlighted.  Donald Harper explained the various parts of their chart.  Changing seats, work on behavior for relations, have SST, have parent meetings, develop weekly plans for him.  Learn more about Derek’s home life.  Weight test more heavily in his case.



Eric asked for comments from the whole group.  David asked why this student was not attending a school closer to home.  That would solve the tardy/absence issue.  There are so many variables as a Freshman.  Stan felt he was spending a lot of time on the bus and he could do his homework on the bus.  Lisa mentioned the data that Kathleen showed her kids about not graduating due to failing classes, etc.  Doug mentioned being more engaged in other activities at school would perhaps help.  Michelle suggested restructuring periods so that those commuting students could take a later schedule.  Marcus could not give this student an F.  He would question past knowledge.  He would try to find what the student has learned.



Group B presented next.


Marcus explained the scenario.  Alter the weight of assignments in the classroom.  Use alternate means of assessment.  Pair up student with a buddy.  Look at trying different engagement strategies.  As a department brainstorm what does and does not work with this students.  Have another teacher talk to student.  Emphasize anxiety reduction school wide.


Stan thought in both B and C it is unrealistic to give those students F.


Michelle suggested allowing an outline or notes the students can use during the test.


Eric mentioned what Lincoln High School is doing in this situation.  Teachers had conversations with students to see if they knew the content.



Scenario A presented last.


Alicia shared the scenario with the group.  Alicia felt the most important thing was to talk to the student.  Perhaps not all teachers are doing this.  The teacher can reflect on what their strategies are for engagement.  Sometimes parent contact is difficult if there is a language barrier.  Does the department have a grading policy about the weight of the final exam?


Lisa said they felt talking to the student is important.  Is the class too easy for the student, is there something going on at home, etc.?  Lisa talked about a strategy of identifying what each student is good at.  If the teacher can’t identify something for a student, then the teacher should have a conversation with that student, identify what the student is good at and plan a lesson around that topic.


Should that student go to college or should college be an option?  Some students will do well later on.



Eric said they would compile ideas from the discussion and use this at the next meeting.  He asked the group what they would need as support to continue this discussion in the departments.



Alicia said it would be useful if all the departments are asking the same questions.  Eric said they could bring to the next meeting what other schools are doing.  Marcus would like to know what the other schools are doing.


Doug asked how much time should we spend in our departments talking about this?  How do we frame it and how do we partition it?  What should we consider an expectation or an outcome?  Michelle said efficiency and time are important factors in the conversations.  David agreed—it will take a lot of time to do this.



Meeting adjourned at 12:15pm.