Leadership Team/Department Heads Meeting Minutes – April 8, 2014



Leadership Team/Department Heads Meeting








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



Leadership Team Agenda



I.          Homeroom/Bell Schedule Discussion Report


Joseph said VPA wanted to do without homeroom, and wanted to return to the 2011/2012 Bell Schedule.  Homeroom was scheduled just for necessary activities.


Mr. Machtay said it is important to have G-House TV on both days, as PE students would not see it if there was only one weekly broadcast.


Spec. Ed.  Yes on homeroom, no blocks, CPT once a week for 2 hours.


Social Studies—close vote.  Some supported homeroom— as teachers and students can take care of business, mini-break, sense of community.  Most would vote to get rid of homeroom.  Schedule wise would like to end consistently and CPT time in the afternoon.  With morning CPT time students were still late.  Starting homeroom at 8am would mean many would be late.



Science—discussion centered on blocks and the academies and pathways and science classes would be destroyed without the blocks.  To even think about changing it now for next year would be a big problem.  CPT should be in the afternoon.  Homeroom—his department did not want to touch homeroom if the blocks would disappear.  Members were split on homeroom.



World Language—her department wanted to keep homeroom but would like a nutrition break and allow students to eat during homeroom.  Block periods are very long and the homeroom is like a break.  One member suggested 1 homeroom a week.  One of her department members mentioned grade level meetings in past years during homeroom in the auditorium.  Some felt CPT time should be once a week.



ELD—Her department likes homeroom—relationship with kids, break, take care of business.  Why are we talking about changing the schedule at this late date?  She said the year without homeroom it was difficult to locate kids.  They like the blocks.  CPT in the afternoon.



Counseling—they do like homeroom to pass out papers, etc.  They will allow the teachers to make the decision.  Jo suggested not talking about doing away with something, but can we talk about consequences for not attending homeroom? Lisa told of a parent she talked to at the truancy meeting who told of students going to the wrong homeroom to be with friends.  There was also discussion about teachers not knowing their homeroom students.




PE was split—they do not have homeroom right now.  CPT time in the afternoon.



Stan asked if anyone checked with Eugene Wing and the competition between the classes.  How would eliminating homeroom affect his activities?



Lisa said the English department was split and she could get no feedback from Math.


Administration was leaning toward eliminating homeroom.  Lisa said with educational research, homeroom is effective if there is a curriculum.  Alicia said it is effective for giving students a break.


David hears the logic of the break and the logistics of passing out materials, etc.  Are there other ways to make this work?


Ray said it is easy to pull Special Ed students out of homeroom rather than their classes.


Without homeroom, Jo would have to defer to English and History classes to distribute information.  That would be disrupting academic classes.  Then materials would have to be sorted by each class.



Math said no homeroom.  Marcus said the administrators will talk it over.



II.         Final Exam Schedule


–Lisa mentioned that the final exam schedule—first final is 2 hours and 5 minutes in length; second schedule is 1 hour and 55 minutes.  Everyone felt the periods should be even.  The schedule will be readjusted.



III.       Debrief of Truancy Meeting


–Marcus said it was so bad and it was effective in some ways.  Next year when A2A is working, Synergy is working, the meeting will be planned better.  Marcus said the homeroom truancy was quite large.  Marcus told of a parent who was encouraged by the students and she caused a problem in the discussions.



A2A is the system that generates letters to the parents.  These letters are sent out automatically through the district.  The district did not want us to interfere with the letters.  Nancy gave a history from last year.  We have not had an auto dialer this year, so many families are finding out quite late about their children’s absences.


–Joseph asked if this will be better next year.  Nancy said there is hope the attendance will be online next year.  There is nothing certain about this yet.  Nancy said we need the auto dialer, but we will not get it unless we have online attendance.  She said we have 300 students who are absent every day and it is impossible to call all of these students.


Marcus said he would ask teachers next year to call parents if a student has been absent 3 or 4 times.


The counseling office does send out D & F letters.



Jo said there were positives from the meeting—lots of parents attended.  She encouraged teachers to let counselors know which students are not attending class.


Ray asked about phone numbers that are not working.  Jo suggested checking the emergency cards but even these numbers could be incorrect.  Marcus said Mr. Westry should make a home visit to get the contact information.



IV.        After School Study Hall/Homeroom Club


–Alicia said this came out of the truancy meetings.  She talked of activities she did with her students and one of the ideas parallels the Principal’s Book Club.  She mentioned Asian students getting together to get their homework done and it is also a social activity.  She would like to open up her room after school to start this.  She has many Latino students.  This way the students could get their homework done.  She said some students don’t go to class as they are behind.  They don’t understand their books at times.  They could help each other and possibly have food. 


Members agreed that this is a great idea.  David mentioned some schools have a study hall built into the day.


Ray called it a Peer Tutoring Program and said it is a great idea.  Alicia has formed relationships with these students.


Lisa suggested getting the snacks through the Excel After School Program.  The program will deliver the snacks.


Marcus mentioned Loan Ly’s “Slacker’s Club.”  Joseph said there are teachers who are here and are already having homework clubs.  Joseph would like to see these teachers get compensated.  He suggested some of the funds that go to Excel could go to these teacher.  There are rules that govern this.  Certificated Teachers can get paid after school for credit recovery, but not enrichment activities.



Marcus said study halls would require a certificated person and this is a budget issue.  Ray said they are trying to eliminate their Study Skills classes, as the students do not take it seriously.



Department Heads Agenda



I.          Student Teachers


Lisa will send an email about SF State and student teachers.



II.         CPT during STAR


Next week there will be 4 block days.  There also be 4 CPT’s. Monday and Tuesday next week will be Curriculum and Cluster.  Wednesday and Thursday—what was previously planned.  Wednesday will be grading, Thursday, Departments.  Following week Tuesday would be an extra department day, Friday everyone can leave early.


Stan asked about the attendance strips.  Lisa will check on this.



Blocks will be as follows:  Monday—odd periods, Tuesday—even periods,  Friday—odd periods.



III.       Master Schedule


Nancy thanked those who turned in department preferences on Google Spreadsheet.  Nancy asked Ethan to let her know.  Nancy said they will start doing the schedules this week.


Kathleen asked if there will be a Newcomer Pathway.  The answer is Yes.  Nancy said these students do need to be in the general population as well as their own classes.




Meeting adjourned at 12:20pm.