10/13: Monday Do, Weekend Review, & Meeting Preview

credit:  RayHart Digital-Stories

credit: RayHart Digital-Stories

After all the dramatic events and excitement over the last three weeks, people might be forgiven for thinking this last weekend was ‘quiet’.

It was, but only in comparison to the most recent events. Compared to a month ago, the overall pace of events here in JeffCo has definitely picked up.

Monday Do List:

  1. Read the Weekend Review and decide how you are going to get involved.  At the bottom of the post is a list of organizations you can contact.  Make Even A Bigger Difference!
  2. Read the Thursday Prep notes below, then write an email to the Board (board@jeffco.k12.co.us), asking them to explain something important to you, such as why they would not wait the policy required two meetings before voting on the curricula censorship comittee proposal.
  3. Support Jeffco Kids has come out with their 2014 endorsements for the upcoming election. Read them!
  4. Tell at least three friends, neighbors, co-workers, family members, or strangers about what is going on and try to get them to come to a Board meeting (just one time is generally enough for people to see why WNW needs to be opposed).
  5. Put up a sign in car or window, letting people know that you oppose WNW.
  6. Contact Support Jeffco Kids and get a yard sign!
  7. Contact Jeffco Students For Change, and let them know you support them!
  8. Keep Fighting!

Weekend Review

Saturday, The Jeffco Students for Change held a rally at Clement Park. There were great t-shirts and buttons, homemade signs, local bands, and speakers. If you missed it, you missed a lot! But this terrific animoto slide show by RayHart Digital-Stories captured it extremely well.

Nicholas Garcia of Chalkbeat was there and wrote this report: Jeffco students, at rally, flirt with recall effort.

The Network for Public Education held a national conference in Brooklyn, New York on Saturday.  As of Sunday night, #PubEdNation is still trending number 1 on Twitter.  Jeffco School Board Watch had two of its members attend.  We will have a post from them later in the week.

Thursday Meeting Preview:

Note: In an effort to make the posts shorter, we are going to edit down to key information only.  We will include a link to BoardDocs site as well as one to the agenda in a form suitable for printing.

BOE Meeting 2014-10-16 (Thursday night)

Date and Time: Thursday, October 16, 2014 at 5:30 p.m.

Education Center, 1829 Denver West Drive, Bldg. 27, Golden, CO

Key Agenda Items

Subject: 2.01 Monitoring: Student Achievement
PRESENTING STAFF: Dr. Syna Morgan, chief academic officer, Dr. Carol Eaton, executive director of Instructional Data in Educational Research and Design
PURPOSE: For the Board of Education to receive an update on student achievement for the 2013/2014 school year.

BACKGROUND: Board Ends policy 1 states, “every student will master the Colorado Content Standards at grade level.” Board Ends policy 2 states, “every student will achieve at least one year’s growth, or more as needed to ‘catch up,’ in every year of school and be ready for the next level.” Board Ends policy 3 states, “every student will graduate career and workforce and/or post secondary ready.” Annually, the Board of Education has requested a monitoring report on student achievement from district administration.

Results from the administration of 2013-2014 state assessments (including TCAP and ACT) from the District Performance Framework and the graduation and dropout rates will be formally presented to the Board by

File Attachments: PRESENTATION Student Achievement__BOE_Oct 2014.pdf (3,307 KB)

2.02 Status Update on Assessment
PRESENTING STAFF: Brad A. Miller, board attorney; Dan M. McMinimee, superintendent Dr. Syna Morgan, chief academic officer
PURPOSE: For the Board of Education to have a deeper understanding of the current assessments in Jeffco Public Schools.

BACKGROUND: At the August 28, 2014 meeting, the Board of Education requested information about the current assessments in Jeffco in order to have a deeper understanding of the impact on the system.

The information provided includes assessments administered in Jeffco, estimated time and cost factors associated with those assessments, and the general uses by classrooms, schools and/or the district.

File Attachments: PRESENTATION Jeffco assessment landscape_BOE _Oct 2014.pdf (595 KB)

Our Comments on these two items: Our feelings on this are best summed up by an email sent to the Board and Mr. McMinimee by Brenda Bronson (who gives credit to Wendy McCord for the original analysis), along with McMinimee’s response. It is reprinted below with permission:

From: Brenda Bronson
Sent: Saturday, October 11, 2014 11:07 AM
To: Fellman Jill; Newkirk John; Williams Julie; Witt Ken; Dahlkemper Lesley; McMinimee Dan M
Cc: Nic Garcia; Nelson Garcia; Jeffco School Board Media; Jeffco School Board Media; canderson@; Jeffco School Board Media
Subject: Thoughts on Oct. 16 Board Meeting Agenda Item 2.01, Monitoring Student Achievement

Studying this agenda item’s report, these things jumped out at me:

  1. On TCAP: Jeffco, as a district, scores higher in most areas than Dougco. In the two areas where we are lower, it is by ONE point. Let not model ourselves after Dougco – it’s achievement has been on a downward trend for past few years.
  2. More than 60% of our students taking AP exams score 3 or higher – and there’s lots of them! More than 800 students receiving a 3 or higher on the APUSH exam – that’s a lot of college credits! Our ENTIRE Board needs to support our Jeffco students receiving these college credits!
  3. More importantly, students in Jeffco do better on AP tests than across the WORLD:Jeffco School District – 2.91
    Colorado – 2.90
    United States – 2.87
    Global – 2.89
  1. Our remediation rates are the third lowest in the metro area.  Our rate is amazingly low given the high percentage of our students receiving FRL, in comparison to the other top 5 remediation rates.

I’ve noted some board members have disparaged the achievement of our district and state their model of having choice of more charter schools will somehow increase Jeffco’s achievement. That model of more choices has not increased achievement in Dougco and they have less children on FRL. The numbers show Jeffco’s achievement is good. Please keep it that way!

McMinimee’s Response:

From: McMinimee Dan M <DMCMINIM@jeffco.k12.co.us>
Date: October 11, 2014 at 8:08:18 PM MDT
To: Brenda Bronson <brendabronsonfpe@gmail.com>
Subject: RE: Thoughts on Oct. 16 Board Meeting Agenda Item 2.01, Monitoring Student Achievement

Dear Ms. Bronson,

Thank you for taking the time to send me your analysis of the Jeffco achievement results. We do have some things to celebrate for sure.


Dan McMinimee

It will be interesting to see 1) How strongly McMinimee and Morgan ‘celebrate’ these scores that they cannot take credit for since they were achieved under Dr. Stevenson and Dr. Beck; 2) How much WNW ignores the good news and focuses on anything else; 3) If there is any recognition that the student walkouts in response to the new censorship capability the Board has arrogated to itself is due in large part to the excellent understanding and critical thinking skills that JeffCo has been giving its students; and 4) How much credit is given to the teachers for their work.

Any bets?

2.03 Superintendent Goals 2014-2015
PRESENTING STAFF: Dan McMinimee, superintendent
PURPOSE: For the Board of Education to begin discussions on the performance goals to be set for Superintendent Dan McMinimee for the 2014-2015 school year.

BACKGROUND: Board/Staff Linkage policy 4, Monitoring Superintendent Performance, calls for the Board of Education to evaluate the superintendent on an annual basis in October following receipt of student achievement data. As Mr. McMinimee has not had performance goals set, beyond those outlined in the Board’s Ends policies 1, 2, 3, 4 and 5, the Board will be following policy by setting or affirming performance goals by the end of October.

File Attachments: (None at time of posting, early Monday morning. File link added 10/15) Possible Superintendent Goals.pdf (82 KB)

Our Comments: Curiouser and curiouser!Two things have struck us on this item. The first is that McMinimmee is apparently presenting on what he thinks his goals should be, and secondly that there is no attachment (so far) listing what he thinks those goals should be for the Board members to study ahead of time. Is that, perhaps, because a majority of the Board and McMinimee have already come to an unofficial agreement? Or maybe it is because McMinimee has not given it enough thought yet? Or is it because McMinimee plans to ‘wing it’?

Note – the above attachment is now available.  Almost everyone of our comments above still stands.  If you read the document, you find that someone simply took the already stated goals for the Board and District and either restated it verbatim or simply inserted “Provide leadership to” in front of it.  Image if a senior employee of a Fortune 1000 company had done this prior to meeting his or her boss to discuss his or her years “goals”.  At the very least, it would have immediately initiated a serious discussion about the relative seriousness with which the employee took process.  In the case of a high school student turning in a major paper outline, the conversation with the teacher might have been more along the lines of the teacher asking the student, “Just how dumb do you think I am?”

In our opinion, this response indicates how much serious thought McMinimee has given to the idea that he will actually be held accountable for his and the District’s performance, e.g., none.

Our experience in the corporate world is that an employee is supposed to send to his or her boss a list of goals ahead of the meeting where they are agreed to. Apparently Mr. Witt and Mr. Newkirk’s vaunted business experience and acumen differs from private business HR standards in this matter. One would be very curious to see just how the HR departments at their companies are run.

Organizations that can help you make even a bigger difference!

  • Support Jeffco Kids.  “SJK” is a 501(c)4 organization, and so can accept donations and engage in political activities.  It has worked hard at organizing opposition to WNW policies in the community, and they seem to be one of the key groups.  You can join their mailing list here, and donate here.
  • JeffcoExodus.  This is a new group.  They are looking for volunteers whose role it will be to participate in two-way communication with their network and the volunteer’s local community.  At times these volunteers will need to quickly disseminate factual information to their own school and networks. Volunteers will also gather factual information and personal stories about staff turnover, families choosing to leave Jeffco, and other significant effects the actions of this Board Majority are having on school communities. You can contact them at this email:  JeffcoExodus@gmail.com.
  • Citizens For Responsible Education is focused on reaching out to those in JeffCo who do not have a direct connection to the school district.  Their mission is to help those citizens realize that fate of JeffCo’s schools, students, and teachers directly impacts their business, their jobs, their home values, and them.
  • Your local PTA.  Even if you do not have a child in school, your local PTA can use your help and input. Michelle Patterson, the President of JeffCo PTA, gave a blistering speech to WNW at the meeting.  What ever happens, the JeffCo PTA will be in the thick of things.  Either contact your local school or the County PTA here: JeffCo PTA Volunteers.
  • JeffCo School Board Watch!  Yes, you can help us. There are many things we have wanted to do that we just do not have the time for, such as maintaining a list of news articles/stories, tracking how much WNW has cost the taxpayers, updating a list of significant board activities, monitoring social media and keeping us aware of what is happening where, or even writing articles for us (we will work with you on topic and editing practices).  You can email us at Jeffcowatch+help@gmail.com.
  • Jeffco Students For Change  is a group of students representing most or all of Jefferson County’s high schools that have gotten together to add their voice to the public outcry against the WNW deconstruction of their schools.  If nothing else, go and ‘Like’ their page.  These are students we all should be very proud of!

Come to the meeting on Thursday!  Your attendance makes a difference every single time!  Every pair of eyes adds that much more public light, public knowledge, and public awareness of things that WNW would rather keep dark and obscure.

So come to the meeting and…

Keep Fighting, JeffCo!