Friday, May 03, 2013

School Board recap 5/2

It has been a school board filled week. Friday and Saturday we had our retreat. Monday, I attended a VSBA (Virginia School Board Association) conference on the Evaluation of Superintendents. (Evaluation process has changed for principals, teachers and now will for superintendents. The change provides superintendent's evaluation to include student achievement data).

Wednesday night we met with City Council and PVCC to provide input to Piedmont on programming and collaborations. PVCC is a jewel in our community (as an alum, I am not at all biased). I did suggest Piedmont expand its nursing/radiography programs. The discussion was so helpful. I particularly appreciated Dr. Friedman's point that many in the nursing program are not coming out of high school, the average graduate is in her late twenties, early thirties. Since I had suggested perhaps putting a nursing program for high school students (a path to a nursing Associates degrees for high school students) at CHS, his point was a useful reminder. As a community I think we need to emphasize career paths that will allow our graduates/young people to get into the middle class. The three boards (City Council, PVCC's Board and the School Board) are focused on that goal.

Last night we had our School Board meeting. We adopted the Spanish textbook. Spanish in the elementary schools is one of the most exciting things happening in Charlottesville City Schools. I say that even though I question the expenditure in the budget every year. The program costs a lot. When the Board is looking at raising class sizes for core classes and Spanish and a million dollar deficit, Spanish is something I think logically should be on the table. Having said all of that, I am a believer in the program (can those two thoughts co-exist? yes). From kindergarten, our students take Spanish twice a week. In sixth grade, all students have to take Spanish 1 (starting next year) after six years of learning Spanish. To graduate with an advanced studies diploma, a student needs three credits of foreign language and after sixth grade the student will have one credit completed. The division understands that meeting the foreign language requirement is a barrier to many receiving advanced studies diploma, so training children from early on allows more students to be eligible for the advanced studies diploma. I have taken years of Spanish, I know how foreign language helps in the job market, I think this is a really valuable program. I am working to ensure that next year we do not have to discuss reducing our important programs in the budget process.

We also voted on a new visitor policy. This was the third month we discussed this policy. It is clear where we all stand, yet we still managed to have an interesting discussion on the subject. In this day and age, visitor policies draw a lot of scrutiny. I firmly believe that those wishing to do harm to our community will not be following the visitor policy, no matter what it says. I also believe that the visitor policy change is unnecessary. However, five of my fellow board members did want the change despite my brilliant arguments (ha!).  I hope this policy will provide the certainty to administrators and Resource Officers that the division seeks.

I continue to seek your input on issues related to the schools. I truly appreciate your comments/emails/phone calls. Thank you!

Also next week is Teacher Appreciation week, I hope you have a chance to show your appreciation to a teacher next week!


Patience_Crabstick said...

I'm ambivalent about PVCC expanding their nursing program. Many hospitals, including UVA, hire mostly nurses with a BSN. I'm a graduate of PVCC's nursing program and I find career doors slammed on me on all sides because of my ADN. For example, I can't get a masters in nursing informatics, because my nursing degree is only an ADN, even though I HAVE a bachelor's degree in another discipline. At my age, I'm not interested in getting a second bachelors and then a masters, especially when my own kids are in college.

There's a nursing shortage, but it might make more sense for PVCC to team up with UVA and prepare students to transfer to UVA or another BSN program rather than sending them straight out into the workplace.

Jennifer said...

Thanks for your comment. I wonder if high school students received their ADN they would transfer to a bachelor's program? I agree that PVCC/UVA should work collaboratively to prepare students for transfer to UVA or other BSN program.
It is always helpful to get a person's perspective. Thanks!