Return to Headlines

May 16, 2022 - Meeting Minutes

ACSD Advisory Committee NOTES - May 16th, 2022
6:30pm-8pm ACSD Facility Building, 208 Charles Ave, Middlebury

WELCOME & UPDATES
Quick reminders about group agreements, communication and language accessibility and reviewing the ongoing information we are gathering from the school community (raw responses from community input form, summary, and Hanover survey and data analysis).

Also, we reviewed the 4 point scope of work for the advisory committee: 1) Focus at 10,000 foot level, 2) Identify core areas and draft goals to be considered by the board for the strategic plan, 3) Use the committee’s equity definition as a framework when making recommendations, 4) Deliberate and document where more information/work is needed. 

 

We discovered a glitch in the Hanover equity survey administration in the high school. As such, the survey was reissued this week to increase participation. This will increase the response rates for students. Hanover also recently completed the “scorecard” analysis for the district based on Powerschool and other data sources. This is another resource alongside the equity survey’s executive summary and survey data dashboard that will be available to the public very soon. 

 

COMMUNITY CHECK IN

We held an open dialogue session about how the process is working (or not) thus far and asked for reflections on how we can adjust our approach to make sure the committee feels they have time to complete their work and feels their work is thoughtful and meaningful. 

 

Facilitator and Superintendent Burrows noted the timeline for gathering information, data, and analysis did not line up well with the advisory committee’s set schedule and feels clunky at times. The district wants the advisory committee to feel heard and that they have the time to do good work. This can include extending the timeline, modifying our June report to be a progress report rather than the final recommendation report, and more. 

 

Committee members offered that some things are working such as including a diverse advisory committee in the process - a new thing for the district and while positive it has also been an imperfect process. Appreciation for school community engagement such as meeting with migrant farmworker families and creating a joint equity vision statement. 

 

Committee also offered critique of the heavy reliance on data and surveys (quantitative) and sequencing of the selection of the Hanover Group before the advisory committee was formed. Some frustration with the content of the survey and limitations in how much the Hanover survey could capture to inform this work, coupled with not feeling the committee’s feedback was incorporated early on to modify the survey approach. Request for committee discussions to get more concrete and purposeful and honest in their focus. Request for more stories and narrative (qualitative). Many noted a desire for more time to complete the work together. 

 

The committee had a discussion about the role of action teams later in the year to help work out more details of the strategic plan (strategies, objectives and tasks/timelines). This helped to clarify the role of the advisory committee and the recommendations (suggested goals/priorities) more and the need to stay at the 10,000 foot knowing that more folks will dive into the details soon. Also, action teams are not selected yet so there is open opportunity for continuity and connection between the advisory committee and action team. In the future, a request to have a full process communicated more on the front end so everyone understands timeline and roles. This entire process has been a learning experience for community members as well as the district and hopefully lessons learned in communications and engagement will serve the district well in the future. 

 

The committee agreed to:

  • Extend its timeline for those who are able beyond June 6 to finish its work. The extended timeline will focus on taking time needed to develop recommended goals and name the gaps/work still needed to finalize the strategic plan. Members of the committee are welcome to stay on the committee to finish the extended work or not. 
  • Any additional meetings will have clear goals to help advance the group to a final set of recommendations. The facilitator has a draft rubric to help move the committee from naming problem statements to goals/gaps which may be useful. This tool also has a prompt to use the equity definition lens.
  • The committee will create a progress report in June for the school board if needed to explain where it is in the process and when recommendations will be ready. 
  • Committee will name what else is missing and who else needs to be engaged to help inform their work. This work can extend into the summer. 

 

SOCIAL EMOTIONAL ENVIRONMENT 

The small group assigned “social emotional environment” from the survey framework presented their observations and led a discussion on the topic. The group included: Amanda (student), Ruth (parent), and Jessie (parent). They prepared slides. The group’s discussion and presentation highlighted these observations:

  • Academic programs connect to the social experience and sense of connection felt by students. Students want to feel valued despite what academic program they are in. 
    • More communication could help students in Midd Core programs
    • Some students are not feeling integrated in community based on what course/program they are in 
    • Feelings of superiority and inferiority with IB Diploma program participants and those who do not participate.
    • Structural issues with schedules, courses, class size, concentration of resources
    • How do we customize learning paths for each learner?
    • Do course requirements meet the needs of students?
  • Social hierarchy attached to academics, ability, disability status
  • Highlighted data from Hanover survey: 75% of students believe bullying problem; 43% of staff see bullying problem. Note: survey data had largely middle school student participants given survey glitch that will be corrected. 
  • Discussion on use of data and how to best use it to inform district decisions and priorities. 
    • Surveys have limitations due to participation levels and reading level
    • Seek out direct feedback from the school community and share how information will be used. 
    • Discussion on how ACSD gathers data internal vs. externally (consultants). Pros/cons on ability to use experts for analysis and capacity needs. 
    • Some on the committee had feedback on the Hanover survey and did not feel it was heard.
    • Use other data available via Youth Risk Behavior AOE Survey
    • Qualitative data is important (additional tools exist we could use to gather it). Open questions invite stories. Should do this moving forward on a regular basis. Students want to be heard. 
    • Be careful about bias in interpreting and analyzing data. 
  • Prioritize underrepresented people in gathering more information. 
  • Building feels safe and inclusive for some. 
  • Socio-economic divisions persist.
  • Elementary students' emotional and basic needs are not being met which is making it hard for them to learn.
  • Smaller staff-student ratios
  • Prioritize mental health
  • Help and support parents and meet them where they are
  • Create a standing advisory committee/equity committee for the district. 
  • Value support staff more and offer better training/professional development

 

ACADEMIC ENVIRONMENT

We ran out of time to have the small group assigned “academic environment” present. They prepared slides and the group was asked to review them ahead of our discussion on June 6th. The group included: Addison (student), Liam (staff), Nicole (staff), and Christal (parent/community).

HOMEWORK

  1. Review the resources and information provided to date at meetings. Ask yourself what resonates and what does not resonate with you? 
  2. Reflect on what else you need to know to make final recommendations to the board. What is still missing? Bring these ideas to the June 6th meeting. 
  3. Share updates on the committee’s work (sent out by Emily from co-chairs) with your networks to help educate the school community on our work. 
  4. Facilitator will offer a short tutorial on what is in the committee’s Google drive folder and how to find items.
  5. Next Meeting: June 6th. Dinner at 5:30pm and Meeting 6-8pm.