OF THE BOARD OF TRUSTEES
The special meeting of the Board of Trustees of School District No. 26, Lockwood Schools, Yellowstone County, was duly held in the Board Room, 1932 U.S. Highway 87, Billings, Montana on Monday, May 16, 2005. Chairperson Stroebe called the meeting to order at approximately 6:35 p.m.
Trustees present: Thomas Jones, Tim Trafford, Barbara Forrester Frank, Teresa Stroebe, Greg Bochy, Superintendent Eileen Johnson and District Clerk Diane Brook. Trustee Gayle Walker arrived at 6:44 p.m.
Staff members present were Dave DeBoer, Sue Robertson, Mike Sullivan, Mike Bowman, and Pam Richau.
Registered Guest: Evelyn Pyburn from Yellowstone County News was also present.
Compass Data System Purchase and Technology Purchases
This item was tabled from the May 10, 2005 regular meeting to provide time for staff to get additional information that was requested.
Superintendent Eileen Johnson provided a handout with the additional information that was requested. She advised that the principals, Pam Richau, and she had made phone calls to other schools that are using the system.
Eileen called a school in Colorado, which is totally on-line. They use
the Explorer Program to assess student work and put them on learning
paths. They said that support has been very good and responsive; they
also noted that the upgrades have been substantial.
Middle School Principal Mike Sullivan spoke to a K-6 school in Bismarck, North Dakota. They purchased the program for Grades 4-6. They said Compass is much better than the program they had purchased previously for their younger grades. Bismarck reported the following: It is excellent; professional development and training is excellent; they really love it for Special
Education teachers and students; they are seeing progress. Bismarck said it is true mainstreaming with individualized instruction. They have every student using the program for 30 minutes per day. The school is heavy into data and the system prints out great reports on the students and great reports to give to the parents. Mr. Sullivan said he was told that Bismarck had looked at several programs before they purchased the Compass. The weakness they noted was that just like all programs, the students have to be monitored.
Mike Sullivan also spoke with a K-8 Charter School in Las Vegas. They have used Compass for five years. They are pleased with the progress of students and very happy with the support. There was more professional development provided than they could take advantage of. Students spend up to one-half of their time on Compass. This year he brought the parent component on board. That has been a huge success; the parents can see what their kids are doing. He likes the reports to parents. The parents like it. Two areas of concern were noted: In the beginning he thought the Kindergarten area was a little weak and the middle school looks a little dry yet. The company is responsive and is making requested changes.
Pam Richau talked to a fifth grade teacher about Compass. Each student in her classroom has a computer; she uses the Compass Program to group and re-group her students. She can have three groups of students engaged at once. Students can be working on AR reading, the Compass Program, or with her.
Chairperson Stroebe asked if the trustees had questions.
Tim Trafford asked about the grade levels to be served.
Grades K-5 will be served in a lab setting.
Mike Sullivan said for the Middle School it will be an assessment tool for the whole school. He plans to bring it in for Title learners and perhaps special needs students.
Eileen Johnson said there is always an evolution in a program such as this. It is going to take time for training, comfort level, and getting used to it.
Trustee Trafford asked if PowerSchool information is transferable to Compass. Pam Richau said she has been told that transferring information is possible.
Tim asked about the CAL licenses. He would hate to see scheduling based on the number of CAL licenses. Do you think that should be upgraded or should there be money set aside for future purchases. Pam said she doesn’t think they have much more capacity than 110 CALS. Pam said she feels pretty well covered at this point even with some growth.
Tim pointed out that one-half of the cost is for equipment and infrastructure that can be used for many other things.
Greg Bochy asked how they plan student use of Compass.
Dave DeBoer answered that he plans about 50 slots in a computer lab. The lab will be busy all day long. Each student will use the lab four times per week for 30 minutes.
In Middle School it will be used via the in-class model with five lap-tops.
Greg Bochy asked about ownership of the software. Pam Richau said we purchase the program, and we pay the annual fees for support and upgrades.
Greg Bochy asked if the program would be on their [Compass Learning Systems] server. Pam said no it is on our server in house.
Greg asked if it redundant to the curriculum. The response was that it is supplemental.
Eileen pointed out the importance of the assessment piece.
Gayle asked if gifted students would be challenged enough. Pam said when students take the assessments; their learning path is decided for them. Teachers can enrich them with other subjects.
There was discussion of the importance of aligning learning paths with state test objectives and the ability for teachers to customize students’ learning paths according to their needs.
Eileen said one of the reasons they want to buy Compass for K-8 or 9 instead of just K-4, is so students can progress to upper levels.
Trustee Bochy expressed concern about students accessing areas or items they should not have. Pam responded that the system can be designed in certain ways to limit access. Teacher supervision and teacher familiarity with the student situation is very important.
Eileen said that is where professional development is important. Teachers will get as much training as the need.
Pam said they will probably use “Train the Trainer” model after the first year.
Eileen advised that Pam is designing the labs to give the teacher the best focal point.
Mike Bowman and Dave DeBoer said they are planning to have paraprofessionals assist and have everything ready to go in the labs.
Gayle Walker asked if additional staff would be needed. Mike Bowman said they hope to use present staff in a different way.
Barbara Forrester Frank asked about other types of interventions for students. Mike Sullivan said that special education teachers Linda Ruegsegger and Robin Vezina use different types of interventions and they could speak to specifics. He knows one intervention they use is Bridges.
Barbara asked about Grades K-3 reading fluency interventions. Primary Principal Mike Bowman said they use different texts. Teacher Sue Robertson advised that they use earobics; WISH, and many other things; whatever works. Barbara suggested ERI Horizons and Read Naturally from Scott Foresman.
Trustees reviewed the price proposal sheets to see the actual costs. Eileen advised that one-half of the cost is for computers and wiring.
Supt. Johnson made the observation that as much as $120,000 has been spent
for replacement textbooks that are on a five-year rotation. She reminded the
Board that there would not be enough funds in the current 2004-05 budget to
purchase the Compass System; the computers, networking and wiring can come
from Building Reserve Funds.
Chair Stroebe asked if there were any more questions or discussion. No one spoke.
Trustee Trafford moved to direct administration to purchase the Compass Data System and the supporting technology as listed. Thomas Jones seconded the motion.
Tim Trafford had these comments. If you spend $2 or $200,000 you look for the return on your investment; what will you get back. He said he felt the first year might be expensive; in three years, it will have a great payback. The administrators and teachers will have data to make judgments and decisions; they will have actual numbers to make choices and have knowledge about where to concentrate their efforts. He doesn’t think it is expensive within our general budget and our building reserve budget.
Trustee Bochy asked if this is going to replace anything else. Eileen said
no; it is supplemental.
They are considering travel time to the labs, and they plan to have the paraprofessionals in the labs with every computer ready to go when the students arrive.
Pam Richau reiterated that the students go to the lab to reinforce and supplement instruction; it is not an add-on. Teachers will have control of the learning paths.
Mike Bowman said he is still working on the K-2 schedule. He commented that this is an excellent tool. The assessment piece and data management and reporting are extremely important.
Thomas Jones made these comments. He envisions in the future that all homework will be on PCs; all books will be on computers. With this system, you can see where a student excels and needs help. He believes it is always good to have a faster method of finding something that works to help a struggling child.
Supt. Johnson asked if the trustees wanted to include in the motion the funds from which the purchase would be paid.
Tim Trafford amended his motion as follows: Trustee Trafford moved to direct administration to purchase the Compass Data System from General Fund reserves and the supporting technology as listed from the Building Reserve Fund. Chairperson Stroebe asked if there was any objection to the amendment. No one voiced an objection.
Gayle asked for clarification as to how much would come from each fund. The response was that about one-half of the total cost [Compass Learning System; the software] would come from General Fund reserves and one-half [technology equipment; the hardware and wiring] would come from Building Reserve Fund.
Greg called for the question. Thomas Jones, Tim Trafford, Barbara Forrester Frank, Greg Bochy, Gayle Walker, and Teresa Stroebe voted aye; the motion passed unanimously, six to zero.
The discussion of Study Circles began at 7:45 p.m. Barbara Forrester Frank said that dates, topics and materials needed for the sessions needed to be established. She suggested that each board member choose a session to coordinate. Trustees choose these sessions.
Session 1: Kick off - Coordinators will be Gayle Walker and Barbara Forrester
Session 2: Exploration of Our Current Situation – Coordinators will be Thomas Jones and Tim Trafford.
Session 3: Goal Setting: - Coordinator will be Greg Bochy. This session will include: How does our current situation fit your picture of what an ideal educational facility is?
Session 4: Planning for the Future – Teresa Stroebe will be the coordinator.
Tim mentioned that each session should have a statement or consensus of shared beliefs.
Eileen mentioned that the staff survey has already been done.
Barbara provided information about Best Practices for Producing Community-wide Study Circles and the study circle information used by Whitefish Schools.
Greg Bochy mentioned providing a Suggestion Box for public input.
The Study Circles will be announced at the Open House on September 15, 2005.
Timothy Trafford, Chairman Diane M. Brook, District Clerk