Mr. McHale began the meeting by welcoming and thanking parents for attending the first Sunday with Interim Superintendent session.
PARCC Testing (The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers)
Mr. McHale reported that at the last Board Meeting (October 19, 2016) PARCC Results Year 2 was presented to the Board of Education. The PowerPoint Presentation “PARCC RESULTS 2016” is posted on the website on the District web page and is also attached to the Minutes. Mr. McHale continued that in year 2 we made small incremental improvements from year 1 and some schools out-performed the state. Grades 3, 4, 6, 8 and 9 out-performed the state in Language Arts. The high school scores need improvement; however, we did make improvements from last year in the high school Language Arts: Grade 9 from 29% to 37.2%;
Grade 10 from 21% to 26.3% and Grade 12 decreased from 31% to 27.4%.
Mr. McHale continued that students, opting out of the test, increased substantially to approximately 64 students. The State says that no one can stop a student from opting out and anyone from grades 3 to 11 can refuse to take the test. PARCC is a graduation requirement.
Parents stated that colleges don’t accept PARCC, they accept ACT and S.A.T. scores. At the high school the Honors and Advanced Placement (AP) students opted out.
Mr. McHale responded that it is a catch-22 for the District as we are required to have a 95% participation rate.
Parents responded that companies are making money off of the students and the testing requires too many days that high school students have late arrival and it affects instructional time.
Parents inquired about the graduation requirements.
Mr. McHale responded that the State requires that all students pass an assessment. The grade 11 HSPA was really an 8th grade test then the State switched to PARCC and eliminated HSPA. To graduate, students must pass the PARCC test or have a cut score on the PSAT, SAT, ASVAB (Armed Services Vocational Aptitude Battery) tests for three more years then the students have to pass the PARCC as the graduation requirement.
Mr. McHale continued that at the high school level they are preparing for college and looking at entrance exams. The SAT was revamped to PARCC. The State is requiring the test and 95% of students to take the test. If the percentage falls below 95%, the District has to submit an action plan to get students back on track.
The District was informed that the PARCC results by subgroup won’t be available until January or February 2018. When the results are received, Mr. McHale will present another report to the Board on the subgroup comparison.
Parents inquired about Teaneck’s participation rate for the PARCC Testing and where does the State funding go?
Mr. McHale responded that the opt-out percentage rate was low by school: middle school 5-6%; high school 19-30% opting out. Overall we met the attendance rate. Teaneck met the participation rate required by the State. The State funding goes into the general operation budget.
Assessment Calendar and Advanced Placement
Mr. McHale presented a copy to parents of the Assessment Calendar posted on the district website.
Mr. McHale stated that an email blast was sent to parents with the calendar attached.
Parents inquired about when the Principals will send parents the Assessment Calendar for their buildings.
Mr. McHale responded that each school will make their schedule as they select dates to do testing and they make their individual testing schedule. The technology is up and running for testing this year. Last year, the high school had to schedule where they could access the Internet. My hope is that we don’t have to have half-days when students test.
Parents stated that their concern is for grade 9 and 10 students on a half-day schedule. Parents have to be more mindful of what they are doing. Grade 11 and 12 are more responsible and are driving themselves to school. Parents are also concerned that the students are missing instructional time.
Parents stated that when students are taking the PARCC or Advanced Placement test and they miss a class then it is an attendance issue with another class.
Mr. McHale responded that he would have a discussion with the high school administration to configure the schedule.
Parents inquired about posting the Advanced Placement scores on the website and promote AP Scholars in the Suburbanite, for example, we have (list total number) of AP students and (list total number) of AP Scholars.
Mr. McHale responded that there has been an increase in the number of students taking Advanced Placement test. However, even though more students are taking AP tests, the scores are lower. We will continue the goal to increase students in AP while also increasing the number of students scoring a 4 or 5.
Parents responded that this year a lot more students are taking AP courses because AP History is available at 11th grade. Parents continued that students should take the test in AP.
Mr. McHale responded that students taking the AP test could test out of college courses.
Parents inquired about if a student takes an AP course why not take the test?
Mr. McHale responded that it is the student’s option to take the test and the drawback is that they have to pay for the test. The District will reimburse 100% for score of 5 and 75% for score of 4. For scores of 3 to 1, no reimbursement. The benefit of taking the class is that colleges offer funding for AP Scholars.
Parents stated that some colleges recognize a score of 3. If the district provided reimbursement for a score of 3, it may motivate students.
Mr. McHale responded that reimbursement for a score of 3 is not possible for this year as it was not budgeted.
Mr. McHale reported that some teachers are creating study guides for the AP tests.
Parents responded that some students don’t know how to study and it is important that all teachers emphasize utilization of the Prep Book.
Parents suggested that used AP Test Prep Booklets be dropped off at the Media Center for students. Parents will speak to Mr. Heck about a space for used AP books.
Advanced Placement Economics Course
Parents inquired about the status of Mr. Dean teaching an AP Economics Class.
Mr. McHale responded that Mr. Dean is willing but reluctant because he has to give up a class. Dr. King, Social Studies Supervisor, is gathering the preliminary information of cost for the course. Dr. King will look into applying for a grant suggested by Ms. Balsam-Martz, but the Teaneck Public Schools may not be eligible for the grant. If the District has to fund the course, we will pay for it and we would pay Mr. Dean to write the curriculum.
Parents inquired about a way that Mr. Dean could teach Economics without giving up a class?
Mr. McHale responded that contractually teachers teach five classes an additional class is stipended.
Honors Society Chapters
Parents reported that they spoke with Mr. LoGuidice about National Honor Society by subject area and he passed on the information to the Subject Supervisors.
Mr. McHale responded that teachers would have to be the moderators for National Honor Society chapters. Teachers receive a stipend to moderate the National Honor Society. Currently, we do not have stipends allocated for moderators of National Honor Society subject-based chapters. If a current club or activity has no students participating perhaps the funds could be reallocated to an honor society chapter.
Parents inquired if they could moderate the Honor Society as volunteers? Could parents reach out to banks and vendors in town to sponsor?
Mr. McHale responded that a parent committee could be formed to go to the banks and vendors. If grants were offered, that would require board approval to apply for the grant.
Parents suggested that we should focus on one subject area at a time for Honor Society subject-based chapters.
Stigma Free Campaign
Mr. McHale reported that the initiative for the Stigma Free Campaign presented to the Teaneck Public Schools in collaboration with the Township by Councilmember, Mrs. Rice. Mrs. Rice and former Superintendent,
Ms. Pinsak, partnered to promote the campaign and move it forward. The Stigma Free campaign promotes public awareness towards overcoming stigmas, stereotyping and discrimination towards mental illness.
Mr. McHale continued that the launch of the Stigma Free Campaign in Teaneck would take place at the Teaneck International Film Festival through the presentation of “Life Animated” on Sunday, November 6th at Benjamin Franklin Middle School. “Life Animated” is a story of a boy and his family who overcame challenges by turning Disney movies into a language for their autistic son.
Parents responded that the Stigma Free Campaign should not be just about mental illness but all disabilities.
Mr. McHale responded that Stigma Free could include learning disabilities, physical disabilities, race, religion, sexual orientation or physical appearance.
K-8 Curriculum Overview
Mr. McHale reported that the curriculum supervisors have added curriculum overview documents to the district website. The updated documents can be found at https://www.teaneckschools.org/Page/951 We have not yet posted curriculum overview documents for science but will have the outline soon. Science is undergoing revisions to include the Next Generation Science Standards.
Parents inquired about high school curriculum overview on the website?
Mr. McHale responded that next year (2017-18), high school courses would be added.
Mr. McHale reported that the Eugene Field School solar panel repairs are 100% complete. Thomas Jefferson Middle School is 100% complete. Bryant School is 99% complete and the vendor is in the process of reenergizing the panels. Benjamin Franklin Middle School is 98% complete and waiting for authorization. Hawthorne is 92% and work is continuing to repair the walkway; Teaneck High School is 20% complete and should be completed by January, 2017.
Parents inquired about who provided the percentage for completion.
Mr. McHale responded that the contractors who are working on the repair provided the percentages. He added that the District doesn’t own the solar panels and the solar energy company went out of business. The new company assumed all of the liability to repair. Our Director of Facilities, Mr. D’Angelo, with the construction company collaborate on what work has to be done. Mr. D’Angelo reports to the Interim Superintendent each week and they are on schedule.
Mr. McHale reported that the District is updating the technology including WiFi and computers. The reason for the technology infrastructure upgrade is that our existing wiring and network was unable to support the increased use of technology. The WiFi access at the high school experienced many connectivity issues during last school year. The Teaneck High School technology upgrade is complete and the upgrades will begin at the other buildings. The estimated date of completion is January 2017.
Mr. McHale continued that we will stronger bandwidth to accommodate the flow of students and staff accessing the internet at the same time. The upgrade will allow us to have up to 5000 devices connected simultaneously to the Internet. The Eugene Field School will be the last building to be completed.
Water Lead Testing Update
Parents inquired about an update on the water fountains that are still out of order
Mr. McHale received the following report from Mr. D’Angelo, Director of Facilities:
Sinks and fountains that contained lead above the allowable 15 parts per billion were immediately closed and signage installed indicating that they were “Out of Order”. We remediated those outlets by replacing the drinking fountains with new ones that contain a filter and installed a dedicated faucet with a filter at the sink locations. The filters meet the DEP standards and filter lead out of the water. These remediated outlets were then tested again on September 24, 2016 to determine if the improvements had reduced the lead content below the allowable 15 ppb. The lab results indicated that all of the remediated sinks and fountains ere below 15 ppb. We are waiting to receive the written report this week. Until we receive the written report, all of the remediated outlets are still closed. Once we receive the report, the sinks and fountains will be re-opened.
Fall Play “Almost Maine”
Mr. McHale stated that the fall play “Almost Maine” was separate stories about people who fall in love. The play was held at Teaneck High School auditorium on November 4, 5 and 6.
The meeting concluded at 4:30 pm.
Respectfully submitted by Linda Kuhran
Next Meeting: January 22, 2016 at 3:00 pm
Attachments: PARCC Results: Year Two Presentation