An hour and five minutes. That’s how long the USD 428 BOE met in executive session with attorney Mark Calcara for the discussion of personnel matters. When the board finally came back into regular session, president Dwight Young moved to affirm the Superintendent Tom Vernon’s earlier action to suspend Special Education teacher Angela Foote with pay pending an investigation of charges which led to her arrest Tuesday, Sept. 18 for “possession of methamphetamine, use of a communication facility (such as a telephone) for drug transactions, conspiracy to commit use of a facility for drug transactions, possession of marijuana and possession of drug paraphernalia”. In addition, the motion stated the board would schedule time at the Oct. 8 meeting to place the topic of her employment status on the agenda and to direct Dr. Vernon to inform Ms. Foote of the meeting. The motion was approved by the quorum of five board members at the noon meeting at Park Elementary School.
The USD 428 discussed the continuation of the district math grant. The board gave the nod expand use of Power Teaching, to the GBHS math program.
Middle school teachers have been the first to implement the methods, and Curriculum Director John Popp said high school teachers almost unanimously have requested the training. One teacher was away, so did not give input.
The cost to the district will be $19,600, and will include eight days of training at the discounted rate of $2,450 per day. This will include two days with the full math staff of eight teachers and two Special Education math teachers, as well as six days of follow-up visits and individual coaching. The cost also includes enrollment in an online system and data tracking.
According to the Whole Brain Teaching website, the approach addresses visual, auditory and kinesthetic learning modes at the same time. Over 25 years of research has shown that incorporating all three “provides differentiation and the most powerful form of memory formation”.
Basically, important concepts are taught by incorporating short lessons with word stories, pictures, and hand gestures, then asking the students to mirror back the lessons to each other before moving on. (for an example, see the video Whole Brain Teaching:High School Math at http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h6WJdsb0dfM)
Young asked if the program was succeeding as expected when it was implemented. Popp explained that he was not with the district at that time. However, when he approached the high school teachers about when they would like to implement the program, they were prepared to begin doing so even this year, he said. Already, the GBHS math coach familiarized teachers with the basics of Power Teaching used at the middle school.
Park Elementary School Principal Phil Heeke shared information about the academic programs and school improvement efforts at Park School. He discussed results of a recent parent survey which indicated 100 percent of the 125 respondents were satisfied with the school’s reading program, and approval of all other categories.
Other points of discussion:
The board will meet with parent organization officers at noon on Oct. 17 at the District Education Center.
The Education Foundation dinner is scheduled for 6:30 p.m. on Nov. 20.
The next regular meeting of the USD 428 school board is 5:00 p.m. on Oct. 8 at the District Education Center.