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Meeting of the School Council

posted Oct 24, 2011, 10:46 AM by Jacob Panik

J.R. Masterman School

Meeting of the School Council

Meeting Minutes for September 20, 2011

Members in Attendance:

Staff Representatives: Kathleen Dopkin, Carolyn Gray, Barbara Horowitz, Marjorie Neff, Nabeehah Parker, Kim Neu

Parent Representatives: Sam Garst, Mary Greenway, Maurice Hampton, Claire McCusker, Laura Richlin

Student Representatives: None present

Facilitators: Sam Garst and Claire McCusker

1. Principal’s Report.

a. Ms. Neff reported on Masterman’s PSSA scores from the 2010-11 school year. The results continued to be very strong, In particular, Ms. Neff noted that the focus on nonfiction reading in 5th and 6th grades seems to have helped raise the reading scores. This had been an area targeted for improvement.

b. Ms. Neff also distributed the Title I parent involvement policy and asked for feedback on it. It will also be posted on the school and HAS websites.

c. With respect to the impact of budget cuts, Masterman lost 2 teaching positions, 1 counselor, and 1 support assistant. Middle school sports funds were cut, resulting in the loss of 4 MS sports. Currently, Ms. Neff is evaluating to what extent the school’s extracurricular funds can support MS sports, but this appears unlikely given how stretched those funds already are. SAT support may continue with external resources.

d. There was some discussion, as well, about a pact between the School District and the Police Department about requiring automatic arrest for possession of any amount of illegal drugs. The group discussed the impact of such a policy and agreed that there needs to be some communication to the HS students and parents, in particular, about the implications of such a policy.

e. The group also discussed the positive feedback on the 9/11 assembly, as well as the fact that Mr. Jason Chuong, who teaches music on an itinerant basis at Masterman, met President Obama and discussed public school education.

f. Middle States accreditation is next year, so Ms. Neff will be forming committees this year to prepare for the process.

2. Integrity Policy. Ms. Dopkin provided an overview of the Integrity Policy to the group. In summary, a minor infraction (e.g., homework assignment) results in a zero for that work. The first major infraction (e.g. test or major paper) results in the ability to do the assignment over with the ability to receive a maximum of 64% credit. A second major infraction results in a zero. In each case, there is notification to the parent. The question is whether this policy, particularly for HS students, carries over from year to year. The group discussed the pros and cons and agreed to consider at the next meeting. In connection with this discussion, it was also mentioned that Masterman will be making available a software application – called “Turn it In” – that enables a student to get feedback before turning in an assignment. This program also identifies potential plagiarism.

3. Discussion of Community Service Requirement. Laura Richlin led a discussion of whether Masterman should institute a community service requirement. Some high schools require 45 hours per year. The group discussed the fact that many students already devote significant time to community service on their own and decided to continue to encourage this voluntary approach.

4. Administrative Items. The group decided on the meeting schedule for the year as follows: October 18, November 15, December 13, January 17, February 21, March 20, April 17, May 15.

5. Next Meeting. The next meeting will take place on Tuesday, October 18.