May 19 AAPS Board of Education Meeting

May 19 Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education Meeting Notes

You can watch the meeting live on Zoom or on Xfinity Channel 18. The district typically posts the recording split into segments the day after the meeting.

Note: We will update it throughout the meeting. Please excuse any typos, misspellings, errors (hopefully minor), etc. A summary will be added after the meeting.


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Summary

Public Commentary largely focused on the announcement of no childcare for 2020-2021.

Students will need to return their tech in June unless they are participating in the summer program.

The district’s concern with childcare is threefold:

  • COVID protocols – Mixing of large groups in large spaces – They don’t know what the requirements COVID will be in fall. Support services – school nurses, special education providers
  • Staffing – They have had issues in prior years hiring staff and expect it to be worse this fall.
  • Funding – Childcare is self-supporting. There are no federal or state dollars to support childcare. In the past, students in need received fee-waivers with costs recovered from other students.

The district will monitor the precautions needed for childcare this fall and attempt to hire staff. If they can staff programs, they may be able to offer them. But, they advise parents to make alternate plans as they may not be offered and if they are capacity may be lower.

Three schools currently offer childcare run by a third party. No decision has been made on those programs yet.

AAPS shared a video of the Equity Team discussion and testimonials from teachers. Work continues to roll out the equity plan.

The district is looking to upgrade educational technology – projedctors, iMacs, laptops as part of standard end of lifetime renewal.

PLTW is looking to purchase new 3D printers for secondary schools with existing unit moving to elementary schools. We would be the first district offering these industry standard machines and certifications to high school students.

Continued expenditures for bond work including solar at Bryant and fire suppression systems as part of work at select schools this summer. They’re also establishing a contract for construction management services.

Paving contracts for Dicken and Allen were approved.

Attendees

Attendees: Kelly, Johnson, Dupree, Gaynor, Querijero, Baskett, Lazarus

Non-Voting Attendees: Swift, Cluley, Osinski, Bacolor, Linden, Langford, Giles, Hayward, Siegel, Fidishin, Crowe, Parks, Karr, Minnick, Kellstrom, Pachera, & Lauzzana

Agenda addition by Baskett to add Agenda Planning. We’ve had it on previous agendas. I’d like to add that so we know what is coming. No objections or discussion. Motion to approve agenda with the addition by Querijero seconded by Kelly. Unanimously approved


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Public Commentary

As is our practice, we did not cover public commentary. There are 65 comments tonight. Comments are available on BoardDocs. Ms Osinski and Mr Cluley each read half of the comments. The total time for public commentary is limited which can lead to only portions of commentary being read when there are many comments. And, the comments are typically read very quickly to be able to read as much as possible in the time constraints. With such limited time per comment it is even harder to try to capture the context of the commentary.

Clarification

Swift: I know we appreciate those who have taken time to write us or submit a commentary. Regarding schoola ged chilcdare, that’s a discussion we’ll have during superitnendent’s update. We’ve shared in our weekly update repeatedly that the school day bell schedules will be forthcoming as they are in the spring swith the full school calendar. We do understand the importance of that. I expect to have those in the near future.

Secondly, the questions about the elementary day on Friday, that report writing day is still a day that our teachers need to complete their report writing. That has been on the calendar since last year. We’re sorry if folks found that as a surprise. That requirement hasn’t changed for our teachers.

Queeijero: I have a response to the person who quoted that said childcare has nothing to do with education. Many students go through school without using before and after care. Young people are guaranteed a legal right to education but not child care. It’s why certification is different for teachers and childcare workers.

I recognize your name from the petition to Lansing to prevent local government from closing schools. I see 60/65 submitting comments also signed that petition. I disagree with that. I do also agree with Trustee Dupree that childcare is important and providing it is an equity issue.

Johnson: I know we’ll discuss child care. I know when we discussed it last week it was brief. In our effort to be thorough on the burning issue of 5 day school, and to be clear what that would look like, we did gloss over before/after care topic. This does not mean it was flip or us being out of touch or uninformed or that we don’t care about equity or women or any of the hyperbolic statements made. If I had it to do over, we would have paused and do a deeper dive. The goal was to give people opportunity to find alternatives. If we waited until later to announce, we’d be vilified or criticized for not giving enough time.


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Board Committee Reports

Finance Committee

Gaynor: We met last Friday to review several items coming up on today’s meeting. The monthly budget monitoring report and several first briefing items.

2019 Bond Committee

Lazarus: We met last Friday and reviewed 3 of the 5 first briefing updates for tonight. There will be summer work for several schools. We’ll be meeting more frequently. All are welcome, stay tuned for dates.


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Superintendent’s Update

May 2021 Work in Progress

Transition for 5th & 8th grade were today. There will also be transition activities in August since these are virtual. There will be drive thru and (virtual) clap-out continuation ceremonies.

Last day for seniors is next Friday. Graduation Ceremonies ( can also be found on the website)

  • June 1 – Pathways
  • June 2 – Huron
  • June 3 – Pioneer
  • June 4 – Community
  • June 8 – Skyline

Summer food distribution is being planned. The emergency food distribution will continue through June 2022.

Technology turn-in of 15000 devices and begin to refresh them. Students enrolled in summer learning will be able to keep devices.

Summer Learning enrollment is live. The team is designing A2 Live Online K-5 programming.

I appreciate that school teams and all of us are really connecting regularly across our team on how to move forward from this CVOID year. Look how to “Rebuild the Soul of our schools and our community”

We’re about 1/2 way through May tour fo community meetings. Tuesday May 25 at 8a a General Public meeting & 6:30p for community organizations and General Public. Also general public on Thursday, May 27 at noon for the General Public. (My suggestion for AAPS, is to hold the meetings during class time instead of overlapping the start of the school day and student lunches).

Summer Learning, about 1000 elementary students enrolled so far plus 1000 secondary students. Plus 500 SISS programs and 120 English Language programs. Summer Camp is also open for preschool-14 year olds. In person day camps from June 14-August 27. There are still some openings. Safety Town is filled to overflowing. But others are available.

We know we experienced progress last week with approval of the vaccine for 12-15. The vaccination clinic for tomorrow at Huron has a few appointments left. Also, testing continues on Sundays (Check out our list for this and more vaccination clinics and testing sites)

We continue our planning for Fall 2021. School resumes on Monday, August 30. Fall Back to School sections on May 20 and 27th will highlight more detailed information including the ThoughtExchange questions. That survey will be open. (Check out our summary of information for the 2021-2022 School Year)

ThoughtExchange we are asking

  • What priorities are you considering and what additional supports do you feel are needed.
  • What innovations did you value from this year.
  • Other opinions to share.

The InfoSnap registration is how parents reserve a seat for 2021-2022. Right now our enrollment is a bit ahead of schedule. The InfoSnap at Elementary will ask you to choose In Person school, A2 Live Online School, or A2Virtual Elementary. At Secondary, the InfoSnap will include choice of In-Person School, Combination of In-Person and A2 Virtual Asynchronous Courses, and Full Time A2 Virtual asynchronous courses. The Secondary A2Virtual are not new programs and have been offered int he past.

The InfoSnap will help AAPS staff and prepare all buildings for estimated numbers.

Full Fall 2021 Back to School for preschool-12th grade. There is no hybrid instruction for Fall 2021. Students and families will continue to have the choice of a fully virtual learning program for K-12 during 2021-2022.

COVID Update:

We continue a 39 day downward trend. There are 72.09 cases per 100K in 7 days. That puts us in orange for the first time recently.


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School Age Child Care Briefing

School Age Child Care presents a particular challenge. We shared a briefing with the board and will share with parents and community . They are public on BoardDocs now. We felt it would be bad to say that full operation and we can’t do it in this area. There are two specific issues that are issues.

We have used a large group model – anywhere from 40-100+ students together in large spaces like cafeteria, gym, or outdoors. What we know is that while many people are celebrating that masks can come off and vaccinations have increased, what we do know is there are children under the age of 12 won’t be able to be vaccinated at the beginning fo the year. We don’t know what precautions we will be accountable for. We do know that without vaccinations large groups of students together is not a healthy and safe model for our youngest children. Other COVID needs would include nurses on call and contact tracing team. Extending the school day by 2 hours means the need for those support services.

We also understand it is very likely we would need to continue the cohort model. We’ve been very meticulous in following the best version of the cohort model the we can. it would be a challenge to mix together grades and different groups of students for 2 hours after school.

Just to be clear, none of us wants anything to threaten or impact our ability to conduct our school day safely. So that our elementary students can be fully in school for 5 days a week.

We appreciate that in Ann Arbor we always receive volunteers and people reaching out to help. As a school, we are heavily regulated in offering childcare after school. Volunteers doesn’t change ratio and health and safety requirements.

School aged childcare has operated successfully for many years and is a pride point of this community. We take operation of the program seriously. There are several components that make it different than other programs in the community. Affordable price, scholarships were provided (158/1301, about 12% were partial to full scholarship). We’re proud of our caring and competent childcare staff. We know the location in school is just the best to meet student and family needs. Our team is about 75 childcare workers across 18 elementary & K-8 buildings. Our staff our employees of AAPS and they have contributions to retirement, paid time off. 

Over previous years the increasing demand and decreasing pool of applicants have created serious demands for our program. In Fall 2019, we suffered weeks of parents on wait list and an inability to fully open the program on time. Ms Bacolor and team conducted a survey of programs across southeast Michigan. In all 5 of the most close comparison districts had the same challenges of staffing, unfilled positions, and waitlists. 

Three significant differences:

  • Large groups
  • COVID concerns with cohorting
  • We have and will continue to offer special education support with teacher assistants. I don’t know of any other programs offering this level of support. It’s our desire to continue to do that.

I want to be clear, we never want to give parents the right and most time we can. That was our intention last week so parents would be aware that now there are concerns that would prevent the full reopening of before and after care. We take this responsibility seriously & that’s why we gave parents the flag.

Here’s what we’re committing. 

  • We will continue to monitor COVID safety precautions and recommendations. 
  • We will stay abreast of what the requirements are for large groups of unvaccinated young children this fall. We likely won’t know those guidelines for awhile yet.
  • We will vigorously recruit childcare candidates and see if the workforce rebounds. It’s been a challenge for child care throughout the pandemic
  • We will continue to evaluate feasibility of small childcare programming. 
  • When we are able to, we will rebuild on the strength and tradition of the valued AAPS childcare program.

We understand the needs of working families and our children. We know the tremendous advantage of an in school program. At the right time we will return to that. At this time, parents should plan for non-AAPS arrangements for 2021-2022. As we can share information different from that, we will.


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Trustee Questions:

Gaynor: You mentioned a presentation by Ms Bacolor. Is that relevant to the discussion. I’m interested in what information she’ll have and if it’s what you presented to me yesterday.

Swift: She’ll join in a minute. I shared a summary of that update just now. Ms Bacolor has joined us. In the interest of time, I hadn’t planned to go through every detail.

Gaynor: I had asked for enrollment and staffing at each school. Is that available now?

Swift: No, we said its 1301 students in 18 schools. The size of programs vary as some parents are daily, certain days, just morning, just evening, both. The size varies by day and time.

Querijero: I’m not sure what we’re supposed to talk about when. On the first point about sizing, scope and model with maintaining cohort for safety How did we decide letting students go elsewhere where they might interact with students from other districts and then come into our building. How is that any more or less risk averse when we don’t have any control over precautions? This is aside from we don’t know what exact protocols will be.

Swift: We absolutely are not making any assumptions about what students are doing when they aren’t with us. Since March, we know students are mixing in other activities – sports, classes. We are responsible for fulfilling our AAPS COVID response plan> My guess is as we move through the summer that CDC will update what our requirements are. Our responsibility is to fill that plan in our setting. 50 students mixing in a  cafeteria would not be part of how we could do things at this time. Without vaccinations for young children, we don’t know how that will change. Our rationale is we must uphold the guidance in our setting and our schools.

Baskett: I just want to clarify, we have 2 outside vendors offering childcare as well. The numbers are just within our program, correct?

Swift: Yes

Baskett: The information from outside vendors is not available to us?

Swift: We were bringing a report of AAPS after care program. I didn’t bring that.

Baskett: I want to clarify we have two other vendors, and if we don’t ask for information in our initial contract, we don’t usually get that information. We can only guesstimate at the capacity of those 3 buildings (2 vendors).

Swift: I’ll turn to Ms Bacolor, we’d be hesitant to quote exact numbers as it’s been a year since we’ve been in these programs.

Baskett: Counting the numbers and having done daycare before, do you count heads or full time equivalency. So sometimes it’s hard to get an exact count.

Bacolor: We do have contact with both contractors. We are aware of their maximum licensing space which is about 100 per building (I’d have to verify, don’t write in stone). In at least 2/3 they are similar large programs using large spaces.

Gaynor: Ms Bacolor or Dr Swift, are these contractors and programs impacted by our decision?

Swift: As we will be with many contractors this summer, we will be reviewing expectations once we have more clarity on what will be required by COVID requirements. We will work a process to determine that answer.

Gaynor: I don’t have a prepared statement. I want to thank everyone who contacted us by email, public commentary, petition with 1000 signatures. It shows the importance of childcare in our community. I won’t be redundant with their point. I want to apologize for not speaking up last week. I was informed of the decision the afternoon of the meeting. There wasn’t full explanation. I wasn’t prepared to make a comment last week. I wanted to gather information and my thoughts.

I do want to say I believe it’s the board’s responsibility to gather information and ask question. We do represent all the students and families. It’s been a difficult year for them and also the administration and staff. I appreciate the good faith effort we’ve made to make these decisions. To me, I’m hearing the key issues is to make sure it’s COVID safe and the very real challenge of having enough staffing to run the programs as we have. Hourly workers are hard to come by in any industry right now. It seems like we’d need to increase staff from the past. I’m very much aware of the challenges. I support the decision to alert the community to those challenges. 

There’s not a question that anyone would want to have the program. The question is what do we propose now? What’s our policy or approach? Is there a way to knowing we won’t be able to fully staff every building do we make every attempt to staff what we can, provide what we can in the most equitable manner possible? I appreciate the alert to the community. I recommend people look for other options. From what I’ve herd the options aren’t available to support 1000+ students. I appreciate the thoughts of my colleagues. We can’t promise what we can’t deliver.


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DuPree: The first thing I want to say is thank you to everyone who wrote in for public commentary, sent us emails, Facebook messages, etc. Everyone is hearing it. It’s important to have childcare. For those of you who are single parents, I hear you. Saying single parents whose children would have to be latchkey kids. There is bias. I agree with Gaynor we should be able to do something.

Querijero: Here’s something off the top of my head and a possible approach. I hear that 18 buildings. I think we have to make a good faith commitment to try. To me, I see a reasonable solution. Whether we can do this based on CDC guidance. I believe it is our district’s responsibility to offer something to families with the most need. For example families or buildings with free or reduced lunch that we use in other areas. If we can’t do 18 buildings, I’d take 2 with lesser numbers that would prioritize those with an identifying marker as it relates to equity.

My second thought is to think about the service we’ve been providing for 30 years. I see this as an extension of what we do with food distribution. If we’re going to go that far, I believe we should go a little farther with a good faith effort. I would recommend or suggest, or see how others feel at the June 16 meeting we get an update on staffing, what’s possible, etc.

In public commentary, we’re seeing what they perceive as apathy. I don’t have to have a motion or a vote, if we show what we think might be possible in a month, that’s how we show we care rather than just talk about them.

DuPree: Real quick question about a lower number of buildings open. One thing that often happens when families have free & reduced lunch they have transportation concerns, is that it’s in the building. If we work in some buildings or ways we could help with transportation to childcare options.

Johnson: Before Dr Swift jumps in, we have to be careful we’re not asking Dr Swift & team to come up with hypotheticals without vetting an idea. Querijero mentioned providing care to specific children which is an idea, but you’d have to look at staffing, etc. Going further to talk about additional options is premature.

Swift: Thank you we have in the past supported with transportation. There are many moving parts. We have to see how that unfolds. We have supported with the additional late bus at some locations. We can’t do that everywhere. President Johnson, you’ve mentioned my concern in speaking in hypotheticals is people hear they are going to have it. As a responsible school leader, I have to be careful about that.

Trustee Querijero, I agree about food distribution. That is completely paid for by federal dollars. We are pursuing access to childcare dollars provide by Biden administration. We’d love to support childcare like food with federal dollars.

Querijero: I agree about pursuing hypotheticals. I think we try to come up with a plan if we can support it. About moving parts, right now, nothing is moving. If it sits at hypothetical all the time, it never moves. I’m not the one that has the information about what might work. I recognize the announcement last week to inform. But we still have to entertain the hypotheticals. I’m certain that others disagree with me, but that’s what I generally think.

Swift: I will just reiterate what I said in the update. We will monitor the COVID requirements for large groups of unvaccinated children. We’ll rebuild our staff to operate childcare. We will continuously do that and update the board. It’s my responsibility to alert the community that there are major concerns.


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Baskett: I just want to note a few observations.

1 – there will never be enough spaces for affordable childcare. It’s a problem for years and my son will be 37 this year.

Because of that, poor people had to be very creative, for some families even our affordable childcare is too expensive and they seek out other options. A child catches the bus at home and is returned to a stop for a childcare provide – grandma, someone else. I don’t know if people still do that. Is that still utilized by families?

Swift: We do that in many situations including shared custody. It is a case by case basis. Another consideration is we do have CVOID requirements on buses and will need to work through those as well.

Baskett: Again it was a planned effort because it also depended on space on the bus.

Kelly: First I’d like to address the idea that nothing has been happening.That’s not true. Dr Swift and her team engage in activities to operate the district. I agree the board needs to have a conversation and ask questions on behalf of the community. One recent headline is the decision by WCC to lose their childcare. The MLive article was clear it wasn’t a board vote, it was an operational decision. Operational decisions are the purview of the district. We are not in charge of the operations. When we talk about having an operational plan, it’s not our lane to spitball at the table. Dr Swift has talked about the commitments she’s making and what the team is doing. I believe her team has heard the feedback from the community. We’ll see what that looks like in fall. I’m willing to stay in my lane and trust that the superintendent has heard the urgency of the board to enact that. In terms of the announcement, there’s no way to win> If we wait until the last minute to have all the data, we get complaints that it’s too late. If we announce without all the details, we get complaints that we don’t have answers. I’m standing by the plan to give families 4 months notice.

My concern around childcare would be our critical mission is to educate kids. We’ve worked hard this year to find a way to have in person instruction. We got there. If we want to stay good to our commitment of 5 day in person this fall, it would be risky to jeopardize it with our childcare model. If it came to the board to take action (which I don’t believe is our lane), that would be my concern.

Lastly, I believe childcare is critical infrastructure. When I support candidates for office beyond the school board, one of the things I look for is their commitment to childcare. Those who talk about childcare as critical infrastructure.The fact that there is no level of government even providing funding for childcare, shows the codependency with other levels.

Like food, RAHHS health clinics in school, the schools have filled this gap that others haven’t provided. I think it’s a call to action to recognize childcare as critical infrastructure beyond school. That’s the system fix. We can’t fix that by September.

DuPree: You’re right it is critical infrastructure. Universal childcare conversation won’t go aaway. I want us to focus on what I feel we’re here for. To bring questions from the community> I’ve told Dr Swift I don’t expect all the answers right now. What we’re doing now is figuring out what we can do.

One of the things I want to ask for is cost. For some folks our services are very affordable, fo others it isn’t. my question is will more scholarships be available for these programs come fall.

Swift: There is not funding in K-12 schools for childcare. That is the fact. Whether some of the recent federal appropriations may work their way to K-12 schools we are trying to find that answer. We don’t have that information. We’ve managed our scholarships but it would be impossible thinking of a more complex model with COVID expectations and also no funding in K-12 schools for childcare.

Bacolor: I appreciate the question. We do know our families are impacted in major ways by the pandemic. The scholarships are a fee waiver. We build it into our budget. We’re completely fee based. That waiver which s about $168K in 2018-2019 comes out of the Rec & Ed budget. 

Swift: So it’s the enterprise that carries that.

DuPree: Thank you for helping me understand that.

Gaynor: First I’m glad the issue of cost has come up because it’s key. Of course finding staff is a key one, but cost is big. Whether as a board or district we want to subsidize it further, that’s a big step or charge more to families who can afford it. Those are details we obviously can’t deal with here, but they do weigh into the decision making. 

I do want to say my sense of board responsibility differs slightly from Trustee Kelly. I haven’t heard anyone tell Dr Swift we must do X. As in other issues, our support for before and after childcare is within the board’s purview and the basis by which I make suggestions. I agree 100% that the advance notice is appropriate. But that was a definitive statement that we won’t have childcare, but we might be able to.

Querijero: My response of what I propose was in response to Trustee Gaynor, that wasn’t my idea. I heard we would monitor it with our staffing and continue to explore it. What I’m asking for is an update to staffing and conditions on June 16. I think it is my lane to speak up when there’s a concern in the community. I’m happy to trust and expect updates on the monitoring. I don’t think anything will get resolved in our discussion tonight. I’m happy to move on tonight so we don’t go 5 hours. I’ll ask for an update on June 16 in the Superintendent update.

Johnson: I agree it’s appropriate to move on.

The notion that all we’re doing is asking fo an update is false. What we’re also asking for is an operational plan for fall. That we negotiate teacher contracts for fall, that we keep the lights on. One thing about this team is they don’t take many breaks at all. Too often trustees and the public take for granted their work and they’re working around the clock. At some point something will fall through the cracks and we have to prioritize their time. A report adds time. You get to a breaking point. While we talk about lanes, there isn’t anyone on this board employed by the district. We hire a superintendent and evaluate her performance to keep things running. Dr Swift is liberal with her time to meet with us. We’re mostly working 9-5 elsewhere and then meet with them.

My takeaway is we’ve been fighting this battle with staffing for years. COVID has made it even more difficult. We can’t with certainty say we can provide something. We’ve done that before. At the beginning of last summer, we said we’d do our best to come back in full day school. We said we’d move through the three phases this year. When we didn’t deliver, people said we didn’t try.

I think it’s really important we and the public understand our roles. Their misunderstanding makes people think we’re responsible for things we aren’t. We are trustees, not representatives. The public elects us to look at all the information, take public commentary and opinion as a major input, but we hear we didn’t get consensus from the public. That’s not how school districts work. We influence Dr Swift, but we don’t manage operations to the point where we say there will be before and after school programming. We don’t have all the information to make that decision.

The last thing I’ll say is this is a topic near and dear to me. Before I got on the board, I was advocating to stop the tuition based preschool. We pushed hard and didn’t get it for a year. They revamped it and we got it back. I do understand there are limitations and we stick to our critical mission.

I know that was long and I waited to say my comment at the end.

Gaynor: I’m first to recognize the dedication of Dr Swift & her team. I’ve asked for some basic information about childcare information with numbers. I’m wondering if the Board needs more staff and suggest hiring someone to help with this question and program. I’m aware there are important aspects of the community.

Swift: Ms Bacolor and I sat with you yesterday to make sure your detailed questions were answered. We’ve not had this working for more than a year. Other than school by school numbers, my understanding was I felt like you had your questions answered. If that’s not the case, we can follow up with you again. She brought quite a lot of information to that meeting.

Gaynor: Those are the numbers I’m looking for.

Swift: We can meet that need. I’ll share with the board. Querijero to followup, we will continue to followup as we get new information. Certainly we’ll report at agreed upon times, but we won’t wait for those times.

Bacolor: I’m happy to provide the data.

Baskett: This may not be the time, but we need to review the process of asking staff to do things. In the past, we’ve agreed how we direct staff to prepare information. I think we need to review that process so the staff & Dr Swift aren’t confused or conflicted, or prioritizing their time. I want to remind folks, we need an internal discussion of how to get information to the board.

Johnson: That is something we should review. Before we go forward, I forgot my one question. I want to be clear on our contractors – 2 vendors at 3 locations. What I thought I heard, was whether this decision impacts them is to be determined and we’re still waiting.

Swift: Because our contractors for child care or classes will have to follow our COVID response & plan, we don’t know what our guidelines will be. We will meet with our contractors to ensure they can meet that.


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AAPS Equity Plan Update

The work this past year around Equity has been organic. Those issues have been, Trustee DuPree use the word and it stuck, was they’ve been real. Ensuring they have food, school supplies, connectivity. The equity work has proceeded in an organic fashion.

The team has continued to meet this COVID year. We had the share out mirror the work instead of another power point. We’ve extracted a few minuets of the conversation. The pillar of shifting culture, heart of equity work practice, classroom, school & system practice. Know better, but have to do better. And thirdly systems. We know our system and traditional school systems are about oppression. We’re about redesigning and reviewing our system.

We’ve used researches with WISD researchers in social justice teaching collaborative. This year we offered, but did not compel or require with the COVID year. We had hundreds of teachers attending. On the Board Update document, I’ve listed the researchers we’ve worked with – national equity leaders.

Joining the meeting and speaking in the video: Linden (Assistant Superintendent), Langford (HR), Giles (Pattengill Principal), Hayward (Tappan Principal), Siegel (Ann Arbor Open Principal), Fidishin (Executive Director SISS), Crowe (Assistant Principal Forsythe), Parks (Assistant Superintendent), Karr

Dr Swift shared a video about conversations and a few brief spoken word pieces from teachers. We have hundreds of teachers doing amazing work, but they’re up to their eyeballs in hybrid. Just because we’re busy with hybrid it isn’t stopping equity work.

Teacher Statements: Wright (Young 5s Teacher Lakewood), Broom (Intervention Specialist, Pittsfield), Lentz (Vocal Music Haisley), Sierzega (Vocal Music & Band Teacher Lakewood), Gould (Science Teacher Forsythe), 

The full discussion will be posted to the district website (over an hour) or just the 10 minute summary. 

Next steps will include, trustee Kelly as chair of planning committee and Gaynor and Johnson, in the week or 2 right before COVID onset we were setting out on community engagement on the equity plan. We’ve added the additional pillars so it is the strategic equity plan. Our next steps will be to re-engage with equity at the heart as we return to school in the fall. Then to continue the work.

Ms Linden & Ms Parks are continuing ongoing engagement with national equity leaders. There will be a 

  • leadership pathway
  • teaching & practice pathway 
  • community and student conversation pathway.

Trustees we’re not restarting as we never stopped.

Johnson: I personally enjoyed that change of pace.

DuPree: Thank you for the presentation. I’m very excited bout a lot of this. About the community and student conversations you’ve added. Are you planning to partner with community organizations, student organizations? What does this look like?

Swift: Those are great questions and we’d like you to join those conversations. We do have a number of active student organizations already. The start to the student infrastructure.

Heyward: Some schools already have student equity teams. Tappan has had it for 3 years already. Students attend monthly virtual meetings with a national group and with local. 

Swift; That’s part of the minority student achievement network. AAPS was a founding member with our prior superintendent. Trustee DuPree, we’ll be having those conversations about how to move forward. We know that getting the national researchers – they are very entertaining. If we had them for a community conversation, folks would find it of high value. All that will be unfolding.

Baskett: Thank you for presenting tonight. I attended a presentation and am quite jealous. Being around a while I’ve seen the evolution of our equity work. I’m curious how the board can support other than through our budget. Where staff can speak freely to the board, what policies do we need to change that we can influence and make happen. If you have any thoughts tonight, I’d love to hear it tonight. But to my fellow colleagues, there have been equity conferences and conversations. I’m struggling what’s our role and professional development as board members. I’m not sure what our role is. Just to have a candid banter of what are we doing wrong, what do you want to see, etc.

Swift: I will share that one of the questions we’ve asked of the researchers is to weigh in on that question. We have a board we know is deeply committed to the work. They work with districts and higher education across the country, so we’re asking for what they see working.


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Kelly: I remember when we first looked at launch of equity work. I was grateful for the document behind the presentation. When my kid comes home and says we did X, I know it’s something from this work. I see value in analogies with the backpack and fences especially for people starting with their own path. But how will we get a report out of tangible things we’ll be doing in classrooms. Where does that list live so we can explain it to people who aren’t in the community sessions. What’s our measurable, what’s the tangible.

Swift: These are the leaders. Give examples of how you see it connected.

Giles: One of the ways as an administrator int eh building is listening to staff & cwhat’s happening in our building. One thing is focusing on language and taking away the deficit words. In the morning meetings, we’re adding more social emotional learning to give students voices. We’re also talking about celebrating student’s histories and cultures. Find books that look like our students. In elementary level where students are learning their identities. Through our book club as a staff. We look at a one school, one book. Using a book about a girl who comes from Kosovo (I missed the book name). 

Kelly: We heard a little in the second clip too about music classes.

Second question is trickier. We live in a very political time. I will make a commitment to make AAPS a culturally inclusive place. There will be people who don’t like that. Do we have a script to give to the people on the front lines – the classroom teacher who gets the angry email from a parent.

Heyward: As a principal, I’ve been on the front line. I haven’t had any teacher object to the work we’re doing. It’s about every student feeling heard and represented.

Langford: What you’re talking about is how we hold each other accountable. Staff members are calling each other out and it doesn’t rise to the leadership or HR level. That work is starting and our staff members are engaged.

Kelly: To extend that, what do we do when there is a breach of equity from a family. Are we empowering our teams to address those breaches of equity? I believe it needs to be a full community approach.

DuPree: I was looking over the equity plan especially performance indicators. It talks about parent climate survey. I want to learn more about it and how it helps inform you. Does it gauge sense of belonging of students and families.

Swift: That’s a wonderful question we’ve been working on for a few years. To start to measure a senes of belonging.

Linden: In spring of 2019, we made some amendments to the annual climate survey with about a dozen questions about equity, belonging, breaches of equity. Unfortunately with COVID in spring of 2020, there was a pause in that work. We’re excited to revisiting this year to see how we’ve done. Every member on this screen including board members and superintendent have been focused on equity and access.

Universal design in learning, SORA digital library bringing stories with characters of color to students. Revamping US history classes. 

Swift; The specific questions are around having an adult you trust in school, have you experienced micro-agressions (asked in a developmentally appropriate way). That first spring we got feedback we needed to act on which was the purpose.

Baskett: Even the fact of who is taking the survey. When we first started did we have the representation of the voices. I personally did an appeal to you African American students to encourage them to fill-out. I was pleased we did see an increase in those voices.


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Lazarus: Thank you for doing this difficult and hard work. Sometimes it’s hard to face where we are and the challenges we have in this area. It’s great we’ve gone to this extent and had participation. My question is how do we continue this and go forward. The trainers will go away and we’ll have to continue to reach beyond our school walls into the community. If it isn’t in the community, it’s a retraining again and again.

Swift: We don’t want equity to be what we do, we want it to be who we are. Teachers aren’t checking a box, it’s who they are.

Langford: It’s not what we do, it’s who we are. Any decision we make needs to have an equity lens on it.

Alston: It takes the work of all of us to be brave, courageous leaders. It’s about the future of the world for our students. We tell our teachers we have your back because they are brave, courageous leaders. We also tell our students they are brave, courageous leaders.

Swift: There will be people who push back on teachers, but if they know they have a group of principals behind them.

Johnson: I’m excited about this work. I do diversity, equity, and inclusion work for a living. So I get excited about this. As Dr Swift mentioned, I was on planning committee when we were going on a tour to start talking about the plan. When I started on the board I was impressed by how overarching and comprehensive it was. I’ve had people ask when it’s coming, why aren’t you implementing the equity plan. Can you share your thoughts on how it will impact, why it’s ok to not wait? Do you have any concerns the work being done now will somehow be irrelevant or shifted that it’s headed in the wrong direction?

Linden: I think it’s a great question. The voices of our families and students need to be a significant work of our equity plan. We’ve been about this work for awhile. We expect the equity plan will become better and richer and fuller. They’ll explain more of the tangibles and point us in a  better direction. The equity plan we’ve built is built on the shoulders of those before us – thought leaders nationally and internationally. It’s about refining, enhancing, or being willing to let go of some things. We’re ready to move forward together.

Swift: The CVOID year has been bad for all and worse for some. What I’m excited about, is when people get the plan approved, that’s ok. This year the movement has led the plan. We have a wave under us that you usually wouldn’t have.

Heyward: I agree. Oftentimes we need something in our hands to read and check off. This year, what we’ve seen is authentic discussions with not just teachers and administrators but office professionals and paraprofessionals. We’re not waiting on plans or check boxes. Ms Siegel said it best, math is a subject in the 60s and 70s. That’s equity. It’s included in everything we do. All of our students can feel the work when they enter our building everyday.

Alston: It’s our moral responsibility. Our students are looking at us, what’s happening in the world. They’re leap years ahead of us. Let them be the anchor of how it impacts AAPS.

Johnson: The challenges didn’t arise overnight, it will take time. A couple comments. I want to double back on Kelly’s suggestion for a repository or list as a broader part of the plan. Hopefully a website or something to highlight. I also want to comment on notion of people from outside who don’t believe in this. I agree that we have to be ready for this and have seen it when people show up in publications. My position is as a community that is a minority voice and I don’t feel it’s productive as a trustee to amplify that. We’ll keep the movement rolling.

As Baskett said, as I think of equity work in large organization and what boards can do. There’s space to find other ways to develop our acumen around this topic. I appreciate the diversity on the screen. It’s incredible in our district to have so many leaders of color and women represented in our leadership. 

Baskett: As an illustration that diversity is diverse. I think people should be called out on it. I have a question on the document we received this evening. On page 4, 5 & 6 there are some highlighted areas. Do you want to discuss more?

Swift: I believe the highlighted areas were areas of focus under the 3 pillars we highlighted. Ms Linden, was that just from one of our conversations.

Linden: I believe that’s correct. I don’t see any other significance.

Lazarus: I’d be remiss in not mentioning that it’s great to see diversity on the screen, but we’re missing a couple groups of race. Asian/Pacific Islanders I know we have a high percentage of students and I push for better outreach to those teachers and administrators. 

Johnson: Thank you everyone for staying up late with us. We appreciate it.

Swift: I want to thank this team. If you watch the hour and ten minutes, that was not rehearsed, it’s how this team operates in every meeting.


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Monthly Budget Monitoring Report for April 2021

I took a quick break during this session.

Trustee Questions:

Kelly: I know we’ve never quite had a budget year quite like this one. People get excited when they see fund balance go up. Can you put into words – sis the fund balance we see now one time money, or recurring?

Minnick: Some is one time fund. We have collected about 85% of funds, but will have more continuous expenditures with benefits and salaries. We see that every year.

Kelly: So stay tuned, we’ll see some of it dwindle away.

First Briefing

Summer 2021 Instructional Technology Refresh Part I

Swift: Dr Kellstrom is joining us for the first two items.

Kellstrom: Equipment for teaching and learning. Refreshment of epson projector. You’ll notice laser is in front of them. Classroom projectors have a 7 year life cycle. The majority were purchased in 2013. They ran out of warranty in 2015/2016. 

The new device is bulbless laser. 20k hours of projection. New ones have built in wireless networking to manage them. This is year 1 of 3 year phased replacement. We mirrored replacement with bond work to not cause issues. 

$524K from tech bond for year 1 purchase.

Apple iMac desktop refreshment at middle school labs. About 18 months ago we did high school. Photography, yearbook, graphic design, etc programs require beefier desktops than other devices. We’d get a 4 year Apple warranty. We’re getting an extra discount by taking the base model instead of the new flashier. $206K from tech bond.

Dell laptop refreshment for PLTW in high schools. 140 Dell precision to replace 2015 models. Program is too rigorous for current systems. More ram, graphics card, hard drive. $186K also from tech bond.

Kelly: I know we do tech refreshes all the time. If you could assign quantity or dollar number to need vs tech aging versus how we’re replacing due to how education was delivered this year?


Kellstrom: We’ve had extra costs with 1:1 model. We did setup on some large storage infrastructure projects. The old world technology you always had to buy new. The newer infrastructure you’ll see are more modularized and you can upgrade. It will have higher start up, but lower ongoing costs.

iMacs we get 8 years vs probably 4 years for a laptop. For COVID we provided MacBook Airs for those who needed to access Adobe at home.

Kelly: Would we have seen these regardless or pandemic?

Kellstrom: These are all regular lifecycle replacements.

Baskett: Is the thought to purchase these items for fall or summer programming.

Kellstrom: The iMac desktops and Dell laptops are full fall programming. We’ve already built the images for the iMac. Once we can get them setup right away. The projectors will be installed all summer long throughout summer projects.


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PLTW 3D Printer Upgrade to Stratasys Equipment

Kellstrom: Joining us is Tom Pachera, leader PLTW program. This is the fun project and starts a new level in PLTW programming. We’re a world class leader with PLTW Y5-12th. 3D Printing is an integral part of PLTW. It takes a student from an idea to prototype, test and get it to a product that works.

These are industry standard printers with some different funding sources. Goal is to take existing 3D printers in secondary and push them to elementary. The goal at the secondary level is business quality printer and use a certified program used by Lockheed, GM, and others. We’d be the first K-12 school in the US to get the product.

Pachera: We could use our existing Dremels during the pandemic to get out to teachers in their homes & made 2500 face shields for our community & as far away as New Hampshire. They’ll continue to work & we’d like to move them over to elementary program. They’ve been purchased by Bosch and will continue. You can’t buy Bosch products with Bosch funds.

Baskett & Lazarus encouraged playing a 2 min video about a certification program our secondary students would use.

Video from Metropolitan State University Denver with Lockheed Martin for additive manufacturing showing Fortus 900. Students get certified on industry standard Stratasys certification.

It will change and enhance PLTW offerings. We’ll prepare students to go to work, 2 year, or 4 year program. Addictive manufacturing is 3D printing. We’re hoping to order 12 of Fortus F120 are a desktop version of the Fortus 900 shown in the video. Our students would be at a university level. F120 for middle schools, K-8, and Hoping for a larger J25 for Skyline and a 370 at Huron. GM has offered internships and to pay for student certification. Toyota has expanded manufacturing internships. We’re hoping to partner with them too to intern at Pittsfield.

Kellstrom: This is a fun project and growth based project to hit a variety of student types. This set is worth about $450K. They’ve already given us a $160 discount. We’re using two sets of money to fund. $131K remain from Bosch grant and a bit more $134 from tech bond. We would get a 3 year warranty, 2 years of materials, certification exam covered. This is an example of a different kind of upgrade. Next time it will just be printer heads for the chassis. As the industry changes the printer heads are interchangeable.

Kelly: We just came off heels of equity and I’ll bring thought process in. I love that we offer PLTW to all in elementary. In secondary, kids need to opt in. Do the groups have the same demographics as a whole or are some groups over or under represented.

Pachera: 6th grade everyone takes Design & Modeling. 7th & 8th and 9-12 are elective. We’ve seen an increase in engineering in female – about 30%, but biomedical is opposite 70%. That’s why Skyline is getting the bigger to use in Health & Medicine magnet to make prosthetics.

Kelly: What about race?

Pachera: At Skyline it’s similar to school enrollment in the magnets. I can look further.

Kelly: My husband is employed by Bosch and I’ll look at whether I have to recuse myself from a vote on a Bosch product.

Lazarus: Thankyou for the video. I think it’s important to show the scope and depth. I know you were instrumental in the grant and funding. How did it happen? Did GM knock on your door?

Pachera: It’s a long story. Bosch community funds came to district about 4 years ago when they bought a smaller company in the local area. So we applied for those dollars. Several of our teachers got the Bosch teacher fund grant at middle and elementary school. The original Bosch grant was part of a middle school grant about 5 years old and using it to upgrade their labs- new furniture, adding A/C to labs. We’ve been using a Stratasys since Skyline opened. Existing systems can’t be upgraded, but are still working. These can be operated remotely. I can setup a job remotely form my phone, watch by video, then go pick up. Stratasys did a lot of work for us. We’re getting a fantastic price because we’re the first district using this program. We’re going to be a beta test for certification and use in secondary vs university level.

Lazarus: Can you give a board what it means to have a certification? I know it was discussed you could get a job. What does it mean in level of pay scale?

Pachera: I don’t have that, but can look into it. It means for students that a few university are offering this for college credit. Students may be able to go in with those credits already. They can go work for a company that has it in place. They may go in as a technician instead of an engineer/designer.

Lazarus: My last question is along the equity question. Are all the high schools getting a 3D printer and access to certification training?

Pachera: All 5 high schools are getting one machine based on space. Current Stratsys at Pioneer, Pathways, Skyline will stay. Some Dremels will stay. All high school and middle school staff can through certification process to be able to train their students. Only high school students will be able to get the certification not middle school students.

Gaynor: This is cool cutting edge technology. I’m thinking back to my high school. It was excellent, I took lots of science, but I knew we didn’t hae the same equipment as college. Is this appropriate for high school? I want make sure we’re appropriate to our curriculum and not coming from corporations? It’s good for getting jobs? Is it just we have money, we’re spending it? It’s so great the community supports us with these technology bonds and we can afford to do this.

Pachera: We’re creating a pipeline for companies and universities. UM has several of these systems in their lab. This is a real equity piece. A young female goes to UM who got into her first lab and felt like she didn’t belong there because she didn’t know how to use machines, changed her major to physics. I’m hoping having latest technology and latest machines will encourage underrepresented to feel like they belong. As far as curriculum goes, the first machine was purchased via PLTW with a grant. It’s considered optional equipment. Whichever 3D printer you can afford to. We’re just upping the game. It fits the curriculum. If we have to go back to virtual, it’s easy for students to log in and print their project and do a drive by pickup. We’re hoping to offer 3D printing via A2Virtual. When I let Bosch know  we were printing face shields, they sent us boxes of materials to make them at no cost to the district.


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Fire Service Connection Capital Cost Recovery Charge

Lauzzana: As part of work at Community, Tappan, and Scarlett we are installing fire suppression sprinkler systems. They’ll increase safety and give more options for future renovations. Since we’re removing ceilings, rewiring, replacing HVAC, now is the time. To install sprinkler system, we need a new water main. These are a set rate schedule from the city. Some charges are given credit such as a fire main installed by AAPS at Tappan. At Community, we connect to the fire main on 5th which is city constructed, so we need the full $208k. Scarlett we are adding  few feet and getting a discount. 

Full cost is $408K. We recommend paying from the 2019 bond funds.

Johnson: Is this a reason it comes from bond funds and not another source like sinking?

Lauzzana: It is appropriate for bond or sinking. We felt bond was appropriate since the larger projects are bond projects and this is associated.

Solar Installation at Bryant Elementary School

Swift: This is a continuance of ongoing work to install solar across the district. It is the 6th project. Mr Lauzzana has shown the savings with our commitment to environmental savings. Certainly this follows having a fairly new roof in good condition which informs how we move through this process.

Lauzzana: It’s great the board and community are supportive of these projects. It is equivalent to the electricity 160 average homes, saving 850K pounds of coal per year.

There are setbacks around edges and equipment. Most of this roof was approved for replacement earlier this season. The roof will be replaced first.

Homeland solar has lowest qualified bids for $309K for this project.

No trustee questions.


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Construction Management for 2019 Bond Program and Sinking Fund Projects

Lauzzana: If we were to put a tagline to what the year of the bond program has been it is launching the first projects, but it’s also building the team. Construction management services are a critical component. We received 13 proposals. Based on review of qualifications, recommendations, fees, we recommend continuing with McCarthy Smith and Adding Clark Construction of Lansing & KEO associates of Detroit. Different scale companies are good at different scale. Clark is good on large scale like Mitchell& Scarlett. McCarthy Smith to continue AC and smaller projects. They’re skilled at summer work. KEO Associates is smaller but have sophisticated systems and will be nimble for smaller projects that aren’t scaled for other groups.

Lauzzana: If we were to put a tagline to what the year of the bond program has been it is launching the first projects, but it’s also building the team. Construction management services are a critical component. We received 13 proposals. Based on review of qualifications, recommendations, fees, we recommend continuing with McCarthy Smith and Adding Clark Construction of Lansing & KEO associates of Detroit. Different scale companies are good at different scale. Clark is good on large scale like Mitchell& Scarlett. McCarthy Smith to continue AC and smaller projects. They’re skilled at summer work. KEO Associates is smaller but have sophisticated systems and will be nimble for smaller projects that aren’t scaled for other groups.

Bids are attached. Fees paid will be based on actual costs

Gaynor: It’s still early & I’m impressed by what you’re putting together. Are there any challenges, problems you see?

Lauzzana: So far so good. You’ll find stuff when you pull down ceilings and walls. But that’s why we have contingencies. The more complex projects are Tappan, Community & Scarlett & we’re seeing good progress on that work. Cautiously optimistic that we’re ahead of schedule with time students not in the building and remote Wednesdays.

Second Briefing

Swift: We have no updates on Annex AN-2036 for Summer 2021 Paving and Site Improvement Projects at Allen and Dicken. The first briefing was presented at the May 12th meeting.


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Consent Agenda

The Consent Agenda includes:

  • Approve Minutes of May 12, 2021 Regular Meeting
  • Annex AN-2036 – Summer 2021 Paving and Site Improvement Projects: Allen and Dicken Elementary Schools

Moved by Kelly, seconded by DuPree. No discussion. Unanimously passed.

Board Action

The Board will take action on the Washtenaw Intermediate School District (WISD) Biennial Election Resolution Consideration.

We all got communications on this. Basically, the biennial election for WISD is June 2 at 6p to elect a 6 year term. As a board we have to consider who will be the electoral representative at that meeting and an alternate. At this meeting we need a resolution to consider the representative and alternate. 

Dr Teresa Saunders from Ypsilanti is seeking reelection and running unopposed.

Baskett: It would be my honor to endorse that. I’d like to add that she has been on all sides of the educational table. Now she is at EMU teaching educational leadership. She’s been on WISD. She has been a superintendent not once but twice including East St Louis a challenging district with high poverty. She came from Highland Park. I commend anyone who wants to serve on an ISD board. She also has one relative working in our district.

Osinski: The resolution tonight is to consider who would be the electoral representatives. Next week you will vote on the candidate. 

Baskett: Do we pick out of a hat for alternate?

Osinski: It’s whoever wants to do it. It’s someone from our Board.

Johnson: I know Skyline graduation is that night. Trustee Kelly is celebrating that night, so she’s exempt.

Kelly: Traditionally trustees have a role in graduation. Will you have a role as president?

Johnson: I’m not sure what our role will be yet.

Swift: Not a lot, but I believe we can cover it. If you want to be on the safe side, I think we should have someone else.

Johnson: To be on the safe side, I’d rather not be the representative. Anyone else want to step up.

Kelly: I appreciate the ability to attend the graduation, it’s a special year for my family. I’ve done the role. You just show up and it’s on zoom. It’s super easy especially this year when it is on Zoom.

Baskett: In the past it’s been one of the newer members.

Johnson: I nominate Trustee DuPree.

Lazarus: I was the honored trustee last time, it was very short.

DuPree: It’s been awhile since I’ve been voluntold to do things. I’ll accept.

Gaynor: I am not available at that time.

Johnson: I’ll nominate myself as alternate.

DuPree: I am not available on Mondays at 6p.

Trustee Gaynor, DuPree, and Querijero have standing meetings. 

Baskett: This is a consistent conflict with our standing graduation.

Osinski: I believe we didn’t send someone at least one year because it always conflicts with graduation.

Johnson: Of all the duties we need to perform, this is a board duty. I would rather have someone show up for this and I’ll do it and someone can stand in for me at graduation.

Swift: We’re still clarifying the role of graduation.

Kelly: I’m happy to do what needs to be done at graduation. I don’t know if there will be space for people who don’t have students to attend.

Johnson: I’ll nominate myself to handle this duty with no alternate. 

Motioned by Johnson, seconded by Lazarus. Unanimous vote.


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Extend Meeting

Gaynor motioned to add 30 minutes. Secodned by Laszaurs. Passed.6-1 with Kelly objecting.

Agenda Planning

Baskett: I ask that we schedule dates for a few things. Dates for informal superintendent review, retreats and repeat my request for exploring options for the board in relation to equity work. And finally in keeping with legislative update, I’ve asked Representative Brabec to give the latest & greatest on May 26th if possible. 

Johnson: I think those are all good items. If we do a board retreat do you feel we could add options for equity work or a separate discussion?

Baskett; I would do it separately. I believe the Executive Committee usually sets the agenda with Dr Swift. I wanted to bring it up rather than discussion here.

Lazarus: Trustee Baskett could you give an idea for topic for the retreat

Baskett: For those who know me you know I hate the term retreat, but that’s what its been called. Do we need to do board self-evaluation? What about training? Moving forward what are our own personal goals for the next year. That’s just broad ideas. I think this is probably VP Kelly’s bailiwick. 


Johnson: If you recall we were supposed to have a meeting like this on January 6, so it is overdue. I do support it.

Items from the Board

Querijero: On May 24 at 7p the PTO Council will have its May meeting and will have elections for next school year. I believe the zoom link is on the district website. 

I’d like to give a shout out to Michigan Hands & Voices advocate for students who are deaf or hard of hearing. They have a great support group.


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Adjournment

Motion to adjourn by Kelly, seconded by Baskett. No discussion. Unanimously approved. Meeting adjourned at 12:02am

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