August 26th Ann Arbor Board of Education Meeting

Notes from Ann Arbor Public Schools August 26th School Board Meeting

The Ann Arbor Public Schools Board of Education is holding Board Meeting on August 19 at 6p to continue their discussion for Fall 2020.

This is the last board meeting scheduled before school starts.


Background: Summary of Ann Arbor Public School’s Plans for Fall 2020

Just to recap where we are before the meeting starts. Ann Arbor Public Schools is returning fully virtual to start the 2020-2021 school year. Families have been asked to select one of the learning options below by August 14

  • A2 Classroom Connect – Will start as a virtual learning environment and then will transition to a hybrid model when it is safe to reopen. Students will be assigned teachers and a class based at their enrolled school. Learning will include both synchronous and asynchronous time. Families can choose to continue virtually if they are not ready to return when hybrid starts.
  • A2 Link – A 100% virtual learning option. Students will be assigned to teachers and a class based at their enrolled school. Learning will include both synchronous and asynchronous time.
  • A2 Virtual+ – This is Ann Arbor Public Schools virtual learning environment that has been offered for years mostly at the high school level. It is a self-paced asynchronous virtual class and is available K-12

Connections+ will be small groups to support the most at risk students with support in virtual schooling, food needs, child care, and special needs support. They will meet in person when allowable.

Get more details in our AAPS Fall 2020 Plans article or jump straight to the 2020-2021 Calendar or the Daily Schedule.

Ann Arbor Public Schools - Fall 2020 Plans


Notes from the August 19, 2020 Board of Education Meeting

The purpose of our notes are to capture the key points of the meeting as it relates to parents and children. We will be predominately focusing on the parts of the meeting that affect students and parents. We will not be covering board business (like approval of minutes).

These notes are being taken live as the meeting airs. Please excuse any typos or mis-interpretations, (or my guesses at spelling the names of those who submitted public commentary).. You will need to refresh this screen to see updates.

The notes below will be taken as they are discussed. After the meeting, this information will be added to our AAPS Fall 2020 Plans article and then this article may be edited to a topic based organization.

The board meeting started at 4;30p with a private closed session. The public portion of the meeting started as of 6:22p

Attendees: Gaynor, Lightfoot, Kelly, Nelson, Baskett, President Johnson, Dr Swift

Public Commentary

Commentary from members of the public are read at this point.

Stacy Ebron: Last fall I asked my son’s teacher what the AAPS curriculum was for diversity. She said there was none. Teaches students they are all equal and makes sure books represent students of all backgrounds. I a disappointed that there is no district curriculum. When my son learned that because black and white students can now attend the same schools and use the same drinking fountain, he concluded that racism is now over. This summer we participated in all 4 weeks of the Summer Learning programming. I was pleased to hear from President Johnson that middle school classes included diversity education..

Finally at July 29, Dr Kellstrom listed outputs that can be shared from Schoology to judge success of Schoology.. Can you also look to parents for meaningful data. The district reported 93% participation based on students who logged on at least once a week. I would have preferred to see what percent logged in daily and turned in assignments 2-3 times a week. Please share what the district will use to gauge success. Data won’t be useful if not robust and transparent.

Dr Swift response: I do want to clarify that we are implementing a wide work on bias and anti-racism across the grade levels. Highlights were used this summer. Last week I shared two sources the anti-defamation league and the teaching tolerance source. This past Monday about 1400 educators from Washtenaw County took an afternoon session on these topics. And learned of 3 more formal curricula pieces. The Equity Team will take a look and trustees will hear more in the future.

Spring participation data was based on students who turned in their extension of learning activities. This fall we will look at a variety of metrics. We are moving fast to launch a new system, and will be adding metrics and sharing transparently.

Dr Swift shared a public statement on a similar topic with items in the news this week. (Dr Swift said the statement will be added to Board Docs and I will add the full text when available) :

In the Ann Arbor Public Schools we stand strong against any and all acts of bias, bigotry, and racism. We take very seriously all the concerns that are shared with us about biases that may exist within the AAPS. We will share consistent processes for hearing and responding to those concerns. Fully hearing those complaints, providing a safe place to make the complaints, and

Equity is defined as the moral responsibility of each member of our learnng community to take the intentional actions necessary to create a learning environment free of barriers, biases, regardless of personal circumstances.

In addition to our equity plan the non-discrimination statement is very comprehensive.

No person shall be excluded from participation in, be denied the benefits of, or be subjected to discrimination in any educational program or activity available in any school on the basis of race, color, sex, religion, creed, political belief, age, national origin, linguistic and language differences, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity, gender expression, socioeconomic status, height, weight, marital or familial status, disability or veteran status.
AAPS Non-Discrimination Statement


Reimagine Learning Plan Updates

Dr Swift provided updates on the Reimagine Learning Plan. Tonight’s update is focused on what parents need to know as they prepare for back to learning. There are extra slides than we need, the comprehensive update is on the website. This is what parents need to know for next week’s preparation week and the start of school the following week.

Update and Clarify Fall Information

The AAPS Website is being updated with 2020-2021 School Calendar, Daily Class Schedule, Parent Checklist, Technology Distribution Schedule & Location, Schoology Video Overview, Immunization Overview, Free & Reduced Lunch Applications, and More.


There are new and refurbished district devices. There will be 4 pickup locations through district. They will be drive-through pickups. Families are asked to return prior technology that they had from spring and summer..

iPad for Y5, Kindergarten, & 1st Grade.and Chromebooks for Grades 2-12. Technology Distribution schedule will offer lots of flexible options to work with parent work schedules.

Next steps are the purchase of Kajeet data system for student hotspots. More will be discuseed later by Dr Kellstromand whether the data will be sufficient.



There is a brief video for parents. Everyone will hear from their principal with dates and times for a virtual Meet & Greet next week (August 31-September 3). Students & Parents will learn what they need to know for Schoology to login on Tuesday, September 8.

Food Distibution

Continues through September 3. We will have new information on pickups for fall. This fall there will be late afternoon pickups so students don’t have to leave the virtual classroom for food pickup. Senator Stabenow is spearheading the effort to be able to continue emergency feeding options through the fall.

Free & Reduced Applications are available on website. If you qualified last year, you are already enrolled for the first 30 days of fall. But we recognize many additional families may now be eligible and we want to make sure everyone knows how to enroll.

August Immunizations

Remember to aintain your vaccines especially. Governor Whitmer specifically recommended flu vaccine yesterday.

Nurse’s Corner website has been setup with information. Also information on vaccine clinics.

Special Learning Needs

IEPs, English Language Learning, 504 plans. The district will be in touch with students ad families the week of September 8.

Services will be shared in real-time in a variety of ways. The goal is to provide the during the school day like they are when we are in in-person classes.

School Library, Textbooks, Supplies, & Materials

A Digital Library will be available through Schoology.

Textbooks, Supplies, and materials distribution won’t be done the week of August 31. They will allow school schedules to settle before distribution. They will be distributed multiple times during the fall as classes hit different units. They will be bundled to minimize trips


Meet & Greets

Virtual Meet & Greets will be held and will focus on home group – elementary classroom, advisory, forum, etc. Principals will be sharing information

Front Door Email

In the “before-times”, you could always drop0-in to the school office. They have created “Front Door” Email contacts for all AAPS school. It will all be the school name

Health Updates

We are monitoring 16 outbreaks at K-12 and colleges. One local high school had to close.


Yesterday I was able to meet with community center partners (PEACE, CAN, Avalon)

on a virtual meeting as we begin to organize Connections+ groups. More information will be available in the coming days


We will be listening to questions and comments and there will be school specific communications and will continue to share information in the newt two weeks as we move to September 8.

A principal said this to me the other day “We’ve Got You” – If you miss an email, miss a pickup date, reach out to the school. They’ll work with you to get you the information or equipment, If you have a question or concern, they will work through it with you.


Remember to wear a mask, watch your distance, and wash your hands.

Trustee Questions

Gaynor: Thank you for the presentation and the nitty-gritty detail. There are some parents who have an optimistic outlook for the year Do we have graduation dates?

Mr DeAngelis: We are tentatively looking at standard dates. Pathways first Monday in June, Second Monday is Skyline. Huron on First Wednesday Pioneer on first Thursday and Community I have to check. they usually float and go to Friday night based on when they can get Hill. We will post tomorrow.

Swfit: I appreciate us looking with aoptimism to the end of hte yaer.

Johnson: Dr Swift you mentioned materials distribution and the fear that students won’t receive textbooks until 3 weeks into the year.

Swift: A lot of what students will need for learning is built in. We have not had this ability before. We normally will wait at high school for a few days until class schedules settle. We will share textbooks and materials distribution as asoon as they’re needed. We also don’t want to cause people to run back and forth to school. We are trying to batch distribution and touchless pickup. Each student’s books will need to be in a bag.

Your question reminds me that the week of September 8 isStudents are on a half-day schedule. The purpose of that week is to orient everyone to the virtual classroom. Longer school days will begin September 14.


Special Briefing: Kajeet WiFi Hotspot Data Plan

Dr Swift & Dr Kellstrom will provide an update o the Kajeet WiFi Hotspot Data Plan. The Board will vote on approval later in the meeting.

Ther are areas of our city where internet is an issue – both those in internet deserts and those for whom financial issues are a barrier.

Kajeet data plans are about removing barriers to learning. We used these in the spring to cover familis who have issues. We used them for spring and summer. They have been off for the week. We only need half of them turned back on. We are tyring a COMCAST Essentials plan that we want to get sponsorship on. This will help families who qualify.

This spring we bought 6.5TB and only used about 3TB of data. They let us rollover 3.5 TBG to the fall. In the spring we didn’t use robust always on learning. Tonight we are asking to purchase 4 additional TB – 7.5 TB total. Kajeet Hotspots are filtered and complian for student privacy.

They have tested via Comcast and a 20MB download speed can handle 4 Zoom meetings. One thing they have found is updating modem/router with provider can make a big difference. If you are renting, get a new one sent to you and swap it out. Also consider where you are doing your meetings. Are you far from the router? We can help guide families as well.

Tomorrow morning we want to start getting people setup with Comcast Essentials to help the be ready for learning.

Will hotspots come with device, or will it be separate? They will probably be separate. We like to work with the family getting the Kajeet. Somethings depend on where you live, We have lockers and contactless options.

Kelly: I can’t believe we used that little data. That’s amazing. Do we have a sense of what our published schedule, the amount of data folks should plan for one child to have. More for people using privately acquired data.

Kellstrom: We looked at 4-5 per child per day. We will be able to gather data from Kajeet hotspots.

Kelly: I worry we will hit 1 week from billing cycle and people will . Kajeet devices will be limited to student’s learning needs. They won’t be for parents working at home.

Baskett: I’m excited to hear of these purchases. Aother way we are demonstrating equity. The fee is for service and not hte device correct?

Kellstrom: Yes, we own the devices. We are just adding data to them. That is why the price is so much lower than sprign. We will just continue to add data plan as needed.

Baskett: How log is data supposed to last?

Kellstrom: We work in 4 or 6 month increments with the vendor. We have a way to rollover unused minutes and that is critical for us.

Baskett: Are we sure 250 is enough?

Kellstrom: We are looking to bring in Comcast. We have about 120 families we will be reaching out to. If we find ourselves short, we can come back and add more. It only takes a couple days.

Johnson: I am excited about this and the how we are breaking the digital divide. Last week we had reference to CARES act money and this is coming to the general fund. Is there a reason this is coming from General Fund that it can’t be covered in bond funding or CARES act money?

Swift: This component cannot come from bond. It should say CARES or general fund. In our way of thinking this would be appropriate to CARES funding.

Kellstrom: This can’t be on the tech bond. Tech bond is for devices, this is services.

Minnick: Dr Kellstrom is correct. Hardware comes from bond money. We will be accounting for CARES act funds in the General Fund. This would typically be allowable in the CARES Act.

Johsnon: Its is i important. It is appropriate for the General Fund to make sure we get it done in time. Hopefully we get it reimbursed from the CARES Act Fund.


Second Briefing: Playground Engineered Wood Chips

Mr Lauzzana provided an update on the purchase of Engineered Wood Chips for the playgrounds – there are no changes. The Board will vote on approval later in the meeting.


The Board voted on the Consent Agenda to approve both the Kajeet Hotspots and Engineered Woodchips. The board voted unanimously to approve the consent agenda.

The meeting adjourned at 7:42p

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