19th WCA Schools Committee Meeting Minutes
Dr. Phyllis Moss convened the meeting by Zoom at 7:00 p.m.
Present: Lee Loomis, Dr. Phyllis Moss, Sara Yaworsky, Dan Ross, Jane Braband
Doug and Charlotte were unable to attend because of a very important family engagement. They sent a very thorough report regarding the Spelling Bee which is attached. At the suggestions of Laquanda Fields (#19) they will consider incorporating the vocabulary lists used by the District into the Bee along with some of the more challenging words from Script. This was the first year that 7th and 8th graders were included. Only one 7th grader participated. It will be important to identify staff within the schools who can serve as contact people and help increase student involvement. High turnover in the District has been a challenge. The plan is to not have the Bee follow a school vacation next year if possible.
Committee member feedback included:
Fraternity support was much appreciated.
More space was needed for the audience.
There was agreement that hosting the Bee during Spring Break should be revisited.
Food should be served later, which may encourage people to stay longer and slow traffic.
Lee Loomis reported that the tutoring program at School #10 is going well. He has added two new tutors to his team. The plan is to create four teams with four tutors on each team. This allows each tutor to volunteer once a month without disrupting their work schedule.
Phyllis reported that she reached out to Lisa Garrow, Principal of #16 school. She indicated that three people signed up to tutor at #16. Principle Garrow was unsure of the process for vetting tutors. Phyllis reached out to Kelli Briggs for guidance but has not heard back. Lee shared his vetting process for #10 and agreed to assist with the vetting process at #16 as well.
Phyllis shared that recent articles are reporting that more than 40% of our community’s children are three grade levels behind in reading and math. She reported also that she has been talking with Josie McClary about offering tutoring opportunities throughout the community. Josie has expressed support for the idea, and they have had several meetings to begin developing what they have decided to call “Reading Circles”.
Several organizations including People’s Choice Kitchen and The Salvation Army have expressed interest in providing space. Although there has been a lot of energy around the idea, it was decided that we don’t have enough time to pull together such a program for the summer. The Association has several projects going on, including the Square Fair, and this should be revisited for the 2023-2024 School year.
Phyllis agreed to pilot the project by creating a Summer Reading Circle in her home. She currently hosts an aftercare program through her non-profit, Tehillah Music Ministries. She agreed to roll that program into the first Reading Circle which will run from 7/10 – 8/18. She presented an article that would go into the next newsletter. The Committee expressed concern that the flier did not have enough African American children in it and was not representative of the community we serve. Phyllis agreed to revise it. Also, it was suggested that Phyllis reach out to school guidance counselors to find children in need of reading help. The Committee looks forward to further updates.
COMMISSION ON RACE AND STRUCTURAL EQUITY (RASE)
Phyllis attended the RASE Community Update on 4/24 which was on Zoom. The update was a review of what has taken place since this report was completed. This includes the fact that some revisions are being made to the report at the behest of community organizations and members who were not included in the original process. This will most likely change the segment on education. The Committee may want to take a second look at the report to see how we can link with the rest of the community in fighting racism.
Phyllis will revise the Reading Circle ad before submitting it to Ruth for the newsletter.
Phyllis will email Lisa Garrow about using the vetting system that is being used at #10.
Phyllis will send the article regarding reading and math statistics to the Committee.
Phyllis will check on John Boutet.
Next Meeting: Our next meeting is planned for Tuesday, 6 June 2023 at 7:00pm.
Adjournment: The meeting was adjourned at 8:05 p.m.
Phyllis Anita Moss
School Committee Chair