The Board went into closed Executive Session at 4:30 pm to discuss personnel, negotiations, legal matters, and administrative functions. Board President Susan Morgan opened the Public Meeting at 6:16 pm with the Pledge of Allegiance and review of the Board Calendar (see below).
Choptank ES Principal Gaven Parker described his personal goals as Principal of CES for the 2023-24 school year to be (i) concentrating on Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS ), Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS), and discipline; (ii) creating consistency in roles and responsibilities, instruction, and social emotional learning; and (iii) bringing energy to CES through culture, climate and rebranding. He described 9 specific goals for CES for the year to include (i) meeting the MCAP Annual Measurable Objective (AMO) target of 36.38% of students being proficient in English Language Arts; (ii) reducing Significantly-Below-Grade-Level (i.e., emergency) Ratings in Independent Reading Level (IRL) by 21%; (iii) achieving the MCAP AMO target of 40.22% of students being proficient in Math; (iv) decreasing the number of students performing two-or-more-levels below grade levels by 30% on the iReady Math Diagnostic; (v) 65% of English Learners attaining English language proficiency; (vi) increasing Average Daily Attendance (ADA) to 90%; (vii) improving student and staff perception of school climate and culture; (viii) decreasing out of school suspension hours by 25%; and (ix) increasing parent engagement.
Maces Lane MS Principal Patricia Prosser described the MLMS academic and behavioral goals for the 2023-24 School Year to be (i) 100% growth in reading for each student; (ii) 50% of students either approaching or at grade level; (iii) decreasing suspensions by 20%; (iv) decreasing acts of violence by 50%; (v) reducing disrespect/disruption to less than 8%; and (vi) decreasing class elopement to less than 10%. Actions to achieve the academic goals include (i) moving to a 6-period day to increase instructional time in Core content; (ii) class scheduling to increase CORE instructional time by 156 more hours for the year); (iii) devoting the first period class every day to 45-minute CORE Support Intervention tailored to each child; and (iv) focused school-based professional development for teachers on district-wide reading initiatives such Writing, Inquiry, Collaboration, Organization, and Reading (WICOR) strategies. Actions to achieve the behavioral goals include (i) creating clear structure; (ii) instituting a No-Cell-Phone policy; (iii) implementing the Keep Kids in Class Tier 1 initiative; (iv) dedicating 4-adult response teams for each hallway to redirect students appropriately; (v) utilizing social support rooms and groups; (vi) implementing an email hall pass system; and consistent classroom rules throughout the building.
Board Members expressed strong support for the initiatives described at Choptank ES and Maces Lane MS. They stressed the need for ongoing team meetings that evaluate progress on a continuing basis, regular reports to the Board on progress, and certificated teachers in all classrooms.
No members of the public delivered comments for presentation at the meeting, either orally or in writing.
The Board approved the personnel appointments (to be announced shortly) as discussed during the Executive Session and recognized the following recent appointees: Myesha Ford, Principal, Maple Elementary School, effective August 7; Anna Howie, Interim Principal, Mace’s Lane Middle School, effective July 17; Bobbie Matthews, Assistant Principal, Choptank Elementary School, effective July 17; Amanda Robinson, Assistant Principal, Cambridge-South Dorchester High School, effective July 17; and Sandra Green, Chief Financial Officer, Central Office, effective August 28. The Board also approved selection of John Kahl as ESMEC Health Insurance Alliance Trustee for Dorchester County Board of Education.
The Board approved an Amendment to the General Operating Budget to reflect actual and projected expenditures, as well as the following: Soliant contract (with 30-day discontinuation provision) for a special education teacher at NDLA and for students in the Home and Hospital Program ($105,300); White Boards & Interactive Projectors for Choptank ES ($26,939); Raptor Technologies School Safety Suite Platform ($37,801 for 3 years, plus $17,000 annually thereafter); Move This World library of evidenced-based exercises to equip elementary school students with the ability to identify, express, and manage emotions, contingent upon a schedule for use in each school ($28,319); 3-Year Preventive Maintenance Contract on all Chillers and Cooling Towers at CSD, NDLA, VES, WES, SHES, MES ($120,712); DCPS/Chesapeake College/Upper Shore Workforce Investment Board MOU for the Blueprint for Maryland’s Future ($26,854). The Board also approved adoption (and purchase of hard copies) of the textbook, Environmental Science for the AP Course, Bedford, Freeman, and Worth Publishers, 2023 ($85,000). The Board tabled approval of the Seven Mindsets Tier I scaffolded social emotional leaning curriculum for secondary school students ($64,800 for 2 years), contingent upon receipt of additional information to include a schedule for use in each school.
The Board received information on the Corsica River Mental School-Based Health Services MOU, the Holistic Health School-Based MOU, the 5-year Preferred Vendor Agreement with Junior Achievement of the Eastern Shore 2022-2028 (in support of the DCPS financial literacy program, the career counseling program, and Maryland Blueprint goals), and the DCPS Safe Return to School Final Plan Update.
The Appropriation & Expenditures Report and the Capital Projects Report contained nothing out of the ordinary.
Board members thanked the principals and their leadership teams for their presentations tonight, as well as the Executive Team for their work in preparing for the coming school year. Board members welcomed new and returning teachers and encouraged students and parents to take advantage of the opportunities available from DCPS and expressed enthusiasm for implementation this year of a results-oriented, data-driven approach that emphasizes informed decision making and civility. Members stressed their availability to the community and encouraged members of the community to approach them with their issues and concerns.
The Superintendent thanked everyone who attended or watched tonight’s meeting, as well the DCPS personnel who made presentations this evening. He welcomed and thanked new and returning teachers and staff, including those who are preparing buildings for the new year and those engaged in the many planning activities necessary for a successful school year. He acknowledged the start of this year’s athletic activities and encouraged students and parents to take advantage of the opportunities available from DCPS this year.