The Durham Public Schools Board of Education held its regular monthly meeting on Thursday, October 27, 2011, at 6:30 p.m. in the Fuller Administration Building, 511 Cleveland Street, Durham, North Carolina.
Board members present: Minnie Forte Brown, Chair; Heidi Carter, Vice Chair; Natalie Beyer; Leigh Bordley; Nancy Cox; Pastor Fredrick Davis; and Omega Curtis Parker.
Administrators present: Dr. Eric J. Becoats, Superintendent; Dr. Lewis Ferebee, Chief of Staff; and Eunice Sanders, Assistant Superintendent of Support Services
Attorney present: Ann Majestic
Call to Order/Moment of Silence
Chairperson Forte-Brown called the meeting to order and extended a warm welcome to everyone. She read the following statement:
Tonight’s agenda promises to be rich in information that will support and enhance our vision statement. Standing committees of the board will present information and reports that will keep you informed on what the district is doing to ensure that our vision of success for every child is realized.
The Board invites public comment at the beginning of the board meeting and before each agenda item. Board members will carefully listen to and consider the comments from the public but the board does not engage in a discussion with speakers.
Thank you for taking this time to join us. We’re glad to have you with us.
A moment of silence was observed.
Be Our Guest
Chairperson Forte-Brown welcomed the parents of Fayetteville Street Elementary, George Watts Elementary, Mangum Elementary, Oak Grove Elementary, Southwest Elementary, Lakewood Montessori Middle, Rogers-Herr Middle, and Early College High School She invited all parents present to come forward to meet the board members and walk the red carpet in recognition of their work and involvement with Durham Public Schools (DPS).
Superintendent Becoats made the following introductions:
Duke University’s DPS Students of the Week—This program spotlights students who distinguish themselves with character and integrity. The following students were featured over the past month in The Herald Sun: Rachel Sauls, Githens; Greg Shaw, Northern; Estefany Hernandez, Lowe’s Grove; and Marie Muir, Riverside. School representatives shared comments about the featured students who were present.
Healthy Schools Program National Recognition Award—DPS boasts seven of the 15 North Carolina schools recognized by the Alliance for a Healthier Generation. By making significant changes in the areas of healthy eating, physical activity and staff wellness, these schools have joined a growing movement of devoted individuals and organizations that are working to combat childhood obesity and foster healthier communities. Southern High School received the Silver Award. Riverside, Brogden, Neal, Hope Valley, Mangum and Morehead all received the Bronze Award. Pete Shankle, Wellness Coordinator, came forward to share comments and introduced the principals and school representatives present.
Superintendent Becoats stated these recognitions do not happen by accident but by hard work. He requested applause all principals for their hard work in DPS.
Positive Behavior Intervention and Support (PBIS) Awards: Brogden, Eastway, Lakewood, and Eno Valley received the highest recognition award (exemplary) from the state for PBIS. In addition Durham Public Schools had nine schools which received the Model School Award – Creekside, Forest View, Hillandale, Lowe’s Grove, Mangum, Morehead, Parkwood, R.N. Harris and Spring Valley, and ten more schools received the Green Ribbon Award . Those schools are Jordan, Chewning, Club Boulevard, Durham School of the Arts, E.K. Powe, Easley, Fayetteville Street, Carrington, J.D. Clement Early College and Lakeview. This is the highest number of schools DPS has ever had to receive state recognition. Mina Ferguson handed out plagues and gifts for the all winners who were present.
Community Partners—Celebrating community partners who provide support to our students and school improvement efforts.
- Mt. Sylvan United Methodist Church, represented by Pastor Tom Greene, has established an ongoing collaborative partnership with Eno Valley Elementary School. The church has provided support for students’ basic needs, tutors and proctors, encouragement for teachers and volunteers to spruce up the campus. Principal Tonya Smith summarized the many ways that Mt. Sylvan UMC provided support to Eno Valley. Pastor Greene and Mr. Hilbert addressed the audience.
Chairperson Forte-Brown stated that all are inspired by the support provided by Mt. Sylvan United Methodist Church. She challenged the community to become our partners by supporting our students and schools.
Superintendent Becoats provided the following update:
- The Superintendent’s Media Briefing was held on October 19 at Riverside High School. Topics of discussion focused on our partnership with Durham CAN (Congregations, Associations, Neighborhoods) and ways to reach out to the latino population, Strategic Plan update, and quarter-cent “sales and use tax” referendum.
- The Youth Career Expo will be held on Thursday, November 10 from 5:30 to 7:30 pm at Northgate Mall. This is an opportunity for student and parents to meet with 70-100 professionals to start exploring careers that may be of interest to you.
- On Tuesday, November 8, Durham County residents will have an opportunity to cast their vote on a quarter-cent “sales and use tax” that has been designated exclusively for public education. This will help fill the DPS budget gap caused by the elimination of the $6.2 million federal Ed-Jobs funding.
- On Friday, November 18 at 11:30 a.m., the Superintendent’s Business Advisory Council will hold its annual Principal for a Day luncheon at Rogers-Herr Middle School. Board members were encouraged to participate.
- The Superintendent is scheduled to meet with teachers from all grade levels to seek their input in an effort to reach out to all populations of the community.
Superintendent Becoats thanked the board for the opportunity to provide this information.
Agenda Review and Approval
Upon agenda review, Ms. Beyer made a motion to amend the agenda by adding the item “Resolution In Support of the One-Quarter Cent County Sales and Use Tax Referendum” after the Consent Agenda. The motion was seconded by Ms. Carter; the agenda was unanimously approved as amended.
General Public Comment
One speaker signed up to speak and was allotted three minutes:
- Kim Brown stated that she volunteers in many different areas of the school district. As a result, she has come into contact with many youth who are not considering college as an option because they are concerned that they may be a failure. Using this knowledge, she surveyed the students that she works with to see what can be done to change this attitude. She proposes that DPS offer a course to the freshman high school students to help them visualize themselves as potential college students. This course could teach them how to apply, seek financial assistance, and help develop strategies so they could reach this goal by the time they are high school seniors.
Board of Education Meeting Minutes
Presented for approval were the June 13, 2011 special called meeting – open and closed sessions and June 23, 2011 regular meeting - open and closed sessions. On a motion made by Pastor Davis; second by Ms. Bordley, the minutes were unanimously approved as presented.
a. Attorney Retainer Agreement
b. Child Nutrition Services – Equipment Bids
c. Hillside High School – Cell Tower Lease Amendment
d. Construction Management Services – 2011/12 Contract Extension
Chairperson Forte-Brown noted that all consent agenda items were thoroughly discussed in committee. On a motion made by Pastor Davis; second by Ms. Bordley, the Consent Agenda was unanimously approved.
Resolution in Support of the One-Quarter Cent County Sales and Use Tax Referendum
Public Comment: None
Chairperson Forte-Brown yielded to Ms. Beyer to lead the discussion. She explained that this is an opportunity for the board to make a statement to the community about the importance of voting for the “Special Use Tax” which will be placed on the November ballot. This sales and use tax will provide Durham County with a new source of revenue. The State has the obligation to fiscally support public education but local government has had to increasingly supplement fiscal support due to the State’s budget crisis.
Ms. Beyer yielded to Chairperson Forte-Brown to read the resolution as follows:
DURHAM PUBLIC SCHOOLS BOARD OF EDUCATION RESOLUTION
WHEREAS, on June 27, 2011, the Durham County Board of Commissioners approved a resolution to place a One-Quarter Cent County Sales and Use Tax Referendum before the voters on November 8; and
WHEREAS, the Board of Education recognizes that it is critical that Durham County provide adequate funding for public education; and
WHEREAS, if successful, the levy of this one-quarter cent County sales and use tax will provide Durham County with a new source of revenue and will generate approximately $9.2 million initially with an expectation of growth of this revenue in future years; and
WHEREAS, the Board of County Commissioners established a 10-year commitment to allocate the one-quarter cent County sales and use tax proceeds as follows:
- 67.12% of the funding will be allocated to Durham Public Schools in a manner agreed upon between the Durham Board of County Commissioners and the Durham Public Schools Board of Education. Funding will be used to maintain teachers and school personnel;
- 21.74% will be used for debt service on Durham Public Schools capital projects;
- 8.97% of the funding will be allocated to Durham Technical Community College to support need-based scholarships for Durham residents to attend Durham Technical Community College;
- 2.17% of funding will be allocated to Durham’s Partnership for Children towards programs supporting a seamless transition for young children as they prepare to enter kindergarten.
NOW, THEREFORE, BE IT RESOLVED, that we, the members of the Durham Public Schools Board of Education support the One-Quarter Cent County Sales and Use Tax Referendum and state the Board’s intent to use these revenues to maintain teachers and other school personnel.
Approved and adopted the 27th day of October 2011. We, the undersigned, hereby certify that the foregoing Resolution was duly adopted by the Durham Public Schools Board of Education.
Chairperson Forte-Brown emphasized that the board encourages the Durham voters to “Vote Yes” for the children.
Ms. Carter made a motion to approve the resolution in support of the one-quarter cent county sales and use tax; second by Ms. Bordley. The motion passed unanimously.
Reports of the Committees
- Administrative Services, Natalie Beyer, Chair
- Redistricting for Board of Education Elections
Public Comment: None
Ms. Beyer introduced the agenda item and yielded to Mr. Osteen and Attorney Deborah Stagner.
Attorney Stagner stated that this information was presented to the Administrative Services Committee. She explained that the Board of Education is required to adjust its voting districts after each federal census to ensure that the population of each district is substantially equal. As a rule of thumb for local governments, election districts are considered sufficiently close in population if they are not more than five percent above or below that ideal size.
Attorney Stagner presented charts to explain the population deviations between the 2000 census and the 2010 census data. Voting precincts have been used to develop two alternatives to correct the population imbalances in the board of education voting districts. These alternatives are outlined below for consideration:
Precinct 4 is moved from District 3 to District 2
Precinct 21 is moved from District 4 to District 1
Precinct 21 is moved from District 4 to District 1
Precinct 40 is moved from District 3 to District 2.
It was announced that all of this information has been posted on the DPS website (www.dpsnc.net). The public will have a month to review this information online and will have the opportunity to share input regarding these alternatives with the board at a special board meeting scheduled for November 29, 2011 at 6:30 p.m. in the Fuller Administrative Building at 511 Cleveland Street.
Attorney Stagner explained that the redistricting must be approved by the February 2012 Board of Education candidate filing deadline.
Mr. Osteen stated that this item is provided for discussion. Administration will seek approval after the public input session.
Public Comment: None
Superintendent Becoats provided a detailed update on the Strategic Plan to include the following:
- Strategic Description
- Completion Date of Strategy
- Sponsor, Champion and Assistant Manager Overseeing Strategy
- Status and Comments of Strategy
Dr. Becoats explained the project charter process from the original inception to completion. He further explained that a more detailed report of the strategic plan will be presented to the board later this school year.
A brief discussion was held in response to questions from the board.
Ms. Carter thanked administration for their hard work on this very organized plan.
Chairperson Forte-Brown stated that this information is on the district’s web site (www.dpsnc.net) for the community to review.
- Instructional Services, Leigh Bordley, Chair
2010-2011 Academic Performance Report
Public Comment: None
Ms. Bordley introduced the item but yielded to Dr. Becoats to begin the presentation. Dr. Becoats provided a detailed overview of the academic update for school years 2009-2010 and 2010-2011. He explained the district is not where it wants to be but strides are being made in the right direction. He reviewed the following key components of this report to include:
- District Supports and Structures
- Strategic Plan 2014
- Design for Accelerated Progress
- Professional Development
- School Transformation and Innovation
- Area Support Model
- School Improvement Teams
- District Composite
- District End-of-Grade Composite
- District End-of-Course Composite
- Math 3-8 Subgroup Composites – in most categories of all races across the boards there are increases.
- Reading 3-8 Subgroup Composites – in most race categories, there is a slight increase across the board.
- Grades 4-5 Reading and Math Growth – met growth per state requirements in these categories in school year 2010-2011.
- Grade 6 -8 ABC Growth – with the exception of Grade 6 Math and Grade 7 Math, met growth in 2010-11
- Grade 9 – 12 ABC Growth – Algebra I did not meet growth either school year.
- Percent AYP Goals Met – percentage increased in 2010-11.
- Attendance - slight improvement in 2010-11.
- Suspension Rates – decreased in 2010-11
- Graduation Cohort Rate – graduation rate increased from 69.8% in 2009-10 to 73.9% in 2010-11.
- Advanced Placement Course Takers – the number of course takers increased in 2010-11
- AP Test Participation Rate – decrease in 2010-11.
- AP Test Participation by DPS, NC, and All Public Schools Subgroups
- AP Test Proficiency
Dr. Becoats yielded to Dr. Ferebee who stated that there is still more work to be done. He provided a detailed overview of the district’s focus for continued improvement to include:
- Employ job-embedded professional development
- Foster data-driven professional learning communities (PLCs)
- Provide resources, supports and professional development to enhance literacy instruction
- Strengthen positive behavior supports, alternative suspension and dropout prevention strategies
- Evaluate procedures for gifted identification and advanced course offerings.
A detailed discussion was held to include the following information:
- Superintendent Becoats provided an outline of the efforts underway to improve the Algebra I pass rate.
- Administration will provide more information regarding Pre-Algebra skills in the near future.
- The data dashboard has been updated and was provided at a committee meeting and has been posted on the website.
- State of the Schools report will be provided in early 2012 which will include academics, arts, and other areas.
- Free math tutoring is offered on Saturdays but has not been well attended. Parents were encouraged to use this free tutoring for math to improve the scores. Teachers also provide tutoring during the regular school day upon request.
- The Design for Accelerated Progress model is being used but the question was posed, “Is the progress accelerated enough?” Administration is working with the State to analyze the district’s data.
- Suspension rate decrease is great news and something to celebrate.
- Board requested that Dr. Ferebee provide the disaggregated by subgroup pass rate for AP exams.
Closed Session Motion
Chairperson Forte-Brown called for a motion to convene in closed session to consider confidential personnel matters under NCGS 143-318.11(a)(6) and 115C-319 and to establish or give instructions concerning the Board’s negotiating position related to a land acquisition or real property by purchase, option, exchange or lease, as provided in GS 143-318.11
Ms. Bordley made a motion to convene to closed session for the purposes stated. Seconded by Ms. Carter; the motion passed unanimously. The board convened in closed session at approximately 8:15 p.m.
The board reconvened in open session at approximately 10:05 p.m.
Superintendent Becoats recommended approval of the Personnel Reports and Substitute Teacher List dated October 27, 2011. On a motion by Ms. Cox; second by Ms. Parker; the motion passed unanimously.
Ms. Carter made a motion to approve the purchase of the portion of the parcel noted for $6,500 for the widening of Garrett Road and subsequent dedication to North Carolina Department of Transportation. The motion was seconded by Ms. Bordley and unanimously approved.
Ms. Carter made a motion to approve the acquisition of seven portions of property as listed for the required construction of sidewalk at Lakewood Middle Montessori School and subsequent dedication to North Carolina Department of Transportation. The motion was seconded by Ms. Cox and unanimously approved.
Chairperson Forte-Brown stated that the Board met on October 24, 2011 and this evening in closed session to discuss the Superintendent’s evaluation. The board is pleased to extend his contract for an additional year through 2015. Chairperson Forte-Brown explained that the board is pleased with his progress and look forward to continuing the good work of the district. The board unanimously approved the contract extension through 2015 for Superintendent Becoats.
There being no further business, the meeting adjourned at approximately 10:09 p.m.
Minnie M. Forte Brown, Chair
Durham Public Schools Board of Education
Dr. Eric J. Becoats, Superintendent
Durham Public Schools