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Meeting Name: CHARTER SCHOOL REVIEW COMMITTEE Agenda status: Final
Meeting date/time: 10/6/2020 5:00 PM Minutes status: Final  
Meeting location: City Hall, Room 301-A
This is a virtual meeting. Those wishing to view the proceedings are able to do so via the City Channel - Channel 25 on Spectrum Cable - or on the Internet at http://city.milwaukee.gov/citychannel.
Published agenda: Agenda Agenda Published minutes: Not available  
Meeting video: eComment: Not available  
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   1. Roll call.

Minutes note: Meeting convened: 5:01 P.M. Members present: Kevin Ingram, Ruben Burgos, Desiree Pointer Mace, Raynetta Hill. Aycha Sawa, Joyce Mallory and Naryean David Leazer
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   2. Review and approval of the minutes of the July 30th meeting.

Minutes note: Ms. Pointer-Mace moved, seconded by Mr. Burgos for approval of the minutes. There were no objections.
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190978 03.CommunicationCommunication relating to the 2019-21 activities of Darrel Lynn Hines College Preperatory Academy of Excellence.

Minutes note: Ms. Sue Gramling, Children's Research Center (CRC), said the school is located at 89th and Good Hope and this is their 18th annual report and they serve students K4-8th grade. 87.2% of their students are African American and 7.1% are special education with 81% of the students are eligible for free or reduced lunch. The school has met all of its provisions of its contract with the city. A lot of the score card measures couldn't be measured this year, but "engagement" could be measured, which did increase and the recommendations are to continue to focus on math and state standards and have data team sessions, which were implemented last year and were very successful, and to improve their data entry. The parent/board/student survey could not be done completely this year, but the majority of parents who did respond rated the school as "excellent" or "very good" and would recommend the school to other parents. All 7 of the board members were interviewed and they suggested ways to increase family involvement, increase the teacher/student ratio and create a means to share charter-school ideas. CRC recommends that the CSRC continue annual monitoring. Precious Washington - Executive Director Lois Fletcher - Principal Ms. Fletcher said the school is working on reaching all of its students virtually and data team meetings are still being hosted once a week. The school conducted virtual orientation sessions in the fall and 225 students were enrolled and 126 parents/families completed the online session so they are still in the process of getting the other 98 students situated by having administrative assistants assist them virtually. If this does not work, paperwork will be mailed to them. Parent/teacher conferences will be conducted virtually, but the format will be the same otherwise. The third Friday count was 225 students. The school provides support to students and families by putting within their schedules times for teachers and educational assistants to check in with their students to see how they're doing emotionally. They also work on giving their students the language to express themselves and they post strategies on how to monitor their mental and social health. Tech support is a team effort involving both tech support staff and teachers. Ms. Mallory asked if they thought the children were really engaged and learning. The beginning of the school year was focused on how to use the technology and now they are working on posting assignments, sharing their screens, and they are coming along. Staff is checking in with, and bouncing ideas off of, each other. So far, the school has not lost track of any of its students; if students aren't participating, they just drive out to the house. Ms. Sawa noticed that the number of students who withdrew last year was about 10% and she questioned if that was high. Ms. Sawa will speak with Ms. Gramling about her other questions. Andrea Rodriguez - citizen - asked if exit surveys had ever been conducted (they have not). Ms. Mallory moved, seconded by Mr. Burgos, for approval of annual monitoring. There were no objections.
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190977 04.CommunicationCommunication relating to the 2019-21 activities of Central City Cyberschool.

Minutes note: Ms. Sue Gramling said this is the 21st annual report and the school is in the middle of the Parklawn housing development. The school serves K4-9th grade, with 10 10th graders. 93% of the students are African American and 12.1% are special education with 100% eligible to receive free lunch. The school met all but one of its contract requirements and that was that all instructional staff have a license or permit; 2 teachers did not meet those requirements. The engagement indicators were about the same, but student and teacher retention both decreased from the previous year. The school had 455 students. CRC recommends that the school should focus on on-boarding new teachers better, increase mental health services to students and use trauma-informed practices and the board should develop an executive director process, which will be implemented this year. The school should also train teachers in using all aspects of its teaching software and provide sports outlets and create improved methods to report data that the CRC requires. 45% of the parents responded to the survey and 90%+ of the parents rated the school as "excellent" or "very good". The board members also rated the school very highly. CRC recommends annual monitoring. The school did address all of the recommendations from the prior year. Jessica Szymanski - Executive Director Leon Williams - K-8th Grade Director Patience Wade - High School Director Ms. Szymanksi said when COVID19 first struck, the focus began on on-boarding new teachers and a weekly meeting is set up to assist them. New teachers also have mentors. Last spring an MOU was signed to provide mental health support for students and teachers, which includes online videos, small group discussions and family consultation. This has been a huge support, particularly during this time of a global pandemic and a lot of racial unrest. Cyber High was new last year and the more time one spends at it, the better the person gets at it. Ms. Wade is in charge of project-based learning and the software program she uses is Headrush. She is working on getting teachers so they are all on the same page and introducing students to the classroom standards. Data team meetings are held the first week of every month and every morning there is a virtual staff meeting. The levels also have common time in the afternoon. They gave out 395 chrome books to families and parents were required to do the orientation and do the paperwork at that time and they met with nearly all of their families. They also added a "wellness team" this year to assist families struggling with technology and to support families who are struggling with online learning. They had 429 students at for the student count. Mr. Williams noted that it's harder to calculate attendance, but students are required to meet virtually with a teacher every morning and they do track students who don't participate in that. The "wellness team" will contact families whose children are not participating in school attendance. The teachers also have a scheduled one-on-one time with each student. Their attendance rate has averaged 87%. Professional development for teachers will be done virtually and a lot has been done daily with the 45 minutes that all staff meets every morning. Mr. Williams said the mental health services are very important to the school in terms of providing it for both students and staff. The school also purchased hot spots and tech support was provided as well. As it relates to the two unlicensed teachers - one was hired 2 weeks before the pandemic hit and the other teacher had a lifetime license for which a background check was needed. Mr. Ingram helped her with that. The teachers is no longer with them. Members commended the school for providing mental health services. Ms. Sawa excused from the rest of the meeting at 6:19 P.M. Ms. Pointer-Mace moved, seconded by Ms. Mallory, to continue annual monitoring. There were no objections.
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190979 05.CommunicationCommunication relating to the 2019-21 activities of Downtown Montessori Academy.

Minutes note: Ms. Sue Gramling said the school is located in Bayview and serves K3-8th grade and 311 students at the end of last year. 68% of the students are white and 17% are Latinx with 5.5% of the students receiving special education services and 14% receiving free or reduced lunches. The school met all of its requirements with the city. The engagement indicators had slight decreases, but all were over 95%. CRC recommendations did include having the staff become more familiar with technology. Over 98% of the 67 parents responding rated the school as "excellent" or "good"; 6 (of the 7) board members still want to expand the school facilities, such as getting a gym and continue to improve teacher benefits to retain teaching staff. CRC recommends continue annual monitoring. Virginia Flynn - Head of School Amy Goodenough - Assistant Head of School The teachers began to learn virtual teaching and learned to create videos of the lessons so they could access the information at their own pace and their own time; that seems to be working well. They also do a series of virtual meetings to support the teachers and give them the guides to support trauma, which many children are experiencing due to the general climate we're now in. They are working on creating a long-term partnership for mental health services with Saint A's. Each year the school thinks it is working at ways to better bring the data to CRC. They have data team meetings weekly and send home packets for the kids. They had an orientation at the beginning of the year - they did a meet and greet in the fall to pick up supplies and after that, the teachers have done virtual meetings to introduce parents and students on the responsibilities of being in that particular classroom. Parent/teacher conferences will be virtual and many of the older students are part of the conference and they will be held between October 19th and 30th. Their student count is 477 and they have 22 K3 students. For attendances, kids check in and students are monitored for virtual participation and work completion. Some students do their work at night and it varies widely based upon age. They had a week of professional development for staff in August and the same consultant offers one-on-one problem solving on Google Classroom. They do focus on their teacher well-being and the struggles they are having. They had staff take a course on anti-bias in Montessori training and taught them how to approach all levels of students with sensitivity and awareness. The school works on creating a space where kids can talk about their feelings and what is important to them. Standardized testing will be more difficult this year, particularly in providing equity and access. The school formed an "SEA" committee, which has 5 people and stands for "Student Engagement and Attendance" and is there to support families that are struggling with helping students stay on task and becoming involved. The art teacher will relate the activities to social and emotional support. They also provide tech support. Andrea Rodriguez - parent - asked about the procedure to handle parent complaints, she has equity concerns The Board didn't feel the concerns of Ms. Rodriguez fell under its purview unless concerns were expressed in the parent survey, which could be amended to address equity. The Committee is also willing to accept letters about any concerns. Ms. Rodriguez is working on creating a parent group and she would like the Committee to hold off on taking action. Ms. Mallory challenged both Ms. Flynn and Ms. Goodenough to resolve this issue with Ms. Rodriguez. Mr. Ingram said Downtown Montessori has to create a safe space for parents, not just students and conflict needs to be responded to and addressed. Ms Mallory moved, seconded by Ms. Hill, for annual monitoring. There were no objections.
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190980 06.CommunicationCommunication relating to the 2019-21 activities of Milwaukee Math and Science Academy.

Minutes note: Ms. Susan Gramling said the school has been chartered for 9 years by the city and is located at First and Burleigh. It serves children K4-8th grade and there were 219 students last year; 95.5% are African American and 13.2% are special education with 100% of the students eligible to receive free or reduced lunch. The engagement indicators were almost the same as the prior year for student return rates and and teacher return rates improved. The school did downsize last year to only one classroom per grade. One of the recommendations is to work on improving reading and math skills of the students. MMSA had 71% of parents respond to the survey, which was the highest percent of any of the four schools; 84% rated the school as "Excellent" or "Very good" and 82% would recommend the school to other parents Ms. Gramling did interview 3 of the 5 board members, who wanted to get more community involvement, hire more support staff and move to other facilities. The school has been in probation since fall of 2017. The school met all of its contract requirements and CRC recommends extending probation for the 2020-2021 school year with the expectation that a report will be provided to CSRC in February. 2021 is also the final year for the city contract with the city and CRC recommends extending the contract with the city for another five years with the understanding that the contract can be suspended at the end of 2021. Alper Akyurek - Principal Crystal Bielmeier - Assistant Principal Dr. Ali Ylmaz - MAESTRO Chris Austira - MAESTRO, Chief Education Officer The MAESTRO team is looking for a building, according to Mr. Akyurek and one has been located. The current building's lease ends in June 2021. Administration does meet with teachers bi-weekly focusing on how teachers engage their students. They are also focusing more on unit plans this year and end-of-year standards and how to achieve them. They are making sure that teachers explain what the classroom expectations are and they acknowledge positive behaviors and using positive, rather than negative, language. Teachers are also working on how to support their students in crisis and learn from one another, as well as professionals. They have grade-level meetings once per month. Teachers are also working with smaller groups so they can easily tell which students need more support. The school is unable to have 40 minutes of independent reading by the students at home, as they may not have books at home; they will do that once they return to a physical building. 100% of the parents/students attended the in-person orientation, which was done over 2 weeks in 20 situations with social distancing. It included 30-45 minutes of training on Moodle and had the students do what they would do as part of their studies. There are 4 parent/teacher conferences, which will be virtual in whatever format the parents can support; home visits will be done if no other alternatives exist. Their third Friday count was 206 students. Attendance is done as students log into the live lessons and also based upon completing course work that can be tracked. Their overall attendance is 90% with about 10 students having attendance issues, some due to wi-fi issues - none of their students have disappeared. Professional development involves training on how to use Moodle and other new software the school uses. They will continue to do professional development based upon staffs' needs, which can be addressed with webinars. Student assessments may not be as high as they have been due to distractions in the home. They are moving to STAR test, which can be given monthly, which will show how the student is doing over time. One of Ms. Bielmeier's concerns is that a parent may see a student struggling and then will step in and assist the student, rather than let him or her struggle. She fears that students, due to shorter on-line classes, won't have the attention span they need to do well on the Forward exam and in school once in-person education begins again. The school does offer two support hot lines, one for technology issues and the other for social issues. The school social worker does check in with students facing hardship at home. Friday tends to be a day for teachers to schedule assessments or one-on-one time with students needing extra help or special education students get to see their specialists. Ms. Bielmeier and a new staff member will work on proctoring tests and assessments so the teachers can continue with their live teaching sessions. Ms. Pointer-Mace moved, seconded by Ms. Mallory, to extended probation for the 2020-2021 school year with the expectation that a mid-year report will be submitted in February 2021. CSRC will consider a 5-year contract extension.
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