The following notes are taken by volunteers. Every effort has been made to provide an accurate and timely record.  

Upper Darby School District
February 24, 2015

Education & Pupil Services Committee Meeting

  1. Middle School Schedule and Electives

DHMS Principal, Frank Salerno, and BHMS Principal, Kelley Simone, presented on the current MS schedule and their proposal for changes.

Currently – Proficient or Advanced students on the PSSA are eligible for up to two extra electives per semester (90-day courses). Students not in those categories are in remediation courses, students may not move in and out of electives.

Proposal – Autonomy to make decisions relative to students in remediation courses throughout the year, ability to change eligibility criteria for movement in and out of electives and interventions and the use of MAP, curricular assessment, teacher input and parent input for those elective courses.

Proposed timeline

  • March 24th – MS course cards back to MS Administration
  • Week of April 27th – letter to parents about eligibility of their child for electives and interventions
  • Week of May 4th – 6th and 7th grade online course selection
  • There will be a session led by Mr. Salerno and Ms. Simone at the Parent Forum on March 19th at UDHS. A MS planning team will also be created to work on the new process of interventions and electives. New electives are being created and will be shared with parents. Parent ‘override’ of electives or interventions is possible.

School Board Action: A Board vote is required for these proposed changes. This agenda item will be brought before the entire Board at the next School Board meeting.

  1. Project Based Assessments/Keystone Exams

Mr. Dan McGarry presented about the Project Based Assessments of the Keystone Exams given by UDSD to students beginning in 9th grade in Algebra, Biology and Literature. He explained these projects may be completed within a credit based course, on a weekend or after school or within a Keystone remediation course.

There is no religious opt out option for project based assessments. There continues to be a religious opt out for the Keystone Exams.

School Board Action: This was information only for the Board.

  1. PSSA Testing Administrators

Mr. Dan McGarry presented about the continuous changes in the PA Dept of Education that leads them to give new rules about who can administer the PSSAs. PDE sets the rules that a homeroom teacher or a teacher of that content area cannot administer the test. UDSD wants to ask permission to allow the homeroom teachers to administer the test. It would save time, energy and hours of work, planning substitutes and rearranging teachers throughout the school.

The Board questioned what the consequence was of not following the PDE rules. While PDE ‘strongly suggests’ to have non-homeroom teachers administer, it can be worked around. Public relations for the district may be a concern and how it is perceived.

School Board Action: This resolution needs to move to a School Board vote at the next meeting.

  1. School Performance Profile Update and Calculation Change

Mr. Dan McGarry explained that the ELA (English Language Arts) multiplier for calculating the school’s SPP has been changed to 15%, meaning it is more heavily weighted toward that area. This was just announced in October 2014.

School Board Action: This was information only for the Board.

Public comments:

  • What about the students on the lower bottom of the scale of the PSSA? What are we overlooking teaching them?
  • Electives need more seats in the courses currently offered.
  • AYP was the old process and ‘average’ kids became lost in the system. Now there seems to be a race to get the SPP data. Maybe the community needs to come together and decide if this is harming the students and community. It seems we are constantly chasing the test.
  • There is currently a large opt-out movement for parents and the PSSA. Will this opt out movement force the hand of PDE to reconsider the Keystone Exams and the PSSA?
  • What penalties are associated with opting out? Can there be financial ramifications for the district?

Upper Darby School District
February 24, 2015

Finance and Operations Committee Meeting

  1. Tax Collection Software

Mr. Ed Smith and Mr. Joe Troy informed the Board about the current state of their tax collection software – the server is old and runs on an old operating system. To outsource the tax collection for the district for approximately 28-29,000 tax bills would cost $50-70,000 annually.

There is also the preferred option of outsourcing to the Berks County IU, which runs tax collection for approximately 30 plus districts. UDSD would use their software to track and monitor tax collection. This would be approximately $17,250 annually, plus printing and mailing costs, which have already been budgeted for.

School Board Action: This requires the Board to be informed of the options, reach consensus and then present a resolution in March 2015.

  1. Charter School Verification/Payment Process

Mr. Ed Smith and Mr. Dan McGarry informed the Board that all charter schools are required to send the district enrollment verification forms, stating who is enrolled. Mr. Smith received forms from the West Philadelphia Charter School, a K-5 school in Philadelphia, which raised red flags. They stated they had 27 UDSD students in their school, but some forms were not complete and some information was puzzling.

Mr. McGarry would like to reinstate that ALL charter school students register within UDSD, as they are essentially ALL public school students, paid for by UDSD. This reregistration would ensure we have correct names, addresses, and parent/guardians for all students. UDSD currently pays $5 million in charter school tuition a year. Mr. McGarry also plans to Right to Know request the Philadelphia School District for a list of who attends this charter school from Philadelphia School District. Their calls to PSD to get this information have resulted in nothing so far. If students are found to be enrolled in both districts, or illegally enrolled, then UDSD can proceed with a disenrollment hearing for each student.

School Board Action: This is new business for the Board.

  1. Modified Duty Process/Policy

Mr. Dan Nerelli and Mr. Ed Smith presented the first reading of this policy which would allow injured or workers compensation injured workers in UDSD to return to duty earlier. They would be allowed to come back as a UDHS hall monitor, and this would require the Board to develop a policy about it. It would be for a thirty day trial period at $11 an hour. It would help the High School and allow employees to return sooner.

School Board Action: The Board needs to approve the first reading and make any changes to the policy before the second reading.

  1. Food Service/Early Dismissal Lunch

Mr. Dan McGarry explained that there are currently twelve early dismissals in the school calendar this year, with eight remaining from now until the end of the year. We have 63% of the students in UDSD qualifying for free or reduced lunch. There are many students who may go home on an early dismissal day without having the chance to have lunch.

On March 4, 2015 at Bywood Elementary School, the district will pilot a program where students will receive their free or reduced lunch in a bag delivered to their classroom. They will have a chance to eat in the classroom before they leave for the day, or to take it home to eat it.

School Board Action: This was information only for the Board.

  1. 2015-16 Preliminary Budget Update

Mr. Ed Smith presented that the 2005 bond for the district is in the process of being refinanced. He will also know retirees within the district by the end of March.

School Board Action: This was information only for the Board.

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