Wednesday, April 30, 2008

Board of Directors Meeting / AGENDA 4-30-2008


an authorized Neighborhood Network Center

Meeting Agenda

April 30, 2008 or May 7, 2008

26 Leanne Lane

Pontiac, MI 48340

(248) 338-7346/(248) 338-4771 (fax)

    1. Call to Order
    2. Roll Call
    3. Adoption of Agenda
    4. Approval of Yapo CLC Board of Directors’ Minutes – April 16, 2008

    1. Approval of Yapo CLC Board of Directors’ Minutes – April 2, 2008

    1. Approval of Yapo CLC Board of Directors’ Minutes – March 5, 2008

    1. Approval of Yapo CLC Board of Directors’ Minutes – February 14, 2008

    1. Executive Director’s Report
    2. Old Business
      1. Review and Approve By-Laws
      2. Nominate and Elect Board Officers
      3. Review and Approve Name Change/Logo
      4. Website

    1. Treasurer’s Report
      1. Corporate Book
      2. Review and Approve Budget
      3. Fundraisers
          1. Silent Auction
          2. Restaurant Days
          3. Bowl-A-Thon

    1. Announcements

    1. Adjourn

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Monday, April 28, 2008

Truth, Trust, Deeds!


Honest Data on High School Dropouts

Published: April 28, 2008

The No Child Left Behind Act of 2002 was supposed to create clear, reliable data that told parents how local schools stacked up against schools elsewhere in the nation. It has not worked that way, thanks in part to timidity at the Department of Education, which initially allowed states to phony up even the most basic data on graduation rates. Education Secretary Margaret Spellings took a welcome step in the right direction by issuing new rules for how those rates are calculated.

By the 2012-13 school year, states will have to use the generally accepted way of computing their dropout rate. That means tracking students from the day they enter high school until the day they receive regular diplomas, counting as nongraduates those who leave without the diploma. This method was endorsed three years ago by the National Governors Association, which realized that accurate graduation rates were a vital indicator of how well the schools were doing.

Had the federal government led the way on this issue instead of waiting to see how the wind was blowing the country would already have built a sound data collection system.

Instead, we went through a period during which some states wrote off students who dropped out in grade 9, 10 or 11, which allowed them to report a bogus graduation rate based on the number of graduates who began the year in the senior class. Other states brightened a grim picture by including G.E.D. recipients, who were actually dropouts and should have been counted as such. Not surprisingly, the state-reported rates were nearly always higher than the estimates derived from the cumulative method.

It’s a relief to know that honest graduation rates are on the way.

Sunday, April 27, 2008

Pontiac School District sees tech study as dire need

PUBLISHED: Wednesday, April 23, 2008

Pontiac school district sees tech study as dire need

Of The Oakland Press

Herrington Elementary students Candace Johnson (center) and Adonnis Loving use laptop computers on Tuesday, with guidance from teacher Michael Mickens.

The Oakland Press/DOUG BAUMANPONTIAC - Up-to-date technology is critical to the success of the Pontiac school district's five-year strategic plan to improve schools, district officials say.

That is why Interim Superintendent Calvin Cupidore called on the Oakland Schools intermediate district to do an assessment of the school district's existing technology. A report is expect- ed in the next few weeks.

"Technology is one of the linchpins of the whole plan," said Cupidore. "You are only as good as the technology support. It affects the whole aspect of our district."

Oakland Schools' review is designed to give a road map of enhancements that could benefit and enhance the technology department and delivery of services throughout the district, he said. "It is something that has been embraced by the board of education and the administration has initiated this for overall strategic planning," Cupidore said.

This is one of several projects Oakland Schools has initiated as part of what has become an ongoing partnership with the struggling Pontiac schools.

The technology assessment, like some other projects by intermediate district consultants, is being done at the expense of Oakland Schools. In other situations, the Pontiac school district has hired some Oakland Schools consultants on a temporary basis to help improve the district's services to students.

Additionally, Oakland Schools Superintendent Vickie Markavitch and her staff have been giving workshops to board members to help them improve governance, something Trustee Christopher Northcross said he appreciates.

"I'm excited about this particular operational review," Cupidore said. "And it will be even more exciting when we begin to implement more technology in our operations."

Cupidore said updating technology in the district would not only be good for students in the classroom, but would allow assessment data gathering to provide better instruction. Personnel development, accounting and financial reporting also would also be enhanced.

With new equipment and programs, all students will have the opportunity to learn to apply technology so they are prepared for a career when they complete school. It could also open up more communication between schools and parents, Cupidore added.

The goal for technology should be the same as the goal of the new curriculum - "The same from site to site and grade to grade," Cupidore said.

"Technology helps the teachers deliver effective curriculum and helps children learn a variety of subjects as well as how to use the technology and its real-world applications," Cupidore said.

"Look around and see what technology is used in career fields. It is all over. Everywhere you look, its application is felt.

"You've got to compete in a global world and it should be part of your development. You have to have it," Cupidore said.

Markavitch said the intermediate district serves all the county school districts.

"We have had other districts ask us to do an assessment of their technology systems. We've done human resource reviews and business office reviews and sometimes curriculum reviews," Markavitch said.

"We do this when a local district wants an outside view of how things are working. Sometimes we come in with our own people or we contract it out," sometime to retirees who are experts in those fields, she said.

"I believe our people started earlier this month and are working under the direction of Tammy Evans, director of Oakland Schools technology.

"It is a very comprehensive review," Markavitch said. "We will look at all the systems, infrastructure, equipment, training needs of personnel, business systems and whether they are integrated so they can speak to one another."

The team is also evaluating whether programs need upgrades or replacing.
Cupidore said the report will be part of the administration's strategy for the goal of technology development.

Coming up with funding to support development may not be easy. But Cupidore said under the plan, funds are going to be redirected to where they most help students in the classroom.

There are funds that district administrators can apply for to help with technology and officials hope to form some partnerships to get more computers in the classroom as well, said Cupidore.

He pointed to state Rep. Tim Melton's efforts to provide computers throughout the community where students can take advantage of them.

The district also plans to continue to apply for matching funds under a special program called E-Rate, which has helped the district pay for hard wiring and technical equipment.

According to the Web site, the E-Rate program (Education Rate) was created under the Telecommunications Act of 1996, which required telecommunications providers to give discounted services to schools and libraries.

The program has provided such discounts for telecommunication, Internet access and internal connections amounting to about $2.5 million nationwide annually. Cupidore said the district matches 15 percent of the cost.

Contact staff writer Diana Dillaber Murray at (248) 745-4638 or

"Renewal for the Pontiac School District. A Strategic Action Plan."

PUBLISHED: Tuesday, April 22, 2008

School board reveals long-awaited strategic plan

Of The Oakland Press
PONTIAC - In a celebratory atmosphere, trustees unveiled new goals and a new commitment to do whatever is necessary to improve student achievement in Pontiac schools.

For new school Board President Damon Dorkins and Vice President Gill Garrett "it feels like 'Day One' of a new school district," Dorkins said. The board held a news conference Monday night to release its 'Renewal for the Pontiac school District: A Strategic Action Plan.'

Dorkins and Garrett said they are hoping for strong parental and community support to carry out the plan. The two school board leaders pulled back black velvet curtains to reveal the board's new Vision, Beliefs and Commitments and Core Values, written on large boards decorated with colorful charts firmly attached to board room walls in the Odell Nails Administration Building.

"The strategic plan will allow us to address all of the problems and concerns identified in a comprehensive study conducted last year by the Chartwell Education Group," Dorkins said. Chartwell is led by former U.S. Department of Education Secretary Rod Paige. Scott Jenkins has been Paige's representative in the district for more than a year.

Dorkins said the plan will implement 'revolutionary change.'

The six core values the board announced for the district are safe and orderly schools, student learning as the central priority, accountability at all levels, respect for diversity, parents as partners and community ownership of the district.

Dorkins said the board and administration have already accomplished much in the last four months, even before the plan was made public. Garrett said the board wanted a vision, values, goals and beliefs and commitment that everyone could see every time they came into the school administration building.

Trustees will insist on setting high expectations for every child and will provide the resources to ensure they can attain those goals, he said.

Under the strategic plan, the board expects the administration and teachers to ensure all schools in the district will meet the annual yearly progress goal set by the federal No Child Left Behind program by the year 2013. At this time, 70 percent of schools have achieved that goal. In fact, the number achieving AYP have declined since 2005.

In addition, the plan dictates that all Pontiac students will significantly increase scores on standardized achievement tests, including the ACT college readiness exam, the Michigan Merit Examination, the Michigan Educational Assessment Program and a quarterly assessment program done within the district. Average scores now are below state averages.

Linda Paramore, acting chief academic officer, said for the new district curriculum to be successful, it will take parental involvement.

"When parents send their children to school they have to send those high expectations from home," she said.

City activist Brenda Causey-Mitchell said, "We need a plan to bring parents into the school and engage them when they get there."

Garrett said that in the past, schools had always played the role of community centers and he'd like to see that happen again. Trustee Alma Bradley-Pettress pointed out, "We listened to the community and made sure all their priorities are in this plan."

For her part, Trustee Karen Cain said, "We've already started under Dr. Paramore. The curriculum already has been strengthened this last year and she has been training teachers.

Trustee Robert Bass said getting ready to announce the strategic plan made him "feel like a kid with a new toy who couldn't wait to pull it out of the bag."

Bass said resources will be redirected to classroom instruction. Trustee Christopher Northcross said he will be happy to see the district use data from testing to improve teaching and student achievement.

Key to everything is upgrading technology, not only for students, but to analyze data, and support teachers.

Dorkins acknowledged former board President Letyna Roberts for having the vision to begin the process in 2006 with Chartwell, and former board President April Hernandez for her work to move the strategic plan forward.

Paige, chairman of Chartwell, said in a written statement, "the strategic action plan is the result of the board's diligence and perseverance.

"My colleagues and I are proud to have been part of this endeavor that will help ensure a revitalized school district and a bright future for all of the children in this community."