Chairman Henderson explained that due to time constraints, each item on the Order of Business will be allotted a certain amount of time. If more information is needed, the issue will be brought to another workshop unless the Board wishes to allow more time.
Ms. Kneessy began the discussion. She introduced Ms. Terry Tomaka, head of the Family Liaison Project. Ms. Tomaka introduced Jim Gerhauser, Emily Dewoody and Terri Heroe. Ms. Kneessy said she wanted to have an opportunity to get an action plan to improve services in Brevard County. Ms. Tomaka began by saying that the support she receives from ESE District personnel is phenomenal. She discussed some of the issues they are facing.
Ms. Kneessy spoke about inclusion and wanted to expand strategies to help students in the classroom. Ms. Dewoody said that Ocean Breeze Elementary is a good example of a school that has utilized multiple ways to include students. Ms. Dewoody said another area she finds that needs more attention is transitioning. Ms. Kneessy asked the District ESE staff what we are doing when a middle school student needs more assistance. Dr. Bobersky said they are looking at more staffing in middle and high schools. She explained about certification issues.
Dr. Thedy explained that Dr. Bobersky has been working with principals all year long (especially in the middle schools) regarding how they staff ESE programs. She said that one of the things they are working with principals on is staffing.
Ms. Kneessy wanted to know who has final say over the utilizations of allocations. Dr. Murray further clarified the question and Ms. Pace responded. Dr. Murray confirmed with Mr. Bistline that federal law concerning ESE staffing would override a principal using an ESE allocation in another area.
There was some suggestion by Ms. Kneessy that our current processes are not always working. Mr. Ziegler asked for clarification regarding who allocates units and who gets to choose which units receive allocation. Dr. Bobersky explained that there is an instructional allocation manual that is based on weighted and non weighted FTE that says how many students based on a matrix make a unit. Dr. Bobersky said that is Part I of the training she gives to principals.
Ms. Tomaka said that the District need to make sure that teachers are attending the trainings. She relayed some concerns that parents have.
As Dr. Murray was listening, she made some notes and said that you could divide the issues mentioned into categories. She felt that the same schools continued to have the same problems and she said that she believes it goes back to the lack of oversight from the District to building level administrators. Dr. Murray expressed impatience with items always being monitored instead of genuine strategies developed that include authentic follow-up to those showing patterns of lack of interest. There should be documentation inside personnel files to indicate the type of improvement plan the administrators are placed and the progress toward those plans.
Mr. Ziegler said that he wondered if this is too much responsibility for our site level administrators. He said that everyone cannot be an expert in all areas. He asked if our parents have a place to discuss their concerns and do they know where to voice those concerns.
Ms. Tomaka said parents do know about the Family Liaison Project. She went on to say that RTI has been delaying children getting services. She discussed having teachers that work well with exceptional students not getting renewed. She said that the schools need more behavior techs. Ms. Tomaka said they give free training.
Dr. Bobersky said starting this year, she and Pam Treadwell have gone to District meetings, offering free training, and training on comments. They have started giving out uniform and consistent information to principals in writing that includes best practices. She informed the Board about the various trainings they are offering including ones this summer.
Dr. Murray said she would like to see teacher training for all teachers as it relates to behavioral matters on professional development day, with an emphasis on special needs.
Dr. Binggeli expressed that he felt that he had heard some very good discussion. He said that our principals do care about our students and the District needs to give them the tools they need.
Ms. Kneessy wanted to know as a result of this meeting what the action plan was going to that the Board can monitor.
Ms. Henderson said they need some strategies for improvement for staffing, including training for staff and substitutes, principals and improvement plans and process improvement. Ms. Henderson complimented Dr. Bobersky.