School board OKs Marietta’s second charter application
by Lindsay Field
October 10, 2012 02:32 AM | 3699 views | 1 1 comments | 11 11 recommendations | email to a friend | print
Marietta Superientendent Emily Lembeck. <br> File photo
Marietta Superientendent Emily Lembeck.
File photo
MARIETTA — After months of planning and collecting data, the Marietta City School Board unanimously approved Superintendent Dr. Emily Lembeck’s recommendation to submit the district’s second charter system application to the state by Nov. 1.

The group also heard from Marietta Middle School principal Dr. Tim Jones about how his students improved in all testing categories last year, and from Hickory Hills Elementary School’s new principal, Kristen Beaudin, who reported that her students continue to show strides on national and state assessments.

Additionally, the board learned that the Marietta High School auditorium currently under construction is still on schedule to be completed in late July.

If the state approves the district’s 45-page charter system application in spring, it would run between 2013 and 2018.

Lembeck, who has been working closely with her staff since August to prepare the document, highlighted a few changes for the board and said that this application is allowing them to “re-envision the time, place and talent that we have.”

Outlined in the document are plans for how the district will meet achievement goals, use staff in the classroom and identifies waivers that will allow it to implement new practices if necessary.

“Staff has worked very, very hard,” Lembeck said. “It covers just about any part of the business.”

She also said she believes the petition addresses changes in how students are being educated.

Board Member Stuart Fleming recommended the district follow the goals stressed in the application for each grade level or school and plan to revisit annually to hold themselves accountable.

Board Chair Jill Mutimer said, “I felt this document was very well-written and focused on the areas that we do need to improve on and I thought it was specific and data-driven and I was very pleased with it. I’m real excited about this.”

Tony Fasola, who represents Ward 2, described the application as “ambitious.”

During the scorecard presentations on both Marietta Middle and Hickory Hills Elementary, principals showed board members how their students fared between the 2010-2011 and 2011-2012 school years on the Criterion-Referenced Competency Tests, IOWA and eighth grade writing assessment, and explained how the teacher numbers, attendance and parent involvement looked.

“We’re extremely proud of the results but also very cognizant of the fact that we are still a work in progress,” Jones said when speaking about his school’s across-the-board improvements. “We have not arrived.”

In order to achieve these vast increases, Jones said the school has realigned the curriculum in math, incorporated 45-minute tutoring sessions for English/Language Arts and Social Studies and implemented a “professional learning environment” in the science classes.

On the writing assessment, he said there was a slight drop in the “meets” and “exceeds” category; but with the re-implementation of writing conferences and Saturday writing clinics, he foresees that score going back up after this school year.

“I haven’t seen another report where we saw across-the-board increases in both the meets and exceeds, so job well done,” said Board Vice Chair Randy Weiner.

Beaudin, who replaced retired principal Diana Mills at Hickory Hills, thanked the board for giving her an opportunity to give them a broad overview of how the students did the last two years.

She explained that reading scores were “pretty strong,” but added that they will begin to put more focus toward increasing the percentage of students who exceed the standards.

Beaudin said they are also working with a parent liaison to try and offer on-site tutoring at various apartment complexes at least once a month for students whose parents can’t provide transportation for the school’s current after- school tutoring two days a week.

“It’s a process but hopefully with word of mouth it will catch on,” she said.

Board Member Tom Cheater asked if that had been practiced before, getting a “no” from district staff, and said he would be interested to see how it turns out.

“With everything you have going on and your energy and enthusiasm, I bet we’re going to see improvement next year,” Mutimer said. “I’m excited.”

In regards to the construction at Marietta High, Bob Sussenbach with CGLS of Atlanta reported that the project is about 23 percent complete, still on schedule to be done around July 28, and that two change orders valued at a total of $53,000 have been used, with funds being pulled from the contingency account.

Sussenbach also said the stage and ramp concrete slab are being poured, they have matched the exterior brick of the building “pretty” closely to the high school’s main building and that they are still “nailing down” colors for the interior but should have that information for the board at the November meeting.

In other business, the board approved:

n A $24,960 contract with S&S Flooring Company Inc. of Marietta to install carpet in 11 classrooms at West Side Elementary School off Polk Street in Marietta

n A $22,050 purchase of a NeoFlex Textile printer with a Federal CTAE Perkins Program Improvement Grant for the graphics lab at Marietta High School.

The printer will allow students in the Graphics Communications and Graphics Design Career Pathways opportunities to print various curriculum-based projects. Students will be able to create various t-shirt designs according to specified criteria and then print t-shirt(s) with the design.

The recommended machine also has the additional capability of printing to plastics, wood, metals, glass, vinyl, leather, ceramic, stone and canvas with an additional purchase.
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October 10, 2012
To lower the number of students retained and increase the graduation rate it is important to implement programs, activities, and procedures for the involvement of parents. To increase parental involvement, community collaboration and business partnerships the MCS Office of Communications must take a more active role. The Office of Communication should take more responsibility in parent involvement activities to encourage and support the efforts of home, school and community in the school system. The Superintendent should start holding the Office of Communications accountable.
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