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Site Council Minutes
Dec. 17, 2014

Washburn Site Council Minutes

Members in Attendance

Staff: Tom Arneson, Nilo Guanzon, Peter Grul, Rebecca Felland - Syring, Rich Flint, Tristen Lindemann, Lisa Quist, Mike Wedl, Jennifer Lindquist, Rhonda Dean, Margaret Richardson, Virginia de la Riva, Brad Peterson, Martin Abrams

Students: Lulu Bauermeister and Haley Maus

Guests: Nelson Inz, School Board Member elect, Cathy McCarron, David Genrich

Rich Flint and Virginia de la Riva opened the meeting and introductions were made

Common Grading Practices / Syllabi

Departments / PLCs (professional learning communities) are meeting to coordinate grading practices for formative (ie, homework, projects, extra credit) and summative (quizzes and final tests).  The goal is to make grading the same for each section of a class and fair for all students. The goal is to also have a balance between the formative and summative assessments so too much weight is not places on final or one time tests. To give students the opportunity to show the information they have mastered rather than having hard and fast deadlines that penalize students too harshly for missed work or missed deadlines. Best practices (as implemented in other districts like Minnetonka, Bloomington and Moundsview) will inform these changes. Changes are to start second semester. 

Leadership Updates
7 period day - no update from the District.

Principal Dean is working with teachers to offer more zero hour classes before school and 7th hour classes after school. Each department has teachers who are willing to work an altered schedule.  The challenge is to develop electives that can be delivered in the Fall.

Auditorium Renovation
The administration met with the design team and the project is moving to bid. The plan is for the renovation to begin June 1 through late October / mid November.

Washburn classroom expansion
Funds have been reallocated from the Wilder expansion instead to increase classrooms at Washburn by 6 - 8 by Fall 2015. This initial phase will help offset the additional approx. 150 students expected Fall 2015.  These classrooms will be made through reclaiming space currently within the Washburn building footprint. The second phase will add an additional 4 - 6 classrooms potentially by building onto the science wing. Funds for the two phases are approx. $9 million.

World Language Pathways
With the growth of Washburn, an additional World Language class will need to be offered at Washburn. Feeder schools now offer primarily Spanish, but Arabic is being offered at Ramsey. There is interest among Ramsey students and their parents in continuing to offer Arabic language at Washburn. However, because no other feeder schools offer Arabic, building a World Language program around Arabic is difficult.

Feeder schools offer these languages:
Ramsey - Arabic, Spanish
Anthony - French, Japanese, Spanish
Field - French, Spanish
Barton - Spanish
Lake Harriet - Spanish
Green Central - ?

Issues
When building the master schedule for the school. 40 students are needed to pick Arabic for the class to run because based on other choices in their schedules, realistically only 32 - 35 students will be able to take Arabic. If you run a class with under that amount of students, other classes must have larger class size to accommodate the smaller Arabic class.
Offering a “singleton” class means the Arabic teacher will only have 1 class a day at Washburn to begin with
There are only a handful of licensed Arabic teachers in MN
Sustainability is difficult. Right now there are 7 sections of Spanish 1, 4 of Spanish 2, 1 of Spanish 3 and 1 of Spanish 5 / 6.
The Middle Years Program (MYP) requires students to take a World Language, but because there is no language requirement to graduate, students stop taking language classes in 11th and 12th grade.
Funding is complicated

Blended Learning or Online Learning could offer a solution. However, space and the appropriate technology is needed. A fully outfitted online classroom would cost approximately $100,000. Space at Washburn would also be a problem.