The three-hour session focused on an expanded list of schools. The list presented at the Sept. 7 work session had 32 schools; the expanded list had 37. Five elementary schools were added.
The Board session began with a presentation by Meaghan Loftus, a compliance facilitator and special education teacher at Cochrane, and Carol Rodd, now principal of the School of Business and Finance at Garinger. The presentation summarized a study completed by Loftus during a summer internship in the CMS planning department, which looked at the effects of homelessness and frequent school moves on academic achievement. The study found that the more students move, the less likely they are to succeed in school. Homeless students have a high level of mobility.
Several of the schools on the list have large homeless populations and Board members discussed the challenges inherent in successfully educating these students, as well as other challenges present at the schools.
Poverty, homelessness and frequent school changes are present at many schools on the list, and Board Chairman Eric C. Davis said that educating poor and homeless students is the particular challenge facing CMS.
“This is the crux of the issue we’re dealing with,” he said, characterizing it as “a test of our will.”
The Sept. 9 meeting continues a series of Board workshops and public forums intended to engage the public in improving CMS and to help the Board establish a framework for improvement. The public forums began in June and continued during the summer. The Board adopted its guiding principles in August and first applied them on Sept. 7, when the list of schools needing changes was introduced.
Called The Case for Continuous Improvement: A Comprehensive Review of CMS, the process used by the Board will help it refine policy in such areas as transportation, student assignment, magnet lottery and other district operations.
Staff will offer further recommendations to the Board Sept. 14. Public comment on the recommendations will begin after Sept. 28.
To see the presentation on homelessness and student achievement, click here. To see the presentation on schools in need of change, click here.