Board of Education

Board of Education
40 South Second Street
Oakland, MD 21550
Phone 301.334.8931
Fax 301.334.7621

Minutes March 1, 2005




Tuesday, March 1, 2005


            Part I - Call to Order

        Mr. Rodney L. Durst, President of the Garrett County Board of Education called the meeting to order at 7:35 p.m. following the FY2006 Superintendent's Proposed Budget Presentation. Members in attendance included Mrs. Madeleine Collins, Vice President; Mr. James M. Raley, Mrs. Camilla Rawe, and Mrs. Charlotte Sebold, associate members; and Dr. Wendell Teets, Superintendent of Schools.

        Ms. Laura Costa, student member, was unable to attend.

            Part II - Acceptance of Agenda

        Upon a motion by Mrs. Rawe, seconded by Mrs. Collins, the agenda was unanimously approved as presented.

            Part III - Freshman Seminar Discussion

        Dr. Teets introduced the presenters, Mrs. Lynn Bell, Director of Secondary Education, 9-12 and Mr. Gary Reichenbecher, Principal of Northern Garrett High School. Dr. Teets stated that he was pleased with the Freshman Seminar program modification which had been developed to address some of the parent concerns which had been expressed at the February 8, 2005 Board meeting.

        Mr. Reichenbecher thanked Jennifer Raley, reporter for the Cumberland Times-News for the recent articles regarding Northern High School projects.

        Mr. Reichenbecher provided an overview of the Freshman Seminar focusing on its development, its evaluation, and its refinement.

        Mr. Reichenbecher reviewed the positive and negative input received from students at the end of the course. Under positive comments, students noted the books used, useful information (study skills, note taking), group discussion (relaxed, comfortable), and films (recommended by books and character education films). Under the negative comments students noted the books, guest speakers (did not connect with teenagers), and a desire for more hands-on activities. The most frequently expressed concern was the impact of the Freshman Seminar on scheduling options.

        Mr. Reichenbecher also reviewed teacher comments. In a survey teachers stated positives of the Freshman Seminar as the orientation, study skills, media/technology, and character education. Teachers also responded that study skills and communication/social skills were the most difficult to teach and that resources needed improvement in these particular areas.

        Mr. Reichenbecher reviewed the program options which were considered:

  • Eliminate the course
  • Offer a waiver
  • Offer the course as an elective
  • Schedule the course during a Remediation/Acceleration/Advisory Period

        After reviewing the course and evaluative data available, it was determined that scheduling the course during the Remediation/Acceleration/Advisory Period was the best option. This provides a needed .5 credit Freshman Seminar course to everyone while allowing for the course to be offered without impacting course selection.

        Mr. Reichenbecher then gave an overview of the current remediation period schedule. He reviewed the instructional hours for 2005-2006 for the delivery of the Freshman Seminar showing a total of approximately 55 hours of instruction. This will allow for the implementation of the Freshman Seminar and the awarding of .5 credit.

        In reviewing the bell schedule from 2004-2005, Mr. Reichenbecher explained that there are currently 222 minutes per week for classes. With the offered program modifications there will be 221 minutes per week for classes.

        Board member questions revolved around the scheduling. It was clarified that freshmen will receive 7.5 credits their freshman year. Mr. Raley asked if this program modification had been reviewed with the School Improvement Team. Mr. Reichenbecher said that, while there had been no opportunity to review with the team as of yet, staff member input had been considered. He also clarified that clubs currently meet on a monthly basis and that this schedule would continue.

        Ms. Amy Hartung-Jones, parent, expressed concern that with homeroom being joined with first period the students would no longer have a homeroom teacher for four years. Ms. Hartung-Jones also asked for further clarification of the schedule after the first nine weeks. Mr. Reichenbecher explained that the weekly schedule would include one (1) day of remediation period and one (1) day of a Freshman Seminar period for remainder of the year. Ms. Hartung-Jones expressed positive support of the remediation period. Mrs. Bell noted that the advisor during the advisor/advisee monthly period will be consistent for four years.

        Ms. Judy Pittman, parent, asked for clarity about the number of days. Mr. Reichenbecher clarified that Tuesday and Thursday will be remediation all year for upperclassmen, and freshman will have Freshman Seminar one period and Remediation one period.

        Ms. Collins thanked the staff for thinking 'out of the box' and expressed appreciation for the speed with which the program modification was developed. Ms. Collins expressed some concern with the afternoon instructional time allotments stating she would be interested in hearing teacher feedback.

        Mrs. Sebold suggested that we might want to consider a parent survey in the future.

        Mr. Raley asked for clarification regarding instructional time for teachers, especially during periods 5, 6, and 7. Mr. Reichenbecher responded that in the afternoon, teachers would have the same number of minutes over the entire year, while morning classes would be one minute less. Mr. Raley stated that staff had found a fantastic compromise, but reminded staff there was also concern with the redundancy of the course and its content. Mr. Reichenbecher assured Mr. Raley that improvements will be made in the delivery of the Freshman Seminar course.

        Ms. Judy Pittman expressed concern that bad study habits had been formed before entering high school. It was suggested that in the future there should be a review of the inclusion of study skills at the middle school level to determine improvement needs.

            Part IV - Adjournment

        By consensus, the Board adjourned the meeting at 8:30 p.m.

________________________________________ _______________________________________
Rodney L. Durst Wendell D. Teets
President Secretary/Treasurer
Approved:   March 8, 2005