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Minutes from the ILTC grant reading, December 21, 2007


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Minutes from the ILTC grant reading, December 21, 2007

  1. 1. Minutes from the ILTC grant reading December 21, 2007 The meeting was called to order at 9:00 a.m. Commission members in attendance included Bill Decker, Ann Watts, Al Bode, Tom Brotherton, and Tim Buenz. Gene Vincent submitted his grant scoring in advance of the meeting due to an unavoidable conflict. Discussion began regarding the amount of total points awarded to each grant application within each category (enrollment categories include 9001+, 1501 – 9000, 601 – 1500, 0 – 600). Discussion began around awarding the top 4 applications within each enrollment category as follows: District Size Category Amount Requested George-Little Rock 0-600 45,194 Jefferson-Scranton 601-1500 36,425 Ames 1501-9000 72,000 Des Moines 9001 100,000 If awarded the amount requested, these top 4 applicants would total $253, 619.00. Discussion proceeded regarding how to award the remaining grant money (approximately $450,000.00 is available to award). Awarding the top 4 applicants in each category would yield a balance of approximately $200,000.00. After a considerable amount of discussion, Al Bode made a motion that the ILTC award the top applicant in each of the 4 enrollment categories (George-Little Rock, Jefferson-Scranton, Ames, and Des Moines). Ann Watts seconded the motion. Discussion was called for. It was noted that having had the opportunity to discuss the applications had helped solidify the scores for all applicants. A vote was called for. The motion passed unanimously (with Tim Buenz abstaining, due to representing one of the 4 applicants). The discussion turned to what to do with the remaining grant money. It was noted that by awarding the next top 2 applicants as at large grantees (Griswold and Harlan), the total awards would be increased to $439,216.00. Possibilities were raised regarding looking for innovation among all remaining grants. Ann Watts moved that Griswold and Harlan also be funded. The motion was seconded by Tom Brotherton. A vote was called for and the motion passed unanimously (Bill Decker abstained, due to his involvement with the Harlan application). Commission members raised questions about what to do with the remaining $11,000.00. It was determined that this would be revisited in the near future. Options include revisiting the application rankings and awarding others after determining the actual balance of funds and/or using some funds to video and showcase how the awards are being used in some of the districts receiving funds (using IPTV). It was noted that the report to the Iowa Legislature (including recommendations) is due January 15, 2008. Concerns about the report in its current state include the following:
  2. 2. o The current report includes places where districts did not collect some type of data they indicated they would without providing reasons why – need for higher accountability. o The need to get the word out about what is happening in Iowa (at IASB, ITEC, SAI, and etc.) with the grants (see page 66-67 of the draft report) o Lack of adequate reflection of what is really positive in the schools involved o Unnecessary use of words like “only” that may lead readers to misinterpret information (e.g., only ---- % responded to the survey, when the response may actually be higher than expected, could actually lead readers to believe the response rate was poor Other Commission decisions: Jeff Berger and Debbie Boring will get with Gary Phye (external evaluator) to see that unnecessary and leading words be eliminated from the report. It was also decided that the Commission would include an Executive Summary at the beginning of the report by the external evaluators, using bullet points to summarize the Commission’s conclusions. Also included will be a brief summary of year 1, 2, and 3 with an explanation of where we are now in the process. Observations: Generally, the Commission members noted promising practices, and were impressed with positive integration of technology into instruction. They also indicated that the grant process is worthwhile, captures promising practices, and includes a large range of stakeholders who support the programs. This support, it was noted, leads to student and staff engagement, as well as community and parent enthusiasm and investment in the educational process. It was noted that because the grants are all different, their success cannot be compared. Anecdotal information (e.g., enthusiasm and engagement) has a great impact on the district. Parents and community members are proud of their accomplishments. These accomplishments need to be communicated to the Legislation. Students are not just sitting behind a desk, listening to the teacher. Students are developing ownership/self- direction, working at their ability levels, and tapping into their learning styles. With innovation comes complication and increased risk. Education is moving toward a 24/7 education model, not one that is turned on and off. It is technology that makes this available, and is a precursor to developing life-long learners. What the Commission wants Legislators to know: 62 ideas were submitted in the form of Phase I applications. The interest is there. There is greater need in the education field than the Commission can fill. It is tough for smaller districts to keep up with technology, especially as it relates to infrastructure, wireless access, and other basics. In terms of promising practice, the Commission is forced to eliminate a lot of deserving ideas. Most grants awarded are having a positive impact on kids. We are seeing results in a variety of ways due to well-thought out planning, and external evaluators need to learn about what schools are trying to accomplish before evaluating them.
  3. 3. Promising practice and innovation: the Commission is not at a point to be able to say that any of the practices being utilized should be replicated by all districts; however, all students would probably be better served with greater access to technology. Professional development is also needed to ensure that teachers try new things and are comfortable with technology. Also, the teaching piece is critical. Technology is a learning style that works for kids. Sustainability is also an issue. Money to sustain the efforts would require a reliable stream of funding.