Minutes from the ILTC grant reading, December 21, 2007
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:
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
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.
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.