Ms. Ellis presented two reports that she had prepared and submitted to DCPS that required LSAT signatures: the Comprehensive School Plan and the Family Engagement Plan. Both of these plans are required by DCPS although Ms. Ellis assured members that they had little impact on planning and operations at Murch: the Murch strategic plan is the operating document for the school. All LSAT members are required to sign both documents. The documents were circulated during the meeting and, in addition, Principal Ellis said she would email the plan to the members of the LSAT.
Karin Perkins, HSA co-chair, discussed the actions that had been taken at the December HSA meeting. At that meeting, Ms. Ellis had presented a proposal for use of some of the HSA’s unallocated funds. The HSA agreed to purchase the following items: 10 new desktops to replace the library computer hub; large storage cabinets, which will be placed in an upstairs hall, to house leveled books; folding cafeteria tables and an outdoor storage shed to store folding chairs. In addition, Sherman Fells, Murch’s technology coordinator, will inventory what each classroom teacher needs to be able to fully operate the ELMOs recently purchased by the HSA. The Murch Auction will be held on Saturday, March 5th.
Planning and work on the auction are well underway; Karin thanked the teachers for their help in creating the classroom projects and the teacher donations that are always so popular. On Tuesday, January 11, 6:00 pm, Murch will host a Deal information night with Deal administrators. Information on the night has gone to all Murch families, with particular focus on Murch 4th and 5th grade families. HSA just signed a contract with the Northeast Foundation to provide Responsive Classroom II Training. Over 20 Murch teacher and aides will be giving up two week-ends in January to participate in this training: January 7-9 and January 29-30. In addition, HSA will buy Responsive Classroom books for teachers who do not have them.
FY2011 DCPS Budget Process
Jim Whitney reviewed the new budget process for the 2011-2012 school year. Much of the action that the LSAT and Ms. Ellis will take on the budget will occur in January. Ms. Ellis should receive the initial budget allocations from downtown on January 14th. She has already received FY2011 enrollment projections from DCPS; these are the numbers that will drive the budget process. Our current student enrollment is 520 students. DCPS is projecting that our enrollment for the 2011-2012 school year will be 543 students. The principal has already begun discussions with DCPS surrounding the need for additional demountables. Murch is an autonomous school which may give Ms. Ellis some flexibility in how money is allocated and spent. Because of the timing of the receipt of the budget, the LSAT will meet to discuss the budget on Monday, January 24, at 5:30 pm.
Members returned to the discussion on the school’s core values and culture. Many members have visited the website share by Miriam Cutelis, the website of an organization that routinely evaluates a school’s culture and values. LSAT members expressed an interest in continuing a discussion to identify and develop our school values. Lauren Miller suggested that the LSAT narrow its focus to determine what the nature and goals of such a discussion would be. Vicki Otten suggested revisiting the DCPS school culture survey to identify strengths and weaknesses in our school culture as one place to start. Members agreed that a sub-group of the LSAT would come together to develop some specific recommendations for action on school values and culture before the next LSAT meeting. Members interested in being part of this process should contact Lauren Miller.
The LSAT will meet to discuss the budget on Monday, January 24, at 5:30 pm and the next regularly scheduled LSAT meeting will be on Monday, February 7, at 5:00 pm.
The meeting adjourned at 6:50pm.