DSI/CC Meeting Minutes
February 12, 2008
The mission of Ionia Public Schools is:
To educate all students in an environment that fosters their preparation as
Meeting called to order at 8:30 a.m.
I. Approval of Minutes – Motion by Tim Blackmer, second by Maureen Meade.
II. Elementary Trimester Update – Amy Fuller from Boyce Elementary provided
the committee with an update on the district’s 5 elementary buildings going to a
trimester schedule. Amy led a committee of representatives from all the schools
and looked at 8 area schools and 14 listserv responses to questions about
elementaries going to trimesters. The committee determined that there would
now be 3 report cards instead of 4 due to the 3-12 weeks sessions. Teachers are
confident that communication with parents will not suffer even with only 3
formal reports per year. It will be very beneficial to have a common calendar
with the rest of the district and very little concern about alignment with the rest
of the county. Amy asked DSICC for support. A motion was made by Paul
Frost and second by Don Wilcox. DSICC approved that the elementaries move
to a trimester calendar.
III. Assessment FOR Learning – An Example of Unpacking a Content
Expectation – Julie Milewski presented the process of unpacking a 6th grade
Grade Level Science Content Expectation (CE) and an 8th grade High School
Science Content Expectation. She demonstrated the technique of teachers and
students identifying key verbs in a CE and deciding on the best definition. This
definition is then used to create student “I can” statements. Julie highlighted that
unpacking is only one key of the Assessment FOR Learning process. Creating
targets is not only beneficial for student awareness of what is expected from
them, but the crucial dialogue between teachers as they unpack the CEs. Once
teachers and students agree on what a CE means then there a clear picture of
what student work and assessments will look like.
This process of unpacking and creating learning targets is being used during
curriculum meetings by trained staff members. Grades K-2 will be formally
trained during the professional development day on February 18, 2008.
IV. 2007-2008 Goals 1 and 2 work groups – The committee broke in their group to
examine school improvement goal #2 – All students will demonstrate attributes of
responsible citizens. The groups looked at current strategies, persons responsible,
time for implementation, evaluation tools, and evaluators. The groups were to
report their findings and comments to Ben Kirby and he will compile this
V. Reproductive Health – Ben has been approached by district staff members
regarding the current Reproductive Health Curriculum. One concern is that the
current curriculum is not being used consistently throughout the district and that
the materials such as the videos are very old. It is believed that the current
curriculum was developed 9 years ago and has not been revisited since. There
are questions as to who should be teaching what and how that should look.
It was decided that the district needs to revisit what is being taught and the
resources. All new teachers should be sent to a Michigan Model Training.
VI. Lucy Calkins Overview – Christina Frost from Ionia Middle School gave a
presentation on Writers Workshop (WW) based on the work of Lucy Calkins.
Christina highlighted the following points:
a. WW validates each student as a writer
b. Conferencing with students on their writing is a key component of the
c. In order to do well on the MEAP, students must be able to look at a piece of
writing and revise and edit it on their own.
d. The Lucy Calkins books work with teachers at all levels and is very step-by-
step. Calkins encourages colleague collaboration.
e. WW demonstrates a relationship between writing and talking (aka fluency).
f. WW incorporates the 6 Traits of Writing which IPS teachers have already
been trained on.
g. The WW process creates more coherency and focus between grade levels and
h. There is an extensive focus on formative assessment which supports the
Assessment FOR Learning material
Kelly Sanborn commented that WW can help our lower level writing students
and that lessons must be incorporated into every day lessons. She would like to
see the process implemented in the district with administrative support and
A writing committee will be formed to choose a writing program for the district
and present that decision to DSICC and the school board.
VII. Men’s Select High School Course – Rose Scheller from Ionia High School
presented on a new Men’s Select Choir Course and asked for DSICC support.
She shared that this course is designed for beginning level male vocalists who
wish to further their development of their vocal skills. Students will learn to read
and write music and attend various concerts and festivals. The course can be
taken more than one term but a student may not join 3rd trimester. The cost of
the course is dependent on the cost of music and festival entrance fees. It is
estimated that cost of the course will not exceed $500. A motion was made in
support of the program and DSICC approved.
VIII. Data Warehouse Committee – Tim Blackmer asked for volunteers to examine
the purchase of a data warehouse for the district. TitleII D funds have been set
aside for this purchase. The warehouse would allow teachers and administrators
to access federal, state, and local student data to inform program and school
improvement decisions. There is considerable pressure from the district’s Title1
field consultant to get a warehouse in place. Tim will be meeting with the
committee in the next couple of weeks.
IX. Middle School Trimesters – Cheri Meier, Ionia Middle School Principal,
presented on going to trimesters at the Middle School. This would mean going
beyond a common calendar with the Ionia High School. The Middle School
would like to move from a 7 period day to a 6 period day. Each class would go
from 45 minutes to 55 minutes. ELA and math would be offered all 3 trimesters
and science and social studies would meet for 5 out of 6 trimesters in 2 years.
Electives would be one trimester (12 weeks). All of the core areas would receive
more time. Students would still have several options for electives. The move to
trimesters would have very little effect on 6th grade.
Tim Blackmer motioned that the Middle School go to trimesters. Paul Frost
second the motion. DSICC approved.
X. Next DSICC Meeting - Wednesday, March 26, 2008 from 8:30 a.m. to 11:00
a.m. at the ICISD.
Meeting adjourned at 11:20 p.m.