August 25, 2015
Chief Operations Officer Paula Barbaroux welcomed FIRST members to their third meeting and then gave a brief recap of the meetings thus far. Meeting No. 1 delivered the FIRST’s charge and introduced members to their administrative liaisons. The meeting closed with a look at the 2011 Bond Program and an encouragement to review the LEAD 2021 and FIRST websites. Meeting No. 2 took team members into a deeper dive into school finance.
Ms. Barbaroux asked team members to discuss and share thoughts about what they learned from the August 11 school finance presentation. Group remarks included their surprise at learning the minimal amount spent on athletics/fine arts, as well as the emphasis on technology across the district. Team members were also surprised by the lack of salary increases for employees. Another member remarked, “the state took away $14M and put back $2 and called it even.” Ms. Barbaroux reminded team members that the district cannot mix the two sources (“buckets”) of tax revenues. She also reinforced that GCISD relies on bond programs because of its Robin Hood status. Finally, FIRST members were asked if the the tax rate related to the operating budget had been increased since being decreased in 2006? All responded with no. The only tax increase in the last 10 years has been from the district’s debt service budget (3.01 cents for the 2011 Bond Program).
Ms. Barbaroux emphasized that she hopes this budget understanding help explains why the district is conducting this facility review process.
Virtual Tour of GCISD Community
Team members viewed a virtual tour of the GCISD community.
Superintendent of Schools Dr. Robin Ryan asked members to take a moment and chat about what they saw in the video and then asked members to share out. Team members felt “Diversity” was the key takeaway from the video--diversity among new construction, diversity among housing -- from modest to wealthy. Dr. Ryan explained that there is indeed a great deal of diversity in our district, which poses a number of challenges as the district’s staff strives to meet those needs.
GCISD Student Accomplishments, LEAD 2021 and Optional Programs
Dr. Ryan reintroduced team members on why and how the district developed LEAD 2021-- the district’s strategic plan. He also reviewed with team members the plan’s strategic objectives:
Since developing LEAD 2021, the district has built upon the traditionally strong academic program. Dr. Ryan explained that we feel every single child has potential and we need to have a good academic answer for each child, no matter where they come from.
Dr. Ryan discussed six academic pathways for students, which have grown from LEAD 2021:
Team members were reminded that the reason they were taken on the ‘virtual tour’ is to help them understand that our district has a great variety of students and challenges and these programs were developed to meet student’s needs and interests.
Dr. Ryan then began discussing many great accolades of the district in academics, teaching, activities and community service, such as:
In the last five years, the district has worked to put the LEAD 2021 plan in action--to take what the community wanted and put it into action into our classrooms.
Introduction to the GCISD Portrait of a Graduate
Dr. Rick Westfall, Chief Learning Officer, referred back to the LEAD 2021 Strategic Objectives to explain that these are drivers to change a culture--they have not been a checklist. The programs Dr. Ryan covered are a direct reflection of that work. Also born from the LEAD 2021 objectives is the GCISD Portrait of a Graduate.
The five characteristics of the GCISD Portrait of a Graduate (POG) are the five skills that the district felt (in collaboration with parents, students, business leaders and community members) were vital for our students to develop and learn.
Team members were engaged in an activity to review the ‘Have You Heard’ (accolade) slides and identify 10-15 items to connect to a single characteristic from the POG. Team members then discussed how the skills and characteristics in the POG directly support district/student achievements. Team members wrote their notes and posted them on Skill Posters displayed across the room.
Dr. Westfall then asked team members to think about how these skills and characteristics play a role in what they do professionally each day. He instructed team members pick the single most important skill they would look for in a future employee and then to go stand next to that Skill Poster.
Each Skill Poster group then briefly shared out about one or two reasons why they were drawn to that skill:
Dr. Westfall closed by encouraging team members to continue reviewing the Portrait of a Graduate handout and keep these skills in mind as the FIRST continues its learning process during the next session.
Ms. Barbaroux referred team members to the subcommittee handout. At this time, this item is a draft of how the team may be divided. She then gave a brief explanation of each proposed subcommittee.
Ms. Barbaroux explained that a couple handouts will be sent to Team members:
Team members are encouraged to review these additional handouts prior to the next meeting.
Since the last meeting, district staff have only received one question and statement from community members through Let’s Talk, which have been shared with Team members.