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February 17, 2022 – Minutes

Union Middle School
School Community Council
Meeting Notes
17 February 2022

  1. Review and Approve the Safe Walking Route – John Hellwig

The council members approved the safe walking route with one addition.  They expressed the wish that there would be a safer way for students to cross 1300 East.  Many of the students in that neighborhood are bussed, but some live just far enough away that they don’t qualify and have to cross that 4 lane, busy thoroughfare. 

 

  1. Report on Friendship Week – Jessica Wertner

Union Counselor, Jessica Wertner, reported on the success of Friendship Week.  Counselors met students at the doors each morning with kindness challenges.  If students completed challenges they got a reward.  They also went into the 6th grade classes and read a picture book about how our actions affect others.  The 7th graders read the same book with librarian, Elaine Zhang.  At lunch time the students added sticky notes to a large banner, naming ways they could help others feel included and cared for.  We will house the finished banner in the Counseling Center.  The suggestion was made that we utilize picture books more frequently as discussion starters on kindness, conflict resolution, etc.

 

  1. Review of mid-year data (Math, Reading, and Behavior) – Kelly

We increased the number of students proficient in reading from 59% to 62% since the start of the school year.  The number of students proficient in math has increased from 19% to 39%.  The math inventory measures students on mastery of the whole year of standards.  Therefore, students haven’t received instruction on many of the concepts by midyear.  That is why we see drastic growth and will continue to see an increase as the students learn and master standards. 

 

  1. Data from the SHARP survey (Student Health and Risk Prevention) – Kelly

Our 6th and 8th graders took the Sharp Survey in October.  It had an opt-out option for parents, so all students didn’t take the survey.  We had approximately 120 in each grade complete the questions regarding risk factors for drug use, antisocial behavior, and mental health struggles.  Our results were measured against a state normed number and a nationally normed result.  The numbers represent the percent of our youth at risk based on risk factors.  Of course, being at risk does not predetermine a child’s outcomes.  We just want to use this information to provide the right supports for our students so they can be successful – despite have some areas that make them more at risk. 

Some areas of concern were as follows:

  • Perceived availability of drugs 42% (much higher than state and national norms)
  • Family Conflict 34% (higher than state norm)
  • Parental attitudes favorable to antisocial behavior 50% (higher than state and national norms) This represents the perception of how students think their parents feel about antisocial behavior. For an example:  Is it acceptable to get into a fight?
  • Low commitment to school 52% (higher than state and national norms)
  • Depressive Symptoms 56% (higher than state and national norms)


Currently at Union, we have 3 school counselors, a social worker, a school psychologist, and a part-time therapist helping to support our students.  We definitely need to keep this staffing to reach enough of our kids that are struggling.  Our

 

  1. Preliminary discussion about TSSA and Land Trust spending for next year – Kelly


Current Academic Goal:  75% of students will demonstrate proficiency on Union’s common summative assessments for each unit of study across all content areas by May 20, 2022. (Scoring 70% or above on a common assessment will be considered proficient.)

School Climate Goal:  85% of students will report feeling connected to school on targeted climate survey questions.

Our Union Building Leadership Team has suggested that we continue to use the school climate survey as the tool to measure progress, but make the goal more focused on mental health. 

We will likely receive an allocation of $100,000 for TSSA and $100,000 for Land Trust

Some of the spending suggestions from the Union Building Leadership Team:

  • Current staffing requires 1 FTE for reading intervention teacher ($80,000)
  • Support staff for the counseling center (Wellness Room and Check In, Check Out) ($20,000)
  • Half the salary of 3rd school counselor ($40,000)
  • Money for after school tutoring (four core subjects) ($30,000)
  • Money to pay for substitutes – provide teachers time for planning, professional development, and data reviews as departmental teams, etc. ($20,000)


Council members were supportive of the priorities that were suggested by the Building Leadership Team.  They seem to align with the academic and climate goals.  There was a suggestion to use any extra money to add to mental health supports for students.  Kelly said she will brainstorm ideas with Union’s SEL team. 

Next Meeting:  Thursday, March 24, 2021 – 6:30 pm in the Union Media Center.  We will finalize next year’s school plan and vote on the allocation of TSSA and Land Trust money.