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[2021-10-12]_CACS_Special_Board_Meeting_Minutes__English
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Minutes of Board of Directors Meeting

October 12, 2021  6:30pm  Creative Arts

1601 Turk St. San Francisco, CA 94115

VIRTUAL MEETING

Notice of Virtual Meeting - English Aviso de Reunión Virtual  - Español

Publish-to-web version of these meeting minutes.

A Special meeting of the Board of Directors (“Board”) of CREATIVE ARTS CHARTER SCHOOL (“CACS”) was held at 6:30pm on Tuesday, October 12, 2021 at 1601 Turk St, San Francisco, California via a virtual meeting.

[2021-10-12] Meeting Notice & Agenda - English

[2021-10-12] Aviso de Reunión y Agenda - Español

The Spanish version of this document was translated using Google Translate, apologies for errors.

La versión en español de este documento se tradujo con Google Translate, disculpas por los errores.

Following are the minutes of the meeting.

Opening

Welcome & Check-in Eric T. and Janina

Meeting called to order at 6:35pm

Name

Present

Absent

Board Members

Eric Talbert, President

X

Janina Floyd, Secretary

X

Justin Amirault, Treasurer

X

Laura Farley, Staff Representative

X

Alecia Barillas

X

Melanie Brooks

                 

X

Janice Cavaliere

X

Scot Gensler

X

Manda Simpson

X

Kristine Waggener

X

Staff Members

Fernando Aguilar

X

Maria Jenerik

                 

X

Jenny Kipp

X

Ann Ledo-Lane

X

  1. Public Hearing:  Creative Arts Charter School’s new Independent Study (IS) Policy - We  reviewed the draft version of the new IS policy that was created based on community, staff, and student feedback then vote on approving it.

Public Comment - Please keep comments to 3 minutes

Open Session :

(Kathleen Yago, made comments at the Director’s Coffee this past Friday and was asked by Eric T. to repeat concerns for those present)

Kathleen: If there is a student doing IS (Independent Study) due to medical but also has IEP and the IEP team decides they can no longer provide services or meet the needs of the student through IS what are the options for that student?

Jenny:  IS is one form of getting class work to a student while they are not physically at school and is the only form for getting funding through attendance.  You cannot transfer a student to IS without a formal meeting with their IEP team.  They would alter the current in person IEP plan in order to meet the needs of the student for IS.  If for some reason a plan could not be created for the IEP student to meet IS requirements, I am not entirely sure, we would have to refer to the SFUSD special education department.

In terms of past practice, we have never nor would we ever deny a student with a medical condition that prevents them from being in school the opportunity for IS.  Our goal is to serve all of our students so we would continue to offer IS to any of our students with a long term medical condition, this is what we have done in the past and something we would continue to do.

Eric T: Some of concerns he heard on Friday at the Director’s coffee;

One thing is understanding what Modified Quarantine means; whether that is for travel for weddings, funerals, internationally or those in multi-generational homes or with parents who are essential workers.  There is an area that Modified Quarantine is trying to address that parents don’t quite understand that if your kid isn’t sick, or hasn’t tested positive or have no other need to stay at home for quarantine/ exposure reasons  what does that grey area look like or play out it this new policy.

Jenny: To clarify, my role as a Covid Coordinator is to relay the guidelines from the Department of Public Health and implement them but I am not an expert on this matter.  That said, we are talking about two different things.  Modified Quarantine is used as a measure to keep students in  school as much as possible, which means when you have an identified case you have the option to keep kids in school, they would test twice a week and submit those results and they can stay in school.  Modified Quarantine was created with the attempt to limit parents keeping kids home when they can be in school with safety measures in place.

If people choose to follow the guidelines, even the ones that are highly recommended but not required, like quarantining after international travel  then they should fall within the guidelines and IS should be approved/ qualified with no issues.  Parents making their own decisions to keep students at home when they can be at school safely is one of the things we are trying to minimize with this policy.

Eric T:  Thank you Jenny for that clarity on those items.  The other concern was around the number of tardies and how it triggers truancy and then letters from the State which are strongly worded with talks of hearings, CPS, juvenile court hearings, and school transfers.  Those letters do not come from CACS but are generated from the State.  However if parents are not following the guidelines and start to receive one of those letters should they work with our Admin team to work through the process?

Jenny - Yes they should.  We don't, and never have made decisions about extended absences lightly.  We are required to send these letters and tardiness does contribute to truancy but the process for Charter  Schools is different.   We don't mark students unexcused if they are ill and we have worked with the families or they are excused for other reasons per the principal.  We make exceptions when appropriate and we take every situation into consideration.

 

Eric T.: Last question from family feedback from Friday, was, is there any difference the community should be aware of between elementary and middle school for this policy?

Jenny:  I don't think so, mainly the engagement requirements are different, Middle school (4-8) is weekly and Elementary (K-3) is daily.  IS requires additional support at home and students in MS are working on becoming more independent so that is a potential issue. 

 

Eric T:  Thank you Jenny. Who can we direct parents to in order to voice their concerns/ frustrations at the State level with the legal aspect of this policy?

Kathleen: How quickly can a student begin IS and how quickly can a student with an IEP have their needs addressed?  Is there a minimum duration for IS?

Jenny:  For a student who does not have an IEP transition to IS can be next day.  For those with IEPs there would be an emergency IEP meeting that would need to occur, and I am not sure of the turnaround time for that. (Fernando?).

Fernando:  It will take a couple of days.  I would hope that it would get done in a few days.

Jenny: There is no minimum number of days to be on IS.  The former policy had a minimum but this one is so closely tied to health that we want the flexibility of students being able to transition from one day to the next with the exception of those with IEPs (who require an IEP meeting first).

Kathleen: If the student does have to transition back and forth the IEP team would not need to meet each time would they?

Jenny: I don’t know for sure but I can find out.  

Fernando:  If it is already built into the IEP that a child can go on IS then it would be covered but if it has not yet been written in it would have to be done.

Also, we can find out more answers of what types of services would be offered for IEPs on IS.  There are probably going to be layers to discover if IEP metrics can or cannot be met.  Other concerns were asked about how parents feel about their students working with someone at the district that they are not as familiar with.  These are all questions that we need to get answered by the district.

Eric T. :  Jenny/ Fernando do you have any other feedback or questions from the community either via survey or Director’s Coffee?

Jenny:  Want to clarify that we have met with the district and the Special Education Departmentand asked the questions Fernando mentioned but we are not 100% confident in the responses we received.

I also want to add that this is a discussion about a policy that we have not implemented yet. We need to keep having discussions as well as try it out but the policy is not set in stone so if there are things that don’t quite work for us after we roll it out we can make changes.

Fernando:  One person who responded to the survey said they did not like the policy because students with IEPs cannot do IS which is not true, they can. I wanted to clear up any misunderstandings about that.

  1. Board Discussion:  Creative Arts Charter School’s new Independent Study (IS) Policy - We reviewed the draft version of the new IS policy that was created based on community, staff, and student feedback then vote on approving it.

Eric T:  Thank you Fernando and Jenny.  Laura, can I hear from you regarding how the teachers are feeling about this?

Laura:  Teachers and Union reps are concerned that this is going to be a large amount of additional work.   Understanding that this is something that our school is going to have to do, is there some additional time that is going to be provided to us? Is there anything else that will be provided to compensate for the additional work added to our plates? Who is going to be eligible for this program? We don’t want to be jumping through hoops for students using this for vacations or outside of the guidelines.  The other concern is the equity piece and the uneven support that kids have at home and assuming they would get the help they need.

Eric T:  We will have a two step process; step one being implementation and other is a side by side realtime teacher feedback.  Hopefully that sets the teachers more at ease. Any questions from the other Board Members?

Manda - Do we have a current policy?

Jenny - Yes, we do.

Manda:  Can you give me a high-level overview of the differences?

Jenny:  The policy is considered old, not current since we can’t use it, but the old policy stated that the student needs to be away from school for  a minimum of 3 days or more  to qualify for IS and that was pretty much all that was required, besides timely work submission and full completion. There was also no engagement requirement from the teacher to spend time with the student, mainly grade assignments and emails, not to say they did not engage but it wasn’t required; the overall requirements were much looser.

Manada: Does the medical requirement approval only need to come from a Medical doctor or can it be a psychiatrist or a social worker?

Jenny - It can come from any type of doctor, or licensed clinician, or practitioner, surgeon, psychiatrist, etc., but not a social worker, but any medical professional, and I can change that language in the policy.

Manda: The draft states if a student’s grades fall below satisfactory a  record of that will be held on record for 3 years. Is that new?

Jenny:  All the records must be kept for IS students.  This particular record is new but  I have always had to keep everything for IS on record to present records of a student on IS when audited every year.

Manda: Do these records go with them if they transfer to another school?

Jenny:  No, the only record that would follow is if IS was completed or not complete (attendance records)..

Manda: Before there was no engagement requirement and now there is; do you have any idea how much engagement is needed?

Jenny:  It has always required participation from teachers but not to the same degree (synchronous and engagement logs).  The new policy is very vague, it says once a day for K-3 but not how long that time period needs to be.  So this will likely depend on the needs of the student.  That is a big concern as some students may need more than others and we will need to figure out how to support those students when the teacher may not have the time they require.

Manda: The process for IS is to apply which means the parents have to be involved and have the support the students need at home correct?

Jenny:  Yes, they used to do it quite a lot because the process was more general and open as to what is involved.  It is possible parents will be less likely to engage in IS now because of all the restrictions and rules that apply.

Justin - Did counsel review the policy to make sure we are compliant? Is that part of the process?

Jenny - Yes, the legal team wrote the policy and we filled in the parts we needed to fill in.

Janice - Just want to elaborate on what Laura said earlier, to make sure that teachers are adequately supported with the extra time they would need to spend with students on IS. I just don’t know if they have the time they need to do this extra work or are there serious concerns?

Laura - Thank you for backing me up, yes with the very limited time we have as it is I honestly don’t know how it will be possible to have extra time to meet with a student on  IS over zoom while juggling all the current responsibilities of lesson planning, staff meetings, and grading papers etc.

Jenny - All very valid and real issues but by law, if we do this, there are no exceptions so we have to do this and find a way to make this work and be available to those students if we implement IS.

Laura - I hear what you are saying but this is going to be impossible without some additional hours or compensation provided.  This is going to go way outside of our contracted hours of 8am-3:30pm, we already go outside of our contracted hours currently without this additional responsibility so this is going to pile on more work.  

Manda - Does the work have to be identical to what is being done in class or can it be a grade appropriate packet to send home?

Jenny - The policy is very general but the law states that the student is getting the same lesson/progress/curriculum as all the other students in person.

Manda:  Do you have a percentage prior to the pandemic how many students were doing IS?

Jenny:  Not off the top of my head.  The funding is based on attendance and we have other numbers that  are factored in over a 3 yr period so I would need EdTec to give us those numbers.

Justin - To be clear there is no synchronous activity on the part of the teacher until day 15 correct?

Jenny - After 15 days you have an evaluation period where teachers review where the student is and if they are meeting expectations.  Determination of their progress so an evaluation would occur at that time to see if they are a good fit for continuation of IS.  The teacher's daily engagement starts on day 1, which is once a day for K-3 and once a week for 4-8 grades.

Janina: I thought I heard the max was 5 days?  What is the max?

Jenny: There is no maximum.

Janina:  Is the minimum 3 days?  

Jenny: No there is no minimum

Eric:  I think we should wait until the next board meeting to approve the policy. Allowing more time for the community to review this recording as well as the minutes and perhaps complete the survey.

There is usually some flexibility on the IS policy over the years where this one is quite different in that aspect.

Jenny/ Fernando is there any particular section you would like to point out that families should pay more attention to?

Fernando:  For me it would be sharing the survey again for families to complete if we push it out another week. Students with IEPs and more information on their guidelines and IEP meetings ect.

Justin:  If we are going to offer this it is essentially the framework correct? I’m inclined to say just roll it out and we can always make changes later but we can kick the can down the road for a long time while so many other things can impact this framework.

 

Jenny:  I agree we should probably move forward due to the fact that this is tied to funding and we can tweak it  later.  I would push to consider approval and the policy can be revised later.  This is our framework whether it be this week or next week and we need time to train the staff.  It would be better to start doing this to learn what works and what needs to be changed sooner than later.

Janina:  I heard a few times that we can make changes.  When you say we can make changes it sounds like we have some control over the policy. How much control do we have?

Jenny: We can only change one portion: who qualifies, and how.

Janina:  Ok.  I just want to call that out so that the community understands the limit to what changes can be made. Sometimes people can interpret this on a more broad perspective which can lead to more anguish and confusion.

Laura:  If we do decide to make changes how do we go about implementing changes? Would it be through negotiations with the Union?

Jenny:  The policy would not change a lot if it did change it would be based on input from all the stakeholders, and the changes would be brought to the board for approval.   The pieces that would get negotiated would be the conditions of work or categories like that.  If the membership thought that the additional workload was more than could be accomplished within the day or compensation could not be agreed upon. The same things we currently negotiate on would be included for this policy as well.

Manda:  It would be helpful to see the old (current) policy on this.

Jenny: It is in the family handbook, I can send it to you.

Janice:  To Manda’s point I think it would be better to wait until next week’s board meeting to approve the policy so that we can give more time to make sure all information is digested and all have the opportunity to ask questions and provide feedback.

Eric:  I agree that it would build trust within our community since we just provided them the policy at the end of the week on Friday before a long weekend.  I am hopeful we will have more clarity next week.  

Jenny:  Just want to make sure all lingering questions are answered before next week, Janina and I can get together just to make sure that we covered anything I was not prepared to answer tonight.

Fernando:  I will say that we have made a decision to wait until next week to make a decision but we need to actually make the decision next week  in fairness to the students who are currently in need of this policy and for the sake of the teachers. It is really best for all parties involved in this for us to finalize this next week on the 19th at the board meeting.

Janice: I just want to clarify that there is room with feedback from teachers to have  flexibility to make changes if managing the hybrid process is not working or not manageable.  

Jenny:  The only two things that can be altered are who qualifies and how.  We will have negotiations for any teacher feedback related to their workload or compensation concerns.

Eric T:  We will vote to approve the policy next week at the Board meeting.  Jenny, Eric, and Janina will get the recording and meeting minutes out for this meeting as soon as possible for community  review.

                

B. AB361: Ralph M. Brown Act updates for virtual and in-person board meetings.

Closed Session - Personnel - Closed session moved to next week’s Board meeting

Adjournment - Eric T. 8:32pm

Meeting adjourned:

If any questions come up after the meeting please reach out to Eric T. or Fernando.