: Campbell PTA Minutes, November 12, 2013

PTA Minutes                                                November
12, 2013


is a Focus School.


does the Focus School designation mean?


Colburn of the APS Department of Instruction and Maureen Nesselrode, Principal,
presented the following information:

Campbell is fully accredited in
educational accountability.  For this
year, based on student test scores on the SOLs and other assessments, we have
met all 35 of the Federal Annual Measurable Objectives (AMOs) for English and


In the previous school year, however,
when the SOL and assessment tests were made more difficult, our student test
scores did not meet all of the AMOs (we met 11 of 18 AMOs).  Reading scores dropped, particularly among students
in the ESOL program.

Designation as a Focus School is intended
to provide additional resources to the school to support initiatives aimed at
narrowing the achievement gap between the highest and lowest performing

The Focus School represents an approach
different from the activities that were required under the federal No Child
Left Behind law, which took a more punitive approach that created negative
consequences for schools that did not meet the standards.

The new federal accountability system in
education takes a positive, supportive approach rather than a punitive

Because Focus School designation is a
two-year commitment, we continue as a Focus School this year even though our
students’ test scores have met all of the federal standards.

Focus Schools are identified from among
Title I schools (In Arlington, there are nine Title I schools, all at the
elementary level.).  There are always 72
focus schools in Virginia.

Focus schools are required to use
research-based interventions to improve performance among students who are not
performing on grade level.  The Book
Buddies volunteer program is an example of an intervention that has proven

What are the benefits
of being a Focus School?

Focus Schools receive additional support
(i.e., funding, materials, staff resources) that benefit staff and students.
These benefits include:

Ø  Three
reading specialists (Most elementary schools have just one.)

Ø  A
full-time math coach (Most elementary schools have a half-time coach.)

Ø  Additional
funding for staff development

Ø  Funding
for the Raz Kids online reading program

Ø  Funding
for after-school programs to improve performance

Ø  More
planning within the grade levels for focused instruction.  Campbell’s Professional Learning Communities
(PLCs) are cohesive teams for academic planning.  Teachers meet twice a month.  The focus is on test score data, trends, and
where improvement is needed.  ESOL/HILT
teachers are included in the teams.   

Ø  Additional
staffing to allow students not on grade level for reading to receive a “double
dose” of reading support, from two teachers

Ø  Training
for special ed staff on reading programs

Ø  Support
from the APS Ed Center, e.g., staff development activities, additional
computers (Campbell received 60 additional computers last year that can be used
not only for testing but also for music software, research, and other

Ø  Special
staff development on reading instruction for about 18 teachers.  This benefits high-performing students as
well as students not on grade level.

Ø  Funding
for the Leveled Literacy Intervention (LLI) program, which provides very
engaging books for ESOL/HILT readers to increase students’ interest in reading.

Ø  Support
to implement the Orton Gillingham reading program.  (Campbell is piloting this for APS.).  Teachers are trained in this method and
receive materials and support from experts within APS. The program is aimed at
improving reading performance among students with disabilities and ESOL/HILT

Ø  Additional
staffing to allow for very small reading and math groups (fewer than 15
students) in grades 4 and 5.

What are the benefits
of being a Title I school?

Being a Title I school
means Campbell receives additional funding for:

Special activities in reading and math


Professional development

Family engagement


What happens after the
end of the two-year period of being a Focus School?

The programs that were initiated during
this time are expected to continue, with county and/or state funding.  In fact, this year, because of sequestration,
Title I funding was cut significantly, and APS is making up the difference with
local funds.

Being a Focus School
still allows Campbell to retain its unique school culture and EL philosophy.

Being a Focus School creates more focus
on instruction.

Campbell is still moving forward with the
Expeditionary Learning model (e.g., continuing Expeditions, morning meetings, responsive
classroom, community meetings, focus on outdoor learning).

Campbell continues to support to
students who are above grade level.


November 14 Principal’s Chat focused on the school clinic.


Because of budget cuts at the county
level, Campbell now shares its RN with two other schools.

School nurses work for the County Health
Department, not APS.

Our nurse (Crystal Suki) is at Campbell
1.5 days a week, whereas she used to be here for two days.  Lola, the clinic aide, is at Campbell every

The clinic does vision and hearing
screening, and parents are notified if students do not pass. There was a
request to  notify parents ahead of time that
students will be screened.  Ms.
Nesselrode said that this will be done.





PTA Treasurer Eva Clark gave a report on
the budget.  Last month, the PTA
essentially broke even with income and expenditures, with both totaling about

Project Discovery has brought in about
$2,500 so far (prior to instructors being paid), and the target is about $3,000.


Campbell T-shirts, polos, sweatshirts, sweatpants,
and Y-ties are being sold as a fundraiser, and we have received $2,600 in
orders so far.


Funding Requests

The PTA unanimously approved a $40
funding request from Ms. Ehlers for a font program to help with Word Study
printouts and handwriting that she will share with the K-1 team and others.

The PTA will be receiving some
additional funding requests.

Ø  The
library may request more chrome books.

Ø  Starting
in January, the 4th grade specials (art, music, PE) will do an
Expedition around one of EL’s core principles: adventure.  The kick-off will be a ropes course in the
gym; it will be aimed at teaching collaboration, cooperation, and teamwork.  Identity and tolerance are key themes to be
explored as well.  There will be a
funding request for about $1,000 to the PTA to help pay for it.

Ø  There
could be a request to purchace planter boxes for the courtyard.  Campbell parent Christy Przystawik has been
doing a lot of work to help get the garden up and running.  Classes are growing kale, lettuce, and other




: Friday,
November 22, at 6:30 p.m.
  The theme
is “Being Part of a Community.”  We will
have a DJ, as well as arts and crafts. 
We are in need of parent volunteers to sell snacks, run the craft room,
and help with the raffle.  If you can
help out, contact Patty Healy at


Friday, February
28, 2014.
  The movie will be Despicable Me 2.  Parent volunteers will be needed to help as
well. More information will be sent closer to the event.