Decatur School Board discusses board monitoring calendar, work planThe Decatur School Board met on Tuesday, Aug. 24, at the Wilson School Support Center to discuss the board monitoring calendar, add agenda items to the calendar and discuss safety and security. Photo by Zoe Seiler.
Decatur, GA — The Decatur School Board discussed the board monitoring calendar and work plan during the Aug. 24 work session. Part of that discussion included considerations to look at the district’s staff grievance policy again.
“Maybe that would be an example of let’s take a look at the grievance policy, see if it got finished and if we need to make any changes,” School Board member Lewis Jones said.
Jones added that it was his understanding that some pieces of the grievance administrative regulations either didn’t get finished or left with some disagreement among staff about what they should say.
Superintendent Maggie Fehrman said the grievance policy has been completed, but the administrative regulations that go with the policy were put on pause during the COVID-19 pandemic. But she added that staff has begun working on the regulations again.
The School Board also discussed the monthly reports that will be presented to the board. Fehrman said some of the data that will be included in those reports will include student reading levels, student discipline, student attendance and instructional time.
One concern raised about the monitoring policy and calendar was how the district will track the progress of the end goals and the lack of discussion during presentations.
“What you want to do is make sure that we’ve got these vision and mission statements and end goals, and we want to make sure that at least once a year we take a deep dive and see how are we doing, what needs to change,” School Board member Lewis Jones said.
Jones encouraged the board to think about how the report should be structured, what should be reported, what metrics are being measured, and how the vision statements are being achieved.
“What I’m afraid of is this is going to become like many of the other reports that we receive that we simply look at and pass over and move on,” Jones said. “One of the things that’s happening lately is we’re getting a lot of reports, but there’s very little discussion on the reports, so we just listen. So I come to board meetings and I listen, which is fine, but there’s no board input. I don’t feel like we’re functioning as a board.”
School Board member Jana Johnson-Davis said that lack of discussion is the board’s fault.
During the discussion, the board members also made suggestions for future agenda items. Johnson-Davis suggested the board consider changing the name of Renfroe Middle School after allegations have been made that Carl G. Renfroe resisted desegregating schools, according to a petition.
The board plans to discuss this further at the board meeting in October. School Board Chair Tasha White said the board should discuss it during a meeting, since the issue was raised by students at the board meeting in July. The board plans to give its thoughts on the issues, discuss if the name should be changed and what the name could be changed to.
“I think my concern is this isn’t the first time this has come up,” White said. “I just want to make sure w’ere keeping our eye on it because it’s something that’s been brought up a few times.”
Jones said the board should inquire and do research on the claims to determine if there’s a basis for renaming the school.
The School Board will meet again on Tuesday, Sept. 14, at 6:30 p.m. at the Wilson School Support Center, 125 Electric Ave. The meeting will also be available via Zoom.
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