LSC meeting updates: November 16, 2021: 6-8 PM

By Megha Khemka, Copy Editor

Overall: Essential Updates

Student performance is on track for the first quarter; concerns include attendance and grades in specific subject areas.

  • Students and staff have created next steps for the math department survey and grading.
  • Principal selection process will begin soon.
  • Fundraising in the fall has been successful. 

Principal Updates: Freshmen Are On Track; Student Attendance and Math Grades Concerning

Principal Dr. Shabazz-Anderson opened her report by stating that she will be delivering SY2021-22’s “state of the school” speech virtually in the interest of maximizing accessibility. She also announced that Payton’s 2022-24 CIWP priorities will be Curriculum, Instruction, and Structure for Continuous Improvement. 

Following the end of Quarter 1, Dr. Shabazz-Anderson reported a positive Freshmen on Track rate of 99% (describing students without two or more Fs in a core subject). However, she expressed concern about an overall attendance rate of 94.5%, higher than last year’s remote attendance but slightly below the SY 2019-20 rate. Student failure to check in for enrichment was described as a contributing factor.

Additional Quarter 1 updates included a statistical summary of student outcomes that highlighted two overall trends. The first was concern about the student experience with math courses, which had the lowest average GPA and most Ds and Fs of all subject areas. Dr. Shabazz-Anderson referenced student feedback collection and meetings between faculty and student representatives as steps that have been taken to address these issues. Reaching out to Payton alumni for content support, as well as encouraging teachers to start using the Student Incident form again, were other potential resources explored. A second identified goal was to continue working toward more equitable outcomes across race, income, and gender. In line with this, Payton was selected to partner with Equal Opportunity School (EOS) in building equity in AP course outcomes. All faculty and students will be completing surveys to initiate and guide this process.

Student safety updates included an audit on October 27 to confirm the preparedness of the school in dealing with an active shooter on campus. The District will further require all visitors to present a photo ID and receive a badge from security upon entering the building, and the new process will be communicated to families in a future letter. Efforts are ongoing to improve COVID safety by increasing the school’s vaccination rate from 77.5% to 90%.

Student Updates: Math Department Survey and Next Steps

To address concerns regarding Math Department instruction and policies, the student LSC reps detailed the steps we had taken to organize and present student feedback. These included distributing an optional survey and compiling the results to present them to Ms. Roach (Math Department Chair) and Dr. Shabazz-Anderson. The survey was then adapted and formally administered by the math department. Responses were broken down and shared with teachers on a course-specific basis, who were then expected to individually share changes they would be making with each of their classes. The shifts we are currently aware of are:

  • Courses have adjusted pacing to further account for a year of remote learning (e.g. Geometry students will take a pre-assessment at the start of each unit and content delivery will be adjusted accordingly).
  • AP Calculus AB has adopted the Advanced Placement Curve for Unit Exams.
  • Math support sessions are being held regularly in enrichment for students in AP Calculus.

We also identified the need for all departments to create feedback avenues that engage students on regular intervals and transparently report action steps and trends in data to students.

Community Updates: Principal Selection Process and FACE

Upcoming steps in principal selection include sending out two surveys. One, to Payton’s ILTs (Instructional Leadership Team), will identify the top three traits desired in a principal by department. A second will be given to parents and students, who will rank how important those traits are to them. All LSC members will also be participating in a principal-selection training, which will include topics such as addressing personal bias.

Ms. Pridgen spoke about recent initiatives undertaken by FACE, an organization that aims to empower families to participate in the school community. She stated that two future goals for the group are to have a representative on the CIWP committee, create a unified equity statement for the school, and establish a school-wide Diversity Committee. She also stated that major parent concerns include student safety getting to and from school, for which a seminar or workshop may be developed; college and career planning, which prompted other members to suggest inviting a representative from the counseling department to the next meeting; and the desire for a parent and/or student handbook containing important information and resources for Payton.

Fundraising Updates: Blue Ribbon Celebrations and Fall Team Success

FOP described successful fundraising for recent events such as Blue Ribbon week celebrations, as well as great volunteer turnout and organization for the open house. 

Boosters’ mission is to support Payton sports teams in fundraising and raising school spirit. They summarized a very successful season for fall teams and good attendance for sporting events, as well as the highest-ever season pass sales.

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