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September 7, 2010 Parent Council Meeting

Albemarle County Public Schools - Parent Council

September 7, 2010 Meeting Update

“Sharing information and resources in support of better education for our students.”

Noteworthy Dates


October Parent Council meeting

Red Hill ES, Oct 5, 2010, at 6:45 pm

Request $50 donation from PTO/A





Representatives: Ned Gallaway (Agnor Hurt), Tom Hecmanczuk (AHS), Anita Karadia (Baker-Butler), Carrie Eisenberg (Broadus Wood), Tara Mincer (Burley MS), Ceann Wombacher (Hollymead), Jason Buyaki (Stony Point), Cindy Baber (Woodbrook), Cathy Sanders (Cale), Stacy Walker (Monticello), Cathy von Storch (Red Hill), Rhonda Angel (Stone-Robinson), Jim Stern (Walton), Charles Lewis (Yancey), D J Stoeberle (Crozet), Robin LeGallo (Henley MS), Amy Gore (Henley MS), Matt Kessler (Murray HS), Ann DeJong (Murray Elem.), Jane Kulow (WAHS), Debbie Chlebnikow (Community Rep), LaDelle Holland (Community Rep)

Staff & Guests:  Matthew Haas, Dir. Secondary Instruction, ACPS, Bruce Benson, Asst. Superintendent ACPS, Billy Haun, Asst. Superintendent, ACPS

                                                                                                        Standard Business Procedures

1.      Call to Order 7:00 PM by Jane Kulow

2.      Registration of attendance.

                                                                                                                      Opening Exercise

1.      PC reps each took a “Round-the-Clock” learning partners exercise, circulated the room and found partners to meet with at different times on the clock. The sheet contained a clock face and fill-in-the-blank time slots. This ‘meet and greet’ exercise also designated discussion partners for future meetings.

                                                                                                   Review of Agenda Items: Jane Kulow

1.   Introduction of what PC will be doing this year from SMART Goals Planning Group. What are they and how to accomplish them.

2.  Norms for meetings:

                  Start and end on-time

                  Specific ?s and goals

                  Get new information

                  Respect differences among attendees and schools

3. Expectations for tonight’s meeting:


                  Go over items

                  Get to know each other

                  Learn a new meeting format

4. SMART Goals: Ned Gallaway will make a PowerPoint presentation later in meeting.

5. At each meeting, someone will serve as “process observer.” Amy Gore has volunteered for tonight’s meeting. The process observer will watch proceedings and note whether we are keeping to the agenda and meeting norms and expectations listed above.


                                                                                                    “Lightning Round”:  PC Reps Report

Carrie Eisenberg presented the new sharing format, asking for a maximum 30 second response from each representative. Initial topic: “Your goal for your school this year.” Parent Council reps each presented their response.

Smart Goals

1. Ned Gallaway made a presentation on SMART Goals for Parent Council based on a committee of PC representatives meeting with Dr. Matt Haas from May – July 2010. Reviewed goals on printout that was sent to PC members prior to meeting including measurable goals for PC representatives: PC representatives will attend/report at PTO meetings and back to Parent Council, a PC rep will be present at School Board meetings, PC meetings will follow desired procedure for inclusion of all voices, PC communications will represent all voices and, on key issues, will represent consensus or will of the group.

2. Dr. Matt Haas assisted with “poll everywhere” (see to gather input from PC reps on the SMART Goals. Haas currently uses this response tool when teaching English 9 at Monticello HS. Responses were texted to the site, with responses showing up immediately. Poll asked if PC reps approved the developed SMART Goals. Responses were as follows:

47% (8 votes) rank 5 [strongly approve]

41% (7 votes) rank 4 [approve]

6%   (1 vote)   rank 3 [no opinion]

0%                  rank 2 [mildly disapprove]

6%  (1 vote)    rank 1 [strongly disapprove]  (This vote was in error but software would not allow retraction/correction.)

Discussed value of using polleverywhere. Result of poll: PC has a general consensus of approval of the SMART Goals presented.

 ACPS Issues for Parent Council to Address

Parent Council reps were surveyed to provide an issue of concern (must involve more than one school, must have an attainable goal, rep must have one idea toward a possible solution) via a ‘snowball survey’ to provide anonymity. The list of issues will be presented to reps via email for priority voting prior to discussion at the next meeting.

Division Report:  4 x 4 Schedule Update

Dr. Matt Haas discussed the 4x4 schedule. The 1st day of school survey was presented to the School Board and handed out to the PC. There was some discussion about the number of students in study halls, recommendations to DART, and how school schedule changes affected class size. Due to multiple factors it was difficult to determine if class sizes increased solely due to budget cuts. For instance, there was a significant increase in the number of students attending at Hollymead and Broadus Wood Elem Sch. Budget cuts also increased class sizes across county.

Division Report:  Transportation

Dr. Bruce Benson and Billy Haun headed up the discussion. Dr. Benson addressed bus/transportation questions and issues:

  • Repositioning the fleet to decrease “dead heading”
  • Consolidating and rationalizing bus routes
  • Increasing the walk for some students: up to 1/3 mile for middle and ½ mile for high schoolers
  • Changing some pickup spots due to safety issues. Examples such as children having to stand beside the road on soft shoulders, inclines or walking by themselves on a lonely stretch of road were given as reasons for making some changes and even adjustments within the first week of school. PC members were urged to have any parents with concerns to call the ACPS transportation manager, Josh Davis, about any concerns.
  • Cost of operating a bus is approximately $1 per mile
  • Cost savings this year due to changes expected to be approximately $400K through the elimination of 22 routes and other cost saving measures.
  • Drivers have “pocket time clocks”, ITouches with Apps. Although these devices were costly, they allowed two time keeper positions to be dropped from the employee rolls and made time keeping much more efficient e.g. down to the minute
  • Although the goal is to limit all rides to school to a maximum of 45 minutes, this was not possible in all cases. Some PC members reported it takes over an hour to go three miles on the bus e.g. to Broadus Wood Elem Sch; another said that it takes her child almost an hour to travel seven miles on the bus.
  • A PC member suggested putting the bus routes on the ACPS website so that parents could meet the bus somewhere closer to school, but Dr. Benson felt that this would create a potential security risk for children.
  • Another PC member complained that HS students were smoking at a bus stop setting a poor example for middle schoolers. This supposedly is against regulations and Dr. Benson will look into this matter ASAP.



                                                                                                                   School Board Report

Jane Kulow presented a School Board report. She emphasized the importance of having at least one PC member at each School Board meeting in order to get a report to the PC. At-large School Board member, Brian Wheeler, recently resigned. Of the 14 candidates for his position, four are from the PC. Tomorrow night at Monticello HS each candidate will make a 10 minute presentation, and on Thursday night the School Board will hold a public meeting at the COB and begin accepting public comments at 8 P.M. One question to be answered is “What do you want in a School Board member?” Letters of application from each candidate are viewable on-line at  According to law, the School Board must have a replacement designated within 45 days of Mr. Wheeler’s resignation. After the application, however, the Circuit Court could rule that a special election must be held.


                                                                                    Question & Answer Session with the Superintendent

(Due to a conflict, Dr. Pam Moran could not attend. Asst. Superintendents Benton and Haun took her place.)


Q. What is the class size maximum now for middle schools?

A. There is no state maximum, but the ACPS tries to keep it between 24-27 students.


Q. Have the size of honors classes increased?

A. Yes, in order to try to decrease the size of regular classes that are more difficult to teach


Q. Is it true that the ACPS system had an increase of about 260 students this year?

A. No. It is actually about 170 more than projected and about 150 more than last year. However, the final figures are not in. The Northern Feeder Route showed the largest increase, probably due to the influx of personnel at the DIC.


Q. Is re-districting planned due to this situation?

A. Some pocket re-districting is possible. It was noted that about 800 elementary school seats are available (of a total 12,800 overall in ACPS). The pressure is greatest on Hollymead,


Q. What is the situation with re-hiring of teachers laid off due to the budget cuts in light of stimulus money, state budget and need for more teachers due to increased student enrollment?

A. A lot of them were re-hired but 22 position were lost and not replaced. Also, there was decreased attrition of teachers. Usually, ACPS hires about 100 new teachers per year to replace retirees and those who leave the system. This year the number was about 40.


Q. Have emergency snow routes been established for the new bus routes?

A. We are working on it. Also, VDOT status/funding has not improved so expectations for clearing secondary and tertiary roads are not good. 


Q.  What are the plans for next year’s school calendar?

A. This is a subject of on-going public dialogue. Hopefully, exams can be given prior to the winter break. Talks between ACPS and Charlottesville PS start tomorrow, 9/8/10, as some things are shared between these systems such as CATEC. The Calendar Committee will include a representative from PC.

                                                                                                                     President’s Report

Jane Kulow, ACPS PC President, presented the report:

May 2010 meeting updates circulated by email. No comments or corrections.

Meeting documents will be sent out by email as much as possible; materials sent electronically will not be printed for meetings to save costs.

Outside presenters will continue to be invited to monthly meeting but will be limited to two per meeting and given a maximum of 10 minutes for presentations. Any recommendations welcome.

Communications will be made via email, the ACPS PC website and possibly the PTOs’ Wikipage. Volunteers to work on this endeavor are welcome.

PC dues are requested from each school (PTO); same as previous years, $50. Please submit checks ASAP.

Car magnets: not for sale. PC have reprinted one thousand to distribute to parents for their cars (not refrigerators). Distribution to each school, one is focusing on new families, others could distribute at pick up lines.

APSC provides some administrative support for the monthly meetings at the COB. However, the staff is now stretched very thin due to cutbacks. If PC prefers supplied bottled water and refreshments, a volunteer is needed; PC would reimburse.



  1. Amy Gore, process observer for the meeting, reported on meeting expectations: it was somewhat confusing as predicted but not overwhelmingly so. Meeting kept to the agenda schedule, reps started to get to know each other and the new format worked wonderfully.
  2. JK reminded everyone that the next monthly meeting will be held at Red Hill Elem School at 6:45 P.M. on Tuesday, October 5. Mr. Stow, Principal, will introduce us to the members of their PTO, who will be meeting there as well, and then give us a tour of the facilities prior to our meeting.
  3. The meeting was adjourned at 9:00 P.M.
Lisa Medders,
Sep 28, 2010, 5:16 PM
Lisa Medders,
Sep 28, 2010, 5:16 PM
Lisa Medders,
Sep 28, 2010, 5:16 PM
Lisa Medders,
Sep 28, 2010, 5:16 PM