LSAT Meeting Minutes October 2012

Janney Elementary School
LSAT Meeting Minutes
Tuesday, October 23, 2012
In Attendance: Staff: Norah Lycknell, Tawana Franklin, Laure Hunter, Susan
Meshberger, Allison Potocki, Julie Schwartz, Marie Warren. Parents: Susan Gerson,
Miriam Gonzales, Bob Mulderig, Amanda Orr, Lesley Schaffer, and Tracy Scarrow
(PTA). Student Representative: Ale Jorge.
Taking Minutes: Amanda Orr
1. Welcome LSAT Student Council Representative
Ale Jorge introduced himself and reported that he had recently attended the first student
council meeting where they primarily discussed new ideas for spirit days. He solicited
ideas from our group (mustache day and another sock hop) and reported that the
student council will also solicit ideas via their new email addresses
( as well as a suggestion box in the cafeteria.
2. Advanced Learners
Janney is currently operating with about 50 percent of students performing above grade
level. Norah pointed out that the topic of how to ensure that those advanced learners
are being sufficiently challenged comes up every year with parents, mostly on an
individual basis. She would like to formalize the way in which she addresses this
concern this by creating a document that outlines our school POV on advanced
Norah suggests that a subcommittee of the LSAT develop a one pager to provide an
overview of the topic. The goal of this document would be to reshape the conversation
around depth and quality of work as opposed to levels and quantity of work. Next step:
identify people to participate on this subcommittee.
3. Language Arts Curriculum
Bob Mulderig introduced this topic as a parent of a middle school student, concerned
that students are not sufficiently learning the fundamentals of syntax and grammar.
There seems to be a disconnect in the school system about where the bulk of this
should be happening – middle school believes it should happen in 3rd, 4th and 5th
grades, while elementary schools believe this should happen in middle school.
Norah acknowledged that there is definitely a consciousness about this at Janney, and
in fact that there is an inquiry group within the faculty right now that is looking at the best
way to study vocabulary. Another group, the writing continuum group, is looking at
content and conventions in writing. So, as of right now, they are looking at how to best
address this at the elementary school level. The biggest challenge seems to be teaching
it in a way where you can also track the progress. Teaching grammar and content
separately is not advisable.
Questions included: what’s a reasonable balance? Are there good grammar workbooks
we could incorporate into the curriculum? What does it feel like for a Janney student to
transition to Deal?
Next Steps:
 LSAT members should review the curriculum guidelines on the school website
and see what’s missing.
 We will have a generalized discussion about this to report what the teachers and
the two subgroups are learning.
 This should be included in a broader discussion among the Deal feeder school
LSATs with the Deal LSAT to address issues of transition from elementary to
middle school. The Deal LSAT Chair is in the process of organizing a meeting
among the LSATs.
4. School Goals
School goals were turned into Chancellor Henderson. Norah also reported that DCPS
recently announced a revised bonus system in which bonuses will be differentiated
going forward based on the level of school. She feels this is sending the wrong
message to the teachers, and has spoken to Chancellor Henderson to express her
5.Space and Construction
It was agreed that it is now time for the LSAT to communicate with Chancellor
Henderson, Anthony de Guzman and Eric Hamlin to outline Janney’s construction
requirements and to make the case for immediate funding. We have very limited, if any,
available space for demountables considering that they cannot be placed on top of the
garage, and construction requirements will not support construction on top of the
multipurpose room, so that leaves one option – construction on top of the Pre-K wing.
Norah will provide the facts necessary for the letter (current/expected enrollment, space,
etc.) Susan Gerson, Julie Schwartz (with Marie Warren as back up) will write the letter.