August 13 School Board Meeting Key Points
Members of the Fox Chapel Area School Board wish to correct misinformation provided in a social media post on Aug. 11.
• Combined school board meetings are open meetings. The schedule for school board meetings is approved at the board’s reorganization meeting in December. Pursuant to the Public School Code and Sunshine Law, all meetings are advertised as required, and the schedule is published on the school district’s website months in advance to give parents and community members the maximum opportunity to attend. There are no requirements under state law regarding an agenda. The process for developing and distributing the agenda is up to each district. It is most common that the board president and superintendent develop the agenda. Fox Chapel Area’s policy has been to make the agenda available at the meeting.
• To clear up some concerns about the implementation of the new Eureka Mathematics curriculum for the 2018-2019 school year:
—Unanimous support was received from the Fox Chapel Area School District Elementary Math Committee, composed of 30 teachers, to move forward with the new curriculum. This committee has been working since the 2014-2015 school year on this process.
—Teachers and administrators partnered with experts in the field, including former National Council of Teachers of Mathematics president Dr. Diane Briars and University of Pittsburgh education professor Dr. Margaret Smith.
—Nine math programs were reviewed during the district’s thorough vetting process.
—Fox Chapel Area’s process was so highly regarded that we were selected to present at the National Council of Supervisors of Mathematics two years in a row so that other districts can learn from how we approached program reviews.
—The district has shared its process and information about the Eureka vetting process during district curriculum nights, a District Forum meeting, and an elementary site-based meeting.
• State law is based on the idea that, so long as they do not violate the law, local school boards should have the discretion to adopt policies that the board believes will work best for that district. Fox Chapel Area School District’s policies have long been a combination of Pennsylvania School Boards Association suggested policies and policies unique to the district. According to Fox Chapel Area School District policy (007), the superintendent or administration is responsible for reviewing existing policy and recommending changes to the board. The board has the responsibility for adopting, amending, or repealing, by majority vote, these policies. The process used for the updates and changes suggested at the August 13, 2018, school board meeting is the same process the Fox Chapel Area School District has historically used – the administration, with the solicitor’s assistance, reviewed current policies; made recommendations for the board to consider; and the board will discuss as necessary and vote on the proposed changes at an open meeting.