Sixth Consent Order Reports
Filed November 16th, 2020
Annually, the District is required to file a report containing information regarding the District’s implementation of the Consent Order and the Green factors applicable to the District’s desegregation lawsuit. The District’s Sixth Consent Order Report was timely filed with the Court on November 16, 2020. Nearly all of the reports filed with the Court contain data from the preceding school year. As such, the date range for the data in most of this year’s reports is July 1, 2019, through June 30, 2020.
As it has done in the past, the District filed a Notice of Filing which is designed to help the Court, and the citizens of Huntsville, better understand the Sixth Consent Order Report. The Notice of Filing operates as a helpful guide for understanding each individual report. A PDF version of the Notice of Filing can be found below. Before reviewing the individual reports, it is recommended that members of the community review the Notice of Filing.
The District’s fifth year of implementation went well, but the District faced unique challenges. As mentioned last year, after so many years of implementation, the District has developed effective and efficient processes for ensuring full and faithful implementation of the Consent Order. However, as with prior years, there were noteworthy incidents during the 2019-20 school year. The major changes are discussed below:
- The District has made several new hires for the Central Office team in the last 12 months or so. The following individuals have joined the District:
- Dr. Clarence Sutton – Deputy Superintendent of Learning Supports – Dr. Sutton was originally hired to be the Chief Academic Officer; however, due to his great work for the District in a short time, the Superintendent promoted him to Deputy Superintendent. Dr. Sutton previously worked for Tuscaloosa City Schools.
- Dr. Monte Linebarger – Director of Elementary Education – Dr. Linebarger joined the District from Tuscaloosa City Schools.
- Dustin Daehn – Chief School Financial Officer – Mr. Daehn joined the District from Pike Road City Schools.
- Craig Williams – Chief Communications Officer – Mr. Williams joined the District from Birmingham City Schools.
- Scott Wiginton – Director of Career & Technical Education – Mr. Wiginton joined the District from the Alabama State Department of Education.
- Letricia Ogutu – Mental Health Services Coordinator – Ms. Ogutu joined the District from private practice.
- Dr. Elizabeth Long – Director of Special Education– Dr. Long joined the District from Eufala City Schools. Although she joined during the 2018-19 school year, the District wanted to remind the Court of her addition to the District’s team.
- On January 3, 2020, the Court granted the Parties’ joint motion for the release of supervision of the Board’s transportation system. That motion was filed after extensive work with counsel for the United States and counsel for the proposed private plaintiffs, Mr. Mark Debro. Additionally, as part of that filing, the District publicized its intention to file the motion and met with interested community members about the content and effect of the motion. Ultimately, the District believes it has found an effective and transparent blueprint for its future plans to seek release from federal supervision for the remaining Green factors.
- The District is currently making plans to seek release from federal supervision for the faculty and staff Green factor. As before, the District plans to work with counsel for the United States and Private Plaintiffs, and it will attempt to follow steps like those used in the preparation for the filing of the transportation motion. COVID-19 may limit the District’s ability to hold in person meetings, but the District will make use of alternative methods for meeting with interested community members.
- On March 13, 2020, the Governor and State Superintendent announced that schools would be closing to stop the spread of COVID-19. Since that time, the District has – like all school systems in the State – wrestled with how best to respond to the pandemic. Below are some notable items related to the District’s response to COVID-19:
- The District implemented a remote learning plan for the end of the 2019-20 school year that included considerations for meals, internet access, and flexibility in completing outstanding lessons and assignments for the 2019-20 school year. Students’ work during this period from April to May did not adversely impact their grades.
- However, the closure in March 2020 and the subsequent remote learning period resulted in the District being unable to complete the state’s accountability exam measures. This was true for all public schools in the state. This meant that the District has no information regarding the academic proficiency of students in grades 3 through 8. Additionally, due to the closure, the District was unable to perform some of its usual surveys (M-to-M and Honors, AP, and IB courses) as is described in more detail in the reports.
- The District worked with community partners to help students during this initial period of remote learning. For example, local faith-based partners helped feed students when the District had shortages of staff. Also, ADTRAN and Huntsville Utilities helped the District expand the wi-fi range on its school campus to cover up to 300 yards away from the building. This allowed families to be able to easily access the internet from on-campus parking lots.
- During the same time frame, the District conducted a survey of parents regarding their preference for in-person, blended, or remote learning. Using those results, the District spent the summer developing its two different learning models: “Traditional” and “Virtual.” Parents had several opportunities to select the option they preferred for the Fall 2020 semester.
- The Traditional model is a flexible model that changes depending on the number of COVID-19 cases in the community and other health and safety considerations.
- If factors warrant, Traditional students may be moved to “remote learning” where all students are virtual every day.
- If conditions improve, then Traditional students will move to a “staggered learning” framework. This framework has an alternating schedule where approximately half of the Traditional students are in person per day while the other half are remote.
- If conditions present a lower risk, Traditional students return to all in-person learning.
- The Virtual students participate in the Huntsville Virtual Academy. These students do all their work remotely every day. These students are taught by Huntsville City Schools teachers, and, at least for Fall 2020, most HVA students are taught by a teacher from their school (meaning transfer students and magnet students are typically taught by a teacher from the transfer or magnet school).
- Due to the conditions in August 2020, Traditional students started in the “remote learning” framework. This meant that all students, both Traditional and Virtual students, started the year in remote learning.
- The District switched from remote learning to staggered learning for Traditional students in Pre-K through 8th grade on September 14th and for Traditional students in grades 9 through 12 on September 21st.
- The District switched from staggered learning to in-person learning for Traditional students on October 26, 2020. This meant that Traditional students started receiving in-person instruction, five days per week on October 26.
- The registration period for the Huntsville Virtual Academy for the spring semester is now open and will run to November 18. The District will use the number of registrations to develop plans for the spring semester. Additionally, the District is continuing to work with local health officials and officials from the Alabama Department of Public Health and the Alabama State Department of Education on best practices for responding to the pandemic.
- Unlike the disruptions and instability caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, the City of Huntsville’s recent school board elections maintained stability in the Board’s membership. In 2020, Michelle Watkins, the Board Member from District 1, and Carlos Matthews, the Board Member from District 5, were both up for re-election. Ms. Watkins had a challenger, but she won the overwhelming majority of her district’s votes. Mr. Matthews did not have a challenger and won his election. As a reminder to the Court, Ms. Watkins has held office since 2016 when she won her first term. The City of Huntsville, pursuant to Alabama law, appointed Mr. Matthews as the replacement for Pam Hill. Ms. Hill held the office from 2016 to May 2019. Mr. Matthews held the office since Ms. Hill’s resignation.
- The District is in considerably better financial health today than it was when Superintendent Christie Finley first stepped into office. As of September 2020, the District has $52,833,912 in reserve. This represents 2.97 months of operating budget. While the District is in better financial health, a good portion of this money is from short term initiatives from the State of Alabama and the federal government (such as CARES Act funding). However, despite the pandemic, the District has not seen a downturn in its tax receipts as was previously expected. As such, while the current fund balance is artificially inflated, the District expects that its financial health will continue.
This year, the board has updated the structure of the PDF documents filed with the court in order to make the documents more user friendly for constituents and stakeholders of Huntsville City Schools. The documents below contain the same number of reporting sections as in previous years, however each section has been combined into larger files which pertain to a specific area or Green Factor of the consent order. These larger files make use of PDF bookmarks which allow readers to skip to the reporting area they are interested in. This allows the entirety of the sixth consent order report to be released in fewer files while maintaining the organizational structure of prior years.
M-TO-M transfer reporting documents can be found below in the Supplemental Reports section.
Document 698-2 below contains the following bookmarked report sections:
- II.F.1 Magnet Applicant Data
- II.F.2 Magnet Marketing
- II.F.3 Magnet Courses
- II.F.4 Magnet Course Duplication
- II.F.5 Dual Enrollment
Document 698-3 below contains the following bookmarked report sections:
- III.M.1.a AP & IB Course Enrollment FINAL
- III.M.1.b 2019-20 ACAP FINAL2020
- III.M.1.c Teacher Credentials AP IB FINAL
- III.M.1.d Teacher Data
Document 698-4 below contains the following bookmarked report sections:
- III.M.1.e Professional Development
- III.M.1.f AP/IB
- III.M.1.g Supports
- III.M.1.h Spring Survey
- AP Spring Survey Results
- Insert from: "III.M.2 Insert.pdf"
- III.M.2 Self Reporting Data and Plans
Document 698-5 below contains the following bookmarked report sections:
- IV.H.1 Extracurricular Activities
- Elementary Schools
- Middle Schools
- High Schools
- IV.H.2 Extracurricular Participation Goals and Rates
- IV.H.3 Extracurricular Outreach
- HS & MS Rack Cards
Document 698-6 below contains the following bookmarked report sections:
- V.D.1 Committees
- V.D.2 Exigent Circumstances
- V.D.3 Central Office Certified Administrators
- V.D.4 School Certified List
- V.D.5 Certified Transfer
- V.D.6 Recruiting of Black Principals
- V.D.7 Recruiting and Job Fairs
- V.D.8 Central Office Cert Admin Hired
- V.D.9 Central Office Cert Admin Promoted
- V.D.10 Incentives for Cert Personnel
- V.D.11 Demotions, Suspensions, Dismissals, and Terminations
- V.D.12 Candidate List
- V.D.13 TOSA Candidates
Document 698-9 below contains the following bookmarked report sections:
- X.A Student Listings
Document 698-10 below contains the following bookmarked report sections:
- X.G Expenditures
- Approved Budget
Document 699 below contains the following bookmarked supplemental report sections:
- Supplemental Report - Cover Memorandum
- II.F Exhibits
- Corrected - 2017 II.F.1
- Corrected - 2019 II.F.1
Document 700 below contains the following bookmarked supplemental report sections:
- Supplemental Report - Cover Memorandum
- III.M.1 Exhibits
- III.M.1.b ACAP Final
- III.M.1b ACT Final
Documents 701 and 701-1 below contain a supplemental report notice and exhibit pertaining to V.D.1 Faculty:
Document 704 below contains a Notice of Filing pertaining to the supplemental court report:
Document 704-1 below contains Exhibits II.D.8a and II.D.8.b1 regarding M2M Marketing: