McClure Middle School

Middle School

Family Newsletter  3/7/24

Hello Maverick Nation!

News items:

Budget and Staffing Allocations for 2024-25 School Year

Per the all-families email from the District Office on Wednesday, the budget and staffing allocations that came out last week have been pretty challenging for buildings to digest.  For example, as stated in the District communication, all schools are taking a “hit” to their discretionary funding for next year.  Discretionary funding are the dollar allocations that buildings use for supplies, tutors, interventions, guest speakers, substitutes for staff development, etc. – the basics to run a “well-resourced school.”  Schools also use Discretionary funding to buy up teachers so we have lower class sizes. 

For reasons that I do not completely understand, the District removed a set amount of discretionary funding per grade band across all schools:  $5,000 for elementary, $25,000 for middle schools and $45,000 for high schools.  To give context, McClure’s total discretionary budget last year was $75,000. The District has subtracted $25,000 leaving us with about $50,000 for us to run a school next year.  With the increase in student-to-teacher case loads (up from 30-to- 1 to 31-to-1 per class), we would LOVE to be able to buy up staffing to cut down on class sizes BUT, $50,000 would only get us two classes in our master schedule (40% of a teacher) and we would have no dollars for supplies and all of the other things we need to operate a school.

Finally, McClure is half the size of most middle schools many of which have discretionary funds two or more times larger than ours. But still, all middle schools’ discretionary funds were cut by the same amount.

I am sharing this with you for two reasons:

  • The PTSA will be facilitating a Spring Fund Drive and we REALLY need your help. One of the things we are asking the PTSA to fund next year is at least part of our school counseling allocations. The District funds our amazing counselors at 1.2 FTE (FTE = Full Time Employee). What this means is that if we stick with this, we would have one counselor on campus 5 days per week and the other counselor on campus 1 day per week. We have 460 students. We have a lot of needs.  We have traditionally bought up our amazing counseling team to 1.8 FTE (one counselor on campus 5 days per week and the other counselor on campus 4 days per week) – and our counseling team is incredibly busy each and every day taking care of our kids. 

When the time comes, we hope you will be able to contribute to the PTSA Spring Fund Drive to bolster our Counseling Department and support McClure with other basics for 2024-25

  • I truly think that it is appropriate for our parent community to join us in asking questions about the budget.  I have sent many emails and made many phone calls to District leadership and continue to fight for any allocations or staffing that we believe are due to us.

The District also invited you to ask questions and seek clarity and I so I am inviting you to do that, as well.  Here are the channels they offered:

  • Community Voice Matters: This month, we [District] are hosting several equity-focused, small group discussions with our students and families. Later this spring, we will be hosting well-resourced schools informational meetings for all families, staff, and community.
  • On March 20, the School Board will hear a status update for 2024-25 budget from the central office leadership team. The School Board will decide on the budget in July.
  • For more info, visit our budget webpage. There you will find a form to ask questions.
  • Also, apparently the District 4 (which is us!) Board Position was vacated in February. Under state law these positions will be appointed by the Board (just learned this!)  Since McClure’s families appear currently to not be represented on the Board, I think it is fair to reach out to other Board members if you would like to express concerns, ask questions, seek clarity, etc.  Here are the Board Members per the SPS Board website:
    District 1 – Liza Rankin

District 2 (Position Vacant: Information about the appointment process)

District 3 – Evan Briggs

District 4 (Position Vacant: Information about the appointment process)

District 5 – Michelle Sarju

District 6 – Gina Topp

District 7 – Brandon K. Hersey

UPDATE!!-Student-Family Conferences at McClure on March 14, 2024 – NO SCHOOL!

  • There will be NO SCHOOL at McClure on this date.
  • We will be hosting student-family conferences from 11:00 a.m. to 7:00 p.m. Conferences will be in half-hour time slots. 
  • Student-family sessions will take place in your students’ Advisory teacher’s classrooms
  • All Classroom Teachers are providing you and your McClure student with a teacher input form.  Last year, families expressed great appreciation for student-family conferences but they wanted more opportunities for check-ins with students’ teachers. While this is not possible at the middle school level because students have 6 class periods and Advisory and teachers have upwards of 150 students assigned to them, we did hear you loud and clear!  In response, teachers are taking time to provide a bit of input for each of their students (on an in put form) that your student will be able to present to you during conferences. 
  • There will be other activities/opportunities. We have a book swap (bring books to donate!), a scavenger hunt (allows your middle schooler to “show off” a few things around campus and give you a better idea of what she/he/they does on a day-to-day basis), opportunities to gain help from staff and/or student leaders on how to access the Source and Schoology, answer other questions, etc.
  • We will also ask you and your McClure student to complete a short exit survey so we can continue to chip away at making student-led conferences amazing for our kids and families!
  • What we need from you:
    • Please encourage your McClure student to engage fully in this important process which is as much about them taking ownership over their learning and goal-setting for the future as it is about presenting their portfolio to you in a formalized setting and process.
    • Ask them periodically about their progress with their portfolio.
  • We’re really excited about this semi-new tradition at McClure. The goal is for kids to share with you their reflections on their learning so far this year – What are they celebrating? What are one or two goals that they have for improvements?  Who are they as a McClure scholar? They have a lot to share and we greatly appreciate your participation, encouragement and overall partnership with this endeavor!

Join the PTSA! (You’ll be so glad you did!!)

Please join the PTSA!  It’s a fun and easy way to connect with your McClure community and contribute to the school. Please click on the link and join as an individual or family.   Join McClure PTSA

That’s it for now!

Go Mavs!

Principal Shannon Conner

McClure Middle School