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TASK FORCE ON GENDER EQUITY IN EDUCATION
Research Team Meeting
Tuesday, October 12, 2004
1PM - 4 PM
Cross State Office Building, # 541

ATTENDING: Mary Madden, Sharon Wilson-Barker, Lisa Plimpton, Rick Kent, Patrick Phillips, Michael Montagna, Susan Corrente

WELCOME: Patrick welcomed the Team members.

REVIEW OF PROPOSAL #1 FOR YOUTH INVOLVEMENT; DISCUSSION; FORMULATION OF FINAL PROPOSAL: Susan noted that Mary had shared with the Team, by email, three proposals for how best to incorporate youth voice into this work and that proposal #1 was favored by all who responded; Lyn had also asked if we could add our focus groups after the work was done with Allan Johnson and noted that it would be important to identify which students we were hearing from, if we were to follow proposal #1. After a general discussion, the following proposal was developed to share with the full Task Force at the October 14, 2004 meeting:

October 27, 2004, at UMO -- Professor Allan Johnson will meet with 4-5 teams of student leaders (7-8 students/team - mostly high school students) that will be brought by school leaders as a follow-up to a conference they (as part of the Maine School Leadership Network) had with Professor Johnson on September 30, 2004 on privilege and difference.

9:30 - 11:30 Student groups meet with Professor Johnson on privilege; discussion will include a gender lens.

11:30 Lunch provided to students

12:00 - 1:30 STEP ONE: Focus groups conducted by members of the Research Team, following a standardized protocol with uniform questions:
- Research Question 4 - learning styles/classroom strategies;
- Research Question 5 - early developmental experiences;
- Research Question 6 - school climate;
- Research Question 7 - adult influences in learning/development, and differences between male/female influences;
- Research Question 8 - social constructs of gender, class, race, ethnicity, etc. with an emphasis on social class here in Maine, rather than race;
- Research Question 9 - social institutions; and
- Other - what do you think are the most important challenges facing girls/boys today?")

STEP TWO: Research Team members select 2-3 schools at which to follow up with action steps at the schools, led by the student leaders but including a more diverse group of students; include general feedback without violating the confidentiality of the group discussions/individual contributions.

STEP THREE: Research Team members report data back to Mary, according to uniform protocol, for Report.

SCHEDULE FOR REVIEW OF DRAFT SECTIONS OF TASK FORCE REPORT: Susan noted that the updated "Schedule to Date" that was sent electronically to all Task Force members, with Task Force meetings scheduled through May reflects the general schedule for review of draft sections of the Report, first by the Research Team and then by the full Task Force; however, the schedule for review of drafts will remain somewhat fluid to allow for any additional time needed on any of the various sections of the Report. Mary discussed her planning/approach to the Report, so far. She had thought she would start with Section II (The School Experience) but soon realized it would be more logical to begin with Section I (The Call to Action) in order to tailor the research summary/findings/recommendations to the problems identified in Maine as the ones to be addressed. Section III (The Social Environment) will include both social institutions and the family environment; and Section IV (Policy and Practice) will include model programs/practices in Maine, if identified in the course of the research. Mary noted that members of the Team, many of whom had already given presentations to the Task Force, all will have information to supply for various sections of the Report. Mary will share outlines with the Research Team members as a way of soliciting related material from Research Team members, and will followup with individual members as needed; she will then share drafts of the Report with Research Team members for feedback prior to sharing them with the full Task Force. She would be interested in additional data on opportunities presented to students of each gender who will not be pursuing a college education but are in career/technical education (CTE) programs in Maine, and in the community college system. The December meeting's presentation (by John Stivers and Yvonne Davis of the CTE program in the Department of Education) will provide some of that data. There was also some general discussion about following up with the Search Institute for their gender analysis of Maine data gathered at schools that have completed the Search Institute's inventory of assets; and general agreement that a presentation by Lyn Brown and/or Mark Tappan on any gender findings in the use of the inventory would be very helpful. [Follow-up: Patrick and Susan will contact John Fitzsimmons of the Community College System, and Jobs for Maine's Graduates (JMG), to ask John again to be part of the December presentation and to see what data/presentation may be available from JMG. Susan will follow-up with Lyn on a presentation by Lyn and/or Mark. Susan followed up on the Search Institute analysis - it would require permission to pool data from the Maine schools that have completed the inventory, and an agreement with the Search Institute to do the analysis; moreover, the Search Institute's researcher predicts that Maine data will reflect the same trends as the national data reflect and that data is available in the books they have provided. Thus, the Department will not be requesting the analysis by the Search Institute.]

SCHEDULE OF UPCOMING MEETINGS OF RESEARCH TEAM: The Team set the following dates/times for meetings through April, which will be shared with the other Team members by way of the emailed minutes of this meeting:

November 15, 2004 12 Noon - 2 PM (tentative; to be confirmed; if held at this day/time, lunch provided) Cross Building, # 500

December 15, 2004 2-4 PM, Cross Building, #500

January 18, 2005 2-4 PM, Cross Building, #500

February 15, 2005 2-4 PM, Cross Building, #500

March 14, 2005 2-4 PM, Cross Building, #500

April 25, 2005 2-4 PM, Cross Building, #500

Susan noted that the presentation from the Suicide Prevention Program, to the Research Team, was rescheduled from today to November's meeting, as they were just collecting their data at the time of this meeting and recommended that a presentation in November, once data had been collected/analyzed, would be more helpful to us. Mary noted that they would be presenting with the CDC on their finding during the week of November 8 - 11, 2004. [ Mary has emailed the invitation she received re: the presentation with the CDC on the findings in the Midcoast area to Patrick and Susan for forwarding to members of the Task Force in case any members want to attend that presentation. Susan will let Cheryl DiCara and Sue O'Halloran know of the date of our November meeting.]

NEXT STEPS: The Team had a general discussion on how to begin to think about framing the conversation about "best practices", once they have been identified. Rich noted that Promising Futures is an excellent tool that could be used more widely than it is currently being used; Lisa agreed that some schools use it and others don't but that there are some schools working with the Mitchell Institute that would be good sources of best practices. She also noted that an update that deals specifically with rigor/instruction should be available this Winter/Spring. Patrick noted that Promising Futures is used by the Department in a number of ways and in relation to a number of initiatives, and agreed it would be an important link between the work of this Task Force and other work/reforms underway. He also recommended that we consider focusing our recommendations having to do with gender equity around key components of the Search Institute's Assets Inventory - another quantity that is known/used by schools. Rich also recommended that we incorporate the Commissioner's recent call for heterogeneous groupings in classrooms as a springboard for our conversation about best practices to ensure gender equity in education. All agreed that we should start these conversations with the full Task Force starting in January.

Michael indicated that the Department of Labor is updating some of the data that Michael presented to the Task Force this summer. Patrick noted that it would be particularly helpful to see the links between employment and post-secondary experience, and the gender implications of the jobs of the future in Maine. A presentation on this by John Dorer of the Department of Labor would be helpful, in tandem with additional data from Michael, if a team approach would be informative. [Follow-up - Michael will contact John to discuss this, and he will ask John Dorer if he would be willing to present to the Task Force in January or February.]

Patrick recommended that it wasn't too early to think about the rollout of the report - perhaps a Blaine House conference with a large, representative audience drawn from education, business and other interested parties, with an important speaker such as Iannis Mialis, Executive Director of the Boston Museum of Science (on making engineering accessible), and student participation and a demonstration of model practices/programs. Susan noted that if the final draft of the full Report went to the Task Force in June, design, printing and publication would take several weeks so a rollout for the beginning of school would make sense. Sharon recommended that early August was actually a better time to capture the attention of educators, when they had rested from the previous school year and weren't yet caught up in the next one. Others agreed and noted that several summer conferences may be opportunities to set up an information table or even share the draft Report: the Superintendents' Conference in June, 2005; the summer 2005 academies for the Center of Inquiry for Secondary Education and for the Great Maine Schools project; the summer 2005 conference for literacy teachers that Rich will host for 400 - 600 teachers; and the Middle Level Institute in July, 2005. The Team agreed to start thinking about how best to make use of these forums to share our work.

ADJOURN