• The mission of Columbia Heights Public Schools is to create worlds of opportunity for every learner in partnership with supportive
    small-town communities by challenging all to discover their talents, to unleash their potential and to develop tools for lifelong success.


    August 27, 2013 Business Meeting

    Donation acknowledgement: Chair Bardell thanked the Wells Fargo Foundation for a donation of $43.05 and to Lisa Morah for a donation of $79.95, both to Valley View Elementary School for student needs.

    School Board Reports:

    • Director Ted Landwehr attended the Aug. 20, 2013 Work Session, which included potential remodeling plans and a tour of North Park Elementary School; the new teacher breakfast on Aug. 21 and a Chamber of Commerce sponsored orientation breakfast two days later; he attended the Columbia Heights High School registration, the Girls tennis team dinner and the Recreation Department "Murder Mystery" production.

    • Vice-Chair John Larkin attended SACA softball fundraiser, the new teacher induction, the Columbia Heights High School (CHHS) registration, watched the Blue and Gold football scrimmage, BBQ and parent meeting, and went to the junior varsity and varsity football scrimmages in Delano and lastly participated in the Aug. 20 Work Session.

    • Director Missy Lee participated in a West Metro Education Program (WMEP) Board meeting, met with the School Board subcommittee for Board Evaluation, the Blue and Gold BBQ and football scrimmage, the Delano football scrimmages, the Aug. 20 Work Session and had a meeting with football coach and a meeting with Superintendent Kelly.  Director Lee also shared there is a football game this Friday evening (7 p.m.) and to support the team.

    • Director Laura Palmer attended the Aug. 20 Work Study session, including the tour and attended the Chamber of Commerce breakfast for new teachers.

    • Chair Scott Scott Bardell shared that he participated in the Aug. 20 Work Session, the teacher induction ceremony (Aug. 21) and that he led a tour of the district for the new employees.

    • Director Lori Meyer attended the Aug. 20 School Board Work Session.

    Superintendent's Report:

    • Collaborated with the district (CHPS) E-12 Administrative Team in an Administrative Work Study.  The focus was on supporting world-class learners, creating the world's best work force by 2017 and implementing early learning legislation.  Individual principals and directors also addressed pressing challenges and opportunities for the 2013-2014 school year.

    • Participated in "Scaling the Heights," the three-day new teacher induction program.  Twenty-five new hires were welcomed in to the district during the orientation.  Superintendent Kelly shared her sincere appreciation to all who were involved, with special thanks to Director of Teaching and Learning Duane Berkas, Coordinator Zena Stenvik and Secretary Wendy Bornetun for putting together the successful orientation.

    • Attended an Association of Metropolitan School Districts (AMSD) Executive Committee Meeting that focused on planning the Early Learning Conference that AMSD will host in November.  Superintendent Kelly said she understands CHPS may present at that conference for the district's all-day kindergarten and English Language work the past 10 years.

    • Met with community members and also with Director Lee for coffee and conversation.

    • Attended the August 20 School Board Work Study and met with School Board Chair Bardell.

    • Announced that full district staff returned Monday, August 26 and that students will begin the 2013-2014 school year Sept. 3. 

    K-12 Activities Director: Director of Human Resources Lindsey Bennett introduced Matthew Miller, a former Dean at Columbia Heights High School, as the new K-12 Activities Director. Mr. Miller earned his Bachelor of Arts in Health Education (grades 5 through 12) and K-12 Physical Education from Bethel University and his Masters of Arts in Organizational Leadership from Northwestern College. He holds a K-12 Principal License and is a graduate of the Costa Rican Spanish Language Academy.  Mr. Miller is also a Columbia Heights Public Schools' Alumni of Distinction recipient. Mr. Miller expressed his honor for being selected to the position and his excitement for working with students.  His goals include changing the culture, to incite enthusiasm and increase Heights Pride, to increase overall participation in all athletics and to emphasize sportsmanship.  He also said he is following the weather closely and ensuring no activities are taking place that would endanger students.  Lastly, he shared that CHHS will move to a new conference in 2014.  Board Directors Lee, Landwehr and Bardell shared their congratulations and complements.

    Employee Handbook: Lindsey Bennett, Director of Human Resources, shared changes to the 2013-2014 employee handbook.  Among the minor changes are policy updates in the appendix and Finance Office updates.  The next step is to distribute the handbook to staff.

    Facility Update: Bill Holmgren, Director of Finance and Operations, provided an update of the Highland Elementary School partial remodeling completed earlier this year.  His presentation included an update on the conversion of previous kindergarten rooms to an art room (with a kiln), a science room and a conference room and that all spaces received new floors, lights and more storage space. 

     Renovated art room New conference room   Remodeled science room 

    Superintendent Kelly shared that she met with the Highland Elementary School principal, a science teacher and an art teacher, the latter who said she was ecstatic with the remodeling; both teachers shared their appreciation to the School Board for their commitment to art and science at the school.  Mr. Holmgren added that the remaining furniture is also being delivered to the new remodeled classroom at North Park Elementary School and that it will be ready for the new school year.  At right Directors Landwehr (second from left), Palmer and Meyer (right) along with Superintendent Kelly and a representative from an architectural firm, listen to North Park Principal Jeff Cacek describe physical and educational changes taking place in a newly remodeled third-grade multi-use classroom.

    Board Policy - First Readings: 
    Chair Scott Bardell presented on the first readings of the following policies:

    703 - Annual Audit
    707 - Transportation of Public School Students
    709 - Student Transportation Safety Policy
    711 - Video Recording on School Buses
    712 - Video Surveillance Other Than on Buses
    802 - Disposition of Obsolete Equipment and Material
    902 - Use of School Facilities and Equipment

    School Board Evaluation: At the May 28, 2013 Business Meeting, the School Board voted to form a sub-committee on "Board Self-Evaluation."  The sub-committee of Chair Bardell, Directors Missy Lee and Ted Landwehr reported at this meeting that they created a 10 question survey with an eight-page "Points to Consider" attachment.  The sub-committee's recommendation is to take each of the 10 questions (and attachment) and discuss each major point throughout the coming year during Work Sessions (process to be determined).  

    Milk Bids: The School Board approved an administration request to publicize bids for milk.  Director of Finance and Operations Bill Holmgren said that the district spent $102,000 for milk last year (for students) and that law states that bids must be published if costs exceed $100,000.  

    Resolution for Conversion and approval of new levy authority: Following new state law, the Columbia Heights Public Schools (CHPS) School Board voted and approved a resolution for the conversion and approval of new levy authority.  As background, all state school boards are required by the state legislature to vote on a resolution on this categorical conversion. By a majority vote, the resolution authorizes this School Board to convert up to $300 of CHPS existing levy (based on what is referred to as an Adjusted Pupil Unit).  The approval changes this portion of the levy to CHPS School Board authority. The vote means that CHPS will go from one levy to three; however, there will not be tax increases to voters, no new district funding, that the taxpayer’s portion of the existing levy taxes will decrease and the overall CHPS levy funding will remain the same as previously.  The resolution is for five years. Director of Finance and Operations Bill Holmgren said the average taxpayer should see a reduction in their school taxes of approximately $21 a year. The change is primarily categorical, but had the CHPS School Board not approved the new authority, the school district would have lost up to $180,000, which equates to full funding for approximately three teachers.   Mr. Holmgren told the Board members that the district will be in a stronger financial position strategically, which is good not only for CHPS, but also for taxpayers. The CHPS School Board did not need to act on a second of the three levies, called Location Equity Revenue (LER), which provides continued funding for districts that reside within the seven metro county area.   CHPS will automatically convert $424 of operating levy converted to LER.

    North Metro 916 Health and Safety Levy: Director of Finance and Operations Bill Holmgren presented to the School Board a request for a resolution for the North Metro 916 Health and Safety Levy.  This is an annual request and requirement for projects related to health and safety; there is an approximate $400 increase to the CHPS levy.  The School Board voted and approved the request.

    Integration Plan fund increase: Director of Teaching and Learning Duane Berkas requested that the School Board approve an increase in funding for the school district's Integration and Achievement Plan.  Mr. Berkas explained that the School Board approved the 2013-2014 Integration Plan budget in March, but after that time frame the legislature voted to increase funding to CHPS of approximately $200,000 for this school year.  He added that the funds can only apply to existing School Board approved integration and achievement plans.  The School Board approved the request.

    Out-of-state travel requirements for School Board: Chair Scott Bardell initiated a discussion on the  maximum number of School Board members who could attend the 2014 national School Board conference in New Orleans.  After discussion, the School Board agreed to table the discussion to a future Work Session.  

    Key Dates:

    • Sept. 2., District Office closed for Labor Day Holiday
    • Sept. 3., First day of school
    • Sept. 10, 5 p.m., School Board Sub-committee on Policy Meeting, Conference Room
    • Sept. 10 7 p.m., School Board Regular Meeting, Community Room
    • Sept. 17, 5:30 p.m., School Board Work Session, Community Room
    • Sept. 24, 7 p.m., School Board Regular Meeting, Community Room

    This is an unofficial summary of Columbia Heights Public Schools' School Board Business Meetings. The official record of School Board meetings are the Minutes, which can be read, after approval, via the School Board Home Page. The School Board Report is published by the Communications Department normally within three work days after a Business Meeting. For additional information, please use this website or call Board Secretary Dawn Hoium at 763-528-4504 or by e-mail at hoiumd@colheights.k12.mn.us.  To unsubscribe, please click here.