• March 11, 2014 Regular Business Meeting 

    Discussion, Reports and Information Items

    Reports from the School Board:

    • Interim Chair Scott Bardell attended the March 11, 2014 School Board Sub-Committee on Policy meeting, an Association of Metropolitan School Districts (AMSD) Legislative Update meeting with Director of Communications Casey Mahon.

    • Vice-Chair John Larkin announced that Columbia Heights Public Safety (police and fire), along with Columbia Heights Public Schools (CHPS) and other community partners, are sponsoring an April 30, 2014 "Clean, Warm and Fed" fundraiser for clothing for community children in need.  The event will include a light meal, silent fundraiser and fun activities.
    • Treasurer Lori Meyer met with a resident and attended a Hilltop City Council meeting.

    • Clerk Missy Lee was recently at the State Capitol with representatives from cities, counties, townships and school district for workshops. She met with a representative and a senator on proposed legislation being followed by the Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA). Director Lee provided each School Board member with information on the National School Board Association's "Stand Up for Public Education" nationwide project.

    • Director Ted Landwehr participated in the Twin Cities North Chamber of Commerce Gala, the March 11, 2014 School Board Sub-Committee on Policy and a Lions' meeting.

    • Director Laura Palmer attended Columbia Academy conferences, a Twin Cities North Chamber of Commerce meeting, and a Northeast Metro 916 Intermediate School District meeting.  She also attended the March 11, 2014 School Board Sub-Committee on Policy meeting and provided a reminder for all to attend the Empty Bowls event, Wednesday, March 12, 2014, in Columbia Heights.

    Superintendent's Report: Superintendent Kathy Kelly deferred her report to announce that Interim School Board Chair Scott Bardell was recognized by the Minnesota School Boards Association (MSBA) with its 2014 Director Award. The recognition honors Bardell for "successfully earning 100 points from MSBA-sponsored training to improve individual performance." School Board Vice-Chair John Larkin (left in photo above) congratulates Bardell at the March 11, 2014 Regular Business Meeting with a certificate and a pin (click on pictures to expand).

    Discussion, Reports, Information Items

    Building Vision Card - Highland Elementary School: Highland Elementary Principal Michele DeWitt presented information on the Strategic Plan Vision Card for Highland Elementary School.  

    • Enrollment data
    • Programs and strategies
    • Achievement Data
    • Demographic data
    • Implementation Data
    • Outreach: Parents and community
    • Looking ahead: Goals and planning

    Click here for the PowerPoint presentation to read specifics of each of the topics shared by Principal DeWitt.

    Schoolyard Garden Conference and Blooming Heights Update: Director of Community Education Kristen Stuenkel and Garden Specialist Bonnie Lohman presented information on the Blooming Heights garden, including its history, partners, curriculum and initiatives.  Click here for Ms. Lohman's PowerPoint presentation.

    Gifted and Talented Taskforce Update: Director of Teaching and Learning Duane Berkas and Columbia Academy Principal Mary Bussman provided an update on the Gifted and Talented Taskforce.  As background, Superintendent Kelly organized a task force of administrators and pre-K-12 teachers; they were tasked to conduct a complete and thorough review of the District Gifted and Talented program.  Principal Bussman provided information on the following main points:

    • Charge
    • Methodology
    • Definitions
    • Programs and strategies
    • Outreach: Parents and community
    • Recommendations

    To learn more about the specifics of each of the above points, click here for Principal Bussman's PowerPoint presentation.

    Aligning Technology to Career and College Readiness Pathways: A Plan for Learning and Operational Excellence: Superintendent Kathy Kelly, Director of Technology and Security Services Bryan Hennekens and Director Berkas presented information on the work accomplished to date. This school district is engaged in a process of creating "pathways" that will lead to success in college and career. This initiative includes the work of two groups (College Benchmarks and Life Skills) that are focusing on:

    • Surveying the research on the need and challenge of committing to college and career readiness.
    • Articulating the benchmarks at different ages that align to an ACT score of 22 in the junior year of high school.
    • Identifying the key life-skills that we will emphasize in our schools that will help students be successful in the 21st century.
    • Developing a portfolio of system-wide programs and strategies that will support college readiness.
    • Creating a plan for transformative change through the power of technology.

    For the specifics of the above as shared in the PowerPoint presentation, click here.

    Achievement Targets and Graduation Rates: Director Berkas shared that the Minnesota Department of Education announced new targets for proficiency on the MCAs for all districts as well as data on 4-year graduation rates. Director Berkas provided CHPS achievement targets and graduation rates information that includes:

    • Percentage of those who graduated (for 2013) in four years.
    • Comparison to state averages
    • District strategies to promote graduation
    • 2014 Proficiency Index (per the Minnesota Department of Education)
    • Achievement Gap Reduction goals

    For specifics of Director Berkas' presentation click here.

    Special Education Update: Director of Finance and Operations Bill Holmgren reported that the results of a Minnesota Department of Education Fiscal Audit of the district's Special Education Department showed "no findings," which is considered a favorable rating. Director of Student Services Nicole Halabi discussed a District Management Council study, which focused on Special Education practices and staffing patterns, started with three districts in Spring 2013 (including CHPS) and expanded to six in the Fall of 2013.  Director Halabi added the study incorporated a survey, interviews, analyzing data, identifying opportunities and recommending next steps, all focused on the goal of raising student achievement. 

    Valley View Elementary School addition bids: Director Holmgren presented information on the preliminary bids for the kindergarten addition to Valley View Elementary School.  He shared that of the bids (for different aspects, such as roofing, flooring, mechanical, etc., of the project) all came in under the district's budget.  Director Holmgren said he will bring contracts to the April 8, 2014 School Board Business Meeting for requested approval.

    Action Items

    Board Policies - 2nd Reading:

    406 - Public Private Personnel Data
    - Mandated Reporting of Child Neglect or Abuse
    503 - Student Attendance
    506 - Student Discipline
    515 - Protection and Privacy of Public Records
    516 - Student Medication

    521 - Student Disability Nondiscrimination
    604 - Instructional Curriculum
    610 - Field Trips
    618 - Assessment of Student Achievement
    619 - Staff Development for Standards


    Seniority Lists Approval:
    The School Board approved the seniority lists for Custodian, Clerical, Food Service, Education Assistant and Lunch Duty Monitor positions.

    Updated 2013-2014 Budget: The School Board approved the updated 2013-2014 Budget (click here for the budget and here for Director Holmgren's PowerPoint presentation)

    Valley View Elementary School Addition Financing: The School Board approved a resolution for the financing of the Valley View Elementary School addition.  This financing replicates the successful process used for the 2012 Highland Elementary School addition project.

    Achievement and Integration Plan and Budget: The School Board approved the Achievement and Integration Plan and budget as shared at the Feb. 25, 2014 School Board meeting.

    2014-2015 School Calendar: The School Board approved the 2014-2015 School Calendar (click here).

    School Board Chair Election: The School Board voted for candidates Scott Bardell and Ted Landwehr. As each candidate received three votes and there was a tie vote, a Chair was not elected. The School Board will continue to vote for a Chair at the next Regular Business Meeting.

    Key Dates:

    • March 17-21 No School, Spring Break
    • March 25, 7 p.m. Regular School Board Meeting, Community Room
    • April 8, 5 p.m. Sub-committee on Policy, Supt. Conference Room
    • April 8, 7 p.m. Regular School Board Meeting, Community Room

    Do you have questions or comments?  Click here.