• 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.

    Nov. 12, 2013 Regular Meeting 

    Discussion, Reports, Information Items:

    School Board Reports:

    • Chair Scott Bardell attended the Columbia Heights High School (CHHS) Alumni Scholarship Foundation dinner, an Association of Metropolitan School Districts (AMSD) meeting and the Nov. 12, 2013 School Board Sub-Committee on Policy meeting.

    • Vice-Chair John Larkin participated in the CHHS Alumni Scholarship Foundation dinner, the CHHS varsity football section championship game, CHHS College Night, a fundraiser at Highland Elementary School (HL) and the School Board Sub-Committee on Policy.
    • Director Ted Landwehr attended the Tenured Teacher Reception, the CHHS varsity football section championship game, the CHHS PTSO meeting, CHHS College Night, a senior all-night party committee meeting, a Lions meeting and a Twin Cities North Chamber of Commerce meeting.

    • Director Missy Lee participated in a Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA) State Board meeting  and was "honored" to be at the CHHS varsity football section championship Nov. 8 game.
    • Director Lori Meyer met with the Superintendent and participated in the School Board Sub-Committee on Policy meeting and attended the Tenured Teacher Reception.

    • Director Laura Palmer participated in a Northeast Metropolitan 916 Intermediate School District Board Meeting (Ms. Palmer also serves on that Board).

    Highland Elementary School Art Teacher Joy Baleisis (center)  and Superintendent Kathy Kelly (fourth from right) hold their respective plaques as the 2013 Minnesota Elementary Level Art Educator of the Year and 2013 Minnesota Supervision and Administration Division Art Educator of the Year. The two were honored at the Art Educators of Minnesota Conference, Nov. 8. Joining them were (left) art teachers Stephanie Nowak, Arnie Hamel and Ariane Kokes, HL Principal Michele DeWitt, art teachers Diane Scully and Alison Thompson and Columbia Academy Principal Mary Bussman.

    Superintendent's Report: 

    • Shared that Highland Elementary School art teacher Joy Baleisis and she attended the 2013 Art Educators of Minnesota Awards luncheon to receive their state awards (see photo above).  The Superintendent offered that Ms. Baleisis and she were humbled and honored to be recognized.  The two, along with a team of staff, also attended the Visual Arts Conference.
    • Thanked everyone who was involved in the success of the CHHS Alumni Scholarship Foundation dinner. The Superintendent emphasized this was another enjoyable evening honoring CHHS Alumni of Distinction (Trish Van Pilsum) and raising scholarship money for our high school students.  

    • Reported the E-12 Administrative Team participated in a study session focused on supporting World-Class Learners.  The focus is on educating creative and entrepreneurial students.

    • Shared that the E-12 Administrative Team met for several hours to review non-tenured teacher evaluations as prescribed by law.

    • Reported that the E-12 Team continues to develop enrollment strategies for the 2014-2015 school year.  To date there have been multiple meetings with excellent ideas discussed to be implemented.
    • Announced that the 2013  Columbia Heights Public Schools (CHPS) Annual Report on Curriculum, Instruction and Student Success has been mailed to all households in the school district. The Superintendent encourages the public to review the report for an in-depth look at what is going on in our school district. 
    • Reported that a vision-delivering process around Aligning Technology to Career and College Readiness Pathways began this week.  This will be a continuous process with upcoming meetings and reports to the School Board.
    • Attended an Organizational and Governance meeting for the Tri-Metro Conference that CHPS will join beginning the 2014-2015 school year.  As a group, including Interim CHHS Principal Dan Wrobleski and Athletics/Activities Director Matt Miller, Superintendent Kelly shared they are creating the governance model expectations and by-laws.

    • Participated in Association of Metropolitan School Districts (AMSD) Executive and Board meetings. The Superintendent, along with School Board Chair Scott Bardell and Director of Teaching and Learning Duane Berkas, also attended a special Career and College Readiness issues meeting.  Superintendent Kelly shared that K-12 and higher education administrators are working to create more seamless transitions to post-secondary education.

    • Reported on the quarterly review of the Columbia Academy Achieve Program with Director of Student Services Nicole Halabi, Columbia Academy (CA) Principal Mary Bussman, CA Assistant Principal John Awsumb and District Research and Development Coordinator Rick Hamann.  From this review a decision was made to offer access to identified sixth-grade students on a voluntary basis.
    • Shared that she participated in the School Board Sub-Committee on Policy meeting and has had multiple meetings with School Board directors.

    American Education Week: Director of Teaching and Learning Duane Berkas and Director of Human Resources Lindsey Bennett shared that American Education Week for 2013 is November 18 through 22.  Director Bennett said that among the activities planned is pens for all employees.  Additional awareness includes graphics and information resources sent to all schools to localize in their school newsletters and during the week each day a different theme photo will rotate on the district website. 

    Jenifer Drier

    Tenured Teacher Recognition: Director Berkas, Director Bennett, Director of Student Services Nicole Halabi and Principals Jeff Cacek, Michele DeWitt and Dan Wrobleski introduced seven licensed faculty who are newly tenured as of July 1, 2013. The seven, six of whom were able to attend the School Board recognition Nov. 12, 2013, are Jenifer Drier (ACHIEVE program), Jennifer Lattin (CHHS), Stephanie Lindholm (NPES), Jeanette Marr (HL), Vanessa Lotito-Meyer (CHHS), Steve Rosas (HL) and Troy Sagdalen (CHHS). Director Berkas shared that the seven teachers required nine thorough performance reviews within three years to meet the strict requirements for tenure and the high standards Columbia Heights Public Schools sets for its educators.  Chair Scott Bardell (pictured in each photo below) presented each of the six a special certificate and the entire School Board personally congratulated the new tenured teachers.

    Stephanie Lindholm
    North Park Elementary School
    Jennifer Lattin
    Columbia Heights High School
    Jeanette Marr
    Highland Elementary School
    Steve Rosas
    Highland Elementary School
    Troy Sagdalen
    Columbia Heights High School
    Vanessa Lotito-Meyer
    Columbia Heights High School

    Strategic Direction A: Expand access and opportunities by turbo charging what works and redesigning what needs to be better:
 Director Berkas gave an update on a Strategic Plan priority that included implementation of key strategies for improving student achievement in the areas of curriculum, instructional strategies, assessment and data analysis, professional development, parent involvement and interventions.

    Strategic Direction B: Innovate to close the achievement gap with accountability and efficiency. 
Director Berkas provided preliminary information on the strategic initiative with focus on student achievement and behavior.  Director Berkas shared current data, assessments and data analysis used to determine what the district refers to as "score card" levels as part of the district's Strategic Plan. He noted that the MCA Reading tests in 2013 reflected an increased rigor of Common Core Standards, resulting in a drop of scores statewide, including CHPS of approximately 20 percent.

    Student Enrollment/Ethnicity Report
: Director of Student Services Nicole Halabi provided an update on 2012-2013 student enrollment and ethnicity, to include:

    • 1,388 students processed through the Placement Center (12,499 total since 2004)
    • Placement Center enrollments by schools and grades
    • Placement Center enrolled by race
    • Placement Center enrolled by language (25)
    • Placement Center English Language Learners enrolled (378)
    • Open enrollment "Choice is Yours" registrations (312)
    • Special Education students enrolled (314)

    Director Halabi also reported that the total number of students currently enrolled for 2013-2014 is 3,109 and that since Aug. 5, 2013, 790 students have enrolled in CHPS.

    Action Items

    Board Policies: The School Board approved the following updated policies:

    "Board Book" contract renewal: The School Board approved a contract renewal for Board Book, an online paperless Board meeting resource used by School Boards across the nation.

    Key Dates:

    • Nov. 19, 5:30 p.m., Work Session, Columbia Academy Media Center
    • Nov. 25-29, No School
    • Nov. 26, 7 p.m., School Board Regular Meeting, Community Room
    • Nov. 28-29, District Center closed 
    • Dec. 10, 5 p.m., Sub-Committee on Policy, Superintendent's Conference Room
    • Dec. 10, 7 p.m., School Board Regular Meeting, Community Room

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