Nov. 26, 2013 Business Meeting 

    Discussion, Reports, Information Items:

    Acknowledgement of Contributions:
    Chair Scott Bardell announced and the School Board approved a resolution for accepting current contributions in the amount of $4,021.65.  The total Fiscal Year 2013-2014 monetary donations to date are $17,424.35.

    Reports from the School Board:

    • Chair Bardell participated in a Columbia Academy tour, led the Nov. 19, 2013 Work Session and attended the Columbia Heights High School (CHHS) band and choir concert.

    • Vice-Chair John Larkin went to the CHHS "Second Class" play, the high school band and choir concert, the Columbia Academy Parent's Breakfast, a North Park Elementary School fundraiser and participated in the Nov. 19 Work Session.

    • Treasurer Lori Meyer attended a Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA) Pre-Delegate Assembly, the Nov. 19 Work Session and the Metropolitan Educational Cooperative Service Unit (ECSU) Combined Executive Annual meeting.

    • Director Ted Landwehr participated in the Nov. 19 Work Session, the MSBA Pre-Delegate Assembly, a discussion with Director of Teaching and Learning Duane Berkas, a Twin Cities North Chamber of Commerce meeting and a Lions' club meeting.

    • Director Missy Lee participated in the Nov. 19 Work Session, the CHHS football banquet and the first CHHS basketball game.

    • Director Laura Palmer participated in the Nov. 19 work session and a tour of Columbia Academy.

    Superintendent's Report: 

    • Shared that Director of Community Education Kristen Stuenkel, Highland Elementary School Principal Michele DeWitt, Highland Elementary School Kindergarten Teacher Jennifer Blake and she were part of a joint-district team (with ISD 622) that presented on All-Day, Every Day Kindergarten as part of the Association of Metropolitan School Districts' fall conference.  The conference, with more than 250 conferees, focused on early childhood learning.  Superintendent Kelly offered a special thank you to her three co-presenters (additional information below in Creating Successful Early Learning and All-Day Kindergarten Programs report).
    • Reported that Director of Business Services and Operations Bill Holmgren, Director of Communications Casey Mahon and she attended a full-day School Finance Study Session focusing on levy referenda.

    • Attended the Northeast Metropolitan 916 School District Superintendent Advisory meeting focusing on the District Management Team mid-year report on Special Education.  Superintendent Kelly shared that there are currently 10 participating metro districts involved in the study.

    • Participated with Director Holmgren and a representative from the audit firm KDV in preparation for this School Board meeting's budget presentation (see Audit Report below).

    • Shared that the Technology Alignment Design Team met for an evening session focusing on Career and College Readiness Pathways, the P21 Framework and technology alignment (photo of Valley View Principal Willie Fort participating in a small group discussion).

    • Reported that Chair Bardell, Director of Teaching and Learning Duane Berkas and she attended a Minnesota Department of Education World's Best Workforce study session to clarify expectations and requirements for the 2017 plan.
    • Participated in an AMSD Executive Board meeting.
    • Announced that the MSBA Metropolitan Council Delegate Assembly meets Dec. 6 and 7 and that Director Lee requested that proposed resolutions be reviewed by administration; Director Holmgren and the Superintendent did such and shared the written feedback with the School Board.
    • Thanked School Board members for meetings and discussions with her.
    • Attended and enjoyed the CHHS "Second Class" play.

    • Announced that a Metro Council meeting is scheduled to be held in the CHPS District Center Community Room, 7 p.m., Dec. 11, 2013.

    • Thanked Columbia Heights Mayor Gary Peterson for a very successful Taste of Columbia Heights.

    Creating Successful Early Learning and All-Day Kindergarten Programs: Director of Community Education Kristen Stuenkel and Highland Elementary (HL) School Principal Michele DeWitt updated the School Board on two programs and how Columbia Heights Public Schools is implementing effective early childhood and all-day kindergarten programs. The first program they shared was the Minnesota Department of Education, in partnership with the National Governors Association, hosted a policy forum titled “Creating Successful Early Learning and All-Day Kindergarten Programs” (Sept. 4, 2013). The goal of that forum was to further the state’s efforts to ensure every child is reading well by third grade. The second program was the annual AMSD conference titled “Getting Early Learning Right” (Nov. 13, 2013). The CHPS team (along with representatives from ISD 622) of Principal DeWitt, Director Stuenkel, HL Kindergarten teacher Jennifer Blake and Superintendent Kelly spoke on the topic "Lesson's Learned: Moving from half-day to all-day kindergarten." 

    Pictured from left to right: District 622 Superintendent Patty Phillips, Richardson Elementary School Principal Jenna Peters, Carver Elementary School Kindergarten Teacher Mary Gamache, Kristen Stuenkel, Michele DeWitt, District 622 Federal Programs Early Childhood Learning Systems Coordinator Ryan Strack, Jennifer Blake and Kathy Kelly.

    Columbia Academy Spanish Class Field Trip: Director of Teaching and Learning Duane Berkas introduced Columbia Academy Spanish and English Learners' teacher Marie Nelson.  Ms. Nelson explained that she is planning to take a group of 40, eighth-grade Level 1 Spanish students to the Concordia Language Academy, March 14 through March 16. The purpose of the trip is for students to develop Spanish skills and increase their enthusiasm for learning a second language. The cost for the trip will come from fundraising by the class ($2,000 already raised).

    New Course: Director Berkas reported a revision to a Columbia Academy Media Arts' course.  As the course emphasizes art rather than the technical side, Director Berkas explained it is necessary to change the name to Digital Arts and the course description to the following: "Digital Arts is a study and practice of the visual arts with technology as the medium. Students study the elements and principles of design and use these creatively along with elements of space, time, light, motion, color and sound to express their perspectives, feelings and ideas. Students learn to critically interpret and evaluate media within aesthetic, cultural and historical contexts. Creativity and imagination are essential elements of the media arts process. A successful media production includes technical competency, artistic processes and the ability to communicate their ideas to the audience."  The course aligns with Digital Arts courses at Columbia Heights High School.  

    Levy Certification: Director Holmgren provided an update on the Pay 2014 Levy for the School Year 2014-2015.  This information was previously shared at the Sept. 24, 2013 School Board meeting.  Director Holmgren reported out on an extensive list of levy updates; because of the amount of information shared we recommend watching the presentation (39.29 mark). Director Holmgren also shared that the Truth in Taxation hearing is scheduled for 7 p.m., Dec. 10, 2013 during the School Board meeting.

    Board Policies - First Reading: Chair Bardell announced the following policies are being reviewed and will appear on a future agenda for approval:

    401 - Equal Employment Opportunity
    403 - Discipline, Suspension and Dismissal of School District Employees
    405 - Veterans Preference: Hiring
    406 - Public and Private Personnel Data
    407 - Employee Right to Know - Exposure to Hazardous Substances
    409 - Employee Publications, Instruction Materials, Inventions and Creations
    414 - Mandated Reporting of Child Neglect, Physical or Sexual Abuse
    417 - Chemical Use/Abuse
    418 - Drug- Free Workplace/Drug-Free School
    419 - Tobacco-Free Environment
    422 - Policies Incorporated by Reference
    424 - License Status
    425 - Staff Development

    These policies are available for community input (click on each link to review policies; click here to submit feedback).

    Action Items

    Audit Report: The School Board approved the Audit Report.  Director Holmgren and Matt Mayer of KDV provided a summary (click here for PowerPoint and here for the News Release). 

    Teacher Evaluation and Peer Review Process: The School Board approved, via a resolution, the new Teacher Evaluation and Peer Review Process consistent with Minnesota Statute 122A.40. The purpose was to develop, improve and support qualified teachers and effective teaching practices and improve student learning and success.  By joint agreement, district administration and a representation of the teachers in the district met seven times (April through Sept. 2013) and agreed upon the statutory required process. The new process is effective, per statue, starting with the 2014-2015 school year. Director of Human Resources Lindsey Bennett, Principal DeWitt and Local 710 Representative Coleman Nemerov provided background and answered questions.

    District Non-Affiliated Positions:  The School Board approved salary increases for District Center, non-affiliated, at-will positions.  

    Superintendent's Goals:  The School Board approved Superintendent Kelly's goals (21st Century Learning and Communications) for 2013-2014. 

    Key Dates:

    • Nov. 25-29, No School
    • Nov. 28-29, District Center closed (Thanksgiving holiday)
    • Dec. 10, 5 p.m., Sub-Committee on Policy, Superintendent's Conference Room
    • Dec. 10, 7 p.m., Truth in Taxation Hearing (during School Board meeting), Community Room
    • Dec. 10, 7 p.m., School Board Regular Meeting, Community Room
    • Dec. 23-Jan 3, Winter Break
    • Jan. 6, 2014, School resumes

    Do you have questions or comments?  Click here.