• 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.


    Oct. 8, 2013 Regular Meeting

    Discussion, Reports, Information Items

    School Board Reports:

    • Chair Scott Bardell participated in the NE Metro 916 Capital View tour, an Association of Metropolitan School Districts (AMSD) meeting and the Oct. 4th varsity football game.  He also announced that Superintendent Kathy Kelly was selected as the Minnesota Superintendent Art Educator of the Year award recipient.

    • Vice-Chair John Larkin attended the Columbia Academy Personalized Learning Initiative meeting, junior varsity football games, the NE Metro 916 Capital View tour, the Columbia Heights Business Council, a pep fest, the homecoming game and the Oct. 8 School Board Sub-Committee on Policy meeting.

    • Director Ted Landwehr participated in the NE Metro 916 Capital View tour, attended the Columbia Heights High School (CHHS) all-night senior graduation party planning meeting, the second high school PTSO meeting, two girl's tennis matches, the Columbia Heights Business Council meeting, a Lions' Club meeting and the varsity football game.

    • Director Missy Lee attended Homecoming events, including the "world-tour", coronation and the varsity football game.

    • Director Lori Meyer attended the NE Metro 916 Capital View tour, the varsity football game, the
      School Board Sub-Committee on Policy meeting and had conversations with community members.

    • Director Laura Palmer was at the Columbia Academy Personalized Learning Initiative meeting; she attended a NE Metro 916 Board Meeting, of which part of the agenda was on the Minnesota Collaborative Curriculum shared by member districts and that district's Capital View tour.

    Superintendent's Report:

    • Congratulated Highland Elementary School Art Teacher Joy Baleisis the 2013 Minnesota Elementary Art Educator of the Year recipient by the Minnesota Art Educators.  She will now be nominated for the national-level elementary Art Teacher of the Year award.

    • Reported that Director of Technology and Security Bryan Hennekens, North Park Elementary School Principal Jeff Cacek and she had the privilege and honor of presenting on Innovation and Instructional Best Practices at TIES. They have been invited to present again at four breakout sessions at this year's TIES conference this coming December.

    • Shared that the Licensed Labor Management met briefly on several agenda items.  The Superintendent thanked Theresa Small and Angela Noll for their past service and for continuing to be this year's co-chairs.

    • Noted that the Homecoming activities were representative of Heights Pride, with appreciation to everyone, but special thanks to the CHHS Booster Club for hosting the Hall of Fame dinner honoring this year's inductees Jim Galuska and Tim Klis, to those who contributed to the fireworks and to Bill Streff for his donation of the food.

    • Met with Chair Bardell and Co-Chair Larkin on the Superintendent's evaluation.

    • Participated in the School Board Work session and the School Board Sub Committee on Policy and met with individual Board members.

    • Shared that We Day was held in St. Paul with more than 100 students from CHPS attending.  

    • Announced that tickets are still available for the Columbia Heights Alumni Foundation Annual dinner, Wednesday, Oct. 23, at Jax Cafe; call 763-528-4504 by Oct. 11. 

    OPEB Trust: Director of Finance and Operations Bill Holmgren introduced John Schutz and Bob Cass from Wealth Management Group. The two shared that CHPS's portfolio is similar to other districts and that OPEB information is consistently available to the district if needed.  Since the district funded the trust in 2002, the management has been sound, the funds distributed appropriately, equities are up and that the diversified Portfolio is fully employed and is managed appropriately.  Mr. Cass said that he feels the money management is such that the district can stand behind its decisions.

    Strategic Plan Update: Director of Human Services Lindsey Bennett provided an update on the progress of Strategic Direction Vision Cards, Section D, "Acknowledge and Address Tensions and Opportunities for Employment and Partnership Between Employees." Director Bennett shared that within Strategic D there are eight measurements of which seven have been met with one in progress.

    Action Items

    Educational Space Needs: Acting on a Sept. 24, 2013 presentation of the same subject, the School Board approved the administration's recommendation for an educational classroom (five kindergarten classes and one early childhood class) addition to Valley View Elementary School. The request (exact to the Highland Elementary School 2012 project) was based on substantial and sustained enrollment (more than 550 current students and expected to reach more than 600 in three years), safety and special education facility needs.  With School Board approval, the district will now forward to the Minnesota Department of Education what is referred to as "Review and Comment." With MDE approval, bids could start in February, construction starting in June and the school addition ready by January 2015. The addition of approximately $3,227 million will be financed with a 15-year Capital Facility Bond (payments paid through the general fund, shifting capital dollars to the Debt Service Fund) at approximately $280,000.  Actual budget figures are not finalized; however, initial plans show the levy effect on a potential 15-year lease for a $100,000 home would be approximately $1.07 per month.  It is also anticipated that increased enrollment at the school will offset operational costs.

    Annual Report on Staff Development: Director of Teaching and Learning Duane Berkas spoke on the state-required annual report, which includes summarized information on how each of the five schools chose to invest their staff development funds this past year. Director Berkas shared that the district staff development focused on (follow-on updates will be provided to the School Board in the coming months):

    • Literacy: Writing and aligning to the new Common Core
    • Math: Developing conceptual understanding and math fluency
    • Behavior: Building on an ongoing positive classroom culture that promotes learning.

    Mr. Berkas shared the school's staff development focused on:

    • Highland ES: 6 Traits of Writing
    • North Park ES: Project-Based Learning and 21st Century Learning
    • Valley View ES: Equity and elementary AVID
    • Columbia Academy: Professional Learning Communities
    • Columbia Heights HS: AVID literacy strategies and school climate

    Mr. Berkas also shared with the creation of a Staff Development Coordinator position the district hosted an intensive, focused and successful summer staff professional development (nearly 1,000 hours) that included:

    • Writing Institute
    • Flipped math lesson development
    • Personalized Learning
    • Project-Based Learning
    • AVID strategies
    • K-12 math alignment
    • Positive school climate
    • Professional Learning Communities

    Mr. Berkas added that one of the most important points was that staff development strives to not  take teachers out of the classroom.  The School Board voted to approve the Annual Report on Staff Development. 

    Assurance of Compliance with State and Federal Law Prohibiting Discrimination:
    Director of Teaching and Learning Duane Berkas and Director of Student Services Nicole Halabi reported that Minnesota law requires all School Boards to annually submit to the Commissioner of Education a Statement of Compliance that addresses state and federal laws prohibiting discrimination and identifying the designated support system.  The School Board voted to approve the Statement of Assurance.

    Closed Session: Consistent with Minnesota law, the School Board met in closed session to discuss negotiations strategy.

    Superintendent's Evaluation: School Board Chair Scott Bardell gave a summary of the Sept. 24 Closed Session discussion regarding the Superintendent of School's (not in attendance) annual evaluation.  Mr. Bardell shared all members of the School Board completed an anonymous evaluation survey (23 questions aligned to the Superintendent's position description), which was then provided to the Human Resources Department, and with all submitted into a single report he and Co-Chair Bardell met with Superintendent Kelly Oct. 22, 2013.  The survey used a Likert Scale.  Chair Bardell reported on each of the evaluation questions.  In most responses, the evaluation reflected a "Meets" or "Exceeds Standards or better."

    Key Dates:

    • Oct. 15, 5:30 p.m., School Board Work Session, CHHS Media Center
    • Oct. 17-18, Teacher's convention - no school
    • Oct. 18, District Office closed
    • Oct. 22, 7 p.m., School Board Regular Meeting, Community Room
    • Nov. 12, 5 p.m., Sub-Committee on Policy, Superintendent's Conference Room
    • Nov. 12, 7 p.m., School Board Regular Meeting, Community Room

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