• 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.


    Sept. 24, 2013 Regular Meeting

    Acknowledgement of Contributions: A total of $6,311.30 in monetary donations and approximately $460 in in-kind donations was accepted by the School Board.  Monetary donations were accepted from Heidi Kammer-Hodge ($100) for Valley View Elementary School (VVES) uniforms, Wells Fargo Foundation ($36.90) for VVES students, Target ($2,004.39) for North Park Elementary School and to ($1,455.01) VVES for Take Charge of Education student's needs and Kraus-Anderson ($2,000) and MLK Architects ($250) for Columbia Heights High School (CHHS) fireworks funds.  In-kind donations were accepted from Mark Emme (estimated $415) for VVES school supplies and Falldin American Legion Post 555 (estimated $50) for Highland Elementary School school supplies.

    Discussion, Reports, Information Items

    School Board Reports:

    • Director Ted Landwehr attended the Columbia Heights High School (CHHS) Parent Teacher Student Organization (PTSO) meeting, attended the School Board Work Session at Valley View Elementary School (VVES), participated in a Minnesota School Board Association webinar, attended a girl's tennis match, attended a Twin Cities North Chamber of Commerce meeting, a Lions' Club meeting and a meeting with Superintendent Kathy Kelly.

    • Vice-Chair John Larkin met with Superintendent Kelly and Director of Finance and Operations Bill Holmgren, attended CHHS varsity and junior varsity football games, the Work Session at VVES and the  Columbia Heights Public Schools (CHPS) Latino Arts Festival. 

    • Director Missy Lee attended a West Metro Education Program Joint Powers Board meeting, the CHPS Latino Arts Festival and CHHS varsity and junior varsity football games.

    • Director Laura Palmer attended the Work Session at VVES and attended a "two-minute" NE Metro 916 (NEM 916) Board Meeting (Ms. Palmer is a member).

    • Chair Scott Bardell participated in the VVES Work Session, attended the varsity football game and had several meetings with Superintendent Kelly. 

    • Director Lori Meyer attended the Columbia Heights Library spaghetti fundraiser, a Highland Elementary School (HES) PTO meeting and the Latino Arts Festival.

    Superintendent's Report:

    • Shared that the district negotiation team and Teacher's Local 710 reached a tentative agreement for a two-year (2013-2014, 2014-2015) contract; some details are being finalized.  District administrators, with Chief Negotiator Karen Keppel, will be in discussion negotiation strategies and contract terms with the School Board at the Oct. 8 meeting. Teacher's Local 710 will also be holding meetings with their membership.  Superintendent Kelly shared her appreciation with everyone who was and is involved in the negotiations for a "very respectful and serious process."

    • Participated in a series of coffee and conversation meetings within individuals in the greater community.  These conversations are in the areas of collaborative partnership and cooperation:

      • Larry Pietrzak of Northwest Bank
      • Kerry Ashmore, editor of the Northeaster (with Director of Communications Casey Mahon)
      • Scott Nadeau, Chief of Columbia Heights Police

    • Attended the NE Metro 916 Superintendent's Advisory Council meeting where a large focus of the discussion centered on career and college readiness.  Superintendent Kelly shared her thanks to NE Metro 916 Superintendent Connie Hays for inviting the President of Century College to be a part of that discussion.

    • Announced that Larry Pietrzak of Northwest Bank has agreed to once again chair the District Finance Committee.  Superintendent Kelly is extremely grateful Mr. Pietrzak, who has committed to this leadership position for more than a decade.  

    • School Board Report Shared that the Latino Arts Festival was a wonderful day of arts, music, food, dancing (right) and community gathering...of the hundreds who attended Superintendent Kelly shared she believes all enjoyed the festival.  The Superintendent also offered her thanks to the City of Columbia Heights Police and Fire Department, the Office of Teaching and Learning, the Urban Liaisons, the Buildings and Grounds Department, the Technology Department, Security Services and K-12 Visual Arts teachers. Superintendent Kelly looks forward to next year's festival. Click on picture to expand.

    • Attended the Work Study Session at VVES.

    • Shared that she had enjoyed each of the meetings with the School Board Director's Larkin and Landwehr and Chair Bardell.

    Northeast Metro 916 Karner Blue Education Center: Director of Student Services Nicole Halabi introduced NEM 916 Superintendent Connie Hayes, NEM 916 Director of Special Education Dan NaidiSchool Board Reportcz and Karner Blue Education Center Principal Val Rae Boe.  Ms. Hayes shared NEM 916 currently is in a three-step facility initiative. The first is the Karner Blue Education Center, under construction in the north section of the district. The second is a K-8 consolidated southeast district site, which is currently in land proposal discussions. The third is remodeling and deferred maintenance at the Capital View Center, located in the central part of that district.  When the Karner Blue Education Center (named after the endangered species Karner Blue butterfly) opens for the 2014-2015 school year, it will serve northern NEM 916 Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD) and Emotional Behavior Disorder (EBD) kindergarten through eighth grade students.  The facility will have a capacity for up to 140 students and will incorporate design features (graphic) found in health treatment centers (but will not look like a clinical facility), be a site where nature place based educational philosophies work best together and have an intentional school identity to create community. Click on graphic to expand.

    Metro Heights Academy (MHA) update: NEM 916 Superintendent Hayes gave an update on the recently relocated alternative learning center (ALC) at 7122 University Avenue NE in Fridley. The ALC, which offers day and night programming, currently serves 84 Columbia Heights High School (CHPS) students and resident students from Hilltop and southern Fridley.  Beginning next school year, MHA will welcome students from Spring Lake Park School District, which Ms. Hayes anticipates will lead to an enrollment of 120 day students.  She also shared that next school year students will have the opportunity to rename the school to reflect the partnership of the two school districts. The shared ALC provides economies of scale offerings, meaning it is a cost-efficient program for the participating school districts. 

    School Board ReportTransportation Update: Transportation Coordinator Linda Andert, who has been with CHPS less than a year, shared that the district has a new bus contract. There are 15 special education routes compared to the 14.5 from last year. This year we have 24.5 regular buses, up three from last year with one for the Metro Heights program.  With the addition of 15 minutes to the elementary school day, additional buses are being used to get Encore buses back to school. Sept. 21 was the first night for Encore and all busses were close to on-time.  Evacuations were completed the second week at the elementary schools and the third week at the secondary schools.  Phone calls have reduced considerably.  Routes are being adjusted to help with student capacity issues and time cushion so students can arrive for breakfast.  

    School Board Report

    Education Space Needs: Superintendent Kathy Kelly, VVES Principal Willy Fort and Director Halabi gave an overview of facility needs at VVES. Director Halabi started by sharing VVES enrollment is at 555 students as of Sept 24, 2014, 95 more than what the school was designed for. Of these students, 451 are residents of Columbia Heights, 73 are choice enrolled and 31 are open-enrolled from other districts (not including Minneapolis).  Sixty-two students are Columbia Heights residents, but not from the VVES attendance area, but whose parents specifically requested to enroll their children at VVES with examples of some families having day-care needs in the articulation area, the new uniforms and that some parents attended VVES.  Because of space limitations and continued enrollment, the school is in need of additional education space needs. Superintendent Kelly's recommendation to the School Board cites enrollment reflects additional space is warranted, special education facility needs are increasing, a need to add five kindergarten classes and one early childhood class (similar to the HES 2013 project) and to finance the project with a 15-year Capital Facility Bond using Lease Levy authority. While budget figures are not finalized, the example levy effect on a potential 15-year lease for a $100,000 home would be approximately $1.07 per month.  The request will go to the School Board in October and if approved, will be forwarded to the Minnesota Department of Education for 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 for the new school year.

    Action Items

    916 Education Foundation Membership: The School Board approved continuing membership for the 2013-2014 School Year ($250). Director Halabi shared that the past 16 years that CHPS has been a member, the 916 Foundation has provided more than $6,250 in post-secondary scholarships to CHHS graduates and $13,243 to schools in the form of block grants for special education and career and technical programs.

    School Board Report Annual Report on Curriculum, Instruction and Student Achievement: Director of Teaching and Learning Duane Berkas and Director of Communications Casey Mahon presented a rough draft of the 2012-2013 report, which will be a combination of a publication and on-line reference. The plan calls for the report to be mailed to all district households in October with additional copies to be made to Realtors, government agencies, Chambers, schools, etc.  Director Mahon showed a concept of what the report cover will look like (right). After a brief presentation, the School Board voted to accept the 2012-2013 Annual Report on Curriculum, Instruction and Student Achievement.

    Milk Bids: The School Board approved the only bid received from the district's existing vendor (Agropur, Inc.).

    Property Insurance Renewal: Steve McAlpin of McAlpin Insurance Agency briefed the School Board on the renewal of property casualty insurance.  The School Board voted to accept the renewal quote from Riverport Insurance Company.

    Preliminary Levy Certification: Manager of Accounting Services Gary Hauan gave a summary briefing on the annual request for funding (because of the amount of information shared, we recommend watching the video of at 1:46.20 portion of the video).  The School Board approved the preliminary pay 2014 tax levy, which funds school operations for the 2014-2015 school year.  As with past years, the School Board approved the maximum, which is the normal process used by most school districts to address potential adjustments.  Mr. Hauan shared that the Truth in Taxation hearing will be scheduled for 7 p.m., Dec. 10, 2013 during the School Board meeting.

    School Board Evaluation Model:  The School Board approved a revised model presented at the Aug. 28, 2013 Regular Meeting and discussed at the Sept. 10, 2013 Regular Meeting.

    School Board Out of State Travel: The School Board approved sending up to two members (funding is built into budget) to attend the National School Board Association conference in New Orleans (April 2014).  

    Closed Session: The School Board, in accordance with Minnesota Statute 13D.05, adjourned to discuss the Superintendent of School's evaluation.

    Key Dates:

    • Oct. 8, 5 p.m., Sub-Committee on Policy, Superintendent's Conference Room
    • Oct. 8, 7 p.m., School Board Regular Meeting, Community Room
    • 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 

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