September 9, 2014 Regular Business Meeting









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    Discussion, Reports and Information Items

    Report highlights from the School Board acting on behalf of Columbia Heights Public Schools:

    • Vice-Chair John Larkin attended the Convocation and helped cook at the all-staff picnic, attended the Columbia Academy, Columbia Heights High School and Highland Elementary School Open Houses, two high school football games, participated in the Superintendent's Evaluation and attended the Chair meeting.
    • Treasurer Lori Meyer met with Superintendent Kelly.
    • Clerk Missy Lee did not have a report.

    • Director Ted Landwehr participated in the School Board Subcommittee on Policy meeting, attended the Convocation, participated in a West Metro Education Program (WMEP) Executive Committee Meeting, went to a Business Council meeting and met with constituents.
    • Director Laura Palmer attended the first day of school at Columbia Academy, the Highland Elementary School Open House, went to a Business Council meeting, participated in a Northeast Metro Intermediate District 916 Board meeting and the School Board Subcommittee on Policy meeting.

    Superintendent's Report:

    • Attended an AMSD Meeting with Chair Bardell.

    • Reported she enjoyed the welcome back Convocation and all-staff picnic and thanked all who made both events successful (click on photos at right).

    • Welcomed all Pre-K through 12 students for the 2014-2015 school year.  Superintendent Kelly shared a special thank you to the Placement Center for processing a significant number of new students being enrolled.

    • Attended an all-school assembly and congratulated Valley View Elementary School students, staff, parents and the community for being recognized by the Minnesota Business Partnership for the school's success in raising student achievement. (click here for news release). Click on two bottom photos below right.

    • Reported she attended a quarterly WMEP Superintendent meeting; the broad categories discussed were: (1) a movement at WMEP to be "value added" to the collaborative partner districts, (2) providing feedback to the Joint Powers Board on the viability of the collaborative arrangement of WMEP and the role of superintendents in that organization's governance.

    • Reported that the ACHIEVE program is under formal review; a meeting was held on data, mission alignment and effectiveness and financial constraints. The review will continue through October with recommendations to follow.

    • Participated in the Superintendent's evaluation process with Chair Bardell and Vice-Chair Larkin. She thanked all Board members for their feedback and insights.

    • Shared that the Administrative Team is continuing to work on developing and providing value-neutral information on the two levy questions presented to voters by the School Board.

    • Thanked Board Director Meyer for an enjoyable discussion.

    Discussion, Reports, Information Items

    Willie Fort
    Michele DeWitt
     Jeff Cacek
    Dan Wrobleski

    Opening of school updates: Columbia Heights Public Schools' principals Dan Wrobleski (CHHS), Willie Fort (CA and VVES), Michele DeWitt (HES) and Jeff Cacek (NPES) presented information on the opening activities at each of their schools.

    K-8 Principal Fort, speaking on behalf of Columbia Academy, shared that they assessed the needs of the school and the focus for the first six weeks is to concentrate on a plan that addresses rules and expectations, technology and the Personalized Learning Initiative.  Students will begin receiving their technology devices (to include responsibilities) starting next week.  The school hosted a picnic and a well-attended Open House.  Grade level meetings were held with students addressing the rules and expectations. Principal Fort reported solar panels were installed on the school roof this summer.  

    Principal Fort reported Valley View Elementary School is in the second year of student uniforms.  Their focus is strengthening grade level teams. Construction on the six-classroom addition is in progress and on-schedule.  He shared that the Minnesota Business Partnership, comprised of 150 state businesses, presented the school with the Minnesota Future Award, which includes a $20,000 check.

    Principal DeWitt shared that Highland Elementary School had a well-attended picnic and Open House (thanked the PTO).  The school has new teachers, including nine student teachers, and is working on developing team relationships. Her team is also focusing on the new bullying statute for staff, students and parents.  They are addressing rituals and routines in the school, which will be addressed in the first newsletter.  The school will also continue its relationship with the Big Brothers and Big Sisters.

    Principal Cacek reported North Park Elementary School changed their open house format with a successful and highly attended outdoor ice cream social. He and his staff are also explaining the new bullying statute to staff and students.  Principal Cacek reported the new fourth-grade Learning Studio is nearly finished with a focus on video production, reading, math, science and 21st Century Learning development.

    Principal Wrobleski shared the high school staff is focused on the College and Career Readiness Pathway process.  He reported AVID, Advanced Placement and the Genesys Works program have strong enrollment. The Ramp Up to Readiness program with the University of Minnesota is also off to a good start.  The school is in its second successful year of culture and climate change as part of the REAL (Respect, Education, Attitude and Loyalty) values and expectations. Molly Sprouse is the new academic Dean and a successful grant is funding a VISTA counselor (Shadow Zimmerman) who will work with colleges and universities on behalf of CHHS students.  The school also had two successful Open Houses and fall athletics and activities are having a strong turnout. The school had a Pep Fest that introduced 11 new teachers and acknowledged last year's AP Scholars, Spotlight Award winners and track and tennis state qualifiers.

    Action Items

    Constitution Week: Director of Teaching and Learning Duane Berkas reported that the week of September 17-23, 2014 is Constitution Week in the United States.  As is custom in this school district, the School Board adopted a resolution in support of Constitution Week (right).

    Education Assistants contract: The School Board approved an agreement between Columbia Heights Public Schools and the District's Education Assistant employees for 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.

    Clerical contact: The School Board approved an agreement between Columbia Heights Public Schools and the District's clerical employees for 2014-2015 and 2015-2016.

    Board Topics

    Superintendent Evaluation: Chair Bardell reported the Superintendent of School's evaluation included an online survey and the evaluation process.  Chair Bardell shared that Superintendent Kelly met her goals and that she received very good to excellent ratings from the majority of the School Board.

    Northeast Metro Intermediate 916 Foundation: Board member Palmer shared the 916 Foundation is fundraising; proceeds go toward scholarships and student equipment among others.  For more information, go to www.916educationfoundation.org.

    Key Dates:

    • Sept. 16, 5 p.m., School Board Listening Session (School Board members Scott Bardell and Laura Palmer), Family Center Foyer
    • Sept. 16, 6 p.m., School Board Work Session, Community Room
    • Sept. 23, 7 p.m., Regular School Board Meeting, Community Room
    • Sept 30, 6 p.m., Joint School Board/City Council Meeting, CHHS Community Room
    • Oct. 14, 7 p.m., Regular School Board Meeting, Community Room
    • Oct. 23, 5:30 p.m., Columbia Heights High School Foundation Alumni Dinner

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    School Board Standing Committee/School Assignments
    Chair Scott Bardell
    Association of Metropolitan School Districts

    Liaison to City of Fridley
    School Board Policy Sub-Committee
    Family Center
    Vice Chair John Larkin
    Minnesota State High School League
    Columbia Heights High School
    Clerk Missy Lee
    Liaison to City of Columbia Heights
    Highland Elementary School
    Treasurer Lori Meyer
    Educational Cooperative Service Unit
    Liaison to City of Hilltop
    Valley View Elementary School
    Director Ted Landwehr
    West Metro Education Program

    School Board Policy Sub-Committee
    North Park Elementary School

    Director Laura Palmer
    Minnesota School Board Association  
      Legislative Liaison

    Northeast Metro Intermediate District 916
    Columbia Heights Business Council
    School Board Policy Sub-Committee
    Columbia Academy