• April 14, 2015 Regular Business Meeting

     Acknowledgement of Contributions

    Chair John Larkin announced, and the School Board approved, a resolution for accepting current contributions in the amount of $11,261,45. The total fiscal year 2014-2015 monetary contributions to date is $57,749,87.

      Closed Session

    In accordance with MINN. STAT. 13D.05 Preliminary Consideration of Allegations Against an Employee, the School Board adjourned to closed session. 

     Discussion, Reports, Information Items

    • Chair John Larkin had meetings with Superintendent Kathy Kelly and School Board Director Molly Lewis.  He also participated in the Board Chair and School Board Sub-Committee on Policy meetings.

    • Vice-Chair Ted Landwehr participated in the School Board Chair meeting, in an interview panel for the new Columbia Academy principal and West Metro Education Program (WMEP) Executive Committee and Board meetings.  

    • Clerk Lori Meyer attended an Association of Metropolitan School Districts (AMSD) meeting with Superintendent Kelly.
    • Treasurer Molly Lewis met with Board Directors Larkin, Nichols and Palmer and had a meeting with Superintendent Kelly.  She also attended a bike bingo and book fair at Highland Elementary School and participated in the School Board Sub-Committee on Policy meeting.

    • Director Laura Palmer attended the Community Forum for Columbia Academy principal candidate finalists, participated in a NE Metro Intermediate District 916 Board meeting and had a meeting with Board Director Lewis.

    • Director Grant Nichols had meetings with Superintendent Kelly and Board Director Lewis and participated in the School Board Sub-Committee on Policy meeting.
      Superintendent Kathy Kelly's Report

    • Reported that the search process for a new Columbia Academy principal has concluded and announced that Duane Berkas (right) was selected, with School Board approval, as the next Principal of Columbia Academy.  Superintendent Kelly said Mr. Berkas gives "110 percent and will enhance student achievement, cement the implementation of current college readiness and improve school climate."  Mr. Berkas, currently the District's Director of Teaching and Learning, will begin his new responsibilities July 1, 2015.

    • Attended (with Director Meyer) an AMSD meeting with MDE Commissioner Casselius as speaker.  The focus of the presentation was on statewide four-year-old programming and funding.  Superintendent Kelly shared that Columbia Heights Public Schools (CHPS) provides 12-15 hours per week of four-year-old program that allows offerings in the morning and afternoon.  She added this District invests existing funds for the program, but will require additional state funding for long-term expanded programming.
    • Met with Anoka County Attorney Tony Palumba and Columbia Heights Police Chief Scott Nadeau focusing on a possible collaborative partnership on bullying, gun prevention and school climate.

    • Shared that Chief Nadeau additionally met with the District Administrative Leadership Team on possibly expanding the Big Brothers Big Sisters' programming in this District.

    • Reported on a positive meeting with representatives from the St. Anthony/New Brighton school district on a joint eighth-grade summer school enrichment writing class.  Superintendent Kelly said the class will include on campus and extended day in the community opportunities that will help students not only build writing skills, but also long-term relationships.

    • Reported on discussions regarding WMEP staffing as it applies to CHPS.

    • Met with Director of Finance and Operations Bill Holmgren, Columbia Heights High School Principal Dan Wrobleski and K-12 Athletics and Activities Director Matt Miller on District activities, issues and future planning.

    • Participated in the School Board Sub-Committee on Policy meeting and shared another policy meeting will be held Tuesday, April 21, 2015.

    • Thanked School Board Directors for meeting with her.
    Minnesota State High School League Transgender Procedure: Principal Wrobleski shared Director Miller and he have had meetings with representatives from the Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) and Region Five Triple A, of which this District is a member to learn about the procedure. Director Miller shared that MSHSL does not discriminate against any child and Title IX discrimination prohibitions, definitions and applicability to state and federal laws.  He added that the transgender eligibility process starts with the 2015-2016 CHPS school year and that this District complies with MSHSL rules and state and federal laws.  Review their PowerPoint presentation by clicking here.

    K-12 Activities: Director Miller provided the annual update, which includes those activities and athletic events that have taken and are taking place this school year. Click here for his PowerPoint presentation that also includes highlights and outcomes.

    Anoka Broadband: Director of Technology and Security Services Bryan Hennekens shared that the five-year collaborative connectivity service agreement, approved in 2011, covers 145 public institutions (including this District) throughout Anoka County.  The benefits of the agreement include expanded bandwidth, redundancy, expanded online learning, disaster recovery and cost-savings. Director Hennekens reported that as the five-year timeline is nearing, he will bring forward an amendment to extend the agreement at an upcoming School Board meeting.
    Click here for Director Hennekens' PowerPoint presentation.

    Minnesota Statewide Longitudinal Education Data System (SLEDS): Director Berkas gave an overview of SLEDS, which provides multiple online data information on college and career readiness.  The program is a joint partnership of the Minnesota P-20 Education Partnership, which includes the Minnesota Department of Education, the Minnesota Office of Higher Education and the Minnesota Department of Employment and Economic Development.  Director Berkas presented examples of available data, which included demographics, MCA math and reading, high school graduation rates, college information and comparisons of Columbia Heights Public Schools date to state averages.
    Click here for Director Berkas' PowerPoint presentation.

    Highland Elementary School parking and bus reconfiguration: Director Holmgren and Director Hennekens presented on the upcoming reconfiguration of the parking area at and around Highland Elementary School.  This is a Fiscal Year 2016 Facilities project funded through the Capital Project Levy as approved by voters. The winning bid for the parking and safety reconfiguration was $352,000 or $108,000 under the budgeted amount (this contract is subject to upcoming School Board approval). Director Holmgren added that he also included alternate funding request of $28,000 for modifying parking lot lighting that will further support security and safety. With School Board approval, the project is scheduled to begin after July 4, 2015. To view the parking reconfiguration plan that will affect Columbia Heights High School, Highland Elementary School, the Family Center and the District Center, click on the graphic to the right. 

      Action Items

    Health Insurance Bid
    : The School Board approved the bid for health insurance to B
    lue Cross Blue Shield (BCBS).  Director Holmgren presented information on the bidding process at the March 24, 2015 School Board meeting (click here).
      Key Dates

    • April 21, Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., School Board Listening Session, Family Center
    • April 21, Tuesday, 6 p.m., School Board Sub-Committee on Policy, Superintendent's Conference Room
    • April 28, Tuesday, 7 p.m., Regular School Board Meeting, Community Room
    • May 12, Tuesday, 7 p.m. Regular School Board Meeting, Community Room
    • May 19, Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., School Board Listening Session, Family Center
    • May 19, Tuesday, 6 p.m., School Board Work Session

    Do you have questions or comments?  Click here.

      School Board standing committee assignments
    Chair John Larkin
    Liaison to City of Fridley
    School Board Policy Sub-Committee
    Vice Chair Ted Landwehr
    Minnesota School Board Association
    West Metro Education Program

    Clerk Lori Meyer
    Association of Metropolitan School Districts
    Liaison to City of Hilltop

    Treasurer Molly Lewis
    Minnesota State High School League
    School Board Policy Sub-Committee

    Director Laura Palmer
    NE Metro Intermediate District 916 Board
    Columbia Heights Business Council

    Director Grant Nichols
    Educational Cooperative Service Unit
    Liaison to City of Columbia Heights
    School Board Policy Sub-Committee