• Feb. 10, 2015 Regular Business Meeting

    Heights Lites
    : The School Board honored Director of Communications Casey Mahon, representing the Communications' Department (pictured right with Chair John Larkin), for receiving the Minnesota Schools Public Relations Association (MinnSPRA) 2014 Star Award for District Branding.  Columbia Heights Public Schools (CHPS), the only District in the state to receive this award, was selected for branding of "Creating College and Career-Ready Graduates."  The branding is directly aligned to the District's Strategic Roadmap, Strategic Direction E of "Tell our Story, brand development, reputation management to increase partnership and enrollment.

    Communication to the School Board
    Councilwoman Donna Schmidt from the City of Columbia Heights spoke to the School Board about a current volunteer opening on the Arts' Commission and opportunities for continued collaboration with the District.

    Discussion, Reports, Information Items

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

    • Chair Larkin participated in the Jan. 27, 2015 School Board Regular Business Meeting and a CHPS School Board governance training session.  He also had a School Board Chair planning meeting with Vice Chair Ted Landwehr and Superintendent Kathy Kelly.

    • Vice-Chair Ted Landwehr participated in the Jan. 27, 2015 School Board Regular Business Meeting, participated in a West Metro Education Program (WEMP) Executive Committee meeting, went to a chamber meeting focused on work force and education, attended a Business Council meeting where Director of Finance and Operations Bill Holmgren spoke, had a planning meeting with Chair Larkin and Superintendent Kelly, met with constituents and participated in a CHPS School Board governance training session.

    • Clerk Lori Meyer participated in the Jan. 27, 2015 School Board Regular Business Meeting, attended Minnesota School Board Association (MSBA) training for new School Board officers and an Association of Metropolitan School District (AMSD) meeting; she also participated in a CHPS School Board teamwork training session.
    • Treasurer Molly Lewis participated in the Jan. 27, 2015 School Board Regular Business Meeting, attended MSBA training for new School Board officers, participated in a CHPS School Board governance training session and had a meeting with Superintendent Kelly.

    • Director Laura Palmer participated in the Jan. 27, 2015 School Board Regular Business Meeting, a North East Metro Intermediate District 916 Executive Meeting, a Business Council meeting with Director Holmgren speaking, met with Superintendent Kelly and Columbia Heights High School (CHHS) Principal Dan Wrobleski and participated in a CHPS School Board governance training session.
    • Director Grant Nichols participated in the Jan. 27, 2015 School Board Regular Business Meeting, met with several parents and directed them to applicable staff for support, attended a Feb. 9, 2015 City of Columbia Heights Council meeting, had an Early Childhood Family Education (ECFE) and Early Childhood Special Education (ECSE) orientation discussion with staff and participated in a CHPS School Board governance training session.

    Superintendent Kathy Kelly's Report: 

    • Shared superintendents and human resources' staff met as part of the WMEP Advisory Group and also the "Safe Landing" Sub Committee to discuss the possible confluence of two WMEP schools to Minneapolis and Robbinsdale school districts and issues related to resolutions from districts procedures, state laws, students, staff, districts and applicable organizations.  Chair Larkin added that the CHPS School Board unanimously approved a resolution in support of confluence of the schools at the Jan. 27, 2015 Regular Business Meeting.

    • Reported that Director Holmgren, Director of Teaching and Learning Duane Berkas and she participated in an integration plan discussion about possible collaborative summer programming with representatives from St. Anthony/New Brighton schools.

    • Attended an AMSD meeting with Director Meyer.
    • To know more about the Columbia Academy principal search, click on the graphics.

      Participated in a quarterly meeting on the ACHIEVE program (See ACHIEVE program below for additional information). 
    • Participated in a Return on Investment meeting.

    • Noted District administrative leadership participated in an initial five-hour University of Minnesota sponsored customer service training.  This training is scheduled to continue for the next 18 months with goals and districtwide involvement.

    • Reported the process for hiring a new Principal at Columbia Academy is in progress.

    • Noted that the annual staffing process is underway.

    • Met with Chair Larkin and Vice Chair Landwehr for agenda planning and had various communications with School Board directors.

    • Participated in the CHPS School Board governance training session and the Jan. 27, 2015 School Board Regular Business Meeting.

    Northeast Metro 916: NorthEast Metro Intermediate District 916 Superintendent Connie Hayes (pictured right with Director of Student Services Nicole Halabi) provided an update on that District, including its mission, purpose, locations, organizational structure, programs and services, the students it serves, changes within it and its collaborative partnership with Columbia Heights Public Schools.  Click here for Superintendent Hayes' PowerPoint presentation.

    OPEB Trust: Director Holmgren briefed that on Oct. 15, 2009 the then Columbia Heights School Board established an irrevocable Other Post-Employment Benefits (OPEB) trust (for CHPS retirees) to be administered by Wells Fargo Bank, National Association. He introduced Merle Waters from Well Fargo who provided an update on the positive performance of the CHPS OPEB Trust.  This detailed presentation can best be understood by watching Mr. Waters comments starting at the 54:07 mark of the televised meeting (click here). 

    Strategic Roadmap F - Fiscally Responsible:
     Director Holmgren provided the annual Strategic Roadmap update focusing on fiscal responsibility.  Click here for his PowerPoint. 

    Levy implementation planning:
    Director Holmgren and Director of Technology and Security Services Bryan Hennekens briefed the School Board on the first-year plans for facilities and technology improvements as a result of the 2014 Levy Referenda.  As background, last November (2014) the CHPS community passed a new 10-year Capital Projects Levy allowing this District to work on much-needed capital projects (click on ballot to the right).  The voter-approved Capital Project Levy provides $10 million over the next decade starting with Fiscal Year 2016 (July 1, 2015 to June 30, 2016). During this timeframe, the District will invest approximately $1 million annually into facilities (60 percent) and technology (40 percent).

    Director Holmgren updated the School Board with the first three facilities and safety projects.  For technology, Director Hennekens briefed that the Personalized Learning Initiative (PLI) will be expanded from 5th to 8th grades.  The chart below shows each of the projects and the percentages dedicated:

     FY 2016 facilities projects
    FY 2016 technology projects
    Parking/Drive improvements (safety) - Highland Elementary School (47%)
    Student devices and tools (27%)
    Brick tuck-pointing (facilities) - Columbia Academy (10%)
    Network infrastructure - Columbia Academy and North Park Elementary School (9%)
    Replacing doors (facilities) - Columbia Heights High School (2%)
    Classroom audio/video technology (3%)
    Staff development (2%)

    As shared with voters in 2014, this District is also contributing a total of $5.5 million in existing funds toward capital facility projects. The following chart shows the first-year projects:

    Secure front entry (security)
    North Park Elementary School
    Broken steam pipe repair (facilities)
    Highland Elementary School (HES)
    New windows (facilities)
    Columbia Heights High School (CHHS)
    Remodel old kindergarten rooms (facilities) Valley View Elementary School
    Updated signage (facilities)
    District Center, HES, CHHS
    Updated sound and visual system (facilities)
    CHHS Performing Arts Center

    The District will provide formal annual Capital Project updates each February for the 10-years of this Capital Project Levy.  Additional and specific facilities and technology updates as applicable will also be shared through the District website, Facebook, Twitter, school newsletters and provided to the news media.

    ACHIEVE Program: Director Halabi shared this four-year-old program, targeted to currently 60 Columbia Academy students needing additional academic assistance, is succeeding at the sixth-grade level, but not meeting the academic and financial return on investment for the seventh and eighth-grades.  She shared that District and school administrators have analyzed the opt-in program for more than a year.  Director Halabi said after much discussion, visits to comparable schools and meetings with staff and families, the plan is to discontinue the ACHIEVE Program, starting in 2015-2016 school year, but continue with a sixth-grade component.  She added that existing services, including the Check and Connect program, will be made available for seventh- and eighth-grade students.  

    School Board Recognition Week: Superintendent Kelly recognized the School Board as a whole for its dedication and hard work in helping build an education system that meets the needs of both today's and tomorrow's children.
    John Larkin
    Vice Chair
    Ted Landwehr
    Lori Meyer
    Molly Lewis
    Laura Palmer
    Grant Nichols

    Action Items  

    A. School Board Policies - Second Reading:  The School Board approved the following policies:

    • 205 - Open Meetings and Closed Meetings
    • 206 - Public Participation in School Board Meetings/Complaints about Persons at School Board Meetings and Data Privacy Considerations
    • 208 - Development, Adoption, and Implementation of Policies.

    Key Dates:

    • Feb. 16, Monday, No School President's Day, District closed
    • Feb. 17, Tuesday, 5:30 p.m., School Board Listening Session, Family Center
    • Feb. 17, Tuesday, 6 p.m., School Board Work Session, Community Room
    • Feb. 24, Tuesday, 7 p.m., Regular School Board Meeting, Community Room
    • March 10, Tue. 5 p.m. Sub-Committee on Policy Meeting, Superintendent's Conference Room
    • March 10, Tue. 7 p.m. Regular School Board Meeting, Community Room

    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