• May 26, 2015 Regular Business Meeting

      Heights' Lites

    The School Board honored Athena Award winner Quincy Gross and Oscar Eng award winner Ibrahim Ibrahim.

    The Athena Award, presented to Quincy Gross, is given to the best all-around female athlete at Columbia Heights High School each year.  Nominations are solicited from administration and head coaches.  Athletes usually compete in more than one sport, have made significant contributions both on and off the field and have participated in community services.  Winners display athleticism, competitive edge, academic focus and community involvement. 
    The Oscar Eng award, presented to Ibrahim Ibrahim, is given to a student athlete who has exemplified hard work and effort not only on the athletic court or field, but also in the classroom.  The recipient is a student who has excelled in effort and attitude and working toward achieving the best that he can.  Oscar Eng was a longtime educator and administrator for the Columbia Heights School District for 3 decades.  He served as assistant principal for a number of years and was the first Athletic Director at Columbia Heights High School.  To enlarge the photos, click on each graphic.

     Acknowledgement of Contributions

    Chair John Larkin announced, and the School Board approved, a resolution for accepting current contributions in the amount of $15,694.81. The total fiscal year 2014-2015 monetary contributions to date is $101,690.50.

      Discussion, Reports, Information Items

    • Chair John Larkin participated in the May 19, 2015 Work Study, School Board chair meetings, the 2014-2015 Employee of the Year reception, Expressions: A Columbia Heights Public Schools (CHPS) Fine Arts Show and a Columbia Academy Band Concert. Chair Larkin attended the VFW Memorial Day ceremony and several Junior Varsity baseball games.  He also met with Superintendent Kelly and members of the School Board

    • Vice-Chair Ted Landwehr participated in a School Board Chair meeting, the May 19, 2015 Work Session, the Employee of the Year reception, the CHPS Fine Arts Show and a chamber legislative breakfast.  He added he met with the District Management Team to report on his findings from the National School Board Association annual conference.

    • Clerk Lori Meyer attended the May 19, 2015 Work Session and the 2014-2015 Employee of the Year reception.
    • Treasurer Molly Lewis participated in the May 19, 2015 Work Session and attended the CHPS Expressions Arts Show.  She also attended track and field day events for Highland Elementary School and varsity and junior varsity track meets.

    • Director Laura Palmer participated in the May 19, 2015 Work Session, the Columbia Academy band concert, the CHPS Expressions Fine Arts Show and the 2014-2015 Employee of the Year reception. She also met with CHHS Principal Dan Wrobleski.

    • Director Grant Nichols participated in the May 19, 2015 Work Session, attended a North Park Elementary School PTA meeting, the Expressions Fine Arts Show and the Columbia Heights High School Academic Awards Ceremony.  He also attended a CHHS varsity baseball sections and varsity girls' softball game.
      Superintendent Kathy Kelly's Report

    • Noted Director Halabi and she met with representatives from the Minnesota Department of Education on American Indian Education issues, resources and legislation.
      Senior Rashonna Thomas (pictured) hugged Malcolm Watson as he awarded her the $1,500 Esther Watson Memorial Scholarship.
      Expressions Fine Arts Showcase

    • Met with Scott Nadeau, Chief of Police of the City of Columbia Heights on end of school year issues.

    • Attended the 26th annual Columbia Heights High School Academic Awards Ceremony where 43 local donors awarded a total of $224,600 for 154 scholarships (picture of donor and student awardee at right).

    • Attended an Association of Metropolitan School Districts (AMSD) Executive Committee meeting focusing on current legislative issues. 

    • Participated in the final District data team meeting.

    • Participated as an interview panel member in the West Metro Education Program (WEMP) Executive Director selection process.

    • Echoed Board Director Landwehr's comments that he met with the Management Team to share feedback from the NSBA conference. Superintendent Kelly thanked Director Landwehr.

    • Attended the District Finance Meeting.

    • Shared that "Expressions: A Columbia Heights Public Schools Fine Arts Showcase" is outstanding.  The show is open 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. through May 31 at Silverwood Park (2500 County Road E, St. Anthony).  The showcase is free and open to the public.  To view an assortment of photos of the show, click here.

    • Participated in the May 19, 2015 School Board Work Session.

    • Had multiple conversations with School Board members.

    • Attended the 2014-2015 Employee of the Year reception.
    Listening Session: School Board Director Landwehr reported there were no attendees at the May 19, 2015 School Board Listening Session.  

    Employee of the Year: The School Board recognized 2014-2015 Employee of the Year Sarah Durst (pictured above right).  A reception was held for Ms. Durst, who is the Principal's Secretary at Columbia Academy and has served this District since 2005, prior to the School Board meeting.  She is the sixth recipient of the award, and the third award winner from Columbia Academy in the last four years. Ms. Durst, who received four separate nominations, was selected from a committee comprised of CHPS staff representatives, parents, community members, City of Columbia Heights and Fridley.  She was selected based on her strong work ethic, being a positive role model, her initiative and creativity, her contributions to work site improvements.

    Principal recognition
    : The School Board recognized Principal Willie Fort for his leadership of Valley View Elementary School and Columbia Academy for the 2014-2015 School Year.  Principal Fort accepted the role of Interim Principal of Columbia Academy last August while continuing in his permanent role as Principal of Valley View Elementary School.  Duane Berkas, currently the Director of Teaching and Learning, has been selected as the next Principal of Columbia Academy.

    AVID: Principal Fort, AVID Director Zena Stenvik, Curriculum Coordinator Tara Thurkral and Principal Wrobleski presented on AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination). The presenters reported that part of the AVID certification process includes collecting progress data and participation data. This school year Columbia Heights High School (CHHS) was rated AVID Highly Certified. This is the seventh year of AVID at CHHS and second year with AVID Elementary at Valley View Elementary School; next school
    John Paul
     year the program will expand to fifth grade at Highland Elementary School and sixth grade at Columbia Academy. Principal Wrobleski shared that 100 percent of the Columbia Heights High School AVID seniors applied to and were accepted into college. He added that 76 percent of these students were accepted to 4-year universities and one student will become a U.S. Marine. Two students (right, click on each name to view their presentations) presented their personal story of overcoming obstacles on their journey to college.  Click here for the presenter's PowerPoint presentation.

    Strategic Direction E:  Director of Technology and Security Bryan Hennekens, Director of Community Education Kristen Stuenkel and Director of Communications Casey Mahon provided the annual Strategic Roadmap on Direction E.  Information presented included the strategic direction vision cards relating to “Tell Our Story: brand development, reputation management, to increase partnerships and enrollment."  The directors additionally addressed:
    • Market share of school-age children in CHPS schools;
    • CHPS students and families connected using digital media;
    • CHPS staff demonstrate the District's Core Values in their everyday work;
    • Percentage of performing arts and activities communications that include the mission of CHPS;
    • District published materials with CHPS logo and mission statement (graphic at right is displayed as a sign in every entrance and a poster in every room in the District;
    • Favorable responses to three universal climate questions embedded within all district surveys/evaluations.

    Click here for their PowerPoint presentation.

    Targeted Services: Director Stuenkel provided information about the Targeted Services programming for School Year 2014-2015 at Highland, North Park and Valley View elementary schools and Columbia Academy.  Click here for the PowerPoint presentation.

    Overnight and out-of-state field trips: Director of Teaching and Learning Duane Berkas provided an overview of different overnight and possible out-of-state opportunities for students for the following school year.  Included in the planning are:
    • The third annual trip to Concordia Language Academy by eighth-grade Spanish students for a weekend in late February or early March. Students will fund raise and be chaperoned by a Spanish teacher and a minimum of one additional staff member.
    • Columbia Heights High School junior Elijah Vanderpoel (pictured above right) will travel to Concordia College in Moorhead for All-State Mixed Choir rehearsal this summer.
    • Building on the successful March 2015 Advanced Placement (AP) Studio Art, AP Art History and Concert Band trip to New York City (pictured above left) a proposed plan to have students travel to NYC every other year.
    • A transition year trip for the CHHS choir to travel to Chicago.
    Click here for the PowerPoint presentation.

    Food Service Management: Director Holmgren provided an informational update on the preliminary current food service management bid. He submitted a recommendation for a new contract to Sodexo; Director Holmgren requests the School Board vote on the request at the next School Board meeting.  Click here for the PowerPoint presentation.

    Northeast Metro District 916: Director Holmgren and Director of Student Services Nicole Halabi provided an update on NE Metro District 916 levy and student participation.  Columbia Heights Public Schools (CHPS) provides students to NE 916 for a variety of special services; to support the students and that District CHPS, like other member districts, provides funding.  According to Director Holmgren, an adjustment in the existing Lease Levy (tax) currently is not scheduled until 2019. Click here for the PowerPoint presentation.

    Castle Heights: Superintendent Kelly and Director of Finance and Operations Bill Holmgren shared that the public is invited to an informational meeting, 6:30 p.m., Wednesday, May, 27, 2015 on the replacement of the Castle Heights' playground.  The meeting will be at the Family Center located at 1460 49th Avenue NE in Columbia Heights. After nearly a year of consistent maintenance review, school district officials determined the best option for safety reasons is to replace the 23-year-old wooden playground. Plans are to remove the existing structure and replace it with a new one for the 2015-2016 school year.  Click here for the PowerPoint presentation.

    Board Policies - First Reading:
    427 – Workload Limits for Certain Special Education Teacher 709 – Student Transportation Safety Policy
    509 – Enrollment of Nonresident Students 805 – Waste Reduction and Recycling
    618 – Assessment of Student Achievement 806 – Crisis Management Policy
    619 – Staff Development For Standards 807 – Health and Safety Policy
    701 – Modification of School District Budget 905 - Advertising

      Action Items

    School Board Policies - Second Reading: The School Board approved the following policies that on First Reading appeared on the April 28 Business Meeting agenda:

    501 - School Weapons
    502 - Search of Student Lockers, Desks, Personal Possessions and Student’s Person
    503 - Student Attendance
    506 - Student Discipline
    506 - Form
    514 - Bullying Prohibition
    524 - Internet Acceptable Use and Safety
    526 - Hazing
    603 - Curriculum Development
    604 - Instructional Curriculum
    613 - Graduation Requirements

    Minnesota State High School League (MSHSL) membership: The School Board approved a resolution for continued membership in MSHSL. 

    Transportation contract
    : The School Board approved a two-year contract with
    Lorenz Bus Service as presented at the May 12 School Board meeting (click here).(click here)

    Community Education Adventure Club/Mini Adventure Club fees:
    The School Board approved Community Education’s Adventure Club and Mini Adventures program’s fee increase for 2015-2016 as presented at the May 12 School Board meeting (click here) or click here for the PowerPoint presentation.

     Board Topics

    Chair Larkin shared that there will not be another School Board meeting prior to graduation.  Vice Chair Landwehr asked for further discussion on public comments.

      Key Dates

    June 4, Thursday, Last day of school for students
    June 4, Thursday, 7 p.m., Columbia Heights High School Graduation, football stadium

    June 9, Tuesday, 7 p.m., Regular School Board meeting, Community Room
    June 16, Tuesday, 6 p.m., Work Session, Community Room
    June 23, Tuesday, 7 p.m., Regular School Board meeting, Community Room

    Do you have questions or comments?  Click here.

    The School Board Report is normally published the Friday following a Regular Business Meeting.  In those instances when a holiday falls on that Friday, the Report will be published the following Monday.  The School Board Report is a summary of each business meeting; the official record are the Minutes, which must be approved prior to posting on the School Board web site.

      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