Public Meeting Minutes: January 20, 2014 at 5:00 PM - Work Session and Regular Meeting of the Board of Education


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January 20, 2014 at 5:00 PM - Work Session and Regular Meeting of the Board of Education Minutes

January 20, 2014 at 5:00 PM - Work Session and Regular Meeting of the Board of Education
I. Listening Session
Discussion:  Begins at 4:30 p.m. and is intended for building staff and appointed board members.
II. Call To Order - Work Session
III. Board Work Session
III.A. Columbus High School Presentation
Discussion:  President Alan Dostal called the meeting to order at 5:04 p.m. CHS Principal Steve Woodside said the dynamics of the staff is unique this year. He said 37 percent of staff has been with the district between 6-14 years, 31 percent from 1-5 years and 32 percent 15 plus years. There were 13 new staff members hired this year. A+ Advantage Student Program: Supervisor Kim Ek said over the years the poverty rate, student mobility and other factors have increased at the high school. When the Pathways program moved, it was decided to put the students back in the high school. Ek said the vision of the program is to create a supportive classroom with small learning communities. Ek said the goal is for the students to either graduate or transition back into the west wing (general population at the high school). There were 18 students at the start of the year and now there are 14. Maureen Schuele said it is exciting to watch the students’ talents and confidence grow as they start coming back to school. Para educator Bonnie Keller said she encourages the kids to do their best and not give up. Drug Testing Program – CHS Activities Director Mark Brown said there have been more than 50 students randomly tested. The confidentiality of the students selected has been good, and the testing location seems to be working well. There have been no positive tests to date. Brown said the program is doing what it is supposed to do, and it is a deterrent. Brown said the hospital has been phenomenal to work with. CMS Principal Amy Haynes said the program is just getting started at the middle school, and the 7th and 8th grade basketball players are the only ones being checked at this time. There will be more students when track season starts. Graduate Data Progress – Woodside said a survey of graduates is done every year. Eight out of 10 graduates said they felt they were adequately prepared to make the transition to college or the work place. The Class of 2013 had 150 students take the ACT one time, 62 percent take it twice and 37 percent more than twice. He said kids on a four-year track are doing pretty good. Woodside said he thought with all students taking the ACT the NeSA scores would improve. He said somewhere there needs to be more balance between ACT in correlation to the NeSA scores. He said the high school staff is continuing to look for opportunities to make a difference. He said on the positive side CHS has a positive and safe environment. Improvements have been made with reading and math intervention, but more focus needs to be placed on the lower scoring students.
III.B. Strategic Plan and Goal Setting
Discussion:  Dr. Troy Loeffelholz said the board must decide on the board goals and then it can be brought to the building levels. He said the district needs to look at how to close the gap between 17-24 ACT scores. He suggested the board consider completing the strategic planning process. Loeffelholz said two of the plans are close to being finished. Another goal suggestion is engaging in a robust public relations campaign. Loeffelholz said he would like to look at a consultant to help the district develop a plan. Another goal could be a facility plan. Dr. Loeffelholz said the only two goals that were suggested as being added is an academic one and public relations. Alan Dostal asked if the district wanted to be bold and set a goal of a specific graduation rate or ACT score? Dr. Loeffelholz said this could be done by setting a smart goal. Ken Curry said the whole purpose is academics, so there needs to be some balance to measure so there is a score card that is a benchmark. He said as the district strives for academic improvement to include the PLC process, collaboration and facilities. Curry would like to see something on culture, facilities and academics. Theresa Seipel would like to see the learning communities measured and if key concepts are being learned across all levels. She said she would like to know where the district is at with PLC process. Candy Becher is concerned about the classroom sizes. She said when visiting with CHS teachers they are concerned about class size in core classrooms. Dr. Loeffelholz said as the district looks at a new facility, it needs to be built on the needs. Mike Goos said the public relations campaign cannot forget people that are disenfranchised. Goos said this needs to address all students and parents. Dr. Loeffelholz said public relations is not only getting the message out but also getting more people in the doors. Francis Kuehler said there needs to be more social media and internet information. Dr. Loeffelholz said parent involvement used to be a middle and high school problem, but it is now also an issue at the elementary level. Principals agreed that school culture also ties into raising scores Dr. Loeffelholz said he will meet with the directors and look at the suggestions to draft some goals and bring it back to the board. He said hopefully, a draft with goals can be in place by the February meeting.
III.C. Executive Session
IV. Dinner at ESU7/CPS Student Center, 2563 44th Avenue - No business will be discussed.
Discussion:  The Board came out of Executive Session and recessed.
V. Call to order - Board Meeting
VI. Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call
VII. Open Meeting Notice of Posted Law
VII.A. President insures that all can hear the proceedings
VIII. Mission Statement
Discussion:  Theresa Seipel read the mission statement. "Engaging All Learners to Achieve Success"
IX. Election of President for 2014
X. Election of Vice President
XI. Opportunity For the Public To Be Heard
XII. Recognitions
Discussion:  None
XIII. Presentation on Preschool Education
Discussion:  Early Childhood Education is extremely important, said Executive Director of Student Services Jason Harris. He said those who don’t have an early childhood education are twice as likely to be in special education; 30 percent more likely to not go to college; 70 percent more likely to be arrested for a violent crime; and 40 percent more likely to be a teen parent. CPS has 48.80 percent students on free/reduced lunches. Michelle Purcell said the Early Steps to School Success was created through a grant to support pregnant women and children 0-3 years old. The staff makes three home visits a month. They also emphasize reading in early steps and encourage parents to read with their child. The Nebraska Department of Education requires schools to serve special education students birth through 21. This year there have been 70 referrals since July and last year there were 54. Referrals can come from parents, teachers or daycare providers. Once notified, they go out in teams of two or three to evaluate a child. The early childhood program works with the Early Development Network to serve kids between birth through 3. Approximately 93 children birth through 5 years old are receiving special education services. When a child is 3-5 years old, the special education teachers write IEPs. The following are services offered by special education: Speech/Language Pathologist, Physical Therapy, Occupational Therapy, Hearing and Vision as well as psychologists. They use the coaching model partnership between teachers, early childhood teachers and parents to help children to learn. The team meets weekly to discuss the child. The team provides strategies to parents and teachers to help the child achieve their goals. They also play an important role in helping kids with transitions. There are two preschools at Centennial and one at Emerson, but there are four programs because of the partnership with HeadStart. The team provides strategies to parents and teachers to help the child achieve their goals. They also play an important role in helping kids with transitions. The goal of the preschool is to provide a high quality environment to have success in kindergarten. The students are also placed in group situations. The teachers try to prepare them to learn academics like what will be expected in kindergarten. They also do physical exercise such as walking, running, galloping and skipping; gross motor skills and fine motor skills (using scissors the right way). They use the curriculum Handwriting Without Fear, which helps with many writing skills such as holding a pencil correctly, working on literacy and practicing letters and sounds. They also do a lot of interacting, which include reading aloud, retelling stories, and beginning writing skills. The students’ progress is monitored by the GOLD assessment, which is done three times a year. There are also classroom assessments, L to J, number recognitions (focusing on one to 15); and highlighting student work in portfolios. Family involvement is key and there are two home visits and two parent/teacher conferences. The preschool is not just for special education, said Dr. Loeffelholz. It can be for those who need additional time and support to get ready for kindergarten. He said he appreciates all the early childhood program does.
XIV. Presentation on Strategic Plan #1
Discussion:  Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Amy Romshek said this strategic plan is a working draft and she expects it to change and evolve as it goes forward. She said the group started by reviewing CPS initiatives and things that are being worked on (ACT pilot to increase college rate; Career preparation; STEM focus to increase relevance in learning, reviewing working strategic plans from Nebraska and from across the U.S.) The committee met many times and then administrators met. They tried to make recommendations and formulate an academic plan. The academic goal is students will graduate with a strong academic and life (employability) skills in order to support college and career readiness. The three goals are: 1. We will integrate higher order thinking while increasing literacy in reading writing, math and technology. 2. We will infuse employability skills at all levels. 3. We will prepare students to select an appropriate college or career pathway. Underneath these goals are umbrella categories including: PLC Action Steps; Curriculum/Instruction Action Steps and Technology Action Steps. Romshek said the next step will be to put the pieces together and gather more input. She said the group has started working on budgetary planning, and they will have to look at priorities. She said this plan could help with the board goals as well. Dr. Loeffelholz said the key will be putting a cost to the plan and incorporating the other plans. The board liked the direction the plan was going and told Romshek to continue.
XV. Consent Agenda
XV.A. Appointments by the Board of Education for the 2014 Calendar Year
Discussion:  1. Appointment of Secretary - Dave Melick 2. Appointment of Treasurer - Sandy Krings 3. Appointment of School Law Firms a. Grant and Grant b. Perry, Guthrey, Haase, and Gessford 4. Appointment of Signatory of the District for the purpose of Federal Funds - Dave Melick 5. Appointment of Signatory for the School Lunch Account - Dave Melick
XV.B. Approval of Minutes for the meetings of December 16, 19, 20, 2013
XV.C. Certified Personnel Action
XV.D. Classified Personnel Action
XV.E. Professional Travel Report
XVI. Financial Reports 2-4a
XVII. Financial Report 4b
XVIII. Appointments by the Board President
Discussion:  a. Appointment of a board member to serve on the Selection Committee for the Annual School Bell Award (Candy Becher) b. Appointment of negotiating team for the 2014-2015 teachers’ contract (Ken Curry and Theresa Seipel) c. Appointment of a board representative to the Nebraska Association of School Boards’ Delegate Assembly (Francis Kuehler) Appointments are submitted for information only.
XIX. Committee and Foundation Board Appointments:
Discussion:  The newly elected President should appoint Board Members to serve on subcommittees, other district committees, and the School Foundation Board consistent with the change in leadership and/or any other considerations the newly elected President deems appropriate. a. Appointment of Board Members to the four standing Board sub-committees Building & Site [Ken Curry and Francis Kuehler] Curriculum [Candy Becher and Mike Goos] Finance & Personnel [Francis Kuehler and Theresa Seipel] Policy [Ken Curry and Mike Goos] b. Appointment of three Board Members to Committee on Americanism [Candy Becher, Mike Goos, and Theresa Seipel]. c. Appointment of two Board Members to an annual term on the School District of Columbus Foundation Board [Candy Becher and Theresa Seipel] d. Appointment of a Board Member to serve as a representative to the NASB Legislative Relations Network [Francis Kuehler].
XX. Special Administrative Functions
XX.A. Extension of Superintendent’s Contract through 2015-2016 School Year
Discussion:  Alan Dostal said the superintendent’s contract is a two-year rolling contract and expires on June 30 every year. Dostal thanked Dr. Loeffelholz for his commitment to the school district and engagement with the entire community. He said he appreciates all of Dr. Loeffelholz’ hard work. Ken Curry echoed his support as well.
XX.B. Columbus High School 2014-2015 Course Description, A Guide to Registration
Discussion:  CHS Principal Steve Wooodside said students will soon be registering for classes, so the course description book must be approved. He said there were not a lot of changes, but the addition of economics as a requirement and geography are two changes in the social studies area. He said there was also an adjustment in the theater classes. Performing and stagecraft were split into two classes to give more students an opportunity to be involved in the fine arts but not to necessarily have to perform.
XX.C. Acceptance of Gifts/Donations
Discussion:  Gifts and donations amounted to $5,859.53. Dr. Loeffelholz said it has been another great month with volunteers raising money for CPS.
XX.D. School Calendar 2014-2015
Discussion:  Romshek said the committee only had to meet twice, and there was not a lot of discussion. She said she looked at what other schools are doing and most are starting the second full week in August and ending mid May, which is in line with CPS. Romshek said she also compared vacation time off and looked at the number of days off for holiday breaks, and this was close as well. The difference is in the instructional days. CPS has 172 instructional days next year, and other schools have more. CPS does have more professional days then other school districts. The reason for less instructional days is CPS has a longer school day than most districts. She said some districts also build in a lot of snow days; and typically, CPS doesn't have snow days.
XX.E. East 14th Avenue & Armory Road Tree/Stump Removal
Discussion:  Executive Director of Building Operations Leonard Kwapnioski said there were nine families who have come and taken the first wood. He told the board that if they have a chance to drive by and see how it has cleaned up the property. Kwapnioski said the only thing left is to remove the old barn, and he would like to advertise for bids and sell it. He said there is some surplus dirt at the maintenance shop, but there may still be dirt needed to fill in the area. Kwapnioski said by removing the trees, the district gained another 2 ½ to 3 acres that could be rented for farming. He said there were around 150-200 trees that have been removed. The area is about 90 percent cleaned up, and there are two more trees to drop.
XXI. Superintendent's Report
XXI.A. Nebraska School Board Recognition Week (January 26-February 2, 2014)
Discussion:  Dr. Loeffelholz said January 26-February 2 is Nebraska School Board Recognition Week. He thanked the board for all they do for the children of CPS.
XXI.B. Nebraska Teacher Appreciation Day – March 4, 2014
Discussion:  March 4 is Nebraska Teacher Appreciation Day. Dr. Loeffelholz asked the board members to come to the buildings to deliver an appreciation card to staff members. He said most schools would like to start doing this around 8 a.m. He said he will have a sign up sheet; and if the board wants to go to a specific school, to let him know.
XXI.C. High School Design Presentation
Discussion:  Dr. Loeffelholz said the board needs to have a facilities meeting and financial meeting, so the survey can start the last week in January or first week in February. Visits have been made to Aberdeen High School in South Dakota and Elkhorn South. Aberdeen is about 245,000 square feet and will hold 1,600 students. Phelan said the design was bland, but that was intentional; and some of the areas were cluttered, but the school is 10 years old. He said the exterior design is simple. Phelan said the group who took the tour had a favorable impression of the building with a few adjustments being made. Elkhorn South’s layout is similar to what CPS is considering, but without a football stadium. He said the building was constructed for 1,000 students, but there will be room to go up to 1,500. The building was designed with the small learning community concept, and the library is a prominent part of the building and the auditorium can be used without access to other parts of the building. Elkhorn South is 250,000 square feet, which is comparable to Aberdeen and will be 290,000 to 300,000 square feet with addition. Phelan said it was helpful to go through and see some of these buildings. He said this will help in coming up with a design for CPS with tweaks being made to fit the needs. Phelan said the high school is being planned for an enrollment of 1,400 with the possibility of expansion. An important part will also be the career and technical education academy. There will be a fine arts auditorium to seat 750 people, have dead hung rigging and orchestra pit. There will be a gym that seats 1,800 people on the main floor. The building area is 275,455 square feet as compared to the 236,000 square feet at the existing high school. The majority of extra square footage is classroom space. The idea of building is to accommodate more students and growth. There would also be a two-story classroom wing. Phelan said the idea is to develop a solid price and then the board can make decisions. The Aberdeen building will be used as a proto type for the costs. He said he will have a better idea by the end of the month on the cost. There will need to be 60 acres to accommodate the school and 1,000 parking spaces. There will be a drop-off and pick-up loop as well as a track and field, practice fields and room for future baseball and softball fields. The heating and cooling system will be Geo Thermal. The preliminary construction cost to build the new high school is $53,182,449. Phelan said this can increase or decrease based on the square footage needed and the types of materials used for building. The preliminary costs also do not include anything for furniture. Hardware is also not included in the price, and there is no money set aside for out buildings. If a prototype design is used, there will be less in the contingency price. The total price of the project is $57,788,096, which includes the architectural/engineering fees, general expenses and other things. Phelan said the idea is to help get to the guaranteed maximum price. Dr. Loeffelholz said the amounts are increased to factor in higher costs and inflation. The price is based on a 2015 start date. Phelan asked what does the board do next? There are needs that aren't going away. He said the program needs should be looked at again, confirm building systems and project costs and verify on and off site development. Phelan said the community still needs to also give permission with the school board making the final decision.
XXII. Board Sharing
Discussion:  Mike Goos said he appreciates being part of whole process. Candy Becher thanked CHS Principal Steve Woodside for the presentations and said it is was very informative. Ken Curry agreed that the high school program was very good, and there is a lot of work and planning going on. Curry said he is pleased to support Dr. Loeffelholz in his job. Theresa Seipel compliment Dr. Loeffelholz as well. She also liked the presentations at CHS, and the staff is doing incredible things with birth through five year olds.
XXIII. Executive Session
XXIV. Adjourn
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