Public Meeting Minutes: September 15, 2014 at 5:00 PM - Work Session and Regular Meeting of the Board of Education


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September 15, 2014 at 5:00 PM - Work Session and Regular Meeting of the Board of Education Minutes

September 15, 2014 at 5:00 PM - Work Session and Regular Meeting of the Board of Education
I. Listening Session
II. Call To Order - Work Session
III. Board Work Session
III.A. Columbus Middle School Presentation
Discussion:  How we have responded to our data at CMS: CMS Principal Amy Haynes said CMS students in reading lag behind the state average scale score in every grade but seventh. This year the seventh grade was one point behind the state. However, the math scores were a little closer. The eighth grade far exceeded the state scale score this year and has been above the state for the last three years. Science also showed a huge improvement. PLC Process - A new sixth grade schedule was created this year. Haynes said they looked at the data and knew the sixth grade has been behind the state for a number of years. They decided to focus on explicit instruction, and the administration and staff decided to reduce the number of students teachers work with. The number of teams increased from two to four. Each team would have one math and language arts teacher and one teacher would handle science and social studies. In sixth grade the math and language arts time was increased to 80 minutes. Another change for the sixth grades is they went from a block to a period schedule with 40-minute classes; and in sixth grade, all classes meet every day. Math and reading interventions were also added as a class for sixth graders. Haynes said the school is functioning on two different schedules. Some advantages of the changes at the sixth grade are all teachers meet with the students every day. There is less anxiety in the hall. Teachers also felt they were able to build relationship much faster with the students. Some challenges include: inconsistent size of classes. For example, one class may have 10 students and the next time 30 students. Social studies and science teachers are teaching a new curriculum. However, Haynes said this may be an advantage because the teachers are enjoying it. Flipped classrooms in seventh grade math - Students watch a video at night and come back the next day and do homework in the class. One of the parents' concerns is they often can't help their child with the homework, so this helps with that issue. With a co-taught math class, there are more adults in the room to help and answer questions. In this type of situation, students can work ahead if they want because homework is online. In seventh grade math, integrative notebooks are also being used. These notebooks are filled with information that will help the students. The majority of the students have Internet access at home, and they are creative in getting access if they do not. WIN Time (What I need time): This happens two days a week. The idea is to repeat standards, provide homework help, and offer enrichment along with other things. Any student can be required to attend. Some teacher have open sessions for homework help while others offer enrichment to only certain students. The openings for WIN are posted every week. All teachers have their own session and determine if it is opened or closed and determine the subject. Each week it changes. There are also certain areas that have priority. Those not assigned to something have a study hall. Haynes said it has been challenging because attendance is not taken the last 30 minutes because students could be in a variety of places. Haynes said there are still some bugs to work out. The idea is to be strategic in intervention. Haynes said they have increased co-teaching classes and eliminated resource classes, and all students are exposed to grade level curriculum. She said mixed ability classes provide for stronger peer collaboration. Co-teaching is any time there is a specialist in the room. It is simultaneously instructing a heterogeneous group and must be coordinated and planned. There are several different styles of co-teaching. Duet model is what would be used in the perfect world. The entire instructional process is shared. This method works best if there are only one or two other co-teachers. The other style is lead and support. This is where the general education teacher presents the lesson upfront. The special education teacher is fully involved in daily planning, implementation, assessment and re-teaching. This method works well when there are four to five other teachers. Haynes said the idea was to eliminate resource classes and to increase co-teaching in math and language arts at every grade level. English Language Development Classes: The middle school has a program called High Point for recently arrived students, and this is being used with Inside from National Geographic. Students will participate in regular language arts and participate in the ELD program using Inside at levels A & B. The program focuses on where the students are in their skills and if needed to move to a different level at the quarter. The idea is to meet the needs and try to move students into regular education classes as soon as possible. The staff wants to make sure the students are very fluent, so students move based on the data. Each quarter a team meets to look at data. Student recognition - There have been some changes in this area as well. The midshipman of the week has changed to student of the week. Teachers announce the winners and explain why the student was chosen for the honor. Haynes said this has been very well received. An academic pep rally was held with the high school cheerleaders coming to the middle school to help recognize academic achievement. A 4.0 honors reception is held twice a year. The positive referral card is used when teachers see students doing positive things. There are also good news cards. Seventh grade football was offered for the first time this year. In the past, the students could only play flag football. There are 35 kids participating. Coaches are focused on the fundamentals. There were 28 seventh graders who attended the football camp hosted by CHS. The seventh graders first game was tonight, and they play on the high school practice field. CMS Vision for STEM 101 - New labs were built. The program aligns with the high school. The kids are very enthused. They started with discovering sketching and drafting. This was the first unit because it is the basis for much of what will be learned; and students need to learn how to measure. The students not only had to do this on the computer but also had to use pencil and paper. Everything starts as square or rectangle and then turns into another shape. These are all hands-on activities. These classes require a lot of troubleshooting, problem solving and critical thinking. There are also a lot of connections between math and science. This is a semester-long class. All middle school students will take these classes, so the teacher will see all students in a year.
III.B. Presentation on Dr. Anthony Muhammad
Discussion:  Dr. Muhammad presented to staff on August 7-8. He asked all staff to consider if their school was High Will and High Skill. High Will has a strong positive school culture. High Skill is the initiatives the district has every year. In terms of High Skill, Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Amy Romshek said the district did a lot to make improvements in this area but not so much in the High Will area. Technical is the skill part, and cultural philosophical is the will. High Will is a school that has confidence in students, believes every student can learn, and sees culture as the foundation of effectiveness. Dr. Muhammad also said to not underestimate the culture. Structural change not supported by cultural change will eventually fail. This year the district has decided to work on aligning the philosophy and managing frustrations. The idea is to send a message to the students that they are capable. Healthy culture is a two-way street. To find out where the district is at with managing frustration, a culture audit will be done. Dr. Muhammad will visit with all staff not just teachers and also students. Surveys will also be done. He will analyze data and give recommendations. Dr. Muhammad will be in the district Nov. 10-11, Dec. 16-17 and January 20-22. Meanwhile the district staff will work on two areas: aligning philosophy and managing frustration.
III.C. Executive Session
Discussion:  The board did not go into executive session. Instead a presentation on the schematic design was given.
III.D. Presentation on Schematic Design
Discussion:  DLR Architect Pat Phelan said the staff has been great. The building will be for 1,400 students with the potential for expansion. The fine arts auditorium is being designed for band and vocal music and not theatrical performances. There will be 750 seats. There will also be additional seating in the auxiliary gym with the main gym having 1,800 seats. The building is now about 259,000 square feet. The building is pretty close to the original concept. STEM and the redesign of the activity area are the major changes from Aberdeen High School. Phelan said he has talked about pre-engineered metal buildings with Behlen management. The STEM Academy, band and vocal music and fitness area could be made out of this. He said he will be talking pricing with Behlen tomorrow. The classrooms are designed with four learning communities with the science areas in the center. There have also been science classrooms located near the STEM Academy. The second floor is mainly over the academic area. Ken Curry said he likes the precast walls. The next step will be to bring more detail and samples of the actual materials. Hausmann Construction representative Chad Wiles said there has been talk about metal buildings because he is trying to involve the community in the process.
IV. Dinner at ESU&7 Student Center - No business will be discussed.
Discussion:  No business was discussed.
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:  Mike Goos read the Mission Statement
IX. Special Hearing on Policy 1005.02 - Annual review on Parent Relations Goals
Discussion:  Superintendent Dr. Troy Loeffelholz said according to statute this policy must be reviewed every year. He said the policy discusses the partnership between school and parent. No one spoke at the public hearing. The hearing was closed and the regular meeting resumed at 7:06 p.m.
X. Special Hearing for the purpose of receiving public input on the 2014-20145 Columbus Public Schools Budget followed by Special Hearing to Set the Final Tax Request
Discussion:  Accountability: There are numerous forms in the budget process, said Executive Director of Business and Human Relations Dave Melick. There are spending lids and levy limits, and the special fund levy can't be above $1.05. There is also the new requirement of the Superintendent's Pay Transparency Act. Melick said there is also some accountability at the local level. The levy must meet the needs of the district. Clarity This is the second year of reducing the amount of codes in the budget, and the second year of planned transfers to the depreciation fund for large ticket items (such as vehicles, roofs blowing off etc.). There will also need to be a levy for the special building fund for Discoverer Addition expenses and district contingency with new CHS. The last time the district put money into the special building fund was in 2008-09, Melick said. The unused budget authority also continues to increase. Expenses that increased for 2014-15 include: personnel costs for both classified and certified as well as 3.75 new ELL positions and one new technology position. Additional expenditure increases include computer leases (teachers, carts and CHS learning initiative); cost of the former early childhood grant; contracted students with NDE; curriculum materials; school culture audit; ASPIRE testing; and technology software. This year the purposed total budget is $59,562,077, which is up 6.15 percent. General fund budget is $45,339,757, which is up 4.7 %. The district's debt increased from $16,469,050 to $94,532,337 due to the passing of the bond. State aid increased $1,688,401 and assessed valuation increased $115,762,518. That revenue was up by 7.4 percent. The asking levy is 1.049999 and did not exceed $1.05. The total tax levy increased from $1.211960 to $1.254498 an increase of 4.25 cents. This accounts for $17, 306,702.86 in local property taxes. Melick discussed changes made to the published budget noting an additional $13,100 in spending and tax levy increase from .020000 to .020787 in the Special Building Fund and an additional $60,000 in spending in the Bond Fund resulting in an increase of that levy from .200894 to .204499. These changes with the General Fund levy combine for a total levy of 1.254498, approximately 1/2 cent below what was discussed during the bond issue campaign, Dr. Loeffelholz said the district told patrons the bond increase would be a maximum of 4.75 cents but because of valuation increases and other budget items in the district it only increased 4.25 cents. At the end of the Hearing for the purpose of receiving public input on the 2014-2015 Columbus Public Schools Budget, Melick asked the board and patrons if there were any questions. There were none. The Special Hearing was closed and the regular meeting resumed. They moved on to the Special Hearing to Set the Final Tax Request. There also were no questions. The Special Hearing was closed and the regular meeting resumed at 7:27 p.m.
XI. Opportunity For Public To Be Heard
Discussion:  No one spoke to the board.
XII. Recognitions
Discussion:  There were not recognitions.
XIII. Presentation on Schematic Design
Discussion:  Dr. Loeffelholz suggested continuing with the overview of the work on the new high school, so people wouldn't need to stay for the whole meeting. Phelan said they are meeting tomorrow to review the final plat and final traffic study. The pre-grading package is out to bid. Bids will be open on Thursday at 4 p.m. The corn must be removed by Sept. 26. This will allow grading to start as soon as the weather permits. This site will be raised 4 feet overall and sits on 60 acres. The interior will have a lot of concrete block. Phelan said the design needs to make sure the concrete block is in high durability rooms like the STEM Academy and locker rooms. He said they are looking at different options for windows and using as much natural lighting as possible. A water-heat source pump will be installed for the building. Phelan said there may possibly be a geo thermal system if there is a way the district can afford it. DLR's cost of the project is $48.8 million. Wiles said Hausmann has the ability to put real numbers to a schematic design. He said they are still identifying the system and materials that will be used, so there are no final numbers yet. Wiles said he is taking the large priced items and evaluating those. He said he feels like the district is in a good spot with the budget. Wiles said he has started to identify items that will help achieve the goals. He said Hausmann is trying to guide the process as things move along. The final design is supposed to be done in March 2015. Wiles said the cost is an ongoing process and will continue to be updated until the final design is finished. He said the district is on a good track to get there. The total cost of the project is $49.9 million. Some costs outside of project include: moving furniture and equipment; food service equipment; off site infrastructure and street development etc. Wiles said there are five potential bidders for the pre-grading work. The next challenge is structural footing and the foundation package. Before this can be done, the design for classroom areas must be completed. This is scheduled to be completed by Oct. 21, which will allow bids to be received by Nov. 6. Phelan said the goal is to get the project in a position to have work continue through the winter. Some of the next things include: follow up meetings with high school staff; receiving pre- grading bids; starting on pre-grading construction; continuing to develop building plans; finalizing off-site development scope and costs; continuing to work with Hausmann Construction to maintain budget; and scheduling and building the footprint for the foundation package.
XIV. Consent Agenda
XIV.A. Approval of Minutes for meetings of August 18, 2014 and August 26, 2014
XIV.B. Certified Personnel Action
XIV.C. Classified Personnel Action
XIV.D. Professional Travel Report
XV. Items removed from Consent Agenda
Discussion:  No items were removed from the consent agenda.
XVI. Financial Reports 2, 3, 4a
XVII. Special Administrative Functions
XVII.A. Approval of Budget for 2014-2015
Discussion:  Dr. Loeffelholz said this is the first time since he has been in the district that the budget reflects the needs instead of just budgeting to budget. He commended Melick for a good job of getting in all the identified expenses like the laptop initiative and other items.
XVII.B. Tax Request, 2014-2015
XVII.C. CPS Safety and Security Committee for 2014-2015
Discussion:  Executive Director of Technology and Operations Leonard Kwapnioski said there is one change on the list. Abigail Bliss will be representing Lost Creek. Kwapnioski said the group meets four times a year. He said they are trying to get all buildings uniform in their safety procedures, so substitute teachers and others will know what is going on. Members of the safety committee include: Leonard Kwapnioski, Michelle Cruise, Donna Osantowski, Jenny Betz, John Petersen, Abigail Bliss, Bob Hausmann, Jenny Meyer, Jody Haack, Jordon Anderson, Karla Bartlett, Jean Kamrath, Cal Mustard, Jon Frey, Mike Grutsch, Theresa Seipel and Ken Curry.
XVII.D. Attendance Monitor
Discussion:  Dr. Loeffelholz said this person is funded through a grant and is part of the Platte County Community Plan. The district's share of the deal is to provide a vehicle, gas, maintenance on the vehicle and insurance. The person who was hired is Jamie Adame.
XVII.E. General Vehicle Maintenance Contract
Discussion:  This year there was only one bid for the general vehicle maintenance contract, Kwapnioski said. The contract is with Seipel Repair for $30 an hour. The contract is for all general maintenance on district vehicles and repairs that are needed. Kwapnioski said the district is fortunate to have Seipel Repair.
XVII.F. Close Up Scholarships
Discussion:  Close-up sponsor Tom Bock said the trip will be from March 15-20. He said the scholarships provide students who might not be able to afford to go to Washington DC to visit. In order to receive a scholarship, the students must do fundraising. Bock said the amounts students raise varies from student to student. He said he will have an idea of the interest in students going after their first meeting.
XVII.G. Fundraisers
XVII.H. Declaration of Surplus Property
XVII.I. Digital Learning Initiative
Discussion:  Dr. Loeffelholz said the digital learning initiative is not a fine-tuned document. Teachers were given a task of coming up with a technology vision and to make a recommendation about what mobile technology might look like. The vision is students will learn strong academic and life skills in order to support college and career readiness in a digital world. The plan calls for laptops at the high school and middle school and iPads for the elementary schools. Dr. Loeffelholz said the district needs to do more work. The idea is to have MacBook Air laptops for each high school student with a release date of late November or early December. The students will keep the laptops for four years, but the students will turn them in at the end of the school year. The seniors' laptops will be given to the freshmen. When the district was evaluated, the people found that there were not enough students engaged with the technology. Dr. Loeffelholz said this will give students the power to control learning at their own pace. These will help prepare students for college and careers by using the four Cs: communication, collaboration, creativity and critical thinking. Dr. Loeffelholz said the administration wants students to be information producers and to use technology to be problem solvers. This will help extend the classroom and create a technology-rich environment to engage all students in digital learning to support academic achievement throughout the instructional program to support strong academic and employability skills. Dr. Loeffelholz said it is a different world that the students live in today. Alan Dostal said he thinks our staff is ready to move forward. Candy Becher said she had reservations and lots of questions in the beginning; but after talking to staff and getting her questions answered, she is comfortable moving ahead. She said this will enhance and support the curriculum. Theresa Seipel said she originally didn't know if the laptops were necessary. She said after thinking about it, she realized that nothing was being taken away from the students. Seipel said teachers will still be teaching, and the technology will just help in this area. Ken Curry said it is a very good investment in our students. Dr. Loeffelholz said by taking time, the district has saved money. He said there is still work to be done between now and November. He said before students receive a laptop, both them and their parents will meet with law enforcement and attorneys to learn about being safe in the digital world.
XVII.J. Full-Time High School Tech Position
Discussion:  With the learning initiative, another person will be needed to maintain/repair the additional 1200 laptops. The full-time technology person will be housed at the high school to handle these machines. Kwapnioski said he would like to get the position filled immediately. He said ideally, this person will be started for the roll out of the machines. Kwapnioski said currently Jeff Uchtman and Cory Underdahl are Apple Certified and can repair the machines in house. He said the new person will be required to be certified as well, so he or she can fix things right away. Kwapnioski said as long as the computer breaks on its own, it will be covered. He said he has some people in mind for the position, but the job will be advertised. This person will be working with the high school teachers and be able to go in the classroom and help with other things. Part of the agreement also includes some professional development days with Apple on training to incorporate the machines in the classrooms. Dr. Loeffelholz said there is already money in the budget for the laptops.
XVIII. Superintendent's Report
Discussion:  Dr. Loeffelholz clarified some of the drawings for the new high school. He said at this time, it is not clear if the eagle span will be affordable, and it may just need to be sloped. Dr. Loeffelholz said he will know tomorrow. He said they are also looking at medal panels and precast. Dr. Loeffelholz told the board there is a lot of architecture structure with these medal panels. He said there will be options to help give the building character. Dr. Loeffelholz said he will get some samples of brick color to show the board. He said he appreciates everyone’s support with his wife’s accident.
XIX. Board Sharing
Discussion:  Dr. Loeffelholz said he is unsure of his schedule the next few days because it will depend on how his wife progresses. He said he does have a suburban for the GNSA meeting if any of the board members want to drive it. Dr. Loeffelholz said Gail Placek has the keys. Candy Becher said she will drive, and anyone wanting to carpool can meet at the administration building at 4:15 p.m. Wednesday. Mike Goos said the administration put together a responsible budget. He said Dr. Loeffelholz is a good GNSA president and does a good job running the meetings. Dr Loeffelholz said GNSA’s main function is to lobby for state aid. Candy Becher said the district has been a good steward of the tax dollars. She said she is happy with the changes at middle school especially at sixth grade. Ken Curry said there has been a lot of progress on the new high school with steps being made in the right direction. He said he likes the potential of working with Behlen on part of the project. Curry said he does want the arches from the old middle school incorporated into the new building. He said there have been many prominent people who walked through the arches. Theresa Seipel said she liked things at middle school and was impressed with the STEM program at that level. She also thinks the partnership with Behlen is important. Dr. Loeffelholz told the board the groundbreaking ceremony will be at 4 p.m. on October 1. Invitations will be going out in the mail.
XX. Executive Session
Discussion:  The board did not go into executive session.
XXI. Adjourn
Discussion:  The meeting adjourned at 8:45 p.m.
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