Public Meeting Minutes: February 9, 2015 at 5:00 PM - Work Session and Regular Meeting of the Board of Education


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February 9, 2015 at 5:00 PM - Work Session and Regular Meeting of the Board of Education Minutes

February 9, 2015 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 High School Presentation by Steve Woodside, CHS Principal and Staff
Discussion:  CHS Principal Steve Woodside said the Digital Learning Initiative was implemented Nov. 17 and 18. There were 1,084 devices being used and 11 that were not taken. There are 30 laptops that are checked in and out daily. On Feb. 12, the staff will have professional development on the application of technology in the classroom. He said staff has been doing professional development on technology since Sept. 25. Woodside said the amount of paper being used has been reduced since the laptops were given to students at the high school. In August, 36,314 copies were made; and in January, it dropped to 27,497. Google Calendar – English teacher Val Wallin said the laptops are changing the high school for the better. She said not a lot of studentss use a calendar, and she is trying to help them learn how to use it. This is her second year of using Google Calendar and sharing it with the students. Wallin said she uses it so they can see what the class will be working on. She said the process works better now that the students have laptops. In the past, Wallin said she used to hand out information on a worksheet. She said now students always have their laptops, and she doesn’t have to worry about them loosing the paper. Wallin said in the calendar, she often provides the links to help students’ study, so they no longer have to remember where to go to find it. Google Classroom serves as an organizational piece and helps to eliminate paper. Within this program, teachers can post announcements or short notes, which can include things from Google drive and other places. When students open documents, the teachers still own it, but the students can add things to it. Assignments can also be added through it. This helps eliminate the excuses of losing the handout and not knowing the assignment. Once students start to work on an assignment, a teacher can see how they are progressing. This also reduces the chances of cheating because a teacher can see whom the student shared the completed assignment with. Google Classroom is very organized for the student as well. Documents created in Word or other things can easily be converted to a Google Doc. Most of the time the documents convert just fine. It is easy for teachers to see which questions were missed and if a concept needs to be retaught. Students can also turn everything into one central hub. There are around 75 percent of the teachers at CHS using Google Classroom. Online learning – World language teacher Liliana Velasco said the district has allowed her to be strong in technology, but technology does not replace good teaching. It helps to enhance it. She said her notebook is not only what was learned in class, but also what they are doing in the classroom. She said the technology helps with grading, but it is difficult to find a computer that will do everything that a teacher wants. Velasco said she will look at questions that are incorrect and judge if right or wrong. Programs like Quizlet help things to be done in real time, so students get immediate feedback. The Spanish books are also now online. She said the laptops are giving students the ability to not only go paperless but to go beyond paper. These new online books give a wealth of resources such as video clips and different ways to look at the information to be learned. Students also have the option to put comments on the videos. Velasco said this helps make students excited about what they are watching. There are often activities that can be done on the students’ own time. There is even a game to help students learn to conjugate verbs. This book has helped make the language a lot more interactive. Economics teacher Jonathan Shea said he is half way through the term and gets new students every nine weeks. His purpose is to make sure students are prepared for economics in college or what they may need in a job. He said for many students, economics is almost like a foreign language. Shea said he tries to make it fun. Economics is about making the right choices and understanding the choices. Economics is very fluid. Shea said he has been impressed with the way students are grasping the concepts. He said he runs simulations to get the students up and moving. He said this helps them understand the concept through these actions. Shea admits the class is a work in progress, and it is changing every term. Shea said eventually he would like to set aside time to discuss current events more. Woodside said there are six new staff members this year at CHS. He said the 2014 NeSA reading is showing improvement. Last year NeSA Math also saw gains. He said the changes the math department is making is proving beneficial. NeSA science by far has the highest score. He said CHS is showing growth in terms of the state assessments. He said the staff has done a wonderful job of modeling GRIT. The idea if I believe I can and put forth the effort I can succeed.
III.B. Presentation on MAP Results by Betsy Rall
Discussion:  Map is a national test administered to grades 2-8 to compare the progress for CPS students with students across the nation. CPS Curriculum/Assessment Specialist Betsy Rall said there is a lot of growth in the younger grades. With NeSA, students in the same grade are given the same set of questions. One goal of the Map assessment is for students to grow. Rall said she is looking at why Map scores are so consistent and NeSA is all over the board. She said NeSA is relatively new, and Map testing has been around a long time. Rall said perhaps if NeSA testing is around longer, the scores will settle down. She said in NeSA reading, as a whole, CPS is below the state average. However, if the data is broken out by grades the sixth and eighth grades are the only two below the state average. She said students are doing well in NeSA Math as a whole. How can the district use Map scores to impact NeSA results? Rall said with Map testing, students can set goals; and this may help with NeSA. She also said how the test were administered may also play a part. Rall said she and Chris Johnson spent time watching students do testing, and how the tests were administered made a difference in scores. She said when a person is trained as a proctor for NeSA testing, an emphasis needs to be placed on preparing the testing environment. During the testing, the proctor needs to make sure he or she walks around. She said she also thinks the sixth graders are learning but just are not testing well. Rall said if they weren’t learning, they would not do so well in seventh grade.
III.C. Executive Session
Discussion:  The board did not go into executive session.
IV. Dinner at ESU7/CPS Student Center, 2563 44th Avenue - No business will be 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:  Alan Dostal read the Mission Statement.
IX. Opportunity For Public To Be Heard
Discussion:  No one spoke to the board.
X. Recognitions
Discussion:  There were no recognitions.
XI. Oath of Office – Re-Elected Board Member
Discussion:  Ken Curry took the Oath of Office. He took it this month because he was excused from last month’s meeting.
XII. Presentation on Community Service Project – Ice Skating Shelter – Elizabeth Blaser
Discussion:  CMS Eighth grader Elizabeth Blaser said she is trying to achieve the highest honor in 4-H, the Diamond Clover Award. This award is given to a person for doing a project that will make a difference in his or her community. Blaser said she would like to construct a warming shelter for an ice rink. She said other communities have an ice rink but Columbus does not. She said she is looking at a location for the rink to be on the hospital or on the holding reservoir by the new high school. Dr. Loeffelholz said he has talked with DLR and Hausmann Construction to make the reservoir more rectangular and equal on the sides. He said the city may put a fire hydrant near that location, or there is a well that water could be used to fill the reservoir. This would need to be a partnership between the city and school. Candy Becher wanted to know who would be liable if someone is hurt. Dr. Loeffelholz said he is checking with Alicap, and they don’t think it will be a problem. However, he said people may need to sign a waiver before skating. Blaser said she has just started the process and isn’t sure how big it needs to be or any of the particulars yet. She said the size will depend if it needs to be regulation size to host hockey events. Blaser said her mother told her she used to skate when she was younger, and it would be nice to bring it back to Columbus instead of having to go out of town to ice skate. The board thought the project was a good idea. There is ice-skating at Pawnee Park, but the ice is not always great, and the area is not always available. In the second year of the project, she said her 4-H group will help look for events that could use the ice skating area. The project may take longer than two years to complete, but Blaser will keep the board updated on the progress. The Nebraska 4-H Council must first approve the proposal. Blaser said there are some possibilities that businesses may be willing to help fund the project. She said she may need assistance with fire code and other regulations and other codes as the dream becomes a reality.
XIII. New High School Update Presentation
Discussion:  Curtis Johnson of DLR said there is a lot of iron in the ground water, which could cause problems for an open loop mechanical system. He said a Geothermal closed system would work better. To do this system, there would need to be a well field of 150 to 180 wells that come to a vault. These wells would be located on the east practice field. Johnson said another 30 wells would take care of future additions. He said the budget will determine if the additional wells will be put in now or later. A test well must be done first. Chad Wiles with Hausmann Construction said the test well will help determine how many wells will be needed to heat and cool the building. He said the initial grading package is finished, and the partial footing package is also done. Wiles said they are getting ready to start bidding out the masonry packages along with the steel and precast. He said once this is completed, he should have a pretty good idea of cost by March 1. A guaranteed price will be set and the budget finalized by March 15. The well field is the big concern right now. Wiles said there will be a lot of work being done the first part of March. The STEM building will be erected by late April, music and fitness areas by May; precast around the auditorium in June and gym in mid-July. Wiles said there will be a lot of construction work going on in April, May and June. Wiles said when they went out for the bid on the electrician, there were several, and Hausmann Construction interviewed three. These three were narrowed down to Commonwealth and Capital City Electric. He said after talking to DLR and others, they are recommending going with Capital City Electric. Wiles said he is excited to get the electrician finalized.
XIV. Sport/Activity Council Presentation
Discussion:  Doug Moore from the City of Columbus talked to the board about the sport/activity council and hiring a coordinator. He said he has been working with the Chamber on starting a sport activity council for the community. The group would try to bring events to the community and to help promote the community and expand facilities. Moore said Columbus is competing with a lot of neighboring towns to host events. He said perhaps CPS could help be a part of this council and hire a part-time person. Moore said this person will be coordinating more than just sports. It will also include activities. Ken Curry said from a community prospective, it would be great thing to see. Moore said the city is putting money aside to hire this person with the idea that eventually the job may be able to pay for itself from donations of businesses in town who would benefit from events or activities.
XV. Items removed from Consent Agenda
Discussion:  No items were removed from the consent agenda.
XVI. Consent Agenda
XVI.A. Approval of Minutes for the meeting of January 12, 2015
XVI.B. Certified Personnel Action
XVI.C. Classified Personnel Action
XVI.D. Professional Travel Report
XVII. Financial Reports 2, 3, and 4a
XVIII. Financial Report 4b
Discussion:  Executive Director of Business Operations Dave Melick said this bill is $292.50 for 10 hours of work on vehicles.
XIX. Special Administrative Functions
XIX.A. CHS 2015-2016 Course Description, A Guide to Registration
Discussion:  Woodside said most of the changes are relatively minor. He said in many courses, a flow chart is given to show students what courses need to be taken before enrolling in a certain course. Woodside said hopefully this will help give the student vision so they know what course to take to be successful. In some of the dual credit courses, a recommended ACT score is a prerequisite. In the skills area, engineering is being offered to freshmen. Woodside said this goes along with trying to combine science, technology and math together for courses. Woodside said the flowcharts help give students some recommendations and help them not to take an upper level course without the others before.
XIX.B. School Calendar 2015-2016
Discussion:  Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Amy Romshek said when the committee was setting the calendar, the following items were taken into consideration: the completion of Semester I by December; a balance of instructional days per quarter for CMS and CHS; the completion of the quarters at the end of the week rather than the middle of the week to provide time for assessment scoring and grade reporting; the disruption of ELDA, ACT, ASPIRE and NeSA testing; and where holidays fall on the regular calendar. Romshek said most staff would say it is a better calendar than this year. She said staff have off the Wednesday before Thanksgiving, a few days off before Christmas and a week off in March for spring break. There are no breaks in April, which is good because of all the testing. She said members of the calendar committee could share the calendar with staff, and people were given the opportunity to provide feedback. Romshek said she took the recommendations to Dr. Loeffelholz and decided what would work. She said there are not representatives from every building on the committee because it would get too large. Romshek said when designing the calendar, the committee kept learning as the focus. She said there is also a rough calendar for the 2016-17 school year. Dr. Loeffelholz said most people want to know when school will start school and when graduation will be which is the main purpose of the rough draft calendar.
XIX.C. Total Package Increase for Certificate Staff for 2015-2016
Discussion:  Melick said Ken Curry, Theresa Seipel and he meet with the CEA on Jan. 14 and reached a tentative agreement. This agreement passed the CEA unanimously. The teacher’s base salary increases from $35,000 to $35,440. Salary and benefits are included in the increase.
XIX.D. Master Agreement for 2015-2016
Discussion:  Melick said in addition to the increase in salary, there were other changes to the master agreement such as adding steps for beyond master’s degree. He said CPS is in the top 25 for base salary and also in the top 25 for the absolute maximum wage. He said the teachers wanted more flexibility in their days off. Teachers will be allowed to carry over one personal day to the next year but cannot have more than three personal days. The district will compensate the teachers for two days. This will reduce the additional two days that could be requested for leave down to one day.
XIX.E. Revised Policy 508.09, Guidance and Counseling
XIX.F. Acceptance of Gifts/Donations
Discussion:  The Board accepted $1,624.84 of gifts and donations from the CPS Foundation and umbrella groups for the month of January.
XIX.G. Option Enrollment Resolution, 2015-2016 / Student-Within-Transfers, 2015-2016
Discussion:  Dr. Loeffelholz said each year the board must set a maximum enrollment at each grade level to ensure the classrooms will be manageable sizes in all schools. He said the district cannot deny an option enrollment application unless these parameters are set in place. The maximum number at each grade level is 275 for the elementary level and 290 for the secondary level. The in district transfers are also limited. This occurs only at the elementary level . This number could be higher if the student attends a school choice building.
XIX.H. Library Books - Surplus
Discussion:  There are currently 600 books at Lost Creek and 554 items at CMS.
XIX.I. District Photography Contract
Discussion:  Executive Director of Technology/Business Operations Leonard Kwapnioski said this is the first time that the district has gone out for bids on the photographer’s contract. He said there were four bids and the lowest was from Interstate Studio, which is the district’s current photographer. The bid package for the elementary level was $8 a package, and CMS and CHS $7 a package. This will be a three-year contract broken into three separate contracts where the district reserves the right to renew annually. The bid also includes an image printer and id cards.
XIX.J. Special Education 2015-2016 Projections and Service Agreement
Discussion:  Executive Director of Special Education/Student Services Jason Harris said the district does contract services for some positions because it is hard to fill. The district currently contracts with ESU 7 for vision/orientation and mobility. The monthly cost for the vision/orientation & mobility is $15,983.64 or $159,836.38 a year. The transition contract for students 16-21 is $660.98 a month or $6,606.79 a year. The total of the contracted services with ESU7 are $179,761.87.
XIX.K. Lease Agreement with Boys Town
Discussion:  Dr. Loeffelholz asked this item to be moved to next month because Boys Town did not bring back the signed agreement.
XIX.L. Electrical Contractor
Discussion:  Dr. Loeffelholz said the administration recommends going with Capital City Electric. Dr. Loeffelholz said when looking at the overall cost, Capital City was $236,000 under the proposed budget and one of the other bidders was $561, 000 over and another $110,000 over budget.
XIX.M. Mechanical Contractor
Discussion:  Dr. Loeffelholz asked that this item be removed from the agenda because of the change in scope.
XX. Superintendent's Report
XX.A. CPS Staff Appreciation Day, March 3, 2015
Discussion:  Dr. Loeffelholz handed the board a schedule for the staff appreciation day on March 3. GNSA members have testified on 14 bills in the past three weeks, and the group has only supported two. Dr. Loeffelholz said many of the bills carry disadvantages for CPS. Dr. Loeffelholz said if the district accepted all the local bids, the cost would be $485,389 more. He said the district wants to use local people, but the bids need to be competitive. He said he is taking STEM teachers to ADM on Wednesday for a tour, and the program will receive grant funding. Dr. Loeffelholz said the heating issues at Emerson have been fixed.
XXI. Board Sharing
Discussion:  Alan Dostal said he enjoyed the high school presentation. He said they all work hard and were very positive. Francis Kuehler said he attended the legislative conference, and it was interesting but the governor didn't say much. Candy Becher said she was surprised at how many teachers are using the one-to-one at the high school. She said she was also impressed that everyone who spoke said this is taking learning to a higher level. Ken Curry said he is glad to see the students using their laptops and most take the laptops home. He said he won't be at staff recognition because he will be out of town, but he does appreciate everything the staff does. Theresa Seipel said she was thrilled to hear how well things are going at the high school. She said she is amazed at how much they are doing with the laptops. Seipel said when the students go off to college, they are going to be ready for online classes. She said she also enjoyed negotiations and how great the CEA and administration get along. Dr. Loeffelholz said if any of the board members want to go to the GNSA meeting on Feb. 18 to let me know. Mike Goos was also very impressed by the presentation at high school.
XXII. Executive Session
Discussion:  The board did not go into executive session.
XXIII. Adjourn
Discussion:  The meeting adjourned at 8:49 p.m.
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