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Taking Back America By Taking Back Our Schools

  From: Gene Dufoe
  Date: Mon, 11 Nov 2013 23:03:49 -0700
  Subject: Highlights of Oct. 29, 2013 Meeting of MPS Governing Board
 
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  HIGHLIGHTS
  OF THE GOVERNING BOARD MEETING
  OF THE MESA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 4
  TUESDAY, OCTOBER 29, 2013
  MESA PUBLIC SCHOOLS CURRICULUM SERVICES CENTER
  BUILDING 2
  549 N. Stapley, Mesa, AZ
 
  EXECUTIVE SESSION
 
  1.  Legal Advice
  Pursuant to A.R.S. §38-431.03.A.3, Discussion with Legal Counsel for Legal Advice.
 
  2.  Discussion With Legal Counsel
  Pursuant to A.R.S §38-431.03.A.4, Discussion to Consider its Position and Give Instruction to Legal Counsel Regarding Contract that is the Subject of Negotiations.
 
  STUDY SESSION
 
  1.  Review of Governing Board Calendar
  The Board briefly reviewed its calendar through January 2014.
 
  2.  Review of Agenda Items
  The Board briefly reviewed its agenda.
 
  3.  Discussion on Long Range Plan/Goals for Technology
  Dr. Cowan provided a video from Intel, that demonstrates technology currently available for classrooms.  He provided the Board with handouts on the Substitution Augmentation Modification Redefinition (SAMR) model that offers a method of understanding how computer technology might impact teaching and learning.  It also shows a progression that adopters of educational technology often follow as they progress though teaching and learning with technology.  SAMR is divided into four levels or stages:
 
  Substitution - Using technology to do the same thing you did without it.
  Augmentation  - Same thing but with technology with minor improvements.
  Modification - Technology allows new products to be created, as well as improves efficiency.
  Redefinition - Remix and design work in ways not possible to complete without technology.
  Dr. Cowan asked the Board to identify what they would like to see accomplished with technology in the classroom within the next few years.  He suggested developing a strong vision and plan outlining the progress they would like to see in three to five years.
 
  4.  Discussion on 21st Century Skills and Mesa Public Schools
  Dr. Cowan briefly touched upon 21st Century Skills that integrate skills into core academic subjects, which are essential for students to be successful when they get into the workforce.  21st Century Skills are ways of thinking, ways of working, tools for working, and skills for living in the world.  Dr. Cowan stated that he will be bringing this item back for further discussion at a future study session.
 
 
  5.  Update on Salary Schedules
  Mr. Lesar gave an update on the October 17 Employee Compensation Committee meeting.  Employee group subcommittees met prior to the meeting to further evaluate other district compensation plans and identify  areas of interest.  Subcommittees reported their findings to the whole group.  The teacher group asked that discrepancies, such as new teachers earning more than veteran teachers, be corrected.  They also suggested that potential salary raises in the first two to five years of employment would increase teacher retention.  Other forms of compensation such as health benefits, matched retirement contributions, social security and Medicare, as well as sick leave and vacations, were also addressed.  Subcommittees were asked to list the priorities that they think are important so that the district can cost them out and see what those priorities will do to district resources.  Mr. Lesar will share the list of priorities with the Board at the next regularly-scheduled meeting.
 
  6.  Updates from Board Members/Superintendents
  This item was not addressed.
 
  REGULAR MEETING
  1.  Minutes
  On the motion of Mrs. Udall, the Board unanimously approved the minutes of a regular meeting held on October 15, 2013.
 
  2.  Personnel Request
  On the motion of Mr. Peterson, the Board unanimously approved the Certificated and Classified Personnel Requests, including an addendum.
 
  3.  Consent Agenda
  On the motion of Dr. Whiting, the Board unanimously approved the consent agenda.
 
  4.  Superintendent's Report
  Dr. Cowan reported on the following:
 
  Last week, sophomore students participated in the ACT Plan test.  This assessment provides students with an estimated ACT score, highlights their academic strengths and areas for improvement, and connects students with career matches and college suggestions.  The plan tests  outcomes, along with previously received results from the Explore test, a companion assessment taken by 8th grade students, give Mesa Public Schools students excellent information to guide their college and career readiness.
 
  Kent Ashton, principal of Mendoza Elementary School, has been selected as a semifinalist for the 2014 Rodel Exemplary Principal award.
 
  Jeremy Arnett, assistant principal and athletic director at Westwood High School, was recognized as a certified athletic administrator by the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association.  This certification recognizes Jeremy's educational background, experience, professional contributions, and performance on a comprehensive written examination.
 
  Carol Woods, 2nd-grade teacher at Entz Elementary School, was the recipient of the Office Max "A Day Made Better" honor.  Carol received a Certificate of Appreciation and $1,000 worth of classroom supplies.
 
  Rebecca Atchison, American history teacher at Skyline High School, recognized that one of her students was overwhelmed, struggling academically, and didn't know what to do.  Rebecca put a plan into action, enlisting the support of the administration and teachers to help him set goals for success.  She stayed after school every day to help improve his grades and, in an effort to inspire him, submitted his name to the Troy Polamalu Foundation student of the month program.  Brady Wise, Skyline High School junior, was recently recognized by the foundation.  The PittsburghSteeler's NFL-All Pro defensive back selected Brady for his commitment to improving his learning skills and because Brady's story demonstrates how important teachers are to student success.  Brady received a number of gifts, including a Troy Polamalu signed Pittsburgh Steelers jersey and mini iPad.
 
  The 11th annual Mesa Latino Town Hall is this Saturday, November 2, from 7:30 a.m. to noon at the Fiesta Fountains Conference Center located at 1316 S. Longmore. Workshops on education, cancer prevention, affordable health care act, Latino leadership, and more will be offered.  This year's theme is "From Dropped to Lifted."
 
  Service learning is a powerful way to enhance curriculum through a community connection, and in Mesa Public Schools, all students have the opportunity to earn the Honor for Excellence in Service Learning gold seal on their diploma.  An example of a service learning project is the sixth annual blanket drive for the Maricopa County Humane Society.  The SkillsUSA students from Mountain View High School are in the midst of the drive to support the Humane Society and are accepting donations of blankets, towels, bed sheets, and wet or dry dog food.  The drive runs through November 1.  You can drop off your donations at any classroom on campus.
 
  5.  Recognitions
  A. Students and Staff
  Amanda Grimes, Biotechnology Academy coordinator and Mesa High School CTE teacher, was presented with the 2013 Michael A. Cusanovich Arizona Bioscience Educator of the Year award for demonstrating great leadership and creativity in inspiring students to excel in the biosciences.
 
  The National Hispanic Recognition Program is administered by the National Merit Scholarship Program.  This scholastic competition recognizes academically outstanding Hispanic/Latino high school students.  Of the more than 250,000 high school students nationwide who enter the program, only 5,000 students with the highest abilities are named to this important academic recognition.  Mesa's outstanding students represent Mesa, Mountain View, Red Mountain, Skyline, and Westwood high schools.
 
  B. Volunteer of the Month
  On behalf of the Governing Board and administration, Mr. Peterson presented a Volunteer of the Month award for October 2013 to Shirley Duclos, volunteer at Las Sendas Elementary School.
 
  C. Educators and Employees of the Month
  On behalf of the Governing Board and administration, Mrs. Udall presented the Educators and Employees of the Month awards for October 2013 to the following:
  Educators of the Month: Maria Corte, Physical Education Teacher, Mesa High School; and Greg Gardner, Physical Education Teacher, Hermosa Vista, Ishikawa, and Robson elementary schools
 
  Classified Employees of the Month: Kristina Landsiedel, Testing Coordinator, Research and Evaluation Department; and Lianne Merrill, Family Support Specialist, Taft Elementary School
 
  6.  Presentation on Mesa Counts on College
  Mrs. Kathy Bareiss, Director of Mesa Counts on College, made a presentation on Mesa Counts on College, a $3 million planning grant  among the City of Mesa, Mesa Public Schools, and Mesa Community College (MCC). The goal of the grant is to increase student college completion as well as targeting low-income 16 to 26 year-old students.  It provides future job market and college education programs and highlights two- and four-year degrees as well as certificate programs.  Benefits of college completion are higher earnings, the likelihood of getting a job and keeping it, job satisfaction, and employee benefits.  The GED to MCC initiative offers motivated adult learners a pathway from a General Equivalency Diploma (GED) to a community college certificate or degree completion.  The Learn to Earn initiative is a program which exposes  students to healthcare career opportunities while earning an income.  Funding for Mesa Counts on College is coming to an end in a few short weeks and the organization will need more grant money.  The Mesa United Way has agreed to serve as a conduit and discussions are underway with Mesa Community Action Network and A New Leaf to open a college access center to connect clients with education and the workforce.
  Philip Austin, East Valley Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, spoke to this item.
 
  7. Presentation on State Requirements Regarding Performance Pay
  Mr. Cox made a presentation on state requirements regarding performance pay.  He explained that the incentive plan is funded using overrride, Prop. 301, and Career Ladder funds.  Mr. Cox reviewed the district's Incentive Program Guidelines for the 2013-2014 school year.  He demonstrated how the program aligns with the required elements stated in ARS §15-977, Section C, that include:
  Measures of academic progress
  Dropout rate or graduation rates
  Attendance rates
  Ratings of school quality by parents
  Ratings of school quality by students
  The input of teachers and administrators
  ARS 15-977, Section E, also allows a school district Governing Board to modify and consider additional elements when adopting a performance-based compensation system.  In addition to statute requirements, the 2013-2014 plan also incorporates elements of the district's strategic initiatives and the district's non-negotiables.  Mr. Cox outlined the academic goals for high schools, junior high schools, and elementary schools, as well as district performance goals.  Additional incentive opportunities include school and district letter grades.
 
  7.  Employee Incentive Plan for 2013-2014
  On the motion of Mrs. Udall, the Board unanimously adopted the Employee Incentive Plan as presented, including the modified representative committee review process, the 2013-2014 Mesa Public Schools' Incentive Program Guidelines document, and all related reports and documents.
 
  8.  First Hearing
  Mr. Lesar reviewed the recommended changes to Policy GCPA specifically removing the RIF recall, which is no longer required by state statute.
 
  The meeting adjourned at 8:23 p.m
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  Last edited: November 5 by Alice Swinehart
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