HIGHLIGHTS
OF THE GOVERNING BOARD MEETING
OF THE MESA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 4
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 28, 2017
MESA PUBLIC SCHOOLS CURRICULUM SERVICES CENTER
BUILDING 2
549 N. Stapley, Mesa, AZ

EXECUTIVE SESSION

1. On the motion of Mr. Peterson, the Board unanimously agreed to enter executive session at 5:01 p.m. pursuant to A.R.S. § 38-431.03(A)(1), Discussion of Resignation of Certificated Teacher.

STUDY SESSION

1. Review of Agenda Items
The Board briefly reviewed the agenda. Mr. Peterson requested that more detail be included on the supporting documentation of the consent agenda. 

2. Review of Governing Board Calendar
The Board briefly reviewed its calendar through May 2017. 

3. Update on Meet and Confer
Dr. Holmes and Mrs. Sylvester-McCarroll gave an update on Meet and Confer. Mrs. Sylvester-McCarroll provided the Board an updated Maintenance and Operations Budget (M & O) worksheet and a summary of fund balances. She explained that the Capital Outlay budget has been cut by approximately 86 percent. The employee insurance rate increase is estimated at 9 percent next year. She explained that with the new expenditure options of a 1.4 percent increase to teacher pay, 1 percent increase to classified and administrative staff, the minimum wage impact, combined with additional staffing and other needs, would result in a negative $4,387,752 budget. The 0.4 percent of the teacher pay is what the Governor has proposed in his budget. Not included in the Governor’s proposal is the additional costs, such as benefits.

Dr. Holmes stated that the Mesa Education Association (MEA) has focused their talks on the additional hours teachers are required to work due to PLCs and IEP meetings. The Mesa Education Support Personnel Association (MESPA) has focused their talks on how the evaluation tool is used in regards to classified staff. He stated that he and Mrs. Sylvester-McCarroll will provide association representatives the M & O and summary of balances worksheets at their meeting next week. 

4. Discussion on Inclusive Learning and Working Environment
Mrs. Sears and Dr. Lesar led the discussion on inclusive learning and working environment. Mrs. Sears stated that she and Dr. Cowan have been meeting with the Mayor to discuss a whole community involvement in addressing equity and inclusion. She stated that identification of issues/climate at each school site must be achieved before an individualized plan can be put in place. She suggested the District provide professional services to work with each school and community to look at the culture as a whole at each site. Professional development should be made available to all employees. Mrs. Sears also asked that all employees be informed of the District’s immigration policy. Dr. Lesar stated that this topic will be addressed during the superintendency meeting and will be placed on the next regularly scheduled Board meeting agenda.

5. Updates from Board Members/Superintendents
Dr. Lesar informed the Board that with their approval of the personnel requests, they will be approving the following administrators:

  • Mr. Michael Rapier - Poston Junior High School
  • Mrs. Stacey Ball - Webster Elementary School
  • Mrs. Christina Larson - Lehi Elementary School
  • Dr. Jessica Seaman - Stevenson Elementary School
  • Mr. James Fisher - Stapley Junior High School
  • Ms. Nichole Wilfert - Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies

REGULAR MEETING

1. Minutes
On the motion of Mrs. Sears, the Board unanimously approved the minutes of a regular meeting held on February 14, 2017.

2. Personnel Requests
With the exception of item five on page one of the addendum and on the motion of Mr. Peterson, the Board unanimously approved the certificated and classified personnel requests, including an addendum.  (Exhibit A)

With the approval of the personnel requests, Dr. Lesar introduced the following new principals for the 2017-2018 school year:

  • Mr. Michael Rapier – Poston Junior High School
  • Mrs. Stacey Ball – Webster Elementary School
  • Mrs. Christina Larson – Lehi Elementary School
  • Dr. Jessica Seaman – Stevenson Elementary School
  • Mr. James Fisher – Stapley Junior High School
  • Ms. Nichole Wilfert – Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies

3. Consent Agenda
On the motion of Mr. Smith, the Board unanimously approved the consent agenda according to the recommended action for each item.

4. Superintendent's Report
In Dr. Cowan’s absence, Dr. Lesar reported on the following:

Seniors Jimmy Nguyen, Dobson High School; C. Jacob Payne, Red Mountain High School; and Michelle Deng, Skyline High School, have been named QuestBridge College Match Scholarship recipients. Jimmy will study economics and creative writing at Dartmouth College. Jacob will focus on architecture or environmental studies at Yale. Michelle will attend the University of Chicago and dreams of becoming a pediatrician. This year 767 students were selected nationally and will be admitted with a guaranteed four-year full scholarship, which includes tuition, room and board, and other expenses.

Briana Sanchez Espinoza, Mountain View High School senior, received first place in the public service announcement (PSA) video contest sponsored by the Association for Career and Technical Education (CTE) of Arizona. CTE provides students foundational skills necessary to help them advance in a career pathway. The video contest was designated to support CTE month and increase awareness and understanding of the benefits of participating in a CTE program.

March is Music in Our Schools Month, which is sponsored by the National Association for Music Education. Music in Our Schools Month raises awareness about the importance of music education for all children. Participating in music instruction and performance helps youth develop creativity, self-discipline, and teamwork skills.

Highland Arts Elementary School received a visit from cellist Zuill Bailey. The Grammy Award-winning musician gave students a lesson in audience etiquette and gave a performance using his 300-year-old cello.

5. Student and Staff Recognitions
Students from the six District high schools competed in the third annual Change for Change money drive. The drive raises funds and awareness for Mesa United Way and all the great things it does to feed families in the community. Dobson, Mesa, Mountain View, Red Mountain, Skyline, and Westwood high schools raised nearly $16,000 during the competition. The three top-earners, Westwood, Red Mountain, and Mountain View high schools, won prizes toward senior gifts for their schools. Mesa United Way is a valued partner in our community, and we are happy to support the organization with this coin drive, as well as our annual employee campaign.

David Marks, Red Mountain High School assistant principal, was named Outstanding Administrator by the Arizona Music Educators Association (AMEA) for his tireless support of Red Mountain’s music education program.

Wrestlers from Mountain View and Skyline high schools won individual gold medals at the Division I state tournament. Brock Doolen, Mountain View High School, won the 182-pound title. Kolo Uasike, Skyline High School, won the 285-pound title, completing his season with a 27-0 record. 

6. Volunteer of the Month
On behalf of the Board and administration, Mrs. Miner presented the Volunteer of the Month award for February 2017 to Joyce Aliment, Jefferson Elementary School.

7. Educators and Employees of the Month
On behalf of the Board and administration, President Richardson presented the Educators and Employees of the Month awards for February 2017 to the following:

Educators of the Month: Lisa Ehrenberg, 5th-grade teacher, Entz Elementary School; and Priscilla Yazzie, family and consumer sciences teacher, Mesa High School 

Employees of the Month: Cindy Pavich, family support specialist, Madison Elementary School; and Irma Rodriguez, secretary to the principal, Poston Junior High School

8. Presentation on Reading Programs for Students with Disabilities
Dr. Janine Cawthorne, Executive Director of Special Education, and Trish Geraghty, Director of Specialized Instruction, made a presentation on reading programs for students with disabilities. About three years ago the Special Education Department began an in-depth analysis of the reading instruction across the District. Achievement data was examined, IEPs were reviewed, instructional practices were examined, and staff met with stakeholders to get their input. Through this process they identified reading and reading scores as an area that needed improvement.

Mrs. Geraghty stated that teacher professional development was key to improving student performance. The professional development highlighted teacher competency and capacity in reading instruction and how to facilitate student discussion and provide meaningful feedback. Research into programs that would embed these strategies into the reading program was conducted. Teachers and students have embraced the program because of the progress being made. 

9. Video/Call to the Public
A video on the Call to the Public was shown. 

Parent Amie Johnson expressed concerns regarding reading programs and dyslexia.

Teachers Jaclyn Delgado and Alyssa Weston expressed concerns regarding District policy on immigration. 

The meeting adjourned at 8:59 p.m.