549 N. Stapley, Mesa, AZ


1.  Pursuant to A.R.S. §38-431.03.A.1, Discussion of Post-Dismissal Hearing Officer’s Report Regarding a Classified Employee, an executive session was held.


1. Review of Agenda Items
The Board briefly reviewed the agenda.

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

3. Update on Intensified Algebra
Dr. Enright, Dr. Yslas, and Mrs. Wells gave an update on intensified algebra. Intensified algebra is a rigorous grade-level curriculum with research-based scaffolding designed for struggling learners. The social emotional well-being of students is the main focus of intensified algebra. Job-embedded professional development for teachers is provided via a summer academy, site visits, PLCs, and District support, with an emphasis on strategies to build student engagement, confidence, and commitment to learning. Teachers with the capacity to embrace growth and who believe wholeheartedly in their students’ ability to learn, ensures student success.

4. Discussion on Current Year Funding
Mrs. Hovet led the discussion on current-year funding and informed the Board that the District will move to current-year funding next year. She provided background information, revenue sources, impacts of the model funding transition, budget cycle, and concerns regarding current-year funding, 

5. Updates from Board Members/Superintendents
This item was not addressed.


1. Resolution on ASBA Honor Roll Nominations
On behalf of the Board and administration, Mr. Smith read the resolution nominating Mr. Michael Nichols to the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) Honor Roll for serving two consecutive terms.

On the motion of Dr. Whiting, the Board approved this resolution. Mr. Nichols abstained. 

On behalf of the Board and administration, Mr. Smith read the resolution nominating Dr. Ben Whiting to the Arizona School Boards Association (ASBA) Honor Roll for serving two consecutive terms.

On the motion of Mr. Nichols, the Board approved this resolution. Dr. Whiting abstained. 

2. Minutes
On the motion of Dr. Whiting, the Board unanimously approved the minutes of a regular meeting held on November 8, 2016. 

3. Personnel Requests
On the motion of Mr. Smith, the Board unanimously approved the certificated and classified personnel requests, including an addendum.

4. Consent Agenda
On the motion of Dr. Whiting, the Board unanimously approved the consent agenda according to the recommended action for each item.

5. Superintendents Report
Dr. Cowan congratulated Mrs. Elaine Miner and Mrs. Kiana Sears for their selection as Mesa Public Schools Board Members in the November election. They will take their seats in January 2017, along with Mr. Steven Peterson, who will return for another term, and Mrs. Jenny Richardson and Mr. Ben Smith. Dr. Cowan also expressed his appreciation to Mr. Michael Nichols and Dr. Ben Whiting for their years of service.

Dr. Cowan also expressed his gratitude to the dedicated employees of Mesa Public Schools and wished everyone a joyful holiday with family and friends.

Dr. Cowan reported on the following:

Renee Parker, Sirrine Elementary School principal, was selected from 1,861 school principals across Arizona as a semifinalist for the 2016 Rodel Exemplary Principal award. The Rodel Foundation of Arizona recognizes extraordinary principals who made a difference in the lives of students who attend challenging schools in Arizona.

The Mesa Oriental #20 Masonic Lodge honored 22 teachers for their dedication to education and presented three teachers who will retire at the end of the school year with a lifetime achievement award.

The welding team from Red Mountain High School competed in the Welding Thunder Competition in Las Vegas, Nevada, against some of the best high-school welders and teams in the nation. The team, led by Dan Hurst, captured first place in the STEM event.

The marching bands from Dobson, Mesa, Skyline, Red Mountain, and Westwood high schools competed in the Arizona State Marching Band Championship. All five bands placed in the top ten of their respective divisions, with Westwood High School reaching a first-time-ever high of 2nd place in its division.

The Skyline High School badminton team made it to the Division 1 semifinals, and the Mountain View High School cross country teams were strong contenders, with the boys team finishing 4th in the state and the girls team finishing 6th.

Mountain View High School athletes were also strong competitors in swim and dive, with the boys taking 2nd and the girls taking 6th. In golf, Red Mountain High School girls finished 4th, while the boys finished 11th. 

On Friday night, the Red Mountain High School football team fought a tough battle against Mountain Pointe High School and ended their 6A tournament run in the semifinals.

On Wednesday, November 30, from 4:00 – 8:00 p.m., five Chipotle locations in Mesa will donate 50 percent of sales to the Mesa Foundation for Educational Excellence. The Foundation supports students and staff in a variety of ways, including funding the teacher mini-grant program for innovative projects that boost student achievement, supplying books and prizes for Battle of the Books, and providing the gift cards for our volunteer and students of the month recognitions.

6. Student and Staff Recognitions
Dr. Allen Quie, Red Mountain Center for Early Education principal, was named the 2016 School Administrator of the Year by the Arizona Association of School Psychologists. He was recognized for his contributions to the fields of special education and school psychology.

Jarren Layne Barlow, Mountain View High School senior, and Kera Benally, Westwood High School senior, were honored at the Phoenix Indian Center’s 34th annual banquet, and received the 2016 Arizona American Indian Excellence in Leadership Award. The award recognizes outstanding attributes that positively impact the American Indian community through developing or showing leadership, demonstrating excellence in education, and providing valuable service by devoting time and energy to improve the quality of life for others in the American Indian Community.

Mesa Public Schools was well represented at the state swim and dive championships held earlier this month. David J. Mickelson, Mesa High School junior, won the Division 1 boys state diving championship. His coach, Jennifer Gerasimos, received the boys diving coach of the year title for the second year in a row.

Olivia Grossklaus, Red Mountain High School junior, won the 100-yard butterfly title and is coached by Mike Peterson.

Victoria Knapp, home school student representing Skyline High School, won the Division 1 girls state diving championship and is coached by Lauren Thiel, who received the girls diving coach of the year award for the second year in a row. 

7. Volunteer of the Month
On behalf of the Board and administration, Mr. Smith presented the Volunteer of the Month award for November 2016, to Krista Nielson, Hawthorne Elementary School. 

8. Educators and Employees of the Month
On behalf of the Board and administration, Dr. Whiting presented the Educators and Employees of the Month awards for November 2016, to the following: 

Educators of the Month: Charlene Bahr Leatham, 1st-grade teacher, Emerson Elementary School; and Daniel Velasquez, physical education teacher, Lowell Elementary School

Employees of the Month: Ginger McCarty, secretary to the director, Human Resources Department; and George Williams, lead custodian, Falcon Hill Elementary School

9. We Care Award Recipients
The We Care Awards recognizes schools for creating and maintaining an inviting and appealing learning environment. In September, a trained team of retired administrators visited 26 schools, observing the aesthetics and cleanliness of the exterior, front office, nurse’s office, media center, classrooms, restrooms, multipurpose room, and cafeteria areas. They scored schools using a well-defined three-point scale. The top three schools evaluated for their exemplary appearance are:

  1. Highland Arts Elementary School
  2. Hale Elementary School
  3. Brinton Elementary School

We Care principals will receive a plaque for their school, and We Care facilities team members will receive a letter of recognition and a $100 stipend.

School operations teams are key contributors to our building environments and their efforts to keep campuses sparkling have a positive impact on student learning, raise morale, enhance professionalism, and create safer working conditions. 

10. Perfect Attendance Awards
Dr. Holmes presented the Perfect Attendance Awards to staff members who had five years of perfect attendance. He also presented a 10-year perfect attendance certificate to Marcene Cook, Franklin West Elementary School, and a 30-year perfect attendance certificate to Shelley Richardson, Creative and Performing Arts Department. The following schools, whose staff had the highest percent of attendance for the 2015-2016 school year, were also recognized:

  • Franklin West Elementary School
  • Crismon Elementary School
  • Franklin East Elementary School
  • Franklin at Alma Elementary School
  • Franklin at Brimhall

Principals from each school accepted a certificate in recognition of their school’s accomplishment.  

11. Presentation on the Role of Elementary Counselors
Mrs. Mann made a presentation on the role of elementary counselors. There are currently 38 elementary schools with a half-time counselor. Schools receiving a counselor are selected based on high enrollment, free/reduced lunch rate, and special programs that are located at the schools. The elementary school counselor serves as a student advocate, helps students master academic and career counseling competencies, and presents lessons to all classrooms on self-knowledge, conflict resolution, responsibility, cooperation, choices, friendship skills, and much more. They also provide small groups counseling and assistance with issues such as self-esteem, anger management, school success, and social skills.

12. Resolution Regarding Classified Supervisor Compensation Revision
Due to recently received information, the Board elected not to act on this item. 

13. First Hearing
A first hearing was held on proposed changes to the following Governing Board Policies:

  1. KI – Publication/Display/Distribution of Promotional Materials of Outside Organizations
  2. KB – Publication/Display/Distribution of Communications of School-Related Organizations

A second hearing and action on these policies will take place at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board. 

14. Video/Call to the Public
This item was not addressed as there were no speakers at this time.

The meeting adjourned at 8:38 p.m.