HIGHLIGHTS
OF THE GOVERNING BOARD MEETING
OF THE MESA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 4
TUESDAY, DECEMBER 13, 2016
MESA PUBLIC SCHOOLS CURRICULUM SERVICES CENTER
BUILDING 2
549 N. Stapley, Mesa, AZ

STUDY SESSION

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. Presentation on 2017 Bond Sale and Estimated Tax Rate
Mr. Hamill made a presentation on the 2017 bond sale and estimated tax rate. He provided general information on assessed valuations, tax rates, a municipal market update, and a timeline to pursue the sale of bonds. The next sale of school improvement bonds will be a total of $35 million. Bonding authorization is good for 10 years.

4. Presentation on Leadership Preparation Program
Mr. Luketich made a presentation on the Leadership Preparation Program. He identified his role as a resource for principals. The program provides quality professional development for any internal certificated staff member interested in leadership/administrative position. 

5. Initial Report on STARS Assessment Survey
Dr. O’Reilly gave a report on the STARS assessment survey. All teachers in a tested grade and/or subject were surveyed. A total of 623 teachers rated one or more tests and 1,502 teachers were asked to rate the tests. The overall response rate from teachers was 41% and 1,295 tests were rated.

Teachers in tested grades/subjects were emailed a survey link. The survey was sent after all testing was completed, except second grade which was delayed. Teachers were asked to rate the overall quality of the test, the items on the test, and length of the test. Teachers were asked if they had technology issues and were also asked to provide feedback or comments about the test. 

6. Updates from Board Members/Superintendents
Assistant superintendents reported on the progress of various task force/committees and provided a timeline for updates and reports.

REGULAR MEETING

1. Minutes
This item was not addressed as there was not a quorum of those in attendance at the November 22, 2016, meeting.

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

3. Consent Agenda
On the motion of Mr. Nichols, 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 thanked the District harpists and Dr. Charles Lynch for the wonderful musical performance. He also thanked the career and technical education students from Dobson, Red Mountain, and Westwood high schools for the beautiful poinsettias adorning the Board room.

Dr. Lesar also conveyed Dr. Cowan’s, as well as the administration’s, appreciation for Mr. Michael Nichols’ and Dr. Ben Whiting’s service and dedication to the District and Board.

Dr. Lesar reported on the following:

Patrick Walsh, Director of Creative and Performing Arts, was named Administrator of the Year for the Central Region by the Arizona Thespians. This peer-selected recognition honors his career contributions and dedication to promoting theater education in our schools and community.

Thank you to the Mesa Chipotle Mexican Grill locations for hosting Mesa Public Schools Chipotle Day and everyone who participated in the event. By eating dinner at Chipotle on November 30. The community raised more than $7,800 for 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 the volunteer and students of the month recognitions.

Contributions to the Extracurricular Activity state tax credit will help your local school while possibly reducing your tax bill. These contributions support activities such as sports, visual and performing arts, special programs, field trips, clubs and testing fees for college credit or readiness, such as PSAT, Advanced Placement, and International Baccalaureate.

5. Student and Staff Recognitions
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. This year, students represent Dobson, Mountain View, Red Mountain, Skyline, and Westwood high schools. 

6. Students of the Month
On behalf of the Board and administration, school staff presented Student of the Month awards for December 2016, to the following for their accomplishments:

  • Kenneth Toya – Crossroads
  • Rebecca Moser – Red Mountain High School
  • Pedro Escalona Arciniega – Hawthorne Elementary School
  • Joslyn Knutson – Mendoza Elementary School
  • Brett Barker – Patterson Elementary School
  • Daphne Estrada Palma – Webster Elementary School

Each student received a plaque from the District displaying their award certificate and a $25 Amazon gift card provided by the Mesa Foundation for Educational Excellence. 

7. Presentation AzMERIT
Dr. O’Reilly and Dr. Bochna made a presentation on AzMERIT scores. The AzMERIT measures students’ mastery of the Arizona content standards. It measures how well the goal is being met. AzMERIT also measures proficiency levels in Mesa Public Schools compared to the state proficiency levels, the District’s change from 2015 to 2016, and compares proficiency levels of similar schools within the District.

The District performs similarly to the state overall, with some grade levels slightly above and some slightly below. Elementary grades were the most consistent above state averages. Overall, most schools showed improvement from 2015 to 2016. Eighth grade math looked like it declined, but when compared to similar test takers, the numbers were improved. Similar District schools differed in the proficiency percentage. The test was new in 2015, making the 2016 testing year the true benchmark going forward. 

8. Second Hearings
A second hearing was held on Governing Board Policy KB – Publication/Display/Distribution of Communications of School-Related Organizations

Dr. Lesar reviewed the proposed changes to this policy.

On the motion of Mrs. Richardson, the Board unanimously approved changes to Policy KB.

A second hearing was held on Governing Board Policy KI – Publication/Display/Distribution of Promotional Materials of Outside Organizations.

Dr. Lesar reviewed the proposed changes to this policy.

On the motion of Mr. Nichols, the Board unanimously approved changes to Policy KI. 

The meeting adjourned at 8:16 p.m.