HIGHLIGHTS
OF THE GOVERNING BOARD MEETING
OF THE MESA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 4
TUESDAY, JANUARY 24, 2017
MESA PUBLIC SCHOOLS CURRICULUM SERVICES CENTER
BUILDING 2
549 N. Stapley, Mesa, AZ

EXECUTIVE SESSION

1. An Executive session was held for the following:

A. Pursuant to A.R.S. 38-431.03(A)(3), Discussion with District Legal Counsel or Legal Advice Regarding Employee Reimbursement for Accrued Vacation and Sick Leave 

B. Pursuant to A.R.S. 38-431.03(A)(4), Discussion with District Legal Counsel Regarding Settlement Discussions to Avoid Litigation

STUDY SESSION

1. Review of Agenda Items
The Board briefly reviewed the agenda. President Richardson asked for a SmartSchoolsPlus summary. Dr. Cowan and Dr. Lesar shared information and clarified the two-year limit imposed for most employees.

Mr. Peterson updated the Board on the audit committee meeting. There were no significant findings. 

Mrs. McCarroll-Sylvester provided a budget preview and explained how current year funding works.

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

3. Update on School Security Practices
Mr. Moore provided an update and assessment on school security practices. He stated that the District was only one of a few that have roving security officers available. Mr. Moore provided a handout describing the District's current protocols; summarized the practices currently in place for security, improvements made since the tragedy at Sandy Hook and what other school districts have in place; and shared proposals for improvements.  

4. Report on Commencement Task Force
Dr. Lesar shared a commencement task force summary. The committee recommended creating a participation exception. The Board expressed their support of this recommendation and asked Dr. Lesar to expedite this new exception. 

5. Update on Meet and Confer
Dr. Cowan shared a number of factors that will influence our Meet and Confer activities and the budget. 

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

REGULAR MEETING

1. Minutes
On the motion of Mrs. Sears, the Board unanimously approved the minutes of a regular meeting held on January 10, 2017.

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

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

4.  Superintendent's Report
For the third year in a row, students at Dobson, Mesa, Mountain View, Red Mountain, Skyline, and Westwood high schools are participating in Change for Change. This Districtwide coin drive raises money for the Mesa United Way.

High schools are also actively involved in preparing for their continuing accreditations. Every five years, all seven District high schools undergo intensive, ongoing diagnostic reviews to earn their educational reaccreditations. Teams have been working since last spring to prepare for visits, which are conducted by AdvanceED, a nonprofit, nonpartisan organization.

Redbird Elementary School was named a gold-level school by the Beat the Odds Institute. Last year they earned the silver-level status and this year they are one of six schools in the state to receive the coveted gold-level distinction. Beat the Odds was established in 2007 under the umbrella of the Center for the Future of Arizona. The program targets schools with at least a 50 percent minority population. It provides individualized mentoring, partner meetings, training seminars, resources, and support in applying the Institute's six keys to success, which strengthen and improve achievement in target demographic schools. 

Wendy Lathrope Sanders, itinerant special education teacher, has been named to the Phoenix Zoo's Teacher Advisory Council. During the school day, Wendy provides assistance to general and special education teachers working with students who have special needs. As a member of the 25-person council, she will help the zoo develop educational programs, discuss the changing needs of teachers, and serve as an ambassador.

Rick McConnell, Dobson High School boys’ basketball coach, recently reached a milestone of 600 wins. Rick and his father Dick McConnell, are the winningest father-son duo in state history. The McConnells have 1,374 boys basketball wins between them.

The LugNuts robotics team, which include four Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies students, earned first place in the Arizona FIRST Lego League State Championship, qualifying them to compete in the FIRST World Robotics Championship in Houston, Texas.

Health Office Appreciation Day is Wednesday, January 25. Children with unmet health needs have a challenging time engaging at school. The school health staff plays an essential role in our schools, ensuring students are well by addressing physical, mental, emotional, and social health needs.

5. Volunteer of the Month
On behalf of the Board and administration, Mr. Peterson presented the Volunteer of the Month award for January 2017 to Chandra Hansen, Dobson High School.

6. Educators and Employees of the Month
On behalf of the Board and administration, Mr. Smith presented the Educators and Employees of the Month awards for January 2017 to the following:

Educators of the Month: April Buckley, 3rd-grade teacher, Webster Elementary School; and Alan Dosmann, physical education teacher, Sirrine Elementary School

Employees of the Month: Julie Mitchell, bookstore manager, Red Mountain High School; and Jo Ann Hallstrom, resource center specialist, Roosevelt Elementary School 

7. We Care Award Recipients
The We Care Awards recognizes schools for creating and maintaining an inviting and appealing learning environment. In November, a trained team of retired administrators visited 27 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. Kerr Elementary School
  2. Lehi Elementary School
  3. Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies
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.
 
8. Presentation on Communicating Via Social Media
Heidi Hurst and Helen Hollands, Communications and Marketing, gave a brief overview of how they communicate with the Mesa Public Schools community via social media. They briefly discussed the four channels they use (Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and YouTube) before going more in-depth in a discussion of Facebook. They also compared three types of posts they regularly share and how the audience reacts to each. Posts that always do well are job postings/recruitment, staff and student celebratory posts, and general good news posts. By far, Facebook is the largest and most successful social media channel with the broadest reach. Ms. Hurst and Mrs. Hollands have found the District has a robust audience of employees on these channels. Though they have found success using social media organically. They would like to pursue promoted content that targets specific audiences, which will also help them increase engagement with the Latino community. They are also exploring a Facebook-like tool for internal engagement with employees. 

9. Video/Call to the Public
This item was not addressed as there were no speakers at this time.
 
The meeting adjourned at 8:24 p.m.