HIGHLIGHTS
OF THE GOVERNING BOARD MEETING
OF THE MESA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 4
TUESDAY, FEBRUARY 14, 2017
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. Mrs. Sylvester-McCarroll reviewed the consent agenda. 

2. Review of Governing Board Calendar
The Board briefly reviewed the calendar through April 2017. Due to spring break, the Board canceled the March 14, 2017, meeting.

3. Report from the Grading Practices Task Force
Mrs. Williams and Mrs. Foley reported on the Grading Practices Task Force. The task force was started last spring and is made up of 27 educators from around the District. The task force determined that when student progress is reported, the grades should represent a student’s level of proficiency on established skill-based standards. The task force came up with five grading practices:

  1. Retest/Redo – Students should be given multiple opportunities to demonstrate their proficiency on established skill-based standards.
  2. Missing/Late Work Incompletes/Zeros – Students should be allowed to complete missing assignments within reasonably established timelines for full credit.
  3. Homework – Students should be provided opportunities to practice skills, deepen their understanding, and increase progress toward meeting standards and expectations through homework completed during class time or in another setting.
  4. Formative/Summative Assessment – Students should be assessed on a collection of evidence that includes many data points, balancing both formative and summative assessments.
  5. Behavior-Driven Grading – Grades represent students’ current level of proficiency based upon established standards.

Implementation is recommended for the 2017-2018 school year and will establish a common grading mindset at each school site. The focus for the 2017-2018 school year will be on Grading Practice 1 and Grading Practice 2. School year 2018-2019 will focus on Grading Practice 3 and Grading Practice 4. School year 2019-2020 will focus on Grading Practice 5. 

4. Discussion on 2017-2018 Fee Schedule for Community Education Activities
Mrs. Wallace and Dr. DePrez reviewed the 2017-2018 fee schedule for community education activities. The fee schedule has not been adjusted for some time. Dr. DePrez explained that due to the new minimum wage requirements, resulting in an increase in classified hourly rates, and the increase of certificated hourly rates, the fee schedule needed to be adjusted.

Dr. DePrez informed the Board that, with their approval of the consent agenda, they will be approving the new fee schedule. 

5. Presentation of Rhodes Proposal
Ms. Christie and the Rhodes staff made a presentation on a “Teams at Work” proposal. Student engagement and learning is made stronger with good connections with teachers and fellow students. This pilot program will offer project-based and cross-curricular instruction. It will be data-driven for remediation and enrichment and will target 7th and 8th grade “bubble” students. The teams will consist of four core teachers, one interventionist able to serve math and reading, one inclusionary teacher, a physical education and CBO2 teacher for 7th grade, and a Project Lead The Way teacher for 8th grade. The day will be bell-less, minus the thirty minutes for lunch and a 50-minute elective either at the start or end of the day. The team decides the individual schedules for students. Skills such as problem solving, collaboration, trust, and persistence will also be addressed. Instructional and behavioral interventions will be handled by the team. Students will be invited to participate in this team.

This item will be placed on the next regularly scheduled Board meeting for action and approval.

6. Updates on Meet and Confer
Mrs. Sylvester-McCarroll briefly reviewed the 2017-2018 Maintenance and Operations budget.

7. Updates from Board Members/Superintendents
Mrs. Williams gave a brief update on the Red Mountain High School student section incident that occurred at the February 10, 2017, basketball game. Jared Ryan, Red Mountain High School Principal, will put together a program that will cover appropriate behavior and cheering, appropriate signs, and expectations of students who sit in the student section at all sports activities. Students will sign an agreement and receive a sticker, which will allow the student to sit in the student section at the completion of the program. Board members expressed their desire to offer this program throughout the District. Mrs. Williams also stated that professional development teaching tolerance will be offered to staff. 

REGULAR MEETING

1. Minutes
On the motion of Mr. Peterson, the Board unanimously approved the minutes of a regular meeting held January 24, 2017.

On the motion of Mrs. Sears, the Board unanimously approved the minutes of a special meeting held on February 2, 2017. 

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

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

4. Superintendent's Report
Dr. Cowan reported on the following:

Elementary, junior high, and high schools are hosting STEM and STEAM events that will lead up to the SciTech Festival at Skyline High School.

During Black History Month, Mesa Public Schools recognizes and celebrates the central role of African Americans in U.S. history through storytelling, presentation, artwork, essays, and music. Ishikawa Elementary School and Stapley Junior High School will host visits from the Tuskegee Airmen to learn about the group of African-American fighter and bomber pilots who fought in World War II.

To celebrate Heart Health Month, many elementary students are participating in Jump Rope for Heart, sponsored by the American Heart Association® and the Society of Health and Physical Educators®. The program encourages students to stay active and raises funds to help children with heart health issues.

Last week was National School Counseling Week, sponsored by the American School Counselor Association. The week highlights the tremendous impact school counselors have in helping students achieve success and plan for a career. 

Students from Dobson and Skyline high schools joined scholars from across Arizona to show off their constitutional wisdom during the We the People state competition. Skyline High School took third place in the event. Teams consist of juniors and seniors who are studying civics, government, and history. The program encourages learning about contemporary constitutional issues, the history of democratic philosophy, and the history of the creation of the U.S. Constitution and Bill of Rights. We the People is sponsored and administered by the Arizona Foundation for Legal Service and Education, the Arizona Supreme Court, and the Center for Civic Education.

Franklin at Brimhall hosted the 2017 District Spelling Bee. In all, 53 school champions in 4th- through 8th- grades competed at the District level. Jackson Springer, 6th-grader from Barbara Bush Elementary, earned the first-place trophy. Fourteen students qualified to represent Mesa Public Schools at the 2017 Maricopa County Region I Spelling Bee on February 25.

More than 270 students from 14 east valley schools competed in the Excellence in Mathematics competition at Chandler-Gilbert Community College. The event was created by the CGCC Mathematics Division to support schools in motivating today’s youth to be successful in and have a positive attitude toward mathematics. The Mesa Academy for Advance Studies’ 7th-grade team took first place by scoring 110 out of a possible 160 points. The Academy also finished first in the race and second in the projectile event.

Many of our high-school music students participated in the All-Regional Honor Festival auditions in January. These competitive auditions kick off an exciting season of musical performances that will culminate with theAll-State Festivals in the spring.

There were 256 students who received top scores and will represent the District in the 2017 All-Regional Honors Festivals. Sponsored by the Arizona Music Educators Association, the festivals will take place at various high schools on February 18.

Mesa Public Schools is sponsoring a STEAM Educational Expo as part of the Arizona SciTech Festival. This year’s theme is “Celebrating STEAM Education in Mesa.” The event salutes innovative educational programs and student achievement in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math (STEAM). The expo will be hosted by Skyline High School from 10:00 a.m. to 2:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 25. 

5. Staff Recognitions
Cathy Poplin, executive director for the Arizona Technology in Education Association (AzTEA), presented Nathan Myers, the 2017 AzTEA Technology Director Award. Nathan was recognized for being instrumental in successfully transforming Mesa Public Schools into a District that embraces technology as an integral tool for teaching and learning. 

6. Students of the Month
On behalf of the Board and administration, school staff presented Student of the Month awards for February 2017, to the following for their accomplishments:

  • Arisaid Gonzalez Porras – Skyline High School
  • Joseph Method – Rhodes Junior High School
  • Autumn Bramley – MacArthur Elementary School
  • Jazmyn Ford – Salk Elementary School
  • Dulce Hurtado Gonzalez – Irving Elementary School
  • Kathya Garcia – Lowell 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.

The meeting adjourned at 7:59 p.m.