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

EXECUTIVE SESSION

1.  On the motion of Mr. Smith, the Board unanimously agreed to enter executive session at 5:27 p.m. pursuant to A.R.S. § 38-431.03(A)(3), Discussion with Legal Counsel for Legal Advice Regarding Arizona State Retirement System Audit.

The executive session ended at 5:39 p.m.

STUDY SESSION

1. Review of Agenda Items
The Board briefly reviewed the agenda. Dr. Cowan reviewed the Center for the Future of Arizona Memo of Agreement. 

2. Discussion on Meet and Confer/2017-2018 Budget
Dr. Cowan explained the affects the federal and state budget will have on the District budget. There is the possibility that Title II and Impact Aid monies will be eliminated from the federal budget.

Dr. Holmes gave a brief update on Meet and Confer. The Mesa Education Association (MEA) has addressed the issues of teacher transfers, Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) and District expectations, and special education staffing. The MEA has also identified the budget as a top priority.

The Mesa Education Support Personnel Association (MESPA) has addressed the evaluation system, the challenges of compensation in relationship with Proposition 206, and adjusting salary range listings.

Mrs. Sylvester-McCarroll provided an updated Maintenance and Operations (M & O) budget worksheet and a summary of fund balances. Dr. Cowan described the results-based funding that would go directly to qualifying schools if the Governor’s budget is approved. 

3. Continued Discussion on Innovative Learning and Working Environment
Dr. Cowan and Mrs. Sears led the discussion on an inclusive learning and working environment. The conversation revolved on how to make students, families, and the community feel safe and accepted on District sites, including how to respond to the immigration status of students and their families. The Board also discussed the process used to disseminate District policy and practices to all employees.

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

5. Updates from Superintendents
Dr. Cowan informed the Board that, with their approval of the personnel sheets in the open meeting, they would be appointing the following new directors for the 2017-2018 school year. Dr. Cowan introduced:

Dr. Pat Estes – Director of ESSA
Mr. Rob Duran – Director of Custodial Services

REGULAR MEETING

1. Minutes
On the motion of Mrs. Sears, the Board unanimously approved the minutes of a regular meeting held on February 28, 2017.

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

With the approval of the personnel requests, Dr. Cowan introduced:

Dr. Pat Estes – Director of ESSA
Mr. Rob Duran – Director of Custodial Services 

3. Consent Agenda
On the motion of Mr. Peterson, 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:

Shawn Lynch, Westwood High School principal, was named Principal of the Year by the Mesa Independent Professional Educators (MIPE). He was selected for his leadership qualities and the positive relationships he develops with staff members.

Uriah Armstrong, Dobson High School senior, was selected to attend the prestigious Summer Leaders Experience (SLE) at the United States Military Academy in West Point, New York. SLE gives high-school juniors a week to experience life as a cadet, to better inform their college-selection decision. SLE is an intense, fast-paced program of academic classes, military training, physical-fitness training and intramural athletics. Uriah will attend workshops on civil and mechanical engineering, mathematics, systems engineering, and physics.

On Saturday, nearly 200 educators gathered at Zaharis Elementary School for the Echoes of Learning Literacy conference. Keynote speeches were given by the 2018 Hans Christian Anderson nominee and 2016 Newberry Honor Medal recipient Pam Muñoz Ryan; author and teacher Donalyn Miller; and author and illustrator, Frank Serafini. Breakout sessions included Zaharis teachers demonstrating live models of practice with real students in classroom communities of learning. The full-day conference was co-sponsored by Mesa Public Schools and Scholastic.

The latest issue of Achieve is now available. Achieve is delivered to home mailboxes across our District. This issue features teachers who make a difference, along with community partners, Gifted and Talented, and health services. 

5. Student and Staff Recognitions
Courtney Teatro, Stevenson Elementary School physical education teacher, was named the Southwest District Elementary Physical Education Teacher of the Year by the Society of Health and Physical Educators (SHAPE America) at its national convention in Boston. Courtney was recognized for conducting a physical education program that reflects students’ individualized education programs. She uses teaching methodologies and innovative learning experiences to meet the needs of all students, serving as a positive role model for personal health and fitness. This award gives Courtney the opportunity to represent our District by presenting at and attending leadership seminars, conferences, and professional-development opportunities.

Mesa Public Schools Academic Decathlon scholars spent hours in late night study sessions, team practices, and reading while preparing to represent their school in the state Academic Decathlon competition. This year’s topic was World War II. This 10-event scholastic competition requires participation from students of all academic levels. Teams consist of nine members, who are divided into three divisions based on grade-point average: Honors, Scholastic, and Varsity.  

Mountain View, Red Mountain, and Westwood high schools finished in the top 10 in the state competition. Casjen Schmid, Mountain View High School, won gold medals in science, and language and literature. He also placed first in state for all 10 events in the Varsity division. Westwood High School’s Frankie O’Neill won gold medals in art and social studies. Liam Wilson received gold medals in essay, and language and literature, and silver medals in science and economics and placed third overall in the Scholastic division. Nathan Bergman placed first overall, setting a new state record of 9,287 points. He earned a gold medal in music, science and economics, best essay in the state, silver in math and social science, and bronze in language and literature.

6. Volunteer of the Month
On behalf of the Board and administration, Mrs. Sears presented the Volunteer of the Month award for March 2017, to Jan Stamey, Red Mountain Ranch Elementary School.

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

Educators of the Month: Megan Kypke, 4th-grade teacher, Zaharis Elementary School; and Brandon Short, 6th-grade teacher, Whittier Elementary School

Employees of the Month: Catherine Garland, general clerk, Skyline High School; and Dwight Popadince, computer repair technician, Information Systems 

8. 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. Westwood High School
  2. Washington Elementary School
  3. Porter 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. 

9. Presentation on Phase II of Customer Service Training (Strategic Initiative 4B)
Mrs. Helen Hollands, Director of Communications and Marketing, made a presentation on Phase II of customer service training. She explained that her department continues to offer the introductory class, The Customer Experience, to new employees or employees who did not attend training last year. This enables the District to keep the foundation of customer service strong.

Phase II offers five 30-minute advanced classes:

  1. Conflict: Surviving and Thriving
  2. Communication Styles: Comfort and Fit
  3. Telephones Don’t Bite, and Usually Callers Don’t Either
  4. Communicating with Millennial Parents (or staff)
  5. Fun and Games to Improve the Customer Experience

The Communications and Marketing Department has provided over 120 trainings for over 2,700 staff and colleagues. Trainings are customized to the attendees by using situations they may encounter. All the training classes will be available online next year as self-paced online courses, providing continuing opportunities for self-improvement or for use by supervisors to address an identified need. 

The meeting ended at 8:53 p.m.