HIGHLIGHTS
OF THE GOVERNING BOARD MEETING
OF THE MESA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 4
TUESDAY, APRIL 25, 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. 

2. Update on Meet and Confer 2017-2018 Budget
Mrs. Hovet provided an updated Maintenance and Operations (M&O) budget sheet for the Board’s review. Three main changes were outlined, which will result in an additional $600,000 reduction. Dr. Cowan will provide a list of proposed reductions and/or cuts at the next regularly scheduled meeting of the Board.

Dr. Holmes provided an update on Meet and Confer. The Mesa Education Association (MEA) is asking that sick leave days be categorized as general leave days. This would allow certificated staff to take days off as needed for personal reasons as well as sick leave. Any days not used in any given year will then roll over to sick leave days for subsequent years. Dr. Holmes also stated that the average certificated staff member uses 9 to 10 days yearly of sick leave. He will provide the Board with a projected financial impact to the District should this be adopted.

There continues to be extensive conversations regarding special education class size and teacher workload. Dr. Jan Cawthorne, Executive Director of Special Education, continues to meet with teachers and others to structure supports for the next school year. 

3. Discussion on ASBA 2018 Political Agenda
Dr. Cowan asked Board members to review the Arizona School Boards Association’s (ASBA’s) Political Agenda and identify their top priorities. Discussion and action on this item will take place at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting. 

4. Discussion on the Acceptance of ASBA ESA Resolution
Dr. Cowan reviewed the ASBA resolution opposing the Educational Savings Accounts (ESA). He asked Board members to call him if they needed further clarification and/or if they had any questions. Further discussion and action on this item will take place at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting. 

5. Review of Governing Board Calendar
The Board briefly reviewed the calendar through July 2017. They scheduled a summer Board training for June 6, 2017.

6. Updates from Superintendents
Mrs. Mann stated that the first immigration parent meeting went well. There were 15 people in attendance and an ACLU speaker spoke on parents' rights. The Mesa Police provided information on how their department handles immigration issues as opposed to other law enforcement departments.

Mrs. Williams provided information on the innovative schools survey. Over 4,100 responses were received.

Dr. DePrez reported that the State Board has adopted the accountability formula. Logistics are still very vague and data collection will be required this year.

Dr. Lesar reported on graduation expectations and requirements.

Dr. Cowan informed the Board that with their approval of the personnel requests in the regular meeting, they will be hiring the following new Deans of Students. He introduced:

  • Christine Gutierrez – Emerson and Webster elementary schools
  • Aimee De La Torre – Salk and Stevenson elementary schools 

REGULAR MEETING

1.  Minutes
On the motion of Mrs. Sears, the Board unanimously approved the minutes of a regular meeting held on April 11, 2017. 

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

With the approval of the personnel requests, Dr. Cowan introduced the following new Deans of Students:

  • Christine Gutierrez – Emerson and Webster elementary schools
  • Aimee De La Torre – Salk and Stevenson elementary schools

3. Certificated Employee Rehires for 2017-2018
On the motion of Mr. Peterson, the Board unanimously approved the rehire of all certificated employees for the 2017-2018 school year, other than those designated as exclusionary for non-renewal on the list of excluded certificated employees.

4.  Classified Employee Rehires for 2017-2018
On the motion of Mrs. Sears, the Board unanimously approved the rehire of all classified employees for the 2017-2018 school year, other than those designated as exclusionary for non-renewal on the list of excluded classified employees. 

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

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

The District will celebrate Teacher Appreciation Week May 1 - 5, 2017, and May 2, 2017, as National Teacher Day.

Four District schools received the A+ School of Excellence designation from the Arizona Educational Foundation, bringing the District total of A+ schools to 27. The newest outstanding schools are Crismon, Jefferson, and Pomeroy elementary schools, and Stapley Junior High School.

Kimberly Merlene, Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies teacher; Mandy Heal, Hale Elementary School teacher; Matthew Berzins, Kino Junior High School teacher; Heather Haynie, Mendoza Elementary School teacher; and Amber Amaya, Porter Elementary School teacher, joined 11 other teams from across the country to participate in the Johnson Space Center mission in Houston, Texas. The teachers were selected based on a proposal they submitted on behalf of their students to test a student-derived Satellite Launching Experimental Device on the Precision Air Bearing Floor of the Space Vehicle Mock-Up Facility.  

International Baccalaureate students from Westwood High School recently competed in the 2017 National History Day Arizona State Competition. Top medal recipients include Frankie O’Neill, who earned first place in the documentary category; Abigail Stockwell, who won second place in the performance category; and Christina Fisher, who received second place in the documentary category. All three historiographers are now eligible to compete in the national competition this summer in Washington, D.C. The National History Day Competition is an academic program that introduces students to the study of history by having them conduct original research and create projects that range from museum-style exhibits to research papers, documentaries, dramatic performances, and interactive websites.

7.  Recognitions
Mesa Mayor John Giles was presented an Award of Excellence for Advocacy and Political Contributions to Education on behalf of the Arizona School Public Relations Association (ASPRA). Mayor Giles was nominated by the District and selected by ASPRA because he understands and promotes the importance of having a strong education system. He is vocal about his support of education, using media and social media to share his message. He co-authored an article in Education Week about the role of mayors in education and another in the local newspaper supporting school bonds and overrides. 

8. Student Recognitions
The Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies National Academic League team won the National Academic League (NAL) state-champion title. The NAL is the super sport for academic athletes. It combines important aspects of team sports, such as competitiveness, strategy and team mentality, with problem solving, critical thinking, and scholarship skills.

The Arizona Science and Engineering Fair first-place winners are:

  • Jessica Do and Felicia King, Dobson High School sophomores, received first place in Chemistry for The Effects of Carbon Dioxide on Lipid Production
  • Daniela Covo, Mesa High School senior, received gold in the Physical category of Energy for Laser-Patterned Copper-Plated Multi-Wire Front Contracts for Silicon Solar Cells
  • Carolyn Brown, Mesa Academy for Advanced Studies, received first place in Mathematical Sciences and was named Outstanding Female Scientist from the Association for Women in Science for Behind the Screens; Password Safety. Carolyn received the gold in Chemistry last year.

9. Volunteer of the Month
On behalf of the Board and administration, Mrs. Sears presented the Volunteer of the Month award for April 2017 to Jeremy Spilsbury, Mesa High School.

10. Educators and Employees of the Month
On behalf of the Board and administration, President Richardson presented the Educators and Employees of the Month awards for April 2017 to the following: 

Educators of the Month: Karen Weinstein, 5th-grade teacher, MacArthur Elementary School; and Maria White, reading interventionist, Lowell Elementary School

Employees of the Month: Jennifer Lefler, home and school liaison, Native American Education Program; and Sherry Hussein, health assistant, Salk Elementary School

11. Proclamation
Mr. Peterson read a proclamation recognizing May 1 - May 5, 2017, as Teacher Appreciation Week, and May 2, 2017, as National Teacher Day.

On the motion of Mr. Peterson, the Board unanimously adopted the proclamation. 

12. Presentation on Positive Behaviors Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
Mr. Bruce Cox and Mrs. LeiLani Scott made a presentation on Positive Behaviors Interventions and Supports (PBIS). PBIS is a proactive approach to establishing supports by teaching behavioral expectations and establishing a climate in which appropriate behavior is the norm. Attention is focused on creating and sustaining primary (school-wide), secondary (classroom), and tertiary (individual) systems of support that improve lifestyle results for all children and youth by making targeted behaviors less effective, efficient and relevant, and desired behavior more functional. The outcomes of PBIS are:

  • Decreased classroom disruptions and office discipline referrals
  • Increased academic achievement and performance
  • Improved school climate and safety

All schools receive a three-day training, boot camp, ongoing coaching support, site visits, professional development, and resources as needed. 

13. Second Hearings
A second hearing was held on the following policies:

Policy IICA – Optional Student Travel
Dr. Lesar reviewed the proposed changes to the abovementioned policy.

On the motion of Mr. Peterson, the Board unanimously approved the changes to this policy.

Policy IKF – Graduation Requirements
Dr. Lesar reviewed the proposed changes to the abovementioned policy.

On the motion of Mrs. Sears, the Board unanimously approved the changes to this policy.

Policy IKFB – Commencement Ceremonies
Dr. Lesar reviewed the proposed changes to the abovementioned policy.

On the motion of Mr. Peterson, the Board unanimously approved the changes to this policy. 

14. Resolution
Mr. Pickrell reviewed a proposed Resolution Affirming the Provision of Safe, Welcoming, and Inclusive Schools for all Students. 

After a brief discussion and on the motion of Mrs. Sears, the Board unanimously approved the proposed resolution as amended.

The following persons spoke to this item:

  • Alyssa Weston, staff member
  • David Chimi, attorney

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

The meeting adjourned at 9:14 p.m.