HIGHLIGHTS
OF THE GOVERNING BOARD MEETING
OF THE MESA UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT NO. 4
TUESDAY, MAY 23, 2017
MESA PUBLIC SCHOOLS CURRICULUM SERVICES CENTER
BUILDING 2
549 N. Stapley, Mesa, AZ

EXECUTIVE SESSION

1. On the motion of Mr. Peterson, the Board unanimously agreed to enter executive session at 4:14 p.m. pursuant to A.R.S. §38-431.03.A.1, Discussion of the Evaluation of the Superintendent.

The executive session ended at 5:11 p.m.

STUDY SESSION

1. Review of Agenda Items
The Board briefly reviewed the agenda. Mrs. Hamilton briefly reviewed the annual cooperative purchases.

Teachers from Westwood and Mountain View high schools answered questions on their student travel.

2. Update on Meet and Confer and 2017-2018 Budget
Dr. Cowan reported that there were no dramatic changes to the M & O budget sheet. He reiterated his desire to provide all employees a 1.31 percent cost of living raise. Teachers would receive an additional one time only stipend of 1.06 percent per the Governor’s budget. He reviewed the budget cuts that would be needed to attain this goal.

Dr. Holmes reported that discussions with the Mesa Education Association (MEA) include moving from five personal leave days to seven. Teachers will get four days provided by the District and three days that teachers can purchase per school year. This will provide teachers with more flexibility.

Dr. Holmes also reviewed the proposed 2017-2018 Health Benefits Plan, which will be voted on in the regular meeting. He informed the Board that the District’s and the employee’s contribution is expected to increase by nine percent. Employees who participated in the Wellness Incentive Program this year and earned their required points will receive a $200 reduction in their annual premium.

4. Review of Governing Board Calendar
The Board briefly reviewed its calendar through July 2017. They scheduled a student hearing for May 31, 2017, 5:30 p.m., at the Administrative Services Center. Dr. Cowan informed the Board that if need be theJuly 11, 2017, meeting could be held via conference call.

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

  • Amy Breitenbucher – Kerr Elementary School Principal
  • Andrea Lang Sims – Whittier Elementary School Principal

6. Minutes
On the motion of Mr. Smith, the Board unanimously approved the minutes of a regular meeting held on May 9, 2017.

On the motion of Mrs. Sears, the Board unanimously approved the minutes of a study session held on May 16, 2017, as amended.

7. Personnel Requests

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

Dr. Cowan introduced the following new administrators:

  • Amy Breitenbucher – Kerr Elementary School Principal
  • Andrea Lang Sims – Whittier Elementary School Principal 

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

9. Superintendent's Report
Dr. Cowan thanked parents for entrusting their children’s education to Mesa Public Schools. He expressed his gratitude to the teachers and staff for making a difference every day. This year there are 3,497 students who will graduate and more than $41 million in scholarships were awarded.

Dr. Cowan also expressed the Board and District’s appreciation for Dr. Suzie DePrez, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, and Bobette Sylvester-McCarroll, Assistant Superintendent of Business and Support Services, for their dedicated service to the District as they move on to other opportunities.

Dr. Cowan reported on the following:

For the 30th year in a row, the District has been awarded a Certificate of Achievement for Excellence in Financial Reporting from the Government Finance Officers Association for the 2016 fiscal year comprehensive annual financial report (CAFR). This is the highest form of recognition in governmental accounting and financial reporting.

Nancy Parra-Quinlan, industrial technology and STEM teacher at Kino Junior High School, was named the Air Force Association’s 2017 State Teacher of the Year for her work in STEM education. Nancy is also the assistant Aerospace Squadron Officer for the 305th Civil Air Patrol Squadron at Falcon Field.

Sunni Clark, Mountain View High School junior, received the Len Kotsure Award for Overall Outstanding Student at the Exceptional Student Services Awards presentation. Born with Down syndrome, Sunni meets every challenge in life head on. She is adamant about learning to read, and with specialized strategies is increasing her reading skills. Her favorite class is theatre, and she aspires to attend Utah State University’s Aggies Elevated program for students with intellectual disabilities.

Economic students in the International Baccalaureate Program at Westwood High School participated in the year-round Arizona Stock Market Game competition sponsored by The Arizona Council on Economic Education and garnered a silver medal at the state competition. “Team Harambe” included Azaria Ford, Arabi Mabingani, Gavin Hamilton, and Jonathan Flores. Students competing in the game develop an understanding of the stock market, learn when to trade stocks, and master economic and financial concepts they will use for the rest of their lives.

Battle of the Books is a competition for 5th- and 6th-graders that combine their love for reading with a “battle” to answer questions about the books they read. In late April, participating schools sent their winning teams to the semifinals to be quizzed on 12 books. The top three teams are from Emerson, Mendoza, and Pomeroy elementary schools. These three teams competed against other area schools in the regional competition, where Emerson Elementary School took 3rd place.

At the end of the year, the student and staff writing anthology, Voices, is published. The anthology is sponsored by the Curriculum and Instruction Department and features 1st-place winners in narrative writing, poetry, and essay by students in kindergarten through 12th-grade. 

10. Student and Community Recognitions
Pastor Perry Emerick and Joey Richardson, Associate Director, from Central Christian Church came up with the idea to exchange a day of worship for a day of service, and give back to educators as part of their National Teacher Appreciation Week initiative, Operation Mobilize. More than 6,500 congregation members treated schools across the valley, including 27 in Mesa Public Schools, to an amazing service project experience. They customized their attention to each school’s needs, scraping gum off of sidewalks, cleaning classrooms, painting murals, tending school gardens and flower beds, decorating staff lounges, and assembling gift baskets for teachers that included gift cards, notes, and candy. When Operation Mobilize was finished, they provided schools with funds for future projects.

Trake Williams, Red Mountain High School senior, won a gold medal in the Division I boys’ pole vault title at the AIA Outdoor Track and Field Championship.

Sierra Valdivieso, Skyline High School senior, became the first Skyline athlete to win back-to-back state championships when she took the Division I AIA State Champion girls discus title.

At the All-State Music Festival, the District had 69 of the finest high school music students perform with distinguished conductors at Arizona State University’s Grady Gammage Auditorium. Five students were first chairs, and four students were honored for being four-year participants.

First chairs include:

  • Scott Allen – Mountain View High School
  • Jeremy Bergner – Mountain View High School
  • McKinzi Godfrey – Mountain View High School
  • Allen Emery Harvison – Mountain View High School
  • Anna Olsen – Mountain View High School

Four-Year All-State Students include:

  • Mario Cesar Manzo – Dobson High School
  • Jacob Douglas Birch – Mesa High School
  • Walker Goodman – Mesa High School
  • McKinzi Godfrey – Mountain View High School

Ruth Argabright, District Music Specialist, coordinates Mesa Public Schools’ music education program. Ruth is retiring from Mesa Public Schools this year. For 27 years she has taught students the joy of music and supported teachers by organizing thousands of hours of festivals, parades, and events. 

11. Presentation on Equal Opportunity Schools
Mrs. Williams made a presentation on Equal Opportunity Schools (EOS). The EOS mission is to ensure that all students have the opportunity to succeed in challenging high school courses. The objective of EOS is to achieve equity in enrollment in Advanced Placement (AP) courses so that enrollment mirrors the demographics of the school, thereby giving more students access to higher level coursework.

EOS works with the District by:

  • Surveying and identifying underrepresented students for placement in AP courses
  • Providing identification and recruiting support to encourage student enrollment
  • Providing regular data about progress towards the goal of equity enrollment

12. Proposed 2017-2018 Rates for MPS Benefits
Dr. Holmes reviewed the proposed changes to the 2017-2018 health benefit contribution from the District and participating employees.

On the motion of Mrs. Miner, the Board approved the 2017-2018 Health Benefits Plan. Mr. Smith voted against this proposal. 

13. First Hearing
A first hearing was held on proposed changes to Governing Board Policy GBBD – Leaves and Absences. Dr. Holmes reviewed the proposed changes to this policy.

A second hearing and action on this policy will take place at the next regularly scheduled Board meeting.

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

The meeting ended at 8:24 p.m.