549 N. Stapley, Mesa, AZ


1. On the motion of Mrs. Sears, an executive session was held pursuant to A.R.S. §38-431.03.A.(3) and (4), discussion or consultation for legal advice from the attorney for the Governing Board and District regarding audit report of the Arizona State Retirement System.

The executive session ended at 6:05 p.m. 


1. Review of Agenda Items
The Board briefly reviewed the agenda.

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

3. Discussion on District Capital Needs
Mr. Thompson led the discussion on District capital needs. He reviewed the bond limitations and informed the Board that bond monies can be used to purchase work trucks and delivery vehicles. Bond monies cannot be used to purchase administrative vehicles.

He reviewed the following three options available to the Board in calling for a capital override and/or bond election, as well as the increased costs to the taxpayer:

  1. New $230 million bond plus the current bond debt
  2. New District Additional Assistance (DAA) override plus the current bond debt
  3. DAA override, $200 million bond, plus the current bond debt

Ms. Stein provided a summary of recent election results from various districts. Mr. Thompson reviewed the recommended timeline. He stressed the importance to educate the community on the election.

4. Report on Delegate Assembly from Board Member Elaine Miner
This item was not addressed. Mrs. Miner will provide the Board members a finalized copy of the 2018 Political Agenda in their weekly packet.

5. Updates from Superintendents/Ken Alexander
Mr. McCord advised the Board that he is currently in contract negotiations with Gilbert Public Schools for the position of superintendent.

Dr. Holmes advised the Board that, tomorrow teachers will be getting a memo regarding the 1.06% teacher salary increase.

Due to time constraints, Mr. Alexander will be rescheduled for a future Board meeting.


1. Minutes
On the motion of Mrs. Sears, the Board unanimously approved the minutes of a regular meeting held on September 12, 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
At the request of the Board, the Memorandum of Understanding with the Homeless Youth Correction was pulled from the consent agenda for a separate vote.

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

4. MOU
On the motion of Mr. Smith, the Board unanimously approved the Memorandum of Understanding with the Homeless Youth Connection, changing the date from June 30, 2017 to June 30, 2018.

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

The first quarter ends on Friday, October 6, and October break is October 9 to October 13. School resumes on Monday, October 16.

Due to October break, the only televised Governing Board meeting will be on October 24.

Parent-teacher conferences at the elementary schools begin on October 16. This is an important time for parents and educators to connect in person and chart the course to success for students.

The 37th annual College Fair will be hosted by Dobson High School on Monday, October 23, from 6:00 to 8:00 p.m. Students and families will meet representatives from universities, colleges, technical schools, military services, businesses, and industries. It’s a great opportunity for students to explore college- and career-path options. This year, more than 160 local state and national organizations will be represented.

The 2017 Latino Youth Conference is Tuesday, October 24, at Mesa Community College. Mesa Public Schools is proud to sponsor this event, where Latino high school students districtwide participate in a variety of workshops and discussions with community leaders.

The 15th annual Latino Town Hall, hosted by the Mesa Association of Hispanic Citizens, takes place on Saturday, October 28, at the Mesa Arts Center.

The Mesa Arts Center also hosts the annual Dia de los Muertos Festival on October 28 and 29. There will be performances from orchestras, specialty groups, duets, and the youth mariachi group, Mariachi Sones del Desierto.

6. Student and Staff Recognitions
For the first time in Mesa Public Schools history, two teachers from the same school, Summit Academy, were selected as 2017 Arizona IB teachers of the year. Dotti Craw and Brittany Schreiber received this award for their distinguished teaching performances and fidelity to International Baccalaureate principles and practices.

Dotti, 5th grade teacher, was selected as the 2017 Arizona IB Primary Years Program Teacher of the Year. Brittany, 7th and 8th grade IB Honors Science, was named 2017 Arizona IB Middle Years Teacher of the Year.

Frankie O’Neill and Hanna Morgan, Westwood High School seniors, are the 2017 Arizona IB Diploma Program Students of the Year. They received this designation for their distinguished academic performances and exemplary fidelity to the IB Learner Profile.

Mesa Public Schools is committed to offering students the best opportunities to meet their academic goals. The rigorous International Baccalaureate Diploma Programme is a recognized leader in the field of international education, encouraging students to be active learners, well-rounded individuals, and engaged world citizens.

The class of 2018 includes seven National Merit semifinalists. Less than one percent of seniors nationwide achieve this prestigious standing, which is based on their performance on last year’s PSAT. The semifinalists are:

  1. Whitnee Forest, Red Mountain High School
  2. Ashlyn Laird, Red Mountain High School
  3. Mark Merrill, Mountain View High School
  4. Zachary O’Bryant, Mesa High School
  5. Courtney Tetlow, Red Mountain High School
  6. Trinity Wolff, Red Mountain High School
  7. Jessica Yan, Westwood High School

The next steps for the scholars include completing all the requirements to move on to finalist status, where they will compete for 7,500 Merit Scholarships, worth more than $32 million.

Jessica Yan was also named a 2018 Distinguished Young Woman of Arizona. The Distinguished Young Woman program combines the chance to win college scholarships with a program that offers life-skills training to prepare young women for the world after high school. Participants are evaluated on scholastics, interview, talent, fitness, and self-expression. Jessica will represent Arizona in the national competition next summer in Alabama.

7. School and Department Spotlights
This evening’s Spotlight Recognitions include Edison and Jefferson elementary schools, Westwood High School, and the Health Services and Audiology departments.

Shawn Lynch, Westwood High School principal, announced the following awardees:

  • Outstanding Student – Emma Maribel Arbogast, senior
  • Educator Who Makes a Difference – Joe Fairchild, social studies teacher
  • Customer Service Champion – Sharon Hathaway, secretary to the assistant principal

Alex Macdonald, Edison Elementary School principal, announced the following awardees:

  • Outstanding Student – Eseta Tautua’a, 6th grade
  • Volunteer Extraordinaire – Terri Peterson
  • Educator Who Makes a Difference – Jenny Gramstad, kindergarten teacher
  • Customer Service Champion – Jackie Maldonado, health assistant

Genessee Montes, Jefferson Elementary School principal, announced the following awardees:

  • Outstanding Student – Presley Follett, 6th grade
  • Volunteers Extraordinaire – Bill and Sharon Lawson
  • Employee Who Makes a Difference – James Stiffler, facility assistant
  • Customer Service Champion – Edna Corona, family support specialist

8. Presentation on the Innovative School Ideas Task Force Report
Mrs. Williams made a presentation on the innovative school ideas task force report. The task force gathered community input, reviewed the input and divided it into categories, and developed recommendations based on community feedback. Feedback shows that parents would like to see dual language offered at more elementary schools. The task force also recommends moving the Montessori program to an existing campus that is under-enrolled. The Lincoln Center model of instruction is working well at one elementary school and is developing at a second. The committee suggests expanding this training to two more elementary schools.

The committee would like to integrate CTE into schools and adapt science kits to reflect CTE career pathways at each grade level. Included in instruction would be elements of service learning, civic engagement, and environmental awareness. Parents would like to see gifted services extended below 3rd grade and discussed a gifted preschool and possible enrichment time for K-2 students. Parents also indicated a strong interest Project Based Learning.

The task force is interested in repurposing a junior high school to create a small high school atmosphere with an accelerated academic focus. They also looked at running an adjacent tract to the current junior high population with a music or arts focus to meet the needs of performing arts students and their parents who are looking for integrated training and lessons.

Mrs. Williams stated that the committee worried about the need for additional funding to move forward with these ideas.

9. Qualified Evaluators for the 2017-2018 School Year
On the motion of Mrs. Miner, the Board unanimously approved the qualified evaluators for the Mesa Unified School District teacher performance evaluation system for the 2017-2018 school year.

10. Second Hearings
A second hearing was held on proposed changes to Governing Board Policy AD – Educational Philosophy. Dr. Lesar reviewed the proposed changes. He recommended that this policy be deleted because the topics covered in this policy are addressed in Policy KD: Parent Involvement in Education.

On the motion of Mr. Smith, the Board unanimously approved the deletion of Governing Board Policy AD.

A second hearing was held on proposed changes to Governing Board Policy AE – Educational Goals and Objectives. Dr. Lesar reviewed the proposed changes and recommended the policy be renamed Vision, Mission, Values and rewritten to reflect the District’s vision – “Unprecedented Excellence in Education.”

On the motion of Mrs. Sears, the Board unanimously approved the changes to Governing Board Policy AE.

11.  Video/Call to the Public
A video on the Call to the Public procedures was shown.

Priscilla Romero, Ivette Sosa Barraza, Brenda Alvarez, Ricardo Escarceja, and Evelyne Rodas Castillo, Westwood High School Latin Club members, thanked the Board and administration for their support of DACA students.

The meeting adjourned at 8:42 p.m.