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Board Meeting Recaps - January 28, 2013

WORK SESSION

The Board heard updates on the district’s strategic plan and discussed progress on key strategic studies including the Secondary Academic Programming Study, plans to close the achievement gap, eLearning2, and the district’s facilities study, as well as administration’s modified recommendation for the 2013-14 and 2014-15 school year calendars.  Following up on their January 12th retreat, members then discussed their board development decision-making processes, and board communications.

REGULAR MEETING

RECOGNITION

  • Jennifer Gross & Jason Szporn  – The Board recognized Countryside third grade teacher Jennifer Gross, and EHS social studies teacher Jason Szporn, for their use of technology in their instruction with and engagement of students in learning. Gross and Szporn were also recently recognized by TIES, a statewide technology consortium, as two of 65 educators in Minnesota to receive the 2012 Exceptional Teacher Award.
  • Tracy Purdy – The Board recognized Concord fourth grade teacher Tracy Purdy, on her recent achievement of becoming a Google Certified Teacher. Purdy was one of about 50 educators selected from around the world to participate in the 2012 Google Teacher Academy, which identifies teachers with a passion for using innovative tools to improve teaching and learning, as well as creative leaders and ambassadors for change.
  • Normandale Elementary French Immersion School The Board recognized the staff, students and families of Normandale Elementary on their recent recognition as a 2012 National Blue Ribbon School. Normandale was one of seven schools in Minnesota, and 269 nationwide, honored for improving student academic achievement levels.

 

PRESENTATION                                                     

  • Cornelia Elementary “Closing the Gap in Math, a Complex Equation” – Principal Chris Holden and Cornelia teachers Linda Friede, Heather Edam and Becky Huberty, shared highlights of the school’s math intervention program and how Cornelia staff are focused on improving math achievement for all students. As part of their program, the school has increased math instruction time, modified how they teach math in ways that best meet student needs, provided professional development and training in math instruction for all Cornelia teachers, and utilized math learning specialists who work in small groups with students who need extra support. Mid-year assessments already indicate a dramatic decrease in the number of students who are testing below grade level in math, showing more students are on track with their peers.

PUBLIC FORUM

The Board heard from nine community members during its public forum. The speakers, all of which identified themselves as parents in Edina Public Schools, cited concerns about the proposed calendars for the 2013-2014 and 2014-2015 calendars, specifically with respect to starting school before Labor Day and the process used to develop the proposed calendars.

ACTION

In addition to routine items approved in the Consent agenda, including personnel recommendations, budget adjustments, approval of joint City/District partnership goals, and Board committee appointments, the Board approved the following:

  • Early Childhood through Grade 12 School Year Calendars for 2013-14 and 2014-15 – The School Board approved the revised calendar proposal, which includes a post-Labor Day start for 2013-14, but a start date of August 25 for 2014-15.  (Click here to read more and review the approved two-year calendar.)
  • 2013-14 Budget ParametersThe Board approved the 2013-14 budget parameters as part of the district’s annual budget process. The parameters have been developed to maximize resources to ensure successful, innovative and personalized learning for all students, blending alignment of time, talent and funds.
  • 2013 Alternative Facilities BondsThe Board authorized the financing of 2013 alternative facilities projects through the issuance and sale of alternative facilities bonds to Cronin & Co. The bonds, in combination with local levy authority, will finance deferred maintenance projects at various district facilities scheduled for fiscal years 2014 and 2015. These projects are included in the district’s ten-year facility plan (as adopted by the School Board in May 2012) and approved by the Minnesota Department of Education.
  • 2013 District Legislative PrioritiesThe Board approved the district’s major priorities for the 2013 legislative session. The priorities align with the district’s strategic plan and previous year’s district legislative priorities.
  • 2012-14 Master Agreement with Bus Drivers and Custodial Staff The Board adopted the master agreement with the Service Employees International Union, Local 284 (SEIU) on behalf of EPS bus drivers and custodial staff for the 2012-2013 and the 2013-2014 contract years.
  • TI-Nspire CX non-CAS CalculatorsThe Board approved the purchase of calculators for secondary math courses/assessments to comply with new Minnesota Department of Education rules on allowable technologies for state tests.    

REPORTS

  • Student Assessment Update Dr. Chad Schmidt, Director of Research and Evaluation, provided an update on student assessment data, including a more detailed look at individual student growth in both reading and math achievement. When comparing 2011 with 2012 data, most students showed the expected year’s worth of growth in both reading and math. Schmidt further noted that because of several years of focused intervention work in reading, the District is seeing additional academic reading growth of students who were previously scoring in lower achievement levels. However, the same trend is not yet being seen with math. Schmidt said that new math intervention strategies are being employed this year as part of the district’s strategic plan and the District hopes to see similar improvement trends for math achievement next year.
  • 2013-14 District Planning Calendar Superintendent Dressen provided an update on planning for next school year, to include a timeline for budget and staffing decisions, which will proceed through the spring, as well as current and future strategic studies.

DISCUSSION

  • Capital Projects Margo Bauck, Director of Business Services, provided an overview of planned capital projects for the 2013-14 school year, including:
    • District-wide capital projects = $400,000
    • Transportation bus purchases = $400,000
    • Health and Safety projects = $278,000
    • Textbooks = $400,000
  • Bauck noted that all capital project requests submitted from departments and schools/sites were reviewed and prioritized by the district’s architects as well as the business and buildings & grounds departments. Prioritization of projects on a district-wide basis considered the ten-year facility plan, the district’s strategic plan, critical safety and security needs, age of equipment, available sources of funding, and energy efficiency.  Projects were then reviewed by the Board’s Finance and Facilities Committee. Final approval of the 2013-14 capital budget will come back to board at a later date.
  • Policy Review The Board discussed proposed changes to Policies 211 and 408 per its regular policy review schedule.

INFORMATION

Superintendent Dressen briefly noted the District’s Planning Calendar for 2013-14, a revised process for community member representation on district advisory teams, and the formation of a district equity advisory council. Dressen also noted several staff commendations from members of the community.  

Announcements

Board member Idith Almog invited the audience to the Edina Education Fund Annual Show & Tell Luncheon on Monday, February 4. Additional information is available on the  Edina Ed Fund website.