Board Work Session Agenda/Minutes 8-29-2015

August 29, 2015 Board Work Session
Meeting Room - 12:30 p.m.
Panorama Village Building
240 Villa Crest Dr.
State College, PA 16801

I. Call to Order

II. Board Priorities

III. Goals for the District

IV. Reflections

V. Public Comment

VI. Adjournment
 
==
Minutes
 
I. Call to Order
Ms. Concepcion called the work session of the State College Area School District Board of Directors to order at 12:43 p.m. With the agenda before them, she asked board members if there were any changes, there were no changes. The session was turned over to Geoff Davis to discuss information.
 
A copy of all materials distributed to board members for discussion and/or action is included with the official minutes, unless otherwise indicated.
 
Board members present: Amber Concepcion, Penni Fishbaine, Scott Fozard, David Hutchinson, Jim Leous, Ann McGlaughlin, Jim Pawelczyk (arrived at 1:12 p.m.) Laurel Zydney
Board members absent: Dorothea Stahl
Board Secretary: Mary Jenn Dorman
Solicitor:
Superintendent: Robert O'Donnell
District Personnel: None
Guests: Amy Bader, Gretchen Brandt, Geoff Davis, Dan Duffy
 
II. Board Priorities
Mr. Davis noted that the next step was to establish priorities and goals. He would also have some time of reflection for the outgoing members and incoming members. He reviewed and asked board members to think about the following:
● Why we do what we do
● The importance to identify your mood as you come in
● Cares and concerns
● Evaluate what is (in the works as happening) and what is not (not yet happening)
● Guiding Principles and behavior
● Red and yellow what we are not doing, which is a strategic question to answer
● Strategic issues
● The identified stakeholders
 
At this time, Mr. Davis did an exercise for Cares / Concerns / Challenges / Priorities with the questions, “What could they do?” and “What will they do?” He had board members write down five things, one/Post-it to fit into the above categories. They placed Post-its related to each other in the same column and those not related, a new column was started, and ended up with twelve columns. Board members were then asked to vote with colored dots for four of the twelve columns (entire category) important to least important. Red dots 50 pts, green dots 25 pts., yellow dots 10 pts., and blue dots 5 pts. Then he asked if any of the categories could be combined and there were. The categories were numbered highest to lowest based on the number of points received with the dots. The top three items were: 1) Improve curriculum, 2) Process for DWFMP and downtown campus, and 3) Leadership transitions. The lower level becomes the strategies to improve, to do the top priorities and/or are also ways to support arching to things. Mr. Davis asked for the superintendent’s thoughts for consistency for focus. Dr. O’Donnell provided a handout for his focus points for the 2015-2016
school year and reviewed them. They are:
● Management and Leadership
● Board Communication and Development (transition)
● Development (accelerating opportunities for kids) and School Choice
 
III. Goals for the District
Dr. O’Donnell provided a handout of the Superintendent’s DRAFT District Goals for the 2015-2016 school year and reviewed them:
● Safety: Improve Safety of Students and Staff and noted the bullet items
● Student Learning: Improve Curriculum, Instruction and Student Achievement explaining what is to happen at the elementary, middle schools, high school, and middle level Delta
● Fiscal Stewardship: Maximize resources to support student learning
● Communication: Improve community member understanding noting this would be through updating project website and communication efforts, have an SCASD annual Report, and continue work toward strategic plan’s communication goals.
● Facilities: Make Progress to improve District Facilities
● School of Choice: Increase percentage of our families who choose SCASD and explained by implementing year two of Delta Middle Level, the CEEL program districtwide K-5, and personal communication with current cyber and charter families.
● Strategic Planning: Implement year two of District’s three-year Strategic Plan
 
Board members discussed: The items being in priority order and Dr. O’Donnell responded no, they were not, they are not all for him to do, should assign and delegate to team members, and development and school choice would be two he could spend time with. First focus could be management, leadership and learning with the second focus in serving the Board. Would like to get knowledge around payroll aspect of the whole district and really need to do, especially need this when going through negotiations, tracking over time would be helpful, annual or quarterly report, not a communication tool but an operations and/or management tool, and can determine the number of times/year needed. The role the superintendent plays under safety for staff morale, which he responded about trust under Pillar One. He wants to be extremely visible in schools and has changed his schedule to do so. Superintendent has administrative goals, district has theirs and how do they intersect? That is another conversation after today.
 
Audience members offered that social media is not utilized as much as it should be. Feel information is being hidden from parents, what should be pumped out, need to push out pictures on Facebook with students/teachers/principals. Facebook is what will get to parents and Twitter is more for the students.
 
IV. Reflections
Mr. Davis noted the outgoing board members were Ms. McGlaughlin, Dr. Pawelczyk and Ms. Stahl (not present today). Based on four questions Mr. Davis had for them: 1) The most important thing you learned as a board member. 2) Advice you would give to incoming board members, 3) Their wish for the District and Board, and 4) Their legacy or what they would like to be remembered for?
 
Dr. Pawelczyk shared his reflections first and provided a sheet he prepared with eleven important items to review noting that the superintendent runs the school system, good process builds margin, some most useful questions, and transparency to name a few. Ms. McGlaughlin stressed you can never be too transparent, be honest about your readiness for decision making, ask why, make sure the superintendent is getting the help he needs, and continue to prioritize having a sustainable budget, to name a few of her’s also.

Mr. Davis asked the incoming candidates 1) Why they would like to be board members? 2) What is their wish for the District? 3) the one thing that would help them make the transition to a Board Member? 4) What would they see that would tell them they achieved what they hoped to achieve? Each of the candidates Dr. Duffy, Dr. Bader, and Ms. Brandt offered comments based on the questions asked by Mr. Davis with each having interest to add value to what is going on, to help move the district forward in a positive direction, and help kids be successful and get as much out of school as they can.
 
Mr. Davis thanked all for sharing and noted it would be useful for the team. He reminded incoming candidates that they may be an expert in something but they would be a beginner as a board member. It is OK to ask for help.
 
V. Public Comment
There was no public comment.
 
VI. Closing Practice
Mr. Davis noted that they could finalize goals when they meet in an executive session in September to finalize superintendent’s goals. He is in the last year of his contract and Ms. Dorman will contact board members to offer dates/times regarding availability for the session.
 
As a closing practice, Mr. Davis listed what members believed to be accomplished, acknowledgements for people that were thanked for a meaningful contribution, noted improvements or things that could have been done better, and all agreed they were satisfied with their investment of time.
 
VII. Adjournment
Mr. Leous moved and Mr. Fozard seconded to adjourn the work session. Ms. Concepcion adjourned the work session at 2:27 p.m.
 
Submitted by,
 
Mary Jenn Dorman
Board Secretary