Board Work Session Agenda/Minutes 7-11-16

All Attachments in pdf

July 11, 2016 Board Work Session
Panorama Village Building - Meeting Room B 
240 Villa Crest Drive
State College, PA 16801


            Reflect on Feedback (attachment II-A)
            Next Steps

III.    PRIORITIES / GOALS for 2016-1017
            Reflections from 2015-2016 (attachment III-A)
            Discussion regarding 2016-2017

            Board Work Session in August: 
            Refine priorities for 2016-2017 
            Plan for Strategic Planning



July 11, 2016 Board Work Session Minutes
Panorama Village Building Meeting - Room A
240 Villa Crest Drive
State College, PA 16801


Ms. Concepcion called the State College Area School District Board of School Directors work session to order at 6:07 p.m.
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: Amy Bader, Gretchen Brandt (arrived 6:15 p.m.), Amber Concepcion, Dan Duffy, Penni Fishbaine, Scott Fozard, David Hutchinson, Jim Leous, Laurel Zydney
Board members absent :
Board Secretary: Mary Jenn Dorman
Student Representative: Lars DeLorenzi
Superintendent: Robert O’Donnell
District Personnel:
Guests: Gus Colangelo, Harry Hamilton, Hyesen Kim

Ms. Concepcion noted they would start with the first item on the agenda and she has received feedback from board members. They would start at the beginning and review each of the five principles. Board member suggested this should start with the Purpose of this and the Reason Why. Discussion occurred: The reason for doing this is to be role models for students in the Community, be civic leaders and demonstrate this; want to collaborate and work together; doing more in committees for less confusion at the table; would like to make clear how we work together for efficiency and effectiveness; need to get the work done during meetings; should use time wisely and provided examples of NOT being efficient; and communication being the most important. This has come about to establish common ground between the Superintendent and board members. This is for clarity, expectations, and role model. Board member read an example sentence to begin this and if anyone has something to add for the purpose and why, please send to Ms. Concepcion.

Beginning with #1, it was decided instead of stating “Board members” it will be changed to We Will…. It was decided to scratch, “Avoid surprises at the table.” The members discussed: How to nicely call “Enough, let’s move on,” suggested a signal to Ms. Concepcion, provide times on the agenda, action items different than information/discussion, and Dr. Colangelo suggested a “Gate Keeper” to help keep things on time. Need to tie decisions to goals and what do we want to reach? Things we can and can not predict for amount of time, the challenge of not needing a decision but do have questions and/or need background information, and once there is a vote, move forward together do not need to continually revisit the issue. Moving forward has gotten better due to committees, good to stay on point for what is in front of you, a proper vehicle to build in period checks, voting no is saying a minority opinion, minority opinion is good, and what is meant here was support and recognize the decision. Once a person votes, it is a Board decision and not about the individual. Uphold is different than Support. Need to be looking at the big picture for the overall benefit of the whole District, not looking at each “tree,” and need to really focus on our role as a board member.

Through the conversation, it was decided there should be no numbers on the principles, just bullets. The order of the items will not change anything going forward, and the process of one-by-one review was becoming longer than expected. Ms. Concepcion would like to have this on the July 25th meeting agenda and asked if there were comments for the remainder of the items. Comments:
      ● #5 is new since NSBA Learning, this does outline and meets need, not the top goal for next year but helps how Board interfaces, asking a question can be public information, the public is entitled to information, and having more information can lead to additional analysis.
      ● #3 want to say to focus on the “Big Picture,” think and act strategically, align all goals not just annually, and should have a district-wide focus.
      ● #4 led to a discussion about growth mindset and possibly being a fad, board members being elected officials to represent all, and committing to an intentional effort to do so.
      ● #5 could have more to look at but at this time, the group decided to move forward.

Next Steps
With the discussion and comments made, Ms. Concepcion will work on and send out a second draft in the next day or two for all to view. Board member noted that a less formal document could also work well and be good. This may be on the agenda for the July 25 meeting.

Board members took a break from 7:35 to 7:50 p.m.

Reflections from 2015-2016
Dr. O’Donnell explained that he would highlight items and not review all that is stated. There were five things that he felt were good information to highlight:
         ● Page 1 with regards to Safety for students and staff is very important and the efforts we have taken to ensure this.
         ● Page 2 deals with our curriculum world: Instructional practices Students and how teachers utilize resources. The three-year Strategic Plan, Gifted/Learning Enrichment for core and outside of core.
         ● The High School and positive steps with the project, the Bell Schedule and transition with this went well, and the Student Learning Communities and Professional Learning Communities, which is a huge step that provides flexibility and student decision drives.
         ● Page 5 for Finances and being in a different place right now. To be where we are and have resources for elementary projects and the downtown campus. He believes this is very impressive.
         ● Policy Development and having a lens on this very important Board level work here. There has been more accomplished in one semester than his first four and a half years.

Dr. O’Donnell noted that he thought these would stand out looking back in the years ahead. He asked board members if there were any questions and there were none. Members added the medical update and new carrier, settling three contracts in one school year, communication department becoming multifaceted, and the evolution with the medial environment.

Look to 2016-2017
Looking at the eight Goal Areas, Dr. O’Donnell explained that they do align with effective schools. Need to make sure we do not take these off the table. Dr. O’Donnell will be doing something similar with the Administrative Team. Discussion occurred: School Climate could be under Safety, Inclusive Excellence could actually be under student Learning, and Mental Health for social/ emotional. Special Education being for diagnosed students and we are talking about all students; mental health is bigger than this. The environment when a person walks into a school, student should feel welcomed and safe, this listing does not recap all we do, our diversity effort and what is being worked on, a gap in communication for goal area, community engagement, and where is our own professional school? Who deals with problems that occur? We do need to get better about communication, creating a sustainable District, not environmental, but to keep going, need to create a mindset to do this, leadership development, and need to make decisions with a sustainable organization in the back of mind with all we do. Sustainability is very important with long/short term regarding budget, a chain of communication, and superintendent talked about not only for departments but the whole District. Professional Development is a need for the District, goes hand in hand with curriculum development, what jobs kids will get 20 years from now, teach problem solving, flexibility and critical thinking, and not mass customization.
In regards to conversation, Dr. O’Donnell asked about strategic priorities for the coming year, the achievement gap place, and where are we going next year? Board members discussed: In 2016-17 the school of choice, the long-term strategy with charter schools, can tell community about the cost and what else we could be doing with the money paid, mass production vs. a customized world, minds need to be open on what we have to offer, place for protocols and build into structure for interactions, and community members could bring an idea to us.

Dr. O’Donnell noted he would work on dates for a potential Board Retreat/Work Session for August. How do we increase student ownership for school climate? Maybe with Strategic Plan, can speak on something to improve the student voice.

There was no public comment.

Mr. Fozard moved and Ms. Fishbaine seconded to adjourn the Board work session. All board members present voted aye with a voice vote. The motion passed unanimously. Ms. Concepcion adjourned the work session at 8:57 p.m. to an executive session.

Submitted by,

Mary Jenn Dorman
Board Secretary