Board Meeting Minutes – May 8, 2014

Board members present: Andrea, Genevieve, Myla, Gregg, Shelley, Casey, David, Tiffany, Mark
Board members absent: None
Others in attendance: Dawn, Carol, Kassandra

The meeting was called to order at 6:10 pm.

Teacher Presentation
Carol shared the WWII curriculum unit, including literature (Diary of Anne Frank) and a field trip to the Oregon Historical Society and Steve Preston’s collection of WWII memorabilia. The 7/8 also completed a unit on Ancient China, including reading a novel with a collection of Chinese folktales and, for science, integrating kite designing and building. This unit included a field trip to the Chinese Garden, and lunch at a Chinese restaurant.

(See the handout for further 2 year cycle information).

Capstone: 8th Grade
• Background research.
• They have mentors on campus to keep the accountability piece along with building a relationship with a staff member
• Writing I-Search paper: This is a narrative documenting how the students did their research
• Keynote presentation to a Capstone Committee – the students really loved this process because they found it to be very useful
• Revision and Editing occurred based on the committee’s feedback
• Assembled and installed their projects
• Created a data table/plan
• Document through blogs
• Collecting data
• Analyze data
• Create presentation for Evening of Excellence at CCC

7th Grade:
Robotics (Sept-Feb)

7th grade will begin Capstone topic selection and begin their research in March-June.

The board had several questions for the teachers:
Are you integrating the music and art with your units?
Carol and Kassandra responded that yes, both of the artists integrated some of the content. It was more difficult with music since there were two music teachers this year.
Have you thought about outside mentors?
Andrea explained how we’d tried this in the past, but many of the outside mentors did not understand our process, or didn’t have a connection to the curriculum. It was also difficult for the students to find time to meet with their mentors.
Capstone is such a huge project. Do you feel that it is worthwhile?
It is difficult for some of the wide ranges of abilities in the classrooms. About half of the students are ready and half are not. Do all students’ projects need to look the same?
The board wanted Carol and Kassandra to know that the Capstone can be reworked. Andrea stated that the board really wants to make sure that we look at the cost benefit analysis.
A few of the big constraints have been that everything has to connect, and the weather / seasonal constraints.

Andrea stated that she appreciated the great content that the Foxes are learning this year.

Dawn also took a moment to acknowledge how amazing Carol and Kassandra have been with developing curriculum, and that they’ve created a strong culture in their room. Dawn has not had one behavior conversation with the 7th and 8th grade students.

Conferences: Successful, and parents left very confident about how their students were doing. We had a huge turnout! There were also moms and dads and grandmas and grandpas coming to conferences.

Action Items:

Hiring of 5/6th position
Danielle was our internal candidate. Jane Lindquist was also a candidate. Jane had been a long time science teacher at Arbor private school. Each teacher taught a lesson to the River Otters. There were interviews the next day.

The candidate that the hiring committee is recommending is Danielle. She really made an effort to understand the students. She wasn’t thrown at all by the movement of students. She noticed who needed to do that, and she checked in with the students who needed more assistance. Her lesson was completely age appropriate. She had many parts of her lesson that were highly engaging. She had really researched and taken the time to teach her lesson. She offered a range of reading levels to the students. She used a lot of checks and strategies for getting the students’ attention. She kept coming back to the main objective of the lesson. She had no behavioral issues. She adjusts and allows for students, but doesn’t let it get too far outside the box.

The interview went well, too. She was consistent throughout the interview. She comes to us from Connecticut. She did some work with Trackers NW. She is very knowledgeable about the workshop model for teaching reading. She talked about the building of relationships, and how important that was.

Myla stated that she had observed during the interview that Danielle really honed in on the “building relationship” aspect of teaching. Gregg felt that Danielle had a very intuitive insight into the human aspect of teaching. He felt that the other candidate had a system, and she started confident and then fell apart.

Dawn contacted Danielle’s references. There was a lot of consistency in her references. Two people said that she is an “impeccable communicator.”

Andrea made a motion to hire Danielle.
The board voted unanimously to hire Danielle Ainson.

Discussion played out about the option of two weeks of spring break versus one week of spring break. Andrea proposed taking off three days the first week, and the entire second week; Dawn stated that a two-day week is a challenging to accomplish any meaningful instruction. The board reached consensus that the draft calendar as proposed was acceptable.

Music Program: Staff and students really like this program. The staff thought that this should be a stand alone, not necessarily, integrated program. Springwater has posted the music teacher position on Craigs List.

Counselor Position:
At the last staff meeting, staff discussed the counselor position. The staff really needs someone to help them with proactive work. There are many students who are dealing with issues of perfectionism or anxiety. There is a significant need for a counselor to help both with integrated work in the classroom, and to teach small peer groups with different areas of social skills / emotional regulation focus.

Garden Program Position:
Working in the garden
Maintaining the garden
Teaching in the garden

Some teachers thought that partial integration with the two-year cycle might be nice, but having a stand alone special is also valuable. The role of the garden coordinator includes creating and teaching the garden lessons. How do we maintain this in the summer? The staff really wants a Kaci Rae to return, and staff believe that a garden coordinator is essential to the continued success and use of the garden. Dawn proposed a salaried position, with a flexible schedule to be set between the employee and principal, depending on the seasonal needs of the garden and the curriculum. The board voted unanimously to offer the successful applicant a salary of $25,000 with benefits.

Purchase of the Buiding:
The board discussed:
— a counteroffer of $600,000, contingent upon required repairs, and a possible delayed closing

Andrea confirmed Islandwood plans for the Aug. 2014 board summer retreat.

The meeting adjourned at 8:45 pm.