Board News, April 2015
The board met on March 25, 2015. Board members present: Greg White, Angie Tracey, Christine Kelley, Nina Nabors, Karen Andrews, John Lonsway, Pam Reister, Steve Rich. Public present: Will Hathaway, Karen Giltrow, Al Waters, Shellee Almquist, Sue Hofbauer, Mary Bassett, Dr. Stephen Gill.
Board Spotlight: Dr. Stephen Gill presented on the topic of innovation in education, and prompted a lively board discussion about Honey Creek’s approach to education and how that readies our students for the new landscape of college and the workforce.
Director’s Report: –Testing: Al Waters reported on the M-STEP testing that is beginning April 14 and will run through May 15. A schedule of test dates has been sent to parents, and teachers are being as creative as possible to minimize impact of testing on classroom instruction. –The Marketing committee continues to work with data pulled together from Catchafire volunteer as well as two groups from the UM business school (they will prepare presentation for April). –Replication/Expansion committee continues to work gathering information on the requirements for expansion, with the support of the WISD. Next steps will involve gathering some data around finances and possible locations. –Facilities: Randy Trent has been working with Honey Creek to implement a new form to speed up process of responding to teacher-initiated work orders. His crew has also been working to address rodent issues (new weatherstripping, closing gaps and passageways, working with exterminator to properly address issue). Conversation continued around air quality in the classrooms. Al will purchase an air quality monitor and will gather data to bring to Randy. The question of cleaning generally and cleaning air ducts, etc., continues.
Finance Committee Report: Angie asked Board to approve updated 2014-15 budget (few new items, include stipends and bonuses); board voted to approve. –Finance committee asked board to consider asking Foundation for a gift of $50,000 for this year; after discussion, the board voted to ask foundation for $65,000 for the school year. –John Lonsway handed off work on the Honda Grant to Al and Shellee for completion by May 1 deadline.
Foundation Liaison Report: –Foundation has raised around $37,000 this fiscal year. Work continues around a spring fundraising push, perhaps for a specific set of costs. Sent out update sheet for Pi Day indicating number of families contributing, etc. Also continuing work on donor database and identifying events/third party fundraising opportunities. –The foundation board has filled the Development Officer position. Sara Britnall will join us in April; a committee is forming to set goals and establish a work plan.
Governance Committee Report: –Waiting for WISD to give feedback to bylaws updates; should be ready to vote on by May. –Director’s evaluation is getting underway. –Committee provided plan for continued board development, and continues to work on board orientation materials.
Communications and Outreach Committee Report: –Work continues on improving communications among all stakeholders. Plans are in place for middle school transition meetings (for parents), rekindling parent ambassador/mentor program for new families, improving flow of communication, meeting with all stakeholders in fall. –PTO has approved $999 in funding so committee can move ahead with a promotional video primarily for an external audience. –Work is being done on improving content on website, and we are starting to look at Parent Handbook for next year.
Faculty Liaison Report: –Board luncheon/fall retreat: All teachers who responded were positive about interacting with the Board, although there were some mixed reactions to luncheon vs. retreat vs. having Board (or representative) attend a staff meeting. Board recognized these competing preferences, and will plan to move forward as sensitively as possible. –Mary reported on faculty conversation around Honey Bunches of Notes, and acknowledges that there are mixed opinions among teachers here, as well. Board engaged in conversation around this, with Christine providing some context and information about the goals of the tool. She provided Mary a written summary of these remarks following the meeting. The goal is to keep improving communication within and outside of community.
Public Participation: Karen Andrews read Elka Francisco’s email concerning air quality in classrooms to the Board. Discussion around next steps followed, and Board expressed a commitment to continuing to address the issue.
Board Kudos: To the vast crew, including Fine Arts committee and other parent volunteers, who made Talent Night so successful. To teachers who so thoughtfully and thoroughly prepared for conferences. To the Wellness committee, for several well-planned events focusing on mental health, for students and families.
Next meeting: April 22, 5:30 pm in the Pit. All are welcome.