Board of Education, July 2017

July 31st, 2017  |  Published in Observer Reports

Shaker Heights Board of Education

July 11, 2017

Shaker Heights Administration Building


The meeting was called to order by Board President Alex Dykema at 6:00 p.m.


Present: Board President Alex Dykema, Todd Davidson, William Clawson, Annette Sutherland, Jeffrey Isaacs, Superintendent Dr. Gregory Hutchings, and Treasurer Bryan Christman.


The Pledge of Allegiance was led by Superintendent Hutchings and the Board Approved the minutes of the June 13, 2017, Board Meeting.


  1. Superintendent Hutchings acknowledged staff and students for special recognition, honors and awards. He introduced some new staff members and highlighted two female track athletes who placed at states in the 3200 meters:  Sophie Carrier, 2nd  and Mimi Reimers, 6th.  He also recognized the success of Shaker students at National History Day and that former Shakerite Nora Spodani, a June grad heading off to the U. of Chicago, was honored by the Society of Professional Journalists with this year’s Philip W. Porter Scholarship (he was a Plain Dealer editor and Shaker resident).  The self-coached members of the Shaker National Academic Challenge team placed among the top 8 out of 29 in their first year of competition.  Thirty-one elementary teachers attended a Primary Years Programme Workshop last month at the High School to learn more about enriching students through inquiry (hallmark International Baccalaureate teaching strategy).


  1. President Dykema offered the opportunity for public conversation with the Board. Ellen Roberts, a SMS language teacher, commented that none of the SMS language teachers had their own classrooms and offered an idea of 2 external classrooms.


  1. Updates were provided by Shaker Schools Foundation ED Holly Coughlin and Dr. Jill Korbin, Director of Schubert Center for Child Studies at CWRU, on Shaker Schools and CWRU grant collaboration on equity in education based on a grant by the WT Grant Foundation. The proposal, due in September, will look at sources of inequality and identify areas to start institutional change.  It is hoped this collaboration will be a partnership over time and is an incredible opportunity for both Shaker and CWRU.


  1. Scott Stephens, Executive Director of Communications, gave an update on communications with 5 areas of focus – internal, external, reputation building, emergency, and media in a power point presentation:


  1. Cost savings in this department were highlighted and reviewed. District calendar will not be mailed out to all school families but will be available at all schools for pick up.


  1. Positive relationship with the city of Shaker Heights – including a recent successful marketing meeting with realtors. Communication specialists from inner ring districts meet regularly and share ideas.


  1. A communications advisory council made up of 10 members of the community 2 years ago has been meeting regularly and has helped extend capacity with their combined expertise and advice.


  1. This year’s initiatives include: enhanced outreach, setting up a new Teachers advisory council, Student Ambassador Program, refining of emergency communication procedures and  bond money communications to the Shaker public.


  1. The majority of the items for approval on the published agenda involved action on personnel matters such as new appointments, changes in assignments, temporary employees, special assignments and resignations all of which were approved and are listed in detail on the published agenda. Some of the new employees were in attendance and were introduced at the meeting.


  1. Business items reported, recommended by the Superintendent and approved by the Board follow. Also updated board policies had its 3rd
  2. Upgrading the phone system as part of the strategic plan. Current system is 12 years old.


  1. Treasurer Bryan Christman presented financial and budget reports and highlighted what is happening as far as the state budget and Shaker funding (Details of each financial report are included as exhibits to the published agenda available on line).


  1. Superintendent’s Report on the status of the Shaker Heights Schools’ Strategic Plan: Our Equity Task Force held its second meeting last night, Monday, July 10, 2017, and we had another outstanding session. This month’s guests were Ms. Mary Lynne McGovern, our academic advisor for the MAC Scholars Program at our High School, and Mr. Reuben Harris, a former member of this Board. Ms. McGovern and her family participated in the Shaker Schools Plan, a voluntary integration plan in the 1960s and 1970s. They lived in Fernway but sent their children to Moreland Elementary School. Mr. Harris was co-founder of the advocacy group Caring Communities Organized for Education, has served on the Project Achieve committees, and helped establish the Sankofa celebration. He was instrumental in having such noted researchers as the late Dr. John Ogbu of Berkeley and Dr. Ronald Ferguson of Harvard analyze Shaker’s black-white achievement gap.


  1. The Board adjourned to Executive Session at about 7:41 p.m.



Holly Wang



Comments are closed.