Board of Education, Aug. 16, 2019

September 3rd, 2019  |  Published in Observer Reports

Present: Board President Jeffrey Isaacs and board members Bill Clawson, Lisa Cremer, Ayesha Hardaway and Heather Weingart; Superintendent Dr. David Glasner, and Treasurer Bryan Christman

The meeting was called to order by Mr. Isaacs at 6 p.m. Find the agenda here.

The board approved the minutes of the meetings held in July. Public comments included an address to the school board from high school teacher Jody Podl and support for Ms. Podl by Craig Martahus; a thank you to the board for his education from 2019 graduate Christos Ioannou; a request from Sara Schiavoni to access raw data from the strategic metrics; a review of protocol in moving forward from a Woodbury 6th-grade camp incident from Brooke Bribiesco; and comments from Vicki Elder on policy work.

Dr. Glasner recognized the following:

  • Shaker Athletics: HS varsity boys soccer team was the Gold Division champs at the Adidas National Soccer Showcase in Strongsville last mouth. The Raider cheerleaders received multiple team and individual awards at an AmeriCheer camp last month. Ezra Dykema, sophomore, competed at the AAU Diving National Championships last month and placed in the top 10 in three categories. Varsity Football Coach Alex Nicholson planned a fundraiser for the team with the first Shaker Heights Raider Football Legacy Night, which raised $2,000 and engaged alumni players and families.
  • Twenty-two of the incoming freshmen completed the five-week Summer Academy, which helps students prepare for transition to the high school by offering academic support and enrichment opportunities.
  • Seven Shaker Heights High School students and Latin/Greek teacher Nora Murphy traveled to the 2019 National Junior Classical League Convention.
  • The 2019 Alumni Hall of Fame class comprises eight men and women who have made significant contributions to the field of health, law, government, arts, and athletics. The class will be introduced at an assembly on Oct. 11 and honored at a dinner and induction ceremony on Oct. 12. See for more details.
  • Woodbury School’s new makerspace will be ready for students this school year thanks to funds from the Shaker Schools Foundation’s Innovation Fund. The space will contain small robotics and circuitry sets that can be checked out to classrooms, and students can use the space during lunchtime, recess, and after school.
  • The high school hosted a presentation by Positive Engagement Encouraging Resiliency in Shaker Students (PEERS) participants. Eleven PEERS students participating in a six-week summer program researched and answered questions over mental health and school-related stressors.

Chief Operating Officer Jeff Grosse gave an update on facilities, capital projects, and Fernway construction: Masonry restoration, including waterproofing and other foundation work, will be completed by Aug. 21 at Boulevard, Lomond, Mercer, Woodbury, and the Middle School; Updates to fire alarm and security systems will be completed by Aug. 16; the High School north parking lot will be resurfaced and done by Aug.19; roof repairs at Lomond will be finished by the start of school and repairs to the high school roof will be worked on after school hours. Mr. Grosse thanked all the custodial and maintenance crews for getting the school buildings ready for opening. At Fernway, demolition on the south elevation and masonry walls continues and footers for the new addition will be coming in now on the cleared land. Interior walls for the auditorium were beginning to be built.

Director of Student Data and Accountability, Dr. Chris Rateno, and Chief Academic Officer, Dr. Marla Robinson, updated the board on 2019 Strategic Plan Metrics, which led to a more in-depth discussion with questions from board members. Dr. Rateno gave the highlights of the Strategic Plan Metric report, which reviews multiple milestone events over multiple years. Reading trends have improved in third grade, with an 80 percent passage rate. However, Ms. Hardaway said that even though the math test scores achievement gap has closed somewhat, the gap in sixth-grade test scores show that only 29 percent  of black students are proficient – which is unacceptable.

Discipline data from the Progress Book was reviewed: The number of suspensions in some schools increased in the 2018-19 school year, possibly due to the increased influence of social media with even younger students, unique situations from the school year, and the need for more social and emotional support for some students. Action steps to take so students feel safe to maximize learning: implementation of Caring School Communities in pre-K – eighth grade; use a multi-tiered system of supports with positive intervention; add a school counselor at Woodbury; and do ongoing monitoring of student discipline data. The district is looking at what strategies are working in some of the buildings to cull best practices and possibly using professional learning for staff to effectively input discipline incidents to the Progress Book. Strategic planning has led to new curriculum with a whole-child approach, with more focus on the social and emotional needs of students and on learning about and reacting to institutional barriers to achievement. There is also more recognition of how outside traumas to families affect the educational success of students – including the availability of the ACE (Adverse Childhood Experiences) assessment and other learning tools. 

All personnel updates and changes were approved. 

The following business items were approved: change order with Dial Electric for HS life safety & IT room renovation; resolution to accept the agreement for the leasing and serving of copier equipment with Meritech, Inc. (lower cost option); school bus stops for the 2019-20 school year in accordance with the Ohio Administrative Code (note the availability of a new bus GPS app for parents to be able to see where their student’s bus is); resolution to initiate the sale of certain board property to clear out unused or outdated items in the warehouse using an online auction to the community—the auction will span Sept. 1-11 with pick up on Sept. 13.

The board approved the combining of two part-time security positions to create one full-time position within OAPSE Local 152.

The board approved the language of Mr. Christman’s five-year employment contract through July 31, 2024.

The treasurer’s report for June: Real estate tax revenue received YTD this year was $6.8 million, or 9.3 percent less than last year due primarily to a timing difference in advance amounts paid out by the county in early 2018 (because of accelerated tax payments in advance of the Jan. 1, 2018, federal income tax law changes limiting state and local tax deductions). The reduced collections include $433,058 less in delinquent tax collections during the first half of 2019 as compared to the same period in 2018. Also included in the YTD tax receipts was the first Shaker Plaza TIF payment, totaling $386,036. Investment earnings are $0.4 million or 45.2% more than last fiscal year-to-date. Other local revenues are $1.7 million, or 47.5 percent less than the prior year, due primarily to the non-recurring receipt last fiscal year of the $1.8 million reimbursement for the Middle School roof project from the bond issuance fund. The district received approximately the same State Foundation funding in Fiscal 2019 as in Fiscal 2018 due to being on the “guarantee” funding method. There is a $350,000 favorable budget variance of revenues vs. expenditures.

Additional comments by Mr. Christman included: 97.2 percent of the district’s funding is raised locally via taxes; state and federal funding is minimal. The state’s budget included new student wraparound services funded at $675 million to be distributed among 600 school districts; but it also included a decline in state grants and changes to and educational choice funding.

Dr. Glasner reported the following: he attended and addressed the IB Global Conference in New Orleans; the nation of South Korea has signed an MOU with IB to commit to the IB framework – due to their visitors’ positive experience in the district; IB has eliminated its $172 candidate fees, which speaks to the equity of the IB program; he attended the Buckeye Association of School Administrators New Superintendents conference in Columbus and a meeting with the First Ring Suburbs consortium, where he will serve on the advocacy committee. He also reported that the Superintendent’s Transition Team will hold its second meeting Aug. 27 and will have an update for the September board meeting. He also highlighted the appointment of George Clark, formerly an assistant principal at the high school as interim principal at Lomond, and Tiffany Joseph as a new assistant at the high school.

The board remarked on the successful back-to-school barbeque. The next school board meeting will be held on Sept. 10 at 6 p.m. in the high school small auditorium.

The board adjourned the public session at 8:35 p.m.

Holly Wang

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