The Nampa Board of Trustees normally meets the second Tuesday of each month. The meeting was moved in January because of the holidays. Below is a summary of the January 16, 2018, special meeting.
CALL TO ORDER – 7:30 p.m.
Chairman Allison Westfall called the meeting to order at 7:30 p.m. Also in attendance were Trustees Kim Rost, Mandy Simpson, Janelle Stauffer and Mike Fuller. The audience joined the Board in reciting the Pledge of Allegiance.
Trustee Comments: Trustee Rost reported joining the Jan. 8 meeting of Idaho Business for Education at the Idaho Statehouse. Discussion focused on technology and the importance of keeping abreast of changes in that field, and on the role of ethical psychology. She noted that the district must be resourceful, innovative and work together to keep pace.
Trustee Simpson reported that she visited the Family Community Resource Center housed at Snake River Elementary School. While she was there, an abundance of donated items came in and she was able to see how they handled that and worked with volunteers.
Trustee Simpson asked about which trustee collected the greatest number of coats and sleeping bags for needy kids. Trustee Stauffer challenged trustees to in December to collect in their zones. Trustee Fuller was the winner, recruiting students in seminary programs to support the effort, and he commended the district's homeless liaisons Mirella Garcia and Steffanie Altenbern for their help sorting the donations.
Chairman Westfall said that she was asked in December to share a trustee’s perspective with Education Northwest researchers to aid its planning for upcoming projects by the regional education center. She recommended that group look at research on recruiting and retaining administrators.
The consent agenda was approved as presented.
A. Approval of Minutes: Regular Board Meeting – December 12, 2017
B. Approval of Minutes: Special Board Meeting – January 3, 2018
C. Approval of Monthly Personnel Report
D. Approval of Accounts Payable & Student Activity Funds Reports
E. Canyon County Statement of Receipts – November 30, 2017
F. Acknowledgement of January Enrollment Report
G. Overnight & Out-of-State Field Trip Requests
2018 Legislative Priorities: After attending a legislative breakfast together in the fall, Chairman Westfall asked Superintendent Paula Kellerer to share a list of legislative priorities for the Board to consider adopting. The Superintendent met with administrators and identified a list for the board to discuss. Chairman Westfall commented that this would be a first for the Board and that lawmakers have indicated an interest in hearing from local school boards. Trustee Rost asked if the Board might be better served by providing comment and concerns about issues already on lawmakers’ agendas. Superintendent Kellerer noted that all of the items on the list have already been part of discussions with lawmakers, and the hope is to help move them forward this session. Chairman Westfall asked trustees to consider the list of issues presented to them and be prepared to formalize their recommendation at the Feb. 13 board meeting, which falls just ahead of the Idaho School Boards Association Day on the Hill Feb. 19-20.
Facilities Committee Update: Assistant Superintendent Gregg Russell reported that the committee has been meeting monthly. Members include Director of Finance Randy Dewey, Director of Maintenance Kelly Hildebrand, Columbia High School Principal Cory Woolstenhulme, Sherman Elementary School Principal Sherry Marsh, Trustee Kim Rost, former Operations Director Harmon Hurren and patron Matt Graves. The committee is using a 10-year plan to look both back and ahead, and has reviewed the City of Nampa master plans and projections.
District enrollment currently shows an overall decrease in students with a decrease in elementary students and an increase in secondary students. Some high schools and middle schools are close to capacity, while two elementary schools are only about half full.
The committee is looking at a number of options, including remodeling, building, changing boundaries or even taking a school offline. Russell noted that the Boise School District created a new master plan a couple of years ago with the help of an outside agency, something NSD might consider in creating our own plan. The committee will continue to assess needs and return to the board with projections at the end of the school year.
Curriculum Adoption Update: Director of Curriculum and Instruction Laurie Maughan reported on the third year of the district curriculum adoption plan. This year included new curriculum in math, keyboarding/technology, and ELA. We are now prepping for the fourth year, which includes speech and debate materials and secondary science (to be presented this spring), among others. She noted that the district is trying to be mindful of not overloading teachers with too many new materials too quickly. Trustee Rost asked about the yearly K-5 English Language Arts materials listed in the plan. Maughan said that a lot of consumable material has to be reprinted every year and that needs to be accounted for in the budget. Open educational resources are useful in keeping us current. Maughan also reported on the teacher mentor/mentee program which provides support for new teachers.
Monthly Budget Status Report: Finance Director Randy Dewey reported that income is below projections due to lower than anticipated enrollment and average daily attendance, but that savings from other areas are expected to cover any shortfalls. He noted that the fund balance is safe and is expected to remain at 5 percent.
Review Parent Involvement Policy #2420: This policy must be reviewed annually. It covers what resources are available, how parents can be involved, the grievance process, etc.
Second Reading & Final Adoption Policy #3250 and #3080: These policies were not identified by number when approved at the December meeting. The Board properly identified and adopted them.
Repeal Duplicate Policies: When the Board previously approved some of the 3000 series of policies, it created duplication with current policy. The Board repealed the listed policies to eliminate duplication.
Review of Policy #4120 Grievance Procedure: Trustees reviewed the policy for handling complaints or grievances from parents, students, patrons and others. Trustees suggested some clarification of the policy, which follows a four-step process beginning at the “informal” level (teacher, counselor or building administrator) and if not resolved, escalates through the principal and superintendent before coming before the Board. Trustee Rost asked if the policy referred to business days or calendar days. Superintendent Keller said the district needs to review all grievance policies in handbooks, the master contract and other board policies and ensure they are consistent. Chairman Westfall asked that the administration incorporate trustee comments, review the other policies, and again bring the issue to the board in April or May.
Nampa Education Association Comments: NEA President Terri Bentley expressed concerns about how the time needed to keep up with technology, professional development, curriculum adoption and more might encumber teachers. She also said she is happy to hear that levy money is being spent for repairs and other district needs. Finally, she expressed concerns that the state-mandated senior projects look so different at each high school and suggested finding a way to level the playing field by making them more similar.
Superintendent Comments: Superintendent Kellerer reported that the district had discovered a glitch in the way the state was counting our gifted and talented students; those numbers should be reported correctly in the future.
The district’s Continuous Improvement Plan has been resubmitted with suggested changes. That plan can be found at nsd131.org under the “Board of Trustee” tab. Changes aim to align district activities with our strategic goals.
NSD has a number of positive community partnerships, including being part of the Healthy Nampa Initiatives. Our Family Community Resource Center has benefited greatly from that. In addition, Treasure Valley Leadership Academy is partnering with the Treasure Valley Education Partnership to construct and create a business plan for a fruit and vegetable stand to assist residents in areas with few or no healthy food purchasing options.
Superintendent Kellerer said Executive Director of Secondary Education Scott Parker is looking at the differences in what students are doing at each school for senior projects, and will work with a student leadership team to make sure the projects are relevant and support students in learning.
Superintendent Kellerer asked Communication Director Kathleen Tuck to review the plans for a focus group with the Board prior to the February meeting. Tuck said she is working the National School Public Relations Association on a communication audit of the district. The Board focus group was one of several. Trustees asked if groups would be held with parents not often heard from or involved and with parents who don't speak English. Tuck said they would. Results will be available and shared with the Board later this year.
Trustee Comments: Trustee Rost noted that many students procrastinate finding internships related to their senior projects and that it can be difficult to find someone locally who is willing to do it.
Trustee Simpson said she would love an update on what is happening at Treasure Valley Leadership Academy. She also would like to hear more from kids and suggested that a student council team could give a two-minute share-out at board meetings.
Trustee Stauffer said that she missed having a student spotlight at the meeting, focusing on a specific school program or achievement.
Trustee Fuller commented that it has been a pleasure to work with everybody.
Chairman Westfall said she had contacted the Idaho School Boards Association about two trainings for the Board – roles and responsibilities of boards and superintendent evaluations, given that no evaluation policy or criteria is in place. She asked the Board clerk to poll trustees on dates. She also noted that the Board had received an 88-page draft from its consultant on the 1000 series of policies reviewed in December that needed review before coming to the Board.
Board Assessment of Meeting: Trustee Rost rated the board’s performance as satisfactory, noting the absence of a student spotlight.
Upcoming Meetings: The next board meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. Feb. 13, with a work session at 6:30 p.m.