Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Ladue Schools Board of Education Meeting - August 26, 2013

This information includes highlights of action taken and information received by the Ladue Board of Education at the August 26, 2013, meeting.  This is an unofficial record.  Official minutes of each Board meeting are posted on the district website and are available for viewing at the Administrative Center after the Board approves them, typically two weeks after the meeting.

Board President Remark

  • Jeff Kopolow commented on the success of the Opening Session for staff which took place on August 8, 2013, noting how, over the years, this annual program has gone from a simple "ringing of the bell" to a full-blown production.  He congratulated the Communications Department for their coordination of this program which takes place the morning of the first day all staff are back after summer break.
  • Mr. Kopolow also commented on a very smooth opening of schools, noting how, even with the additional challenges of coordinating the student transfers in the last few weeks before the beginning of school, the first days of school have been very positive and relatively problem-free.

Superintendent Remarks
  • Superintendent Dr. Donna Jahnke also commented about the school year being off to a great start.  While the state's official "count day" is not until September 25, 2013, overall district enrollment is currently 4,092, up 122 students from last year.  Some adjustments have been made to bus routes to address some initial transportation challenges and these issues are resolving very quickly.  In addition, the Fifth Grade Center is running smoothly and plans for a community Open House later this fall are underway.
  • The district's contract with Sansone Group, entered into on October 23, 2012, to sell the old Ladue Early Childhood Center property (10601 Clayton Road in Frontenac), has expired and the district is now free to entertain other offers on the property.
  • Dr. Jahnke announced class size policies and procedures will be an important topic of discussion in the coming year, and these conversations will begin at the Board's September 23, 2013, Business Meeting.  
  • Dr. Donna Jahnke extended the district's condolences to the family and friends of Jessica Gartenberg, a 2013 graduate of Ladue Horton Watkins High School, who passed away on Friday, August 23, 2013.  Jessica's sister, Aliza, is a sophomore at the high school and Jessica's aunt, Susan Gartenberg, is a counselor at Reed Elementary School.  Dr. Jahnke said counselors would be available for student support, as needed, at the high school and at Reed, where Jessica was formerly a cadet teacher.   

2013-14 District Facilities Fee Schedule.  Board of Education policy requires annual approval of the fee schedule for use of the district's facilities.  Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Dr. Jason Buckner presented, and the Board approved, the 2013-14 fee schedule which keeps the current fee schedule in place, includes minor updates to the procedures and protocol for facility use, and updates the listing to reflect the opening of the Fifth Grade Center.

Patron Appointments to Board Advisory Committees.  Board President Jeff Kopolow announced the reappointments of community patrons to three of the district's Board Advisory committees for the 2013-14 school year, including the Curriculum & Instruction Committee, the Finance Committee and the Technology Committee.  There were no new open seats available this year, but Mr. Kopolow stressed the importance of community involvement in the district's decision-making processes and encouraged community members to look for opportunities to serve on these and other important district committees in the future.


District Preliminary MAP Test Results.  Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Dr. Laura Brock provided an overview of the Missouri Assessment Program (MAP) results released publicly on August 23, 2013.  Dr. Brock summarized the results and explained how this data will be used at the building, classroom and individual level to support student learning.

Board of Education Goals/Work Plan.  Mr. Kopolow gave the Board an opportunity to discuss a draft of the Board's work plan for the 2013-14 school year as developed during the Board's retreat during the summer.  The finalized plan will be approved at the September 23, 2013, Business Meeting.

First Semester Board Meeting Agenda Calendar.  Mr. Kopolow and Dr. Jahnke presented the general calendar of topics to be discussed by the Board at their currently scheduled meetings during the 2013-14 school year.  A number of in-depth workshops regarding educational initiatives are included.  This calendar will be adjusted and expanded to include additional topics over the course of the year.

Tentative Agenda Items for the Board's Work Session on September 9, 2013:
  • Operating Fund Levy and Debt Service Fund Levy
  • Standard & Poor's Financial Rating
Tentative Agenda Items for the Board's Business Meeting on September 23, 2013:

  • Tax Rate Hearing and Approval of Operating Fund Levy and Debt Service Fund Levy
  • Special School District Contracts for Homebound Services and Substitute Personnel
  • 2013-14 Bus Routes/Mileage
  • Focus for Board Advisory Committees
  • Communications Report
  • Strategic Plan Update/Changes
  • Class Size Discussion
The next Board of Education meeting will be a Work Session on September 9, 2013 at 6 p.m.  The Board's next Business Meeting will take place on September 23, 2013 at 7 p.m.  Both meetings will be held at the Administrative Center, 9703 Conway Road.