Wednesday, February 25, 2015

Board Briefs from February 23, 2015, Business Meeting

This information includes highlights of action taken and information received by the Ladue Schools Board of Education at the February 23, 2015, Business 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.

Excellence in Education Award
Carolyn Zahm
Reading Specialist at Reed Elementary

Board President's Remarks
  • Board President Jeff Kopolow recognized candidates running for positions on the Board of Education in the April 7, 2015 election who were in attendance, including incumbents Sheri Glantz and Nancy Goldstein, as well as Sheldon Johnson.
Superintendent's Remarks
  • Superintendent Dr. Donna Jahnke offered congratulations to Ladue Horton Watkins High School theatre students on their performance of Young Frankenstein in this year's musical.  She also commended theater teacher Mike Pecka for his direction of the play, Aaron Lehde for his direction of the orchestra, and Tom Lowery for his choral and voice work with students.

2016-2017 School Calendar.  Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum & Instruction Dr. Laura Brock presented, and the Board approved, the administration's recommendation for the 2016-17 school year calendar.  This calendar maintains a similar structure as in recent years with minor adjustments in days used for professional development.  This calendar reflects the first school day as Monday, August 15, 2016 and the last school day as May 24, 2017.

Meet and Confer Report.  Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Ken Rossics presented, and the Board approved, the 2015 Meet and Confer Report.  The Meet and Confer process is used to discuss salary, benefits, and working conditions between the teachers and the district and has been in progress since early January.  The final agreements and resolutions resulting from the process are included in the report, and this year includes the adoption of a new compensation structure for certified teachers.

2015 District Summer Programs.  Dr. Brock presented, and the Board approved, the expanded summer programming to be offered during Summer 2015.  The adopted proposal includes credit recovery programming for high school students, K-8 opportunities for students identified as needing additional support, and fee-based early childhood offerings. 


Update on Math Action Plans.  Dr. Brock presented an update on the district's Mathematics Action Plan developed by the math cadre workgroup as a result of the K-12 Math Review performed in Spring 2014.  These action plans include five goals outlining the specific steps, timelines, rubrics, and resources identified as being required to improve overall student learning in math.

New Board Policy INC.  Dr. Brock outlined Board Policy INC (Speakers at District Events) which will be recommended to the Board for adoption at the meeting on March 9, 2015.  Legislation has created new requirements for school districts and therefore, this policy has been developed by the Missouri School Board Association (MSBA) for review, revision and adoption by districts, including the Ladue School District, that utilize MSBA for policy management and guidance.   

Tentative Agenda Items for Business Meeting Monday, March 9, 2015 (High School Library):

  • New Board Policy INC- Speakers at District Events
  • Support Staff Employee Council Report and Salary Recommendation
  • 2015-2016 Administrative Salary Structure Recommendation
  • Master Plan Phase I Schematic Presentation
The next meeting of the Board will be a Business Meeting at 7 p.m. on Monday, March 9, 2015 to be held in the Ladue Horton Watkins High School library (1201 S. Warson Road, St. Louis, MO, 63124.)

Friday, February 13, 2015

Board Briefs from February 11, 2015, Board Work Session

This information includes highlights of information received by the Ladue School Board of Education at the February 11, 2015, Work Session.  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.

    Superintendent Remarks
    • Superintendent Dr. Donna Jahnke announced that next week is "I Am LMS Day" at Ladue Middle School.  The day is sponsored by the Ladue Middle School Diversity Cadre and is set aside to celebrate and increase awareness of the many differences, as well as the commonalities, among students.  Types of diversity highlighted are ethnicity, religion, abilities, socioeconomic status, gender and sexual orientation.  
    • On Friday, February 13, 2015, the high school basketball teams will take on Clayton High School.  All games will take place at Ladue Horton Watkins High School with the girls junior varsity playing at 4 p.m. and the girls varsity team playing at 5:30 p.m. in the Ramming Center gym.  The boys junior varsity will play at 4:15 p.m. and the boys varsity team will play at 7 p.m. in the Nielson gym.  This game is also the traditional Coaches v. Cancer game where teams from both schools come together to raise money for the American Cancer Society.  All are encouraged to come out to support our teams and this great cause.    
    • Dr. Donna Jahnke introduced Anastasia Maranto, a lead member of the high school's FIRST robotics team.  Anastasia explained the team has just six more days to construct a robot within very detailed specifications that can complete a specific task.  The team gave a demonstration of their robot and invited the community to an open house on Saturday, February 14, 2015, from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. to watch their robot in action.  The team's first competition is on March 4-7, 2015, in Little Rock, Arkansas.    

    High School Schedule.  Dr. Jahnke provided background on the need for changing the high school schedule structure and the processes used over the last 15 months to identify the schedule configuration to be implemented beginning in the 2015-16 school year. Principal Brad Griffith outlined the following as the primary benefits of the new schedule:
    • Increase in the frequency of class meetings
    • Increase in instructional time
    • Maintenance of the benefits of the current "block" schedule configuration
    • Built-in specialized support for students in need of addition help
    • Maintenance of frequent access to teachers for questions and additional support
    • Opportunity for increased collaboration within and between departments
    Implementation work in the coming months will focus on three areas:
    1. Continuing to identify academic supports from which all students can benefit and more specific academic supports for struggling learners.  This includes providing support to foster improved transition to high school for ninth-graders, organizational skills, reading comprehension and ACT preparation.   
    2. Creating specific and intentional collaboration within and across disciplines.  This includes creating common assessments within disciplines, addressing curriculum pacing, and sharing specific instructional techniques, as well as addressing specific students outside individual classrooms.   
    3. Defining specific expectations for Common Learning Time, including staff and student accountabilities to ensure this time is used intentionally and additional supports are identified and provided, as needed for specific students.  
    Mr. Griffith also addressed testing policies, the need to modify lesson plans, guidelines for assigning homework, and changes to the lunch period in terms of both space and timing.  

    Meet and Confer Report.  Assistant Superintendent for Human Resources Ken Rossics provided a preliminary report on the Meet and Confer process used to discuss salary, benefits and working conditions between the teachers and the district.  A final report will be delivered to the Board at the February 23, 3015 meeting.  

    Master Plan Phase I Discussion. Assistant Superintendent for Business and Finance Dr. Jason Buckner introduced members of the architectural design team from Hastings & Chiavetta and Bond Architects who presented preliminary concepts for potential high school renovation projects.  The purpose of these designs was to outline potential approaches to the project in terms of general layout and varying combinations of rebuilding versus renovating.  At the March 9, 2015 meeting, concepts will be further refined and information regarding costs and financing will be provided.  Representatives from the construction management firm, S.M. Wilson and the district's financial advisor, Sentry Financial, were also present at the meeting.   

    Tentative Agenda Items for Business Meeting Monday, February 23, 2015

    • Hearing and Approval of 2016-17 School Calendar
    • Meet and Confer Report Recommendations
    • Update on Math Action Plans
    • Draft of 2015 Legislative Positions
    The next Board of Education meeting will be a Business Meeting on Monday, February 23, 2015, at 7 p.m. and will be held at the Administrative Center, 9703 Conway Road.