Creative Science School

critical thinkers, courageous problem-solvers, compassionate community builders

Site Council Minutes 11/11/12

Site Councilbrittney

In attendance: Ben Needham

Katy Relaford

Christi Braun

Lynne Gammon

Filip Hristic

Russell Alexander-Hensley

Jeff Padzalski

Brooke Dempsey

Heather Zelinsky

We had three non-member participants for this meeting; a record for this year! Thank you Colleen, Glaucia and Rachel.


  • High school student survey-Ben
  • GO read-Filip
  • Climate Committee-Lynne/Filip

Action Items from previous meeting

  • Review of Russ' spreadsheet of action items for this year with status updates on those that have been completed or are nearing a deadline:

1.Climate Commitee: status is ongoing

  1. Equity grant overview: status, expect an update before the end of calendar year.  Brooke to contact bookstore that has helped out in past
  2. Mid-level monitoring: status is open with the discussion begun
  3. PDP (professional development plan): status is completed.  The idea of adding more PD time in the form of an early release once a month has been introduced to teachers and now teacher Site Council members are taking the pulse of the rest of teachers. We will hear the report back from Katy, Christi and Ben in December

5.Create a funding approval process; status is open

  1. Pursuit of a character education program: status is open and on the agenda for December
  2. SIP (school improvement plan): status is open with Ben and Filip on the agenda for this in December

Agenda Item #1, High School survey

  • Ben informed the group that last year he conducted a survey of CSS graduates who are currently in high school to take their pulse on their experiences at CSS.  When only a couple of students from FHS showed up at the appointed time, Ben created and sent out a survey monkey  to ask questions such as: What were some good memories of CSS? Were you well prepared in writing, reading, study skills and math?  How does your HS workload compare to the workload you had at CSS? He added a couple of open-ended questions to solicit concerns and ideas for improvement.  In the end, Ben said it was a lot of work to get back fairly predictable results.  The kids who responded tended to be those who were motivated to do so and those kids were usually the ones who were motivated while at CSS.  Many kids who were struggling in HS had struggled while at CSS.  He questioned the value of future surveys, especially given the time it took to create and administer the survey.
  • Suggestion that now that it's created, wouldn't it be easier to send out this year?  Brooke suggested that we invite parents to participate in the survey as they often have a stronger connection to the school (perhaps they have younger sibs still at CSS).  Others agreed that parents would be a valuable resource in finding the answers to the survey questions.  Christi made the suggestion that we administer the survey every other year, thus hitting each CSS graduate 2x in HS.  Suggestion that students might find value in coming up with survey questions.
  • Group questioned the goals of the survey and Filip said that CSS would be interested in the aggregate information; the big picture to find out what our HS graduation rate is like, among other things.
  • Discussion focused on coming up with a role to act as a bridge between current CSS mid-level students and CSS graduates.  Perhaps that person (a parent?) would use Facebook as a way to connect with HS students and families?  Perhaps CSS would host an annual event that connected former and current students with the goal of helping current CSS students be prepared for HS.

Action Items from discussion:

1.Filip will check with District to see what data PPS already generates with regard to CSS students in HS and beyond

  1. Colleen will post a request on the Pitch-In for a parent to act as a liaison between CSS graduates and current families
  2. Ben will pass on the information for how to administer the surveys from last year

Agenda Item #2, GO read program

  • Filip handed out a proposal for money for the GO read program, a multi-sensory approach to help our struggling readers.
  • Filip pointed out that this program would be in addition to the reading programs that already exist at CSS and that if we train our parent volunteers well, we may have a sustainable program of value to at least 10 of our students who are currently struggling to read and who may or may not also be in other reading programs.
  • He noted that one challenge of this program, which comes at a bargain price due to the donation of time and the reliance upon volunteers, may be that we send out mixed messages regarding our various programs.  A challenge will be to communicate effectively regarding this program.  This program will mostly affect students in grades 1, 2 and 3.
  • Group voted unanimously to approve funding of a portion of this program. The money will come out of a CSS general fund.

Agenda Item #3, Climate Committee Update

  • Discussion revolved around the questions: Where are we with regard to PBIS? What is the role of the Climate Committee? What is the role of parents with regard to the Climate Committee? What is going on with the proposed Character Education Program?
  • Lynne updated group that CSS is currently going ahead with doing an exploratory year of PBIS.
  • Parents are currently not part of this component of the Climate Committee because it is more in domain of  staff and ultimately, staff have to be the ones who buy into the program or reject it.
  • Two parents came to weigh in on the value of PBIS in their workplaces.  Both spoke glowingly of the program when staff buys in and when it is done with positive rewards that are not plastic, chintzy crap.
  • The overall difference between PBIS and a character education program is that the CEP would provide staff and the counselor with content-specific curriculum along the lines of "anti-bullying" or "leadership skills."  Last year, the Climate Committee looked at a couple of programs but did not select one yet.  According to Lynne, the district is also going through this process.  PBIS, on the other hand is a "systems approach" that gives schools a structure for analyzing the climate at their school and then taking steps to address issues and goals.  A character education program would be the content within the system (or that's my best understanding).
  • Some parents mentioned that if we do wait and do an exploratory year, some climate issues are too urgent to wait.
  • Russ agreed to send out a follow-up email to members to solicit urgent issues of school climate

Action items from CC discussion:

1.Russ to email SC parent members to solicit urgent school climate issues