Creative Science School

critical thinkers, courageous problem-solvers, compassionate community builders

Site Council Minutes 5/6/13

Site Councilbrittney

In Attendance: Russ Alexander-Hensley Brooke Dempsey Katy Relaford Ben Needham Filip Hristic Lynne Gammon Christi Braun Heather Zelinsky


  • Next year schedule and staffing-Filip
  • Mid-level update-Filip and Brooke
  • PBIS and Character Education-Lynne and Filip
  • Constructivism-Brooke and Christi

Schedule update-Lynne

  • After meeting with Mid-Level team and with Site Council at a mini-meeting, Filip and Lynne came up with 2 versions of a ML schedule for next year
  • One of the schedules achieved more of the goals than the other (as laid out by SC at the last meeting)
  • Some of the goals that will be met under this new schedule include: a common prep for ML teachers, Advisory 5x a week (including academic support, independent learning projects, service-learning, social/emotional support), utilizing Rawls for Math
  • New schedule includes 80 minute blocks throughout the day to allow for academic flexibility and for more "constructivist moments"
  • Filip is drawing a distinction between Enrichments (counseling, library, PE, technology) and Electives (such as marimba, service-learning, fiber arts, etc. etc.)
  • ML students will get 3 electives per year, one per semester
  • Electives offered will derive from student interest and staff knowledge (students have been surveyed and will probably be surveyed on a regular basis)
  • SC pointed out that it would be great if the After-school Enrichment Program could work with staff to offer classes that are of interest to ML students
  • Question from one member as to whether the Electives under consideration are meant to be sustainable "benchmarks" of CSS or whether they will change based on the interests of each group of ML students? Filip to consider
  • For the present, we are limited by the knowledge/abilities of our current staff (which is the same for many other schools of our size)
  • Lynne will be collecting data from a survey delivered to current ML students and will report back to ML staff with findings
  • One thing that came out of surveys was something that has come up before: an interest in CSS sports teams at the ML
  • Due to district-wide budget cuts in the past , no PPS schools have teams but teams have formed within the SUN programs and through Portland Parks and Recreation
  • PPS has bumped up the deadline for enrolling students so CSS will actually be enrolling ML students with their schedule for next year before school gets out this year (in the past this has not happened so early)

Action Items:

1.Lynne to collect and distribute survey data with the intent of selecting ML electives

  1. Brooke, Lisa Lyons, Lynne and Laura Richards to get together and compare ML after-school enrichments and electives

Staffing Update-Filip

  • At the time of SC meeting, PPS had yet to find a $6 million shortfall to fund more HS teaching positions
  • School budgets will not be approved until after this shortfall is remedied
  • CSS is in good shape but slightly over budget, to the tune of around $4K that may have to come out of our general fund
  • Schools have been advised to take the Art Teacher (.5 FTE) position our of their budgets as the fate of these positions is in jeopardy
  • CSS will not have the .5 FTE position in our budget for now and will find out in the Fall if we can add this back and hire an Art teacher
  • PPS school District requires schools to give students at least 3 enrichments per week and may reduce this to 2 because this Art tax may go away-CSS is aiming to give our students 5 or 6 per week so we are in good shape (enrichments include PE, tech, library, counseling, art, music)

ML Update-Filip

  • Filip brought SC up to date on a communication chain between himself and ML parents
  • Brooke described the communication chain on the part of the parents-started with a letter from 5-6 ML parents who wanted to put it out to the larger ML community for endorsement/feedback
  • Letter outlined concerns about the ML program
  • Letter was forwarded to Filip, who then invited the parents who authored the letter to a face-to-face meeting to hear their concerns
  • Meeting between parents and Filip took place last week, on April 29th
  • Filip sent out notes to parents who were at the meeting to acknowledge concerns and outline some next steps in this process
  • To SC members, Filip presented a draft of a letter to parents that outlines specific steps meant to address concerns
  • SC looked over the draft and proposed some changes
  • Filip will meet with ML teachers on Wednesday, May 5th to discuss this letter and to come up with next steps
  • After SC and ML staff have had a chance to weigh in on Filip's letter , he will send it out to parents

Action Items:

1.Filip to meet with ML staff to review and finalize next steps with regard to addressing parent concerns

  1. After review with SC and ML staff, Filip to send letter out to parents

PBIS update-Lynne

  • PBIS coach Joanne Barda from PPS School District came to CSS and the entire Climate Committee did a presentation to all staff at the last staff meeting
  • PBIS is a District-endorsed framework used to encourage school-wide recognition of positive behavior
  • This year we have been in an exploratory phase of adopting PBIS
  • Through activities and surveys presented at the last staff meeting, Climate Committee (CC) pulled out staff concerns and celebrations about the idea of adopting the PBIS program at CSS
  • Filip and Lynne felt that, overall, information about PBIS was well received at the staff meeting
  • One concern that they heard revolved around school climate and the fact that it takes a long time to see results-staff want to begin to see results after what has felt like a lot of talking
  • Another concern was a desire to have our school adopt a program with intrinsic motivators (as opposed to stickers and such for positive behaviors)
  • Another concern was time: if we are going to adopt PBIS, we will need time to train staff
  • At the beginning of the year, SC agreed that one of our goals for the year was to recommend a school-wide Character Education program (like Love and Logic or Assets)- now many staff (and some SC members) feel strongly that we should not adopt any "canned" program and we might instead create our own tailor-made Character Education program as a natural outcome of adopting PBIS
  • One member suggested that the CSS Climate Committee could could also use our school's guiding principles to help craft our own program
  • Lynne mentioned that CC needs to honor staff concerns before we take next steps
  • Heather mentioned that some parents have asked when and how they can be a part of the Climate Committee again

Action Items:

1.CC will be meeting later this week to go over data from teacher surveys

  1. Lynne/Filip (?) to summarize where we are, where we have been and where we are going next year with regard to PBIS (for parent community and staff)

Constructivism-Brooke and Christi

  • Brooke passed out a document that summarizes and fleshes out CSS' core values and guiding principles
  • Document was created last year after 2 years of work around defining Constructivism at CSS
  • Document has not existed electronically until now; Brooke pulled it together from an existing hard copy that was the final product of work done to insure that when CSS got a new principal, we would be able to continue our Constructivist focus with clarity
  • SC read over the document and wholeheartedly encouraged the wider publication of said document
  • Ideas for where to publish it included: the CSS handbook (a work in progress), our website, to be made available at Information nights, on a permanent poster attached to our fence boundaries and our building, to be presented as part of the annual January PTA meeting devoted to Constructivism, in a handout at Montavillage, in the SC minutes, as part of the afore-mentioned ML letter to parents, as part of the hiring process for new teachers
  • SC members pointed out that this document should inform staff and their practices on a daily basis
  • It may even be useful to create workshops around it throughout the year to keep our focus strong
  • Filip added that he would like to see the addition of grade-specific bullets under some of the paragraphs in the document and he would like it to have even more clarity than it does not
  • Brooke and Christi added that it is a living document and that is a positive that some things are a question or are open-ended within the document
  • General consensus at SC was that document needs to be made more widely available and that it will be important to refer to and revise the document as we go

Action items

1.Heather to attach Constructivist document to minutes (check!)

  1. Brooke to make minor revisions to document

SC to think about how best to distribute document