Creative Science School

critical thinkers, courageous problem-solvers, compassionate community builders

Site Council Minutes 5/20/13

Site Councilbrittney

Present: Russ Alexander Hensley

Katy Relaford

Lynne Gammon

Filip Hristic

Christi Braun

Brooke Dempsey

Jeff Pazdalski

Ben Needham

Heather Zelinsky


  1. Site Council (SC) Preparations for next year-Russ
  2. Constructivism conversation revisited-Brooke/Christi
  3. Update on CSS Handbook-Jeff/Filip
  4. Introduction to Big Picture-Russ
  5. Wrap-up

SC Preparation for next year-Russ

  • Jeff Pazdalski was re-elected and Colleen Smith was elected to serve for a 2-year term
  • SC meetings are open to the public; SC members occasionally vote but SC discussions are open to all
  • In SC by-laws state that there are 4 parent, 4 teacher positions and 1 administrator, 1 community and 1 classified position on the CSS Site Council
  • Currently parents serve 2-year terms, teachers serve a 1-year term and we have not yet had the community or classified positions filled
  • Recently Ada Dortch (Deb's daughter) asked to be considered for the community member position on SC
  • Russ attached her letter of interest and her bio for SC members to consider
  • Filip reminded SC that with the newly proposed Mid-level Leadership team, SC meetings next year might meet on a slightly different schedule; perhaps the ML leadership team might be a sub-committee within SC and coordinate with SC as the two bodies will share some of the same members (Administrators, ML teachers, etc.)
  • SC meetings will most likely be on the first and third Mondays next year
  • the classified position may remain unfilled as it has been hard getting anyone to commit to the time required
  • At last SC meeting of this year (June 3), we will devote half and hour to a brainstorm/reflection on what we were able to accomplish this year and the big picture ideas that we want to address next year
  • Members of the community are invited to submit any big picture ideas to be addressed through SC next year to current SC members
  • Jeff will be the Facilitator next year and Heather will be the back-up/Co-Facilitator (By-laws state that the Facilitator should have some prior experience on the CSS Site Council)

Action Items

  1. Christi, Ben and Katy to recruit new SC members from teacher pool for next year at next staff meeting
  2. SC members to consider Ada Dortch as community member on SC
  3. At next SC meeting we will look at dates for the August SC retreat
  4. Russ to reach out to community to invite submission of Big Picture ideas for SC to address during the next year


  • As part of goal to do staff and parent community education about Constructivism, Brooke and Christi presented a document that outlines CSS' Constructivist vision, mission and guiding principles (which comes out of a multi-year process of defining who we are and what Constructivism looks like at CSS)
  • It was attached to the last SC minutes but you will see it again; oh yes, you will
  • At the last meeting, SC members brainstormed how to distribute this document
  • SC discussed how best to use this document as a guiding text
  • Filip suggested that we use it as a framework for the Constructivist Profession Development (PD) meetings next year; he solicited feedback about this proposal from SC members which was generally positive
  • We will have 8 sessions of Constructivist-focused PD next year
  • Using this document at Staff PD meetings may help to guide Constructivist practices
  • How do we bring this document to life for parents? during PTA meetings, include it in teacher newsletters, orientations?
  • SC looked at making revisions to this document to make it "tighter," to perhaps change to format to construct 3 or so main questions for each guiding principle, and to flesh out what Constructivism looks like at each grade level
  • Can we use this document as the lens through which we view new programs handed down by PPS or to parse day to day classroom activities such as homework, explore time, meeting time, etc?
  • Do our students get to see "behind the curtain" enough?  Meaning, do teachers make Constructivism explicit enough to our students?
  • Filip stated that he would love it if all our 8th graders could clearly explain what Constructivist education means at CSS
  • In addition to using this document to guide our PD, staff should also read and refer to outside texts and data that support Constructivism
  • Perhaps parents could also be invited to read these texts in an "everybody reads' type scenario

Action Items

  1. Christi to re-distribute this document to CSS staff
  2. Filip and Christi to share this document with teacher leadership to think about  how to use this document with regard to PD

Handbook Update-Jeff

  • Jeff is putting together our CSS handbook for next year and as part of this task, he researched other examples from local and California schools
  • Many can be dull and policy-oriented
  • A new handbook presents an opportunity to be interesting and reflective of who we are
  • Our current handbook exists in the school lunch calendar
  • Jeff presented an outline of what our Handbook might look like; SC members made suggested revisions

Action Items

  1. Jeff and Filip to continue to create and revise CSS Handbook in preparation for next year

Big Picture-Russ

Ran out of time; didn't get far and Russ may bring back to the next meeting or may hold off until next year