Superintendent’s Advisory Council May 17th 2022 Live Notes

This was the last Superintendent’s Advisory Council (SAC) meeting for the 2021-22 year. I have had the honor of attending these meetings for the past several years. I attended several years of SAC meetings with Dr. Bourff as a PTO President and then as a representative for a School Board member. I attended this first year of Dr. Stokes’ meetings on behalf of a board member.

In the past I have said these were great meetings. They bring PTO leaders from across the district and a few others on behalf of school board members into a room with the superintendent. This has given the superintendent a chance to get feedback from literally across the district. While several of the SAC meetings this year lacked good, open two-way interaction (many were more presentations to those attending), this final meeting had a lot of good interaction, although still primarily focused on the topics presented. The following are my live notes from this meeting.

  • Welcome – Dr. Stokes
    1. Introduced the new COO, Mr. Lakes who was introduced at the HSE School Board meeting. Oversees operations. (“All things safety”, “All things nursing”, “All things technology”, This position works with HR as well.) Dr. Stoke wants to make things more “visualized” across the district. This is a new district position.
    2. Mr. Lakes stated that this was his second day. He came from Anderson University. Was the MBA directory and adjunct faculty. Worked for Ascension St. Vincent prior to that for seven years. jlake@hse…. He is open to questions, comments, suggestions for improvement. He is looking to “go out into the field” although he realized this was the last week of school. He will be hitting the district hard. Doesn’t do a lot of email, but rather believes in a lot of face-to-face. Dealing with positions, you want to see people face-to-face. He also believes in open door policy (not virtual, text, email, etc.)
  • Side Topic  – Katy Dowling
    1. Someone had asked about school policy and the use of bounce houses at school events. Why can’t we have bounce houses (which includes all the blow-ups)? In short, the school can’t allow anything where kids can possibly bounce. There was a class action lawsuit in another state, so it is an issue with insurance – Liberty Mutual insurance.
  • Referendum Update – Katy Dowling
    1. Operating referendum is what is renewing next year in either May or November. No capital projects going to the ballot. No safety referendums going either.
      1. This meeting included highlights of some of the past stuff that the referendum covered. The district is starting to see growth of kids coming back. Classrooms with average of 21 kids was down from 23 as part of the focus of previous referendum.
      2. An issue addressed from last referendum was stated to be that the district was in the bottom third in teacher salaries relative to other districts. (My comment in these notes: There have been reports showing we near the top in recent years)
      3. There was a 28 to 30 class average in Junior High School.
    2. Q&A
      1. There are plans to have global studies at all the elementary schools. There are 4 or 5 schools (counting Deer Creek) that still need to have the program added. This is coming.
      2. Experiential Learning has been getting expanded as well. Some areas such as Brook School Road needs a shift because they have little to no spare classroom space (they host a lot of PreK there).
      3. The previous operating referendum was not a renewal, it was an increase. Went from around 10 cents to more than double that. Not looking to increase in 2023.
      4. Seven out of the nine referendums that other districts were doing in May passed, which is good news for the district.
      5. Referendum is roughly $25 million for the district. $25 million is equal to roughly 250 teacher (stated to be equal to about the number of teaches in both of our high schools). Not saying teachers would be cut, just giving perspective on size.
      6. Q&A: Answer – State dictated the language for ballot for referendum. Districts required to use the word “increase” regardless of whether you are increasing an existing referendum or not.
      7. We are suburban. Average state funding puts us in the lowest state funded schools.
    3. Next Steps
      1. Three board members and members of admin are talking with a referendum consultant.
      2. Internal referendum team
        1. Looking at the creation of a PAC. Once the board approves that they are moving forward with a referendum, then admin can’t really talk or promote anything about the referendum.
        2. Creation of social media soldiers
        3. Looking for community event representatives
        4. Will need help doing door-to-door canvassing
        5. Will need help with yard signs
        6. Will need help with fund raising
        7. =====
        8. There will be a listening tour again – likely
        9. PAC will likely start 6-8 months before ref goes to the ballot (May or November).
      3. Will do a bit of “share your story”

  • Demographic Study – Katy Dowling
    1. We all see a lot of construction on the east side. Demographic study shows the growth flat. More people are moving on to the next phase of their life. Not seeing 0 to 18 growth. US Population went down by a million in in the 0 to18th.
    2. There have been questions about who the district uses. They were not used with the opening of Southeastern, which opened above capacity. This was the first piece to looking at FES as well as HIJH (breaking out a middle school), and about looking for transition for academy program, preschool futures, and such.
    3. Q&A
      • It was heard Freshman class was one of the largest. This might not be true. It might be that HSE HS has its largest freshman class, but the average for the entire freshman class in the district is likely to average out.
      • What does it mean to the buildings if we accept the demographic survey? Answer: Still early, so they need to evaluate. There are a lot of questions to consider. Even if new buildings were to happen, there is a three-year timeline to build a school, where are kids that go to HIJH located. The district isn’t thinking of closing building.
      • The district does have property in a couple of locations, plus still own Durbin. Durbin issue was more an issue of running utilities and such, so as Wayne builds out, that property becomes cheaper to update.
  • “Positive Sharing from Admin” – Dr. Kegley presented
    1. Dr. Kegley stated that it is great that kids are back in school fulltime and were able to offer the virtual for those that needed it. August was a bit depressing last year, with the Covid waves, but the year has evolved, and things are slowly getting back to normal. Dr. Stokes met with the high school SAC group last week and the feedback was very positive. It emphasized that the direct interactions and community building is important as well.
    2. FJH We the People won national championship
    3. FHS Finished second nationally with We the People which is highest ever.
    4. Two new programs started this year – Agri-Park for second graders and Maker Playground for fifth Grade students. Feedback has been that these have been great experiences for the kids in “taking education outside of the classroom” (in addition to being in the classroom).
      • In second grade they do a lot of science around farming, weather, plans,
      • In fifth grade, it is a maker playground where kids interact with equipment that goes beyond what they could ever do within a school due to cost. Why fifth graders? Because it is a perfect age to get kids interested in STEM.
      • <<< There was a maker video. If I find the link, I’ll add it here. >>>
      • These programs are not “one off”. They integrate into what our kids are doing in school.
  • Next Year…. As the last piece of Lilly Grant (4-year commitment that has gone a little long because of covid). Last piece was to be a parent piece. Lilly gave a one-year extension. They are going to jump start a back-to-school event partnering with City on July 30th from 4:00pm to 6:00pm at NP Amphitheater. More was shared on this, but for now, mark the date on your calendar. As things are nailed down with the schools in the district, the administration will provide more solid details. (Note: There was a bit more shared on this including a number of questions about the event. Some of the details that were clarified were that the event was currently still in the planning stages. The administration is working directly with the principals to make this an event that can provide a consistent presentation of the schools in our district. Expectations are to have schools featured at the event in a way that includes information on how parents can get involved/engage with the schools (PTO, committees, etc.). The event is expected to be about the community, and it is expected to be about the schools. The event is not intended to replace anything that the individual schools are doing at the beginning of the year.
  • SAC – Positive Sharing
    1. It was stated by an attendee that the mental health night was soooo good. Recommended it to all parents. Practical tools were given. Please keep doing it. (which will happen). Dr. Stokes said they are looking to do something. They recorded several pod casts that will roll out next year by Allison.
      • Tools from meeting available? They will look
      • Had about 100 people at event.
    2. Mental health first aid training – This was commended as well and recommended.

Dr. Stokes said she liked how we could come together and “speak our truths”. They will do the SAC meetings again next year.

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