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October 2017 Board of Education Update

Board of Education Meeting Update

October 16, 2017

Before the meeting began, Columbia High School students Josie Sandor and Mary Arevallo were sworn in as the new Student Representative and Alternate Student Representative to the Board of Education.

The meeting began with a celebration that Seth Boyden Elementary, South Mountain Elementary, and Tuscan Elementary Schools were chosen as recipients of the 2017-2018 Lets Move Active Schools Campaign Award. The list of all Board Recognitions is available here.

Superintendent Dr. Thomas Ficarra then updated the Board and community on district progress, including a major overhaul of the heating system in the A wing at CHS, collaborative work to prepare for QSAC reviews, looking into possible data warehouses to give us the ability to examine data more effectively, beginning budget development for 2018-2019 including more targeted process for determining special education needs, and planning a comprehensive training schedule.

Board President Elizabeth Baker provided an update on district and board goal setting for the year, which will be the topic of a Board retreat in November or December.


Update on Administrative Assignments

New Hire – The Board of Education approved the Superintendent's recommendation of Keith Bonds as the new Director of Information Technology. 

Administrative Reassignments

  • Kevin Mason was transferred from his role as Assistant Principal of Tuscan Elementary School to Columbia High School, as the fourth CHS Assistant Principal. This new position was approved as part of the budget process for 2017-2018.
  • Tim Beaumont was temporarily reassigned from his role as Assistant Principal of Clinton Elementary School to Administrator on Special Assignment to the Office of Curriculum and Instruction.
  • Searches are underway a temporary Assistant to the Principal at Tuscan, to serve during search for permanent Assistant Principal, and for an Interim Assistant to the Principal for Clinton.


Discussion Items

  • Office of Civil Rights Presentation – Assistant Superintendent of Administration Kevin Walston and Director of Planning and Assessment Dr. Kalisha Morgan presented an overview of the District's progress on meeting the provisions of the consent agreement with OCR, and data trends. Superintendent Dr. Thomas Ficarra shared an overview of the next steps the District plans to take to address SOMSD’s persistent disparities.
  • 2016-2017 EVVRS Report – Dr. Kalisha Morgan presented the annual report on violence and vandalism in our schools.


Policy Update

  • New Policy Adopted
    • Policy 8468 Crisis Response - The goal of this new policy is to address both preparedness for all types of potential situations, and to address the aftermath of events and contend with psychological trauma should it occur. The policy calls for the formation of a crisis team with a breadth of experience from different disciplines.
  • 1st Reading of New/Revised Policies
    • Policy 5330 Substance Abuse – The proposed policy is a substantial rewrite of the existing policy. It provides specific procedures for “Reporting, Notifications and Examinations” when it appears that a student may be under the influence of alcohol or other identified drugs.  The policy requires a physician’s report for re-admittance and follow-up alcohol/drug assessments in certain circumstances.  A new section on anabolic steroids is added.
    • Policy 8453 HIV/AIDS – The proposed revisions provide clarification of the definitions of “AIDS” and “HIV Infection.” The policy also provides guidance that persons with HIV/AIDS may be excluded provided that such persons would be excluded if they didn’t have HIV/AIDS.  The other revisions concern changes to legal citations.


Key Action Items

  • The Board approved revised curriculum for Spanish 3, ELA Shakespearean Literature, Physical Education Grades K-5, and Physical Education Grades 6-8.
  • Full list of action items and associated resolutions available here.