Mallard Creek STEM Academy/Southwest Charlotte STEM Academy
Board of Directors Meeting
March 27th at 7:00 pm
Middle School STEM Lab
7:00 Call to Order
Present: Jose Garcia, Christy Condon, Tyrone Harmon, Shelly Domenech, Kellen Nixon (call-in), Vishu Cook
Other: Jennifer Lucas (Managing Director) and Deanna Smith (Principal), Anntoinette Duncan, MCSA community members
7:02 Approval of Minutes from last meeting
Mr. Garcia called for an approval of the minutes. Ms. Condon made a motion to approve the minutes. Ms. Domenech seconded the motion. The February board minutes were approved. These will be posted to the new MCSA website by the person who manages the site.
7:05 Principal Report:
The 2018-2019 schoolwide STEM Fair is scheduled for April 11th. After listening to the feedback from parents and teachers last year, the judging will be done the day before the Fair so that everyone has the opportunity to share their projects to be considered for a prize, not just the students who are present at the STEM FAIR night. 3D printers will run for the prizes the winners. There will be a maker’s space for families.
In the middle school, our Science/ STEM teachers will do a workshop on drones and train some of our middle school students. Middle School students can help facilitate drone learning for other students. Walking down the hallways of the Elementary building you may see many butterflies and chickens being observed and nurtured through various integrated STEM units. Each of the K- 3 classrooms are participating in the Science Fair by working collectively on group Stem Fair projects. There is so much student excitement surrounding all of the engaging units.
MCSA will host a Coding Night. This evening we will invite new families for their first MCSA Family Night. This event will allow families to get connected with MCSA staff, facilities, curriculum, and other families.
Ms. Austin, our MTSS coordinator, started working the data and focusing with the teachers on their interventions for individual students. Special area teachers are volunteering planning time
(the Art teacher and Ms. Chambers) to work on enrichment during intervention time for students who might not need the reading and math help but still need to be challenged and engaged. Many other teachers are volunteering their time to work hands-on with students in need whenever possible.
Our next Case 21 is for 5th and 8th grade Science. Everyone will do the next test K-8.
Ms. April is answering the door for those who work with teachers for morning tutoring. The MS
teachers have working lunches; one or more teachers will stay behind in the cafeteria while some students will come back during lunch for intervention time with other teachers. There was a
discussion among board members about whether or not the staff could integrate parent volunteers to assist/ support during that lunch time.
The faculty had a productive teacher work day. An autism specialist from Chapel Hill was on site at MCSA to do professional development in order to help add new strategies, etc. for all students.
The administration is currently working on teacher certification renewal oversight.
MCSA had its first volleyball game today with concessions, etc. Mrs. DiFrank had the cheerleaders there. Not quite a win, but they scored double of what they did their first game. A parent came to volunteer to be baseball coach. Ms. Duncan pointed out that many parent volunteers stepped up to make many of our activities successful for the children. The basketball team is conditioning. Track and field had a meet tonight with a total of six meets. The relay team is always placing in the top team. There is a line item for sports in our budget. We may consider increasing this line item.
Other notable activities include: a reading program Read-a -Thon, recycling center trip, Patterson Farm, Morehead and Durham trip, and Discovery Place.
Ms. Brown has hired more staff members for after school. More teachers allow MCSA to provide for stronger safety, security, and instruction. Ms. Duncan noted that there has not be a mention of movie-watching since the new staff took over. The staff is focused on providing a quality program for our families.
The MCSA 2019-2020 calendar has been discussed in previous meetings. Feedback from board, teachers, and parents have been taken into consideration. The administration has done their best to be closely aligned to CMS as to help families who may have children still in the CMS system.
While the calendar is similar to CMS, it is not identical. There was board discussion about the start date for 2019-2020. MCSA will be opening in August. Weather days, etc. are built into the calendar. There was discussion about offering care on teacher workdays, Spring break camp; however, this conversation will be discussed and decided at the school level. Kindergarten will have staggered start days. Proposed to start on the 21st or 22nd and end on June 5th. Ms. Lucas will send drafts to the board. The board will approve the 2019-2020 calendar in April.
Parent spoke about concerns about continuing communication concerns, particularly some teachers are not responding to parent emails. Inconsistency in playground student discipline and parent escalated to administration was noted. The administration addressed the issue. Parent concerned that teachers are saying something to students that might not be appropriate. Suggests some training for teachers in how to communicate with students. Students should not be able to play area near the rocks as it invites issues. There should be more to do on playground for students. A parent suggested that the teachers ask parents to donate playground equipment. Students entering 5th grade in area often have Washington, D.C. is there discussion about this. A parent noted that Ms. Ellis, the guidance counselor, pulled a student without parent notification prior nor follow up. The board has asked for follow-up on the communication protocol for that type of event.
Enrollment Report: There are 63 seats K-2 on waitlist; for grades 3-5 average of 48 on waitlist; 6-8 average 22 on waitlist. Target at 6th grade in the next few weeks about sports, PLTW, STEM with targeted mailing list.
SCSA targeted enrollment 540 applications; 300 or so completed registration packets. We did a targeted postcard run. The community there is different there. There are large numbers in kindergarten and 6th grade.
Budget Update: Ms. Cook, the board’s lead on finances, met with Ms. Lucas to discuss and follow-up on any potential questions or concerns. Lunch program, debt service, and unidentified debt were Ms. Cook’s concern and were resolved for the time.
Ms. Lucas noted: the LINK system is currently broken; things are sitting in the wrong code. Some of our numbers look off in the report that needs to be changed. We have received four payments of CMS. Pulled down the last part of state revenue. We have 2 Title 1 grants and local funds to draw from. Summer Camps for Reading K-3 have been budgeted for. Still federal funding in EC funding. Our budget is still on track. Hoping that the line items are going to be accurate.
Ms. Lucas explained that with the gym floor in MCSA can generate some funds from renting the space out to area programs when the MCSA community isn’t occupying the space. The funds generated will fall under local supplemental/ fundraising monies. Plan for basketball hoops. There was some concern that some teachers are offering extra recess with less structure and equipment— why? This invites issues. Ms. Duncan shared that student council working on raising money for the basketball court area. There is a plan for installing the bridge between building when the ground dries out enough for the foundation. A suggestion was made to install a Gaga ball court or two.
Deanna has asked for 120 new Chromebooks. We will look at facility expenditures.
Construction Update SCSA:
Construction timeline is on schedule at this time. April 30th closing date for SCSA. Local county commissioners announce that they are going to have a limited public offering on April 3rd. Then bond holder meetings. PLOM then goes out to public and hopefully close on the 30th. At that point we can dive into a five and ten-year budget for MCSA. We will start the budgeting process in May.
The discussion and needs around SCSA will be ramping up in the next couple of months. Priority to find the right principal to lead SCSA. Several board members spent the day today interviewing candidates. We are close to selection after many interviews.
Ms. Condon made a motion to adjourn the meeting. Mr. Harmon seconded. The meeting is adjourned.
Next meeting is Wednesday, April 24th @ 7:00 p.m. at MCSA Middle School Science Lab.