Board Update: August & September 2018

posted Sep 1, 2018, 10:34 AM by Jane Baker   [ updated Sep 1, 2018, 11:59 AM ]

Board Update: August & September 2018

Hello Stargate:

Welcome back for the new school year and please join me in welcoming our new students and their families to the Stargate community! Our children unite us all.

My name is Calley Herzog. I’m a proud Stargate parent. As of July, I’m also the new President of Stargate’s Governance Board. I have served on the Board since 2012 and I’m looking forward to working with you as we begin our biggest year yet. We’re off to a very fast start!

The past year has been challenging for the Stargate community. As you may know, since January of 2017 a total of 7 complaints were submitted to the U.S. Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights (OCR). These complaints were, and continue to be, taken very seriously. As a Board, we have worked tirelessly to understand and address each of the allegations in these cases and to learn from our mistakes.

Let me be perfectly clear, there should be no impression within our community that these complaints were frivolous or unfounded. The complaints were legitimate, and the ensuing investigations resulted in findings that were unacceptable and that required immediate corrective actions for wrong doing as well as improved processes for preventive action.  The Board and Administration have worked as a team to make numerous changes to school policies and procedures. We have learned some painful lessons along the way, but I truly believe the school is now stronger and smarter.

Thanks to our fabulous students, parents and staff, the School never lost sight of its mission and vision. Now, it’s time to come together and rally around our students and staff. It’s time to rebuild our community with transparency, trust and mutual respect. We all deserve an environment that’s safe, inclusive, and open to differing opinions. Each of us can do our part to make the Stargate community stronger.

We acknowledge that it can be frustrating to the community when we are unable to share details about the work we do.  In some cases, we cannot respond at all without compromising confidential information and the investigation process.  On behalf of the Board, I’m sorry that you and other stakeholders had to endure this process.  As the individual cases come to a close we will be sharing details with you regularly, as permissible by law. These updates will be provided during Board meetings and a general summary will become public as part of the meeting minutes.

This brings me to my next important point: Facebook. There have been several inquiries and concerns about discussions on unofficial, but school-related, social media sites. Since these are not official school sites, the Board and the School have no control over the content, nor do we monitor them for misinformation or abusive behavior. We urge our stakeholders to treat each other with respect and common courtesy on any forum. We encourage everyone to do your part in promoting a healthy community online and offline. Remember, Stargate’s official Facebook site is found here. Please review our code of conduct in the community handbook.

Thank you for your ongoing support. Let’s keep the communication channels open as we continue shaping the future for our children. Thanks to our dedicated students, parents and staff - the best is yet to come at Stargate!

Sincerely,

Calley Herzog

President, Stargate School Governance Board

calley.herzog@stargateschool.org


August

·         Bond Refinance: The School recently earned a glowing report from Moody’s Investor Services and our bonds have been upgraded to investment grade. That allowed us to refinance the school’s bonds, which will save the school approximately $13 million over the next 30 years. Thanks to Lynne Allen and the entire refinance team. Our teachers all earned bonuses as a result.

·         Charter Renewal: The School’s charter is up for renewal with Adams 12 Five Star Schools. The School will host the District’s Board of Education for a site visit in November. Thanks to Teresa Walsh and the entire renewal team for spearheading this very important effort.

·         Test Scores: According to recent statewide testing, our elementary and secondary students are thriving and growing in leaps and bounds. Our Administration and Staff are proud of these results and excited to share more details with the community.

·         Help Wanted: We need volunteers to help on many levels. Just a few hours per month makes a big difference. Opportunities are available in the classroom and on Board committees. We are currently actively recruiting for the School Accountability Committee and the Website Committee.  If you are interested in either of these committees or have questions, please contact our Recruiting Committee at recruiting@stargateschool.org.

·         August Business Meeting:  Below are highlights from the August 22nd Regular Board meeting. Additional detail on these items will be available in the formal minutes which will be reviewed and approved at the next Board meeting. Once approved, minutes are posted to the Governance Website HERE.

o    Approved allocation of fundraising money toward a Wellness Program for staff and for discretionary funds for each Principal.

o    Received an update on finance and operations and recent student assessment scores.

o    Approved changes to the Board meeting calendar, the high school admission policy and the employment contract for the Elementary Principal.

o    Assigned Board members to special projects for the year and assigned Board liaisons to each committee.


September

·         The Board will meet on September 9th from 9am – 4pm for our Annual Strategic Planning Session and Team Building.  This is a working session and no motions or decisions will be made.

·         The next regular Board meeting will be held on September 19th at 6pm. Proposed agenda items include:

o    Review / Approval of 2018-2019 goals for Director of Finance & Operations, Secondary Principal and Elementary Principal

o    Approval of the 2018-2019 Strategic Plan

o    AD12 Renewal process update

o    OCR update

o    SAC Election update

o    Policy Manual review

·         Please join us for the Stargate Governance Board Annual Stakeholder’s Presentation, September 26th at 6pm. Topics will include:

o    The School’s 2018-2019 Strategic Plan

o    Bond Refinancing

o    Student assessment data from 2017-2018 school year

o    Office of Civil Rights (OCR) Case Updates

o    Charter Renewal Process Updates

o    Fundraising Committee annual plan and campaign letter

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