Reflections from Board President Roy Martinez:
As I took over the role of Board President following the last Board Meeting (September 7), I shared with the rest of the Board members what our focus for this semester would be.
- Complete the bond transaction and funding for STEM’s Master Plan construction/renovation projects.
- Complete the Executive Director’s annual review and contract.
- Review and revise the board’s policies to remove inconsistencies, outdated directives and to codify de facto policies.
We have a great team of board officers and members to accomplish these tasks this year and I look forward to our collective efforts in ensuring that STEM Never Stops Innovating.
We concluded our first item of focus during our October Board Meeting, by passing a Board Resolution for the “Consideration of CECFA Bond Transaction”, and then signing the appropriate official documents to secure our bond of $12 million. This bond will be used to fund the new CHSAA Gym and Building Remodel Project that has been in planning and development for quite some time. We are excited to share that our groundbreaking ceremony will be on Friday, Nov. 12 at 3 p.m.
I want to thank the school’s administrators and the board members who did the heavy lifting in making a better campus a reality. I also wish to thank the students, teachers and parents whose dedication to learning and commitment to STEM convinced the investment community that we are an investment-quality school worth funding.
Each year we have set overarching topics that are presented at each Board Meeting and this month’s topic was centered around Data. Following her staffing and COVID Updates, Dr. Eucker had Director of Professional Development Michelle Gasser present on Teacher/Staff Retention and Attrition and Professional Development. Here are some of the highlights:
- Outlined the differences in STEM data and CDE data, as well as how attrition is calculated compared to turnover data.
- Shared her goals for the Teacher Support Team and the progress they’ve made so far with the expansion of the Strategic Plan Goal: Teacher Care.
- Information on STEM’s New Teacher Induction program, which allows teachers to complete their two-year induction at STEM, rather than having to go through the District, to complete and obtain their Colorado Teaching License.
- STEM’s Professional Development Plan and schedule for the school year, which includes progress on how our teachers are learning about and how to implement Standards-Based Learning.
I was thrilled when our students, who were in attendance as representatives of our Student Advisory Committee, asked insightful questions on how grading would take place and impact their GPAs. Seeing our students exercise inquiry-based processes to learn more about how STEM operates and what STEM is doing is so inspiring. I hope to see more students attend our Board Meetings in the future.
Dr. Karen Johnson provided our final update of the night, with her presentation on data from our Parent, Student, Staff and Operations Surveys collected last April. Here are some of the highlights:
- Overall, the results of the 2020-21 survey indicate that parents are highly satisfied with the Teaching Staff, Curriculum and Culture, and Parent Engagement, in both the elementary and secondary levels.
- STEM’s Unified Improvement Plan and the data that is being used by our teachers for Data-Informed Instruction.
- iReady data and the progress made by our students, as well as CMAS, PSAT, NMSQT, SAT and AP scores and how they’ve compared over the last few years.
What struck me the most during and after Dr. Johnson’s presentation is how well our students performed despite having to learn and test during a Pandemic. It showed us the strength and perseverance of our students, supported by our staff, who remained focused on learning and growing.
As I close my thoughts on our October Board Meeting, I want to thank those who attended, some for the first time, and some as regular attendees. I hope to see more of our community come to hear the presentations from our staff, students and also community members.
We have received questions as to why board meetings are not live-streamed. There are several reasons why we are not going to be providing a streaming option at this time.
- I believe the board is more productive in a live setting because there are fewer distractions. Attendees can also listen more effectively in person.
- To stream requires a school employee and additional equipment to work overtime or an adjusted schedule. Right now, the Board does not want to create extra work for the school staff or burden a volunteer with complying with all the legalities of broadcasting and recording a public meeting.
- At times, streaming online led to unseemly behavior and personal attacks, because of the sense of anonymity the internet offers. We want Public Comment to be an honest discourse of ideas. This is most effective when we are “eye to eye” and can grasp the full tenor of the participants.
- Adding video recordings creates more clutter for our busy website and a recap of the important work done can be found in the meeting minutes.
- If a question arises later, it is often difficult to grasp meaning from recordings and they can be modified to convey new meanings.
I look forward to seeing more of our community at our next Board Meeting, which is scheduled for Tuesday, Nov. 2 in the High School Commons.
Roy Martinez, Board President