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Site Council Minutes
Jan. 15, 2015

Washburn Site Council Minutes

Members in Attendance

Lisa Quist
Rich Flint
Virginia de la Riva
Brad Peterson
Steph Smith
Tom Arneson

Jennifer Lindquist
Rebecca Felland Syring
Tristen Lindemann
Rhonda Dean
Nilo Guanzon
Peter Grul
Holly Maus
Lulu Bauermeister

Eric Vandenberg
David Genrich


Rich Flint and Virginia de la Riva opened the meeting and introductions were made

Brief Updates
Per the bylaws, guests are welcome to attend the meetings but are not allowed to speak. Only Site Council members may engage in discussion.

Gael Ellis, from the District department of Family Engagement requested to give an overview of the new budgeting process called Student Based Allocation. It would be a budget overview, since no final details on weighting of the allocations have been made.

All parents, students, and District staff are encouraged to take the District Transportation survey which is online

SIP Update

Data Overview and background: MN Department of Ed has asked and been granted a waiver for NCLB testing. The MMR is being used in MN as another way to assess readiness. Goals for the SIP are based on High school MCA test results. Even though students take the ACT and IB / AP tests, the MMR is not based on the results of anything but MCA scores.

Every school who receives Title 1 funds (which for 2014-2015, Washburn does) is measured on student proficiency, student growth, achievement in gap reduction and graduation rates.

Overall Results
Washburn is no longer designated as a ‘Focus” school. A Focus rating means your school is in the bottom 15% of all high schools in the State. The Focus designation stays for 3 years regardless of MCA results. Washburn scores were better in 2013, but declines in almost every category in 2014.

In growth scores are year over year for the same students 8th grade reading versus 10th grade reading Washburn declined. In MN Gap reduction, Washburn also declined and in their proficiency scores, all subgroups dropped below the targets set by the State.

MCAs are no longer required for graduation.  It is known that some (not able to quantify how many) students take the MCAs but do not see the value in trying to score well.They complete the test but do so as quickly as possible.

Rhonda has pledged to work with the students to understand why they take the MCAs, what it means for them and the school before the next round of MCAs to try and raise our scores.

SIP Areas

Area 1 - Student Achievement

  • Increase reading achievement with an emphasis on ELL and low socio-economic
  • Increase math achievement in similar areas

Area 2 - School Climate

  • Establish and maintain consistent expectations around classroom engagement plan including building-wide procedures and responses to address student behavior and attendance
  • Use data to guide the actions

Area 3 - Professional Practice

  • Professional Development to increase teacher effectiveness
  • Common syllabi
  • Cultural Competence

School wide reform strategies include positive school-wide engagement to decrease the loss of instructional time measuring the effectiveness

Leadership Updates

Internal Assessments include looking at the common syllabi for courses that are taught by multiple teachers. Align grading practices

Pyramid of Interventions
More detail at a later time as it develops

Leadership Updates
7 period day - no update from the District.

Principal Dean is working with teachers to offer more zero hour classes before school and 7th hour classes after school. Each department has teachers who are willing to work an altered schedule.  The challenge is to develop electives that can be delivered in the Fall.

Auditorium Renovation
The administration met with the design team and the project is moving to bid. The plan is for the renovation to begin June 1 through late October / mid November.

Washburn classroom expansion
Funds have been reallocated from the Wilder expansion instead to increase classrooms at Washburn by 6 - 8 by Fall 2015. This initial phase will help offset the additional approx. 150 students expected Fall 2015.  These classrooms will be made through reclaiming space currently within the Washburn building footprint. The second phase will add an additional 4 - 6 classrooms potentially by building onto the science wing. Funds for the two phases are approx. $9 million.

World Language Pathways
With the growth of Washburn, an additional World Language class will need to be offered at Washburn. Feeder schools now offer primarily Spanish, but Arabic is being offered at Ramsey. There is interest among Ramsey students and their parents in continuing to offer Arabic language at Washburn. However, because no other feeder schools offer Arabic, building a World Language program around Arabic is difficult.

Feeder schools offer these languages:
Ramsey - Arabic, Spanish
Anthony - French, Japanese, Spanish
Field - French, Spanish
Barton - Spanish
Lake Harriet - Spanish
Green Central - ?


  1. When building the master schedule for the school. 40 students are needed to pick Arabic for the class to run because based on other choices in their schedules, realistically only 32 - 35 students will be able to take Arabic. If you run a class with under that amount of students, other classes must have larger class size to accommodate the smaller Arabic class.
  2. Offering a “singleton” class means the Arabic teacher will only have 1 class a day at Washburn to begin with
  3. There are only a handful of licensed Arabic teachers in MN
  4. Sustainability is difficult. Right now there are 7 sections of Spanish 1, 4 of Spanish 2, 1 of Spanish 3 and 1 of Spanish 5 / 6.
  5. The Middle Years Program (MYP) requires students to take a World Language, but because there is no language requirement to graduate, students stop taking language classes in 11th and 12th grade.
  6. Funding is complicated

Blended Learning or Online Learning could offer a solution. However, space and the appropriate technology is needed. A fully outfitted online classroom would cost approximately $100,000. Space at Washburn would also be a problem.