BOD Meeting Minutes - March 9, 2021
The meeting was called to order by Ellen Heck at 5:47pm after a quorum of Board members was met.
Roll Call was conducted by Ellen Heck. Ellen Heck, Dara Silver, Christopher Gilmore, Kyle Barnes, Larry Barron, Ellen Coble, Brian Cole, Brittany Emery, Kelly Emling, Tomisha Gladman, Chrissy Hardy, Jennifer Holman, Michelle Taylor Kennedy, Shannon Meares, Griff Morgan, Dani Parker Moore, Lara Hanes Pierce, April Ruffin-Adams, and Bill Scheidt were present.
Non-voting Members: Principal Robin Hollis, Assistant Principal Paige Raper, Parent Council Members: Katherine White, Becky Dickson
Ellen Heck noted that the Board will be voting by voice on a recommendation from the Executive Committee. She asked that Board members turn on their video and audio controls for that portion of the meeting. She also advised that 15 minutes will be allotted for community comments with a 1.5-minute time limit per commenter. Board members were asked to hold their comments during that public comment period.
April Ruffin-Adams moved to approve the February Minutes, which were emailed to the Board prior to the meeting. This was seconded by Shannon Meares. The February Minutes were approved by unanimous vote.
Kyle Barnes presented the February Financials, which were emailed to the Board prior to the meeting. The budget is being executed as planned, as has been the case for the preceding months. He availed himself to address any questions that Board members may have. On behalf of the Finance Committee Kyle Barnes moved to accept the January Financials. This was seconded by Christopher Gilmore. The February Financials were approved by unanimous vote of the Board.
Griff Morgan presented the recommendation regarding return to in-person learning on April 6 from the Executive Committee. Preceding the recommendation, he presented data on COVID-19 infections and vaccinations. New cases were reported to be down 43% for the 2-week period leading up to the meeting. Positivity rate was at 6%, approaching the 5% goal we’d adopted earlier in the school year. No teachers are positive at this time. All teachers were offered vaccination at a mass appointment on 2/26. 2nd vaccination appointments are scheduled for 3/22-3/24. Following efforts to employ strong preventive measures at ABS, the Executive Committee strongly and unanimously recommends a return to in-person learning beginning on April 6. The motion allows for parents to make a decision to continue remote learning or return to in-person learning. That decision should be made by March 17. That decision will be binding for the remainder of the school year absent some exceptional circumstances. The recommendation is outlined as follows:
- Tuesday April 6- Grades K-1 and 1⁄2 of the students in Grades 6-8 would return
- Wednesday April 7- Grades 2-5 and the other 1⁄2 of students in Grades 6-8 would return
- Grades K-5 would follow Plan A with 4 days of in-person learning (Tuesday-Friday), mandatory mask wearing, and minimal distancing.
- Grades 6-8 would follow Plan B with every other day in-person learning, mandatory mask wearing, and 6-foot distancing as recommended by the NC HHS Public Health Toolkit
- Any student may choose Plan C, joining classes via Zoom for large lessons and individual lessons
This recommendation accounts for ordering of, installation of, and familiarization with equipment necessary for simultaneously teaching in-person and remote students. It also allows for ABS to hire a school nurse for implementation of COVID-19 protocols and for the second round of teacher vaccinations to take place with an appropriate post-vaccination recovery period and immune response. Concerns over potential side-effects from the vaccine necessitating the use of substitute teachers during the transition period led to the choice of April 6. The 4-day in-person schedule was chosen in order to accommodate the additional responsibilities of the staff who must adapt to teaching both in-person and remote students simultaneously.
Larry Barron of the Communications Committee listed the names of ABS Community members who submitted letters. All letters were read and given consideration.
The public comment period then began and was followed by a short comment period from the Board. Brian Cole seconded the Executive Committee’s motion. The motion passed unanimously via a roll call vote.
Robin Hollis presented the Principal’s Report- She shared the Measures of Academic Progress (MAP Testing) Middle of the Year results for grades 3-8. Participation was voluntary. Results demonstrate that ABS students are outpacing the National Mean at each grade level in both math and reading. National means were lowered for this year due to circumstances surrounding widespread remote learning. Nevertheless, the 2021 results are on par with ABS mean results from 2019 and 2020.
No staff/teaching positions are available at this time.
Currently, the school calendar projects that June 8 and 9 are remote learning days. However, with tonight’s vote to return to in-person learning, Principal Hollis asked for a motion to adjust the calendar to make these two dates in-person. Shannon Meares moved, and April Ruffin-Adams seconded. The motion was passed.
Five students from Ms. Christian’s class had writing samples that were accepted for publication in HUTCH literary magazine for kids.
Principal Hollis addressed a question on summer learning programs by stating that as soon as funding for the programs has been finalized and communicated to schools, ABS will be rolling out its itinerary and eligibility requirements.
Chrissy Hardy presented the Ad Hoc Committee update, giving kudos to the Parent Council and the ABS parent community for their feedback on the parent survey and the teachers and staff for their flexibility during the past year. The Committee’s recommendations regarding continued remote learning were emailed to Board members prior to the meeting.
Ellen Coble gave an update from the Development Committee. Different ABS fundraising strategies are being explored, including online giving. There is an expectation that Board members who are not experienced in soliciting donations will receive training in doing so, potentially at our next retreat.
Katherine White and Becky Dickson presented the Parent Council update. They are working to schedule parent socials by class. Classroom representatives will be reaching out in the coming weeks. The Council is working to revise the community standards for their Facebook Group. The Council will be hosting a training session for the PikMyKid app now that we’ll be returning to in-person instruction. The next Parent Council meeting will be Friday March 12, during which results of the parent survey will be shared.
Ellen Heck shared that Robin Hollis and Paige Raper will be hosting a parent meeting tomorrow, March 10 to address questions from parents about the return to in-person instruction. We will plan for the Board Retreat to occur during the August Board Meeting.
Shannon Meares offered a motion to adjourn. This was seconded by Christopher Gilmore. The motion passed and the meeting was adjourned.