Monthly Archives: February 2017

Director’s Report – February 21, 2017

Click here to view PDF version of February 21, 2017 Director’s Report

Director’s Report –  February 21, 2017

  • Thank you to: all staff and parents for making our new parking and entry/exit work during our construction period. The staff is car pooling from Bethesda for the remainder of the school year, thanks.
  • Shout out to Majken Elsberry, Dan Leifermann, and Barry Gross for the wonderful LOVE OF THE ARTS evening!  The artwork, sales, concerts and attendance were amazing!  Parents and grandparents loved it!  Thank you all for the many hours of hard work!   – Julie H
  • Thank you to John and Kristine for your hard work to make sure we had a great Title 1 parent night presentation. – Maggie R
Aspen Academy achieves intellectual, social, and creative growth for all students.
Define ways to strengthen intellectual, creative, and social programming. ●        I just wanted to let you know that I love having my 5th graders have their own Google accounts. I once heard that if you aren’t using technology to impact your teaching, then you aren’t really using technology. I think this would totally apply to my situation this year. It has impacted my teaching in ways that I wouldn’t have been able to envision last year.  I’ve used it in math (spreadsheets, for example) with great success. My students were totally engaged and blown away by what it could do. I feel like I have opened a door for them that will make them more competent to go further with this tool. I’ve also started a Google Classroom page where I posted assignments that allow students to try new things and progress on their own pace through targeted assignments. It is an amazing tool that I hope to use more and more in the future. Of course, there are students who use it to email me. I really appreciate this line of communication with them. It shows me they care and I can connect with them on another level. Sometimes there’s just not enough time in the day. Thanks again for all you did to get this running. I think it has been an amazing asset for our students.  Angela Dunn
Definition of, training for, and implementation of standards-based programming. ●        Action Plan Team meeting on February 17 (postponed due to staff illnesses)

●        January is RE month.  It’s the month staff spends time REteaching routines, REteaching rules, REteaching expectations, REteaching THINK, and REviewing skills and items students have previously learned.

Expand and strengthen data-driven instruction (DDI). ●        Here is the outline of testing dates for MCAs:

March 27 – 31 Middle School Math and Reading and MTAS

April 3 to 7 – 5th grade Math and Reading

April 10 to 13 – 4th grade Math and Reading

April 17 to 21 – 3rd grade Math and Reading (not the afternoon of the 20th due to a tornado drill)

April 24 to 28 – MCA Math and Reading Makeups

May 1 to May 5 – MCA Science for 5th and 8th grade

●        DAC Maggie Rowan is researching info on the ACT Aspire and Director McNulty is working with Friends of Educ to make sure it will meet criteria. This would affect Goal 2 in Exhibit F of Charter contract. Recommend Board Resolution to approve moving to the ACT Aspire if FofE approves.

ACT Aspire – we need to have a nationally normed test that does 2 things –

1. shows growth from 4th to 8th,

2. predicts how students will do in college (as part of WBW). We are looking to replace the CTP with the ACT Aspire. This test does fulfill both requirements (the CTP does not offer a predictive option). We would do this on paper on the subjects math and reading – only in grades 4 and 8 (it is not offered in 1st grade). I have samples of parent reports and question bank if you are interested. It does appear to be the best choice to reduce the testing that we do of our students. It also offers a science component which may be useful further down the line. It would be my recommendation that we move into this test and use it in to cover both needs of our charter.  Maggie R

Aspen Academy maintains enrollment through recruiting and retention.
Track attrition data and target retention strategies at key grades. Next Year 2017-2018:

304 Total applications (some have cancelled)

K- All 92 spots offered- 82 on Wait List

1-4 spots offered- 11 on Wait List

2- 3 spots offered- 21 on Wait List

3- 3 spots offered- 21 on Wait List

4- 3 spots offered- 23 on Wait List

5- 3 spots offered- 4 on Wait List

6- 6 accepted

7- 1 accepted

8-2 accepted

CURRENT YEAR 2016-2017:

K- 74,  1- 68,  2- 69,  3- 68,  4-68,  5-60,  6-43,  7-26,  8-17           Total: 493

Identify and pursue marketing opportunities in the community. ●      Brochure for Savage and Prior Lake Chamber of Commerce, local housing developers and other local businesses completed.  US Post Office has received our paperwork for bulk mailing – mailings will go out to targeted groups – Kindergarten and MS families this spring.
Develop marketing materials for different audiences branding/marketing identity. ●        Brochure is located in the Google folder.  Final edits are being done and it will be finalized next week – if you have any comments, please send to me.
Aspen Academy develops and maintains strong student, parent, and community partnerships.
Develop and expand THINK-related programming. ●      THINK – article for the Pacer paper the weekend of February 11-12.  Thanks to Ms. Melgren, Ms. Penny and Mrs. Herman for their input.
Expand after-school programming options. ●        Active Solutions – ski club finished up on February 9, with make up day on February 16.  Basketball teams will wind down their season the week of February 13.
Increase parent involvement opportunities. ●        Apex Fun Run collection meeting on February 3  – final totals will be available by the end of the month once we finish collecting pledges.
Aspen Academy develops and retains a highly qualified staff and board.
Define criteria we look for in prospective employees / board members. ●        Terri Pherson and Kim Bischoff will be switching work times – there is no change in pay for either contract.  So starting February 1st, Kim will work M-F 10:30am – 1:30pm  and Terri will work M,W,TH 10:30am – 1:30pm.

●        Set Board committee meetings for the year with meetings on Board meeting nights.  Sent out email to Board Chairs

●        Aspen Academy is pleased to introduce Maria Paulson who will be helping to support students as a special education paraprofessional. Maria comes to us with 9 years of ESL teaching experience and has recently completed a paraprofessional prep class. She enjoys building relationships with individual students and helping them achieve at a high level. Welcome Maria! (Start date 2/3/2017)

●        Aspen Academy is pleased to introduce Amanda Sjolseth who will be supporting students as a Spanish long-term substitute teacher. Amanda recently completed her student teaching and comes to us with great recommendations. She is passionate about Spanish and eager to join the team. Amanda joined our team on February 2, 2017. Welcome Amanda!

Define training / support / coaching we will provide to employees / board members. ●        New Board member training on February 10 (postponed to later date due to illness)

●        Working with Jenny Pine, rep from Kraus – insurance for employees, on information to possibly offer Flex Benefits ($ for daycare, medical costs) for employees who wish to participate.

Define professional standards we expect employees / board members to meet.
Aspen Academy practices exemplary financial and operational management.
The Finance Committee will meet at least quarterly and define reporting needed. ●        Looking to set up 2 meetings in the next month to look over budget plans for FY18 – including personnel pay plan for expanding grades and needs, bus company contract, technology ideas, Facility Use Fees, etc … Look for first meeting on March 7 or 8?
Create / define / monitor organizational systems for clarity. ●        Seven Hills Academy (Director Carl S) and myself began meeting with bus companies – looking at consolidating and collaborating our bus services to help with costs and service.  Presently, we have talked to 4.0 and will be talking with Durham and First Student.  We will then bring to Finance Committees to review and evaluate proposals once submitted.
Implementation of Synergy across multiple operational areas.  


OTHER – Strategic Planning
Information to report not otherwise included in Strategic Plan. ●        With 4 years after this June left on the Charter contract with Friends of Education and the new building expansion – it would be good to further discussion on a new 4-year strategic plan.

Director  – Expansion project (Owner’s Rep – Kou Vang to be present)


Click here to view PDF version of December 2016 Director’s Report

Director’s Report – January 17, 2017

Click here for PDF version of report: January 17, 2017 Directors Report Director’s Report –  January 17, 2017 Thank you to: Betsy S, Jen H and Janelle M for their work with the lottery on January 10.   Battle of the Books – all students, staff and parents.  To Janelle M and Maggie R for… Continue Reading

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Savage, MN 55378

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