Category Archives: Director Notes

Director’s Report – April 18, 2017

Click here to view a PDF version of the April 18, 2017 Director’s Report

  • Thank you to: All staff and parents for working with Aspen with regards to parking, pick up/drop off and of course the safety of the students.  
  • Thanks to Maggie Rowan, Rachel Ibes and Amy Jacobson for presenting excellent info to the Board at the March meeting.
Aspen Academy achieves intellectual, social, and creative growth for all students.
Define ways to strengthen intellectual, creative, and social programming.
Definition of, training for, and implementation of standards-based programming.
  • Action Plan Team notes:

March 21, 2017

New Student Testing –

    • Feedback was positive
    • Depends on how many we add mid year – if they come in clumps = easy; if they come every once in awhile, may not be so manageable for Reading, Math may be a little easier.  
    • But for the teacher – waiting does not make sense (waiting for testing to put into correct class).  Then teacher should just do it.  
    • Maybe have the 1.0 Instructional coach make time – but they would need to have skillset to administer the tests correctly.  
    • NEEDS to be systematized because of all the steps (group of ppl) that are involved with New Student Enrollment
    • Idea
      • set up a cycle = assess within 3 weeks (assess in large clumps – easier for scheduling and being efficient)
      • Have the students come in and be assessed before they start?
  • Decision-
  • K-2 – create an assessment packet (k-8)  – Title 1 Team would create & assess (within a week’s time – JUST THIS YEAR) – The enrollment person will make sure to include Title 1 team on the initial email of new student.  

             Next year = Title 1 Team to be replaced by possible Instructional Coach?

  • 3-8 – teacher request basis – if teacher wants to do it, they can; if the teacher wants someone, they can request it.


  • Enrollment Coordinator will send out initial survey
  • Enrollment Coordinator/School Counselor will send out the 3 month Survey
  • School Counselor will follow up with reading/reporting surveys
  • Reviewed on a monthly basis by Admin & Enrollment Coordinator


Objectives – the anchor

Planning ->  Instruction – Process

Assessment – Product – Formal/Informal – M & E level (give examples/rubrics)

Differentiation is an organized, yet flexible way of proactively adjusting teaching and learning methods to accommodate each child’s learning needs and preferences to achieve maximum growth as a learner.

To Do:

Diane – Follow up with K-8 on creating an assessment packet (talk to Title 1 Team) – let them know what is going on… Due: April 4 for Staff Meetings – return to Diane

Angie – PD – then find someone to train.  – That we need a Differentiation GOAL for next year.  Per the Action Plan ppl

  • Other option – Action Plan Committee – creates 3 definitions and the staff votes on the one they like

Mike – Will create Google Forms for the Survey (7) – Then share with Action Plan

Committee – so they can share with Staff at April 4th Meeting

Next Action Steps:

  • Present the surveys to staff – asking for feedback (not revisions)
    • Split Staff meeting – Marilyn & Sterna = K – 5; Angie & Dan = Middles
    • Give update on New Student Assessment
Expand and strengthen data-driven instruction (DDI).
  • Here is the outline of testing dates for MCAs:

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

Aspen Academy maintains enrollment through recruiting and retention.
Track attrition data and target retention strategies at key grades.
  • Enrollment projections based on list as of 4-18-17:

K = 91 (84 on waiting list), 1 = 80 (5 on waiting list, 12 packets out), 2 = 71 (20 waiting list), 3 = 69 (3 packets out, 22 waiting list), 4 = 69 (3 packets out, 25 waiting list), 5 = 69 (2 packets out, 9 on waiting list), 6 = 66 (no wait list, 7 packets out), 7 = 43 (no wait list), 8 = 31 (no wait list)

  • CURRENT YEAR 2016-2017 (4-18-17)

K- 76,  1- 68,  2- 69,  3- 69,  4-68,  5-61,  6-42,  7-26,  8-15           Total: 494

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.  Delivered brochures to = Prior Lake Library and Chamber of Commerce, Savage Library and Chamber of Commerce,   Cal-Atlantic homes, Pulte Homes, Elite Gymnastics
  • Marketing Committee will meet on Thursday, May 4.
Develop marketing materials for different audiences branding/marketing identity.
  • Based on the analytics data I think we should work on creating pages on the website devoted to gaining search results for terms such as “alternative school, middle school, elementary school, private school for the communities of Savage, Prior Lake, and Burnsville.  Even if these terms do not describe/define Aspen Academy, they are terms used by parents looking into school options

             Mark Schmidtbauer

             Creative Graphics

Aspen Academy develops and maintains strong student, parent, and community partnerships.
Develop and expand THINK-related programming.  

The February THINK assembly focused upon teaching the value of Kindness. Volunteers from the 6th grade led the assembly and enacted a play inspired by the book The Golden Rule by Ilene Cooper. The play focused on three vignettes which illustrated to students how they could apply the Golden Rule to their school experience. For example, if you want someone to be friendly and helpful to you, be friendly and helpful yourself by inviting a friend to play at recess, or helping pick up markers a peer may have dropped or by praising others’ effort in the classroom.  

The sixth graders met 3-4 times over lunch to practice and perfect their play. They also welcomed students and asked them to share their own experiences of kindness. The sixth graders did a fabulous job.

In March, following Spring Break, seventh grade volunteers conducted the THINK assembly. The assembly taught the value of having High Expectations and the seventh graders produced a play based on the life of the Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayer, the first Latina Supreme Judge who grew up in poverty in the Bronx.

The seventh graders led the entire assembly and helped the elementary students consider how they might set high expectations for themselves in their lives.

The seventh grade process was excellent. Students drew names to determine who would be in the play and drew names again to determine what roles they took. Their was equity and fairness and all students worked hard to support one another and produce a high quality assembly.

There is no THINK assembly scheduled for April, due to testing. Our last THINK assembly will be held in May and we are hoping that our 6th grade robotics team may demonstrate their completed robot.

Kind regards,

Nadine Penny

Expand after-school programming options.
  • Active Solutions  – report was in March document.
Increase parent involvement opportunities.
  • Playground committee was formed and includes ACC members – Stephanie Peterson is leading the committee.
Aspen Academy develops and retains a highly qualified staff and board.
Define criteria we look for in prospective employees / board members.
  • Search for Enrollment Coordinator – interviews on April 6-12.  
  • Resignations from Janelle M, Dan L, Jessica D and Jessica R in Google Doc
  • Mary Barrette as a long term sub
Define training / support / coaching we will provide to employees / board members.
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.
  • We are in the process of working with our insurance broker for the school’s upcoming benefits renewal.  The health insurance  quote has come in with a 19% increase over this current year.  In an effort, to reduce this increase we are bidding out the health insurance with other carriers.  Kraus-Anderson
Create / define / monitor organizational systems for clarity.
  • BKDA has issued their notice to Aspen Academy to end service as of June 30, 2017.  Finance committee will address during committee meeting.
  • RFP’s sent out on March 23, due April 13 and to be opened by committee to present and discuss at Board meeting.
  • Director McNulty is attaining 4 quotes for cleaning services to start this summer – with the increase in square footage (more to clean).  The quotes will be received by early May to be reviewed – to determine best price/value.  Our current company, Envirotech, plus Marsden, City Wide and Provost have been notified and will meet with the Director to look over current building and drawings of new building.
Implementation of Synergy across multiple operational areas.
OTHER – Strategic Planning
Information to report not otherwise included in Strategic Plan. Director  – Expansion project (Owner’s Rep – Kou Vang to be present)

On behalf of Friends of Education, Seven Hills Preparatory Academy is very pleased to be hosting the annual spring dinner and professional development event for Board Members and Executive Directors from schools authorized by Friends of Education. This evening, made possible by the generosity of Friends of Education, provides an opportunity for leaders from Friends of Education schools to meet and converse with one another, enjoy presentations on topics of interest to member schools, and celebrate the good work we’re doing together as charter public schools! Please forward the event information below to your Board members who, along with all of you, can expect an electronic invitation with more details to follow:

Who: Board Members & Executive Directors from Friends of Education Schools

When: Thursday, May 11th, 6:00 – 8:00 p.m.

Where: Seven Hills Preparatory Academy, Bloomington Campus

8600 Bloomington Avenue South, Bloomington, MN 55425

What: Sit-down dinner and program consisting of brief presentations

How: This event is graciously underwritten by Friends of Education!


Director’s Report – March 21, 2017

Click here to view a PDF version of the March 21, 2017 Director’s Report * Thank you to: All staff and parents for working with Aspen with regards to parking, pick up/drop off and of course the safety of the students. Aspen Academy achieves intellectual, social, and creative growth for all students. Define ways to… Continue Reading

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… Continue Reading

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

14825 Zinran Avenue
Savage, MN 55378

Phone: (952) 226-5940
Fax: (952) 226-5949