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Board Report - October 8

Originally posted October 9, 2018

See past Board reports/minutes

Board adopts five-year plan to take Union Public Schools into 2023

The Board of Education unanimously adopted a new five-year strategic plan for 2018-2023 for Union Public Schools upon the recommendation of Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler.

Dr. Kirt Hartzler“The strength of this plan is the alignment and evaluation of district operations, resources, and programs in early childhood, community schools, STEM, and college and career readiness that assist us in fulfilling our mission,” said Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler (pictured left). “Within this strategic plan, a new learning model ‘Learning the Union Way,’ will be launched at all grade levels to focus on literacy, cognitive capacity, engagement, and social/emotional learning.”

Todd Nelson“It is a privilege and pleasure to be able to present this plan to you,” said Todd Nelson, (pictured left) senior executive director of Research-Assessment-Design.  “Union Public Schools is a district that is known for proactive innovation, a commitment to excellence, a devotion to the needs of students, and achieving high expectations.  It is in this spirit that this strategic plan has been developed and presented to you today.”

In the process of creating the strategic plan, Union engaged the University of Oklahoma Center for Education Policy for its support in guiding a development process, Nelson said. A team of OU faculty and graduate students conducted an analysis of Union survey results from students, parents and faculty over the last five years to generate the initial discussion. OU then conducted forums for data analysis and feedback through discussion groups with Union stakeholders. Discussion groups involved faculty and leadership representatives at all levels.

“The findings and results of this focused process are embodied in a strategic plan that will provide vision, direction, and a framework for action for the next five years,” Nelson said, adding “Two principles can sum up this plan:  Preserve the core and stimulate progress toward our mission of 100% Graduation, College and Career Ready.”

Continuing, Nelson said, “There is a strong belief among all stakeholders that the core of who we are and what we value should be preserved as we move forward.  While this plan brings new emphases, at the same time, it is fundamentally a refocus and continuation of our current plan. This mission is based on what any of us would want for our own children.  Therefore, it is what we must expect and aspire to for every Union student.”

Union’s core values have not changed, according to Nelson. “They are worth repeating: a commitment to excellence, collegiality, honesty-integrity-transparency, innovation, inclusiveness, empowerment, accountability, and thoughtful planning. These are the attributes we hold dear, pursue with passion, and encourage in each other. They shape who we are and how we do things.”

“Of course, there will be continued support and emphasis on the four foundational philosophies of early childhood, community schools, STEM, and college and career readiness,” Nelson stressed.

The plan also outlines strategic goals.

“These strategic goals provide guidance for leadership policy decisions, development of initiatives, programs, and strategies to achieve our mission.  The focus areas are Teaching/Learning, Partnerships, Human Capital, Business/Operations, and Culture,” Nelson said.

The plan also outlines how Union will measure its progress, using a variety of indicators including student outcomes and school and organizational health indicators.

In conclusion, Nelson said, “Just like our mission, this plan was a team effort in its formation and design with too many contributors to name. It will also be a team effort in its execution, as we move forward in providing educational opportunities with excellence in our commitment to graduating every student.”

Board schedules District 4 election for April 2, 2019

Stacey RoemermanThe Board of Education scheduled the upcoming primary election for District #4 on February 5, 2019.

The seat is currently held by Stacey Roemerman, (pictured left) who also serves as PTA president at Jefferson Elementary. In the past, board member elections have coincided with annual bond elections, but Union passed a five-year bond initiative last February instead of asking voters to consider bond elections annually over the next five years.

Tirish WilliamsDuring the 2018 legislative session, H.B. 2082, effective November 1, 2018, changed the requirements for primary and general elections of school board members, Chief Financial Officer Trish Williams (pictured left) said.  If more than two qualified candidates file for the position, a primary election will be held on February 5, 2019.  If a candidate in the primary receives more than 50 percent of the votes cast, that candidate shall be elected to the Board of Education and no general election shall be necessary. If necessary, the general election would be April 2, 2019.

Coach Jerry Pease honored after earning his 800th career victory
Pictured: Union Athletics Director Emily Barkley, Head Fast-Pitch Softball Coach Jerry Pease and Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler.

Coach Jerry Pease honored after earning his 800th career victory

The Board of Education joined Superintendent Dr. Kirt Hartzler and Union Athletics Director Emily Barkley in honoring Head Fast-Pitch Softball Coach Jerry Pease on earning his 800th career victory Friday, September 21, at the Northeastern State University tournament in Tahlequah. In total, his teams have had 803 wins and 514 losses.

“I’ve been so blessed with so many talented athletes to be able to coach,” Pease said.

“Coach Pease was hired to lead the Lady Redskins in May of 2009 after serving as the Head Softball Coach at Bixby High School for 25 years,” Barkley said. “While at Bixby, Coach Pease won a state championship in 1997 and finished as runner-up on four different occasions.  Shortly after taking over the program at Union, Coach Pease and the Lady Redskins won the 2011 state championship.  A few years later, in August, 2015, Coach Pease earned his 700th win while at the helm of the Union program. A 35-year veteran head coach, Coach Pease was inducted into the Oklahoma High School Fast-Pitch Softball Coaches Hall of Fame (2003) and the Bixby High School Athletic Hall of Fame (2007).”

Hartzler congratulated Pease on his latest achievement.

“It’s my pleasure to recognize someone that I’ve known for many years,” Hartzler said. “He was my assistant coach many, many years ago, and he was a huge help to me as a varsity coach.  He has secured more than 800 wins, which is almost unimaginable. Once you’ve hit that landmark, it speaks greatly to that person.”

Board approves Long-Range Planning Committee members

The Board of Education approved the appointment of 14 members to the Long-Range Planning Committee, which is a longstanding Board-appointed committee that determines the growth and facility needs of the district.

The members include John Adams, Kelley Blakney, Kenneth Edmonds, Zone 1; Ron Comeau, Katie Geier, Tyran Parrish, Zone 2; Liz Blanton, Susan Ragina, Ann White, Zone 3; Randy Anderson, Michelle Jones, Zone 4; and Ken Daily, Brian Huddleston, and Kay McMullen, Zone 5.

Union to purchase new chiller for 9th Grade Center

Board members approved the low bid of $750,725 from Platinum Mechanical for a new chiller for the 9th Grade Center.

This project will provide a new variable speed chiller to replace the existing 350-ton chiller, which is irreparable. The project will also replace condensing water pumps and chiller water/hot water supply pumps. These pumps are very old and it is time to update them with more efficient variable speed pumps.

The condensing water cooling tower will also be replaced with a new tower with variable-speed fans. It is the original cooling tower and has corrosion in the water basin and has been patched several times. Five contractors had responded to the District’s bid request.

In other actions involving capital improvements, Board members:

  • Approved a change-order with Magnum Construction, Inc., for $39,340 to provide for dehumidification of the 9th Grade gym wood floor. The moisture content of the wood flooring exceeds what is allowed in order to finish and seal the floor for use. This change will also provide modifications to one of the three existing air handlers that supply air conditioning to the space. The modification will allow the air handler to provide dry cool air with low-moisture content necessary to provide the correct environment for the wood flooring.
  • Approved a change-order with Construction Enterprises Inc., for $5,696 related to the second phase of replacement work on the HVAC at Darnaby Elementary. The work includes things like additional lighting, a rain gutter on the north side, and touch-up paint.

Board approves agreement to continue partnership with TCC

Board members accepted a memorandum of understanding between Union and Tulsa Community College. These agreements outline the concurrent education programs TCC offers at Union High School: Concurrent Enrollment, Early College High School, Pre-Calc Learning Community, and on-line concurrent education classes.

  • Concurrent Enrollment: Juniors and seniors with a qualifying ACT score may enroll in college classes. Tulsa Community College instructors teach these general education classes at Union High School. Union provides the classroom space and the textbooks and the students pay a reduced tuition and fee amount.
  • Early CollegeEarly College High School: There are two cohorts: the class of 2021 has 35 students and the class of 2022 has 53 students. These students will begin with college preparatory curriculum this school year. Throughout the students’ 10th through 12th grade years, the students will follow a standard sequence of college-level coursework. Most classes will be held at Union High School, but a few summer classes or lab classes may be held at TCC. Students will receive dual credit for all TCC courses taken and passed. Students will receive advisement and support from UHS administration and staff as well as TCC staff.
  • Pre-Calc Learning Community: Students have the opportunity to take Algebra 3 with a Union High School math teacher in order to prepare for the math section of the ACT test which TCC uses for college admittance. Students with a qualifying ACT/SAT/PSAT math subsection score may enroll in On-line Pre-Calculus for the spring semester.
  • On-line concurrent enrollment: Much like the Pre-Calc Learning Community, students have the opportunity to take Composition I on-line. A high school English teacher is available to counsel or tutor throughout the school day for any student enrolled in online Comp I.

Union accepts donations from several organizations, businesses

On behalf of several school sites and departments, the Board of Education graciously accepted a number of donations from organizations and businesses, including:

  • Miscellaneous school supplies donated by Wal-Mart to McAuliffe Elementary, valued at $2,114. Office Depot’s donation of $1,200 in school supplies to McAuliffe also was accepted.
  • Donation from USTA Missouri Valley Serving Up Tennis for $875 to Ellen Ochoa Elementary
  • Donation of $1,952 from Union Football Booster Club to the football program.
  • Kitchen supplies and utensils from Supermercado Morelos to Ellen Ochoa Elementary for use in an after-school program.
  • Radial arm saw from David Mondloch to Union Alternative School. Students will use the saw in a construction class.
  • Donations amounting to $8,698 from the Cedar Ridge PTA to Cedar Ridge Elementary School.