Minutes September 27, 2011


Chappaqua, New York



September 27, 2011



8:15 p.m.



Horace Greeley High School Commons



Board of Education
Alyson Kiesel, President
Jeffrey Mester, Vice President
Randall Katchis
Vicky Tipp
Karen Visser


Staff Members

Dr. Lyn McKay, Superintendent

Mr. Eric Byrne, Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction

Mr. John Chow, Assistant Superintendent for Business

Theresa Markley, District Clerk / Adm. Asst. to Superintendent


Visitors Present:

Representatives of the Chappaqua PTA, school PTAs, building administrators, faculty, and other interested citizens.


President Alyson Kiesel convened the public session at 7:00 p.m. Randall Katchis moved to enter into Executive Session for the purpose of a pending legal issue with attorney. Karen Visser seconded. The motion passed unanimously. At 8:15 p.m. Randall Katchis moved to adjourn the Executive Session. Vicky Tipp seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

At 8:20 p.m. Jeffrey Mester moved to reconvene the public session. Vicky Tipp seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

President Kiesel welcomed the community and noted that this was a work session. No business would be transacted.


Tri-States Report: Reflecting on the Board Teaching and Learning Question

Dr. Lyn McKay reported the results of the formal report from the Tri-States Consortium, a group of districts from three states, who perform peer reviews to assess performance. In March the district invited Tri-states Consortium to report on the district's progress in implementing the strategic question and help determine the next steps for implementation.

How can the District ensure that all students think deeply, support their thinking, apply problem solving skills, and actively participate in their learning as they acquire content knowledge?

We have been asked many times how do we know if we are succeeding with this question and how do we measure the results of our strategic questions? The 18-member visiting team met with stakeholders, administrators, board, parents, and students and then visited classrooms. The team reported on what they saw, their evidence, and reviewed it with us. The team found varied classroom instruction, critical and creative thinking, and strong professional development support, and noted the use of TARP (Teacher Action Research Project) as a powerful tool. Tri-States reported that Chappaqua is a courageous district that aims well beyond state requirements, the system honors innovation, and students expressed that they feel well-prepared for post-secondary school. Some of their recommendations have already been implemented such as aligning report cards to reflect critical and creative thinking. The team suggested a continued focus on learning for professional development of our teachers, and a professional vocabulary for assessments of critical and creative thinking. The district is also meeting two or three times a year with several other districts to work on similar critical thinking questions or definitions.

In addition, Eric Byrne explained the work that was beginning on indicators for assessments. The district is asking teachers to look at the assessments that are developed against common core standards and then the indicators developed from our critical questions. Eric worked with another district in July on their assessment development process to learn from both their progress and mistakes. Eric and Dr. McKay are going to Dallas as part of the EdLeadership 21, composed of 44 districts from around the country, to study assessments and the work of other districts.

Lyn McKay returned from the New York States School Boards Association (NYSSBA) conference in Saratoga where she had an opportunity to hear Commissioner King report on state assessment requirements. The state is hoping to design assessments with other states and by 2014 assessments will be online, available over several days, and significantly changed. Dr. McKay noted that Harvard researcher Chris Dede who worked with our staff last spring was engaged in monitoring students online to follow where they go to solve problems.

Teacher and Principal Evaluations

Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum and Instruction Eric Byrne reported that the new teacher and principal evaluations are aligned with assessments and there are strict requirements on implementation using a 100 point scale. An advisory group comprised of teachers and administrators in January 2011 identified core beliefs about professional growth. This group took the New York State guidelines, the existing district Annual Professional Performance Review (APPR) and built upon certain areas. A draft framework to support and maintain a professional culture and meet state requirements was developed with the hope that they would meet the new regulations that were not provided by the state until late spring. Dr. McKay and Eric will be working with the pilot group throughout the year. They have a pilot document of teaching standards linked to a performance rubric. The teaching standards as they relate to student learning and content and instructional planning focus on how teachers are adapting and implementing practices to show how that is supporting the needs of children. The state was providing direction on how to score, but due to a law suit, we do not have that right now. He explained the detailed scoring process. We hope that the public will support us in assigning scores and publishing them in newspapers. Dr. McKay noted that we will create assessments that are rigorous and comparable and teachers will use that to drive their instruction. We're trying to make it very clear to the teachers what is expected of them and let them decide what they want to work on using self-reflection, collaboration and support. We also have an improvement plan that is mandated and will help guide and expedite the process of helping teachers who need to find a different profession.


Information Business Affairs


President's Report



President Kiesel reported that she had a conference call with Penn Schoen Berland, who is performing a random phone survey of about 250 residents, to focus on what the community values. A draft will be prepared by next week and the survey completed in October.



President Kiesel announced that the board is almost paperless. We are trying to reduce our carbon footprint, reduce the amount of paper, less overtime for our courier, less copying and collating for our district clerk. We are grateful to John Louch, Josh Block, and Darleen Nicolosi who helped us with this new technology.


Superintendent's Report

Superintendent Lyn McKay issued an invitation for board members and PTA leadership to come to the learning symposium at Horace Greeley on October 21. Over 400 attendees are expected.

Vicky Tipp and Karen Viser reported on their training sessions for new school board members at WESTPUT, (Westchester Putnam School Boards Association) in Elmsford and Albany respectively. Content was similar based on what it meant to be a board member, school law, and finances. The bottom line is that we care about the kids.

In response to a question from the community, Eric Byrne reported that class size is not an issue at Seven Bridges. Although class sizes are slightly higher than we anticipated, after analyzing the enrollment against each team and comparing them to the projections prepared last February, it is in line with the projections for average class size. Enrollment per section was on a par with Bell and classes are within contractual guidelines. A similar report showed that Roaring Brook and Westorchard were also within guidelines. However, Westorchard will have extra teacher aide on the third grade level because an increase of six students.

President Kiesel remarked that she was very pleased with the opportunity to discuss issues with board colleagues without the usual business part of the meeting to define the actions and discussions. It also allows more of a dialogue with the community.

Question and Comments






Recommended Action: Personnel


Recommended Action: Other



Jeffrey Mester reported that Seven Bridges paving will be completed the end of October.




President Kiesel gave Notice of Future Meetings -

Tuesday, October 11, 2011at Horace Greeley High School - 8:15 p.m.


Audit Approval

Report on Harvard-Chappaqua Virtual Learning and Assessment
Project: Dr. Chris Dede

Online Learning in Chappaqua



At 10:10 p.m. Jeffrey Mester moved to adjourn. Karen Visser seconded. The motion passed unanimously.

Respectfully submitted,

Theresa M. Markley, District Clerk / Admin. Asst. To Superintendent

Alyson Kiesel, Board President