MARYLAND SCHOOL FOR THE DEAF
BOARD OF TRUSTEES
May 8, 2009
MEMBERS PRESENT: Barbara Raimondo, Esq., Benjamin Bahan, Ph.D., William Bowman, Cynthia Neese-Bailes, Ph.D., Roslyn Hannibal-Booker, Sandra Harriman, Robin Kittleman, E. Bernard Palmer, David Severn, Esq.
MEMBERS ABSENT: Charles Poyer, Jr., Connie Briscoe-Woodruff, John Ertel, Ph.D., Ernest Hairston, Ph.D., Laurie Yaffe.
ASSISTANT ATTORNEY GENERAL: William Fields, OAG for Demetria Tobias.
INTERPRETERS: Brenda Kelly-Frey; Roberta Quinn.
President Raimondo called the meeting to order at 9:17am. Roll call was taken by passing around the roll call sheet.
The BOT has not reached a quorum yet so no motions can be made at this time.
President’s Report: This is Barbara Raimondo’s last Board of Trustees meeting serving as Board President after six years of holding this office. President Raimondo reported that the Board has made progress. The new evaluation system of the Superintendent is accurate and committee structures are strong. The Board was involved with the accreditation process as well. Next year the Board will plan for a two-year site study which will be good experience for MSD. There is a good, open system in place for consumers, parents and individuals with Open Forum that allows people to come to the Board to express their concerns, thoughts, ideas and feelings. The Personnel Department is changing the system of how evaluations are conducted. MSD has strong leadership with Superintendent James Tucker. Frederick Campus is now serving Special Needs students. Deaf schools are facing challenges currently while MSD remains strong, healthy and stable.
Vice President Report: Dr. Bahan reported that Gallaudet has revised their Bilingual Admission Policy for the past 1 and ½ years and made changes to the curriculum that require students to be fluent in both ASL and English and produce essays in both languages. MSD should prepare students for that as it directly affects MSD and its students.
Education Committee Report: No Report.
Fiscal Committee Report: No Report.
Trusteeship Committee Report: The Governor’s Appointments Office has not taken action on appointing the three proposed new Board Member candidates. Sandra Harriman will contact new potential Board members to get more names to submit to the Appointments Office. Each current Board of Trustees member should bring one name to Sandra Harriman within two weeks to attempt to recruit new members. The Board currently has six deaf members and all regions are represented. It has been months since the three names were submitted. Mr. Tucker will speak with the Director of the Appointments Office to encourage the decision making process take place soon.
Superintendent’s Report: Mr. Tucker reported that the school prom was yesterday and was a great success.
The Maryland state economy is a big concern, although MSD is flatly funded for 2010. Many center schools across the country for deaf and hard of hearing children are experiencing budget cuts and declining enrollment. Some schools share campuses with center schools for blind students to combine their resources. MSD needs to be diverse in the programs it offers to keep it more viable. MSD strives to serve students and expand its outreach programs to do so.
Mr. Tucker reported that he is meeting with department heads and asking everyone to be conservative with their expenditures. There will be no drastic changes but the school will be cautious when spending funds. Tuition Reimbursement will be restricted to only reimbursing for courses related to the employee’s current profession. MSD will control travel expenditures more as well as trainings, money spent on athletic uniforms and supplies.
Currently MSD has 475 students but the next five senior classes are large, so recruiting and retaining new students is of utmost importance.
This year, the Family Education Program has been very successful and its enrollment is growing. A mailing was sent out last summer to Maryland pediatricians’ offices and new mailings will be sent out this year.
MSD received capital budget funds for a new cafeteria at the Frederick Campus, and a new athletic field and parking lot at the Columbia Campus. Construction on these projects is expected to begin this fall. MSD also received funds to design a bus loop at the Frederick Campus.
In regard to the Federal American Recovery and Reinvestment Act stimulus package, there is $175K that is going to services under Part B of the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act, but MSD needs to determine if this money is actually supplemental money.
Lisa Houck is the new Frederick Campus Principal in the fall. Melinda Padden retires on June 30 and Ms. Houck begins her new position on July 1. Anny Currin will become Director of Personnel on July 1 after Eva Staubitz retires on June 30. Chad Baker’s responsibilities next year will be working on special projects including supporting Lisa Houck, coordinating the Hessian Barracks renovations, and writing a book on the history of MSD.
Commencement exercises will take place on May 30, 2009 at 11 a.m. This year’s graduating class has 34 students. Dr. Alan Hurwitz will be the graduation speaker. The Graduation Speaker Reception will take place on Friday, May 29th at 7 p.m.
Report on Building Names Committee by Chad Baker: Mr. Baker reported that there are two buildings that will need to be named including the new Elementary school building and the main building on the Columbia Campus. Mr. Baker found in his research that the Baker Building and the Steiner Building, both on the Columbia Campus, were never officially named by the Board of Public Works.
The Board of Trustees had decided to set up a committee with representatives from different stakeholder groups. The committee met five times over a six-month period of time. Ultimately, the Board of Trustees will propose names to the Board of Public Works for approval.
The Superintendent collected feedback from the community and opened the discussion to consider any names of people who served MSD. The Main building on the Columbia Campus has been informally called “Main Building” but was never officially named by the Board of Public Works since it is not named after a person. The committee recommends that this building be named the David M. Denton Building.
A MOTION was made to go into Executive Committee – SECONDED – PASSED.
A MOTION was made to name the Main Building on Columbia Campus the David M. Denton Building. SECONDED – PASSED.
A MOTION was made to name the new building on Frederick Campus the Kent-McCanner Building.
After discussion, the MOTION WAS WITHDRAWN.
A MOTION was made to ask the committee to continue the discussion to name the new elementary school building on Frederick Campus. SECONDED – PASSED.
The track on the Frederick Campus was also never officially named. The committee recommends the track be named after Nancy Benton. The field has been named the Krieger Field.
A MOTION was made to name the track the Nancy Benton Track. SECONDED – PASSED.
Superintendent James Tucker will wait until the Board has reached a recommendation for naming the new elementary school building before going to the Board of Public Works so that all names can be proposed all at once.
Report on FC Elementary Students with Special Needs Program by Mary Lynn Lally: Ms. Lally reported that this program began in the fall. The program is working well and MSD is training staff and teachers to work with these students. There are computer programs being used with pictures for visual learning and more types of equipment are continuously being developed and advanced. The Columbia Campus staff is very skilled and has helped tremendously by giving support and ideas for teaching children with special needs at Frederick Campus.
Report on Spoken English by Mary Ann Kinsella-Meier – Ms. Kinsella-Meier gave the Board Members a handout and reported that the focus of the Spoken English program is to focus on academics and literacy, not using ears or hands only but learning cognitively. The attempt is to get a balance of auditory and visual forms of learning.
Report of Staff Evaluation by Anny Currin – Ms. Currin reported that the staff evaluations will be improved in many ways, including adding a personal growth and technology component to the new form. The new evaluation forms will be simple and easy to use. The task force will try to develop tools that help rather than punish and the evaluations will reflect whether the expectations have been met or not. Evaluations are completed by the employee’s supervisor or the Assistant Principal and allow the employee to request mentors if needed. There will also be a comment section on the evaluation form that will be required to be completed. There is currently a manual and the goal is to have this online by August.
Open Forum – 1:00 – 1:15 – Two people signed up for Open Forum. The Board of Trustees was asked how MSD is dealing with staff and teachers who are under performers. The Board was asked what process can be put in place to keep good teachers and train poor teachers who remain at MSD. The Board of Trustees shared that the new evaluation forms just presented by Ms. Currin will create a better system to ensure good performance of faculty. The Board was asked how the school is dealing with Spoken English classes and how students should be prepared for this. The Board suggested holding an open forum in the fall to discuss this program with parents. Mary Ann Kinsella-Meier will present a workshop.
A MOTION was made to approve the Parent-Student Handbook – SECONDED – PASSED.
A MOTION was made to approve the Out of State Tuition – SECONDED – PASSED.
A MOTION was made to approve the Staffing Plan – SECONDED – PASSED.
A MOTION was made to approve the Agenda – SECONDED – PASSED.
A MOTION was made to approve the Board of Trustees Meeting Minutes from February 20, 2009. SECONDED – PASSED.
Board of Trustees Elections will take place in September as there is not a quorum present to vote.
Treasurer’s Report: Mr. Bowman reported that investments are fluctuating with the economy. MSD has three different funds in its portfolio: CD, US equities and taxable fixed incomes. The checking account remains the same.
Personnel Committee Report - The Personnel Committee met prior to the Board Meeting to discuss the Employee Handbook. There were three recommendations of changes including borrowing the Smoking Policy from the Parent-Student Handbook to keep the policies consistent, improving the faculty evaluations, and changes to the Drug Testing Policy.
A MOTION was made to approve the Employee Handbook – SECONDED – PASSED.
The Board of Trustees selected the following dates to hold Board Meetings for the 2009-2010 School Year:
September 17, 2009 at Columbia Campus
November 20, 2009 at Frederick Campus
February 19, 2010 at Columbia Campus
May 21, 2010 at Frederick Campus
A tour of the new Elementary School Building will immediately follow the Board of Trustees Meeting.
A MOTION was made to adjourn the meeting – SECONDED - PASSED.
Charles Poyer, Jr.