Charlton Heston Academy To Open As Scheduled

By Kevin Howe

At the scheduled board meeting for the Charlton Heston Academy on Tuesday, August 14th, board members had many positive changes to discuss. During the report by Superintendent Dave Patterson, he stated that Professional Development started on Monday the 13th, and will continue for fourteen days for all 25 staff members. “This is a time for everyone to get to know each other and work together as a team with the same goal, educating and caring for our children,” Patterson said. The board needs to get with other school districts on the release of student records so they can be evaluated on grades, goals and progress. Patterson commented on the student forum that was held last week as well. “We had a great turnout for that. We got great feedback from students and parents both. We registered numerous kids before and after the meeting.”

Patterson mentioned that the Open House would be held on Monday, August 20th to give enrolled students a chance to meet teachers and faculty, and to answer any questions parents might still have. This will be a great opportunity for the students and parents to tour the building and get comfortable with the Academy.

Building renovations are coming along nicely according to Patterson. While some areas are costing a bit more than expected, other areas are coming in well under what was expected. All painting and carpeting has been completed, and wiring and fire alarms should be complete in a day or two. Patterson stated, “We may not have every single issue up to code before the start of the school year, but we can file for a temporary occupancy permit allowing us to start on time. Rest assured, the building will be safer than it has been in many years.” The food service contract brought in one bid from Preferred Meals. This falls into line with the National School Lunch Program. They will provide breakfast, lunch, after school snacks and dinner for students that are at school beyond the 4:30pm time.

Chief academic Office Jason Sarsfield reported on the attendance of the student forum as well. He noted that the Academy currently has three teaching assistants, and may need to hire another one. The Academy is at full staff and has started their rigorous Staff Development program. Many staff positions have been filled with local residents and others from surrounding communities. Sarsfield mentioned the student performance assessment program, and how it will assess each student to measure where they are academically, and pinpoint what their needs are.

Dick Wood discussed the facility committee and its progress. “There is still a lot to get done, but nothing that will prevent us from opening the doors on September 4th,” noted Wood. The boiler system and air movement systems still need work, but systems are being brought up to code quickly and accurately. The Academy has inspections next week and all safety issues will be corrected and passed before the start of the school year. The new sidewalks around the north wing are almost complete as well. Wood made special note with saying, “We started with ten full pages of violations and code failures, but we are almost done with that in its entirety.” The playground will not be open and accessible due to safety issues. Staff and students will design a new playground at a later date.

Dave Fultz reported on the fundraising for the Academy. Presentations and lectures have been going very well. Roscommon has not been very receptive while St. Helen, Houghton Lake and West Branch have. Currently, $75,000 has been raised.

In old business, full approval from the board will allow the Academy to hire Hollie Stange as the official accountant at a cost of $1400 a month. A decrease from seven to five members on the board was passed by an all in favor vote. The amended school calendar was reviewed and passed with an all in favor vote. The school year will consist of 201 instructional days and 1,608 instructional hours.

Contracts were approved with all in favor votes. These contracts include Preferred Foods, Temperature Control, Inc., Weiss Plumbing, Commercial Electric and approval to use local hourly workers to fill in the gaps due to time constraints. Full in favor votes to reimburse Dave Fultz for the new sign and Dick Wood for printing costs passed. The parent and student handbook was reviewed and passed to be put into mass print and available for the open house. Full approval from the board allowed the new contract with Charter Communications and with Northern Sealcoating for the blacktop refinishing.

In public comment, Superintendent Patterson noted he was interviewed twice Tuesday by the Detroit Free Press on the charter school system, and the Charlton Heston Academy. Lynn Taylor, new librarian for the Richfield Public Library introduced herself and expressed a wish to work closely with the academy, and will help in any way possible to make the academy a success.

Charlton Heston Academy Superintendent David Patterson hands out questionnaires for students to fill out during a student forum held on August 8th. State Representative Bruce Rendon stopped in before a road commissioners meeting and chipped in for pizza for the kids. The Academy secured 12 new enrollments with the forum.

Reprinted with permission – Roscommon County Weekly August 17, 2012 issue