Charter School Begins Hiring, Continues Fundraising Efforts

New hires, board policies, and fundraising were the hot topics at the July 10 Charlton Heston Academy Board meeting.

Superintendent David Patterson introduced Jason Sarsfield for his first official board meeting as Chief Academic Officer. Patterson explained that Sarsfield was not hired as a principal but rather his role is to provide support “in and around the classrooms” by supporting the teachers and aides.

Sarsfield went on to exclaim his excitement to be back in Roscommon County and to be part of the CHA team. He reported that he had been working with Patterson in the hiring process and that several verbal acceptances had been received for different positions and those positions were being finalized.

Among the new hires are Michelle Napolitano as a K-5 teacher and the Elementary Dean of Students, Marti Hatley as the Director of Food Services, Mike Brown as Director of Plant Operations, Lisa Galvani as a teacher, Cari Murray as a teacher, Crystal LaPorte as a teacher, Candice Peterson as the music teacher, Jesse Farrel as the visual arts teacher, and Lisa McLeod as the school nurse and instructional assistant.

Sarsfield noted that they had conducted 52 interviews over 2-1/2 days as well as numerous follow up phone interviews.

A special education and a physical education/health instructor are still being sought.

Sarsfield explained that the administration is working on academic priorities including adjustments in the calendar and daily activities, the professional development schedule for teachers and staff which will begin on August 13, and making final decisions on instructional material.

During the superintendent report Patterson noted that they are spending a lot of time reviewing resumes. “We want the right people” noted Patterson.

Patterson reported that enrollment was at 140 k-8 students and 40 childcare and pre-k students. He also noted that enrollment consisted of students from 5 school districts.

Patterson also noted that community support and monetary donations “has been great”.

In regular board business the board passed a motion to ratify the purchase of labor and materials for the fire alarm system. The breakdown of the proposal is $14,731 for the system including wiring and labor, $950 for print review and certification, and $2,137 for 23 pull stations which will deter pranks and false alarms.

The Board approved the formation of a standing CHA Fundraising Committee noting that there will be continuous needs to raise funds for therefore a standing committee should exist. The committee that was approved consists of David Patterson, Richard Wood, and Dave Fultz.

In addition to the fundraising committee the board approved the creation of a Capital Projects Fund to apply monies from fundraising to. Patterson noted that the board has the power to move funds as needed.

The board then entered into a special public hearing to discuss a proposed anti-bullying policy. The proposed policy was created to comply with MCL 380.1310B otherwise known as Matt’s Safe School Law, PA 241 of 2011. Patterson explained that “school buildings should be safe. Policy needs to be in place and adhered to”. He also noted that the policy should be reviewed each year in order to visit any issues that may have arisen from the previous year. Patterson also noted that parents and students need to understand what bullying is noting “we get far more false allegations”.

“When an allegation of bullying comes up I stop what I am doing and I star investigating” stated Patterson.

The board approved the anti-bullying policy after returning to regular session.

Board member Dave Fultz announced that fundraising efforts had already begun with an effort to “sell the school”. Areas of the building and grounds can be purchased as a sponsorship in which a plaque will be displayed. The playground costs $10,000, the entry door to the gymnasium and the main building entry doors are $5,000 each (which Fultz noted had already sold), the office and classrooms are $2,500. After only a week the board has raised $25,000 and have a goal of $100,000. Fultz noted “the response has been phenomenal”.

In other business Patterson reported that board member Amy Hesse had submitted her resignation from the board noting that she had to step down for personal reasons.

Reprinted with permission – Roscommon County Weekly July 13, 2012 issue