• 9/20/16   Como Parent and Community Council                 9   6PM  Como Library

    Meeting Minutes


    This is the first meeting of the 2016-2017 school year.

    Two items on the agenda: Design Update from “Designing for 21st Century Learning” and a discussion of topics for this year’s meetings.  Pizza and water were made available to attendees.


    Theresa Neal welcomed everyone and thanked them for being here. 


    Participants introduced themselves.  3 Administration, 4 Cunningham group people, 10 Parents of freshmen, juniors, sophomores, and seniors, and 2 staff were present.  Joey Pratte’s dad.

    Manal Hassen, Johann Benson, Ann Borgwardt, Eric Beckman, Gena Johnson, Angela Rein, Lola Mohamed, Fatuma Said, Khadija Mohamed, Darrel Pratte, LaToya Turk, Nadiko Hirsh,Ann Commers, Oulia Yang, Amy Dutton, Theresa Neal, Sandy Kestner, Kathy Kahn


    Como Remodeling will happen 2017-2019 depending on the schedule.


    Project Overview - Lots of work has gone into the process and summarized how we got here.

    District master plan started 2.5 years ago with stakeholders for 6 months, then met at Murray about individual school needs. Developed top ten needs for Como were developed by 18-24 people.  Then a rough sketchy plan was used as a launching off point. They talked about what was really important here and looking at what other schools were doing that was relevant.  Then meetings were to find consensus and make schematic plan.  All last spring.  Then they worked with steering committee to guide the process to the plans they have now.  They’ve had meetings with staff and have still several phases to come.  They will update the website. 


    Transformation – By the end they will have touched almost every square foot of the school.  Some of the things they are looking for are light, community, flexibility, performance learning spaces, and more.  Common ground themes: Open at the center of the school, smaller learning communiteis, break out spaces near instructional spaces, Attention to the main entrance (move it).  Student gathering places, Additional adult space for work, flow.


    Schematic Design – Locating spaces and saying how big they are, then looking where doors etc. are.

    -Site Plan was shared – shows new entrance area, additional classroom space, and a courtyard between the classrooms on the east side and the west side of the school.

    -Picture of entrance in current location.  But the group thought it would be nice to have it more centrally located.  Still in plans.

    -Design was overviewed.  Please see the website.   Not too many changes to gym pool fieldhouse areas.  More emphasis in “hangout” space with chairs and tables for students to work and have informal gatherings. 


    There is a plan for a “forum” which is an open area with a learning stair that cascades down to a big open space with smaller rooms for breakout sessions.  They are trying to carry a wood theme though the building to warm it up, though there will be colors too.


    Commons area is opened up, with a variety of furniture and a seat/stair that you can sit on or pass through.  They plan on raising the roof to get more light in to the commons.  The commons will have sitting areas so students will not just be walking through.  What they are trying to achieve is a general neutral palette, keep it clean and timeless, and very collegiate and professional.  They will have Como-branded things.  More neutrals so thea the students can shine. Wood (a midwest thing) will contrast the white, and the como colors.


    Next steps – steering committee continues to meet, and get input from code, zoning, and more to continue to shape the space.  Next upsdate in December.  Keep an eye on the webpage  Dsiegn ends mid November, the documentation and bidding, Construction takes place about summer 2017 to summer 2019 working around school needs.


    Questions????  Comments*** Parking Lot post-its....


    ? Question about the way to the library, the library hallway. They’re working on that. *Wondering about security.  The gates they have now...will there be ways to subdivide the building afterhours.  The gate will be gone.

    *The cafeteria serving area will be enlarged and queing issues. 

    !What about the noise from the opened up commons to classrooms.  Is there any plan?  Acoustic absorbing material and fewer spaces that open to the commons. Science rooms front on the south side, not the commons side. 

    ? Restrooms.  All the restrooms will be in the south end and the north end.  They are using the new st. Paul model which is individual stall/rooms for the toilets and shared sink area.

    Question about the use during the summer... it may be available in the areas where no work is done like gym and aud and fieldhouse.  The new addition will be done first.  The next two summers are less open since other work is being done. 

    ?What about moving the main entry?  Will families be able to find things?  Like getting to counselling through the commons. 

    ?Why did all this come about?  Did you need more space or just a remodel?  They are looking at 21st century education so change is needed AND there will be 100 more students. 

    ?Is the school safe during construction?  The areas will be physically separate and they will be aware of this issue. 

    !Comment – it is very much of a college feel.  Is that open area geared to the before and after school times.  Will students have trouble getting out of the lounge chairs for class on time??  ?Will the new area have filtered drinking fountains?  Yes. 

    ?What about electric charging stations for the kids phones?  Yes. 

    ?For the purpose of hardware, when admin has ten keys, how will it be keyed?  School will have input.


    Theresa thanks them for being here saying it has been a joy and a pleasure to work with them.  They have put a lot into it and are open to all questions and comments.  Everyone is encouraged to call and they will keep the website updated.  There will be an update at the Open House too.


    Cunningham group folks thanked everyone for being here!!


    Transition to 25 minutes to use as opportunity for parents to give feedback as to how they want these meetings to operate and what topics you want.


    What is important for parents to know and how can we deliver the information and have productive meetings.  Now we are planning the year and we are open to hearing what is important to you parents. Last time, they wanted to know about the graduation pathway, and financial aide early in the year.  People want to know about problems and celebrations.  Admin has designed the time and you parents have the input.  Would like to end at 7:30 to honor your time.  Open to suggestions:


    Family Engagement Plan – to work with parents for the success of the students.  We wanted to have interpreters.  That should be a goal.


    School Start time change – If the district is not going to do it, is it possible that Como could be the next school?  - Answer- feasibility study done.  Johnson piloted.  SPPS kept talking with MTC.  They chose Creative Arts to add.  If the next school site is selected, Como could be that! 8:30 start time.  Continue to mention it to schoolboard members, send an email (look on SPPS site; boe@spps.org?)


    Challenging Classes, but not college level – need somewhere in between the general and the AP


    Scheduling – how many periods in the day.  If that changes, what about grad changes?


    New Counselling dept – what is the agenda?  Is there a plan for getting info out early and having counselors meet with students.  A – They will be on the agenda for October meeting.

    Could we do that with the departments too??


    Would like to include admin and counselor and parent.  Forms for early release, work-study forms, and different processes.  Know your admin, your counselor, your teachers, etc. Have students touch with them. 


    Pick an advisory class and introduce themselves: This is what I look like and this is what I can do for you.  How does admin continue to keep themselves in front of students in a positive way. 


    Along the lines of being able to talk to adults, daughter went in to ask what they need, son is more shy.  Parents have to help student do that now so they don’t struggle.  Is there some way the counselors can see them to make sure they are on track.  They have to learn to ask the right questions without a parent to hold their hand.  It has been a roller coaster of a first two weeks.  It has been a vertical learning curve for new counselors.  Parents and students will be amazed when they get to know these fabulous people.  Districtwide, some things are driven...including work in the classroom, each grade has a different milestone.  MN has the highest ratio of student to counselor.  Come to coffee with counselors!


    Coffee with the principal is tomorrow.  9/21 at 10am.

    Next month is coffee with the counselor. 


    Next Tuesday night is Open House.


    There will also be a Senior Parent Meeting....then they’ll try it with the other classes.


    There’s been a lot of discussion about how to divide the duties.  They are now by alphabet, but what is your thought about counselors by grade level or they could loop??  Would have to see multiple counselors.  How will counselors be dispersed throughout the student body?


    Last year the senior all night party was amazing and also more work than anyone thinks. 


    Taste of Como?  Sandy has coordinating it and is retiring. 


    January we need to talk about scheduling since it will be going online.


    October – Counselors


    November – Departments – Representatives from core and other disciplines


    December – Community celebration/ Start senior all night party planning??


    January – Scheduling Information


    February – Taste of Como??  Booster Club??


    NOTE - Need the Monthly Opportunities for Students again...online??  Sandi Smith used to compile them and give them to advisory.  Rick Walker I think would put them on the counseling site.  This should include scholarships, opportunities, jobs, and other.




    Submitted by Kathy Kahn – I tried to get everything down, but this type of meeting with suggestions, questions, and comments flying is difficult.  Send corrections if you see any.