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Where Learning Has No Boundaries

Polaris Charter Academy

Where Learning Has No Boundaries

Polaris Charter Academy

Where Learning Has No Boundaries

Polaris Charter Academy

Polaris Board Minutes 08.28.12

Polaris Charter Academy

Board Meeting Agenda

August 28, 2012

Board Topic: Back to School

Board Attendees:  Darren Snyder (Chair), Greg Borkowski, Mick Domagala, Uday Khedkar, Travis Swoope, Michelle Navarre, Keecia Broy, Susan Kajiwara-ansai, Dr. Kameron Matthews, Helen Wolfe (via conference)

School Leaders: Carol Clavadetscher, John Finlay

Darren called the meeting to order at 6:05pm.

Darren started of the meeting with a welcome and introductions. John Finlay, Polaris’ New Leader resident, introduced himself to the board members. He shared with the group his reflections on the 2011-2012 school year and invited others to contribute as well.

The minutes from August 8th were reviewed and approved by all board members present.

State of the School

Michelle provided the group with the State of the School, sharing enrollment numbers of 390 students (with cap of 400 and budget of 384). She also introduced the Polaris Dashboard to the board, which provide historical and current data specific to Polaris, including demographics, ISAT results, NWEA-MAP testing results (format only), and financial data. The dashboard will be used as the platform for school performance discussions going forward.

Michelle shared with the board the ISAT results from March 2012. The data had not been previously shared at a board meeting, as it was not received by Polaris until early August (approximately 2 months later than historically). Overall, Polaris scores increased by 5.4pts in 2012, with a 7.7pt composite score growth in reading and a 2.1pt decline in math. She shared that the academic team is digging into the areas in which scores had dipped, specifically 5th grade math and reading, as well as exploring the effectiveness of the 6th grade reading curriculum, in which scores increased by approximately 25pt. Overall, the board felt the results were strong and congratulated the team for their continued success.

Finance Committee

Carol shared with the board the upcoming audit dates (September 4 – 7).  The final budget has been submitted to CPS, although no financial information has been received regarding the facility fees. She shared that the leadership team was in the process of evaluating the option to “Opt Out” of the facility fee agreement with the new lease. Reasons supporting the decision include the uncertainty of the building manager position after 2012-2013, due to the retirement of David Hardin, the current restructuring and instability of the building/maintenance agreements across all of CPS, as well as lower cost.

In regards to renewal, Carol shared that the charter renewal requires $75,000 of Polaris funds to be placed in “Escrow.” CPS has provided no direction in regards to escrow requirements.

Carol shared that she has participated in 2 INCS/CPS meetings to discuss the calculation of the Per Capita Tuition Charge, which sets the “legal” range for charter school funding. The meeting included ISBE representation and provides Polaris with an opportunity to engage in advocacy efforts.

Development Committee

Carol shared with the board that a full-time development director has been hired, Jamie Samsel. Jamie will be reaching out to board members to set up 1 to 1 meetings to discuss board involvement in development. The October board meeting will be focused on development.


Mick provided a brief governance update, expressing concerns that we had no prospective board members in the pipeline. He requested that ALL board members provide the names of 3 potential board members by the end of November, effectively rebuilding the list.

Board Goals and Priorities

Darren asked each board member to share a personal goal for Polaris in the current school year. Keecia and Michelle expressed the need for the number one board priority to be development. The need for a board retreat was reiterated in the meeting, with Michelle and Darren taking the lead on setting a date and creating an agenda. The primary goal for the board retreat would be to initiate the strategic plan development for 2013-2017.

The meeting closed with a review of key dates.


SCHEDULE – Board Retreat

Tuesday, August 28th

Tuesday, October 30th   (29th Annual Meeting)

Tuesday, December 4th

Tuesday, January 29th

Tuesday, February 26th

Tuesday, April 29th

Tuesday, May 29th

Tuesday, June 25th (Conference Call)

Uday moved to close the meeting at 8:25pm. Michelle seconded the motion.

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Polaris Board Minutes 08.28.12