Dr. Winston Tucker, Principal

1015 Snelling Ave S, Saint Paul, MN 55116

651-293-8940 Fax 293-8939 | Get Directions

Principal/School Name

360 Colborne Street, Saint Paul, MN, 55102

651-767-8100 | Get Directions

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December 2015

  • Highland Park Senior High PTSA

    Monday, December 14 | 6:30 pm | Library

    Meeting Notes


    Corrections to the Theater Meeting of 12/10/15 Notes:


    • Paragraph four, last sentence states: "the only thing that was reduced from the school extra-curricular budget was the two sections of during the day theater instruction". This is not accurate. The day classes do not come from an extra-curricular budget and we made other staffing position cuts besides theater due to our tight budget allocation.
    • During the meeting Dr. Tucker was going to mention that he did not have us solicit funds earlier as there was an expectation of HPSH receiving more funds in the budget due to student enrollment being higher than projection. This adjustment has been done every year; however, this was not done this year due to tight district finances this year.
    • Welcome – co-chairs
      • Update on School Board meetings at the school
        • As the PTSA, we need to ensure we are meeting with the School Board and / or District as one united front. We cannot afford to have parents who want one item, then parents who want another item presenting each case individually. We need the District to not dismiss us and we need our communications to appear cohesive and not broken, smaller factions. We need to work with all groups in a collaborative manner.
        • Parents liked this idea and recalled that Theresa Battle said we were the only group who presented as united front. We do not want to lose this momentum.
      • How to get questions that require research submitted
        • If you have questions for Dr. Tucker, please send them to the co-chairs or the PTSA mailbox. They will be forwarded to him for the next PTSA meeting.
      • Quick update from Susan on the School Board tours. Showed Zuki Ellis, Mary Vanderwert, Steve Marchese and John Broderick around the building placing an emphasis on leaks in the cafeteria and the link and the library. All were fascinated with the leaking dishwasher and there are concerns around what message are we sending to our students sitting in a classroom with a leaky ceiling. All noted the link is a great design for a school in California and all saw value in being able to add more classroom space. Hope is high HPSH will be higher on the priority listing for facilities.
    • Principal’s Report – Dr. Tucker
      • Shipp, Assistant Principal grades 11/12:
        • Asked to come so she could discuss the school’s climate and culture as SPPS has been all over the news of late and not in a good way. School safety is at risk for students and staff and HPSH is fortunate as we are safe and not in the paper. HPSH has staff invested in the students as are the parents.
        • Shipp is also the chair of PBIS - Positive Behavior Intervention and Support. This program started this about 8 years ago develops a model that teaches behavior. PBIS has been practiced for the last 8 years and was launched by Diana Morton. PBIS has built in incentives for students who met certain positive behavior criteria and allowed students to shop for some small value gift cards. Parents should akin this to luncheons in the office or other positive rewards and employer offers.
        • Currently, there is no funding available in the school budget and the administration would like to relaunch the program including offering incentives for students. Ms. Shipp needs:
          • financial support and
          • any parents who have connections within the Highland Park to see if businesses could help support
        • This program takes continued effort and Ms. Shipp is looking for $1000
        • The collected behavior data for HPSH shows the following are the issues:
          • Tardy (HPSH biggest issue)
          • defiance of authority
          • general disruptive behavior such as noisy in hall
        • There were a few questions from the floor such as what happens if the kids follow poor behavior? Most behaviors are managed in the classroom as our teachers do an excellent job with our students. There was also a concern that only students with poor behavior would be rewarded. Ms. Shipp said that was not the case – students who demonstrate constant positive behavior could also be rewarded.
        • This program is not to go on for forever and it is understood by the administration that for students with hard core behavior issues this will not work. PBIS is framed as schoolwide culture and climate
        • Tucker also ensured that we know overall HPSH has nice, pleasant students
      • Update to Prescription Drug topic.
        • In the last meeting, some parents may have come away with the thought that this is a huge, almost epidemic, issue in the school. The intent was not to cause panic amongst families. We do not believe it is. What we are doing is educating and intervening where we know. This includes all forms of substance abuse, including alcohol. Students do not always understand the ramifications of their actions.
      • Nerf Wars: This is now in paper and this is not a school sanctioned activity. Similar to Jr/Sr wars, Dr. Tucker receives calls about this and nerf wars are more around parent/student discussions. HPSH does not sponsor or condone nerf wars and when it happens on school premises it is dealt with. Dr. Tucker and the parents also understand there is a line between asking students to make good decisions and being a killjoy.
      • Thank you to the parents/students/staff who worked to have School Board members touring the school.
      • Last week’s Band concert was excellent.
      • Budget update – budget will be presented and questions at end of each issue. Dr. Tucker handed out the same packet he used during the Theater meeting.
        • We are allocated funds from the District and Dr. Tucker understands that there are questions on transparency
        • Salaries are averaged and HPSH spends over $5m on staff. All costs are averaged so a teacher, regardless of time in class and degrees is budgeted at an average $95,800
        • All schools receive discretionary funds, yet we should not confuse discretionary for fun. HPSH has had to use discretionary funds for staples, such as staff. In the past years, this amount was $100k and this year is $50k. This discretionary bucket also includes the $133 per pupil monies, so it seems like a lot of money yet it is used quickly
        • The budget also includes items such as
          • Fees for service – example when a staff member works over prep
          • Food is for events such as conferences
          • Other salaries – TBD
          • Staff development is something that has been reduced tremendously
          • Transporting – bus tokens for our students
        • Extra-curricular sheet handed out and this shows what the school was able to fund and unable to fund. Overall, $68k was funded while the school was allotted $50k. School budget made up the 18k
          • Now that yearbook is a class is yearbook amounts still needed? Yes
          • What is a North Central coordinator? This is a report separate from IB reports. This is what gives the school accreditation and is done every five years
        • Theater meeting had lots of passion. Dr. Tucker asked the Susan to send an amendment to the theater meeting notes (see above). The school was expecting more funds as we had more students at the beginning of the year. The monies never arrived due to the District having financial issues.
        • There are three scenarios for our budget,
          • District is going to come up with monies to help pay for shortfalls
          • District will start us off as a negative balance starting next year. This is the worst scenario
          • We can secure specific grant monies and Dr. Tucker understands that parents should not have to be running around finding monies
        • Parent asking about charging for activities. It is not something that would be ideal as not all parents can afford and do not want to ask about sliding scales.
        • Budget reality is that HPSH continues to be penalized as we are a smaller school. This is a mixed blessing as we also do not want to be overcrowded as that brings different parent phone calls due to class size
        • Our budget does not account for positions funded by the District, such as cafeteria, janitorial, Special Ed.
          • There is a cost for supervision in the cafeteria by staff and while expensive it is worth having staff who know students be with them
        • Bottom line: reality is we are underfunded as the District uses a formula that favors free and reduced populations. We have a lower free and reduced population so we do not get as many dollars. This formula works for Harding and Washington, yet is now causing issues at Central and Johnson. The District / schools are all working on solutions. This is also why some parents received the call to complete the free and reduced paperwork.
      • Question: If a kid is suspended at one school – do we accept them? No, when a student is suspended they are out of all buildings. There are administrative transfers and HPSH has sent and received students in the program. Overall, this is successful as 70% of the students do well with a clean slate
    • Parent Liaison Report – Kim Sabo
      • Upcoming concert and parent dinner. Thank you to the parents who donate food for the conference dinners. It is greatly appreciated.
    • Treasurer’s Report – Laurie Zaepfel –
      • We continue to receive Give to the Max monies
    • Student’s Report  – Sydney Linssen/James Farnsworth
      • Update on JA/Scots Café. Work continues with the Hiway Federal Credit Union to set up business account. There is already great interest and we are still accepting student applications. Our goal is to open in January/early February pilot
      • PTSA Sponsored Panel
        • "Life After College -Tuesday January 5th, 7:00pm in the HPSH auditorium
          • This is not a how to select or pay for college, yet more around life in college, the challenges of being on their own, and advice for our current high school families about transferring from high school life to college life. Panelist include Class of 2015 students (and some parents) who chose larger, out of state schools, mid-sized MnSCU school and gap year. We have also invited a representative from the Counseling department to be on hand to answer any questions or to provide insight as needed. Be sure to come with questions, it should be a fun event!
        • Highland Park Elementary Pieology Fundraiser Tonight (close 10pm) and tomorrow 11am-10pm, with proceeds going to Highland Park Elementary PTA
      • Give to the Max recap – Vineeta Branby – 10 minutes
        • More monies have been raised than originally thought – over %15k
        • Huge thank you to Sydney for the handwritten thank you notes to donors
        • All at the table felt the promotion/videos was just the right amount
      • Committees –
        • Grants from GTTM – Jen Wetzel (report sent to Susan and read to group)
          • Jen is going to get the letter to Ms. Sabo before break and would like the deadline of February 1. All agreed this was a good timeframe
        • Still have openings for other committees – if you are interested please see Jody or David
      • Julia Earl, Chair of the PTA at Highland Middle asked if HPSH would like to partner with them on an event. They are hosting on February 22 a speaker from the Emily Program.
      • Miranda Hatfield is the chair of this month’s teacher conference dinner. She was excited to report that all slots filled