Minutes from December 15, 2016
BOARD OF DIRECTORS
SOUTH CAROLINA WHITMORE SCHOOL
510 Commerce Dr NE
Columbia, SC 29223
December 15, 2016
CALL TO ORDER
The meeting was called to order by Board of Directors Chair, Dr. Terry Hitch, at 9:30 am.
Dr. Terry Hitch, Chair; Christopher McClure, Treasurer; DuJuan Council, Secretary; Ann Brown, Board Member (via phone); Allison Bullard, Board Member; Susan DuRant, Board Member (via phone); and Roger Sears, Board Member. Additionally, John Loveday, Principal; Ebone’ Adams, Assistant Principal; Michelle Bishop, Compliance Coordinator; Annette Havens, Testing/Social Media Coordinator; Amanda Reilly, Spanish/Director of Curriculum and Instruction; Kendall Stewart, Office Manager; Jaquetta Gilbert, SCWS Intern; Peyton Bryant, NAI Avant, LLC; and Bill Moser, Kelley-Moser Consulting (via phone); Ellen Ray, Consultant; and Steve Ray, Consultant.
Ellen Ray, SC Whitmore School’s curriculum provider, updated those in attendance regarding the continuous updates and improvements occurring. She spoke highly of those among the SCWS staff, that SC Whitmore School wrote courses like that of a friend and has everything was moving along at lightning speed. John Loveday also commented regarding the attributes Amanda Reilly has assisted with. Great effort has been shown organizing the movement for improving courses as well as adding new courses.
APPROVAL OF MINUTES
The minutes of September 16, 2016 were presented for approval. Motion was made by DuJuan Council to approve the minutes, 1st was done by Roger Sears and 2nd by Christopher McClure. Approved by unanimous vote.
REAL ESTATE UPDATE
Peyton Bryant of NAI Avant, LLC provided an update regarding the Chapin property and the status of it. We are still holding steady, attempting to sell the building and were all set to before the master deed and official bylaw hiccup scared away the buyer. Peyton indicated on the lowering of the property listed price, due to the issue of size of the building (too big) and the smaller Chapin market. It was brought up that we could potentially go back to our previous buyer with the reduced price, hoping that would entice them. Dr. Hitch believes that connecting with our previous buyer to be a good move. The comparisons with building one (SCWS was in Building six) are brought up. Roger questioned if building one, which was formerly owned by State Farm, was the same square footage of the former SCWS property. Peyton advised that it was roughly the same size, although, it was smaller, and brought light to the fact that at least building one is not a leased option, and it is for sale like our former building. Chris brought up the idea about new advertising techniques, not just lowering the price to entice buyers.
Peyton, in turn, advised that the internet presence is high already, and there’s a possibility to even getting into Chapin publications. Chris was still hesitant to lowering the price, and recommended to just refresh and step up the current marketing techniques.
SEPTEMBER 2016 – NOVEMBER 2016 FINANCIALS
Bill Moser provided a quarterly update including September, October, and November financials.
In September, adjustments were made to the EFA from 350 students to 375 students to reflect growth. Lines 88 and 89 were increased to one full year, from 6 months, based on the sale movement of the Chapin property. Both the Budget Balance and Fund Balance were increased.
During October, there was no change in revenue, but there were fluctuations in employment, with multiple part time newcomers. Both the Budget Balance and Fund Balance were decreased. Dr. Hitch brought up a concern regarding the Board Discretionary Fund, asking what the typical amount for that was, percentage wise. Bill responded that at the beginning of the school, it tends to be around the 3% range, but as used, it will decline, based on items like new employees. John then brought up the fact that it is not plausible to bring on full time teachers immediately, that it is best for both parties to begin is part time to make sure it’s a good fit for all involved.
When November rolled around, revisions did as well. The line for Pupil Activity was updated to reflect year to date activity. From revenue, to the budget balance, as well as the fund balance, all were increased. Line 99 was updated to reflect the projected increase in activity in Marketing and Advertising. The Graduation budget line was also increased which pleased Dr. Hitch.
FINANCE COMMITTEE UPDATE
Per our Treasurer, Christopher McClure, an overall update was given regarding SCWS finances.
It was reviewed that both our checking and savings accounts are both holding consistent balances. Our savings remains to be untouched. We continue to benefit from rate increases in our three CDs. Chris also outlined we have a strong enrollment in our 401(k) that 15 out of 16 eligible employees take part in it, which is a tax benefit for SCWS.
In also evaluating numbers, Chris indicated that August of 2020 will be when the Chapin building is paid for. By 2023, the debt for the Columbia property should be relieved. Dr. Hitch greatly appreciated the insight Chris was able to provide. She values his presence on the Board, thanking him for making finances understandable.
SOCIAL MEDIA AND TESTING UPDATE
Annette shared quite a bit of information regarding EOC Testing, as well as the ACT and the SAT, as well as our social media campaigns.
We have finally gotten totals for last school year’s (2015-16) EOC tests. Except for Algebra, we have had positive growth in the other EOC categories (US History, Biology, and English) each year. When compared to other virtual high schools, we have greater averages than all of them in Algebra 1 and Biology. We are greater than two of the other four schools in English 1 and US History. This is based off data from 2016 School Report Cards. When compared to State scores, SC Whitmore’s scores are higher than the State averages in English 1 as well as Biology. SCWS is above the district averages in all categories except that of English 1.
Moving on to the ACT and SAT scores, SCWS has a lot to be proud of. Our mean composite score on the ACT is 17.1. Four of the five content areas of the ACT have higher mean scores than two of the other virtual high schools. The English portion, as well as the Reading portion, have higher mean scores than that of the State and the District, which is definitely something SC Whitmore should be proud of. It’s almost hard to top the excellence we showed on the ACT, but the SAT takes the cake. In the SAT, SCWS students had the highest growth in the state between the 2015 and 2016 tests!
Regarding Social Media, we are still reaching a ton of people. On Facebook, including Instagram, we have reached over 385,000 people and gotten a little over 78,500 clicks from it. Our Twitter advertising has reached over 580,000 people, and resulted in over 1,500 clicks from that.
Michelle reviewed the Annual Performance Evaluation Template with everyone. After briefly evaluating the document, it was noted that the District has higher standards than that of the State, especially in reference to testing. It was also mentioned that performance gaps, while they are aligned with the National average, are apparent. We are still working on how we retain student enrollment each year.
The first item John wanted to share a presentation of that of the year in review. A few highlights were that of April 2016 at the State House, where we celebrated SC Whitmore School’s 5th year anniversary. In May, we graduated 88 students and had 480,000 in scholarships to those. We had our ribbon cutting ceremony at SC Whitmore School’s new facility in August, complete with a food truck and great family turnout. September was the big news of the most improved SAT scores in South Carolina and October brought the largest enrollment in school history!
The next point he brought up was an idea of an annual evaluation tool, to formally evaluate the school leader. John brought to light a generalized document to reflect this in a physical manner. With this tool, the school leader would have feedback in a more formal manner. Discussion was then held regarding the document, outlining the major components of it. Part one reflects competency and the leader’s knowledge base. The concern was brought up as to how to measure certain aspects of this portion of the assessment. Part two was in reference to the summary of results that were achieved for the year.
Much discussion was held regarding the document, and it was said that this item would be discussed in length via email to work out concerns as well as ideas after further research is performed.
Dr. Terry Hitch requested an Executive Session. After the Executive Session to board announced they were going to provide a one-time gift to the faculty and staff, in order to celebrate a successful year. Next Board meeting will be held on March 16th, 2017.
Next Board meeting in December. No other new business. Roger Sears made the motion to adjourn, DuJuan Council 2nd. Unanimous vote to adjourn the meeting.
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