School Improvement Advisory Committee Minutes – October 14, 2021

District Mission: The Sioux City Community School District exists to educate students to believe in their talents and skills, achieve academic excellence, and succeed in reaching their potential.

Chair: Afiya Bilata
Vice-Chair: Sherry Martin
Facilitator: Dr. Paul Gausman
Secretary: Erin Bourne

The School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC) met on Thursday, October 14, 2021 in the ESC Board Room.

Attendees: Dr. Paul Gausman, Dr. Kim Buryanek, Leslie Heying, Jeremy Saint, Monique Scarlett, Amanda Beougher, Afiya Bilata, Bill Burrack, Cecelia Ronnfeldt, Cheryl Connot, Daniel Harder, Greg Giles, Heidi Kammer-Hodge, Benjamin Jackson, Joe Simons, Joseph Riker, Joshua Potter, Juliana Benitez, Yemane Kifle, Kristi Maloney, Kenny Lam, Laura Mesz, William Lohr, Marco Linares, Megan Lawrey, Molly Timmins, Lamarion Mothershead, Nick Kuester, Sherry Martin, Tammy Noble, Teri France and Aiden Westra

Guests / Visitors: Dr. Jen Gomez, Director of Human Resources

Call to Order: Dr. Paul Gausman, Superintendent, called the meeting to order at 5:15 p.m.
Committee members were asked to introduce himself or herself and share a little something about

Legislated Purpose of the School Improvement Advisory Committee (SIAC)

Dr. Gausman shared the SIAC guidelines and goals. He shared the legislated purpose of the committee, stating it is legislated by law and was formerly recognized as the District Advisory Committee. The committee is required to meet at least once a year.

Dr. Gausman shared what the School Improvement Advisory Committee is, as well as what it is not.
The SIAC analyzes the needs assessment data and makes recommendations to the Board regarding:

  • Major educational needs;
  • Student learning goals;
  • Long-range goals that include, but are not limited to, the state indicators that address reading
    mathematics, and science achievement;
  • Harassment or bullying prevention goals, programs, training, and other initiatives

Example of Accomplishments

Dr. Gausman shared a number of years ago this committee was involved in developing the mission statement for the District, establishing a schedule and timeline for construction of new buildings, retention of ACT prep courses, and most recently, the naming of the virtual school, VIBE Academy. He also shared examples of recommendations and goals set by SIAC from last year’s Board presentation. The Committee is permitted to explore any area of interest as long as the content is within SIAC parameters.

School Calendars

Dr. Jen Gomez presented the 2022-23, 2023-24, and 2024-25 school calendars. The Board has acknowledged calendars for years 2022-23 and 2023-24. Due to Iowa law, the District is not allowed to start school before August 23.

After bringing the calendars to Cabinet and several other committees, it was suggested that Winter
Break be extended by one day to make break a full two weeks for the 2024-25 calendar. This would extend the school year another day into June. This would also allow families to travel for the full two weeks and students would then return to school on a Monday. Returning on a Friday may affect district attendance. This recommendation was well received by committee members.

While presenting calendars to another committee Dr. Gomez shared a suggestion that the District
eliminate the second snow day, if extending Winter Break. This option would avoid adding another
day to the end of the year. However, the District almost always uses at least two snow days per year.

When discussing conferences, the committee discussed moving the exchange day to the Friday before conferences. This would give students a four-day weekend, rather than two three-day weekends. Some teachers may prefer the two three-day weekends because of the long days associated with conferences.

Typically, the District has school on Martin Luther King Jr (MLK) Day, however, on the 2023-24 calendar the District does not have school due to conferences. This was not intended, however, the discussion on whether to have school or not in the future on MLK Day remains ongoing.

Dr. Gomez will present the calendars at a future Board meeting.

Leadership Selection

Dr. Gausman asked for nominations for Committee Chair and Vice-Chair.

Afiya Bifata nominated herself for Committee Chair. Afiya Bifata was voted Committee Chair.

Monique Scarlett nominated Sherry Martin for Committee Vice-Chair. Sherry Martin was voted Vice Chair.

DAC Meeting Time / Location / Day

Dr. Gausman asked for Committee member feedback regarding the future meeting schedule. The
Committee agreed to meet on the third Thursday of each month. The scheduled dates are listed below. Consistent with past years, the SIAC will not have a scheduled meeting in December.

  • November 18, 2021
  • January 20, 2022
  • February 17, 2022
  • March 17, 2022
  • April 21, 2022
  • May – Board Presentation

The meeting adjourned at 6:28 p.m. The next SIAC meeting is scheduled for Thursday, November 18, 2020 at 5:15 p.m.