Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Board Beacon Newsletter - Fall 2013

Menlo Park Academy Board Beacon
Fall 2013 Edition
In This Issue
Annual Survey Results
Facility Update
Biennial Budget Update
Development Survey Results
Other News
Other News
Did You Know?
School Digger ranked Menlo Park Academy as the #1 school district in Ohio!  Click here for more details.  Go MPA!

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Board Member Highlight

Teri Harrison

Ms. Harrison is one of the school's founders and has served on the Board since the summer of 2008.  She is currently the Chair of the Board, and therefore is Chair of the Executive Committee as well as an ex-officio member of all other Board committees.  
Teri has worked with non-profits for over 15 years.  Most significantly she served as the General Advisor for her sorority's local collegiate chapter at Baldwin Wallace University for over 10 years. During that time she guided young women through leadership workshops, officer training sessions, and participated in several national training conferences.  She currently serves as a national officer for ZTA. She has also served on the planning committee and led the volunteer team for the survivor's program at the Northeast Ohio Race for the Cure.  
Teri spent over 10 years managing the messaging environment for a national law firm based in Cleveland, led a team of IT professionals for a large national bank for five years, and now works as a Messaging Design Engineer at Eaton.   She holds a BSBA in Marketing and Computer Science from Ohio Northern University.
Teri grew up in Lakewood and Bay Village, Ohio and now resides in Avon with her husband Chris and 2 children - Lexi (8th) and Jackson (5th).   The family also has 2 cats and a bunny rabbit.  She enjoys watching her children's sporting events, photography, scrapbooking, and jewelry making.  
Cartoon Character: Figment
Movie:  Steel Magnolias
Book:  "Born to Rise" by Deborah Kenny and "Mind in the Making" by Ellen Galinsky are new favorites.
City:  Anywhere in California
Color:  Purple
Restaurant:  Fujiyama
Candy/Snack: Twizzlers
Store:  Amazon
Game:  Euchre
Meal:  Salmon with teriyaki sauce or most any Japanese meal.
Music:  She likes it all, but Rock & Pop rise to the top. 
Sports Team:The Cleveland Browns
 "My dad used to take us all the time as kids. Fond memories of cardboard on the concrete under our moon boots, plastic bags on our feet before the boots, and icicle eyelashes. Once you've been through that, how could you not love the team?"
You can read more about all of our Board members here.

Board Beacon
Welcome back to school!  We are thrilled to have all the smiling children back in the building, bringing it to life.  We have begun year six with 350 students enrolled in grades K-8.   

In this update we are sharing some survey results, a facility update, details on the state's biennial budget, and enrollment news (we currently have a few openings so please share MPA with your friends).  

Annual Survey Results  
MPA is committed to the concept of continuous improvement.  As we forge our way down the path of creating and refining our school's programs, we value the input of our community members. 
Thank you to those who completed our annual survey.  We received a 46% return rate. The results of this survey help form our annual Strategic Plan that drives our short and long-term goals and objectives.
The most powerful statement is the number of parents who believe that overall, MPA provides an excellent education for all of its students.  An amazing 94% of respondents agreed.  
You can view a full summary of the results by clicking here. Thank you again for the time and energy that you contribute to MPA.
Don't forget that you can view all Board Policies online, as well as
visit our Board Portal to view meeting agendas & minutes.  Please remember that all of our meetings are open to the public, and we encourage our community members to attend.
Do you have thoughts on how we can better engage our community? Send them to

Facility Update
Four years ago when MPA moved to its current location and rented only the top floor, it was difficult to envision that by the 2013-2014 school year the school would be fully utilizing the entire building, have added two modular classrooms, and be considering how to gain even more space. 

In an effort to find the best facility solution in an timely manner MPA has hired CBRE, a commercial real estate agency, to be our "Tenant Representative" in the search for a facility solution. CBRE will research all available options based on MPA's current and projected needs, including the current facility with improvements, and report to the MPA board and administration a recommendation for facilities beginning with the 2014-2015 school year.
We look forward to continuing to share information with the community as we move through this exciting time in MPA's history.

Biennial Budget Update 
On June 30, 2014 Governor Kasich signed the FY14 and FY15 state budgets into law. In the months leading up to the passage of the final bill there was much speculation as to its effects on community  
school funding in general and from our perspective, concern about possible effects on MPA in particular.
The good news is that our funding has not been adversely affected. 
The new budget replaces the old state foundation payment with the Opportunity Grant. Of note, the new formula includes funds earmarked to help pay for facilities and for early literacy. 
While exact numbers using the Opportunity Grant formula have not been released, simulations created by the Legislative Service Commission show an expected net gain to MPA of $69,119 using June 2012 actual student numbers and funds. Adjusted for our targeted enrollment of 366 students, full day funding for all kindergarten students, and a projected significant increase in economically disadvantaged funds, MPA stands to see an even larger increase. Budgeting for 360 students, we anticipate total state funding of $2,406,543 compared to $1,674,843 in 2012 and $1,991,931 in 2013.

The federal sequester has had an adverse effect on both Title I and IDEA (Special Education) funding.  While Title I funding is a new and minor portion of our funding (approximately $5,000 this year), MPA will see a 41% decrease in IDEA funds this year from $64,948 in 2013 to $38,173 in 2014. MPA remains committed to identifying and servicing the needs of all our students despite this significant drop in federal funding.

Development Survey Results
Thank you to all of those in our MPA community who took the time to respond to the recent Development Survey.  Through this input, the Development and Community Relations Committee (DCRC) has gained insights and preferences on the fundraising activities that occur throughout the school year.  Based on this input, the DCRC is currently working to finalize this year's Annual Development Plan.  Following are the highlights from the survey:

  • More than half of the respondents to the Development Survey stated their preference that the number of fundraising events offered each year were three (3) or four (4) and the events that they are most likely to support are:  Quiz Night, Online Auctions, 5k Run/Walk, Item Sales and a School Carnival.  Currently, the following events are being considered and all need leadership and volunteer committee support:  Quiz Night in November, Winter Concert in December, Walk-a-thon in March and possibly a Talent Show in April or May.  The Item Sales and Browns Game Day volunteering will also continue.
  • The request for the demographic focus of events received an even split between family-focused functions where children are included and adult-only evenings; preferred costs were expressed at approximately $40 per person.  With this input, both types of events are to be offered, with a commitment to lower ticket prices.
  • As many comments regarding the fundraising activities at school functions (such as Holiday Concerts) have been received, input on what to include was solicited.  As more than60% of respondents agreed with these revenue enhancements, the live auction, silent auction and raffles will continue.  Based on input learned through comments provided, plans are being discussed to streamline the presentation, including limiting the number of live auction items.
  • Lastly, the question on a school-wide celebration for the achievement of fundraising goals was posed and the response was positive.  Based on this, work to exceed the annual fund goal and celebrate with students, parents and key stakeholders has begun.
Again, MANY thanks to all survey participants.  Your feedback is helping build a fundraising plan based on consensus.  Continued conversation is planned throughout the year, so your vital input is part of developing this critical philanthropic support for Menlo Park Academy.

JOIN US!  Please consider utilizing your volunteer hours on the development team!  Your help is needed at the Browns Concession Stand and the Annual Fund and Special Event Committees.  Email to join the Fundraising Team!

Enrollment Update
Enrollment News -  Many thanks to Lynn Wilson, Caroline Zito, and parent volunteers for all their hard work in processing this information during our enrollment period.

We still have a few openings in a few grades so if you know anyone who may be interested in learning more about how MPA can serve their gifted child's educational needs, please have them contact us

2012-13 Report Card
OAA Results -  The official results of the Ohio Achievement Assessment have been released.  Many of you may have seen the Plain Dealer article highlighting MPA's impressive performance. While we are not a school that "teaches to the test", it is always great to see our students perform well. 

The Ohio Department of Education (ODE) has implemented a new grading scale for the reporting, as well as grades for a Value-Add score.  The value-added score is not easy to measure in a growing school like ours (measuring different students from year-to-year).  It is also especially challenging for gifted students - see  this link for more information. You can view our full report card on ODE's web sitehere

Mrs. BW will be attending a session with Batelle for Kids, the organization responsible for the tests, as a start to gaining a better understanding of our results.  We look forward to continued updates on our progress as well as information on other assessment results and how we use this information to drive instructional adjustments.

Thank you for all that you do to ensure that 
Menlo Park Academy is a great success!
The Board Beacon is published four times each year and contains updates and news from MPA's Board of Directors.  If you have any suggestions for next topics, please send them to

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