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School Council Meeting Minutes

Last Updated: 2/12/2021 5:00 PM

2020 Meetings

November 2020

Approval of previous meeting minutes (from 10-14-20)

Principal reviewed current Covid data for SHS 

Council attended the Annual Fall Scholarship Signing Day

Reconvened meeting following Signing Day

            No new business

Meeting adjourned

October 14, 2020

Presentation to School Council – “The Journey” – Ms. Philips presented information about ‘The Journey’ which is an opportunity for students to ‘plug in’ and become connected by serving the community.  

Staff Safety Badges – Ms. Kudlak presented information about staff safety badges which provides/implements a crisis alert communication system.       

Report of the Principal                                                              

  1. COVID information/update – Discussion of accommodations for quarantined students
  2. New Entry Sig – Design idea and information related to the new entry sign discussed

New Business – Discussion of the Sequoyah Foundation and the work that will be undertaken by that group. Foundation is a new initiative that will be underway soon.

Adjournment – Next meeting November 11, 2020

September 16, 2020                           

Introductions – Each member of the council had an opportunity to introduce themselves to the membership. This included both teacher representatives, as well as the principal. A short video was played as an introduction to SHS.                                                    

School Council PowerPoint – The members reviewed the School Council protocols via the supplied PowerPoint. Some of the parent members had served on a School Council at other schools, so this was not the first time being a part of SC. Hard copies of the Handbook for School Councils was provided for all the members.

Election of Officers – Officer elections were held, and the following were the results:

Chairperson – Audrey Brown
Vice-Chair – Larry Blase
Secretary – DeAnda Davis

Qualities of a Principal – All parent members of the council compiled their opinions of the “Leadership Qualities of a Principal”. The membership discussed all eight of the standards.

Report of the Principal

COVID information – New protocols were presented to membership, as well as statistics for the first six weeks of school. Three of the parent members shared that their children had been “close contact” traced and had been quarantined.

Digital Learning/F2F – Challenges of managing two concurrent school types was discussed. approx.1600 F2F & 400 DL. Feedback on the great job the School Nurse – Erin Krantz was doing helping parents understand the process

Old Business - none

New Business – Plan for our next meeting in October

Council discussion – The membership had an open discussion about the current climate of our community and the impact on the school. Several initiatives were discussed to assist in building an even stronger foundation of togetherness at SHS.


2019 Meetings

October 9, 2019 - 9:00 am

Present – Sue Whitfield, Robert Van Alstyne, Kristin Witty

  • PSAT (Wednesday, October 16th)
  • Campus cleanup is an ongoing issue.  With flu season approaching, working on sanitizing more. Teachers are having to clean desk regularly.
  • Digital learning day practice before the end of the month.  All teachers will be digitally on call from 10:30 am – 12:00 pm.  Assignment posted by 9:00 am
  • Weekly newsletter - weekly sent out at noon on Mondays.  This will continue to expand and include clubs, activities, etc.  Soon will be archived on website so parents can look at files. (suggestion to add important dates to school calendar – for example quotes, etc.)
  • FAQ and Powerpoint is in final phase for each grade level.  Will have a database helpful for parents/students
  • The last day of 1st semester is a half day.  Dismissal at 12:00 pm
  • Next Council meeting on 11/13 @ 9am

September 11, 2019 - 9:12 am

In Attendance:  Principal Bob Van Alstyne, Julie Smith, Monica Orrico, Sue Whitfield, Tania Tedesco & DeAnda Davis

Agenda presented for approval.  Bob Motioned and Tania second.  Agenda Approved.


  • Dress Code – Bob explained that he visited all Science classes to review Dress Code and that posters were going to be made with reminders to be posted near the bathrooms at school.  Hoping once the cooler weather starts to arrive, most of the issues will also resolve on their own.
  • Bob also talked about getting into the middle schools sooner to talk about class selection process to try to answer some questions ahead of time
  • School planning to develop a Q & A section on the website for parents to be able to access.  Will build as questions come in and be updated as often as possible.  Grade level meetings less attended so trying to have a way for parents to get answers to their questions easily
  • Will continue to use email blast but goal is to use Canvas for communication but have to figure out a way so that parents aren’t getting duplicate emails and ALL emails for every group/event – no way to opt out of some currently.
  • School Survey sent to students – talked about the questions on the survey and how some students wished that it could have been anonymous.  Discussed that it needed to include student names and ID so that if there were those that needed to be identified that needed help, it would be easy to reach out to the.  Discussed additional counselors being put in place for the needs of these students and others that may need help with depression and other issues.  Student still using the hotline. 
  • Talked about security and the plans to still add the additional staircase for student safety walking back and forth.  Second officer added so one at Squeast and one at main campus now.  Both officers observing things and reporting back so they can begin a plan to work on things.  Students who leave to work use QR code to scan out.  Monitoring parking lots for those that try to leave that are not supposed to leave campus.  Discussed that plans for additional card readers for staff to be placed at other doors to increase security and try to have door lock and unlock along with the bell schedule as well.  Also still plans to increase cameras around campus
  • Talked briefly about the math initiative and committee but it has been placed on the back burner for now

Next meeting scheduled for Wednesday, October 9th.

April 17, 2019 – 9:15 am

Safety-an additional School Officer? plans for structural safety enhancements: replacing Student Services entrance area with transparent medium for optimal situational awareness and both parking lots located in front of main campus will be utilized for student parking for increased student supervision

SHS School Calendar-established

Digital Learning Days-all practice days & coinciding digital assignments are complete; next year Digital Learning Days will be implemented for makeup instruction/time when needed 

Homework/Testing/Grades-concern expressed that some teachers are not testing on assigned testing days (stated that some teachers are testing on days other than their department designated testing day(s) due to student absences/field trips)

Meeting dates for next year-suggestion of more meetings and meeting dates (months): end of Sept., Oct., Nov., Jan., Feb. and March 

Concern about student bullying, anxiety/depression and suicide/causation-What is being done to address & alleviate these issues?  Lindsay Roga was in the vicinity & contributed information about suicide prevention implemented with an established Suicide Prevention Committee composed of trained Cherokee County School personnel; 'Not OK' app was discussed as well in conjunction with other details concerning these issues 

Dress Code-Will additional reinforcement be implemented next year?

Curriculum Night-ensuring parents know about it; revising schedule for this event; Parents would like more time in classrooms with teachers during Curriculum Night.

Blalock & Kudlak came by to present/discuss the contents of the Guidelines for Graduation/Practices and Ceremony packet.

2018 Meetings

December 4, 2018 – 9:15 am

In Attendance:  Bob Van Alstyne – School Principal, Debby Matulevicus, Monica Orrico, Julie Smith,  Tania Tedesco, Sue Whitfield, Deanda Davis & AP Heather Phillips

Bob welcomed everyone and let us know that Heather Phillips was joining us today to share information regarding the School Improvement Plan (SIP).

Chair, Julie Smith called meeting to order at 9:21 am.

Minutes were approved from our last meeting – Debby made motion, Tania was the second and all voted for approval.  Bob said he sent them to Sean Sharrock to be posted on website.

Discussion about the Early Release Forms for Finals week.  Bob sent email this morning to explain the form as well as the pick up procedure for students.  Although the school cannot “police” everyone with almost 2,000 students, the forms will be on record and hopefully parents will discuss with their students so that everyone knows how they are getting home.  Students who have prearranged tutoring time with their teachers will still be able to stay.  Students who will be picked up later in the day will be in one location since it is easier to supervise them and then the teachers can have individual sessions with those that need them or have planning with their departments, etc.  There will be normal check out procedures if not picked up by the dismissal time.  Radios with teachers in the cafeteria and then the gym later in the day.  Bob asked if we thought his letter described everything well – he wanted to be detailed but not confusing.  Those of us that had already received and viewed the email said that it was great.

Deanda described the Fall Semester similar to a “Paradime Switch” as many teachers adjust to the changes, etc.  That things take time for both the teachers and the students to get used to doing some things differently.

“Shop with a Chief” update – Mrs. Brassard & Mrs. Worthy and students will be taking 28 community kids (2 bus loads with everyone) shopping to Canton Marketplace on Saturday, December 8th.  They have student volunteers to help them shop and the goal is to buy for others and inspire the spirit of giving and not shop for themselves.  Given $125 gift cards and the student helpers/mentors will have lists to help guide them on what to shop for and who to shop for.  Student Mentors helping them understand it is a time to give and give back.  The day will start with Breakfast at SHS, then load buses for shopping, then end with a wrapping party back at the school.  Monica, Debby & Sue mentioned that we would love to set up a meeting with Mrs. Brassard & Mrs. Worthy to see how PTSA can help next year and also how we may be able to get some community partners to get involved and help the event grow each year.  Bob said he would love to see the campus decorated and see it grow as well. 

Bob let everyone know that he along with some other faculty members and some students were making visits to all of the feeder Elementary Schools and talking with them about becoming a Chief!  Mini Pep Rallies and explained to students that they are all from different schools but will be coming together in Middle School and then High School.  They took a Class of 2026 Banner that all kids signed and it will then hang in the 6th Grade Wing at Dean Rusk MS and follow them to the 7th then 8th grade hallways.  This will be a continued tradition now.  All 5th Graders were given “Rally Towels” and invited to come to the basketball games on Friday, December 7th to be part of the Chief Community.  It was their “ticket” to get in.  Bob explained that they will also be visiting with the current 8th Graders and they will get their own “Rally Towel” as well.  They will have a student panel with students from SHS where they will answer questions submitted ahead of time by the 8th graders.  This will be the kickoff to Registering for their first classes at Sequoyah.  In January, SHS Counselors will be meeting with 8th graders as well and there will be an evening Elective Fair for parents and students.

Bob asked us to have the Principal Evaluation forms to him by next Weds. 

Heather Phillips spoke about the SIP.  It is a 3-year rotation plan and we are in year 3 now.  Some of the goals in the plan include increasing by 3% - the number of students who rate at a 3 or 4 on EOC with a focus on English and Math.  Another thing they are monitoring for improvement is the Lexile scores (reading levels) and have all classes focusing on an increase in vocabulary and improving reading and comprehension.  Heather explained that the SIP Committee will be continuing to monitor progress and re-evaluate the SIP and goals since we are in year 3.  Each year there is a new 3-year target.  Bob said that it will always be a goal to push EVERY student to improve on testing.  There may need to be a different approach after summer results.

Goal is to have all students involved in learning not just “going for the grade”.  Deanda said she uses the words “thinking about thinking”

Students benefit and get real life experience working in groups.

Bob asked for PTSA to post meeting dates to our FB page as well.  Monica agreed.

School safety discussion:  Front office improvements with the full glass windows and now with buzzer.  Be sure they are asking why people are there.  Mindy does watch as people walk in stops them if they don’t come into the office to sign in.  Some do go directly to Student Services.  All doors are locked except for the one set that leads to Squeast Campus.  If budget can become available – a 2nd school safety officer would be great to have so one at each building of the campus.

Officer Kin is currently posted as the kids go back and forth.  They have arranged schedule so very few Freshman have to go between the buildings for classes.  Working to get a 2nd set of stairs built to ease the congestion of the students walking.  Right now they have to use the walkways around the field and it is not covered.  An idea also talked about was to make the area where the Mobile classrooms used to be a Staff Parking Lot so that most or all of the students who drive and would be leaving campus are in the front of the main building – easier to monitor.  Also now that the County has acquired the surveillance equipment and plans to add additional cameras to the campus.

Counselor discussion – community would love to have additional counselors to be able to focus more on EACH student.  Discussed Mental Health Counselors in other school systems and meeting with students that need some additional attention/checking on, etc. so others can focus on academics.

Tanya mentioned her school had “Project Aware” with series of videos, etc for students and then discussions afterwards.

Julie asked about the open Assistant Principal search for a permanent position.   Bob explained that we have Dr. Eddy on a part-time basis and he is working with all groups for now to ensure they have what they need and have school support person.  Bob is working on conducting interviews and will compile a list of recommendations.  Dr. Eddy is there on a part-time/full time split and replacement will be named in April.

Meeting adjourned at 10:12 am.

October 31, 2018 – 8:30 am

In Attendance:  Robert (Bob) Van Alstyne – School Principal, Debby Matulevicus, Monica Orrico, Julie Smith, & Tania Tedesco

Members not able to attend:  Deanda Davis, Sue Whitfield

Meeting started with Bob welcoming and thanking everyone.

Then everyone introduced themselves and we talked about setting up an email group distribution for ease in communication.

Bob stated a few goals that Sequoyah is striving for greatness and being great at everything we do.  That there is always some resistance when a new Principal comes in and makes changes but staff will all be working together with Admin or they will be somewhere else if this path is not for them.

Bob began the Powerpoint presentation outlining the function and goals of School Council and that our Focus at SHS is that we have ALL students doing their best; not to just “maintain” their good grades but for students to WANT to PUSH to get a great grade on EOCs and all tests they take.  This helps to improve our overall school rankings and scores for CCRPI.  Most students tend to calculate the grade “needed” to pass or maintain but not to push themselves or stretch to the next level. 

Staff, teachers, Admin – everyone doing their best should always be our goal at SHS.

Exam exemptions do not show progress to teachers and they need that to know where to put extra focus to be sure all students are learning all of the material.

Remediation & acceleration.

Block Scheduling is being discussed and researched but there is a lot that goes into that decision.  It would allow for 90-minute class periods to give more time for teaching – A/B Blocks – M,W,F then T, TH.  Many districts do implement this successfully so that is why it is being looked into more.

We will have Quarterly Meetings and if we feel we need to meet more often, we can definitely decide that and schedule additional meetings.  For now, meeting dates are December 5th, February 6th and April 17th.  Moving meeting time to 9:15am since the 2 teachers on Council have 1st period obligations.  All agreed that time would be fine.  Meetings help us to exchange feedback from the community, school, students, etc. and share ideas.

We discussed CCRPI scores in comparison to others in the State and what SHS goal is to move as many students as possible just 1 level up in the scoring and that will greatly improve our overall school score.  The formula changed this year so all schools scores are different from where they were last year.  We want to be at same level as Lassiter, Pope, Milton because we know our students and staff are capable.

Heather Phillips and Bob Van Alstyne are working on the School Improvement Plan to be presented at the December Meeting.

Nominations for Positions and Vote

Bob nominated Monica Orrico for Secretary – Debby 2nd (Unanimous YES Vote)

Monica nominated Julie for Chairperson – Bob 2nd – (Unanimous YES Vote)

Julie nominated Tania for Vice Chair – Debby 2nd (Unanimous YES Vote)


Julie Smith – Chairperson

Tania Tedesco – Vice Chair

Monica Orrico – Secretary

Our meeting minutes are always made available to the Public and will be posted on school website.

We will not discuss individual teachers or students since the minutes ARE public.

We are all on the same page and working together for ALL students.

We reviewed and discussed more about the CCRPI scores and how they can improve.  They are available on the County website for anyone that wants to review them.

Discussion on points brought to members from parents:

Julie began discussion on the 9th Grade Lit Curriculum and that parents were asking how the Book Choices were made.  Bob explained that they are chosen from a pre-approved list from the County.

It was noted that in some cases there were not enough books for everyone so some students had to share or some got their own copy from public library or parents bought online version, etc.

Community/Parent concerns about the book, “Dracula”.  Uncomfortable with some of the topics in certain chapter…lesbians, vampires, and that it was read aloud in the classroom – Many parents concerned.

We discussed that if parents are truly concerned that they need to communicate with the teacher and also alert Admin.  It was mentioned that parents are afraid of “retaliation” on their student if they say anything and Bob said that he and Admin need to know IMMEDIATELY if there is ever any retaliation as that is not tolerated and it should not keep a parent from communicating.

We all mentioned that we have to advocate for our kids and that they need to know how to handle it.

Bob explained that teachers pull specific standards from within the book and that the entire book is not always read but that students can always read it on their own if they wanted to complete the book.  Teachers sometimes just cover the required standards from the books.

Bob also mentioned that there is a committee that meets – RCG – Rigorous Curriculum Group – they meet to discuss content delivery, etc.

The next topic discussed was Technology in the classroom:

Julie asked if CANVAS App can be used in class since most have phones but that it also needs some organization standards to help with ease of use.

It was mentioned that it seems like the County has an emphasis on the App but that emailing from within the App is not easy and that the calendar is very difficult to use and access easily from the app as well.

Also asked if teachers can use exempt or another way to note that an assignment is being made up other than a zero since that drops student’s grade for an assignment that hasn’t been turned in yet but is allowed to be made up.

Can ALL teachers enter info on a more structured bases – some use it, some don’t.

Bob assured us that the information is being given to all teachers and that it is not like “flipping a switch” but a gradual process with many having to learn a lot of new things at once.  “In progress” – building blocks and just being patient with them.

Digital learning days were successful.  Assignments for “weather days” if needed and Canvas is vital so there are several of these days planned to be sure all students know how to use Canvas and how to access assignments.

Julie brought up the concern that the students have found Apps they can use to “go around” the CCSD blocks for internet access and that students are able to use Snapchat, Instagram, etc now easier while at school.

Dress Code Discussion:

We talked about how hard it is to find the common ground between violation and embarrassment.  Bob said he is not a fan of calling students out in the middle of the hallway causing embarrassment.  We all agreed that parents need to be responsible at home and have discussions at home about reacting to how someone is dressed and teach respect of others and of themselves with what they wear.

Noted that is continuing to get harder to find clothing that meets the dress code in today’s society.  If inappropriate behavior has stemmed from dress code – it is addressed separately.

Julie mentioned that many have told her (and we all agreed) that Sequoyah is friendly to new comers and a welcoming community.

Bob let us know about “Bravos” for teachers – appreciation and being recognized by Department Heads.

We discussed feedback on the Homecoming Parade change and that there were lots of positive comments and everyone loved that the Football Players could participate.  Bob said the goal is to have even more participation with floats/school groups participating and maybe even a Float Competition.

Next Meeting Dates:  12/5, 2/6, 4/17 – Changing Meeting time to 9:15 am

Meeting adjourned at 10:27 am.

2017 Meetings

October 17th 2017

The following topics were discussed:

  • Procedures For dealing with a student suicide
  • 2017 Advanced Placement scores- 83% of SHS students who took AP tests scored a 3, 4, and 5 – Highest in the county . The county average was 71%
  • 2017 SAT and ACT scores – SHS had the highest scores in the county- handouts distributed
  • New employees at SHS this year- handout distributed
  • 2017-18 inventory of School housing ( % of  capacity) – handout distributed-SHS is in good shape due to the number of vacant classrooms at S. East and the fact that all classroom on the main campus and at S. East are empty two periods of the school day.
  • Leadership Qualities Of A Principal Form- handout distributes- Recommendations for the eight standards on the form are  to be transmitted to me by the end of the week.
  • Professional Development Activities- review of what we are doing at SHS this year
  • The next School Council meeting will be on Tuesday, November 14th at 8:00 AM in the Archives Room in Administration.

May 15th 2017

The following topics were discussed:

  • Sequoyah’s pathways- A sheet was distributed that listed the 16 pathways that currently exist at SHS. A Health Occupations pathway will be added in the future.
  • Exam schedule- The revised exam schedule was distributed
  • CANVAS- The information that will be mailed home with 9th , 10th , and 11th-grade report cards for signing up for CANVAS was reviewed
  • A handout with the criteria for two new diploma seals that SHS students are eligible for, the International Skills Diploma Seal and the Seal of Biliteracy, were explained by Mr. May
  • A PLC Program handout was distributed and SHS’s PLC program was reviewed by Mr. May
  • School Council members whose terms expire were thanked for serving a two-year term from 2015-16 to 2016-17
  • Stephanie Barber, who will be an assistant principal at RRHS was thanked for serving on School Council

March 27th 2017 Meeting Minutes

The following topics were discussed:

  • Projected 2017-18 enrollment
  • Projected 2017-18 enrollment
  • Staffing Allocation for 2017-18
  • The use of additional classes at Sequoyah East next year.
  • Recognition received by teachers, individual students, and student groups.
  • Recognition received by the  Governor’s Office Of Student Achievement for exhibiting student growth in the Greatest Gains category over the last three years’ SHS was the only school in Cherokee County to receive this award last year and this year.
  • Final Exam schedule
  • Professional Learning Communities ( PLC’s). This topic will be discussed further at the next School Council meeting.
  • Pathway Programs. This topic will be discussed further at the next School Council meeting.
  • Achieving an  “A School Ranking”. In addition to being designated an “A School”, SHS had the highest CCRPI scores of any CCSD high school.

The final School Council meeting for the 2016-17 school year will be held on Monday, May 15th at 8:00 AM in the Archives Room in Administration