Had a story in today’s paper related to the effort to close the achievement gap for black kids at Hayward schools. There’s a difference in opinion regarding who should spearhead the effort: COR, which has been studying the issue for some time now, or the district, because it’s ultimately the responsibility of HUSD. The COR representative I spoke with would like the district to take a step back until they have further discussions but the district still plans on having the late Sept. summit and will likely consider approving the creation of the task force at its next meeting. COR and board members are in agreement on a main point, however — that it’s crucial for parents to get involved if the program is to be successful.
Other items: New Associate Supt. of Business Services Stanley Dobbs had two presentations. The first was an update on the state budget. A particular concerning aspect is the possibility for the state to trigger further reductions come December should the economy be flagging. That would mean a $6 million hit for the district, which is already deficit spending to the tune of $5 million, Dobbs said.
Dobbs also talked about the state of technology at Hayward schools. He said it was awful, and that he’s “never seen anything like it before.” He said there’s no leadership in the tech office and in terms of equipment, things have been allowed to degrade to the point where substantial investment would be required to bring it up to speed. He said teachers that do have access to new technology aren’t being properly trained how to use it.
“It’s no good to buy a SmartBoard if it’s just going to be used as a dry-erase board with a socket in the back,” he said.
Former Commander Stanley “Data” Dobbs has a very strong background in tech, and said he’d like to see the district become one where kids are acquainted with technology at an early age, so by the time they’re in high school they’re exploring robotics, web design and the like.
Trustees were excited about the ideas, though some wary of past plans to improve technology in schools that weren’t well thought out. Dobbs was asked to come back with more information regarding implementation and financing of the plan. There are grants out there, including a hefty Microsoft reimbursement plan for nearly $1M.
“We all agree we need to update, and it should be done quickly, but we do need to be diligent,” said Board President Lisa Brunner.
Also, additional assistant principals were approved for Hayward High and Mt. Eden High schools to improve campus safety.
Then came the achievement gap item, but I missed the rest of the meeting, which included an item on the district’s fingerprinting policy. Looks like the video is available but I haven’t watched it yet. Anyone else?
Looking ahead, API scores come out next week. Brunner gave me a bit of a sneak peek and there’s some interesting numbers in there. Burbank Elementary as a whole went up a lot of points, but the African-American student subpopulation saw an incredible increase, I’m talking triple-digit. Scores available Aug. 31 on the state Department of Education website.