This week’s HUSD meeting: Tech status, achievement gap

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.


Mt. Eden student’s work on display in Washington D.C.

Jared Gochuico, a senior at Mt. Eden High School, earned high honors over the summer when his mixed-media work titled “Examination” was selected as winner of the 30th Annual Congressional Arts Competition. The piece is on display at the Capitol, along with other winners from across the nation.

Jared Gochuico said his work, "Examination," represents adolescence (done in grayscale) combined with the "childish, playful" colors of a Rubik's cube.

“As you can imagine, winning this award was no small accomplishment,” wrote his art teacher, Carrie King, in an email. “The competition was intense with only the very best work from the students from all over the East Bay on display. I’ve taught art at Mt. Eden for the past 19 years and I know that in that time no student from Mt. Eden has won this award. I am unaware of the last time (if ever) a student from HUSD has won. I’m very proud to be his teacher.”

She said on Tuesday that Jared is extremely talented but is also very disciplined and doesn’t coast on his skills. “He absolutely works harder than any other student I have had,” she said. “He won’t just put in partial effort and still get an A. So much of it is sweat.”

Jared and his family were flown to Washington DC courtesy of Southwest airlines in late June to view his artwork, which will remain on display in the Cannon Tunnel in the capitol building for the next year. Jared and over 430 winners from other districts, about 50 from CA, were in Washington DC to celebrate this national competition.

Read Rep. Pete Stark’s release after the jump. Continue Reading


Shop Hayward this weekend, get a gift bag

From the “better late than never” file, if you are planning on having a spendy weekend, do it in Hayward. There are some kickbacks:

The first 100 shoppers who spend a total of $100 or more at Hayward retailers or restaurants from Monday, 15th to Sunday, August 21st can claim a free sports pack of gifts consisting of a Back to School Hayward sports pack along with two free movie tickets to the Cinemark Theatre in Downtown Hayward, a $10 Gift Certificate from Southland Mall, a $5 Gift Certificate from Bijou in Downtown Hayward, and a $5 Gift Certificate from Shark Shack, in addition to some other gifts.

Click here for more information.



Million Father March on first day of school

Hayward Unified is asking parents, guardians and just about anyone involved in a child’s life to accompany them to class on the first day of school, which is Tuesday for those not on the year round schedule. It’s part of the Million Father March, which organizer Black Star Project expects will see that number of people take place this year in 700 cities across the nation. According to Trustee William McGee, Hayward is the only city in the area he knows of that is taking part in the effort this year, although he said they plan to do some brainstorming and hopefully get Alameda County and the Tri-City area involved next year.


Plenty of events, starting tonight, in Hayward

Four days of outdoor events — street party, City Hall concert and Zucchini Festival — kick off tonight, here’s our story on that. Sean Brooks, the city’s economic development manager, said he expects to see a large turnout at the Friday concert because of former Tower of Power frontman Lenny Williams and Lava, a popular local Latin group that will also be performing at tonight’s street party.

“We had 100 to 200 people come to the concerts earlier this summer,” Brooks said. “Expecting more like 800 to 1,000 on Friday.”

Rich Essi, the general manager of the Zucchini Festival, said he expects one of the founding Pointer Sisters to be a draw to his event, which he said has been growing in recent years.

“It’s because of the economy,” he said. “People don’t go anywhere, they don’t like to spend the money on gas. So they’ll keep close to home.”

Asked about rumors that the festival is leaving town, he acknowledged that it’s something he has threatened to do because he feels the city doesn’t offer enough support and promotion of the event. But he said he has no plans to change the venue at this time.


STAR results are out, some gains made

The Standardized Testing and Reporting results came out today, find our overview story here with links to data. While Hayward as a district remains considerably below both the state and Alameda County averages for proficiency in math and reading, both areas did see some progress. For English, 40.7 percent of kids tested proficient, compared with 39 percent in 2010 and 36.4 percent in 2009. In math, 37.3 percent tested proficient this year, compared with 35 percent last year and 32 percent in 2009.

Quick comparisons: San Leandro came in at 46 percent proficient in English, 36.4 percent in math, with about a 1.5 percentage point gain in each. San Lorenzo had 42.9 percent proficient in English, 36.9 percent in math, both down by a fraction of a percent from last year. Castro Valley had 73.6 percent proficient in English, up from 70.6 percent, and 65.5 percent proficient in math, up one percentage point.

Some individual Hayward schools had impressive results, as you can see on this chart.

“We are particularly pleased with the results at Longwood, Harder and Burbank,” wrote Leticia Salinas, a director of academic affairs with the district, in an email.  “Under state and HUSD board guidelines, these schools put in reform efforts that had phenomenal gains.  We are so pleased with the work that Longwood, Burbank, and Harder have accomplished.  These schools  worked  with a focus on collaboration as a school community and targeted professional development in the areas of standards and assessment.   For example, in English Language Arts at grade 2, the percent proficient/advanced increased 23%  at Burbank , 16% at Harder and 15% at Longwood at 2nd grade.  The teachers, students, principals, and parents accomplished so much!”

Here’s a list of Hayward schools and the change in the proficiency score from last year, double-digit gains bolded, declines in red:

Bowman Elementary -3.51%
Brenkwitz High -0.10%
Bret Harte Middle -1.96%
Burbank Elementary +13.75%
Chavez (Cesar) Middle +1.40%
Cherryland Elementary -1.61%
East Avenue Elementary -6.37%
Eden Gardens Elementary +2.22%
ldridge Elementary +4.19%
Fairview Elementary +2.66%
Faith Ringgold School of Arts +17.95%
Glassbrook Elementary -6.48%
Golden Oak Montessori of Haywa +5.15%
Harder Elementary +8.30%
Hayward High +1.22%
Impact Academy of Arts & Techn +17.96%
Leadership Public Schools +11.80%
Longwood Elementary +13.12%
Lorin A. Eden Elementary +4.74%
Martin Luther King, Jr. Midd +3.31%
Mt. Eden High +0.97%
Ochoa (Anthony W.) Middle +7.71%
Palma Ceia Elementary -4.75%
Park Elementary -1.10%
Ruus Elementary -1.35%
Schafer Park Elementary +4.11%
Southgate Elementary +2.58%
Stonebrae Elementary +1.34%
Strobridge Elementary +7.83%
Tennyson High +4.67%
Treeview Elementary +2.26%
Tyrrell Elementary -4.25%
Winton Middle -0.22%

Find the lengthy press release from the state after the jump: Continue Reading


Conversations about energy conservation

Mayor Sweeney and volunteers get ready to get the word out about energy conservation.

Mayor Sweeney and volunteers get ready to get the word out about energy conservation.

Volunteers, city officials and the Keep Hayward Clean and Green Task Force hit the streets last week to do some door-to-door tutoring on ways residents can save money and help the environment by using some energy-saving tips. It was organized by Engage 360, a  group with a goal of spreading the word about energy conservation in various communities throughout the state, including Hayward, a city that prides itself on promoting sustainable practices. Here’s a flier for a contest the city is holding that could win homeowners free energy efficiency improvements.

Here’s the press release on the event, as well as some tips, from Engage 360: Continue Reading


1/4 lb. Giant Burger: The beef shall return

It's time for a giant makeover.

It's time for a giant makeover.

So it turns out the 1/4 lb. Giant Burger on Mission Boulevard is merely on a hiatus for renovations. I spoke with Kathryn Lee, a member of the Hahn family that owns the restaurant as well as others in Oakland, and she said that after 50 years it was time to do some major repairs. The floor and counter are all ripped out, and they will also make all facilities, including the bathrooms, updated to the latest ADA standards. What’s really exciting for the Mission corridor aesthetics is that they plan on refurbishing the big burger sign, which is looking pretty haggard there days but would be a nice retro beacon if restored.

Estimated time before you can get 1/4-pound beefed again: One month.

And as I mentioned in earlier comments but bears repeating, there will also be a Five Guys Burgers and Fries opening, possibly by the end of the year, in the Target shopping center at A Street and Hesperian.


Councilman Quirk’s campaign message

Councilman Bill Quirk sent out this message today regarding his run for Hayashi’s assembly seat. It includes a link to his campaign website for more information. Not sure who all else is gunning for the seat except for Jennifer Ong. Here’s more information about the district. Here’s Quirk’s statement:

I have decided to run for California State Assembly because I believe that my 7 years on the Hayward City Council give me the experience needed to make a difference in Sacramento. My primary concern is to get Californians back to work. I have been endorsed by Alameda County Supervisor Nadia Lockyer, Former Senate President Pro Tem Don Perata, Mayors Michael Sweeney of Hayward and Marshall Kamena of Livermore and many others.  You can go to my website http://www.electbillquirk.com/ to get more information on my positions and endorsements. Please let me know by return email if you are willing to give me your endorsement. Continue Reading