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New plans for Holbrook and Glenbrook schools

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 at 5:25 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Theresa Harrington.

Tonight, the Mt. Diablo school board expects to act on one plan for Holbrook Elementary and another for Glenbrook Middle School in Concord, which trustees have agreed to close.

The Student Achievement and School Support Division is asking the board to approve a “Title 1 Schoolwide Program” at Holbrook, along with Sun Terrace Elementary. Holbrook’s program would last three months, while Sun Terrace would implement the program on an ongoing basis.

“The emphasis in schoolwide program schools is on serving all students, improving all structures that support student learning, and combining all resources, as allowed, to achieve a common goal,” the staff report states. “Schoolwide programs maximize the impact of Title I. Adopting this strategy should result in an ongoing, comprehensive plan for school improvement that is owned by the entire school community and tailored to its unique needs.”

The Holbrook and Sun Terrace communities spent a significant amount of time planning for these programs.

“Each school established a planning team that included the Schoolsite Council and English Language Advisory Committee, teachers and staff, and parents and community representatives to oversee the development of the Title I Schoolwide plan,” the staff report states. “The planning team gave input related to the comprehensive needs assessment (Academic Program Survey and other assessment data) and made recommendations for the comprehensive plan (Single Plan for Student Achievement). The plans were approved by the Board of Education on January 11, 2011.”

Less than one month later, the board voted to close Holbrook.

Trustees tonight will also vote on a plan to offer partial use of Glenbrook Middle School for the 2011-12 year to the Flex Public Schools charter, according to legal requirements under Proposition 39.

The agreement would provide space for 121 high school students in rooms 701-705, exclusive use of room 706 for administrators, shared use of the multiuse room/cafeteria/auditorium, along with shared use of the PE building, science lab in room 800, hard court, turf and parking.

According to a letter from associate general counsel Deborah Cooksey to Flex Public Schools, the district provided the charter operator with a preliminary facility offer related to use of Glenbrook on Feb. 25 — 17 days after trustees voted to close Glenbrook and three days after trustees agreed to Superintendent Steven Lawrence’s recommendation to “Develop a program at Glenbrook that will allow us to reduce the number of special education students served by nonpublic schools.”

Lawrence’s recommendation made no mention of allowing a charter school to occupy space on the Glenbrook campus. Trustee Cheryl Hansen said in a voicemail message Monday that this proposal came as a “surprise” to her.

The staff report doesn’t include any information regarding the fiscal impact of this decision. However, Cooksey’s letter states that Flex would pay the district approximately $74,874.87 as a “pro rata share amount” based on “actual costs for the year immediately preceding the charter school’s use of the facilities.”

Lawrence has not yet shown trustees a breakdown of costs and savings to support his assertion that the district would save $1.5 million by closing Glenbrook and Holbrook and adopting his other Feb. 22 recommendations.

Trustees tonight also expect to review the district’s School Closure Transition Plan, which doesn’t include any reference to what will happen to Holbrook and Glenbrook after they are shut down.

In addition, the board will review a draft strategic plan that includes: “Develop comprehensive short-term and long-term plans that proactively anticipate and address enrollment trends (e.g., decline and/or growth in enrollment, attendance boundary adjustments, possible school closure or repurposing, capacity needs, facilities issues, fiscal impact).”

Do you believe a strategic plan would help to limit intensive staff and community time spent on planning for programs that may only last a few months and prevent “surprise” ideas for repurposing closed sites from surfacing after a closure decision has been made?

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  • anonamom

    Well, it stands to reason that if they get Holbrook Title 1 status now, the shear volume of those students being transferred to Wren will pretty much secure an easy carry over of the Title 1 status to Wren next year. Right?

    It won’t have to end up like the Sig money Eberhart thought he could just smuggle out of Glenbrook.

  • anonamom

    So the District might approve the Flex high school students “coming and going” along with the “special students” from a program run by Seneca, but not along with “normal” school children at the school that Flex asked for?