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Archive for May, 2011

New Clayton Valley HS principal says she’ll be responsive

Sue Brothers, who worked under Mt. Diablo schools Superintendent Steven Lawrence in his two former districts, has been hired to replace Gary Swanson as principal of Clayton Valley High in Concord. Swanson is retiring.

Brothers knows she is stepping into a contentious environment, where teachers are mounting an effort to convert the campus to a charter school. She said she has been reading our local blogs to get a sense of what’s going on here.

I asked her about some of the blog comments about her appointment, as well as her feelings about some of the concerns addressed by charter proponents.

Although some in the community appear to believe she has been hand-picked to quash the charter, Brothers insists that’s not the case. In fact, she shares some of the same ideals as the charter proponents (although she believes these could be accomplished without converting the school).

Given the intense interest in the community about the charter and Brothers’ appointment, I’m posting large chunks of my interview below, as a Q & A, with some paraphrased notes in between. My questions are paraphrased.

My first phone interview was Thursday, followed on Friday by a shorter phone interview with Brothers, as well as a brief conversation with Washington district superintendent Dayton Gilleland.

THURSDAY INTERVIEW:

Q: Why do you want to move from a district administrator to a school principal? Is that a step backwards?

A: “I think it’s funny that people think it’s a step backward because really, they’re two totally different places and you do different things. High schools are an interesting challenge because to get all kids to achieve at all levels is really tough. I really have found that I enjoyed working hands-on with staff and kids rather than at that next level. So, that’s the reason.

I really like high school. In my current position, I spend quite a bit of time on school sites and in classrooms, and frankly that’s the part of the job that I really like — working with teachers and with kids. So, I did some thinking and thought, ‘That’s what I want to do.’”

Q: Would you want to move into district office administration after a year as a principal?

A: “I can tell you the last two times I’ve moved, it’s been after five years. I was Director of Curriculum and Instruction in the Roseville Joint Union HS District from 2001-2006 and Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services in the Washington Unified School District for five years.”

Brothers said Lawrence was Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction in the Roseville district when she was the director.

Previously, she said she was assistant principal at Woodcreek High School in the Roseville Joint Union HS District, from 1996-2001.

Before that, Brothers said she worked in “kind of a hybrid of administration,” from 1994-96.

From 1985-94, she taught at Roseville High School. Before that, she said she taught preschool.

Q: Some people think you have been hand-picked to wield influence in the district because you have an allegiance to the superintendent. What is your response?

A: “I think that’s funny. I don’t know of any plots.”

Q: Were you surprised when Trustee Cheryl Hansen voted against your appointment?

A: “I don’t know anything about that. I can’t even make a comment, because I’ve got no idea what that was about.”

Q: One of Hansen’s concerns was that it’s been several years since you were a site administrator. She said she would prefer someone with more recent experience on a high school campus. What’s your response?

A: “It’s an interesting concern, because I spend a lot of time on campuses. I coach principals. I advise them on disciplinary issues…I have actually quite a bit of site administrative experience.”

Q: Julie Braun-Martin, assistant superintendent for personnel, said you were asked to provide a writing sample about how you would implement a strategic plan at the school. What’s your plan?

A: “(Number) one, I’m going to move to the community. I need to be there. This is a job that takes a lot of hours. I’m going to be at after-school events. I’m going to be around. People are going to see me. Absolutely, I’m going to have to get to know the community. I’m going to meet a lot of people. The district is working on setting up a time when I can meet the teachers and have some meet-and-greets with parents.

I think there’s a lot of listening that I need to do. You’re going to see me at sporting events and music events. I don’t know everything in the community and I’ll have to listen to people who are there to find out things.

I need to do a whole lot of listening to staff and to students and to parents, to find out what the collective vision is — what people are expecting. I believe expectations are very high, so I don’t have a specific plan yet, because I need to listen to figure out what is most important to tackle first.”

Q: What is your opinion of the charter conversion effort?

A: “I really don’t know enough about the specifics yet to give you an intelligent answer.”

Q: Some people suspect you are being brought in to quash the conversion effort. Is that your intent?

A: “No, I haven’t even had any conversations with anybody about that. I think my role is to be the principal of the school.”

Q: Some conversion supporters have been frustrated by lack of consistent direction and follow-through by the school and district administration. What’s your management style?

A: “I find I have very good follow-through. I’m clear. I say what I’m going to do and I do it, so I don’t think they’ll find that’s an issue.”

Q: Would you be willing to consider some of the changes the charter organizers would like to see on campus?

A: “The school seems to have some direction in some areas. I need to talk to staff before I comment and find out the pieces they’re really passionate about — and then we need to go in that direction.”

She said she knows the campus has a Project Lead the Way academy and pointed out that she’s a member of a Project Lead the Way steering committee in the Sacramento area.

“I really support programs like that. So I doubt that I’m going to find something that I disagree with philosophically.”

Q: What is your current salary?

A: $125,000.

She acknowledged she’ll make less than that in her new position, but added that the benefits “work differently in Mt. Diablo.”

Q: How old are you?

A: 54.

Q: Why do you want take a pay cut to make this move at this time in your life?

A: “This is a passion, absolutely. My last child graduated from high school and is now in college. I’ve got freedom. I can absolutely do what I want to do and what I want to do is site administration, so it just looked like a really good fit.”

Q: Did the superintendent recruit you for the job?

A: “No. We talk once in a while. He told me he had an opening.”

She said Lawrence originally told her about the College Park opening, then she later found out about the Clayton Valley spot.

“Sometimes, things happen and you end up in the right place. I like challenging work, not boring work. There’s some people that are really interested in positional power or money. I’m really interested in getting great outcomes for kids. That’s what floats my boat. I never want to be a superintendent. I’m really interested in kids. I think high schools are such an interesting challenge.

We know how to move elementary and middle schools, but high schools are the great black box. Also, I love the environment where you have a lot of other adults, sports and events. I like the complexity.

This really is passion and it’s me at this time of my life having a choice, which I just love. I think it’s going to be very interesting.

I’ll be willing to meet with anybody who wants to talk to me because I know this is a complex situation.”

Q: You heard Dr. Norm Gold’s school board report about English language learners. What would you do at Clayton Valley to help those students?

A: “Four percent of students at Clayton Valley are English learners. I would take a look at the draft master schedule, go through all the transcripts, make sure kids are enrolled (in appropriate classes)…I’ll need to pull test scores. It will also help me get familiar with the students.”

Q: The district has been identified by the state as “disproportionate” in terms of the percentage of blacks and Latinos who are identified for special education, suspended and expelled. What strategies do you have for dealing with that?

A: “If you’re talking about discipline, one is at a high school, you’ve got an administrative team that’s doing discipline and you really have to be on the same page and it needs to not matter which kid it is, the penalty’s got to be the same.

You also need to get to the root problem. I think it’s absolutely critical to bring parents in the first time you have a disciplinary contact with the student. If a student has been called to the office, you need to call the parents. You need to look at discipline data.

We are doing that (in the Washington district). We actually log referrals and take a look at: Where did it occur? What time of day? What are the patterns of problems and how are we going to addess them?

At the high school level, it is critical to have supervision. Kids — anytime they look around — should see an adult, which makes them safe.”

Brothers also said the Washington district has a good relationship with the charter schools in town.

FRIDAY, MAY 27 INTERVIEW:

It was brought to my attention that the Washington district school board agreed in closed session March 10 to inform Brothers that she might be “reassigned” to other duties.

Here is what the minutes say:

“On a unanimous vote of yes 4, no 0, absent 1, the Board adopted Resolution 101114 reassigning an employee holding an administrative or supervisory credential to a position for which he/she is credentialed and qualified to serve. In closed session the Board discussed Public Employee Discipline Dismissal/Release/Reassignment: Government Code Section 54954.5(e): 54957. The Board took action in closed session on a vote yes 4, no 0, absent 1, to notify the Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services of a possible change of assignment as required by Education Code Section 44951. This is not a dismissal or disciplinary action. It is a special assignment to be determined at a later time.”

I asked Brothers about this, as well as about concerns expressed by teachers at a charter presentation to the Clayton Valley Business and Community Association that I attended Thursday night, and about other concerns that arose on blogs.

Q: What is the status of your position as Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services in the Washington school district?

A: “I am finishing the first year of a three-year contract through 2013, although I’ve just submitted my resignation (due to being hired as the Clayton Valley HS principal). I’ve been here for five years, and it’s (the contract) gotten renewed periodically.”

Q: Were you reassigned to different duties?

A: “My job title is the same. The contract is the same. It’s a confidential personnel issue. It wasn’t a reassignment. A reassignment would have been some sort of change in job description. My duties haven’t changed. I’m still doing the same thing I was doing.”

She said she couldn’t tell me more than this because the issue involved another person.

Q: Why do you think some people thought you had been demoted or disciplined?

A: “This district’s a litle bit similar to where you are (Mt. Diablo). There were rumors and speculation.”

Q: Do you feel you are being forced out of the Washington district?

A: “No, my feeling is: I want to work with kids. And I wish I could tell you about the other (confidential) part. That is really my passion.”

She encouraged me to speak to her superintendent for more information about the March 10 closed session.

Q: Will you be giving up seniority in terms of retirement benefits, by moving to the Mt. Diablo district?

A: “It doesn’t change STRS (California State Teachers’ Retirement System) at all. STRS carries with me as long as I work in a California school.”

Q: When teachers move to a new district, they lose seniority in terms of salary schedules. Is that true for administrators?

A: “Administrators don’t have those same kinds of job rights. So, I didn’t have that anyway. Administrative salary schedules are just kind of flat.”

Q: I attended a CVHS charter presentation to the Clayton Valley Business Association (CBCA) Thursday night, where some Clayton Valley HS teachers said they don’t feel listened to. You have said that you intend to listen to teachers and to the community. But then, what would be your next step?

A: “Step one is: I need to figure out from the teachers, from the staff — classified included — what kind of governance structure they’d like to use. I have a bias towards action and if there are things that staff feel need to be done immediately then I would do them immediately. You’ll see some changes pretty rapidly. I want to take care of some of those things that teachers bring up. I use team leadershp and teachers are the leaders of the teams.”

She said the Washington district is working with techers to write new curriculum standards.

“But they’re the ones making the decisions, deciding essay prompts, deciding on their own rubrics. Teachers are putting on staff development for other teachers after school, so I have a lot of team leadership.

If (Clayton Valley) teachers haven’t felt listened to, I’m a good listener and I can also help them get the things done that they want to get done.”

Q: The Clayton Valley charter organizers want a responsive administration.

A: “It sounds like I’m in the right place.”

Q: The charter organizers have said inconsistent discipline is an issue on campus, along with lax enforcement of dress code. How would you deal with those issues?

A: “If you don’t have a safe and orderly learning environment, nobody learns anything. It starts with dress code. I believe in the ‘broken window theory.’”

(The broken window theory states that when one window is broken, it’s easier to break the next and the next. If you prevent the first broken window, you can prevent deterioration.)

“If you let little things go, they become big things. Dress code. Inappropriate language. I think schools need to be very purposeful. If they’re into dress code, so am I. That can be a real distraction from learning.”

Q: Some are concerned that you have never been a principal. What is your response?

A: “I’ve been an assistant principal for seven years and have done everything a principal has done, so that shouldn’t be a concern. And now, I coach principals, so I’ve got that skill set.”

INTERVIEW WITH WASHINGTON DISTRICT SUPERINTENDENT DAYTON GILLELAND:

I asked Gilleland to explain the closed session action that took place March 10 regarding Susan Brothers. He said the two actions taken by the board involved two separate employees and that Brothers was ultimately reassigned to an assistant superintendent position on special assignment, under the same job title. He said Brothers has two years remaining on her contract.

“The idea was to focus more attention specifically on Program Improvement schools…It was not by any means a demotion. It was not a disciplinary action. It was simply a matter of refocusing our attention on specific school sites.”

Q: What is your opinon of Brothers?

A: “I have a very high regard for Sue Brothers. She did a lot of wonderful work here. I’m sorry to see her go. She’s very communicative. She’s very astute as an educator and a leader and the (Mt. Diablo) district’s gain is our loss.”

According to an op ed piece Gilleland submitted to his local newspaper earlier this month, it appears that the Washington district, like the Mt. Diablo district, is battling a negative reputation in the community. Gilleland’s op ed piece is in response to “disparaging” remarks about the district made by the mayor, including allegations that the district isn’t doing a good job of educating Latino students.

In his response, Gilleland defends the district and notes improvements made since he assumed leadership, including four intitiatives spearheaded by the Board President to “validate our commitment to work within and throughout our surrounding communities.”

“In title alone,” he wrote, “these initiatives demonstrate the collaborative intent:
- The Whole Child Initiative,
- The Parents Bill of Rights Initiative,
- The Better West Sacramento Initiative, and
- The Community Networking/Outreach Initiative.”

Earlier in the piece, Gilleland praised his staff for their hard work on behalf of district students.

“I don’t intend to venture any deeper into the political abyss that West Sacramento seems to offer,” he wrote. “However, without regret or apology, I will continue to defend what is working and acknowledge those responsible for our success.”

Do you think Brothers has the experience necessary to lead Clayton Valley High?

Posted on Sunday, May 29th, 2011
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Theresa Harrington | 56 Comments »

Mt. Diablo district defends charter information

Although Friday, May 27 was a furlough day in the Mt. Diablo district, the following e-mail was sent out to parents Friday evening (dated Thursday, May 26). It reasserts information previously disseminated to the public that contends a charter conversion would financially hurt the district:

“Where Kids Come First
May 26, 2011
CHARTER SCHOOL INFORMATION FOLLOW-UP

The charter school advocates provided a news release to the CC Times and local blogs that stated:

‘… the District’s statement about passing on additional funds is based on legislation that since January 1, 2010 is no longer in effect. Recently legislation (SB 191) was passed with the intent to ensure that unified school districts would not be hurt by their conversion high schools. While some confusion remains, this legislation was enacted to ensure that the conversion school will receive revenue limit funding from the state as would any new charter school — based on its student ADA. We are in the process of confirming this with the California Department of Education and should be able to provide more detail soon.’

Therefore, whose understanding of SB 191 is correct?

Prior to publishing the May 20th News Update, we worked with School Services of California to ensure that our understanding of SB 191 and the relevant Education Code sections was correct before we shared any information with the public. Today, we confirmed the accuracy of our analysis with the California Department of Education, and had School Services review the this News Update to ensure its accuracy. It is always our goal to provide fact-based information to our parents and our community.

Please allow us to provide some historical perspective on charter school funding.

1. When charter schools were first established in California, the State utilized, and continues to utilize, statewide average rates of funding per unit of Average Daily Attendance (ADA) by four grade level spans, K-3, 4-6, 7-8, and 9-12 in calculating the General Purpose Block Grant (GPBG). The funding of the charter school occurred in the following manner:

The school district granting the charter reported the ADA to the State. The district received its regular level of revenue limit funding per unit of ADA for the students reported. Pursuant to Education Code section 42238 (h)(7), the State then subtracted the revenue limit for the charter school based on the GPBG calculation from the district’s revenue limit and passed it directly to the charter school.

When the State established this funding model, it was cost neutral to the State on a per pupil basis because districts were funded based on their original revenue limit per ADA, regardless of the grade span of the charter.

This created significant financial issues for unified districts in which a high school charter formed. In a unified school district, the high school charters were receiving substantially more in pass through funding from the State than they were generating in dollars per ADA to the district. This caused the District to have to make up the shortfall.

2. To remedy this inequity, Senate Bill 319 of 2005, did two things.

First, districts no longer had to include the attendance of pupils of charter schools in their calculation of base revenue limit with two exceptions: basic aid school districts, and unified school districts in which a school had converted to a charter on or after January 1, 2005.

For the two exceptions, the bill instead changed the calculation of GPBG. For high school conversion charters, their level of funding would be equal to the actual unrestricted revenues expended per ADA for that school in the year prior to its conversion (approximately the same as the District’s base revenue limit per ADA). This left the approving District whole, but caused conversion charter high schools to be funded at a lower rate than other comparable startup charter high schools.

3. In 2009, Senate Bill 191 sought to remedy the difference in funding levels between conversion charter high schools and startup charter high schools in unified districts. Under SB 191, charter schools established through the conversion of an existing public school within a unified district after January 1, 2010, are funded at the statewide average GPBG level under Education Code section 47633. (This returned the conversion charters to their original funding as described in section 1 above.)

However, what SB 319 and SB 191 did not change is that unified districts must still include the ADA of a conversion charter school in its revenue limit funding. Then, the amount calculated for funding the charter school pursuant to the block grant is subtracted from the district’s revenue limit funding pursuant to Education Code section 42238(h)(7). SB 191 reinstated the district shortfalls previously removed by SB 319.

Therefore, a high school with 1,700 units of resident ADA that converts to a charter school would have its revenue limit calculated as follows (using 2010/11 per ADA figures):

The charter school submits its ADA to the district to be funded pursuant to the GPBG. (EC 47633) 1,700 ADA x $6,142.00 = $10,441,400.

The district submits the ADA to the State and be funded at its revenue limit, $5,206.08 per ADA. (EC 42238) 1,700 ADA x $5,206.08 = $ 8,850,336.

The State would then subtract from the District’s ADA the amount needed to fund the Charter School at its general purpose block grant rate. (EC 42238(h)(7))

District receives: $ 8,850,336
Less paid to charter: (10,441,400)
Net loss to district: $(1,591,064)”

The district also included a letter from School Services of California, to back up its analysis:

“May 26, 2011
Dr. Steven Lawrence
1936 Carlotta Drive
Concord, CA 94519

Dr. Lawrence,

School Services of California, Inc., has reviewed the analysis completed by the district regarding the impact to the District related to a conversion charter school. We are in concurrence with the District’s analysis specific to the scenario of the
conversion charter school.

Sincerely,
Michele A. Huntoon, CPA
Associate Vice President”

I will contact the charter conversion committee to get their response.

Teacher Pat Middendorf, who is one of the people leading the conversion effort, told the Clayton Business and Community Association (CBCA) Thursday night that the district never communicated its original budget response to the organizers, even though they had tried to open a dialogue with the district before going public with their campaign. Instead, the CVHS charter organizers didn’t see the district’s response until the superintendent sent out his memo.

Do you think the district and charter organizers should communicate directly with each other instead of issuing conflicting statements to the public?

Posted on Sunday, May 29th, 2011
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Theresa Harrington | 11 Comments »

Clayton Valley High School goals and concerns

As some teachers at Clayton Valley High are leading an effort to convert the campus to a charter school, others in the district are asking: “Why?”

A look at the recently posted notes from a strategic planning meeting held at the school might shed some insights into what some believe is now lacking on campus.

Here’s an excerpt of suggested additions to the draft strategic plan, along with concerns, brought up by those who attended the May 2 strategic planning meetings:

1. Academic Excellence and Learning:

Additions and changes — Interactive teaching; Retain teachers and teach facilitation skills; Consistently decrease the drop-out rate; Allow high-performing students to attend district schools of choice — reward high performers; Contrast student math and science readiness to global landscape (China, India); Include language about relevancy and responsiveness; Address inequity between schools (Under-performing and high-performing schools both need support and autonomy. The needs of a school community are unique to that site.); Add more hands-on teaching, relating academics to real life skills.

Concerns: Increase staff effectiveness to student needs; Respect the children; Train staff on smoothing their responses to students (stop yelling at the kids).

2. Supportive Family and Community Involvement:

Additions and changes: Advocate for students, parents, and teachers; Instill a spirit of social responsibility.

Concerns: Reduce gang activities in and around the school.

3. Highly Qualified, Effective Staff:

Additions and changes: Main focus should be to provide professional growth (have teachers create personal development plans and then support their goals by partnering with business corporations, nonprofits, community, etc; create supportive environment); Every classrooom should have a highly qualified educator who has the skills and capacity to achieve the district’s mission; Staff needs to feel empowered (I hear them saying they don’t have any input into what they do), they need some autonomy; Negotiate contracts to allow an easier path to support or redesignate underperforming staff.

Concerns: Increase staff effectiveness to student needs; Respect the children; Train staff on smoothing their responses to students (stop yelling at the kids)

4. Respectful, Responsive Service and Communication

No additions, changes or concerns.

5. Optimal Operations and Infrastructure

Additions and changes: Integrate technology as part of the instruction; If district’s problems are unmanageable due to size, is there a way to break the district into small groups, within an overall structure?

No concerns.

This list doesn’t include the goals the group wanted to keep or to remove. To see the complete notes, visit http://www.mdusd.org/Community/Pages/StrategicPlanDates.aspx.

Do you think the proposed charter school should address these issues?

Posted on Thursday, May 26th, 2011
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Theresa Harrington | 14 Comments »

Adult education and other previously restricted programs suffer with new spending flexibility

The state’s decision to allow school districts to raid funding for previously restricted programs such as adult education and Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) during the budget crisis has hurt those services, a new study shows.

According to the report released Thursday by the Rand Corp. and Policy Analysis for California Education, the state failed to clearly explain how districts should use the spending flexibility. Some gutted programs so they could divert the money into their general fund to fill budget holes, instead of reducing programs based on their effectiveness, researchers found.

The Mt. Diablo school board, which doesn’t have a strategic plan in place to help guide such decisions, cut $3.4 million in “Tier III categorical funding” for 2011-12, reducing intervention programs for students struggling to pass the High School Exit Exam, virtually eliminating its Gifted and Talented program, and cutting instructional materials, a high school Arts and Humanities Academy at Mt. Diablo High, professional development, “targeted instruction” funds, adult education and school site funding.

In anticipation that the governor’s proposed tax extensions may fail, trustees expect to consider additional cuts next month. The superintendent has been meeting with school and parent representatives for more than a month to come up with new cost-cutting and revenue-generating ideas.

These include more than $2 million more in cuts to adult education, school and library improvement grants, a peer assistance program for struggling teachers and a targeted grant expected to help pay for a new computer system.

So far, the adult education center has managed to retain most of its programs by scaling them back and increasing fees for some courses, such as art and career training, director Joanne Durkee told me in a phone interview. Since 2007-08, the programs have lost 42 percent of their funding, seeing the annual budget drop from $6.1 million to $3.4 million, she said.

That doesn’t include another $300,000 the board has cut from next year’s adult Lifelong Education classes such as cooking and gardening, Durkee said. This cut will force students to pay higher fees starting July 1, which could significantly reduce course offerings, if student support and interest diminishes, she said.

“We have a very thriving lifelong education program that’s been very supported by the community,” Durkee said. “Many (other district) adult education programs have shut those down, but what I’m trying to do is to ramp up, so that they’re fee-based. We’re close to them being completely fee-based, but we’re not there yet.”

At district budget cut meetings, some have suggested slashing another $1 million from adult education. This would eliminate all classes except those that help students receive high school diplomas and complete their GED requirements, and those that are self-funded or receive outside funding through grants and contracts. Durkee said this would devastate many other beneficial programs that help English language learners, students with disabilities and struggling teens and parents.

Already, she said, enrollment has dropped 51 percent from its 2007-08 level of 24,500 students.

“We’ve shrunk a lot,” Durkee said. “So, I’m hopeful that we can just kind of maintain and get through this (budget cutting) era here.”

Although an extensive list of proposed cuts and revenue-generating ideas has been developed for the districtwide budget meetings, it wasn’t attached to the most recent school board meeting agenda.

Here’s a list of some of the reductions the group has proposed (which don’t appear on the cut list that was attached to the board agenda and which don’t require negotiations):

- Reduce special education funding by $10 million to be in better alignment with the county average (using West Contra Costa USD expenditure of 25.17 percent)

- Reduce custodial hours based on school size. Create an FTE ratio at elementary, middle and high schools for custodians. Savings would be dependent on ratios.

- Reduce adult education by up to $1 million, funding only courses that assist students in receiving high school diplomas or GEDs. However, leave courses intact that are self-funded or that are funded by outside sources.

- Reduce the number of employees using PSN (personal?) days and sick days to save on substitute costs

- Reduce bus service by $1 million to the absolute minimum required by law

- Eliminate benefits for school board members, saving $32,000 a year

- Eliminate in class refrigerators and microwave ovens

- Consolidate small necessary schools to save $150,000

- Close all schools during winter and spring vacation

- Eliminate medical benefits for all

- Close Mt. Diablo HS and convert Riverview MS into a high school. Makd Shore Acres, Bel Air, Rio Vista and Delta View K-8 campuses

- Eliminate all district collaboration and training to reduce substitute costs

- Early retirement incentives

- Fully “sweep” Targeted Instructional Improvement Block Grant” of $693,000 (this money is budgeted to replace EduSoft)

- Reduce funding for each school site by 10 percent

- Save $110,000 by giving principals responsibility for supervising and evaluating custodians

- Freeze hiring

- Purchase electronic textbooks

The list also includes possible savings that would need to be negotiated and possible revenue enhancements. Trustee Sherry Whitmarsh told me that participants at the budget meetings ranked the cuts, based on what they would recommend.

Do you think the district should post the list developed at the budget cut meetings on its website?

Posted on Thursday, May 26th, 2011
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Theresa Harrington | 3 Comments »

Clayton Valley charter organizers dispute district’s financials, board appoints new principal

I received this statement from the Clayton Valley High School Charter Conversion Steering Committee this morning, in response to the district’s recent memo to the community regarding charter schools.

It is based on discussions with their consultants from the California Charter School Association (CCSA) and ExEd, who spoke to officials at the California Department of Education.

“We appreciate Mt. Diablo USD’s recent efforts to respond to the community’s questions concerning the CVHS conversion. However, the District’s statement about passing on additional funds is based on legislation that since January 1, 2010 is no longer in effect. Recently legislation (SB 191) was passed with the intent to ensure that unified school districts would not be hurt by their conversion high schools. While some confusion remains, this legislation was enacted to ensure that the conversion school will receive revenue limit funding from the state as would any new charter school — based on its student ADA. We are in the process of confirming this with the California Department of Education and should be able to provide more detail soon.

It is important to note that the conversion would not open until late summer of 2012. While the district will lose funds that follow student ADA, it will no longer carry the costs of operating the school. The conversion will allow the school to focus resources directly on the students it serves and contrary to district assertions, should not negatively impact other programs.”

—————————————————————-
[END OF STATEMENT]

Organizers plan to update information about the charter on Facebook and at http://sites.google.com/site/claytonvalleycharterhighschool/.

In addition, they will hold an informational meeting tomorrow at 3:15 in the school’s Small Gym, aimed at helping students understand the charter process. However, all parents and community members are invited.

In other school news, Mt. Diablo trustees voted 4-1 to approve Sue Brothers as the new principal. Trustee Cheryl Hansen voted against the appointment.

Brothers was Assistant Superintendent for Educational Services in the Washington Unified School District, under Lawrence, before the Mt. Diablo school board hired him away.

Julie Braun-Martin, assistant superintendent for personnel services, highly praised Brothers.

“Her background is rich with education experiences,” Braun-Martin said.

Brothers has a bachelor’s degree in animal science from UC Davis and a master’s degree in education. She has experience as a preschool director, science teacher, assistant principal and assistant superintendent for curriculum, Braun-Martin said.

When asked during employment interviews why she wanted to move from being a top level district office administrator to a principal, Brothers said she wanted to make a difference for kids, Braun-Martin told the board.

After her appointment, Brothers said she loves working on high school campuses.

“I’m really looking forward to getting to know the community,” she said, adding that she loves working with teenagers. “I think they’re wonderful and I’m really looking forward to working with them.”

After the meeting, I asked Hansen why she voted against Brothers’ appointment. (She voted with the rest of the board to approve Paul Gengler as Principal of College Park High in Pleasant Hill.)

Hansen, who lives in Clayton, said she did not view Brothers’ experience with Lawrence in West Sacramento as a “plus.”

“I think we’re at a very critical time, where we need someone with more recent (school) site experience,” Hansen said. “I would also like to see somebody a little more local, who is in the community. It’s absolutely going to be critical to have good relationship-building skills. It’s not a bland community.”

Still, Hansen appears ready to support the board’s appointment of Brothers.

“I hope she does well,” Hansen said.

Do you support the school board’s appointment?

Posted on Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Theresa Harrington | 23 Comments »

Kathy Strong’s ‘impossible prayer’ was answered

Kathy Strong holds a Special Forces Green Beret medallion in her Walnut Creek home.

Kathy Strong holds a Special Forces Green Beret medallion in her Walnut Creek home.

For Kathy Strong, wearing an MIA bracelet for 38 years was an act of faith, as well as an act of patriotism.

She put the bracelet on at age 12 after receiving it in her Christmas stocking and promised to wear it until the soldier whose name it bore — James Moreland — came home.

At that time in the early 1970s, thousands of people throughout the country wore similar bracelets bearing the names of soldiers who were Prisoners of War or Missing in Action in Vietnam, through a program honoring the commitment not to forget them. Many people did see the soldiers return alive. For others, the remains were found and returned to their families.

As the years passed, most people removed the bracelets, considering them a fad. But not Strong. She kept her commitment and said she often thought about what that it would be like to meet Moreland.

On the 20th anniversary of the date Moreland was last seen alive in Lang Vei, Vietnam, Strong’s hometown newspaper in Sherman Oaks, Calif. published a story about Strong and her bracelet.

“I dream of him coming off the plane and there would be all these people waiting to see him,” then-28-year-old Strong told the Daily News on Feb. 7, 1988. “I’d be there, no matter where he was landing, no matter how much money it would take to get there. I’d go there to meet him.”

After that story was published, Strong said it was emotionally difficult for her to re-read it, because she feared her dream would never come true.

On the 40th anniversary of Moreland’s disappearance, I wrote a story for the Contra Costa Times about Strong and her bracelet. Thanks to the Internet, it reached Moreland’s sister in Washington state, who contacted me and asked to meet Strong.

For that story, I contacted Moreland’s commanding officer, Col. Paul Longgrear. After I told him that Strong said she would love to talk to him about Moreland, he also agreed to meet her.

Strong felt a much closer bond with Moreland after these meetings, and she continued to hope and pray that the military would one day discover some trace of what happened to him.

A few months ago, she saw a basket at her church containing small “impossible rose” prayer cards, with tiny fabric roses attached to them.

She took a card and wrapped the stem of the rose around her purse, praying for Moreland’s return. Later, when she heard that Moreland’s remains had been found, she brought that rose with her to Alabama, where the funeral was held.

When the plane with Moreland’s remains touched down, Strong was there to meet it.

“It didn’t turn out exactly as planned,” she said, recalling her earlier dreams of meeting Moreland alive. “But, I did get to meet him at the airport and I did get to see him come off the plane.”

She stood by as the coffin was loaded into the hearse.

“Before they closed the door, I said: ‘Wait!’” Strong recalled. “I just had to touch it, so it would be real that he was home. That was one of the most special parts of the whole weekend to me. That definitely seemed like an answer to a prayer.”

Strong’s sincere commitment to leaving the bracelet on for so long on has inspired many who have read about her in the newspaper or seen stories about her on the television news.

The story also brought back memories to a retired doctor, who played a key role in Strong’s ability to keep the bracelet on.

Dr. Daniel Morgan, an orthopedic surgeon in Fremont, let her wear the bracelet during wrist surgery in the summer of 1985.

“I wore my bracelet on my right wrist for about three months,” she said. “Dr. Morgan had me place my wrists together and then slid my bracelet from my left wrist onto my right wrist without my bracelet leaving my body.”

After seeing Strong’s story on CBS news earlier this month, he called her and said that fate played a role in their lives.

“He told me he was proud of me and that I was meant to be his patient and he was meant to be my doctor,” Strong said. “He allowed me to keep it on an extra 26 years.”

People who don’t know Strong are also proud of her. Her story seems to strike a chord with people because she embodies character traits that most people hold dear: faith, hope, love, honor, respect, integrity and patience.

When she attended Moreland’s funeral in Alabama, several people gave her mementos, such as Green Beret medallions, an embroidered pillowcase and a framed certificate from the Khe Sahn veterans commending her “unwavering vigil” for Moreland.

On behalf of the funeral Honor Guard, Chief Warrant Officer Chris Golling sent Strong an e-mail after the ceremony, expressing gratitude for her commitment to remembering Moreland.

“We are truly honored to have met you,” wrote Golling, who grew up in Oakland. “It touches each of us how you have held out hope all these years and honored SFC Moreland, a brother to us all. Thank you, Kathy.”

A retired Air Force Chief Master Sergeant who served in Vietnam wrote to Strong from Lakewood, Wash., after reading about Strong and Moreland’s homecoming in the newspaper.

“I am not ashamed to tell you that I was overcome with deep emotion,” he wrote. “In part, it was because all such homecomings are tragic, and one cannot help but think, ‘that could have been me.’ But mainly, what brought tears to my eyes was the knowledge that there are still people in the world like you; people whose steadfast loyalty to, and honoring of, our fallen warriors is a most wonderously great and shining example to all.

May I therefore tell you how proud I am to claim you as a countrywoman of mine, and say that I, on my own and on behalf of many other veterans, feel humbled by such devotion? While in Vietnam, our military and our political leaders often referred to a ‘light at the end of the tunnel’ as a simile for the resolution of that conflict. But in my mind, your 38 years of faithfulness to a code of remembrance far outshines anything they could have imagined. Thank you, Miss Strong.”

Strong is humbled by such praise for doing something she knew in her heart was right. And she is grateful that, in a way, she has been able to meet Moreland by meeting his family and those who served with him.

“My impossible prayer was answered,” she said.

Here is a video of her speaking about the experience:

Does Strong’s story touch you?

Posted on Wednesday, May 25th, 2011
Under: Walnut Creek | 2 Comments »

Mt. Diablo district Q & A regarding charter schools

Mt. Diablo schools Superintendent Steven Lawrence sent out an e-mail to parents on Friday with Questions and Answers regarding charter schools.

Since this hasn’t yet been posted on the district’s website, I’m posting it below.

Some Clayton Valley High School teachers are proposing to convert that school to a charter in fall 2012. In addition, the Flex Academy charter approved by the County Board of Education is taking applications and hasn’t yet decided whether to open in fall 2011 or 2012. It has turned down the district’s offer to locate at Glenbrook Middle School, after that campus closes in June.

Here is the superintendent’s message:

“Where Kids Come First

May 20, 2011

CHARTER SCHOOL INFORMATION

Over the past weeks, community members have raised questions about charter schools. Below, we have compiled the most frequently asked questions and the answers to them.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERISTICS OF A DEPENDENT CHARTER?

Dependent charters are schools that have been converted from an existing public school in the district to a charter school in its entirety. Though rare, districts have opened new small high schools or programs as dependent charters.

The authorizing board is legally responsible for the budget development, special education services, governance, debts, and other liabilities of the dependent charter.

WHAT ARE THE MAIN CHARACTERISTICS OF AN INDEPENDENT CHARTER?

Independent charters are organized by 501(c)(3) non-profit organizations and are independent legal entities with their own governing board.

These charters are responsible for securing their own facility but can file a Proposition 39 request to use a district facility at below market rates.

Independent charters are responsible for their own insurance, budget, hiring, employment rights, and special education services.

WHAT WOULD THE FISCAL IMPACT BE ON OTHER DISTRICT SCHOOLS IF CLAYTON VALLEY HIGH SCHOOL (CVHS) CONVERTS TO A CHARTER?

If any District high school converts to a charter, the district would have to pass along additional funding to that school which would then have to be cut from elsewhere in the district. In this case, if CVHS converts to a charter, the district will have to provide the school an additional $1.651 million beyond the current revenue being generated by CVHS.

This is due to the following State funding formula for conversion charter schools:

- The State uses the amount that unified districts receive per student (currently $4,876.08*) then subtracts the charter school funding per student amount at the high school rate (currently $5,808.00*). This $931.92 per student difference must be made up by the district budget. Therefore, with CVHS’ current enrollment a conversion to a charter would create a reduction to the district budget of $1.651 million.

This number assumes that the governor’s tax extensions fail to make it onto the ballot. The amount will be slightly higher if the Governor’s budget is approved.

1. Should CVHS elect to convert to a charter, the district must develop a plan for an additional $1.651 million cut to the remainder of the district. Therefore, the superintendent will invite all district stakeholders to meet to address these cuts.

WHAT IS THE STATUS OF THE CVHS CHARTER PETITION?

This is not a district-lead process. The details of the charter and timetable are up to the individuals developing the CVHS charter proposal.

Should the district receive a charter proposal, it has 30 days to hold a general public hearing on the proposal. The district also has 60 days from the date of receipt of the petition to grant or deny the charter petition.”

——————————————————-
[END SUPERINTENDENT MESSAGE]

This information varies slightly from what the consultants said at last Monday’s meeting with teachers at Clayton Valley High School. They said Clayton Valley would get its revenues directly from the state (not from the district). They agreed that the state would fund the school at the high school rate, instead of the unified rate.

However, they said this would cost the state more money and suggested that state Legislators might eventually change this rule, when they realize it is costing the state more. If the money is coming out of the district’s budget, then the state wouldn’t be paying more. This is something I’ll need to research.

Also, at the Clayton Valley High meeting, many people acknowledged that the district and charter organizers have a contentious relationship right now. Yet, if the district approves the charter, it could provide services and a certain amount of oversight.

Because of this, the consultants advised organizers to try to work collaboratively with the district as much as possible. Some teachers suggested it might be better for the charter if the district denies its petition, so it could then possibly be approved by the County Board of Education, which does’t harbor any ill will against the organizers.

The charter consultants said they have never heard of a district approving a charter out of “spite” (meaning the district board would approve the charter just so it could make things more difficult for it).

Do you think the Mt. Diablo district and Clayton Valley High School charter organizers can work collaboratively to put kids first, according to the district’s motto?

Posted on Sunday, May 22nd, 2011
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 9 Comments »

Proposed Clayton Valley High charter brings hope, questions

The effort by some Clayton Valley High School teachers to convert the public school into a charter is entering unchartered territory in the Mt. Diablo district. It is the only school in the district to consider such a move, although organizers say it could prompt others to follow if it is successful.

Unlike many charter conversions throughout the state, organizers are giving themselves a year to plan – expecting a vote of teachers by June 6 to open in fall 2012.

The charter would continue to operate as a public school, but would be recognized as an independent educational agency that would receive funding directly from the state. Run by a board of directors, it would develop its own budget, hire teachers and decide whether or not to contract out for services such as custodians.

At a Monday teachers’ meeting about the charter, organizers said they expected the current staff could remain at the school. They also said clerical staff would likely be able to work full-time, since the school would take on administrative duties that are now handled at the district office.

The clerical staff at the school is excited by the conversion idea, office secretary Renee Steen and attendance secretary Dina Jacobsen told me on Tuesday.

Due to state budget cuts, the school board cut one hour a day and two weeks from their work schedules. This equals about 30 days cut from their paychecks over the year, Steen said.

On top of that, they are taking three furlough days this month, along with most district staff.

”We feel so devalued,” Steen said. “We’re feeling pretty downtrodden these days.”

But the charter effort is energizing staff, as they look forward to working together as a team to improve the campus, the pair said.

Statewide, only about 10 percent of charter schools are conversions, consultants said. The rest are new start-up schools.

They speculated that this is because a conversion requires 50 percent of teachers plus one to vote for the change. Although a community petition isn’t required, Clayton Mayor David Shuey told the City Council on Tuesday that about 500 community members have signed petitions in support of the conversion.

This prompted Councilwoman Julie Pierce to ask why those people hadn’t been tapped for money to help fund legal costs for drafting the petition. If each person donated $20, organizers would have the $10,000 they needed, she said.

Instead, organizers have raised about $1,500 and were scrambling to come up with about $8,500 more. Although Shuey asked the council to give the group up to $8,500, Pierce and Councilman Howard Geller were uncomfortable with this idea.

The council voted 4-1 to approve an unsecured loan of up to $8,500, with the hope that the city will get its money back if the charter moves forward. Consultants said organizers could likely receive a line of credit, as well as a start-up grant.

If the charter vote fails, however, the city is unlikely to recover its money. Pierce said she personally supported the charter and would be willing to donate $40 herself. Geller added that he would put up $100.

Pierce suggested that organizers should also ask the Concord City Council for funds, but Shuey said that may be problematic, since Concord students feed into the district’s five other high schools, as well as Clayton Valley.

Clayton students, on the other hand, all attend Clayton Valley High School, unless they attend private schools, Shuey said. He insisted a charter would attract more residents, businesses and increase property values, but Pierce was more skeptical.

She said several residents had asked her not to spend city funds on the charter, while Shuey said several residents had told him they supported the use of city funds for that purpose.

Pierce said the city should consider how the district would interpret the city’s support of a charter, since the city negotiates with the district on other matters, such as joint use of a gym.

“I’m not ready to slap them in the face this way and I think that’s the way they’ll take it,” she said. “I think our negotiations with the school district will get decidedly muddy if we go forward with this. I think this discredits our relations with the school board if we go forward.”

Shuey argued that helping to fund the conversion would show “bold leadership.”

“To take the myopic view that we are not responsible for the school is just flat out wrong,” he said. “It is short-sighted. It is conservative.”

Shuey and Geller said they hoped the Clayton Business and Community Association would also consider contributing money to the start-up costs.

Do you support the charter conversion?

Posted on Friday, May 20th, 2011
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Theresa Harrington | 83 Comments »

Teachers rally against education cuts during “Week of Action”

Walnut Creek school district teachers rally outside City Hall on Tuesday.

Walnut Creek school district teachers rally outside City Hall on Tuesday.

As part of a “Week of Action” aimed at drawing attention to a “State of Emergency” in California education funding, teachers are rallying in streets, malls and at the capitol.

Several educators from the Walnut Creek School District and Contra Costa County gathered outside City Hall on Tuesday to voice their opposition to an “all cuts” state budget and urge the Legislature to approve tax extensions.

Speakers included CTA Vice President-elect Eric Heins, firefighter Vince Wells, state PTA education advocate Nancy Vandell of San Ramon, County Superintendent of Schools Joe Ovick, Lafayette School District Superintendent Fred Brill and Walnut Creek Teachers Association President Kandi Lancaster.

Here’s an excerpt from what Heins, who teaches in Pittsburg, had to say:

“All of us have lived with drastic state budget cuts that are having a devastating impact on education and on community services. We meet here today on Main Street because these are Main Street issues. We can’t afford an all-cuts answer to the state budget deficit — which is why the California Teachers Association has launched a State of Emergency campaign statewide this week — to pressure legislators to extend current taxes legislatively. Our schools and cities can’t afford to wait any longer to protect the revenue we have left.

Our schools and colleges alone have had $20 billion cut in the past three years, while 40,000 educators have been laid off. This spring, at least another 20,000 California educators received pink slips, including more than 3,100 teachers in the Bay Area. We are losing new and veteran teachers who have committed themselves to our students.

Our classes are overflowing and the school year is being shortened. Teachers are taking unpaid furlough days. Arts, music, PE, school libraries, counseling programs are all eliminated from schools throughout the Bay Area and state. Our college students are paying higher fees and tuition for classes they can’t even get into….

This week is not the beginning, nor will it be the end. It won’t be the end until California comes up with a long-term solution to our budget problems so that we don’t continue to spiral downward. The health of our schools, services, our communities and our entire state depends on it.”

Lancaster, who teaches at Walnut Creek Intermediate, said that as her class sizes have gone up, the amount of time she can give to each student has diminished.

She also blasted Conoco Phillips for spending $100,000 to defeat a recent parcel tax in the John Swett district. The company complained that the tax would cost the company $400,000 a year. Yet, the company donates $300,000 annually to schools, she said.

“Do the math,” Lancaster said. “Three-hundred-thousand plus 100,000 equals 400,000.”

She also noted that $400,000 would be only 1.3 percent of the CEO’s $31.34 million salary.

The Walnut Creek district, on the other hand, has been able to pass parcel taxes and receives substantial parent and education foundation donations.

“But what about communities that aren’t so fortunate?” she said. “How will those districts — how can any district for that matter — continue to receive 80 cents on the dollar and strive to train students for the 21st century?

As a teacher, I work every day to open minds, build dreams, encourage diversity and serve as a role model. I expect nothing less from my elected officials. It’s time to send a message to our state legislators: If you won’t pass a budget that fully funds education, let the people decide, or get out of the way. Isn’t the future worth it?”

Across the street, some WCI teachers were holding a “Grade-In” at Caffe La Scala, showing that their day doesn’t end at 3 p.m. I spoke to a few of them about their concerns regarding the state budget.

Math teacher Carol Reeves, English and social studies teacher Carol Hoy and special education teacher Denise Weiss said larger classes are hurting students.

“I can’t teach them the way I did before,” Hoy said. “Their education’s already suffering and their parents aren’t aware of that. But I know it is.”

Lancaster, who joined them briefly, agreed. She said she gives fewer essay tests and assignments because they are so time-consuming to grade.

Now, Lancaster said, she gives tests using multiple choice Scantron forms that students bubble in, which can be read by a machine.

Hoy and Lancaster said they have six classes of about 32 students, compared to about 25 students per class before budget cuts. When they assign reports, they spend at least 15 minutes correcting each one, resulting in 48 hours of work outside class.

The teachers said they also have more special education students, those who don’t speak English as a first language and students whose parents are divorced.

“I had a kid today telling me his parents are divorced and he feels caught between the two and his dad was yelling at him,” one of the teachers said. “I was talking to him at lunch.”

Weiss said she sometimes buys food for needy families and Hoy said some students can’t afford athletic shoes for P.E.

“There are kids that we could help if we had the services,” Weiss said, adding that counselors have been cut. “We have one part-time nurse for the whole district.”

Yet, Hoy said, California’s curriculum standards have become more rigorous since she started teaching 35 years ago. This places a greater burden on teachers, even though they have fewer resources, she said.

Lancaster and hundreds of other Bay Area teachers plan to join a huge regional rally in San Francisco today (Friday) from 4-6 p.m. in front of City Hall in the Civic Center Plaza, marking the culmination of the State of Emergency “week of action.” The “Angry Tired Teachers Band” made up of Hayward Unified music teachers will perform, including pink-slipped saxophone player, Bryan Holbrook.

Speeches will begin at 5 p.m. from speakers include Carol Kocivar, president-elect of the State PTA; Alicia Sandoval, Parent Leadership Action Network; Cathy Campbell of the California Federation of Teachers; and pink-slipped Bay Area educators, including Union City teacher Quyen Tran, who is eight months pregnant.

In response to calls for Legislative action, local Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla, D-Concord, plans to host a community event on Wednesday explaining the budget: https://asp.schoolmessenger.com:443/m/?s=QLQNTs1AxAs

Do you think the Legislature should extend taxes set to expire this summer?

Posted on Friday, May 13th, 2011
Under: Education, Walnut Creek | 6 Comments »

36 Contra Costa and Alameda county students to receive ROP awards

Thirty-six students from Contra Costa and Alameda county schools will be honored Wednesday for outstanding achievement in Regional Occupational Program classes that give them hands-on experience in fields such as computer graphics, culinary arts and journalism (my personal favorite).

The Contra Costa County Office of Education administers the 361 state-of-the-art classes, which serve 11,000 students in 33 high schools Contra Costa and Alameda county high schools. ies that .

The teens will receive their “Students of Excellence” awards for outstanding achievement in ROP classes from 4-5 p.m. at the Lafayette Veterans Memorial Building, 3780 Mt. Diablo Blvd. in Lafayette.

Each student will each receive a certificate of merit and a $200 scholarship.

Congrats to the winners! (List is alphabetical by city)

ALBANY
Albany High School
Albert Chang, Computer Graphics, Instructor Jeff Castle
Cristina Spampinato, Culinary Arts, Instructor Leone Avery

ANTIOCH
Antioch High School
Garrick Ridolfi, Advanced Automotive Technology, Instructor Bobby Sturgeon

Deer Valley High School
Jazmine White, Journalism Productions, Instructor Charleen Earley

BERKELEY
Berkeley High School
Madeline Angell, Sports Medicine, Instructor Jamie Faison
Camilla Dayrit, Advanced Photography, Instructor Lucinda Daly

BRENTWOOD
Heritage High School
Sophia Ackelbein, Publications/Yearbook, Instructor Ken Silman
Kathryne Barsanti, Architectural Design, Instructor Barbara Worden
Patrick Berhan, Law Enforcement Careers, Instructor Matt Carr

Liberty High School
Jessica Caraballo, Desktop Publishing, Instructor Sharon Johnson
Starkisha Haskell, Medical Front Office, Instructor Cindy Powell

CONCORD
Concord High School
Christian Salazar, Accounting, Instructor Laurie Harris

DANVILLE
San Ramon Valley High School
Jackie Lang, AP Environmental Science, Instructor Cindy Egan

Monte Vista High School
Alexander DeBoni, AP Computer Science, Instructor Bhupinder Anwar

HERCULES
Hercules High School
Chloe Lew, Journalism Productions, Instructor Natalie Wojinski
Richie Phelps, Careers in Teaching, Instructor Janet Headington

LAFAYETTE
Acalanes High School
Blake Marggraff, Accelerated Biotechnology and Research, Instructor Jay Chugh

MARTINEZ
Alhambra High School
Erin McCauley, Advanced Sports Medicine, Instructor Scott Pygeorge
Mike Railton, Cabinetmaking, Instructor Jay Heeb

MORAGA
Campolindo High School
Jarrett Milner, AP Computer Science, Instructor Carol Paymer

OAKLEY
Freedom High School
Eric Stone, Fire Science, Instructor Ben Whitener
Shannon Nuku, ROP Careers with Children, Instructor Elizabeth Rodriguez

PIEDMONT
Piedmont High School
Katherine Lim, Sports Medicine, Instructor Stan Nakahara

PINOLE
Pinole Valley High School
Devon Powell, Sports Medicine, Instructor Dan O’Shea

PITTSBURG
Pittsburg High School
Jasmine Juarez, Accounting, Instructor Phil Lucido
Ajay Kumar, Architectural Design, Instructor Andreas Kaiser

RICHMOND
Richmond High School
Maria Martinez-Resendiz, Advanced Photography, Instructor John Ohlmann

Kennedy High School
Brian Phan, Digital Photography, Instructor, Steve Pinto
German Rodriguez, Advanced Web Design, Instructor Lane Good
JeremyWard, Computer Systems Maintenance, Instructor Alex Pakter

SAN RAMON
California High School
Talaivosa Hingano, Advanced Sports Medicine, Instructor Shane Borchert
Steven Lau, Journalism Productions, Instructor Brian Barr
Sydney Venierakis, Careers in Teaching, Instructor Cindy Bonagura

Dougherty Valley High School
Jason Jirjis, Advanced Sports Medicine, Instructor Juli Westcott
PamelaSendee, Careers in Teaching, Instructor Tom Ladouceur

WALNUT CREEK
Las Lomas High School
Masha Ksendzova, Analytic Forensic Science, Instructor Peat Sutherland

More information about the program is available by visiting www.cocoschools.org. Click on “ROP Students of Excellence Awards Ceremony.”

Do you think ROP classes are valuable?

Posted on Tuesday, May 10th, 2011
Under: Contra Costa County Office of Education, Education, Theresa Harrington | No Comments »