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Clayton Valley High School goals and concerns

By Theresa Harrington
Thursday, May 26th, 2011 at 2:48 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Theresa Harrington.

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

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

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14 Responses to “Clayton Valley High School goals and concerns”

  1. Wait a Minute Says:

    A charter school free from the one size fits all mentality propagated by the district interference will be much more responsive to the unique problems at the school.

    Couple this with the immediate large-scale boost in resources (funding) since the district takes about 40% off the top and you now have a school with the means to fix these problems.

    With these two factors alone, It is far more likely that a independent charter CVHS will out-reform and out-perform the rest of the MDUSD.

    In any case, the current MDUSD leadership is beyond redemption as their numerous and continuing scandals (with no end in sight) prove.

  2. Long-time Board Watcher Says:

    Wait A Minute, those who think all MDUSD comprehensive high schools are the same (“one size fits all”) don’t know much about them. Each of the six offers unique academy programs, electives, and honors classes their teachers have chosen to provide, typically based on the interests of the students in their community. Each typically has its own “personality,” its own particular strength (e.g., music, debate, athletic team) as well.

    The one size they all must provide is in the material/standards of the required courses: e.g., English 1 (2, 3, and 4) should have the same requirements and rigor for every student regardless of the school the youngster attends. This standardization is the district’s responsibility: to make sure a student who graduates from CVHS has had the same core curriculum and level of instruction as one from YVHS, NHS, MDHS, CHS, and CPHS. As a charter, CVHS staff may (emphasis on “may”) be able to add more choices for their students, but the core curriculum taught at the school must continue to meet state and UC standards.

    Also, whatever percentage the district takes “off the top” of the per student revenue pays for operating expenses such as payroll, recruitment and staffing, building maintenance, tech support, legal expenses (charter school parents file claims, too), site administrators, student support services, staff development/training, etc. Do not assume that the entire amount of that percentage will go directly to the classroom. Trite as it may be, it does take a village.

  3. Theresa Harrington Says:

    FYI, the state has just released several interesting charts related to the district’s 2010-11 enrollment at:
    The shifting demographics are dramatic, along with overall declining enrollment.

  4. Doctor J Says:

    So how does this CDE report compare with the $92,000 Gold report received this week ? How does it compare with the $70,000 Schreder report on school closures ?

  5. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Unfortunately, it doesn’t break students down by geographic area, so it won’t be helpful in terms of creating new school boundaries. It also doesn’t break out English language learners.

    However, it shows a dramatic increase in Hispanic/Latino students and decrease in white students.

    I haven’t yet compared the enrollment data to Schreder’s, but that will be interesting to look at.

    The CDE shows CVHS has 1,886 students, including 1,168 white, 380 Hispanic or Latino, 144 Asian, 81 Filipino, 65 black, 16 of two or more races, 12 Pacific Islander, 11 Native American and 9 not reported.

    It also shows that Glenbrook MS has 525 students, including 188 8th graders, 166 seventh-graders and 171 sixth-graders.
    Holbrook Elem. has 393 students, including 73 fifth-graders, 51 fourth graders, 62 third-graders, 56 second-graders, 79 first graders and 72 kindergartners.

    We can also compare the CDE data to the Equity Advisory Team’s data.

  6. g Says:

    The numbers really do tell a sad but factual story. When Concord’s White Flight has leveled out in a couple more years declining enrollment will not be an issue. In this past two years white counts are down a couple thousand, but Hispanic counts are up a thousand. But that isn’t the sad story–the sad story is how few Hispanics make it all the way from 8th grade through 12th grade. Whites are “aging” out of the system, but Hispanics are “dropping” out.

    But never fear, all the babies the teenage kids are adding will be in school in no time!

    In one house around the corner; Grandma/Mom has 7 kids, one of them is just going to 1st grade. Her oldest daughter is 26 and has a kid in 1st grade, and her 15 yr old daughter has a two yr old! One of her sons also lives at home with girlfriend and baby.

    They should keep all of the grammar schools open. They will need them in another couple of years.

  7. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The CDE data shows total district enrollment at 34,116.

    For 12th grade, the data shows 670 Hispanic or Latino students and 1,249 white.

    In 9th grade, the numbers are closer, with 1,073 Hispanic or Latino students and 1,285 white.

    In kindergarten, however, there is a dramatic shift, with 1,190 Hispanic or Latino and 774 white students.

    Of the district’s total enrollment of 34,116 students:
    14,670 are white
    12,258 are Hispanic or Latino
    2,466 are Asian
    1,625 are black
    1,464 are Filipino
    766 are two or more races, not Hispanic
    326 are Pacific Islander
    171 are Native American
    and 370 are not reported.

  8. g Says:

    Compared to 2000-2001, Total District enrollment is only down by about 2500, but White is down about 8000. Hispanic is up almost 5000. The Gold report may not be scathing enough. MDUSD is asleep at the wheel! Starting in 2015-16 the schools will receive even more for the EL students. The State sees the trend and has already legislated it into the School Funding.

  9. Doctor J Says:

    I heard a statistic tonight, but can’t verify the source, but it is a sobering thought even if it is slightly off — by 2015 1 of 2 boys age 6 in the United States will be Hispanic. Now not all of them will be English learners, but some percentage will be. There is no time to waste in implimenting a viable and effective English Learner program.

  10. g Says:

    I am certain that learning a second language should begin for every child by first grade. That means every English speaking child should be given equal funds and equal language education starting right now!

    If we think we can get by for much longer demanding that our work force speak only English, we are being very naive. Already, it is hard to compete for a job if you speak “only” English!

    Nearly every public service company for several years has paid a premium for people who speak another language, but they are finding those workers much easier to find now.

    In very few years, a person able to speak only English will not be able to get a job anyplace in this or several other states! We need to demand that all kids get ‘language’ lessons right beside the ESL students.

  11. Doctor J Says:

    An education acquaintance from one of Lawrence/Brothers former districts emailed me. My interpretration of the message: if you like Steve Lawrence then you will like Sue Brothers. The educator said: “we sure do remember Steve and Sue…
    We used to call them Stue….Steve would start the sentence in a meeting and Sue would finish the sentence….it was amazing…”

  12. Theresa Harrington Says:

    A mom moving into the Walnut Creek area wants advice about which school district to choose: MDUSD or Walnut Creek/Acalanes:

  13. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Is truancy a problem at CVHS? Trustee Sherry Whitmarsh and the director of student services support Concord’s proposed Daytime Curfew Ordinance, but “cautioned about the ordinance not becoming a race issue:”

  14. Anon Says:

    Schoolhouse Rocked: S.F.’s Most Controversial Charter School Throws Off For-Profit Masters

    An interesting tale that reminds us that not all charters automatically = better schools/improved outcomes.

    Some do, some don’t — it depends on how well the school director and management are at leading, persuading, collaborating, business and administrative execution and coaching towards positive change.

    In the case of Edison Charter Academy, the teachers were initially coerced/intimidated into voting 51%+ in favor of the charter conversion away from SFUSD with the usual propaganda (improved test scores, better conditions for the teachers, more freedom self-direction for the school itself).

    While scores did improve some, the charter is not considered a success. Lots of issues with the board not going the direction that the parents and teachers wanted. The teachers recently voted to become an independent charter and are starting over again with a new board.

    So it takes a lot more than “just being a charter” to be a successful school. I, for one, haven’t seen enough of the business and curriculum details to be in favor of the charter yet. If those come together and a strong, collaborative leadership team is in place, then the charter might have a chance.

    I’m still concerned that the charter school committee and their supporting parents weren’t able to come up with the initial $10K startup money. This doesn’t bode well for how things may play out with regard to true parent community support and organizational abilities of the committee.

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