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CVHS charter conversion to move forward

By Theresa Harrington
Friday, June 3rd, 2011 at 1:35 pm in Clayton, Concord, Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Theresa Harrington.

I just spoke to Clayton Valley HS teacher Pat Middendorf, who told me that more than 40 teachers have signed the charter conversion petition.

“We’re going to make sure that we have way more than we really need,” she said.

Organizers estimated they needed 37 signatures to achieve the 50 percent plus one of permanent teachers required to forward the petition to the district for approval. However, Middendorf said district officials could nullify some signatures, if they question whether some staff members are “permanent teachers.”

Organizing committee members have decided not to release the document to the public until they give it to the district, Middendorf said. Committee members are still discussing whether to present it to the board or to the superintendent, she said.

The next board meeting is June 14.

Middendorf also told me the committee doesn’t plan to issue a statement in response to the district’s most recent memo regarding the possible financial impact of a charter on the district, since district officials haven’t communicated directly with committee members. The committee stands by its assertion that overall, the charter would not financially hurt the district because many expenses associated with running the school would be transferred to the charter campus, she said.

Are you surprised that a majority of CVHS teachers appear to support the conversion?

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77 Responses to “CVHS charter conversion to move forward”

  1. Doctor J Says:

    @Anon #50 SB’s plan must be to divide and conquer. Any teachers that can be transfered will be, teachers will be written up, and there will be a culture of fear. Just look at what happened in West Sac and Roseville.

  2. Wait a minute Says:

    80% plus is a HUGE REBUKE of STU and EberMarsh!

    As I said in an earlier blog thread, this will force much needed change to the governance of the MDUSD and by doing so could very likely save it from itself.

  3. Anon Says:

    I suspect Northgate is next. Just like the MDUSD Board video parody shows.

  4. Theresa Harrington Says:

    After discussing complaints I have received about the parody video with my editors, I have deleted the links to it in blog comments.
    This is in accordance with our blog policy and was a decision made by our online editorial team.

  5. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Interesting that this ACSA Charter Conversion PowerPoint doesn’t mention funding as being an issue to consider:

  6. Anon Says:

    The charter petition document is posted on the Clayton Valley Charter High School website for everyone to read:

  7. Doctor J Says:

    Board math test: What is the common denominator between Nugentgate and Chartergate ? Hint: It starts with an “E” — both schools had Eberhart’s children attending.

  8. Anon Says:


    What happened at the CV meeting last night introducing the new principal? Did Gary introduce her? What other board members attended as well as the superintendent?
    How many people were there?

  9. Doctor J Says:

    Charter petition filed June 8. Last day for public hearing by Board July 8. Last scheduled Board meeting is June 28. What will be the Supt and Gary’s strategy ? Perhaps they will pull an end run, approve the charter, and wish them good luck, hoping that it will not be successful. But approving it could open the flood gates.

  10. Doctor J Says:

    Congratulations for the Clayton City Council for being willing to support the Charter of CVHS. It takes a lot of guts to do the RIGHT thing especially when you take a position contrary to other political interests. Its the right thing for Clayton. Its the right thing for CVHS and its the right thing for MDUSD.

  11. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The Clayton City Council will consider endorsing the CVHS charter petition on Tuesday:
    Also during the meeting, the council expects to present “Do the Right Thing” certificates of recognition to 22 students: (pg. 3).

  12. Doctor J Says:

    I think Clayton endorsed the Charter when they loaned $8500. I don’t expect a change. I can see a trend in the making with Diablo View and then the elementary school. What a slam on Gary and what an endorsement of Cheryl. I guess Gary’s tee shot didn’t make it past the lady’s tee. 🙂

  13. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The Clayton City Council unanimously endorsed the charter “in concept” on May 3.
    The council voted 3-2 to loan the charter organizers $8,500, with Julie Pierce and Howard Geller dissenting because they didn’t think it was an appropriate use of public funds. However, they both said at that time that they personally endorsed the idea of a charter.
    Some people have criticized community endorsements made before the petition was made public. Mayor David Shuey wants to essentially reiterate the endorsement, after the Council has read the petition.
    He told me today that he has personally received e-mails voicing support for the conversion from about 400+ residents. Two residents have communicated opposition, he said.

  14. Doctor J Says:

    400 to 2 ! I would call that overwhelming.

  15. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Clayton City Council unanimously endorsed the CVHS charter petition Tuesday:
    MDUSD board will hold a public hearing on the petition Aug. 9. It has agreed to decide whether to approve or deny the petition Sept. 13.

  16. 4Students Says:

    Wondering if any MDUSD board members have a personal conflict of interest on this issue. Wondering why it took so long for a city to break political protocol and finally become involved in the management of a MDUSD school. Wondering whether other MDUSD cities will follow this excellent example.

  17. Anon Says:

    We count on our City Councils to keep our neighborhoods vibrant and desirable. A quality education system should be a high priority for the leaders in any community. The past unwillingness to step on the toes of other public agencies is a concept from a different era and should no longer exist. I too hope other cities take the lead from Clayton.

  18. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:


    I would be there are personal conflict of interests. We are talking about a board that had family members on the school closure committee as well as business people who probably contributed to their election campaigns and had a financial interest in the outcome of that boondoggle.

    So yeah, the chances are good there are a myriad of conflict of interests.

  19. Glad I live in Concord Says:

    I just heard that the outgoing failing school principal of Oak Grove Middle has been assigned another principal job–this time at PH Middle school. Wow.

  20. Theresa Harrington Says:

    No administrative appointment is final until it is approved by the board. Perhaps this will appear on Tuesday’s agenda.
    Current PHMS Principal Jonathan Roselin was promoted to assistant director of students services, to replace Dr. Margaret Norris, who will become vice principal at PHMS.
    Oak Grove Principal Terry McCormick told me she volunteered to leave her post so the campus could apply for federal School Improvement Grant:
    Meadow Homes Elementary Principal Toby Montez told me he was asked to leave his post so that school could also apply for a SIG. I’ve heard rumors about where he may end up, but nothing official.

  21. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    Theresa – Why were there new dates for CVHS Charter public meeting and approval negotiated btwn Charter and DIstrict?? What is the reason for pushing the dates out so far?

  22. Glad I Live in Concord Says:

    Theresa: PHEC is the one who broke the news about Mccormick being assigned to PHMS. I do not believe there has been any parent or staff input meetings on qualified candidates. Once the PHMS families get wind of this appointment, there is going to be pushback no matter how qualified she may be. The fact is parents will see her as a lousy administrator who couldn’t bring that school up. Another question, if you are a principal of a failing school, why in the would/should the district allow you to take over another school? There must be more qualified, capbable administrators to lead our schools. Curious what rumors are out there regarding where Montez may be headed?

  23. Theresa Harrington Says:

    McCormick is well-respected by many who have worked with her. Oak Grove MS has made gains under her leadership, but hasn’t come far enough fast enough.
    Board President Gary Eberhart told me he would have supported McCormick if she chose to stay at Oak Grove, even though that would have prevented the school from applying for the grant.
    Montez was also very popular with many parents at his campus, although I have heard that some were not happy with his leadership. I won’t post the rumor I heard about where he may go, since I haven’t confirmed it.
    At a recent Education Writers’ Conference I attended, some reporters said the USDOE requirement that schools replace principals to get improvement grants is having an unintended consequence: principals of failing schools are being moved to other schools instead of being let go. They called this: “The dance of the lemons.”
    At the June 14 board meeting, four appointments were pulled from the agenda: one elementary principal and three high school vice principals. Some speculated that the elementary opening was for Sequoia Elem.
    Mountain View Elem. also has an opening, since Diana DeMott retired.

  24. AnotherMom Says:

    Take the principal at any high performing school and swap them to a low performing school. Does the school automatically become high performing?

    Take the teaching staff at any high performing school and swap them to a low performing school. Does the school automatically become high performing in this case?

    The answer is “no” to both – since it takes more than staff and a strong principal to turn a failing school around. It takes the parents, students and community too.

  25. Glad I Live in Concord Says:

    Thank you for the clarification on McCormick. It seems anytime the parents don’t have buy in, things can go squirrely really fast–remember the Chris Nugent appointment last summer for Mt. Diablo elem. The news is Sequoia’s principal is leaving to take Mountain View’s opening, leaving Sequoia open for a principal. There is no way those parents will accept Montez at that school. It would be another Nugent situation magnified by 100. So, this “dance of the lemons”, was the original usdoe intention to terminate those principals of failing schools, not re-assign them?

  26. AnotherMom Says:

    And I wanted to say that I admire both the teachers and administrators who voluntarily work at low performing schools. The challenges at failing schools are tremendous, and the staff is easily labeled as “lousy” (see post #72). But there are teachers and administrative staff who want to make a difference and still voluntarily take on the challenges that come with low performing schools in hopes of turning it around and making a positive impact for the school and the community.

  27. Glad I Live in Concord Says:

    I totally and completely agree that it takes a village to create a positive, high achieving school and I too, believe teachers and staff alike are to be commended for working at low achieving schools. But, perception is everything and the schools to which these failing principals are re-assigned will push back because their perception is these administrators couldn’t improve their former school (fast enough) and therefore they won’t be able to sustain a high achieving school. If the district wants parent buy-in, they need to start having conversations and meetings with these affected parents so that they can properly address concerns. That way, parents can feel good about the appointments. Just placing someone who may be labeled “lousy” isn’t going to get the desired responses the district so desperately needs right now.

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