The Clayton Valley HS charter conversion committee met with district officials on Aug. 10 to share information. After that meeting, the conversion committee sent the district responses to questions asked.
Clayton Mayor David Shuey sent me the following information, which was sent to the district, to post in response to the charter Q&A provided by the district.
“August 25, 2011
Deborah A. Cooksey
Associate General Council
Mt Diablo Unified School District
1936 Carlotta Drive
Concord, CA 04519-1397
Re: Clayton Valley Charter High School Steering Committee – Response document from meeting with Superintendents Council on August 10, 2011.
Deborah Cooksey – Associate General Council
Julie Braun Martin – Personnel
Mildred Brown – Special Ed
Rose Lock – Instruction
Bryan Richards – Finance
CVCHS Steering Committee Representatives
Neil McChesney – Co Lead Petitioner
Pat Middendorf – Co Lead Petitioner
Nick Driver – California Charter Schools Association
Paul Minney – MYM Law Firm
Marshall Mayote – ExED
Submitted by: Clayton Valley Charter High School Steering Committee
These questions primarily came from Deb Cooksey and included the following:
1. Who will initially operate the school?
The election for the initial Governing Board is currently underway. Candidate applications for teacher, classified and parent representatives will be accepted through August 25th. Those applications will then be published for review by the different constituencies. The actual election will be held on September 1st at the Clayton Valley High School MUR beginning at 3:00pm and extending until 7 pm. Representatives from the different voting groups will be on hand to verify which group each voter belongs in. These representatives will then count all votes and verify who, from each group, was elected to the governing board.
The elected members of the governing board will then review all applicants for appointed positions. Upon interviewing applicants, the board will appoint the requisite number of representatives. As per our draft by laws, this will help ensure that the Board retains members that are committed to the mission and vision of the school, have direct familiarity with CVHS history and goals and/or experience in education, strategic planning, staff development, board relations,
financial management and organizational leadership.
2. Are there now “draft” by laws indicating the question of the parent representative election process?
An emailed copy of the correct version of the CVCHS bylaws was sent to Deb Cooksey on Sunday, August 21, 2011. Deb Cooksey sent back email verification that she had received them the following day.
3. What is the amount of insurance the Charter School will secure?
CVCHS has committed to and budgeted for an insurance policy with $5 million/$25 million coverage. This is higher than the amount requested by MDUSD. Page 127 of the Charter document outlines the extent of coverage and, as stated, is subject to recommendations and negotiations with MDUSD.
4. Was the Charter document available to teachers prior to signing? At what point was it available?
From the beginning of the process, draft versions had been available for faculty and staff to review, comment on and add to. At least 10 draft versions were sent out to faculty and staff during this process. Different elements of the document were initially drafted by groups of faculty and staff familiar with specific areas. As the draft versions got bigger, it moved to the S-drive available to all faculty and staff on campus two weeks prior to completion. The final version of the document was available to all faculty and staff the week of June 6th. The final document was delivered to District offices on June 8th and was available online thereafter. It has been published on the CVCHS website and Facebook.
Additionally, several local blogs and the Contra Costa Times published websites where the document could be accessed.
5. How will parents have a meaningful role in the decision-making of the school?
Parents have been an integral part of this process since the beginning meetings.
At the first meeting there were 5 parents or future parents in attendance. The perspective of the parents and perception within the community has been an ongoing conversation of the Steering Committee. The Steering Committee has held numerous informational meetings to help educate the parent community about the conversion of Clayton Valley High School both on and off campus, during the afternoon and in the evenings in an effort to reach the largest number of people possible.
Our Governing Board composition consists of two (2) parents which are elected positions as well as two appointed community members who will likely be parents of CV students. Each of the Standing Committees will consist of parents, students, teachers and others that may be interested or have knowledge of individual committee duties.
There has been a clear indication on the part of the parent community, that this is something they are excited about. As a long-time parent volunteer, it is obvious from the emails, conversations and offers to help and volunteer that parents and the broader community feel strongly about this change and are willing to put in the work necessary to make it successful.
These questions primarily came from Mildred Brown.
1. There are a large number of children in the CV attendance area that are in nonpublic school placements, how will they be handled?
The steering committee does not have access to how many students or what type of placements they are in at this time. Mildred stated that she would make that information available, including the number of students and what type of facility. The charter will handle all placements the same way as they are handled now by the district. This will not change once the school becomes a charter.
Consistent with our charter language we stated that we will stay as a school of the district for the first year of the charter. According to the California State Ed Code a charter school must notify their current SELPA one year in advance (by June 30) of their intended exit. Since Mt Diablo is their own SELPA the charter will have to seek membership in another SELPA. Again according to CA ED code the charter must apply to the new SELPA one year in advance. Since that date has passed before the charter will be approved it must stay in the current SELPA as a school of the district in regards to special education students. This is stated in pages 36-48 of the Charter Petition.
Through an MOU the district will agree to deliver all special education services to the charter school and in exchange the district will retain the full amount of AB602 special education funding that it receives from the state and may also require the charter to pay a fair share of the encroachment fee.
During the first year the charter will be able to gather appropriate information to make a decision on whether to apply for membership in another SELPA and become its own local education agency (LEA). It is typical for the conversion charter high schools in CA to stay a school of the district the first year and to then seek autonomy for special education services the following year or two.
Mildred stated she will provide to the charter committee a copy of the MOU the district has with Eagle Peak Montessori School.
2. How will due process and litigation be handled?
The committee referred to page 41 of the charter. Again the Charter will establish in a MOU with the district how this will be handled.
3. Be specific when describing how expulsions will be handled, interim placements pending expulsions and what happens after an expulsion.The committee referred to pages 105-115 of the charter. Step by step expulsion procedures for special education students and non-special education students are explained in detail in this section. While the charter does not state specifically which particular placements will be considered for interim time periods pending expulsion, it does state the procedures for when to use alternative placements and outlines the use of a rehabilitation plans for readmission.
Mildred stated that the district has an agreement with the county regarding post expulsion placements and that she would provide the committee with a copy so that we would be able to explore which alternative placements to use.
4. Will the Lottery be consistent with the transfer policy and MDUSD timeline for that process?
The committee agreed that it would be in the best interest of all parties involved to parallel the district timelines with the charters to accommodate transfers in or out of the charter.
5. Will specialized health services like scoliosis screening be provided? What vendors would we use?
This is referenced on page 85 of the charter. We will also develop a list of vendors to consider if we choose to use independent contractors for campus and building maintenance, landscaping, custodial services, food services, and campus security.
These questions primarily came from Rose Lock and included the
1. When will the full curriculum and catalog of courses be
In order to make the transition more manageable and successful, we will use our current course catalog and curriculum offerings as a baseline to be modified and supplemented over time. Once the Governing Board and Standing Committees, representing all stakeholders are in place, new courses/programs will be researched, analyzed, developed and implemented over time.
During the planning year (2011-2012) we are going to investigate and research calendar and scheduling options that will allow us to offer more remediation and enrichment programs to our students. We also plan on adding our freshman transition program in Summer 2012 before our Fall 2012 opening.
We will constantly be evaluating our courses and curriculum for overall effectiveness and to ensure that they are meeting the needs of all of our students.
2. How will teaching and learning be monitored? Dylan responded to this question and Nick Driver mentioned the fact that they have a ‘data director’ program that charter schools use.
Learning will be monitored formally and informally through the use of formative and summative assessments both in the individual classroom, with-in subject PLCs, and as a school PLC to monitor the effectives of our curriculum, teachers, interventions, and enrichment strategies. To help us track and analyze our data we will be implementing a student data management system after completing research on several systems including, Edusoft, OARS, and Data Director. The California Charter Schools Association offers a customized version of Data Director that we will are very interested in investigating further. We will also examine data visualization software, such as Tableau, as an additional possible tool to be able to effectively analyze, interpret, and communicate our data.
3. What strategies will be used to address diverse learning needs?
At this point, Deb indicated that they are looking for a little more specificity; they are not able to put their arms around a lot of these issues. We mentioned the process for developing the charter, the collaborative process with all the different stakeholders, the timelines, the due diligence and that through the MOU and conditions of approval we could address certain data points and check ins.
In order to address the diverse learning needs of our students, we will continue to research and develop effective differentiation strategies and support programs for all of our students. For example, teachers will continue to attend professional development conferences that promote effective differentiation strategies, such as Kate Kinsella workshops.
We have already begun designing several summer programs to better support some of our struggling students. A freshman transition program that will help students enter high school more prepared and a student remediation program to help students develop and practice deficient skills necessary for success in high school. We also plan on developing and
offering more tutoring and peer assistance programs for students who want or need more support.
In addition, we are investigating ways to design, and better track, individual student learning and performance plans for all of our students, so performance problems can hopefully be diagnosed and remedied more quickly and effectively.
These questions primarily came from Julie Braun Martin and included the following:
1. When will the current employees of the School District make a final decision to stay or go with the Charter School? She indicated they would need this information no later than February 2012 so the School district can do layoffs if they are going to have excess teaching capacity.
2. Deb indicated that they would not recommend any bumping rights back to the School District and pretty much wouldn’t allow leaves of absence for anybody who wants to work at the Charter School (noting that they don’t allow a leave of absence for anybody who wants to work elsewhere).
We understand that the District will need to assess employee capacity for the 2012-2013 school year. We will inform the District no later than the beginning of February 2012 which employees at Clayton Valley High School will elect to stay with the Charter School and which employees will seek a transfer within the District. We acknowledge that, in the same manner any District employee can not use a leave of absence to
work a similar job in another district, MDUSD leaves of absence can not be used by employees who elect to become employees of the Charter School. CVCHS employees will have no guaranteed right to return to work within MDUSD.
3. They asked questions about the collective bargaining process and whether the charter school would have a separate collective bargaining agreement and whether there would be any inter-relationship between the School and the District in the collective bargaining agreement.
CVCHS teachers will be part of the MDEA bargaining unit but with a separate agreement. CVCHS will work with MDUSD, or other authorizing body, in seeking advice and guidance regarding contract negotiation. While satisfactory evaluations are requisite to continued employment with CVCHS, no employee of CVCHS will be fired without cause or due process.
4. They asked about the seniority and tenure rights of charter school employees and for clarity regarding how that will work at the charter school.
For teachers already at CVHS who elect to continue with CVCHS, seniority will be based on the years currently held with MDUSD. Seniority for newly hired teachers will be based on decisions made at contract negotiation. Teacher pay will initially be based on the current MDUSD step scale.
[Since this document includes charts that I can't cut and paste into my blog, here is a link to the document: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/document-preview.aspx?doc_id=92425607]
The committee also provided the district with insurance information and copies of the 579 emails Shuey received in support of the charter, which I am not attaching to this blog.
Do you believe the district’s charter Q&A accurately reflects the answers provided by the charter committee?