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MDUSD omits information about some services in Program Improvement notice

By Theresa Harrington
Thursday, October 27th, 2011 at 8:52 pm in Education.

“MT. DIABLO UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT
JAMES W. DENT EDUCATION CENTER
1936 Carlotta Drive
Concord, California 94519-1397
(925) 682-8000

OFFICE OF THE SUPERINTENDENT

October 26, 2011

Dear Parents/Guardians of Students in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District:

This fall, Mt. Diablo Unified, along with 97 other districts, joined the growing list of school districts across the state falling into Program Improvement. Currently, 444 districts in the state have been identified as Program Improvement. Districts (LEA’s) are identified as Program Improvement because they do not meet all of the Federal Annual Yearly Progress targets. Currently, district-wide and all significant subgroups, including special education and English Learners, must have 67 percent of the students at the proficient and advanced level on the California Standards Test in English Language Arts and math.

ESEA/NCLB requires the CDE to inform parents/guardians of students about LEA performance. Mt. Diablo Unified School District has been identified as a PI LEA. You can find specific achievement data used to make this decision at http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ar/ . If you do not have access to the Internet, please contact Rose Lock, Assistant Superintendent, at (925) 682-8000, ext. 4015, and a hard copy of the report will be provided.

As a district in Program Improvement, we must:

• Write an addendum to our LEA Plan. We must consult with parents and school staff when writing the LEA Plan Addendum, which will include information on how we plan to use Title I and other funds to improve student achievement. Once approved by the Board, the addendum will be posted on the district Web site.

• Reserve at least 10 percent of our annual Title I allocation to provide professional development for teachers and administrators.

• Continue to provide assistance to schools identified in Program Improvement.

As a parent/guardian in the Mt. Diablo USD, we encourage you to be involved in your child’s education by volunteering at your child’s school, regularly checking on your child’s academic progress, and attending/ participating on your School Site Council. Parents can also talk with district staff about the LEA Plan and the program changes that must be made to help students meet the state standards in ELA and mathematics. Additional information and resources about No Child Left Behind are available through:

• The California Department of Education o http://www.cde.ca.gov/sp/sw/t1/titleparta.asp and http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ay/tidetermine.asp

• The US Department of Education o http://www.ed.gov and http://www.ed.gov/parents/landing.jhtml

If you have further questions about district-wide Program Improvement, please contact Rose Lock, Assistant Superintendent Student Achievement and School Support, at (925) 682-8000, ext. 4015.

Sincerely,
Steven Lawrence, Ph.D.
Superintendent”

This version of the notice was created after the district posted, then removed, its original version, which was based more closely on a template provided by the California Department of Education.

Noticeably missing from the final version is the following information, which explains additional services available to parents whose children attend low-performing schools:

” – If you are a parent of a student who attends a Title 1 PI (Program Improvement) school, ask about school choice options to transfer your child, with paid transportation, to a public school in your LEA (Local Education Agency) that is not identified as Program Improvement School.

- If you are a parent of a student who attends a Title 1 school that has been in PI for two years or more, ask about supplemental educational services that may be available for your child. Supplemental educational services are tutoring services provided outside of the regular school day for eligible students.

I encourage you to contact Rose Lock, Assistant Superintendent, for further information about any of these requirements and to find out how you can become involved in PI efforts.”

Here is a link to information about how to transfer a child from a PI school, with paid transportation, to a higher-performing school: http://www.mdusd.org/Departments/studentservices/Pages/OpenEnrollmentTransfers.aspx. The deadline to apply for such a transfer is Jan. 15 for the 2012-13 school year.

Here is a link to information about supplemental tutoring services available for some children who attend schools that have been in Program Improvement for two years or more: http://www.cde.ca.gov/ta/ac/ti/schoolpireq.asp.

Here is a link to district schools that shows which ones are in Program Improvement, along with the number of years they have been in PI: http://ayp.cde.ca.gov/reports/Acnt2011/2011AYPDst.aspx?cYear=&allCds=0761754&cChoice=PI10a.

Do you think the district should have included information about additional services available in its Parent Notification for Program Improvement?

OCT. 31 UPDATE: I asked Superintendent Steven Lawrence and Assistant Superintendent Rose Lock why the information was omitted. Here is Lock’s e-mailed response:

“Each year, we send a letter with this info to parents in all PI Schools. We will be doing that again shortly for this year. We consulted with CDE to streamline the first version of the district letter and were advised that this info did not need to be in that letter since it will be in the school letter going to parents of PI schools. However, when the PI school letter goes out, we will include the district PI status information as well.”

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  • Doctor J

    The only viable option for the four schools in MDUSD is to replace the principal and 50% plus of the staff and that would occur in August 2012 — next year. That is simply becuase MDUSD was ignoring the law and didn’t put a plan into place this year to avoid that result. Another big mistake of Lawrence and Eberhart. It looks like Bel Air, Meadow Homes, Shore Acres and Fair Oaks will not only lose their principals, but 50% of their staff. When is MDUSD going to get with it ? They claim to have two experienced district lawyers — but neither of them saw this coming. How sad.