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Archive for December, 2011

MDUSD trustee donates stipend to sports foundation

Pat Middendorf, Clayton Valley High athletic director and a member of the United Mt. Diablo Athletic Foundation (UMDAF), got a welcome surprise this month from Mt. Diablo district trustee Cheryl Hansen — a $3,700 contribution to the nonprofit organization.

Here’s an email Middendorf sent to other foundation members about the unexpected gift:

“Just wanted to let you all know that UMDAF just received a present of $3,700 from school board member Cheryl Hansen. This is what the card read:

‘Thank you for all the time, effort and hard work that you have given to keep athletics alive in MDUSD. I think my board stipend is better spent helping to support the work you are doing for our student athletes.

Best Wishes, Cheryl Hansen, MDUSD Trustee.’

Wow!!

Pat Middendorf CAA
Resource Specialist
Athletic Director Clayton Valley High”

What do you think of Hansen’s message and donation?

Posted on Saturday, December 31st, 2011
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Sports | 25 Comments »

MDUSD Superintendent informs parents about arrests, budget and possible loss of Mt. Diablo HS funding

Mt. Diablo school district superintendent Steven Lawrence has just sent out the following message to the community, which addresses the recent arrests of a teacher and custodian, the state and district budget, and the potential loss of Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) funding at Mt. Diablo High.

However, he fails to mention that the district stands to lose $1.6 million a year for three years, or $4.8 million, if the state Board of Education does not approve the QEIA waiver. He also does not explain why the district did not comply with the QEIA requirements.

“Mt. Diablo USD News Update

Where Kids Come First

December 29, 2011

We hope that over the past two weeks our students, parents, and staff members have found time to relax and enjoy time with their families. As we continue to grapple with the difficult financial conditions of our state, I would like to thank our teachers, support staff members, and administrators who work tirelessly to create positive, welcoming learning environments for the children in our district. Also, we would like to thank all of our parent and community volunteers that support our schools in so many positive ways.

Student Safety

Unfortunately, over the last few weeks, we have had two employees arrested for allegedly having inappropriate contact with minors. As Superintendent and a parent, I am deeply saddened whenever a trusted adult takes advantage of a child. We want to ensure you that we take our children’s safety extremely seriously and have a rigorous pre-hiring screening process. We fingerprint each prospective employee and volunteer. Over the past several years, we have exceeded legal requirements by submitting fingerprints to both the California Department of Justice (DOJ) and Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) databases. If a fingerprinted employee or volunteer is arrested, we receive an immediate notification from law enforcement agencies. Also, we conduct extensive reference checks for all prospective employees. Both employees in question were subject to these district procedures.

The most recent case of substitute custodian, John Astor, is the subject of an ongoing investigation by the Walnut Creek Police Department. As a substitute custodian, Mr. Astor worked intermittently at sites throughout the district. To date, we have received no information that either district students or district campuses were involved in any manner. However, we are internally investigating to ensure none of our children were negatively impacted. We will also share materials with principals focusing on how parents can have conversations with their children around setting appropriate boundaries with adults and what to do when a child feels an adult has overstepped those boundaries. Finally, we are actively working with the Walnut Creek Police Department and strongly encourage members of our community to contact Sergeant Tom Cashion at (925) 943-5880if you have any information about this case.

These two incidents again remind us that we must remain ever vigilant to ensure the safety of our children.

Budget

Based on the ‘trigger’ cuts enacted by the governor, we will lose approximately $1.7 million in ongoing revenue. Fortunately, we planned for mid-year reductions and will not have to eliminate any positions to meet this loss of funding. However, several financial reports indicate the State is facing a $13 billion short fall heading into next year. Therefore, based on the Governor’s Budget Proposal due out by mid-January, and the potential approval of the Clayton Valley Charter by either the County Board of Education or State Board of Education, we may need to hold budget meetings to gather input around potential further reductions. We will work with principals to notify parents when and where these meetings will be held.

QEIA

SB 1133 established the Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) of 2006 for the purpose of implementing the Prop 98 settlement agreement between CTA, et al. v. Schwarzenegger, et al. SB 1133 provides $3 billion over seven years to 488 low performing schools in California. These schools, ranked in the lowest two deciles by the state’s 2005 Academic Performance Index, have high percentages of low-income, minority and English learner students. QEIA funds assist schools in closing the achievement gap by reducing class size, improving teacher and principal training, and adding counselors to high schools.

Six MDUSD schools were chosen through a state-designed semi-random process to receive QEIA funds: Mt. Diablo High, Oak Grove Middle, Riverview Middle, Cambridge Elementary, Meadow Homes Elementary, and Ygnacio Valley Elementary.

In receiving QEIA funds, schools must meet several established targets. In the first years of QEIA, schools were allowed to make incremental growth. Beginning in 2010-2011 each target had to be met fully each year. These targets include:

· meeting or exceeding API goals,

· ensuring all teachers are highly qualified,

· meeting or exceeding district averages on teacher experience,

· meeting specific percentages of staff (certificated and classified) participating in professional development,

· having appropriate counselor/student ratios (secondary),

· reducing class sizes in core and non-core classes to appropriate levels, and

· meeting the Rule of 27 which states that no core classes will exceed 27 students

In the case of Mt. Diablo High School, the District was notified in November 2011 by the Superintendent of the Contra Costa County Office of Education that the school had not met all of its QEIA targets in 2010-2011, based on the end of the year report submitted in June 2011. Specifically, six of Mt. Diablo High School’s core classes did not meet the “Rule of 27″ because they exceeded the maximum class size of 27. Initially, we were informed that we could only submit a waiver based on technicalities; however, recently school districts began submitting waivers around other QEIA issues. The State Board of Education began hearing these waivers during their last meeting, and currently over 40 General Waivers for QEIA have been submitted by districts. Our Board will review the waiver request at the January 9th Board meeting. If approved by our Board, the waiver request will be reviewed by CDE staff and the State Board of Education will make a decision at their March meeting.

Happy New Year

We hope that everyone has a safe and enjoyable New Year’s weekend. Don’t forget, school resumes on Tuesday, January 3rd.”

Are you satisfied with the superintendent’s explanations regarding the recent arrests and the possible loss of QEIA funding for Mt. Diablo High?

JAN. 19 UPDATE REGARDING STUDENT SAFETY: Three more boys have been identified as victims of molestation by Astor: http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_19778214. But, this time, the DA’s office isn’t saying whether Astor met the boys at a school.

JAN. 19 UPDATE REGARDING QEIA AND VOTE OF NO CONFIDENCE IN MDHS PRINCIPAL KATE MCCLATCHY: I have just received an email response from Superintendent Lawrence to questions about the MDHS QEIA waiver and vote of No Confidence.

Regarding the QEIA waiver, Lawrence wrote that the CDE has not yet confirmed whether the SBE will hear the appeal in March (as he stated in his message above). I have been told by CDE staff that the board might not consider it until May, since the district didn’t hold its public hearing before the Dec. 23 deadline.

Regarding McClatchy, Lawrence wrote: “Based on input received from the site the site administration team are working on draft responses to the concerns that will be shared on the 30th (of January).”

Posted on Friday, December 30th, 2011
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 30 Comments »

Mt. Diablo district may seek waiver for Mt. Diablo High state funding

The same week that teachers at Mt. Diablo High School (MDHS) presented a vote of No Confidence in Principal Kate McClatchy to the school board, district officials realized that they could apply for a state waiver to retain $1.6 million a year in Quality Education Investment Act (QEIA) funding for the campus, according to Rose Lock, assistant superintendent of Student Achievement and School Support.

The school and district submitted a report at the end of the 2010-11 year to the Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE), which showed that the campus had failed to meet class size reduction requirements. In November, the County Office of Education sent a letter to the district confirming this.

Although both the principal and Lock knew this meant the school would lose its funding starting in 2012-13, McClatchy did not inform teachers about this loss until Dec. 7. They voted No Confidence five days later and presented their vote to trustees Dec. 13.

“As soon as we became aware of the waiver option during the week of December 13, staff kicked into high gear to prepare the waiver request to CDE (California Department of Education),” Lock wrote in an email. “In the process, we discovered some inaccuracies in the 2010-2011 report submitted by MDHS in June. The County Superintendent’s preliminary notification was based on our report. The State’s official notification is expected in February. In the meantime, the District worked with the CCCOE QEIA monitor and NorCal QEIA Technical Assistance to correct the data and have submitted an updated report for MDHS.

Based on the updated report, MDHS met all QEIA targets except for 1 area – ‘Rule of 27′ for six core classes. The waiver request provided compelling reasons why these six classes were above the class size of 27. We are asking for approval by our board…Jan. 9 to submit the waiver request to CDE. A copy of the application will be posted with the agenda.”

When I asked for a copy of the application now (since it is a public record), Lock responded that Lorie O’Brien (who was appointed as Assistant Director of Categoricals and School Support in August) has the final version of the application on her computer and she is on vacation this week.

“We can get a copy to you next Tuesday when she returns or you can certainly request it from CDE sooner,” Lock wrote. “Lorie worked with Peggy Marshburn at the county and Mark Calonico at NorCal QEIA Technical Assistance…”

It’s unclear why Mt. Diablo was in the dark about its ability to apply for a waiver, while many other districts throughout the state prepared waivers for the Jan. 11 state Board of Education meeting. Jennifer Sachs, who monitored Mt. Diablo’s QEIA funding before assuming her position as Director of Categorical Programs for the Pittsburg Unified School District, assisted in preparing a waiver for that district in time for the board’s Dec. 14 meeting.

In contrast, no Mt. Diablo district administrators mentioned the loss of QEIA funding to trustees at their Dec. 13 meeting. Instead, trustees heard about the loss from the MDHS teachers during their vote of No Confidence presentation.

Lock said Mt. Diablo district officials didn’t begin working on a waiver until they learned that other districts were seeking waivers.

“I first heard about Pittsburg from Jennifer Sachs at a County Curriculum Council meeting on Dec. 9,” Lock wrote in an email. “I read an article in the newspaper about the Pittsburg waiver hearing that weekend. When I told Lorie about Pittsburg the following Tuesday, she had just read about the waiver option in an electronic newsletter about categorical programs that she gets from CDE. As you know, CDE has numerous listserves for disseminating information. I can’t tell you how current their lists are. Neither Lorie nor I received any announcement about QEIA waivers. In talking with CDE, Lorie was told that they could do a better job communicating with districts. I am sure this is a result of their budget cuts and large staff turnovers.”

Staff turnovers in the district and County Office of Education could also be playing a role in the apparent confusion about QEIA rules. QEIA funding began in 2008-09, when Mt. Diablo HS had a different principal, the district had a different superintendent and the Student Achievement and School Support division had not yet been created.

On June 22, 2010, the board appointed McClatchy as principal of MDHS. According to Calonico, many high school administrators create their master schedules before the school year ends. This means the master schedule could have already been created when McClatchy assumed her position. If not, she and other administrators would have been scrambling to put it together in July and August for the 2010-11 school year, Calonico said.

Sachs left the district at the end of June, but was not replaced until Aug. 23. Denise Rugani, director of secondary support, left the district in September and has been replaced by an interim director.

Both the county monitor and the county technical advisor have also left their positions. A “QEIA Scale Down” fact sheet posted on the school’s website says the county and district provided close monitoring and guidance to ensure that QEIA requirements were met. So, it is unclear why this monitoring and guidance resulted in failure to meet the requirements.

Teacher Dan Reynolds told me today that the site council approved the waiver application in a 9-0 vote. He said some mistakes were originally made because the school or district didn’t realize they could count certain classes toward their class size reduction requirement, such as Teachers’ Assistant classes.

Gaye Smoot, assistant executive director for California County Superintendents’ Association, said districts have known about the rules since 2007.

“We work with the schools to help them toward achievement of the requirements — making sure they understand the requirements and making sure they do the actual monitoring,” she said. “So, we hope it’s not a surprise at the end of the year.”

Many questions remain. It’s still unclear whether McClatchy and the district intentionally failed to reduce class sizes or didn’t understand the rules. If they didn’t understand, then it’s unclear why the county and Northern California monitoring and guidance didn’t help them figure out the rules.

The biggest questions now, however, are:

- Will the state approve the waiver?

- And if so, will the school and district be able to comply with the requirements to keep the funding this year and beyond?

Reynolds said McClatchy has said in the past that the funding doesn’t really make much of a difference to the school. However, she has not shown specifically what she means by that, he said.

He and other teachers believe the funding helps tremendously because the grant provides smaller classes, which give educators more time with each student. The school’s test scores have increased, Reynolds said.

At the emergency site council meeting last Friday, McClatchy voted along with the rest of the council to approve the waiver, Reynolds said. Although McClatchy left me a voicemail last week while I was on vacation, she has not contacted me this week to discuss the QEIA funding. District schools are on winter break through Jan. 2.

Are you satisfied with the level of accountability and transparency shown by McClatchy and the district regarding the school’s QEIA funding?

Posted on Thursday, December 29th, 2011
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 83 Comments »

Police continue to seek information about Mt. Diablo district custodian arrested on suspicion of lewd acts with a child

MDUSD custodian John Astor was arrested Dec. 22 on suspicion of lewd acts with a child.

Walnut Creek police are still asking the public to come forward with information about Mt. Diablo school district custodian John Astor, who was arrested near his Walnut Creek home last Thursday on suspicion of lewd acts with a child under 14.

Today, General Counsel Greg Rolen confirmed in an email that Astor worked at Cambridge, Holbrook and Walnut Acres elementary schools. Rolen did not say whether the district intends to notify parents of the arrest or whether Astor worked at other campuses.

Polce suspect Astor of molesting a boy younger than 14 in Walnut Creek within a week of his arrest, according to detective Sgt. Jay Hill. Hill said Astor had not met the victim at any of the schools where he worked.

When I spoke to Hill today, he said he was not aware that Astor worked at Cambridge, Holbrook and Walnut Acres elementary schools. Police plan to bring the case to the District Attorney tomorrow, Hill said.

Walnut Creek police said they first learned of Astor a couple of months ago, when an adult reported that an alleged molestation occurred about 10 years ago in San Francisco. Hill said Walnut Creek police forwarded that report to San Francisco police.

At that time, Hill said, Walnut Creek police didn’t know that Astor was a school custodian. I have called the SFPD to find out whether they followed up on the report and hope to have more information tomorrow.

I also tried contacting Mt. Diablo district Superintendent Steven Lawrence and Rose Lock, assistant superintendent for Student Achievement and Student Support. Both were out of the office on vacation today, but expect to return tomorrow.

At this time, I have not heard of any parent notifications being sent out regarding the arrest. Susan Petersen, director of elementary school support, told me today that she learned of the arrest yesterday and didn’t know where Astor worked or whether the district would notify parents.

When Walnut Creek police arrested Diablo View Middle School teacher Andrew Bruce Cottrell on suspicion of sex with a minor earlier this month, the district sent out a message to the school community and held a parent meeting the following Monday. Cottrell was arrested Dec. 9 on campus in front of some students. He was alleged to have had sexual relations with a former student.

The same day as Cottrell’s arrest, Lafayette police arrested special education teachers’ aide Stephanie Elliott at Springhill Elementary in Lafayette on suspicion of sexually assaulting a sleeping woman last year in a home near Walnut Creek. The charges were unrelated to the school or students, police said.

After that arrest, Lafayette district Superintendent Fred Brill alerted the community in the following e-mail:

“Message to Parents
12-9-11

The purpose of this communication is to inform you that one of our instructional aides at Springhill Elementary School was arrested today at approximately 11 a.m. According to the Lafayette Police Department, the charges have nothing to do with children or anything that occurred on campus.

At this time we have very little information about this police matter. Our focus will remain on the safety and education of our students. I can assure you that we are in close contact with the Lafayette Police Department, and we will continue to keep you informed as appropriate.

We appreciate your understanding and support.

Respectfully,
Fred Brill, Ed.D.
Superintendent”

Do you think the Mt. Diablo school district should inform parents about Astor’s arrest?

Posted on Tuesday, December 27th, 2011
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 16 Comments »

Tale of two schools: both took drastic actions after alleging failed leadership in Mt. Diablo school district

During the past six months, teachers at two out of six Mt. Diablo district high schools have taken drastic actions to remedy problems they perceived in the leadership of their campuses.

In June, Clayton Valley High teachers overwhelminly supported a petition to convert to a charter school, seeking to strike out on their own with an independent governing board that would give the site more control. The school board denied the petition in November and the county Board of Education expects to decide next month whether to approve or deny it. If the county denies the petition, advocates have vowed to appeal to the state Board of Education, in the hopes of opening as a charter in the fall.

Last Monday, teachers at Mt. Diablo High overwhelmingly supported a vote of No Confidence in Principal Kate McClatchy, seeking a response from the district to their grievances, which include the school’s failure to meet requirements for Quality Education Investment Act funding. The school stands to lose up to $4.8 million over three years due to its failure to keep class sizes at the required levels.

The district had the opportunity to prevent both of these occurences. Yet, when teachers approached district officials about their concerns, they felt their words fell on deaf ears. So, the teachers explored other options.

Now, the district is faced with a mutiny of sorts on two fronts. And although each case is different, some parallels can be drawn between the two schools.

Despite the school district’s promotion of “Professional Learning Communities” — which involve rich collaboration between administrators and teachers — such collaboration appears to have been missing at Clayton Valley and Mt. Diablo high schools. Among complaints at both sites, teachers said the administration failed to adequately address student discipline, which led to concerns about safety, school climate and low employee morale.

Although charter advocates have been very vocal about their dissatisfaction with district leadership for months, Mt. Diablo High teachers have been working behind the scenes to try to effect change within the system.

A little over a month ago, McClatchy spoke against the charter petition at the Oct. 25 board meeting. At that time, the public did not know that her own teaching staff was reaching a boiling point due to dissatisfaction with her leadership.

Here’s what McClatchy told the board:

“…I am speaking tonight in opposition to approval of a conversion to a charter at Clayton Valley High School for the following reasons: I serve at a high-poverty, Program Improvement school with transitional and limited funding. Mt. Diablo High is a school on the rise and we are very proud of our hard-earned gains in student achievement over the past few years. We simply cannot afford for some students to attend school at a higher cost to the district than others. Budget cuts have been painful and have contributed to both job loss and annual involuntary transfers for many teachers in our district. The stability of our faculty at Mt. Diablo High School is central to our continued improvement in student achievement. I am very concerned about the potential bumping process that could occur if the charter is approved. And finally, I work and I am pleased and honored to work in the Mt. Diablo High School — or in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District — as a school leader committed to the development and improvement of all our schools. It is not currently my experience that bureaucracy overrides educational innovation or growth in our district. To the contrary, I enjoy great support as a school leader — including district support for many teacher and parent-led programs and projects. I support all of my colleagues — administrators and faculty at Clayton Valley High School — for working to improve our schools and to find creative ways to benefit all students and families in our district. Thank you.”

Here is the video link: qik.com/video/45353427

McClatchy failed to mention, however, that Mt. Diablo High School received far more funding per student in 2010-11 than Clayton Valley High. Mt. Diablo received $10,252.39 per student, including more than $4,862.85/ADA in unrestricted funding and more than $5,389.53/ADA in restricted funding, including QEIA. In fact, QEIA funding of $1.6 million made up more than 11 percent of the school’s $14 million budget, representing about $1,375.09 per student.

In comparison, Clayton Valley received $7,839.78 per student — or $2,412.61 less per student than Mt. Diablo High. Of that, Clayton Valley received about $4,648.57 per student in unrestricted funding and $3,191.21 per student in restricted funds, including money for special education. Clayton Valley was not eligible to receive QEIA funding.

Although the school district has known that Mt. Diablo High would lose its QEIA funding since at least July (when it reported its failure to meet class size requirements to the county), district officials have not informed the public about this loss of funding. Instead, Superintendent Steven Lawrence has sent out numerous “news updates” letting the community know that Clayton Valley’s conversion to a charter could cost other schools about $75 per student. For Mt. Diablo, however, the loss of QEIA funding will actually be a much greater loss than the impact of of a charter conversion.

McClatchy said she worried about “bumping” due to the charter conversion, yet, she failed to mention that the loss of QEIA funding at Mt. Diablo could force the district to lay off 22-24 teachers from the school. In comparison, Clayton Valley expects about four teachers to remain with the district, which could cause minimal bumping at other schools, including Mt. Diablo.

Northgate Principal John McMorris has also spoken against the charter, saying Clayton Valley could emulate the Focus On Learning model that McMorris has implemented at Northgate. But charter supporters say they don’t want to gamble by allowing the district to choose their principal. The Mt. Diablo teachers’ vote of No Confidence shows that teachers can feel stymied or even obstructed if they don’t believe their principal is willing to work collaboratively with staff.

When the school board denied the charter petition in November, Trustee Lynne Dennler urged the district to come up with a process for dealing with problems at school sites.

“I think it’s really important to study the problems and issues that fester in this district among our parents and our teachers,” she said. “For, the issues are not just at Clayton Valley. I can assure you — from my being in the schools, talking to teachers, hearing parents — this is not a unique problem. They’re just the first ones that did something about it. All is not well in Mt. Diablo. So, we have a choice. We can either choose to ignore the problem and face more charter applications. Or we can honestly examine where we are today and make the changes that are necessary. And then we won’t repeat history.”

A little more than a month later, history was repeated — but in a different way. Mt. Diablo High teachers fed up with their school leadership voted No Confidence in the principal.

Although the county sent the district a letter Nov. 17 about the loss of QEIA funding, teachers were not informed until Dec. 7, according to teacher Dan Reynolds. This was after the school site council had approved a Single Plan for Student Achievement that detailed the importance of the QEIA funding. Here is a link to the county letter: http://www.docstoc.com/docs/109088082/MDHS-QEIA-Letter.

The district is now trying to find out if it can apply for a waiver from the state board of education, which would allow it to retain QEIA funding. McClatchy has informed her staff that she will address their vote of No Confidence on Jan. 4. So far, district officials and trustees have remained silent regarding the vote and its ramifications.

The school board, which is supposed to provide leadership to district officials and schools, is having its own problems working collaboratively. Trustees plan to participate in a governance leadership workshop on Feb. 4 to help them communicate better with each other.

The board is also working on a strategic plan for the district, which is expected to help guide decisions. However, this was put on hold recently, due to staff’s attention to the charter petition, Trustee Gary Eberhart said.

In the meantime, the public is left with many unanswered questions. These include: how much would the conversion of Clayton Valley High really cost the district? And why did Mt. Diablo High fail to comply with class size mandates for QEIA funding?

Do you think the district should create a new process for dealing with problems at school sites, as suggested by Dennler?

DEC. 20 UPDATE: I followed up with Jennifer Sachs in an email, asking whether she or other district administrators knew that MDHS had not met the QEIA requirements before the end of the school year. Again, she did not directly answer the question.

Here is her response: “The regular monitoring of the Mt. Diablo High School QEIA program did reveal challenges and these challenges were discussed. I need to direct you to Rose Lock, Assistant Superintendent, Mt. Diablo Unified School District, if you require more information about this matter.”

Lock still has not responded to my messages. However, Kate McClatchy did leave a message on my work voicemail today. Unfortunately, I didn’t hear it until this evening, since I’m on vacation, so we have been unable to connect so far. I left her my cell phone number, in case she wants to contact me again.

DEC. 20 9 PM UPDATE: I have just spoken to Lorenzo Galdon, a student rep on the site council, who told me there will be an emergency meeting at 2 p.m. Friday in McClatchy’s office to approve the QEIA waiver application.

Galdon said he has served on the site council since the beginning of this school year. He said he believed McClatchy should have informed the school community as soon as she knew the funding was in jeopardy (by last July) instead of waiting until Dec. 7, when she informed the faculty. Galdon said McClatchy didn’t say a word about losing the funding to the site council during its Dec. 6 meeting. When he asked why, she told him she believed it was the “ethical” thing to do, since it directly affects teachers, Galdon said.

It would have been more ethical, Galdon said, to have told everyone at the beginning of the school year. Some students, he said, didn’t find out until Friday, when McClatchy made an announcement about the funding loss over the loudspeaker just before school got out. Although she also promised to send out a call to parents about it, Galdon said his parents have not received such a call.

Galdon said McClatchy also spoke about the funding loss to his leadership class Dec. 12.

“Really, the way she’s approached it is kind of doing damage control,” Galdon said. “That’s upset me and some other students. What’s really been bothering me is the way she’s been handling it — just kind of secretive and trying to not get bad publicity for herself.”

Galdon said McClatchy appeared to be trying to minimize the loss when she spoke to his class.

“She said, ‘We lost this money, but hey, we were going to lose it three years from now. So now, we’ve got to just move on.’”

Galdon said it was no surprise to him and his classmates that the school was not meeting the maximum class size of 27 in non-core classes. There were 40 students in his leadership class, he said.

As an aside, I saw on the school’s website that Galdon, who is a senior, has been granted early acceptance to the University of Pacific, along with a scholarship.

Posted on Tuesday, December 20th, 2011
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 61 Comments »

Sequoia MS principal explains offensive newsletter graphic

On Friday, parents of Sequoia Middle School students received the school’s “TGIF” newsletter via email. The newsletter inadvertently included a very offensive graphic image that appeared to be an African-American character from the Peanuts comic strip with a noose around his neck.

Shortly after the newsletter was disseminated, parents received the following message from Principal Connie Cirimeli:

“Good evening. This is Connie Cirimeli, principal of Sequoia Middle School. I am reaching out to apologize to our school community for the inclusion of a graphic on our weekly TGIF newsletter that went out via email today. This graphic was attached in error and without my knowledge or consent. Please accept our sincere apology for any offense this has caused. I assure you that this graphic does not represent our school’s values. Thank you for your understanding.”

Cirimeli followed up with an explanation of what happened, in this message sent to parents about an hour ago:

“Dear Sequoia Community,

I hope that you all received my message on Friday regarding the graphic that was included in the TGIF newsletter.

Since sending out my apology, I have investigated further and was able to determine the source of the image as well as the series of errors which led to its distribution.

The image was taken back in 2008 when one of our school murals was vandalized. It was stored on a secretary’s computer and used as evidence during the police investigation of the crime. Friday, a substitute secretary was working on the newsletter during a busy afternoon and embedded the image without examining it closely enough to recognize its content. It is office protocol that any public distribution of information be proofread by a second employee and given to the Office Manager for final approval before publishing. Unfortunately, the substitute did not follow office protocol for proofing prior to publication and sent out the newsletter without any staff member’s knowledge. Appropriate personnel action will be taken for this infraction.

In response, we will be making procedural and security changes to prevent such travesties from happening again. Those changes will include the following:

1) Any digital evidence of a crime will be stored on a secured computer with administrator access only.

2) Substitute staff will not have access to SchoolMessenger, which will require all messages to be sent by an office staff member.

3) All publications will require the approval of an administrator prior to distribution.

I sincerely apologize for this grave error. I too am deeply disturbed and offended by this image.

Please let me know if you have any further questions.

Sincerely,
Connie Cirimeli”

Are you satisfied with the actions taken to address the incident?

Posted on Sunday, December 18th, 2011
Under: Education, Pleasant Hill | 10 Comments »

Mt. Diablo HS teachers lay out reasons for ‘No Confidence’ vote in principal

In an unprecedented move in recent Mt. Diablo school district history, the teaching staff of Mt. Diablo High School in Concord has presented a “No Confidence” vote regarding Principal Kate McClatchy to the board.

Five teachers spoke — while many more stood in solidarity holding handmade “No Confidence” signs — during the Tuesday board meeting. Several members of the audience looked on in surprise, as teachers walked to the podium one after the other to detail their concerns about McClatchy’s leadership.

The board and district administrators did not respond to the teachers’ comments. I tried calling McClatchy for a response, but have not heard back from her.

English teacher Dan Reynolds, who is the lead union representative at the site, told me after the meeting that he and other teachers hope to receive some type of response from the district in the near future.

Reynolds said teachers voted Monday, after numerous attempts to work things out with McClatchy and district officials failed. Teachers enlisted the Mt. Diablo Education Association teachers union to facilitate the vote to assure that all teachers would feel comfortable casting ballots, said Mike Langley, teachers’ union president.

“It was as neutral as possible,” he said of the voting process. “They could vote any way they wished. The integrity is the best that can be expected in such a situation fraught with emotion.”

Fifty-five teachers voted “No Confidence,” 11 voted “Confidence” and 13 abstained, Reynolds said.

“We, as the teachers, don’t have authority to do anything,” Reynolds said. “My next step is to wait to see if the board responds, to see if this works as a political tool. A vote of No Confidence invites a response.”

Since McClatchy was appointed principal of the school in June 2010, Reynolds said she has not worked collaboratively with teachers.

“Her response is to attack people,” Reynolds said.

Langley said he has been aware of teachers’ concerns at the school for a while.

“I would say the staff at Mt. Diablo High School was quite patient,” he said.

Both Reynolds and Langley said district administrators and trustees were told of the concerns, but did not seem to be taking action to remedy them.

“It does not seem to have worked,” Langley said. “It has been getting worse for the (union) members and I encouraged them to bring it to a vote.”

Some teachers, they said, were afraid of retaliation by McClatchy.

Reynolds, who was named one of the district’s Teachers of the Year in 2010, said he proceeded in the same way he teaches his Human Rights students about how to effect change.

“You don’t have a strike on the first day or angrily attack,” Reynolds said. “You use a process that respects the people.”

Langley said he wants the district to address the issues raised by teachers during their comments to the board.

Here are their comments (or excerpts), along with links to video clips of their remarks:

Reynolds: “Last year, you placed a new principal at Mt. Diablo High School — Kate McClatchy — and things began to deteriorate. This deterioration has caused teachers to have numerous concerns about Kate McClatchy’s abilities.

We feel that the climate of our site does not promote fairness or respect, that decisions that affect teachers are not made fairly, that decisions that affect students are not made fairly. Teachers don’t feel supported by the administration. Teachers feel that their suggestions or recommendations are not used when making decisions at the site. Teachers don’t feel that they are treated with respect by the administration. Teachers feel that meetings are excessive and that time at these meetings is not spent wisely. We feel unsupported by the administration when it comes to enforcing student discipline policies. Teachers feel that students are not receiving appropriate consequences for breaking rules.

We feel that parent concerns are not handled effectively and that testing and test-preparation unduly infringe on teacher time. We feel that instructional time is not given the priority it deserves from the administration and we feel that the administration does not demonstrate integrity that they are not honest and that they do not follow through. Teachers feel that their autonomy and ability to implement what works well in their classrooms is not valued.

And that deterioration crested last Wednesday, when we found out that due to Kate McClatchy’s refusal to create a Master Schedule compliant with the mandates of QEIA, we had been terminated from the program. This termination will cost the students at Mt. Diablo High School $3.2 million over the next two school years.

The teachers could stand no more and yesterday we held a vote of No Confidence in Principal Kate McClatchy. Seventy-nine ballots were cast — 55 no confidence, 11 confidence and 13 abstentions. Only 11 teachers at Mt. Diablo High School expressed confidence. Overwhelmingly, the teachers at Mt. Diablo High School have no confidence in Kate McClatchy.

To explain our concerns about QEIA, at the February 2011 site council meeting, the council was presented with a report from Jen Sachs and Bryan Richards that discussed QEIA budgeting and class size reduction. That night, the council said to Ms. McClatchy the same thing we’d been saying for months: ‘You must create a QEIA-compliant master schedule.’ A council member said (and I quote): ‘If we don’t master schedule for QEIA mandates, we are putting a nail in the QEIA coffin.’ At this same meeting, Ms. McClatchy said (and I quote): ‘We did not master schedule for QEIA mandates.’

At the end of the 2010-11 school year, the Mt. Diablo High School QEIA account had hundreds of thousands of dollars of carryover. As long as there was one penny left in that account, we should have been using it to serve our students and meet the QEIA mandates.

Ms. McClatchy is not valuing student input. Students are ignored completely or told that their input is not valid. They are told that decisions do not affect them, when they do. They are lied to. The entire student body suffers for the disciplinary and behavioral faults of the few.

Last spring, when a parent raised concerns about her daughter’s access to AP classes, she was told: ‘If you don’t like it, send her to another school.’ Students are not being allowed legal access to bathrooms.

Kate McClatchy deprofessionalizes teachers — especially if they attempt to raise a voice of concern — saying things like, ‘Oh, people don’t want to read the minutes, so why should we distribute them?’ She is using compartmentalization as a tactic to pursue her own agenda, while making it seem like teachers’ voice is being considered. An example being the Smaller Learning Communities committee, which she references in other meetings, even though very few people at the SLC meeting support the decision she is making. And please understand, she is making these decisions and not listening to the teachers, who have repeatedly told her that we think her academy scale up model is bad for our students.” (Stopped when told time was up.)

Video: http://qik.com/video/46577200

Science teacher Linda Flower: “We’re extremely concerned about student discipline and school safety. The administration has created a support call program that replaces student discipline referrals. This program is ineffective. Teachers are left unsupported in their classrooms. The administration is not responding to the support calls and when they do, they are not thoroughly dealing with the issue. They are sending students right back into the classroom and won’t remove them from the classroom and we have to deal with it. Administration are chastising teachers that they’re making too many support calls and then are just leaving disruptive students in classrooms because they do not want to deal with them in the office. Often, they are not reported. The support calls are not even recorded in the ABI system, attempting to make it look like there’s less of a discipline problem. Students found drunk — and this personally happened to me — was found drunk in the classroom, was given one period of suspension. That day, I had him fifth period. He was suspended for sixth period and allowed to come back the next day.

Students are using diminuitive…and flirtatious talk toward teachers and admin is not supporting teachers in their attempts to get it to stop. We had one teacher verbally assaulted in her classroom and she asked the administration to remove the student, but they did not. The student then touched the teacher’s bottom and the teacher had to angrily demand that the student be suspended because admin was not going to do it on their own. Upon returning, the student physically assaulted the teacher and the teacher filed a police report.”

She said the administration blames teachers when they complain.

Video: http://qik.com/video/46577297

Science teacher Askin Topal: Said McClatchy’s leadership is causing low morale, due to a top-down, micromanaging leadership style, which hinders open and transparent communications. He said she is destroying the arts on campus and is pushing a 7-period day schedule. He also said that McClatchy had repeatedly attempted to spend funds without site council approval. Finally, he said McClatchy knowingly allowed the school to be terminated from the QEIA program, which will cause the campus to lose $1.6 million a year in funding.

Video: http://qik.com/video/46577342

Science teacher Patrick Oliver: “I’m very sad to be here….

As you heard earlier, only 11 teachers expressed confidence in her leadership…

Her disrespect to teachers has been continuous. Personally, what brought me to address you was that the administration has failed to create a QEIA-compliant schedule and as a result of losing this $3.2 million, we are going to lose 22-24 fulltime staff positions, 2 school SSC student support counselors, one security person and 60 percent of a campus supervisor.

My classroom is likely to go from 20 students to 37 in my sections. We’ve increased our test scores for the lowest socio-economic indicators in the district and I’m proud of all the work that we’ve done to comply with the mandates and to make a difference in the lives of our students. And, for the past two years on the site council, we’ve been reminding Ms. McClatchy of the responsibilities to fulfill the QEIA mandates by providing a schedule that accommodates continuation of the grant. We’ve been blown off, to say the least. I daresay there’s been some deception involved. I’m not sure, but that’s the way it seems to me.

There’s a number of other situations that have been brought to her attention. As you have already heard about, campus security has been really a problematic. As a union representative, I hear about these things all the time. I asked teachers to put their concerns in writing and I’ve received a number of them.

There is a lack of safety on campus and consequences for students. There is obviously the dictatorial management style you’ve heard about. Teachers, parents and students are not valued and their input in the decision-making process….

My father is a retired captain in the US Navy and I was raised under the belief that the person at the top is fully accountable for the entire system.

She has failed Mt. Diablo High School by not supporting the students, not valuing and listening to the teachers and especially offering our students the best opportunities for learning that they can. I sincerely believe its going to be extremely difficult to increase STAR test scores or attendance rate our graduation rate with classes of 37 students with the loss of QEIA funding.

As I said, I am really sad to be here and I hope you take what we say into consideration and realize that it comes from a place wanting to improve the educational facilities there, as we have.”

Video: http://qik.com/video/46577429

Alison van der Heide, science dept. chairwoman: “Ms. McClatchy is replacing learning with testing, data sets and a push, push, push for the test, test, test and following the EDI, EDI, EDI, but not really showing a dedication to actual learning from our students. We will even have to spend time in our class before WASC to study for ESLERS and even give our students a test on the ESLERS.

We are also concerned about how the evaluation process is being applied. The entire process is being made to feel punitive, though it’s supposed to be made to support teachers…”

She said teachers feel they are being targeted and that McClatchy gives “lip service” to collaboration, but doesn’t practice it. She also expressed concerns about choices students are foced to make regarding AP classes.

Video: http://qik.com/video/46578392

When the Mt. Diablo school board voted to deny the Clayton Valley charter petition, Trustee Lynne Dennler said that many other schools have concerns, but that Clayton Valley was the first to do something about it. She suggested that the district establish a committee to facilitate discussions about concerns on campuses.

Although then-Board President Gary Eberhart told me he thought that was a good idea, it has not been done. I also asked Superintendent Steven Lawrence about the idea, specifically related to remedying issues raised at Clayton Valley.

Here is his response, from an email:

“We did have a meeting last spring to learn of the concerns that the charter petitioners have. The District then began working to address those concerns by, among other things, interviewing Clayton Valley staff members to determine what they felt was going well and what needed to be changed. Based on those interviews, we made leadership changes at the school. Though we appreciated the efforts of individual administrators at Clayton Valley, there was consensus that a new leadership team would help move the school forward. Since her arrival, Ms. Brothers has meet with both parents and staff members to identify concerns and address them. We continue to support Ms. Brothers, like our other principals, to meet the needs at their site.

If the principal at any site thinks it would be useful to have me attend a site leadership meeting to listen to concerns, I would be happy to do that.”

How do you think the district should respond to the concerns raised by MDHS teachers?

5:38 PM UPDATE: Earlier today, I received a phone call from Gary Peterson at MDHS. Without initially identifying himself, he told me the teachers who spoke at the board meeting had mischaracterized why the school is losing its QEIA funding. He also said, “It’s only for two years, so it’s not like it’s ongoing.”

Peterson told me the teachers who spoke at the meeting skewed the facts because they have a personal grudge against McClatchy. He said the real reason the school lost its funding is because the district would have needed to hire more teachers and it couldn’t afford to do that. He urged me to contact district officials to confirm what he was telling me. When I asked who he was, he told me his name, but didn’t reveal that he was a vice principal (which I learned when I searched his name on the school webiste). Peterson also told me the district prepared the “QEIA Scale-Down Q&A” that is on the school’s website.

In response to Peterson’s phone call, I left phone and email messages for Superintendent Steven Lawrence, Rose Lock, interim director of secondary education Doris Avalos, Lorie O’Brien and Julie Braun-Martin. I also tried to reach Bryan Richards, but was told he was out of the office until Monday. I also sent an email to McClatchy, after not getting a response from the voicemail message I left her yesterday. I did not hear back from McClatchy or any of the district officials I contacted.

The Q&A states that the district filed regular reports with a County Technical Advisor and that the district has also worked with the Northern California QEIA Center. So, I called Peggy Marshburn, who is the QEIA monitor, to find out if she could shed any light on what happened at MDHS.

Marshburn told me that QEIA schools had three years to achieve the goals set out in the QEIA contract, incrementally working toward achieving one third the first year, two-thirds the second year and 100 percent by June 2011, Marshburn said.

“They had until the end of the (2010-11) school year to complete the process, to make sure they met their class size reduction targets — to make sure they didn’t have more than 27 students in the classroom,” Marshburn said. “All these are things which they knew as part of their contract with QEIA. Why they weren’t able to do that — I don’t know the answer to that. I don’t know if it was a master scheduling problem. I know that when they turned their paperwork in, their paperwork didn’t meet the required goals.”

Because the school failed to come into compliance by June 2011, it entered a “soft landing” phase this year (2011-12), she said, in preparation for no funding in 2012-13 or 2013-14.

Marshburn said a number of schools across the state in the QEIA progam have also been unable to meet all the goals.

“When you set goals three years in advance,” she said, “a lot of things change, including all kinds of funding.”

Although the district’s Q&A states that the district cannot appeal its disqualification, Marshburn said she was informed today that the district intends to try.

“I understand from Lorie O’Brien that Mt. Diablo is going to appeal to the state for a waiver,” Marshburn said, citing an e-mail O’Brien sent today to the Northern California QEIA Technical Assistance Center.

Marshburn said she hadn’t seen the Q&A, which states:

“Q: Can we appeal any of this with CDE?

A: CDE has indicated that districts may only appeal on incorrect data. MDUSD worked with the Northern California QEIA Center and the Contra Costa County QEIA Monitor to rerun Mt. Diablo High’s numbers during the month of October. This resulted in no change of status for Mt. Diablo High.”

When I mentioned this to Marshburn, she responded:

“As far as I understand, they are planning to appeal. I don’t know the requirements the state would require for them to get a waiver.”

Marshburn said she was not present at the February 2011 MDHS site council meeting cited by Reynolds and could not comment on what occurred there. She encouraged me to contact the Northern California QEIA Technical Assistance Center for further information about that.

I expect to hear back from a state QEIA representative tomorrow and will update this blog (or create a new blog post) when I get more information.

DEC. 16 UPDATE: I just spoke to Lorie O’Brien, who oversees QEIA grant funding for the district (she assumed this position over the summer). She said she did not believe the district couldn’t afford to hire more teachers. She is canceling her vacation next week so that she can scrutinize the master schedule and pull students’ schedules to see if the district can apply for a waiver. She said she does not know why the QEIA mandates were not met, but she is trying to find out. It would be illegal to agree to accept grant money, but knowingly fail to abide by the grant requirements, she said.

O’Brien said she wrote the “QEIA Scale-Down Q&A” and that she had made a couple of typos related to dates. In the third paragraph, the notification date should be February 2011 instead of February 2010, she said. In the second-to-last paragraph, the answer to the question about funding carryovers should say: “All participating districts were notified recently that any funds not used by the end of the 2011-12 [instead of 2010-2011] school year (June, 2012) [instead of June, 2011] will be ‘billed back’ to CDE.”

I also spoke this morning with Mark Calonico, who provides technical assistance to districts regarding QEIA in northern California. He told me the QEIA funding had been extended to 2014-15. This means the school could actually lose $4.8 million over three years.

2:21 pm. UPDATE: I just spoke with Denise Rugani, the previous director of secondary support (for the 2010-11 school year). She said she did not supervise McClatchy — that was the responsibility of Rose Lock and Superintendent Steven Lawrence. Rugani said it was her belief that by the end of the school year, MDHS had created a master schedule that met QEIA requirements. She now works in the Liberty school district and is not aware of the county’s findings, she said.

3:35 pm. UPDATE: I just spoke to Marshburn again and she said the district should have known when it turned in its paperwork to the county, which was due July 15, that it hadn’t met the QEIA requirements. That paperwork was prepared by the school, Marshburn said. It clearly showed that the requirements were not met, she said. It was signed by McClatchy and Rose Lock. Marshburn also said she knew that Sachs had been working closely with MDHS administrators on the requirements.

DEC. 19 UPDATE: I just received an email from Jennifer Sachs, who now oversees QEIA funding in the Pittsburg district (which is appealing its loss of QEIA funding for Pittsburg Jr. High). Unfortunately, Sachs did not directly answer my question, which was: “Were you aware
that MDHS was not compliant by the end of the school year?”

Here is Sach’s reply: “The regular monitoring of the Mt. Diablo High School QEIA program did reveal challenges. The county reports provided to the Mt. Diablo Unified School District each fall documented the areas where the site did not meet the QEIA targets.”

I then received a follow-up email from her stating that she is out of the office until Jan. 3. So, it is still unclear whether Sachs knew the school would lose its QEIA funding when the school year ended.

Posted on Thursday, December 15th, 2011
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 118 Comments »

Live blog of MDUSD Dec. 13 meeting

In an attempt to update the community more quickly about what happens at Mt. Diablo school board meetings, I am going to try to live blog tonight.

So far, the board voted 4-1 to elect Sherry Whitmarsh as president (with Hansen voting no) and 4-0-1 to elect Linda Mayo vice president (with Mayo abstaining). Mayo nominated Whitmarsh and Dennler seconded.

The board also unanimously reappointed Superintendent Steven Lawrence as board secretary.

The board voted 3-2 to change meeting dates to Mondays (Hansen and Mayo voted against).

Board unanimously approved consent agenda, except item 10.31, which was pulled.

Student reps reported on a variety of activities.
MDHS student said the campus is losing millions of dollars in QEIA funding.
YVHS student reported school band won first place at Napa Band Review.

Mayo asked that appointments be made before public comment.

Board appointed Christian Patts administrator of related services 5-0.

Board appointed Hunt Lin program specialist special ed. 5-0.

Board appointed Budget Advisory Committee members as presented. 5-0

Mike Fine asked the board what it intends to do to improve math test scores at CVHS.

Janet Fitzpatrick spoke against cuts to IMA II positions.

Several MDHS teachers said a majority of campus teachers have voted no confidence in Principal Kate McClatchy.

Debbie Hickey of CST Local 1 spoke against cuts to her bargaining unit.

Lawrence reported on Diablo View MS developments and Wells Fargo grant of $40,000.

CFO Bryan Richards presented a budget PowerPoint and board unanimously approved a “Qualified” budget, meaning the district may not be able to pay its bills for three years.
Trustee Gary Eberhart asked Richards to create a one-page document that shows the district is not “sitting on a $43 million pot of gold.”

Board unanimously agreed to approve contract increase with Non-Public Agency, Ed Support Services, as presented.

Board unanimously approved budget allocation for Seneca Center, revised MOU.

Board unanimously agreed to contract for maintenance of district’s Measure C phone systems and voicemail as presented.

Board agreed to SunPower change order as presented (I believe Hansen voted no).

Board unanimously agreed to increase the contract/purchase order amount with Beyond the Words, Inc. for the Services of Educational Interpreters for the Deaf for School Year 2011-12.

Board did not act on CSBA nominations, since no one had approached trustees requesting to be nominated.

Board voted 4-1 to spend $2,000 on a Governance Leadership Development Workshop on Feb. 4 (Hansen voted no).

Eberhart said the rest of the items on the agenda were for information only.

Posted on Tuesday, December 13th, 2011
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 82 Comments »

Support for Diablo View MS students will continue through Friday

Mt. Diablo school district officials met with Diablo View Middle School parents Monday night to discuss the arrest last Friday of science and math teacher Andrew Bruce Cottrell on suspicion of sex crimes involving a former student.

In an e-mail to me today, Superintendent Steven Lawrence said about 60-80 parents attended the meeting. Here is a rundown he provided:

“Concerns that came out of last night meeting were:

1. Did the administration know the arrest was going to happen ahead of time and why did it happen on campus?

2. How do we rebuild the trust between the students and adults at DVMS?

3. What is the district going to do to help support the school to rebuild trust?

4. How can we create a stronger school culture where students are comfortable to share concerns about inappropriate adult behavior with another adult on the campus?

5. How can we better support parents to have dialogues with their 11-14 year olds about how to handle the inappropriate advancements of an adult, and who should they go to if something happens?

6. Concerns around students going into classroom closets with teachers or other students. Basically, the feeling was that the closets should just be off limits to students.

We did have crisis counselors on campus Monday and will have them available the remainder of the week based on the meeting with parents last night.”

Do you believe the district is adequately addressing the concerns mentioned above?

Posted on Tuesday, December 13th, 2011
Under: Education | 13 Comments »

Mt. Diablo district responds to Diablo View MS teacher arrest

Students returning to Diablo View Middle School today were reassured by district officials that support is available to students and staff, as the community digests the news that a teacher has confessed to numerous sex crimes involving a former student.

District officials will meet with parents at 6 p.m. to answer questions and address their concerns about the arrest of science and math teacher Andrew Bruce Cottrell, who was taken into custody Friday.

Besides the parent meeting, here are other ways the district addressed the issue, Superintendent Steven Lawrence said in an e-mail:

“1. We (met) with the staff prior to school to share the below plan and answer questions.

2. We had our crisis team available for students and staff to speak with.

3. Administrators spoke to all of the classes first period and let the students know if they needed support it was available.

4. (Principal) Mrs. (Patti) Bannister went to all of Mr. Cottrell’s classes and spoke with the students.

5. Other Diablo View teachers agreed to cover Mr. Cottrell’s classes during their preparation period for the remainder of the week.

6. Mrs. Bannister is working with science and math department members to ensure appropriate lesson plans are in place.

7. Mrs. Bannister is working with Julie Braun-Martin (assistant superintendent for personnel services) to identify a teacher to be in the classroom following winter break.”

Bannister sent home the following message to parents:

“December 11, 2011

To the Students and Parents ofDiablo View:

No words can express the gamut ofemotions that students, parents and staff at Diablo View have experienced since Friday following the public revelation of the alleged inappropriate behavior of one of our staff members. I believe at this time it is most important that we support our students and also remember those who are suffering tremendously: the victim, the victim’s family, and the accused’s family members. We need to continue to keep them in our thoughts and prayers.

The Diablo View staff is totally committed to supporting our students. In order to support the students in Mr. Cottrell’s six classes, Diablo View teachers will cover the classes for the remainder ofthis week. We will also work with the math and science teachers to ensure that daily lesson plans are created to ensure students continue their academic growth. When students return after winter break we will have a new teacher in place.

While the tragedy of this event cannot be minimized, there are some positive events taking place at school this week. Tuesday morning is the Principal’s List breakfast, Tuesday and Wednesday night are the band concerts, Thursday night is Ms. Brewington’s open house for her seventh graders, and Friday we are having the Clayton Valley Women’s Chorus for an assembly.

This evening at 6 p.m. there will be an informational meeting for parents with staff and district personnel to address any further concerns. The Diablo View community has always been extremely supportive and I know working together we will help our children through this difficult situation.”

On Sunday, Bannister sent out the following recorded message: https://asp.schoolmessenger.com/m/?s=NUBdWk9D4DE

As noted in our online story, PFC President Megan Kommer told me she was satisfied with the district and school’s response, but she was concerned about negative comments being made by parents about the situation.

Are you satisfied with the district’s response?

Posted on Monday, December 12th, 2011
Under: Clayton, Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 24 Comments »