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MDUSD Parent Advisory Council to discuss budget tonight

By Theresa Harrington
Wednesday, June 6th, 2012 at 9:27 am in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

Here is the agenda for tonight’s Mt. Diablo district Parent Advisory Council meeting, which I received from the superintendent’s secretary in an email this morning:

Wednesday, June 6, 2012 7:00 p.m.
Board Room, MDUSD Dent Center

I. Welcome and Introductions

II. Budget

III. Other”

The Dent Center is at 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord. More information is available by calling 925-682-8000 ext. 4000.

It’s unclear whether public comment will be invited. However, special education parents who still have questions after the parent meeting held last week, could try to see if Superintendent Steven Lawrence may be open to discussing upcoming changes, especially in light of recently announced principal retirements.

Parents at Sun Terrace could also attend this meeting, if they still have questions about how their concerns are being resolved on that campus.

Here is a link to the budget materials presented to the board on Monday:

At Monday’s board meeting, trustees discussed eliminating buses for Delta View Elementary and “overflow” students as a way to cut costs:

Parents interested in this issue could also attend tonight’s meeting.

Do you agree with the proposed transportation cuts?

[You can leave a response, or trackback from your own site.]

56 Responses to “MDUSD Parent Advisory Council to discuss budget tonight”

  1. Flippin' Tired Says:

    While I think it’s wonderful that the Bay Point SDC kids won’t be getting on a bus at 6:00 a.m., I do hope the district had done its homework, bus costs versus personnel cost. Bay Point schools will now need teachers and Special Education Assistants who can meet the very unique needs of these children.

    As for not allowing transportation for overflow students and Delta View students, did they do a cost analysis of transportation cost versus what they will lose in ADA?

  2. Theresa Harrington Says:

    FT: The district doesn’t appear to be expecting a loss of ADA. However, the parents who spoke passionately at the Monday meeting said it would be a terrible hardship on them to drive their children to school, since they need to leave very early in the morning to get to faraway jobs in San Francisco and Fremont. They said many other parents have the same dilemma.

    Trustee Linda Mayo asked if the district could help coordinate paid busing if enough parents were interested in that, but Superintendent Lawrence did not seem enthusiastic about this idea. Yet, I believe this is what the district ended up doing for former Glenbrook students.

  3. brenda aaron Says:

    I am very concerned about the on going “Bullying” by students. I have made contact with Dan Roll regarding incidents involving my daughter. I also have concerns regarding the staff and administrators unwillingness to adopt a method or approach which is both positive and teaches children how to build inner wealth and character. Materials have been left at the District level as well with the present principal and staff at Sun Terrace. Ms. Williams Deputy Director of Contra Costa Childrens Health and Disability Prrevention program has assisted me in an attempt to address the issues and concerns of not only my children at the school, but also at the District level.
    Ms. Jacobs and the staff were extremely rude and unreceptive to any changes that my affect both staff, parents and students in a positive way.
    I ask that the Advisory Council please contact CHPD to learn about the parent, staff workshops that at will greatly improve the

  4. brenda aaron Says:

    morale of the staff and forge positive communication between both parent and teachers. Higher performance scores and an atmosphere that creates success in all areas of our childrens life. We need a gentler kinder approach sets the tone for a healthier and much more productive enviroment for our children to learn. A strong sense of community is needed at this time.

  5. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is a link to the district’s anti-bullying policy Powerpoint:

    When I visited Sun Terrace Elementary, I saw signs posted regarding conflict resolution, but it was unclear how these messages are being implemented on campus. Sequoia Elementary has “No Bully Zone” signs prominently displayed on its campus walls.

    The Parent Advisory Council received a presentation regarding district bullying and “school climate” programs Oct. 5 from James Wogan, which included a list of programs being implemented at various schools, along with training that has been received by school staffs. You could contact Wogan at 682-8000 ext. 3054 to find out what is being done at Sun Terrace, along with other programs being used districtwide, such as “Soul Shoppe.”

    Here is a link to video of a portion of Wogan’s presentation to the PAC:

    Also, here is advice from Northgate High crisis counselors about bullying:

    The district also has “coordinated care teams” that are supposed to work in partnership with community organizations to promote positive climates on campuses and help students thrive. More information is at:
    Click on “Care Team.”

  6. Flippin Tired Says:

    Oh, they’ll lose ADA all right. Parents won’t bring kids to school if it’s too difficult. Or, they’ll leave the kids off at the school site before there is supervision. At my site, there are several parents who drop off when the only staff on campus is the lone custodian. Why? Because they can’t afford child care.

    The district makes wonderful decisions – and doesn’t take into account that these decisions affect real people. If it were really about money, they’d rescind their contract extensions, their raises and the full medical coverage for the board. Then I might believe a word that comes out of their mouths.

  7. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here are video clips from the transportation discussion:

    Part 1:
    Part 2:
    Part 3:
    Part 4:
    Part 5:

  8. Doctor J Says:

    So what happened at the PAC ?

  9. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Unfortunately, I was unable to attend the PAC meeting, so I don’t know what happened. But I invite anyone who did attend to comment.

  10. Anon Says:

    Didnt the cac say questions and answers would be on their page? How long does it take?
    Placement letters are due out next week ( probably friday ) do parents know they
    Have a right to call a placement change IEP? Summer is upon us so is the special Ed department, Admins., and teachers going to come in to take care of the IEP meetings?

  11. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon: Yes, the CAC said questions and answers would be posted on its blog at:

    However, there was no indication about when the Q&A would appear. There is a post now, however, that says parents who attended the May 29 meeting can be reimbursed:

    You are asking good questions. Although I have never seen any comments on the CAC blog, it does allow for them. You could pose your questions directly to the CAC on the reimbursement blog post.

  12. Anon Says:

    I posted questions but they have to be approved first. We will see if they will post them and answer them. So far none of my questions have ever been posted.

  13. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Not sure if anyone has any info about this, but I heard from a woman outside Northgate HS today that someone was hit in the parking lot recently by a car that was driving too fast after school (not sure what day this was).

    Because of this, she said, the school is not allowing parents to drive onto the campus until about 30 minutes after school lets out.

  14. NG Parent Says:

    I had not heard about the NG accident but parents are not supposed to be driving into the parking lot before of after school (unless they are parking and going in for some reason)- there is a pick up and drop off lane further up the campus which is what should be used. That parking lot is a mess on the best of days!

  15. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Our higher education reporter has asked me to pose some questions to blog readers about why some high school grads aren’t prepared for college:
    Feedback is encouraged! Thanks!

  16. Anon Says:

    Go back to how many substitutes are hired at each school. My high school student has at least one substitute every day. One day there were substitutes all morning. One day the math teacher was gone and the sub didn’t show for 30 minutes. Even when there is a teacher, they are watching movies or have a work period which becomes social hour. One teacher starts class and then disappears. I applaud those teachers who are absent less often and who are teaching curriculum every day but they’re outnumbered. No surprise that students aren’t learning!

  17. Anon Says:

    To Anon #16

    Yes –
    We have had teachers absent more than 45 days in one school year, not for a prolonged illness or leave but for a day here and there. My student had a teacher chat on a cell phone for over 25 minutes during class last month. The most appalling thing about this is when the teacher answered the cell phone the teacher said, “No I’m not busy this is a good time.”

    The number of days my children have had substitute teachers would shock anyone without children in high school. In addition, those days with substitute teachers are almost always a waste and almost always include movies. Not relevant movies and never with corresponding assignments pertaining to the movie.

    Our children are expected to turn in assignments on time, take their classroom time seriously, show respect, minimize the number of days they miss school (or you get the nasty letter about not valuing education), not use their cell phones, etc…
    I think that SHOULD be expected of our students but it sould also be expected of our teachers.

  18. Doctor J Says:

    @Anons 16&17 The substitute system managed by Julie Braun-Martin is out of control — mostly due to substitutes for “school or district business”. There have been many days this year when there were insufficient substitutes to cover all the absences, especially on Mondays or Fridays [why are there more absences then?]. I have been trying to get Theresa “interested” in this story but she only has so much time. I believe if we stopped all the substitutes for “school or district business” not only would the district save a couple of million dollars a year, but the teaching we expect our students to receive would rise. Schools are not “charged” for substitutes — just accounted for at the district level, so it costs each school “nothing” when a principal allows teachers to have a substitute for “school or district business” to attend during school trainings, do “teacher work” such as report cards, grading of tests, or lesson plans, or just have department meetings during school time. I hope Theresa finds time to get a PRA request for the substitute records by day, by teacher, by school, and find out how many days that substitutes were not able to cover the absences.

  19. brenda aaron Says:

    Thanks Ms. Harrington for the information sited Bullying at Sun Terrace. I noted that after having addressed my concerns at the District level, on April 25th a letter to the parents was sent out and postings regarding conflict resolutions were put up in the office and on campus at Sun Terrace Elem. “I messages” were sent home not clear that this was in regard to Bullying. Mr. Rolls also asked that any parents interested in having a meeting to discuss Bullying would setup a meeting to form an advisory group.
    I have had conversations with Mr Dan but no parent meetings have been set. Plse note that the link for the school was April 3rd. addressing Bullying in the Mt school Dist. you noted that Oct 5th Mr Woogan said programs were implemented. 6 months later April 25th letters and posting were put up, “I nessages” which I addressed at the District level, still unclear, glad to know that you were uncertain as well. “NO BULLYING ZONE” is clear, and staff stated that they have yet to have any training. School is out in 2 days, looks like it won’t happen this school year.

  20. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Rose Lock has told me that all administrators will receive anti-bullying training in August. Perhaps the district will have a more cohesive districtwide plan in place by then.

    Also, I have received a copy of the Oak Grove MS “substitute guidelines.” They state: “Any injuries with the exception of a HEAD INJURY should be attended to in the classroom.”

    I don’t know if any other schools follow this protocol. But, if so, this could explain why a boy who fractured his wrist at Sun Terrace was told to go back to class. It doesn’t explain, however, why he was not allowed to call his mother. It’s unclear from the Oak Grove guidelines whether – or how – parents would be notified about their children’s non-head injuries.

  21. brenda aaron Says:

    This is the results of the Bullying policies at Sun Terrace Elem. Ms. Jacobs stated that her students are shining stars in academics and attendance thru “Talks Solution” My child came home from the awards ceremony with one award. Homework. Last term she had awards in perfect attendance and citizenship. However, this terms she had 9 days of tardies due to not wanting to attend school due to Bullying. A real challenge that I had in an effort to get her to school and not be absent.
    She graduates to middle school and I am disappointed that Ms. Jacobs had the nerve to say that her “Talk
    Solutions” works to resolve conflict? at the expense of a student that is a great student and person of character. The school psychologist made the remark that kids teasie and that there is friendly teasing. does “yo mama” jokes fall in that category? Mr. Roll had to talk to those that were identified as bullies but he stated that the problem was so bad that he had to address the entire class. He stated that the problem is really bad at Sun Terrace. How then can the principal say that she has a “Talk Solution” that is allowed to take a student with perfect attendance to 9 tardies and no citizenship award for acts of kindness at the end of the school year, if this program existed at all. Great way to graduate and start your journey to middle school. Disappointed parent!
    This is the example of effective leadership or the example of a problem that has been allowed to exist. It starts at the top!

  22. brenda aaron Says:

    Now the administrators will receive training in August per Ms. Locke. I thought that their was a program already in existence per Mr. Woogan and Ms. Smith as of Oct. which was presented to the parent council. One in which the staff received training. The links that were given you mean don’t exist, aren’t true statements given to parents and the community? Is this like the “I message” posters for conflict resolution?
    NOT CLEAR confused!

  23. brenda aaron Says:

    Did the school district receive money for the tardies? because my child was not absent?

  24. brenda aaron Says:

    Is this training to take place before school begins or after school starts and an incident occurs? Are there guidelines that have not been implemented or staff not trained in the programs that now exist? students have not been trained in anti-bullying strategies because none exist? The truth of the matter is what? accountabilty fall on… is it LEADERSHIP?
    which program should we expect? Soul Shoppe, Talk Solution,Ms. Jacobs version or Ms. Locke, Woogan-Smith who’s taking responsibility?

  25. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Very surprisingly, Lock told me that most administrators have not seen the anti-bullying PowerPoint that was presented by Felicia Stuckey-Smith and James Wogan to the Parent Advisory Council and the Community Advisory Council. This raises the question: How are administrators expected to enforce it, if they don’t know about it? Also, as you suggest, the presentations gave parents the impression that the entire district knew about the policy and knew how to enforce it.

    Lock said the district is planning to give all administrators the training before school starts, I believe. But, it’s unclear how this information will be disseminated to teachers.

    I plan to do another blog post looking more closely at issues of bullying, discipline, suspensions and expulsions, in light of my Oak Grove MS story:

    Although Principal Lisa Murphy Oates told Rose Lock that the school implemented an anti-bullying campaign in February through its “Wildcat” school culture or school climate committee, a teacher at the school said she was not aware of it. If teachers aren’t aware of anti-bullying programs, how are they supposed to enforce them?

  26. Doctor J Says:

    The PP was just “smoke and mirrors” to make it look like something it isn’t — that’s Lawrence’s “SOP” or Standard Operating Proceedure. Whenever anyone looks behind the curtain, there is no substance. The PP is given to the PAC and CAC, but most administrators have not seen it, and most of the teachers don’t know about it, YET the impression is given that it is “fully implemented”. The lies and deception continue in MDUSD and good people like Wogan and Felicia are pawns helping to spread them. Until Dent administrators stand up and start telling the truth, no one will tell the Emperor that he has no clothes on.

  27. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I spoke to Wogan about the support call system, which he helped to pilot at Riverview MS, and which he has promoted as a “model” to other districts. One key to the model is getting to the root of why students are acting out and getting them the help they need, he said. This appears to be the piece that may often be missing at Oak Grove.

    I also spoke to Mike Langley about this issue. One huge problem in this district, he said, is that there are NO districtwide counselors. They were eliminated decades ago and replaced by School Services Coordinators, who often end up playing the role of a vice principal instead of a counselor, he said.

    Some schools, such as Northgate and Foothill MS in Walnut Creek, have crisis counselors that are partially funded by the city and parent faculty groups. But other schools, such as Oak Grove, do not have them.

    When Glenbrook MS got its SIG, it used a portion of the money to fund counselors, which then-principal April Bush told me was a great help, since students can’t focus on class work if they are struggling with many personal issues outside of school. Now, many of those students are at Oak Grove (which was lower-achieving than Glenbrook), without the counseling they got with the Glenbrook SIG.

    This is a very complicated issue, which is exaccerbated by the district’s identification as being disproportionate in special ed, suspensions and expulsions, in terms of the percentages of African-American and Latino students identified. The district’s Equity Team is working on this issue, along with “cultural competence” for teachers and administrators. As Wogan told me: “You’ve got to reach them, before you can teach them.”

    Here is my Hometown Hero story about Wogan and the wonderful work he is doing with the district’s most vulnerable students:

    The parent who complained about her son being choked at Oak Grove said the district was very helpful and responsive regarding her request to immediately transfer him to another school. That appears to be Stuckey-Smith’s role — helping students get out of NCLB schools.

    The Oak Grove teacher in my story told me the school only had 80 sixth-graders this year and that only 60 have signed up for next year, with the rest transferring out, due to NCLB. However, I have not yet confirmed this information with the district.

    Yet, Lock told me the school is trying to build community pride with beautification projects. And the principal proudly proclaimed in the “Good News” Letter that the slogan “Going for Greatness” is on all of the school’s communications to parents. In fact, it is on the substitute handbook, which the sub in my story said was not being followed appropriately by administrators.

  28. Doctor J Says:

    More fluff and window dressing — Talk about lack of substance in “Good News” — I get more beef in two tacos for 99 cents from Jack-in-the-Box and those are veegan ! No more PowerPoints — where’s the Beef ?

  29. Anon Says:

    Dear departed Denise Rugani said the support call system depends on within minutes having an administrator at the classroom with a cell phone to call the parents. That’s difficult due to budget constraints when there are less administrators on campus. That’s why since 2007 when parcel tax polling was low, MDUSD should have been making every effort to restore public trust to pass a parcel tax, but instead they always do the opposite.

    One decision they should regret is closing Glenbrook instead of Oak Grove MS. Who is responsible for that decision. Who was fighting to keep Oak Grove MS open – Gary the alum, or Sherry the parent.

  30. Doctor J Says:

    Eberhart actually graduated from someplace ? He took down his Facebook acknowledgement of his alleged Bachelor’s degree from St. Mary’s in Business Managment.

  31. g Says:

    Dr J: Also, since we called him out on here about that and his employment, he has changed his Linkedin page. He no longer works for Schreder Construction, and he no longer claims a degree of any kind!

    Of course, we already knew that.

    The gig is up!

  32. Doctor J Says:

    Theresa, perhaps you owe me an apology. You took down one of my posts about Eberhart no longer working for Seward L. Schreder Construction based on a claim from some undisclosed person that I was libeling him. Check out the latest update to Eberhart’s “Linked-In” page, where he says he was only employed with SLS to Oct 2011 and since then is affiliated with “Construction Management Consulting Company”, whoever that is or isn’t. Have you looked at his FPPC form 700’s for the last 3 years ?

  33. g Says:

    He let his Construction license expire again, so even his current “employment” is fake, again.

  34. Doctor J Says:

    The Contractor State License Board reports that “Eberhart Construction” owned by Gary Eberhart is no longer a licensed contractor and it had no record of “Construction Management Consulting Company” that Eberhart claims he is the “owner” of.

  35. Doctor J Says:

    Oh, Gary is hiding behind another “Ficticious Business Statement” filed Nov 15, 2011 in the name of “Strategic Facilities Planning”.

  36. g Says:

    What a laugh. Gary, unlicensed to do anything, but so what; his wife, based on being a teacher; his brother, who has a “revoked” contractors license; and his father-in-law, who should be embarrassed for backing him for election and for letting his good name be used and abused with every new “Gary whim”.

  37. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anon: Former Oak Grove MS Principal Terry McCormick was on the School Closure Committee. However, I’m not sure if that made a difference in the decision not to close her school. I do know that she was very popular there and is well-liked and respected by Eberhart and other district administrators. The superintendent council’s idea of consolidating Oak Grove MS on the YVHS campus was also overruled by the School Closure Committee, even though both schools showed declining enrollment and many transfers out by students who wanted to attend higher-performing schools.

    Regarding the support calls, the teachers with whom I spoke said an administrator never came to the classroom. Instead, it was a campus supervisor. In fact, Monk said she never even met the principal until a couple weeks after she was hired.

    Dr. J: At the time, I could not verify the information you posted, so I erred on the side of caution.

  38. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#37 Who complained to you about my post in mid-Nov 2011 that Eberhart lost his job was untrue ? I verified it with a conversation with Zane Schreder.

  39. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Dr. J: I believe I may have agreed not to disclose that.

    On another note, the API rankings were released today:

    MDUSD had seven schools ranked in the bottom decile compared to others statewide and five ranked in the top decile. Oak Grove MS and Glenbrook MS were both at the bottom.

    Holbrook Elementary got a “6” ranking with a “9” compared to similar schools. Sun Terrace Elementary was ranked 4, with a similar schools rank of 5. Wren Avenue Elementary (which was being considered for closure instead of Holbrook) received a “2” ranking and a similar schools rank of “1.”

  40. Anon Says:

    The number of “1” rankings is tragic, and the number of “2” and “3” rankings is appalling. Even the premiere schools Foothill and Northgate have “2”s. We eagerly await the superintendent’s public statement and reassurance on a new plan of action to improve education for all the students.

  41. Anon Says:

    …and Foothill and Northgate dropped from Statewide Rank of “10” (2010) to “9”(2011). Let’s go down the list and see how many other MDUSD schools dropped…

  42. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here are a few comments from this week’s “Hometown Hero” James Wogan, who helps foster youth, homeless students and those who are struggling:

    Wogan told me that poverty and stress outside school is often reflected in lower test scores because students may not succeed academically unless they get the support they need.

  43. g Says:

    Holbrook was one of only two schools in the District to score a *9* in comparison to similar schools statewide.

    To think the District Supervisor had to get a map to even know where it was when he suggested closing it instead of Wren.

    Now he’s close to recommending shuffling kids at Wren and another half dozen schools to redistribute the little sardines at Meadow Homes. Redistribution should have been his FIRST move.

    Now they’ve lined their own pockets DIRECTLY off the backs of the homeowners, neighborhoods and kids in North Concord!

  44. Doctor J Says:

    @TH#39 Did you forget your editor emailed me ?

  45. Doctor J Says:

    What was Lawrence’s rush to publish “Good News” — he obviously knew the adjusted API rankings from 2011 were coming out this week ! No “Good News” in that !

  46. brenda aaron Says:

    Who wrote the proposals for the anti-bullying programs that are currently not being implemented and where did the funding come from? Federal, state funding etc.and what are the criteras?

    Can anyone supply data surrounding the Wogan-Smith program. Measurable data. What is the current success rate of the pilot program of Mr. Wogan(measurable)

    I am concerned about the disproportionate numbers of minority children in the Special Ed, expulsion,suspensions system.

    True, as it may be that children from such backgrounds of proverty and personal issues affect the learning of these children, how is it that staff teaching such children do not have any training in the CEP program.What is the method and pilot program that Mr. Wogan is referring. when these children are removed from the general population What help is provided to the parents and teachers to create a climate of self-worth and esteem.

    Mr. Wogan stated at a Positive Behavioral Team meeting that they try different methods to see what works and it’s a little this and we see what happens. Does not sound like a tried and true approach or method. Somethings work for some children and somethings don’t work as well. Does not sound like a sound pilot program that was stated that he used at Riverside MS.

    what is the program called at Sun Terrace, and when were the staff trained? Per Ms. Jacobs, teachers were to receive training last January. Is this like the training for the staff concerning ant-bullying? Non-existent! Show me the PLAN!

  47. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I believe there are a variety of anti-bullying programs being funded through a variety of sources, including School Improvement Grants at the lowest-performing schools such as Bel Air, Meadow Homes, Rio Vista and Shore Acres elementary schools. Parent clubs also fund some. In Pleasant Hill, the Pleasant Hill Education Commission discussed the idea of funding an anti-bullying training workshop for parents.

    You could ask your principal, parent club and members of the district’s student services department how these programs are being implemented and how they are working. You could contact student services director Felicia Stuckey-Smith at 682-8000 ext. 4069.

    Dr. J: I didn’t recall that my editor emailed to you and I don’t know what she said.

  48. brenda aaron Says:

    Does anyone know if it was dateline, 20/20 where the child in the classroom talked about the conduct of the teacher. The parents set him up with a camcorder and recorded the teachers abuse of the child caught on tape.

    So conduct that happens at school and not at home should be taken that they come from poverty, personal issues in the home are directly related to school? Not the enviroment and climate at school nor the interaction of UNTRAINED staff. The student with the fractured arm falls in which category?

    Complaints from the staff and parents about Ms. Jacobs at Sun Terrace was from the general population. Not parents of students with Special Needs. Are they treated the same?

    Programs, policies, guidlines, procedures.

    UNTRAINED staff in either category, but being told that their are programs and trained staff. Like Talk Solutions, Soul Shoppe, How can the teachers take responsibilty for not knowing the procedures and enforce them when they have had no training.

    Is Mr. Wogan giving counseling to the parents of the injured child. Free of course. Students and parents of students BULLIED. Free of course. His pilot program got funded at what cost, but not implemented?

  49. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Lock admitted that many teachers and administrators have not been trained in anti-bullying programs. At the PAC presentation, many parents said their schools didn’t seem to have implemented programs that Wogan’s handouts showed they had been trained in.

    It is clear that there has been no coordinated effort to create a districtwide anti-bullying program. Instead, it has been left to each school to try to implement their own programs. One parent at the PAC spoke very highly of a parent-led program. I have also heard of mentoring programs where high school students speak to middle schoolers.

  50. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a new blog post giving more details about the discipline concerns of English teacher Bethany Monk and substitute teacher Rebecca Richter at Oak Grove Middle School:

    Rose Lock poses the question: How do we gain the confidence of staff, parents and the community so that students feel the support?

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