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MDUSD superintendent welcomes students back to school Wednesday

By Theresa Harrington
Tuesday, August 28th, 2012 at 6:38 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

Mt. Diablo school district Superintendent Steven Lawrence has sent out the following message to families. I am posting it below, since it is not yet posted on the district’s website:

“Mt. Diablo USD News Update
Where Kids Come First
August 27, 2012

Welcome back for another exciting school year. We hope that you had a great summer and created some great memories. While school was out we have been busy hiring new employees, working on Measure C facilities projects, and providing professional growth opportunities for teachers, administrators, and classified staff members.


First, I would like to thank all of the parents, teachers, support staff members, and administrators who gave up their summer time to help us interview potential administrative and teacher candidates.

Through this community effort we hired many great new teachers, support staff members, and administrators.

Overall we hired:
 81 Teachers
 16 SDC Teachers
 4 Resource Specialists
 3 Teacher Coaches in the areas of English Language Development and Math
 3 Speech Therapists
 4 Psychologists
 2 Behavioral Health Specialist
 6 Elementary Principals
 1 Middle School Principal
 1 High School Vice Principal
 1 Student Services Coordinator
 2 Program Specialists

We welcome these new team members to Mt. Diablo USD. We look forward to working with them to serve the children of our district.

Measure C
 We have completed the solar installation at 41 of our sites. The remaining 10 sites are scheduled to be completed, commissioned and fully operational by mid‐September. You can observe how much electricity is being created at each site by:
1. going to
2. clicking on “Schools” link in the left hand column
3. clicking on the school name
4. clicking on “solar performance”

 HVAC work has been completed at Phase 1 schools: Foothill Middle School, Valley View Middle School, Ayers Elementary, Sun Terrace Elementary, Sequoia Elementary, and Mt. Diablo Elementary
 Opteman fiber optic backbone has been completed at 19 sites with five additional sites to be completed by October 1, 2012
 Classroom additions at Meadow Homes
 Concord HS – HVAC replacement, surveillance camera installation, classroom technology enhancements, white board installation
 Ygnacio Valley HS – exterior painting, girls’ locker room locker replacement, wireless internet installation, computer lab upgrades
 College Park HS – stadium infrastructure improvements, interior campus drainage improvements, tennis court renovation
 Mt. Diablo HS – interim housing placed, Department of State Architect approval of new science classrooms, design work for science lab up‐grades
 Northgate HS – Project Lead the Way remodel of auto/metal shop, pool/classroom design team selected

Adult Learning Opportunities
As a community of professionals, the adults in the Mt. Diablo USD are committed to continuous learning to improve our skills and better serve your children. This summer, over 900 teachers, administrators, and classified staff members participated in over 5,000 hours of summer growth opportunities focusing on:
 Singapore Math Strategies
 Agents of Change‐iPads
 Being a Writer
 Hands‐On Equations
 Board Math and Language
 Systematic English Language Development
 Advance Placement Course Training
 Expository Reading and Writing
 California State University (CSU) Early Assessment Program
 Public Relations and Customer Service
 Response to Intervention

We would like to thank the teachers, administrators, and classified staff members who attended these powerful learning opportunities.

Again, welcome back to the 2012‐13 school year. We look forward to working with our parents, guardians, and community members to support all our students.”

It looks like this was written before Monday night’s board meeting, so it does not include the very important appointment of Kerri Mills as interim Superintendent for Pupil Services and Special Education.

It also doesn’t mention the elimination of some overflow busing approved by the board Monday night or anything about Measure C money going toward Clayton Valley Charter High projects.

Still, back-to-school is a happy time for some, nervous for others. Here’s a Storify Oakland reporter Katy Murphy compiled using tweets, photos and videos from the first day of school:

I would love to do a similar Storify for MDUSD. If you would like to contribute, please tweet with the hash tag #MDUSD or email me at

Do you believe the district is ready to work with you to support all students?

AUG. 29 UPDATE: Here is a link to Lawrence’s welcome back phone message, which he sent out to parents last night, reminding them to expect traffic congestion:

AUG. 30 UPDATE: Here is a link to some cute pictures of students on their first day of school at El Monte Elementary in Concord, including some 4-year-olds entering the district’s new Transitional Kindergarten program:

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75 Responses to “MDUSD superintendent welcomes students back to school Wednesday”

  1. g Says:

    Are those 81 all new hires or rehires or full-time or part-time. That seems like a lot of turnover unless a lot of them were just laid off and are returning.

    He didn’t mention the “Denting up” of a couple of folks who, I suspect, aren’t going to look quite so hot when the scores for their old schools come out.

  2. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Please note that I have added an Aug. 29 update, with a link to Lawrence’s phone message to parents, welcoming back students and reminding them to expect increased traffic:

  3. Doctor J Says:

    Increased traffic ! What an understatement. Has he added extra phone lines and Spanish speaking receptionists to the Transportation Department ?

  4. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Please note that I have added a blog post with WCCUSD Superintendent Bruce Harter’s August message to the community, which explains how his district is increasing writing instruction to implement the state’s recently adopted Common Core Standards:

    Would you be interested in receiving this type of information from the MDUSD superintendent?

  5. Doctor J Says:

    If he told the public this, the public might hold him responsible for implementation.

  6. Theresa Harrington Says:

    As far as I can recall, no one in MDUSD has mentioned during a board meeting how Common Core is being implemented. This would be a good topic for the Superintendent’s Report.

  7. Monte Gardens Parent Says:

    We are hearing reliable rumors that Monte Garden has an API of 931

  8. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The CDE won’t publicly release API scores until October, but the STAR scores being released this week will be an indication of how well (or poorly) schools did.

  9. Doctor J Says:

    Your principal should be able to confirm or deny.

  10. Doctor J Says:

    If Monte Gardens gets a 931 API, that would only be a one point increase from last year’s score of 930. Don’t get me wrong, that’s a terrific score.

  11. anon Says:

    Theresa, entry 8: I don’t understand the difference between CDE releasing STAR scores, but not publicly releasing API scores until October.

  12. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The STAR scores show what percentage of students scored proficient in math, English and other subjects. The API score is based on STAR scores, but is released separately.

  13. Anon Says:

    So just to revisit a little recent history, Monte Gardens is going to have a 931 API, and this is the school Sherry Whitmarsh most wanted shutdown during the school closure debate.

    Also look at Sherry’s blog, after a long, long hiatus she is now posting again with what appears to be some kind of candidate statement.

  14. Anon Says:

    where is sherry’s blog?

  15. Anon Says:

    Here is the link to Sherry’s blog:

    I find it interesting that the rest of the BOE doesn’t have a problem with her using the name “mdusd-boe”. Is she trying to represent herself as speaking for the entire board with that name? Seems like one of Gary’s old tricks if I remember his blog correctly.

  16. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Trustee Gary Eberhart’s former blog was called “MDUSD Blog,” I believe. Whitmarsh differentiated hers by calling it the MDUSD Board of Education blog. Trustee Linda Mayo expressed concerns about the blogs, especially since Trustee Paul Strange also commented on them regularly (and co-operated the MDUSD blog until he left the board, I believe). Mayo was concerned that blogs that included comments from three board members could violate the Brown Act and be considered serial meetings. Greg Rolen, however, did not seem to think it was a problem.
    Since Mayo says she doesn’t read blogs, it’s possible she may not be aware that Whitmarsh is writing about her re-election campaign on a blog that is ostensibly devoted to board business.

  17. Doctor J Says:

    Mayo didn’t express concern the other night when Lame Duck Eberhart got a text in the middle of the meeting from the radio station. In the past she thought that was violating the Brown Act. Mayo on both sides of the sandwhich — which does she believe ?

  18. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I think Mayo has objected to the idea of board members being able to receive texts, emails or “chat” messages during meetings in the past, saying it give some people unfair access to trustees during meetings, since their communications are not part of the public record, yet could influence decisions.
    I believe Mayo had proposed the idea of banning such communications, but I’m not sure if that was ever written into a board policy or bylaw.

  19. Theresa Harrington Says:

    On a lighter note, please note that I have added an Aug. 30 update to this blog post, with a link to some adorable “back to school” photos at El Monte Elementary.

  20. Doctor J Says:

    The point was that Eberhart continues to receive texts and probably emails during the meeting and there is no telling if they concern items he is voting on.

  21. g Says:

    Actually the point is even bigger than that. Four people on this board may each occasionally say “I don’t like this–or that” but then more than 9 times out of 10 they go right ahead and vote for it, rather than shoot it down for what they know is bad policy. They don’t even ask to have time to study it more thoroughly and return it later for discussion and action.

    Mayo could bring this issue to an Agenda.

    She could also bring the whispering and bull to a halt with a verbal admonishment right when it’s happening.

    You say: “Excuse me madam chair. Private conversations at the dais are a subversion of the public’s right to be included in all matters before the board. I would like to ask that you direct board members not to read emails, text or whisper and pass notes to each other, or to persons that are not members of the board during what is supposed to be an ‘open and public’ discussion of matters before the board.” “Thank you for your prompt attention to this matter.”

    They will not stop this until it is admonished and in the record.

    The attorney for the board really should not open his/her mouth unless asked “openly” by the chair for clarification of an item.

  22. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:


    You are spot on. Unfortunately, the Attorney and his cabal of Lawrence and Eberhart run the show.

  23. g Says:

    Board Watcher: Of course you are correct, but the stated request must be on the record. It could even be made by a public speaker from the podium. How cool would that be?

  24. anon Says:

    It’s August 31. When do the STAR results get listed on the CDE website?

  25. Theresa Harrington Says:

    10 a.m.

  26. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s my STAR story:

    Here’s the link to MDUSD results:

    Here are the summary results:

  27. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a spreadsheet that compares all high schools in Contra Costa County:

  28. Anon Says:

    This seems to be the way that the MDUSD board does math:

    Looks like the Vote No On Whitmarsh campaign is kicking off:

  29. anonymous 5 Says:

    #26 The blaming has already begun at MDHS

  30. Sue Berg Says:

    Anon #28, so far everyone who’s posted on the anti-Whitmarsh blog, including “John Doe” who set up the site, has chosen be be anonymous. Sherry is waging a public campaign; comments for and against her should also be public. All of you complaining about the lack of transparency in the MDUSD need to practice what you preach: openness.

    And lest you think otherwise, I am not a Whitmarsh supporter. I enjoyed working with her on the Superintendent’s Parent Advisory Council in the mid-2000s and wanted her, instead of Paul Strange, appointed to fill Bill Leal’s Board seat in 2006. However, when I worked with her after she was elected to the Board in 2008 I was disappointed at how reluctant she was to meet with or accept information from staff on district matters and how often she deferred to two other Board members. After I left MDUSD and the leadership changed in 2009, I was surprised to hear Sherry back off her demands, during and after her election campaign, for a strategic plan and for more transparency and accountability from the district leadership. Ironically, I believe the district’s planning, openness, and communication have declined during the past four years of Whitmarsh’s tenure. And I’m willing to put my name on that opinion.

  31. Wait a Minute Says:

    Well Sue,
    Are you aware of the culture of retaliation by the current regime towards any of the staff who openly speak out against them or against their negative and destructive policies?

    I would suggest that most of the anonymous posters on the NO ON WHITMARSH site as well as here on the CCC Times blogs are employees or parents fearful of retaliation aimed at their children.

    Having said that there have been a number of regime figures who have come onto this site and posted anonymously too in defence of themselves and their policies and to attack the anonymous blogger who are exposing their lies!

    Since you believe that the district has been going downhill under Whitmarsh (and others) “leadership”, will you be joining the revolution to remove her and her buddies and bring positive change to the MDUSD?

  32. C'mon Sue Says:

    [NOTE: This comment has been edited to delete a verbal jab.]

    Sue have you already forgotten when you were caught red handed posting anonymously on this very blog?

    As for the rest of your message, you are correct. Sherry has done nothing but cowtow to Eberhart and Lawrence and decrease the amount of transparency.

  33. Theresa Harrington Says:

    WAM and C’Mon Sue: When Whitmarsh and then-Incumbent Gary Eberhart ran as a slate to defeat incumbent April Treece, Eberhart and then-Trustee Paul Strange were very open about their desire to defeat Treece. MDEA, which endorsed Eberhart and Whitmarsh, was also vocal in its desire to oust Treece and in its hope that the “new board majority” would oust then-Superintendent Gary McHenry. In fact, MDEA had voted “No Confidence” in McHenry.
    So far, I have not heard anyone except for Sue Berg publicly voice dissatisfaction with Whitmarsh without being anonymous.
    It will be interesting to see if Eberhart will campaign for Whitmarsh this time around.
    Question to blog readers: Do you think Eberhart’s support would help or hurt Whitmarsh?

  34. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s Superintendent Steven Lawrence’s message to the community about STAR scores:

  35. School Teacher Says:

    For those that want to try and do a little number crunching, you can do an estimate of a school’s API using the STAR test scores of that school (and CAHSEE results for high schools), and plugging them into the calculation spreadsheet. You’d have to convert the percents listed in the results to actual number of students. The url for this is

    You would have to go to the Information Guide (which is not very easy to understand) which contains instructions on how the API is calculated, and then open the “Calculation Spreadsheet Base and Growth”, and plug in the numbers that you would have from the STAR test results.

  36. Flippin' Tired Says:

    TH asks, “Question to blog readers: Do you think Eberhart’s support would help or hurt Whitmarsh?”

    I don’t think it matters either way. She’s toast, unless the voting public is in a coma.

  37. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Brian Lawrence recently posted this on twitter: “Thank you to CA Superintendent of Public Instruction @TomTorlakson for endorsing me for the #MDUSD Board!”
    Attila Gabor told me he is also supporting Lawrence’s candidacy.

  38. Anon Says:

    This is Brian Lawrence the “Educator,Technology Executive” you’re speaking about. Has he explained his educational experience yet seeing that he has listed that as his primary vocation?

    As for Torlakson’s endorsement he endorses anybody who is a registered Democrat. Those party endorsements are asinine considering the board is or should be a non-partisan seat. But, Lawrence long ago said his goal was to place a democrat in every elected seat in the county.
    And, he was endorsed by Strange, Whitmarsh, and Eberhart in the last election. You can’t change your stripes.

  39. Theresa Harrington Says:

    After the Aug. 20 board meeting, Lawrence told me that he is teaching economics and entrepreneurship to about 20-25 students in a vocational school for aspiring barbers in San Pablo. He is teaching them how to create budgets and to analyze whether it makes more sense to work for someone else or to go into business for themselves.
    Regarding changing stripes, MDEA endorsed Whitmarsh and Eberhart four years ago, then didn’t endorse anyone — including Lawrence — two years ago. So, MDEA is changing its stripes, to some degree.
    Lawrence has been somewhat critical of the board leading up to this election, appearing to distance himself on occasion from Eberhart and Whitmarsh.
    Regarding Strange, I wonder if he will resurface to campaign for Whitmarsh.
    Regarding endorsements, I don’t believe Dennler had any significant endorsements, yet she won in the last election.

  40. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Our searchable STAR database is up and running. Here are MDUSD results:
    The CVHS results show less than 5 percent of students were proficient in Algebra I:

  41. Doctor J Says:

    @#40 — Which means the feeder pattern is doing a horrible job. The only thing Lawrence could brag about is the SIG schools — ASK HIM if he plans to keep the longer instructional hours after this year ? The answer is NO.

  42. Doctor J Says:

    More than a week after school started, about 300 children still wait to find out who their teacher is and which school they will attend. School overflows still have not been finalized and won’t be completed for about ten days. The schools are waiting for “the district” to tell them how many children need to be moved and to where. Once the schools are notified of the numbers, then the schools have to identify the students and notify the parents. But the transfer cannot be completed until the Transportation Department arranges a bus to transport any child who is transfered from a Title 1 school to a school that is more than 1 1/2 miles from his home school, no matter how far his new school is from his home. My sources say it will be about 200 students who need transportation. Meadow Homes Elementary alone is expected to transfer some 50 or 60 children, many to non Title 1 schools. Based on Transportation’s horrific record, these transfers may take a couple of weeks to arrange and Transportation doesn’t have anyone who speaks Spanish who answers the phones. Has anyone thought about the huge number of instructional days lost by these children, especially from the Title 1 schools ? Why is MDUSD so disorganized ?

  43. Doctor J Says:

    Correction: Its even worse. Innocent children who have bonded to their teachers will be yanked out of their arms and sent to a different school in the next two weeks, all because the district is so chaotic it can’t balance the available student spots with available classrooms the first couple of days — and want to send children walking miles to school when school buses drive past them waiting to be picked up. Again, I say to Lawrence: YOU walk to Dent just one day getting there at 8 am [OMG that early ?], work the same hours an elementary child attends school, eat the cafeteria food, and then walk home. With your sore feet, skip the cocktails and advil, and do your homework, and try it the next day.

  44. Doctor J Says:

    Steve, its only 6.6 miles from your home to the office, just about what you are asking some of the non Title 1 school children to walk [you measure 5 miles from their “home schools” not from their “homes”]. You are a math major so at 2.5 mph that would be about 2 1/2 hours plus add about 15 minutes for waiting at stop lights. Steve, by my calculations you will need to leave the house at 5:15 am to get to school at 8:00 am — no Starbucks stops. Leaving school at 4:30 pm, you will get home at 7:15 pm. Its ok, you could afford to lose a few pounds anyways. :-)

  45. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Meanwhile, the Clayton Valley Charter HS community will celebrate its grand opening tonight at 6 p.m.:

  46. g Says:

    Dr. J isn’t far off. This morning my sprinklers went on at 6:30am and woke me. I decided I didn’t want them to go today, so went out to turn them off. An older boy and two younger boys were walking to school–yes, 6:30am. I asked where they went to school. The older boy was walking the two younger ones (a 3rd and a 5th grader) to Wren, and then he would back track, back past his home and down to MDHS. The little ones would be at school way too early, but that was the only way for the one in high school to make it back in time for his first class.

    What would the little ones do if no adult was at school yet? They would “hide out” in “their secret place” (with a few other kids that also have to get there really early) until others arrived–! No, they hadn’t been caught doing that yet, and they did it almost all of last year too. The littlest one said; “But sometimes it’s really cold.”

    I asked if it would be alright to give them a ride, but only would if they called their mom or dad first. No dad. Mom didn’t have a cell phone, and had left at the same time they did to walk to Bart, to go to work. But anyway, if I gave them a ride, they would just get there a half hour earlier and have to “hide out” a half hour longer.

    So, I asked how about we arrange in the future for me to pick the younger ones up and give them a ride at the right time. I gave them my number for mom to call and let me know. I was told her English isn’t very good, but they would ask her, and then call me if it was OK.

    I should mention that two blocks after they walked past my house, they would pass within one block of Holbrook Elementary–and still have a mile and a half to go for the little ones, and then the older one would backtrack another two miles or so to get to his school.

    Is there something wrong with this picture?
    How many new “overflow” kids will be hiding out in back of a strange school in a strange neighborhood, in the cold, waiting for adults to show up?

  47. Theresa Harrington Says:

    g: This is very compelling. If the mother or boys are willing to talk to me, I’d be very interested in writing about their plight (and could leave you out of it, if you prefer). If you are willing to ask them, please call me at 945-4764 or email me at to let me know.

    The subject of getting to school too early or staying too late also came up at the CAC meeting. Carolyn Patton said students are not to be dropped off earlier than 30 mins before school starts and are not to be left more than 15 mins after school. However, she acknowledged that the district isn’t yet meeting these goals, so she said the district would have special ed assistants arrive early to watch the children who get there early. Otherwise, they are to remain on the bus under the bus driver’s care.
    Perhaps the district could also hire instructional assistants to watch overflow/displaced children (including those due to school closures) and open up a cafeteria or library so they could stay warm. Or, they could let the overflow kids get on the special ed buses in the parking lot to sit with the special ed students who arrive early and stay warm.

  48. Anon Says:

    G – I’m crying for these families. Bless you for offering to help.

  49. Theresa Harrington Says:

    When the school board discussed discontinuing busing for Delta View students in Bay Point, some parents said their families would face similar dilemmas. But, the board cut the busing anyway.
    It would be interesting for the board to hear how those cuts are affecting families in Bay Point.

  50. Doctor J Says:

    Or Theresa, you could be waiting for them to arrive at Wren in the cold and soon the rain. Or you could be waiting at Dent for Steven to arrive with his fresh Starbuck’s. Actually, there is time to do both in the same morning because the arrival times are a couple of hours apart. :-) Excuse me, no its :-(

  51. MDUSD Board Watcher Says:

    This is absolutely unacceptable. Excuse my language but WTF is going on with the district if anyone thinks this is acceptable.

    Please Theresa blow this scandal wide open, something just isn’t right here. There must be something illegal going on.

  52. Doctor J Says:

    Lawrence told the Board on March 12 there were 234 “Overflow” students being bused. He couldn’t give numbers at the last two Board meetings. As I broke the news about the largest impact being on the lower socio-economic schools, and Lynne Dennler picked up on geting the Board to slightly modify the overflow policy for Title 1 schools to 1.5 miles from their “home school”, it appears that the new Board policy may only change the overflow busing numbers by 20-40 children, saving only a bus route or maybe two, but creating a DANGEROUS CONDITION for these children walking miles and waiting unsupervised in cold and winter conditions. All of this so he can pay off Mildred Browne, trash the consent decree, and phase out the effectiveness of the CAC — remember the CAC rebellion that led to ButtercupGATE ?

  53. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Ironically, Carolyn Patton said the superintendent doesn’t want to pursue the “clustering” idea for special ed students unless it would save a “substantial” amount of money. So, he’s studying that before recommending going forward, so he can analyze the numbers.
    Yet, he was unable to tell the board how much money his recommendation to slash overflow busing would save and recommended moving forward with it quickly, so students wouldn’t get too attached to their home schools.
    This appears to be a double-standard.

  54. Doctor J Says:

    Schools are reading the blogs this morning — here come the leaks — staffs are very upset. I am told about 80% of the overflow transfers are from Title 1 schools and only 4% of the overflow transfers from non-Title 1 schools are eligible for busing.

  55. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Trustee Cheryl Hansen asked the board to consider holding off on the vote until all this data was collected and could be presented to the board (and parents could have actually spoken about how it would affect them), but Lawrence wanted to push the decision through that night.
    I wonder how many of the Title 1 overflow transfers would have been eligible for busing if the board had accepted Lawrence’s recommendation to extend the distance to 5 miles for them too.

  56. Hell Freezing Over Says:

    G – thank you.

    All – pls don’t forget – soon it will be dark in the mornings and late afternoons – these kids are walking in some areas where there are no sidewalks and no crossing guards and no “safe place” to hide.

    There are very real dangers to these kids of traffic accidents as people are rushing to get to work and not able to see these kids on the sides of the roadways, children getting lost while they walk (only takes one wrong turn down a street) and stranger abductions or being confronted. These dangers are always present, but now more kids will have to walk or bike much longer distances over a longer period of time, increasing the likelihood of this issues happening.

  57. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Although the board shot down Trustee Cheryl Hansen’s idea of creating a Mayoral Council, Board President Sherry Whitmarsh and Vice President Linda Mayo said they have spoken to mayors who are interested in opening dialogue with the district. Mayo also urged district staff to pursue “Safe Routes to Schools” grants with local cities.
    I happened to see Concord Mayor Ron Leone at a concert at Todos Santos Plaza last week and mentioned this to him. He said Concord had already completed three such projects, including one near Wren Avenue Elementary, I believe (I didn’t have my notebook, so I wasn’t able to write it down).
    It is unclear whether Lawrence or anyone else planned to follow up on Mayo’s suggestion to push for these types of street and sidewalk improvements.

  58. Doctor J Says:

    More data leaks: Meadow Homes overflowing 21 Kinders mostly to Cambridge — no busing; 30 1st Graders, over half to Wren, some to Sun Terrace. Delta View overflowing nearly 60 — mostly to Ayers and Mt.Diablo E. One factor not being considered is “breaking up families” where some of the older children walk the younger to school as in G’s experience — but now some of those children will be attending different schools without any supervision to school by older siblings. What a freaking disaster ! HFO: Points well taken.

  59. Theresa Harrington Says:

    In WCCUSD, Hercules parents protested outside an elementary school about similar moves happening there, including breaking up families. In response, I believe the district created some combination classes to accommodate additional students at school sites. Could the same thing be done in MDUSD?

  60. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Also somewhat ironic is the fact that the board adopted its “Hispanic Heritage Month” resolution on the consent calendar during the same meeting at which it eliminated some overflow busing, without reading the resolution aloud:
    Under previous superintendents, these types of resolutions were always presented as separate action items and were read aloud. But, Superintendent Lawrence proposed moving them to the consent calendar to save time during meetings. At first, Trustee Linda Mayo pulled such resolutions and read them aloud anyway. But, now the board seems to have resigned itself to recognizing its unique populations silently.
    The resolution states, in part: “…the California State Board of Education recognized in its Multicultural Education Policy that each student needs an opportunity to understand the common humanity underlying all people…”
    The resolution encouraged all schools to commemorate Hispanic Heritage Month Sept. 14-Oct. 14 “with appropriate instructional materials.”
    It appears that many of the overflow students live in areas that are predominantly Hispanic.

  61. Doctor J Says:

    More shocking stats: 80% of overflows are K,1, and 2 grades — the youngest children who really need to be closer to home ! Its really hard to believe that Rose Lock tolerates Lawrence’s bullying tactics — and hide the ball like he did with these statistics that he could have broken down from last year but didn’t. Who will stand up to protect the little children in the district ?

  62. Anon Says:

    Combo classes are a horrible idea. This is just terrible what our district is doing! G, you are an angel for offering to help this family! I know of busses picking up at 6:45 and getting to school at 7:30
    when school does not start until 8:10. Some of the special ed kids can’t handle being there that early with or without supervision. One would think that in cases like this the transportation department could pick up later…..But no, staff is so pissed off at the district that they are making the children suffer.
    Teachers are very frustrated also. This district is becoming more of a Joke everyday and just to think Mrs. Mills hasn’t even started yet.

  63. g Says:

    Theresa, it will depend on them calling me. I did not ask for their phone number. They were polite, but a bit evasive. I don’t know if they “hide out” on school property. It didn’t sound like it, but who knows?

    Last year, I wrote about another neighbor who I offered to drive her daughter to Wren because I had seen them walk by–baby in a stroller, toddler holding on, and daughter school age. Through a real language barrier I found that if they thought they might be late, or if the weather was bad, she just kept the girl at home—and considered that to be OK. I tried to say that is not OK, but I think I scared them off–she started walking the other way around the block. These are good, clean, hard working, proud neighbors–but really do “stick to their own” and last Spring someone else started picking the girl up.

    I questioned then how things like this were affecting ADA. I knew this could not be the only Holbrook family in this dilemma.

    When they discussed closing Holbrook, I tried to suggest to the district that demographics were rapidly changing. Housing was much cheaper here, and there were many more rentals every day. They needed to look at not what the school population was in the Fall of 2010, but look at the numbers of little ones moving in and being born in the neighborhood. To me, it looks like a whole lot more little kids than there were as my kids were growing up here. I suspect Schreder’s numbers were way off for this area, and his ‘guesstimates’ based on historical birth rates and immigration had little to do with changing neighborhood demographics.

    This year, the stroller baby is walking, and there is another tiny baby in that stroller. The toddler is now a holy terror on a mini skate board. The good news–dad brings a company truck home, so mom has a car now.

  64. Theresa Harrington Says:

    At the CAC meeting, Patton began her report by saying she has received good feedback overall regarding transportation since the beginning of the school year.
    But, one woman said her child was on a bus 2 1/2 hours and Patton said that was unacceptable.
    As previously mentioned, Patton acknowledged that some bus drivers don’t seem to be very responsive to parents’ concerns and she’s trying to remedy that.
    In this clip at about 4 mins in, Patton says that no child should be on a bus for more than an hour, “but we’re not there yet”:

    g: Loss of ADA because kids couldn’t get to school was brought up during the school closure discussions. But, the board apparently didn’t believe that was a good enough reason to keep Holbrook and Glenbrook open.

  65. Wait a Minute Says:

    Welcome to the world-view of Stevie Lawrence, Greg Rolen, Sherry Whitmarsh, Gary Eberhart and company.

    They will always choose to screw over the weakest in the community or manipulate them in order to re-direct money to themselves and their friends.

    They will always choose to try and bully and intimidate or manipulate anyone who stands against them even if they are doing the right thing by opposing their policies as horrible for the children and community.

    These are the types of people that run this district into the ground!

    These people ARE BAD FOR OUR KIDS!!!

    They must be removed from power and new and competent people brought in WHO WILL AUTOMATICALLY DO THE RIGHT THING BY OUR KIDS AND COMMUNITY.

    Please, please tell everyone you know to VOTE NO ON WHITMARSH and help end the incompetence and corruption of these clowns and take back our district.

  66. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Perhaps some of the Measure C administrators at Holbrook could provide escorts for the children who are walking past their closed school, on their way to Wren.
    Or, some of the Poway drivers who are taking special ed kids to the new Anova site at Holbrook could pick up a few displaced Holbrook students and take them to Wren after they drop of the Anova kids.
    Patton said that overflow kids could ride the same buses as special ed and NCLB kids, if there was space.

  67. Doctor J Says:

    Since the Hispanic community is adversely impacted at a greater degree, have you asked for a reaction from the local Hispanic community leaders and ask them what they are going to do about it ? We need a Cesar Chavez for education !

  68. Theresa Harrington Says:

    No Hispanic community leaders spoke at the board meeting where this decision was made.
    Perhaps the superintendent’s lack of information about who would be affected kept them away.

  69. g Says:

    Ronald Way (Holbrook Elem) is a loop-around street, designed specifically with the school in mind, with just the school and a half dozen or so houses facing it. 99.999 % of kids walking to Wren do not walk right past Holbrook.

    As for overflow, NCLB, “home school” etc.; What is considered the “home school” for these kids–Holbrook or Wren? Will they overcrowd Wren with overflow from Meadow Homes, and then overflow from there to even farther out into the valley within the next couple of years?

    I doubt it.

    If we allow these same out-of-touch Dent folks to continue to look to their own pay check before they look at the children’s welfare, or to the neighborhoods and parents who provide that paycheck, they will continue on the same me-first course–much like Whitmarsh, looking out for her neighborhood schools first and foremost.

    They will change the maps so they no longer have to call it “overflow” and just send even more kids walking out of their own neighborhoods. That will save even more money for the paycheck coffers.

    The “no-plan plan” was flawed from the beginning.

  70. anon Says:

    Where were the 60 kids from Delta View last year? I find it hard to believe that 60 first and second graders suddenly moved into the Delta View boundaries over the summer.

  71. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Breaking news from Twitter: “Residents of the Shore Acres area of Bay Point have been advised to shelter in place as police search for an armed fugitive.”

    Hopefully, there aren’t too many school children walking home now.

    UPDATE: I just heard that Shore Acres Elem. and possibly Riverview MS may be on lockdown, but this is unconfirmed.

  72. Doctor J Says:

    @Anon#60 — Its a defacto boundary adjustment WITHOUT Board approval or public comment They cut the staffs at the schools they want to reduce the population to and add staff to schools where they want to increase the population. By eliminating the busing, its a no cost, secret boundary adjustment.

  73. Doctor J Says:

    Lawrence’s best kept secret: But for the huge API gains by the SIG schools [District +6 API gain], the District would have dropped about 25 API points. Theresa, why are you afraid to ask Lawrence or Rose Lock if they intend to continue with the “increased instructional time” [the key to the massive gains in API] at Bel Air, Shore Acres and Rio Vista after their SIG grants expire in June 2013 ?

  74. Theresa Harrington Says:

    I am not afraid to ask Lawrence or Lock about increased instructional time. I have been working on other stories and haven’t had time to go over the SIG results in-depth. I also need to do the same for the SIG schools in WCCUSD, as well as in Hayward, Oakland and San Lorenzo.

  75. Doctor J Says:

    Lawrence, Eberhart & Whitmarsh wasted tens of thousands of taxpayer dollars by not implementing the travel ban, cell phone ban, and trinket ban as I called for two years ago. Gov. Brown set the example and it paid off. Instead Lawrence had his contract extended with illegal automatic pay increases, and Eberhart and Whitmarsh continued their FULL FAMILY medical dental and vision benefits by being on the Board while cutting employees time and benefits.

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