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MDUSD superintendent feeder pattern meeting dates revealed

By Theresa Harrington
Friday, October 12th, 2012 at 4:45 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

After widespread confusion related to Mt. Diablo Superintendent Steven Lawrence’s decision disband the Parent Advisory Council and instead hold feeder pattern meetings, I requested a list of meeting dates and times from him.

I also asked for a copy of the notification/request for topic suggestions that he sent to the Northgate feeder pattern, since it appeared that very few parents were aware of the meeting that took place Oct. 10 in the Northgate HS staff lounge.

In an email, Lawrence wrote, in part:

“Requests for topics has gone through the principals. Also, the principals were asked to identify parent leaders to attend the meeting.”

He advised parents interested in getting involved to contact their principals and get involved in School Site Council or PTA/PFC groups.

For the Northgate feeder pattern meeting, he said his secretary collected the following topics before the meeting:

“Teacher retention efforts

Plans to expand classroom space at NHS

Technology plan for NHS

Furlough Days

Proposition 30 and 38

Does money come back to sites for field use

What can we do to get parent volunteers fingerprinted quicker

Does PTA have to pay for teacher CPR training”

In addition, he informed me that no official meeting minutes are being taken.

Below is the list of meeting times and dates, along with feeder patterns. Lawrence said locations will be determined by principals who volunteer their sites.

Concord HS Feeder Pattern: September 12, October 24, January 23, and April 10
Includes: El Dorado MS, Westwood EL, Monte Gardens EL, El Monte EL, Mt. View EL, Wren Avenue EL, Sun Terrace EL

College Park HS Feeder Pattern: September 19, November 7, January 30, April 17
Includes: Valley View MS, Pleasant Hill MS, Sequoia MS, Hidden Valley EL, Valhalla EL, Gregory Gardens EL, Pleasant Hill EL, Sequoia EL

Mt. Diablo HS Feeder Pattern: September 26, November 14, February 6, April 24
Includes: Riverview MS, Rio Vista EL, Shore Acres EL, Bel Air EL, Delta View EL

Diablo View/Pine Hollow Feeder Pattern: October 3, December 5, February 13, May 1
Includes: Ayers EL, Mt. Diablo EL, Highlands EL, Silverwood EL

Northgate HS Feeder Pattern: October 10, December 12, February 20, May 8
Includes: Foothill MS, Valle Verde EL, Walnut Acres EL, Bancroft EL

Ygnacio Valley HS Feeder Pattern: October 17, December 19, February 27, May 15
Includes: Oak Grove MS, Fair Oaks EL, Cambridge EL, Meadow Homes EL, Woodside EL, Ygnacio Valley EL

Do you think all parents should be invited to these meetings?

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

  • Theresa Harrington

    December 5 is Wednesday.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Look at this Annual Report to the Community that the Livermore Superintendent provides to parents: http://lvusd.ca.schoolloop.com/file/1218758585989/1277649542952/2668267322751917175.pdf

    If MDUSD Superintendent Steven Lawrence provided such a comprehensive report, perhaps he wouldn’t need to hold so many feeder pattern meetings. What are MDUSD’s “initiatives for 2012-13″?

  • Doctor J

    Does Steven Lawrence’s contract provide he do a comprehensive annual report ?

  • g

    Speaking of district leadership ranging from incompetent to ineffectual, have any members of the board at MDUSD been provided with the ‘new or corrected’ one year contract extension documents for their signature?

  • Theresa Harrington

    Good questions. I’ve just left another message asking the superintendent’s secretary for signed copies of the contracts.
    Lawrence’s previous contract didn’t specify anything about an annual report, but did say he was supposed to execute his duties in accordance with “applicable policies and any job description adopted by the board, as amended from time to time.”
    I don’t know if such a job description exists.

  • Doctor J

    FCMAT has become corrupted by the demands of Supts to dictate what its reports say — it is no longer the “independent report” that it was envisioned to be. It was once “independent” but when the reports came out to criticize the districts — the superintendents — they no longer wanted that. It needs to be disbanded ASAP.

  • g

    Theresa; I’m sure the secretary is trying her best, but if you want a straightforward answer I suggest asking Cheryl and Lynne, not a Dent mushroom.

  • Theresa Harrington

    The last time I asked Hansen, she said she had not received the new contracts, so had not signed them.

  • Anon

    Theresa, why are the superintendent’s feeder pattern meetings a State secret, rather than simply being posted on the district web site?

  • g

    CAC, SARB and Equity Advisory are all on the calendar for (D wing) meetings tomorrow at Dent (CAC at 7pm) but neither a meeting announcement or an Agenda is showing on any website.

    Maybe this is another one of those meetings that is “not for the public” – “executives only” – “’cause WE negotiate what’s best for everybody.”

  • g

    And…just a heads up–The board meeting for next Monday is scheduled for (what?) 3:00pm! Sherry, honey, that’s what I call going out on a whimper….

  • Theresa Harrington

    Anon: Good question, which is why I asked for the dates so I could post them in my blog. Trustee Gary Eberhart told me that he thought my blog gave people the wrong impression about meetings being secret. Anyone who needs to know about them is informed, he said. I disagreed, telling him that some members of the CAC said they weren’t informed about the CPHS feeder pattern meeting. Then, Eberhart said that he would be very surprised if principals weren’t informing their communities about the meeting. But, you’re right, rather than expect every principal to inform his or her community, it would make sense for the district to post the meetings online.
    Perhaps the new board will think this is important enough to ask staff to do it.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Perhaps some parents might want to ask the superintendent for his response to this report, which shows that 18 percent of CA youth ages 16-24 are unemployed and not in school: http://www.contracostatimes.com/twitter/ci_22117481/about-850-000-california-youth-are-disconnected-report

    On a positive note, the story highlights academies at YVHS, which are helping to keep students engaged, Principal Sue Brothers said.

  • Doctor J

    and here comes Kerri Mills, going for her approval by Steven Lawrence, violating the Brown Act by not posting the CAC agenda. When will this nonsense stop ? New Board members, where are you ?

  • Theresa Harrington

    The CAC meeting agenda is attached to the bottom of the meeting notice on the district’s “Upcoming Meetings” link: http://www.mdusd.org/Lists/UpcomingEvents/Attachments/277/cac-agnda-12-04-12.pdf

  • Doctor J

    @G#61 3:00 pm start ? Whoa. That really cuts into Linda Mayo’s stated 35 hours per week for the State PTA. She probably isn’t going to go for Board President.

  • Wait a Minute

    Theresa,
    Are you going to cover this 3:00 board meeting?

    Seems to me the potential for some final “monkey business” by the outgoing so-called board “leaders” that may include some more goodies for Grer Rolen, Stevie Lawrence etc.

  • Theresa Harrington

    WAM: At 10:08 a.m. (three minutes ago), the meeting time was changed to 7:30 p.m.: http://www.mdusd.org/Lists/UpcomingEvents/DispForm.aspx?ID=260&RootFolder=%2FLists%2FUpcomingEvents

    Perhaps someone at the district office is reading the blog.

  • Doctor J

    Deslite their false denials, they are reading the blogs !

  • Theresa Harrington

    Here is the agenda for tonight’s CAC meeting, where members will receive a report on the Autism Magnet Program: http://www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment/2012/12/04/mdusd-special-education-community-advisory-committee-meeting-is-tonight-2/

  • Theresa Harrington

    There is also a Pleasant Hill Education/Schools Advisory Commission meeting tonight at the same time: http://ca-pleasanthill.civicplus.com/archives/41/Education%20Commission%20Agenda%20(12-4-2012).pdf
    (Don’t be fooled by the Wednesday day listed. I have confirmed that it is actually tonight, Dec. 4)

  • Anon

    They are all reading the blogs. This I know for sure!

  • Theresa Harrington

    Well, they had better start attending the Pleasant Hill Education Commission meetings. I attended that meeting tonight and learned a lot of very interesting things, such as:
    1) There was apparently another secret meeting tonight to discuss graduation requirements. Although Supt. Lawrence mentioned in one of his recent supt reports that he was convening a group to discuss grad requirements, I have never seen any information on the district website about this or any invitation for parents to become involved. It turns out that some hand-picked parents have been invited to participate.
    2) Pleasant Hill MS parents are wondering why their school is being inundated with NCLB students. They asked why none of these students are going to Pine Hollow MS, during the feeder pattern meeting. Lawrence reportedly told them that the district had a “conundrum” because if it allows NCLB students to attend Pine Hollow, those students may later decide to attend CVCHS — which would mean the district would lose those students (and their ADA). The Pleasant Hill parents said they don’t understand why this is a conundrum and they feel PHMS is being adversely affected by an influx of low-performing students.
    3) CPHS parents are finally realizing that their students are being short-changed when compared to other high schools. Although CPHS has nearly 2,000 students, it only has one college and career adviser, just like all other high schools that have far fewer students. When parents asked why there isn’t a ratio for this position (like there is for librarians), Lawrence told them the district would have to “take away” from other schools in order to give them more hours for a college and career adviser. Many parents know that Northgate’s PFC pays extra for counselors and said perhaps the CPHS parent club should do the same. If they looked at the per student ADA revenues the district receives for CPHS students, they would see that in fact, the district is already “taking” from CPHS to pay for other district programs and services.
    4) Ripples from the new law that prohibits schools from collecting money from parents for school related activities are already being felt. PHE fourth-grade parents want to start collecting money in installments from parents for the annual fifth-grade outdoor education camp. But, they have been told they can’t do that. So now, they’re wondering if they will have to do something outside of school during the summer, raise enough through fundraising to pay for all students, or drop an activity that has become a rite of passage.
    I was very impressed by the commitment to student advocacy that I saw at the meeting. I would highly recommend that any parent who yearns for the type of Parent Advisory Committee meetings that used to exist in MDUSD attend the Pleasant Hill Education Advisory Committee meetings – especially if you live in Pleasant Hill. But, even if you don’t, you can see the type of momentum that can be built up when a group of like-minded parents gets together behind common goals.
    These parents are fired up and they are ready to start demanding services that they believe their students deserve. Will the new board be responsive?
    Interestingly, although Supt. Lawrence told me there are no minutes from feeder pattern meetings, one CPHS parent who is also the President of the Commission took her own minutes and distributed them to the commission. I highly recommend that parents at other feeder pattern meetings also take your own minutes (or at least take notes) so that you can share them with others in your community (and on my blog, if you desire).
    There was also an allegation regarding potentially unethical behavior made by a former commissioner against a retired MDUSD administrator and a current MDUSD principal, citing sharing confidential information and untrue rumors about a special education student’s family. (I videotaped these comments and may later post them to my YouTube account.)
    The commissioners were very eager to work with the new board, hoping for more transparency and responsiveness than they have been used to in the past. It’s very surprising to me that no one from MDUSD even bothers to attend these meetings, including Trustee Linda Mayo, who lives in Pleasant Hill and is ostensibly a parent advocate. Commissioners were hoping that Barbara Oaks, the former principal of CPHS, may be more receptive to their concerns than the current board.
    This group is seeking really basic information, such as: How are NCLB transfers determined? A visit from Felicia Stuckey-Smith would be mutually beneficial. But, will the district be willing to extend such an olive branch? Stuckey-Smith didn’t mention any “conundrum” when she explained the process to the board.
    Is is possible for a new dawn to break in MDUSD?
    A common theme among the parents was that it’s possible to get a good education in MDUSD, but it takes a lot of work because the district doesn’t make it easy for parents to know what services are available. Those who do know, however, are able to take advantage of them.
    For example, one parent said she had a two-hour meeting with a vp/student services coordinator regarding her child’s schedule. How many vp/student services coordinators would be willing to meet for two hours with every parent in the school? That may not even by possible. So, those who demand services get them, while those who don’t know about them struggle and possibly even drop out without graduating.
    The district says it puts “students first,” but it’s clear that it puts students with vocal parents ahead of students without vocal parents. And it appears to put students who are willing to send their children to district high schools ahead of those who may want to send their students to CVCHS.
    Yet, it should be prioritizing decisions based on its strategic plan.

  • Doctor J

    @TH#73 Linda Mayo is now MIA on MDUSD Board — choosing instead to spend 35+ hours a week for the State PTA. Soon she will lose her full family medical dental vision from MDUSD from the new Board. Linda is trying to make a play to be Board president when it clearly should be Cheryl Hansen. Linda will get the vote of Lynne Dennler but no one else. I think Cheryl will be named Board President and Brian Lawrence as Vice-President. This will usher in a new era of OPENNESS and real TRANSPARENCY. [Note: I will address other subjects of TH's post separately !]

  • Doctor J

    PHMS is being flooded with NCLB students — its the Steven Lawrence “new boundary” plan without Board approval by (1) designating PHMS as a NCLB “transfer school” without Board approval; and (2) adding FTE’s to PHMS and taking away from other MS to have a “de facto” boundary change without Board approval. I pointed this out months ago, but unfortunately most parents are not “savy” about the underhanded dealings going on by Steven Lawrence. He has ZERO track record of success. His job applications to other districts are being rejected when the research is done not only on his lack of success, but total ineptness in managing a school district. Remember the Sacramento area job that Steven Lawrence had me investigated by the District Attorney ? Steven Lawrence finally learned he was ratted out by MDEA when inquiries were made by their counterpart in the Sacramento area district. BTW, looks like the SIG audits are proceeding this week again and MDUSD once again caught red handed in non-compliance — Steven Lawrence and Rose Lock, when will you ever learn ? More to come later.

  • Doctor J

    Steven Lawrence’s long history of mismanagement is the poster child for the Parent or Teacher Trigger Charter School. PH parents and community leaders are chomping at the bit to go “charter” based on the early academic success of CVCHS. And playing for the Nor Cal Regional Championship on Saturday in Stockton; winner to advance to the State Championship game, isn’t hurting CVCHS’ image one bit. GO UGLY EAGLES ! [PS Drive carefully along Hwy 4 to Stockton; it can be treacherous this time of year]

  • Theresa Harrington

    No one mentioned the idea of going charter. But, the level of frustration was palpable.
    There were a few new commissioners who were attending the commission meeting for the first time. When one heard some of the problems being expressed, she literally took off her glasses, shook her head in dismay and sighed audibly in disbelief. (This was in response to the district’s decision to reduce graduation requirements, dropping math from 30 to 20 units.)

  • Doctor J

    13 Ways Districts Get into Financial Trouble. FCMAT presentation at the CSBA meeting. Note that #13 suggests that Board members receive the weekly “cash availability” report — see Slide 16: “All districts must project cash balances on a weekly basis and prepare appropriate cash flow documents in order to assess the need for short term borrowing and the potential of cash insolvency. Definition Cash is not budget and understanding the difference between these two things is critical for boards, superintendents and staff. Cash position represents the actual available dollars at any given time held in the county treasury.” FCMAT also recommends against district borrowing TRANS funds but instead preserve cash to avoid the costs. How many TRANS loans has MDUSD made in the last 3 years ? http://wwwstatic.kern.org/gems/fcmat/CSBAWinterConf2012PresentFin.ppt

  • Doctor J

    @TH#73 Few believed Doctor J when I said AB 1575 was a big deal. Here is a free Webinar from Association of California School Administrators. Enjoy ! http://fagenfriedman.com/seminar.php?id=7&s=51

  • Theresa Harrington

    This was definitely an issue that had parents concerned.
    They also had questions about how Common Core is going to change student testing. Apparently, Supt. Lawrence told them that $12 million in Measure C money will be spent on the “Smarter Balance” computer assessments. One parent noted that all the money that has been spent by schools on scanners for Curriculum Associates assessments will be “down the drain” when the new testing kicks in.
    I don’t recall hearing any board discussion about allocating the Measure C money in this way. But, since it’s less than $25,000, maybe Lawrence authorized it. Still, it would be nice if the superintendent would communicate this information districtwide. Instead, it appears that parents who attend feeder pattern meetings are the only ones who know what’s going on, while those who don’t (or who never even find out about the meetings) are left in the dark.

  • Doctor J

    ASCA’s lawyer says NO CHARGING for Sports Transportation — Greg Rolen says its ok. Who do you believe ? No charging for ASB cards and PE clothes. Is Steven Lawrence prepared to fund all PE clothes for students ?

  • Doctor J

    Is Steven Lawrence prepared to fund all cheerleader outfits? Steven Lawrence reminds me of Car 54 tv show — “Car 54, Where are you ?” He doesn’t dare respond himself to TH — he might give her another secret document. LOL.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Speaking of that, I wonder when the district will finally release FCMAT’s special education review.

  • Wait a Minute

    Theresa,
    Stevie Lawrence will only release the FCMAT’s special education review when he is forced to because it contains evidence of the blatant lies that he has told people IMO.

    He knows you will do an article about it if it released and he is desperate to avoid being once again exposed as a liar.

    Hopefully the new board will force the release of this public information as a step towards changing the culture of secrecy and corruption that Stevie, Greg Rolen and others have perpetrated and profitted from.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Here are the Smarter Balanced technology requirements for the computer equipment the district apparently plans to buy for $12 million: http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/DigitalEducation/2012/12/new_assessment_tech_recommenda.html?cmp=SOC-SHR-TW

  • Theresa Harrington

    CPHS parents may be interested in knowing that their school was one of only three in Contra Costa County that qualifies to apply to receive funding for new STEM AP courses: http://www.collegeboard.org/ap-stem-access-program.html?excmpid=MTG201-PR-1-apst
    Now, the only question is: Will school and district administrators make it happen to benefit CPHS students?

  • Theresa Harrington

    Here’s a new feeder pattern blog post, with a parent’s notes from the CPHS feeder pattern meeting: http://www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment/2012/12/05/mdusd-superintendent-to-hold-feeder-pattern-meetings-tonight-and-next-week/