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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?

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  • g

    Considering the (Bay Point) push seems to be to build on Alves and convert Riverview back to a high school, maybe the Lawrence should admit that he really isn’t working with the Mt Diablo feeder pattern at all, but is really concentrating efforts over the hill.

    Ask him how many meetings he or Pedersen have attended in Bay Point, versus how many in Concord.

  • g

    Clarify: How many meetings “with” groups of Bay Point parents, as opposed to groups of North Concord (Mount) parents.

  • Theresa Harrington

    It looks like all the MDHS feeder pattern meetings include Bay Point schools, while all the North Concord schools have been grouped into the CHS feeder pattern.

  • g

    The last I heard, the Mount feeder pattern also included Sun Terrace, Meadow Homes, Valley View, and large sections of Wren, Oak Grove and El Dorado.

  • A Parent

    Is this about changing the feeder patterns? If it is, then parents need to be involved because any changes in established patterns in the Walnut Creek, Limeridge, Crossings area will cause a huge ruckus.

  • Theresa Harrington

    It appear that the superintendent does not want schools with split feeder patterns to participate in both. Parts of Bancroft Elementary also feed into YVHS. I’m sure there must be other schools that also split into more than one feeder pattern.

  • g

    Now tell me how many parents/taxpayers of the “official” feeder pattern for Mount have received notices of these meetings at Concord High.

    What can North and Central Concord expect will happen to Mount if all of the Bay Point students are pulled out in a few years, and the population suddenly drops in half at the school? Is Lawrence or anybody else planning for that contingency?

  • g
  • Theresa Harrington

    Since Lawrence says he asked principals to select parent leaders, it’s likely that not very many parents were informed about the meetings. Diablo View and Pine Hollow are the only schools I have heard of that have invited all parents.
    Regarding the Bay Point contingency, that is exactly what Schreder is supposed to be planning for.

    A Parent: No, this isn’t supposed to be about changing feeder patterns. This is supposed to be a way for the superintendent to communicate better with parents (see previous blog post at http://www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment/2012/10/02/mdusd-superintendent-to-hold-feeder-pattern-meetings/). But since principals have been asked to select the parents they want to invite, it appears that it could be about communicating with hand-picked parents in meetings where no minutes are being taken. This, of course, leaves all the other parents in the dark.

    g: Thanks for that link. According to that, no Meadow Homes Elementary students go to Concord HS, so it’s odd that the superintendent would ask those parents to go to the CHS feeder pattern meeting.

  • g

    Yes, and the same for exGlenbrook students and Sun Terrace as well as all of the exHolbrook students currently at Wren.

    It would seem North Concord has been expatriated.

  • anon

    Ayers announced the feeder pattern meeting in it’s weekly newsletter as well.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Yes, Ayers is in the Diablo View/Pine Hollow feeder pattern. I’m sorry, I meant that I have only heard of schools in that feeder pattern informing all parents of the meeting.

  • Anon

    Interesting statement from the superintendent, since our feeder pattern meeting was held before any Site Council meeting this year. It smacks of “cronyism” – the same old same old that we expect from Dent.

    PAC was open to all parents, both representatives and visitors. So the answer to your question is yes all parents should be invited, and meeting dates times and locations should be sent out and also on the district web site.

    Go one better and notice the meetings so board members can attend.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Yes, as I mentioned previously, Board President Sherry Whitmarsh told me the PAC meetings were publicly noticed in case more than two board members chose to attend. Also, there were PAC minutes, so those who didn’t attend could find out what was discussed.
    Perhaps the hand-picked parents will report to the site councils about the meetings. Certainly, site council members could ask why they weren’t invited.
    These meetings actually have the potential to be very productive, if parents are willing to ask tough questions. Often at the PAC meetings, however, it appeared that parents were more interested in sharing information about activities going on at their schools than about digging deeply into problems.
    Imagine if these meetings had existed back when the effort to remove Walnut Creek schools from the district began, after some parents were dissatisfied with the district’s response to inadequate teaching in a freshman geometry class. This could have been discussed at a feeder pattern meeting.
    Imagine if these meetings existed back when Clayton Valley HS teachers and parents were frustrated by the district’s lack of responsiveness to problems with inadequate math instruction, inconsistent discipline, and lack of enforcement of dress code policies. Perhaps frank discussions about problem-solving could have prevented the charter.
    Will MDHS parents be bold enough to ask what has been done to remedy the widespread dissatisfaction of teachers at that school that led to the vote of No Confidence?
    Will Sun Terrace parents be bold enough to ask why the district failed to act sooner, when they brought their concerns about a never-ending string of substitutes and poor communication with their principal to the district’s attention?
    Will Oak Grove MS parents ask why discipline was out-of-control at their school last year and whether Lawrence believes the change in principal is working, in light of the school’s 37-point API decline?
    Will special education parents ask him directly for the data they have been requesting in vain during board meeting public comment and CAC meetings? Will they ask him directly when he will release the special education FCMAT report and why the district refuses to release the third party transportation analysis that FCMAT used to create its clustering recommendation?
    Will the SASS principal coaches attend these meetings?
    Trustee Lynne Dennler said after the CVHS charter vote that the district needed to set up a system to address problems before they became crises. After that, Superintendent Lawrence told me schools could invite him to attend their parent or site council meetings if they wanted to discuss concerns.
    Now that Lawrence has established feeder pattern meetings, it remains to be seen if parents will make the most of these opportunities or if the meetings will instead end up providing selected parents extra time to schmooze with the superintendent, without wanting to put him on the spot, for fear of retaliation or simply not wanting to appear like they aren’t “team players.”

  • anonymous 5

    Not only can we hope that MDHS parents will be bold enough to ask what has been done to remedy the widespread dissatisifaction of teachers, but can we also hope that the administrators under Principal McClatchy tell her the truth, rather than just tell what she wants to hear and agree with her devisive plans?
    CONGRATULATIONS to the three administrators (of the six, seven if you count the counseling center head who staff learned is considered an MDHS administrator) who left and do not have to contend with the unreasonable demands of the principal.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Speaking of dissatisfaction at MDHS, I learned from Guy Moore that the board has acted to respond to some of Jessica Preciado’s concerns regarding the 3 percent bonus for staff on leave and pay differential that teachers are “docked” from their paycheck for subs. Preciado told me that the maximum amount for subs was taken out of her paychecks, which was why Bryan Richards ended up telling her she owed the district money. The union contended that this was unfair, saying it was not standard procedure. Although subs that work at MDHS and other “challenging” schools are paid more, is it fair to charge the teachers for that? Preciado showed courage when she approached the board after hitting a brick wall at the school and district.
    But often, people who are willing to voice complaints on blogs do not appear to be willing to directly ask the district’s leader what he is doing to correct problems. Now, they have the chance.

  • anonymous 5

    Many have spoken to the Board AND have completed a survey at MDHS for the superintendent from Julie Braun Martin; both did not correct the problem.

  • anon

    Of course not, I think JBM likes to make it look like she cares and takes your opinions to heart, but from my experience it is all just for show.

  • Doctor J

    Steven Lawrence ignores Board Policies like 1200 — does he give “substantial weight” when he refuses to allow citizen participation ? : “Residents of the community shall be encouraged to take an active part in school affairs and may be invited to provide advice individually and in groups as follows:
    1. In clarifying the general ideas and attitudes held by our residents regarding schools
    2. In developing broad policies under which the school system is to be managed
    3. In determining educational goals, the purposes of courses of study and special instructional programs and services to be provided for students
    4. In evaluating the extent to which these purposes are being achieved by present practices
    5. In giving active assistance to the certificated staff in the actual operation of classes and services where the staff deems such aid valuable
    6. In solving a specific problem or set of closely related problems about which the Board must make a decision
    7. In the operation of school-related agencies

    The Board and the staff shall give substantial weight to the advice which they receive from individuals and community groups interested in the schools, especially those individuals and groups which they have invited or created to advise them regarding selected problems, but the Board and staff shall retain responsibility for making decisions.”

  • Theresa Harrington

    On the subject of secret meetings, I have just added a new blog post about the mysterious Bay Point meeting held last week, but not publicly noticed: http://bit.ly/SWAlFp

  • Theresa Harrington

    Interesting topic for feeder patterns — Coming together as a community of LGBTQA youth and their adult allies to create more inclusive and supportive schools across Contra Costa County (a day of dialogue sponsored by Center for Human Development is Nov. 3 in El Cerrito): https://www.facebook.com/events/295209740584712/

  • Theresa Harrington

    Anyone heard anything about this Northgate HS girls’ soccer coach apparently being let go? https://www.facebook.com/groups/434370506621201/

  • g

    I don’t do facebook– what’s the scoop? Didn’t McMorris (or somebody) pretty much “clean house” on coaching staff at Northgate this past year?

  • Anon

    Hey if you didn’t support the crush the Charter school at all costs mentality, then you wither have been or will be fired. In my OPINION

  • Theresa Harrington

    According to the Facebook page, the longtime girls’ soccer coach no longer has that position and people are complaining, but not getting answers. I haven’t yet had a chance to speak to the coach or principal, but I was alerted by a reader.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Although Lights On After School event is tomorrow, it’s still unclear what’s planned at some MDUSD sites based on this website, which doesn’t name most of the schools: http://www.afterschoolalliance.org/loaFindEvent.cfm

  • Theresa Harrington

    Here’s a photo of Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla’s visit to a TK class at Highlands Elementary: http://twitrpix.com/3aig

  • Theresa Harrington

    Board to consider leaving CVCHS boundaries open to transfers into any district school: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_itemview.aspx?ItemId=5957&mtgId=351
    88 students in CVCHS attendance area transferred into district schools this year.

  • Theresa Harrington

    It looks like the board is considering changing feeder patterns after all: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_itemview.aspx?ItemId=6003&mtgId=351
    Apparently, many in the current “grey area” that includes YVHS or College Park have asked to be made permanently part of the College Park attendance area. Although CPHS used to be impacted, it apparently has room now.

  • Anon Staff

    Doesn’t YV have the lowest enrollment of the 5 remaining high schools? Wouldn’t this move make that campus close to irrelevant? Is a YV/Riverview High School swap on the horizon? I know this is pure speculation but the moves add up. Could the district sell YV? The income could rebuild/remodal several other sites. My guess is that this is too bold a move.

  • Really?

    Is this a way to make YV irrelevant, and support a high school in Bay Point instead?

  • Anon

    But first spend $7mil of bond proceeds on YV

  • Theresa Harrington

    These are all excellent questions. It’s unclear where this idea came from. Perhaps the quasi-secret feeder pattern meeting, where no minutes were kept?
    At least the district didn’t decide to spend more money on another Schreder study to determine whether this is feasible.
    It’s possible the district could decide to sell YV, since the school closure committee didn’t like the superintendent council’s suggestion that it be combined with Oak Grove MS. Or, maybe that idea will surface again and the district could sell Oak Grove MS.
    I believe there are restrictions on selling MDHS, which may have the lowest enrollment right now. YVHS enrollment is definitely very low, with many people who live in that feeder pattern choosing to transfer to other schools.
    Another idea would be to try to improve YVHS so that more students would want to go there.

  • Wait a Minute

    The best way to improve YVHS is to improve the district IMHO since Dent and the current board are the single biggest impediments to school improvement by the way they suck huge amounts of the money right off the top and out of the classrooms!

    Please tell all your friends, VOTE NO ON WHITMARSH!!!

  • g

    Actually, they’ve been slipping Schreder funds over the amounts approved on his previous contract. In Sept. over $7,300.00 out of the Developer Fee Fund, but charged to District Wide, for “District Administration. Also in Sept. just over $2,300.00 charged to District Wide, but using M&O’s “special consultant” code.

    It was nice of them to bring a new contract to the board in Oct–after half of it was already spent! Or maybe Pedersen used him sans contract?

    How in the world does a company running through $300,000,000.00+ a year require only ONE signature on a check—regardless of the amount????

  • Doctor J

    We need a PRA on all “warrants” or checks paid to Schreder Since July 1, 2010. Lets see the cancelled checks !

  • Anon

    Now you are all getting somewhere. Keep digging you are getting close.

  • g

    Schreder also got close to $7K in August from Developer Fee (for his contract?). Site codes not listed on Chart of Accounts, and then another $4,700 (for June contract), and then $1595. — accounted for just like Sept–”To Assist Measure C Staff.”

    Also wonder why we’re dribbling out a few grand here and a few grand there to Isom (Urban Futures)? He was paid in August- a couple grand out of Measure A (for GO Bond—Measure A? Really?), a couple out of Measure C (for GO Bond, and then a couple more out of Measure C for “community facilities)….Didn’t his job start to wind down once he sold us the bill of goods and fast talked us through the financing?

  • Theresa Harrington

    Looks like IHTA renovation at MDHS is moving forward as planned, with Prop. 55 funds, I believe: http://169.199.90.240/bid1604.html

  • g

    Forms 460, 470, by 10/5 and again, 460 by 10/25. Sounds complicated, but is actually made clear on this PDF:

    http://www.cocovote.us/getdocument.aspx?id=717

  • g

    Ooops: My #40 above should be in answer to Dr. J on other thread.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Please note that tonight’s board meeting starts at 6:30 p.m. (instead of 7:30 p.m.) and takes place in Monte Gardens Elementary (probably to accommodate the large crowd that will show up to be recognized for their API improvement): http://bit.ly/X3yEri

  • Theresa Harrington

    In contrast to MDUSD, the Martinez school board will receive a comprehensive report about Program Improvement and Adequate Yearly Progress tonight (Item 15.3): http://www.martinez.k12.ca.us/export/sites/default/schoolboard/agendas/Agenda08222012.pdf
    MDUSD, on the other hand, plans to focus on SIGs and API. I wonder if the district’s Program Improvement status will be addressed and whether the district’s 10 PI schools will be identified, along with the areas in which they failed to meet their AYP.

  • Doctor J

    Do you really think Steven Lawrence wants to brag about graduation rates dropping EVEN after they dumbed down the graduation requirements ? That speaks volumes for SASS’s failures

  • Anon

    No post about the 10-22-12 meeting ?

  • Theresa Harrington

    Sorry, I was unable to attend last night’s meeting due to another story I was working on, but I’ll try to find out what happened.

  • anon

    Looks like the restrooms are locked again at MDHS

  • Theresa Harrington

    That didn’t show up in the Good Newsletter either.

    On another note, the Good Newsletter highlights waterpolo at College Park. Coincidentally, I received an anonymous phone message from someone who said she was a concerned CPHS parent today, saying the school’s pool is dangerously over-chlorinated. She said water polo swimmers regularly leave the pool with their eyes swollen, red and stinging. She said the district and board members have been alerted to the problem, but nothing has been done. She also said many students from other schools will be using the pool this week for an upcoming water polo tournament and she’s concerned about students’ safety. She also said that a coach had volunteered to take over the job of chlorinating the pool last year, after the team experienced similar symptoms, but the district refused to allow that. I haven’t had a chance to check into this, but I’m sharing these unsubstantiated allegations to find out if anyone else has heard any concerns about the level of chlorination in the CPHS pool.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Are there any early-career emerging leaders in MDUSD who might be interested in a fellowship to help transform education? If so, here’s the info: http://www.educationpioneers.org/2013FellowshipsOpen

  • anon

    The Ayers, Highlands, Mt. Diablo Elementary, Silverwood, Diablo View, and Pine Hollow feeder pattern meeting is Tuesday, December 5th, 7pm at Ayers Elementary School.