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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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87 Responses to “MDUSD superintendent feeder pattern meeting dates revealed”

  1. g Says:

    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.

  2. g Says:

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

  3. Theresa Harrington Says:

    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.

  4. g Says:

    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.

  5. A Parent Says:

    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.

  6. Theresa Harrington Says:

    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.

  7. g Says:

    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?

  8. g Says:

    Official Feeder Patterns:

  9. Theresa Harrington Says:

    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 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.

  10. g Says:

    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.

  11. anon Says:

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

  12. Theresa Harrington Says:

    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.

  13. Anon Says:

    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.

  14. Theresa Harrington Says:

    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.”

  15. anonymous 5 Says:

    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.

  16. Theresa Harrington Says:

    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.

  17. anonymous 5 Says:

    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.

  18. anon Says:

    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.

  19. Doctor J Says:

    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.”

  20. Theresa Harrington Says:

    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:

  21. Theresa Harrington Says:

    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):

  22. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Anyone heard anything about this Northgate HS girls’ soccer coach apparently being let go?

  23. g Says:

    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?

  24. Anon Says:

    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

  25. Theresa Harrington Says:

    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.

  26. Theresa Harrington Says:

    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:

  27. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a photo of Assemblywoman Susan Bonilla’s visit to a TK class at Highlands Elementary:

  28. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Board to consider leaving CVCHS boundaries open to transfers into any district school:
    88 students in CVCHS attendance area transferred into district schools this year.

  29. Theresa Harrington Says:

    It looks like the board is considering changing feeder patterns after all:
    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.

  30. Anon Staff Says:

    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.

  31. Really? Says:

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

  32. Anon Says:

    But first spend $7mil of bond proceeds on YV

  33. Theresa Harrington Says:

    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.

  34. Wait a Minute Says:

    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!!!

  35. g Says:

    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????

  36. Doctor J Says:

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

  37. Anon Says:

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

  38. g Says:

    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?

  39. Theresa Harrington Says:

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

  40. g Says:

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

  41. g Says:

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

  42. Theresa Harrington Says:

    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):

  43. Theresa Harrington Says:

    In contrast to MDUSD, the Martinez school board will receive a comprehensive report about Program Improvement and Adequate Yearly Progress tonight (Item 15.3):
    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.

  44. Doctor J Says:

    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

  45. Anon Says:

    No post about the 10-22-12 meeting ?

  46. Theresa Harrington Says:

    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.

  47. anon Says:

    Looks like the restrooms are locked again at MDHS

  48. Theresa Harrington Says:

    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.

  49. Theresa Harrington Says:

    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:

  50. anon Says:

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

  51. Theresa Harrington Says:

    December 5 is Wednesday.

  52. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Look at this Annual Report to the Community that the Livermore Superintendent provides to parents:

    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”?

  53. Doctor J Says:

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

  54. g Says:

    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?

  55. Theresa Harrington Says:

    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.

  56. Doctor J Says:

    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.

  57. g Says:

    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.

  58. Theresa Harrington Says:

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

  59. Anon Says:

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

  60. g Says:

    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.”

  61. g Says:

    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….

  62. Theresa Harrington Says:

    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.

  63. Theresa Harrington Says:

    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:

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

  64. Doctor J Says:

    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 ?

  65. Theresa Harrington Says:

    The CAC meeting agenda is attached to the bottom of the meeting notice on the district’s “Upcoming Meetings” link:

  66. Doctor J Says:

    @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.

  67. Wait a Minute Says:

    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.

  68. Theresa Harrington Says:

    WAM: At 10:08 a.m. (three minutes ago), the meeting time was changed to 7:30 p.m.:

    Perhaps someone at the district office is reading the blog.

  69. Doctor J Says:

    Deslite their false denials, they are reading the blogs !

  70. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here is the agenda for tonight’s CAC meeting, where members will receive a report on the Autism Magnet Program:

  71. Theresa Harrington Says:

    There is also a Pleasant Hill Education/Schools Advisory Commission meeting tonight at the same time:
    (Don’t be fooled by the Wednesday day listed. I have confirmed that it is actually tonight, Dec. 4)

  72. Anon Says:

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

  73. Theresa Harrington Says:

    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.

  74. Doctor J Says:

    @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 !]

  75. Doctor J Says:

    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.

  76. Doctor J Says:

    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]

  77. Theresa Harrington Says:

    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.)

  78. Doctor J Says:

    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 ?

  79. Doctor J Says:

    @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 !

  80. Theresa Harrington Says:

    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.

  81. Doctor J Says:

    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 ?

  82. Doctor J Says:

    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.

  83. Theresa Harrington Says:

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

  84. Wait a Minute Says:

    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.

  85. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here are the Smarter Balanced technology requirements for the computer equipment the district apparently plans to buy for $12 million:

  86. Theresa Harrington Says:

    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:
    Now, the only question is: Will school and district administrators make it happen to benefit CPHS students?

  87. Theresa Harrington Says:

    Here’s a new feeder pattern blog post, with a parent’s notes from the CPHS feeder pattern meeting:

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