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MDUSD superintendent to hold feeder pattern meetings tonight and next week

By Theresa Harrington
Wednesday, December 5th, 2012 at 1:11 pm in Education, Mt. Diablo school district.

As a reminder, Superintendent Steven Lawrence plans to hold meetings with parents in three feeder patterns this month:

Tonight at 7 p.m. at Ayers Elementary in Concord: The Ayers, Highlands, Mt. Diablo Elementary, Silverwood, Diablo View, and Pine Hollow feeder pattern meeting will meet.

December 12: Northgate HS Feeder Pattern:
Includes: Foothill MS, Valle Verde EL, Walnut Acres EL, Bancroft EL

December 19: Ygnacio Valley HS Feeder Pattern:
Includes: Oak Grove MS, Fair Oaks EL, Cambridge EL, Meadow Homes EL, Woodside EL, Ygnacio Valley EL

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

Concord HS Feeder Pattern: 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: 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: February 6, April 24
Includes: Riverview MS, Rio Vista EL, Shore Acres EL, Bel Air EL, Delta View EL

At the Pleasant Hill Education Advisory Commission meeting, several commissioners discussed the CPHS feeder pattern meeting that was held Nov. 8. Here’s a rundown of what they discussed, based on minutes taken by one of the parents. Items in quotes are exact quotes from the minutes. The rest is paraphrased.

1. Attendance: six schools were represented and five were not (no mention of whether parents in the schools not represented were informed about the meeting).

2. Common Core: District will spend $12 million in Measure C money on new computers for assessments.

3. No Child Left Behind (NCLB): Parents were concerned about large number of NCLB students being sent to Pleasant Hill MS.
“District is grappling with sending NCLB students to Pine Hollow as those students will be inclined to attend Clayton Valley Charter in their future causing funding challenges.”

4. Staffing ratios:
Parents were concerned that CPHS, which has a very large enrollment, has only one college and career adviser. Yet, much smaller schools also have one person filling this role.
“Dr. Lawrence stated that the district has never had ratios for this staffing, yet it would be good to take a close look atw this when our district has more money.
Several parents were not satisfied.”

5. Evaluation of PAC meetings vs. the new Feeder Pattern Meeting Model:

Lawrence said he had more success with feeder pattern meetings and planned to test the model for one year.
“When questioned on a perception of exclusion (as attendees are on an email guest list) Dr. Lawrence suggested that people bring a friend and that the meetings are not meant to exclude. To that end, he is considering hosting a High School across district meeting so that parents from the high schools can join a conversation with Dr. Lawrence and begin sharing best practices.”

6. Unions/Contracts
Lawrence said five union contracts are up for renewal next year.

7. GATE
Lawrence talked about differentiation for accelerated learning.
“He mentioned something about ‘framing and regrouping’ but that was not clear. He noted that extending learning opportunities for all i his belief.”

Do you think the district should keep feeder pattern minutes and post them?

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  • Doctor J

    @TH#6 If the story of “new evidence of secrecy, incompetence and corruption in the district” breaks on Monday afternoon, it might make for a very interesting Board meeting — film at 11.

  • Doctor J

    @MDUSD-BW #50: Slight disagreement: Brian L. will make his own decisions based on his promises made. I expect every board member to “do it in public”, that is to disclose what information they requested, and what information they received in response on Board agenda items. So far, I haven’t seen any posts on Brian’s blog. On matters where there are questions, the appropriate response would be to postpone the decision until a more comprehensive public report is posted with the agenda item with all appropriate information. Clearly, there are so many questions now that the public is suspicious of the last minute “carte blanche authority” of the superintendent. If the Measure C In-house construction management boys run out of things to do, furlough them for a couple of weeks — there is no obligation to pay them 40 hours a week … or ven 37.5 .

  • Doctor J

    @MDUSD-BW #50: Slight disagreement: Brian L. will make his own decisions based on his promises made. I expect every board member to “do it in public”, that is to disclose what information they requested, and what information they received in response on Board agenda items. So far, I haven’t seen any posts on Brian’s blog. On matters where there are questions, the appropriate response would be to postpone the decision until a more comprehensive public report is posted with the agenda item with all appropriate information. Clearly, there are so many questions now that the public is suspicious of the last minute “carte blanche authority” of the superintendent. If the Measure C In-house construction management boys run out of things to do, furlough them for a couple of weeks — there is no obligation to pay them 40 hours a week … or even 37.5 .

  • anonymous 5

    Clearly needs to be housecleaning at all levels in MDUSD especially when there are administrators at schools who think that they can do as they will because staff won’t dare to say anything because of fear of retribution. Just look at MDHS and McClatchy telling everyone that things are fine there this year. Dignitaries who are visiting on Tuesday will find the graffiti gone, the trash picked up, and the benches painted just in time for their visit. A superficial sprucing up does not change the inherent problems with principal.

  • David “Shoe” Shuey – Clayton City Council

    I am hopeful that our newest Board members will stand up and do the right thing and elect Cheryl H. for President tomorrow night and help usher in a new era of transparency, openness and willingness to work with parents and cities to bring this district up for the kids. I hope there are many who will go speak at public comment and urge this to happen to reinforce the clear mandate from the public during the elections.

  • Theresa Harrington

    According to the agenda, public comment for the regular meeting will happen after the board votes on its new leadership: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_agendaview.aspx?mtgId=353
    Any members of the public wishing to speak about who is elected president would have to do so during the public comment period before the board goes into closed session at 6 p.m.

  • g

    Perhaps I just don’t understand? If the very first order of business is to swear in the two new board members, that would mean the two leaving office would have to “step aside” and take no further part in the meeting. Right?

    Then, how do they go into “closed session” without a hierachy? Who will lead the closed session?

  • g

    Thinking more about it, I suppose that would be Mayo.

  • Anon

    You can only speak to those items on closed session agenda prior to close session. Board elections will take place prior to any public or organization comment in open session.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Actually, since the “Organizational Meeting” is an agendized item (8.2), anyone wishing to speak about it could submit a speaker card and be heard prior to the board elections: http://esbpublic.mdusd.k12.ca.us/public_itemview.aspx?ItemId=6104&mtgId=353

    Here is a new blog post about the meeting: http://www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment/2012/12/09/mdusd-to-swear-in-two-new-board-members-monday/

  • Theresa Harrington

    The Northgate community has received this message about the upcoming feeder pattern meeting: “Northgate Community- There will be a Parent Advisory Council feeder pattern meeting being held this Wednesday December 12, 2012 at 7pm in the evening at Walnut Acres. If you are are a PAC rep for your school- please do your best to attend. Feel free to contact Linda Law … with any questions or comments you would like brought up at the meeting if you are unable to attend.
    Thank you !”

    Although it doesn’t specifically invite non-school reps to attend, at least it informs them about the meeting, so they could show up if they are interested.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Anyone know anything about a reported pipe bomb scare at Pleasant Hill Elementary?

  • g

    It gets confusing when Steven Lawrence indicates that he has decided to no longer have PACs, but will (instead) have feeder pattern meetings, to hopefully boost attendance, and it is not his intention to “exclude” anyone. (–except maybe all of North Concord from the Mt. Diablo High meetings–being held in Bay Point)

    But then, here we have a missive indicating the PAC is alive and kicking in the Northgate zone.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Yes, I thought it was surprising that this was referred to as a Parent Advisory Council meeting. It seems that some principals are still treating it the same, with the idea that only one representative from each school should attend. However, the term “feeder pattern meeting” seems to imply that anyone in the feeder pattern could attend. Perhaps some principals are confused because Lawrence has not sent out any formal message to the community informing them of the change. His only “Superintendent’s Message” this year was in August, welcoming families back to the school year: http://www.mdusd.org/NewsRoom/Pages/msg-from-superintendent-08-27-12.aspx

  • Doctor J

    Remember that PAC meetings are Board policy directed, which policy was never revoked, but is still in effect.

  • http://www.k12reboot.com Jim

    @61,63,64 — I got the same message. The item from the PFC was titled “Parent Advisory Council Meeting”. It was addressed to the “Northgate Community” but then seemed to refer only to members of the (still existing?) Parent Advisory Council. Is it that hard to just say, “Everyone welcome”, so that we can tell if we are?

    Why does the simplest communication regarding district business always have to be so ambiguous? (And to think that these people are in charge of teaching our children “Language Arts”!)

  • Theresa Harrington

    While I agree that this message is ambiguous and confusing, it is better than what was sent out for the last Northgate feeder pattern meeting — which was nothing. For that meeting, even Brian Lawrence was told by his child’s school that no meeting was happening. It was only after I called Northgate and posted the time and place that he found out the truth and was able to attend.

    As Dr. J points out, the board never agreed to disband the PAC. So, perhaps Lawrence should rename the meetings as PAC meetings held in feeder pattern locations. But, if that’s the case, then ALL PAC members should be invited to each meeting — not just those in the feeder pattern where the meeting is being held.

    As noted in the Pleasant Hill feeder pattern notes, the superintendent is already backtracking by considering holding a districtwide high school parent meeting. Perhaps he will similarly hold districtwide middle school and elementary school meetings.

    Since Brian Lawrence was confused himself about the status of these meetings, perhaps he will ask the superintendent to send a message to the community clarifying what is going on. Although Superintendent Steven Lawrence did speak about this during his Oct. 8 Superintendent’s Report, it’s quite possible that many principals and parents didn’t hear what he said. The minutes didn’t go into much detail about his new plan. Here’s what they said:

    “SUPERINTENDENT’S REPORT
    … Lawrence explained that in lieu of the Parent Advisory Committee meetings, he is now holding four meetings per year, per feeder pattern, in the hope that it will engage more parent participation.”

    It’s unclear what is meant by “MORE” parent participation, since it appears that he is still only inviting one representative per school.

  • Doctor J

    Its the Board’s direction, not Lawrence’s. Once again, Steven Lawrence is trying to eliminate or reduce parente involvement and accountability by himself to the parents. The Board needs to step up and say: Steven Lawrence, here is your direction: do this.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Based on what outgoing Board President Sherry Whitmarsh told me about the feeder pattern meetings, it sounded like she approved of what the superintendent wanted to do. If the new board has a different idea, then it needs to re-direct him.

  • Doctor J

    @TH#69 Sherry was not the “Board” despite her and Gary’s and Steven’s belief. Why didn’t Steven put it to a Board vote ?

  • Doctor J

    Live blog tonight ?

  • Theresa Harrington

    I’ll try. Regarding the superintendent, he has had a habit of taking direction from the board president. It is up to the entire board to reinforce the message that no one board member can direct staff.

  • Doctor J

    @TH#17 Who have been his board presidents ? Strange, Eberhart and Whitmarsh. Could he take direction from Hansen ? Would Mayo even be strong enough to give him direction or just acquiscse to Lawrence ? en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Acquiescence

  • Theresa Harrington

    Hansen is president, Oaks is vice president.

  • Doctor J

    A victory, as Shoe said, for a new era of transparency.

  • Flippin’ Tired

    My kids’ school had one of those all-school messages inviting every parent to attend, and we got an e-mail message too. I don’t know if it’s the superintendent’s intention to limit the number of attendees, but you wouldn’t know it by our school.

  • Theresa Harrington

    FT: Are you in the Northgate feeder pattern? Based on blog comments, I get the impression that the most open invitations have been to the Diablo View/Pine Hollow MS feeder pattern. Tonight, Brian Lawrence asked that the invitations in the Northgate feeder pattern be “more inviting,” since the message really only appeared to invite pre-selected school reps.

  • Theresa Harrington

    TK and K registration for some programs begins next month, in all schools Feb. 5: http://bit.ly/VSetZJ

  • Theresa Harrington

    Here’s a really nice video about the first annual kids’ culinary contest that was held at Concord HS: http://vimeo.com/55750702

  • Hell Freezing Over

    TH @ 79

    Thanks for the link to the culinary contest video – the kids and adults alike appeared to be having a great time and everyone seemed to be learning something new :) .

    The kids were all well spoken, excited about the cooking and so cute! Really enjoyed watching / listening to the video.

  • Flippin’ Tired

    Theresa @77, I’m in the CHS feeder pattern.

  • Theresa Harrington

    Yes, I actually attended and it was a very fun event. The kids were super excited and proud!

    Here’s a story about a proposal to create a sustainable farm on Central Contra Costa Sanitary District property: http://www.contracostatimes.com/breaking-news/ci_22269703/support-grows-sustainable-farm-central-contra-costa-sanitary.
    Trustee Linda Mayo is listed in the proposal as member of the project’s advisory board, who will help facilitate food distribution in the district.
    After Mayo’s comments before the closed session regarding building trust among board members, I’m surprised she would commit to this project without any board discussion. Even the Central Contra Costa Sanitary District board hasn’t taken a position on it yet.

  • g

    Perhaps there’s a whiff of a ‘stipend’ in the air.