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Did your school district seek your input into its accountability plan?

By Theresa Harrington
Friday, June 6th, 2014 at 6:49 pm in California, Education.

WCCUSD parents hold signs asking trustees to listen to their concerns.

WCCUSD parents hold signs asking trustees to listen to their concerns.

Time is running out for local school districts to adopt new plans for the future showing the public how they will spend state money to meet student goals. School boards must adopt the plans by July 1.

This month, districts throughout the state are holding public hearings to review their draft plans before finalizing them. School districts were required to seek input from parents, staff and community members regarding their priorities for meeting the needs of students, especially low-income students, English learners and foster youth.

Now is the time to look for your districts plan on its website and to e-mail your superintendent and school board if you have questions or suggestions. You can also attend school board meetings where your plans will be discussed and speak directly to trustees about your concerns.

Every plan must address eight state priorities. These are:

1. Basic services: Including appropriately assigned and credentialed teachers, availability of appropriate instructional materials, facilities in good repair.

2. Common Core standards: Implementation for all students including English learners.

3. Parental involvement: Including seeking input and improving parent participation.

4. Student achievement: Including test scores, English learner reclassification rates to proficiency, college-readiness and Advance Placement courses taken.

5. Student engagement: Including attendance, absenteeism, dropout and graduation rates.

6. School climate: Including suspensions, expulsions and other data.

7. Broad course of study: Including student access to all required curriculum areas.

8. Course of study outcomes: Other indicators of student performance

The Education Trust-West student advocacy group has developed a Local Control and Accountability Plan Evaluation Checklist to help parents and other community members review their district’s plans to be sure they meet legal requirements and clearly communicate district goals and plans for achieving those goals.

It includes guiding questions aimed at ensuring your district is developing its plan in a transparent and coherent way.

Here are some sample questions from the checklist, broken into categories required to be included in the plans:

1: Stakeholder engagement

Legal requirements

— Is a parent advisory committee reviewing the draft plan and providing written comments? Is the superintendent answering in writing?

— Did the district consult with parents, students, teachers, principals, administrators, other school employees and local bargaining units?

Beyond minimum requirements

— Did the district explain how it planned to incorporate community input into the plan?

— Are the advisory committees comprised primarily of parents?

2: Goals and progress

Legal requirements

— Did the district specify to which student groups each goal applies (e.g. all students, English learners, etc.)

— Did the district incorporate school-specific goals from school site plans?

Beyond the minimum

— Are the goals specific enough that the district can measure progress toward achieving them?

— Does the district have a clearly stated vision for how it plans to improve student success?

3: Goals, actions and expenditures

Legal requirements

— Is it clear how much money has been budgeted for each action? Does the amount seem reasonable?

— Did the district describe how it arrived at the amount of spending it is required to use to increase and improve services to high-need students?

Beyond the minimum

— Are the proposed actions likely to help the district achieve the related goals?

— Are the listed actions or services specific enough to convey exactly what the district will be doing or implementing?

The entire checklist is available by visiting http://fairshare4kids.org/toolkit. Click on “View Checklist.”

How do you rate your district’s plan according to the check list?

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

  • Jim

    Yes, by all means visit the link to the 5-page LCAP checklist. Read it carefully. And then ask yourself, How many of these questions could possibly have answers that would be concrete, verifiable and related to student achievement? Very few. This is another nonsense, smokescreen exercise that will never be measured in any meaningful way and that is likely to be abandoned after the next set of consultants suggests fixes to the problems caused by this latest initiative. All of the heat around this process will not illuminate the fundamental flaw in this system: these people are not accountable to anyone, and if you don’t like this district, you’ll just have to move.

  • Tk

    Jim,
    While I understand the history of this district and the (deserved) bad reputation that it has, I am optimistic for the first time in years right now. There are real people working on this who truly care about improving the district. From what I’ve seen of Dr. Nelly, she does too, and has only done things right so far.
    I am cautiously optimistic at this point, and hope that others will see the good things that are happening here.
    Reading the comments on this blog is tough for me: the comments are dominated by two posters who clearly want to pick apart every little thing that anyone does. They must have some sort of axe to grind here, so I wouldn’t use their comments to skew the positive things that are going on as well

  • Jim

    Tk — I agree that Nellie Meyer seems to be a capable Supe. She certainly stands head-and-shoulders above her recent predecessors at the district. But this LCAP process checklist is a classic example of state educrats trying to force accountability down to districts across the state, many of which are in even sorrier shape than MDUSD. It is top-down nonsense that almost no one will take seriously. There are certainly many well-intentioned people in this system, but there are also many, many others, particularly at middle administrative levels, who know that no matter how poorly they do, nothing major is at stake — either for the district or for themselves. Minor personnel shuffles occur from time to time, and then the big machine lumbers on. The students (and the funds that accompany them) still arrive every morning, because they have nowhere else to go. How much accountability can one ever hope for, under those conditions?

  • tmharrington

    Jim, As you probably know, according to the LCAP process, the County Office of Education is supposed to step in and help districts revise their plans (and spending) if they don’t achieve their stated goals. Do you think this adds a level accountability that has been missing in the past?

  • Jim

    Theresa, a number of questions come to mind. How long does the district have to “achieve their stated goals”? Is the outcome based on annual testing? English language proficiency? How long will those assessments take to administer, and then to interpret the results? Will anyone remember the goals after all that is completed?

    Second, are the “goals” even measurable? The checklist suggests that many of the goals will be about process inputs, not about actual outcomes, so there could be all sorts of perspectives on whether the goals were “met”. (The most convenient accountability goals are the ones that people can keep discussing forever and ever.)

    So no, unfortunately, I don’t how much accountability this will add. But we shall see…

  • Doctor J

    Nellie did not even check to make sure all of the Title I schools properly stated its goals in the SPSA’s as “SMART” goals as REQUIRED by the instructions AND Federal law. So why does anyone think if she can’t follow instructions on a template for SPSA, that she will follow the instructions on a template for the LCAP ? SMART meaning = Specific Measurable Attainable Realistic Time Related. Take a look at the 20 SPSA’s for the Title I. Schools presented last week and you will be sorely disappointed.

  • Doctor J

    Nellie capable ? Reminds me of the boat driver on the Jungle Cruise at Disneyland: Les Capable. Nellie’s detractors quickly pointed out that as #2 in San Diego USD she was quickly passed over by the Board and Cindy Marten selected. Also, former Supt Terry Greir, warehoused her and did not promote her. In MDUSD she has continued with the same plow horses that have run academics for 25 years without significant improvement and to the contrary had the highest number of Program Improvement schools in the Bay Area, API improvement — except for Delta View and highly funded SIG schools, was non existent. Neither Julie B-M nor Rose Lock nor Bill Morones have a record of turnaround of low performing schools. Capable ? LCAP and SPSA and the misnamed “reorganization” have been great disappointments. sorry but I haven’t seen “capable” yet and I was very optimistic 11 months ago.

  • tmharrington

    It will be interesting to see who she recommends for the important position of assistant supt. for high schools. With Diablo Community Day, Mt. Diablo HS, Ygnacio Valley HS, Gateway Continuation High, Crossroads Continuation High and Olympic Continuation High added to the Title 1 list, a new principal at Concord HS, CPHS apparently squeaking by on its accreditation, alleged low morale at Crossroads and a plan by some Northgate parents to leave the district — this will be a critical position to fill with a visionary leader who is very responsive.

  • Doctor J

    Teacher tenure laws unconstitutional in California. Now MDUSD can fire all the high priced teachers. Enjoy your summer Guy Moore and MDEA. http://edsource.org/2014/judge-strikes-down-all-5-teacher-protection-laws-in-vergara-lawsuit/63023#.U5fFJdq9KSM

  • Giorgio C

    The WCCUSD had representatives from each “high school area.” My question is how did these elected representatives on the LCAP committee communicate with the parents/children/members of their respective communities? With the WCCUSD’s poor use of Site Councils, many parents have little idea of the inner-workings of their school sites, making the LCFF/LCAP process even less meaningful. Even those on the LCAP voiced their frustration with not understanding the documents being presented to them. There should have been more time and more opportunities for input from all parents.

  • Giorgio C

    Here are the number of WCCUSD SSC meetings held as of April for the 2013/2014 year. Does this look like evidence of a district that wants parent involvement? The LCAP is supposed to be consistent with the SPSA, but how many parents even know about the SPSA? Kudos to those schools who did make an effort.

    Harbour Elementary 0

    Hercules MS 0

    Leadership 0

    North Campus 0

    DeJean 1

    Dover 1

    El Cerrito HS 1

    Hercules HS 1

    Middle College 1

    Sheldon 1

    Chavez 2

    Collins 2

    Crespi 2

    Hanna Ranch 2

    Highland 2

    Kensington 2

    Lake 2

    Madera 2

    Mira Vista 2

    Nystrom 2

    Portola 2

    Shannon 2

    Verde 2

    Vista 2

    Downer 3

    Fairmont 3

    Gompers 3

    Harding 3

    King 3

    Lincoln 3

    Stege 3

    Tara Hills 3

    Ellerhorst 4

    Ford 4

    Lupine 4

    Murphy 4

    Richmond HS 4

    Riverside 4

    Wilson 4

    Bayview 5

    DeAnza 5

    Grant 5

    Kennedy 5

    Pinole MS 5

    Pinole HS 5

    Stewart 5

    Valley View 5

    Washington 5

    Montalvin 6

    Ohlone 6

    Olinda 6

    Peres 6

    Coronado 7

    Helms 7

  • Doctor J

    It appears that CVCHS LCAP cannot be approved tonight since their Board by-laws do not allow a board to function two members short. According to a blog post on Claycord, the COE is aware and on top of the violation of its charter. The two vacancies are not appointed by the board, but one voted by the teachers, and the other voted by the administrators, both of whom are at odds with Director David Lindsay. Thus, the teachers and the administrator groups each could hold up the operation of the board and thus the operation of the school. It’s a mess. Who was the lawyer drafting those crazy by-laws ???

  • Doctor J

    The “ultimate quandary” — The CVCHS Board cannot act without a minimum of nine Board members. The two current vacancies are “teacher” and “administrator”. but the Board cannot appoint these members and neither the teachers nor administrators are inclined to appoint new directors. It is doubtful that the vote on removing Pat Middendorf was legal since there were only 8 directors then. In fact any past action while there were less than 9 directors is questionable. Look for the COE to step in quickly. who wrote these idiotic by-laws ?? “Section 3. The number of directors shall be no less than nine (9) and no more than ten (10), unless changed by amendments to these bylaws. All directors shall have full voting rights, including any representative appointed by the charter authorizer as consistent with Education Code Section 47604(c). The Board of Directors shall consist of at least nine (9) directors unless changed by amendment to these bylaws.”

  • g. de la verdad

    Does that mean the County could step in and appoint people to the two missing positions?

  • Doctor J

    Perhaps Theresa can contact Jane at COE to see what their intentions are . My guess is that COE will seek to terminate the charter since it cannot legally operate with less than 9 directors. This is why a charter needs a competent legal counsel. Who is their attorney ? He’s hiding under a rock.

  • g. de la verdad

    However, the agenda places red-lined change(s) to the bylaws that clearly tells what their intentions are regarding removal of the current Chair. On the other hand, that Bylaws item comes AFTER consideration of his removal…. It also seems that the COE would have to approve any changes to these bylaws before they could take effect. ??? Also, Ed Code indicates that in order to remove a Charter board member, they must follow the Brown Act and not only publish the agenda, but also publish the “Questions” of why he is to be, or should be removed. The Question was not published in the Agenda or Packet.

  • Doctor J

    I don’t think the by laws can legally be changed with less than 9 members so the charter can’t correct the poorly done by laws. That is why the blame must be put on the organizers, including who they relied upon for legal counsel. I hope the organizer teachers didn’t cheap out and not have competent legal counsel approving all their documents. It might be a fatal mistake: teachers playing lawyers.

  • g. de la verdad

    I don’t think they can make material changes to their bylaws without it causing changes to their Charter Documents, which requires approval from not only their own board, but also must be approved by the District’s board.

    So, you may be correct. Allowing themselves to fall below the required number of Directors, as was pledged in the Charter, should be under the scrutiny of the authorizing entity.

    BYLAWS, Article XVII, Section 1: “…no amendment [of the bylaws] shall change any provisions of the Charter that created Clayton Valley Charter High School or make any provisions of these Bylaws inconsistent with that Charter, the corporation’s Articles of Incorporation, or any laws.”

    CHARTER, Amending the Governing Structure: “…material revisions of the charter shall be made in accordance with the standards and criteria of education Code Section 47605 and must be approved by the Governing Board of the Charter School and the Board of the District.

  • Doctor J

    Was the budget really available all day yesterday for inspection per Item 4.2 ? NO ! And why for only one day ? and why not online ? How is the district going to handle the cap on reserves ? How is the district going to handle the increased district contributions to STRS ? After the wild spending spree by Nellie and the Board, will there be positive certification ??

  • Doctor J

    MDUSD has joined other districts in increasing luxury hotel expenses and out-of-state travel, not only for educators, but also for maintenance and operations. How much ? Theresa will have to do some digging like they did in Sacramento. Cited by FCMAT, read this report to get your dander up. http://www.sacbee.com/2014/06/17/6488528/the-public-eye-public-school-districts.html

  • Doctor J

    MDUSD’s Cal STRS contributions will nearly triple in phase in starting July 1. Did Nellie ignore Bryan Richard’s warnings ? What are the projected increases for MDUSD ? And teachers, your contributions are going up too ! So much for your raise — it’s going to Cal STRS now. http://www.sacbee.com/2014/06/16/6487421/legislature-delivers-financial.html

  • Doctor J

    After hundreds of thousands of $$$$$ spent, where is the improvement in English learners ? CLEDT scores released for 13/14. And Nellie keeps the same team together expecting different results ? You can’t teach old perros new tricks. http://dq.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/CELDT/results.aspx?year=2012-2013&level=district&assessment=2&subgroup=1&entity=07-61754-0000

  • Doctor J

    The price for MDUSD’s administrators’ lax molestation prevention just went ballistic — and the administrators are all employed and promoted without a whiff of discipline. Moraga just paid out $14 Million for two victims. If that’s the new price for molestation coverup damages, MDUSD’s 13 victims should get $91 million — well above insurance coverage. Where is the money coming from ? Not administrator raises. Not teacher raises. That leaves the students holding the bag for administrator misconduct. And not a single administrator has apologized. Shameless ! It’s time for a public flogging. http://www.contracostatimes.com/news/ci_25982749/moraga-district-agrees-pay-largest-ever-per-student

  • Doctor J

    Musical Administrators starting to leak — Parents complained that first year Riverview MS principal Thom Kwiatkowski being replaced.

  • Doctor J

    Mike Langley politely embarrassed Board Pres Barbara Oaks. — right after Barbara read the budget agenda item that recited that a Public Notice had been published in the CCT that the budget would be available for public inspection at Dent, Mike deftly pointed out that he not being a newspaper subscriber had tried to find the budget on line, and when that failed, he went to Nance Juner’s office and the budget was not available in Fiscal. Barbara was stunned and speechless. Nellie just looked blank. Nance said she “would try” to have it posted by Saturday night for adoption next Wednesday. Larry jumped in with both feet when he realized the whole public hearing was jeopardized with the admission that the budget wasn’t finished or available for public review and had Barbara continue the public hearing over to Wednesday — I’m not sure that meets the new Ed Code requirements for public participation, but wii have to look that up. In response to simple board questions, Clearly Nance didn’t understand that when enrollment dips below 30,000 children the % of reserves (she called it reservations) increases — she said decreases and you can hear Larry trying to correct her. Nellie did point out that they had a discussion about the increased CAlSTRS contributions by the district along with all of the spending recently approved by the board in restoring programs and people. Everything sounded uncertain about the budget. Unfortunately Nance didn’t sound very confident in her presentation. Let’s hope it goes better next week.

  • g. de la verdad

    More Oops. This isn’t posted, that isn’t posted, the other thing was posted in Draft form a couple of weeks ago, but the public questions and responses are still being worked on, (and obviously were not being considered in what was posted two weeks ago–or for public hearing) but let’s go ahead and try to fool the public…. Oops, SSDD!

  • tmharrington

    Speaking of posting, when was the agenda for this special meeting posted?

  • g. de la verdad

    This one was posted earlier than usual–on the 16th. Generally they only give 24hrs notice for Special Meetings. Juner has now posted her fluff PowerPoint-a day after presentation.

  • tmharrington

    Rep. George Miller has come out in strong support of Vergara ruling, challenges state to improve teaching: http://democrats.edworkforce.house.gov/sites/democrats.edworkforce.house.gov/files/documents/6.19.14-VergaraLettertoCAdelegation-final.pdf

  • tmharrington

    Pleasant Hill Ed. Commission on Wednesday will discuss SROs, MDUSD LCAP, Northgate USD proposal: http://www.ci.pleasant-hill.ca.us/ArchiveCenter/ViewFile/Item/1748

    As I’ve mentioned before, it’s odd that this commission chooses to meet on Wednesday nights now that the school board also meets on Wednesdays. Everyone at this meeting will miss the MDUSD LCAP adoption. Also, I heard that the last meeting became contentious regarding the Northgate proposal. It will be interesting to see whether the PHMS school climate issues are related to the anonymous complaints I’ve been receiving about dissatisfaction there among some teachers.

  • Doctor J

    The Special Meeting was discussed by the Board at the June 4 Board meeting. I saw the slot appear on the Board agenda page on Friday the 13th, and actually saw the agenda on the 16th. and of course the Notice of Public Hearing was published in the CCTimes on Sat June 7.

  • Doctor J

    EdSource gives visuals of Districts increased contributions to STRS. MDUSD gave zero thought to these significant increases while spending money like drunken sailors. http://edsource.org/2014/california-2014-15-budget-highlights-for-education/63403#.U6OsENq9KSM

  • Tk

    1. The woodside teacher is still on trial.
    2. Who says $14 is the new price?
    3. Why would anyone apologize with the trial still going on? that would be an admission of guilt.

    Please say something positive. Just one time.

  • tmharrington

    Thanks. It looks like the Antioch community is really trying to hold that district accountable for spending its increased LCFF funding on disadvantaged students: http://www.contracostatimes.com/contra-costa-times/ci_25996627/community-raises-red-flags-over-antioch-unified-plan

    I have seen similar groups at the WCCUSD LCAP meetings. MDUSD’s LCAP does not appear to be generating as much interest among advocates for disadvantaged youth.

  • tmharrington

    Speaking of accountability, here’s a new blog post about some WCCUSD residents questioning a proposal by Board President Charles Ramsey to rename Portola MS in El Cerrito after Fred J. Korematsu, the late Japanese American civil rights activist: http://www.ibabuzz.com/onassignment/2014/06/20/proposal-to-rename-portola-middle-school-generates-controversy/

  • tmharrington

    Here’s a new blog post about the importance of summer learning, including words of wisdom from First Lady Michelle Obama: http://bit.ly/1kWzWwR

    Will MDUSD bring back Summer School as part of its LCAP?

  • g. de la verdad

    Wild agenda for Wed’s meeting! Bring a midnight snack, just in case the board forgets to bring their rubber stamps. Really interesting items buried in the Fiscal expense report too.

  • tmharrington
  • tmharrington

    It looks like MDUSD isn’t the only district that wanted to increase its tax rate after promising it wouldn’t. Acalanes plans to vote on increasing its tax rate tomorrow night: http://www.boarddocs.com/ca/auhsd/Board.nsf/Public#

  • g. de la verdad

    May/June not-so-good news: General Fund being used to hire outside advisor to clean up Measure C DSA approval problems and to purchase replacement solar panels.

  • tmharrington

    As I have been covering WCCUSD, I have found that they hired WLC architects to handle their DSA issues at a cost of $15,000. Is MDUSD’s in-house construction management team in over its head? And will this be brought to the attention of the CBOC?

  • Doctor J

    Who is on the DA and Martin witness lists ?? I wonder how many MDUSD administrators ??

  • Doctor J

    the General Fund for Meas C purchases ? WTH ?

  • tmharrington

    In case anyone’s interested in making comparisons, here’s the Acalanes district’s LCAP: http://www.acalanes.k12.ca.us/cms/lib01/CA01001364/Centricity/Domain/4/AUHSD_LCAP_2014-2015.pdf

    And regarding bond measures, there is NO link to the Acalanes district’s CBOC on its website: http://www.acalanes.k12.ca.us/

  • tmharrington

    Here’s my news brief on the Acalanes plan to break ballot language promise and increase tax rate to issue $25 million in new bonds: http://www.contracostatimes.com/lafayette/ci_26019832/lafayette-acalanes-trustees-may-issue-bonds-hike-property

  • g. de la verdad

    Yes and Yes.

  • g. de la verdad

    At least WCCUSD can count on donations to educational school projects from some of what they pay for their outside contracts. It seems MDUSD’s contractors only donate to elections.

  • g. de la verdad

    Doesn’t that seem like a whollaping big tax increase for just $25 million? Do you recall what MDUSD’s tax % increase was to escalate bond sales — for $150million, if I recall correctly?

  • tmharrington

    I don’t recall. But even weirder is that Acalanes only needs $15 million to complete its projects. And less than three months ago, the CBOC reported that it only needed $10 million and would NOT issue the remaining $15 million, saving taxpayers that additional cost!

  • tmharrington

    Based on a letter I just received from a Pleasant Hill resident, it looks like the contractor installing the HVAC at PH Elementary is very lax about safety, leaving an open box cutter out, along with units stacked so high they could easily topple over. I’ll post the letter later today.