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Reporter ‘farewell’ to Contra Costa Times/Bay Area News Group

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It is with mixed feelings that I say “goodbye” to the Contra Costa Times and Bay Area News Group as I move on to a position as a reporter for EdSource.

I have enjoyed my 15 years with the company, where I have had the privilege of covering the cities of Benicia, Concord, Clayton, Martinez, Pleasant Hill and Walnut Creek, along with the Mt. Diablo and West Contra Costa school districts. Contra Costa County is filled with interesting people and places.

I will miss the watchdog reporting I have done in the Mt. Diablo and West Contra Costa districts, as well as the interviews and features I’ve written about Hometown Heroes and interesting programs.

However, I am excited by the opportunity to cover the Common Core standards as a reporter for EdSource Today, an online publication operated by the nonprofit education information organization EdSource. I hope to continue covering people and schools in Contra Costa and the East Bay, as well as Northern California, focusing on this new beat.

Tom Torlakson, state superintendent of public instruction, said in a recent news release that more than 3 million students in California have been tested under the state’s new online California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, or CAASPP, computer-adaptive system.

“Along with new rigorous state academic standards, improved school funding, and more local control, CAASPP is helping us transform education and better prepare California students for college and careers in the 21st century,” he said in a prepared statement. “As this year’s assessment season draws to a close, I am pleased that overall it has gone very smoothly.”

The state piloted the tests last year and gave school districts extra money for technology and training to help transition to the “real deal” this spring. Although the state intends to release scores to parents and districts in the next few months, it does not plan to use them to create the familiar Academic Performance Index, or API scores, which the public has relied on in the past to compare schools.

Instead, the state has suspended these accountability ratings while a new accountability system is created.

Torlakson and school district leaders throughout the state have warned that the new scores will likely be lower than results seen in the past because the tests are more rigorous and assess critical thinking, analytical writing and problem-solving skills.

“Many, if not most, students will need to make significant progress to reach the standards set for math and literacy that accompany college and career readiness,” according to the news release.

Districts expect to receive Student Score Reports eight weeks after their testing windows closed at the end of this past school year. Within 20 days of receiving the scores, districts are expected to mail the reports to students’ homes.

School, district and state test results will also be posted on the state Department of Education’s website by late summer or early fall.

“No one should be discouraged by the scores,” Torlakson said. “They can help guide discussions among parents and teachers and help schools adjust instruction to meet student needs.”

Student scores will range from 1,000 to 3,000, corresponding to the achievement levels: standard exceeded, standard met, standard nearly met, and standard not met.

Since the computer-adaptive technology adjusts questions based on each student’s answer, parents will not be given the number of questions asked or the number that were answered correctly or incorrectly. They will also not be given a percentile ranking showing how their students’ scores compare to the scores of other students at the same grade level statewide.

More information about the new tests is at www.cde.ca.gov/ta/tg/ca.

You can follow my future coverage of the Common Core at http://edsource.org.

This newspaper plans to assign another reporter to take over the education beat. In the meantime, contact editor Cecily Burt at cburt@bayareanewsgroup.com with education tips and questions.

Thanks for 15 great years!

Posted on Friday, July 17th, 2015
Under: Education | 18 Comments »

Do you think the state Legislature should repeal the cap on school district reserves?

When voters approved the Gov. Jerry Brown-backed Proposition 2 state rainy day fund measure last November, only one group opposed it — the grass roots Educate Our State student advocacy group.

The Oakland-based organization consists mainly of parents throughout the state who want to give a voice to students who don’t get to vote on initiatives that affect them, said Katherine Welch, a board member of the group and Piedmont parent.

“When you’re parents and you’re kids, you have no power or money,” she said. “It’s just sad. We spent $8,000 to oppose Proposition 2 and the other side spent $12 million.”

At the time, Educate Our State was trying to sound the alarm about a trailer bill linked to the measure that could trigger a cap on the amount of money school districts can keep in reserve. But while some school district officials were also worried about it, Welch said few were willing to publicly oppose the popular measure.

“We had people calling us, saying, ‘Don’t do this,’” Welch recalled. “It was a rude awakening. There’s just so much intimidation in politics.”

Instead, others who were concerned about the cap said it could be fixed later, via legislative action. Even state Superintendent Tom Torlakson told me during his re-election campaign that he opposed the cap, but he believed the best strategy for dealing with it would be to try to get it changed after the measure passed.

But expectations that the Legislature would repeal the cap have not come true. Instead, a Senate Bill aimed at repealing the cap was withdrawn and a similar bill by Assemblywoman Catharine Baker, R-Dublin, was shot down in the Assembly Education Committee.

Now, the California School Boards Association, or CSBA, is sounding the alarm. The organization made up of elected trustees throughout the state is gathering its members for news conferences and launching a media campaign aimed at building public pressure to remove the cap, which they fear could prevent districts from saving enough money to stave off cuts in the future, when another recession hits.

While Welch is glad others are finally jumping on the anti-cap bandwagon, she said she wonders why they weren’t so vocal back in November.

“We wished people would have pushed when it was on the ballot,” she said, “so we wouldn’t have to waste so much political energy.”

Lafayette school district Trustee Suzy Pak, who is also on the Educate Our State board, expressed similar views.

“We pounded the pavement trying to get the word out about what Proposition 2 was going to do,” she said. “It’s frustrating that we were saying pretty much the same thing all along. There were a couple of other groups that knew the implications of passing (it). It’s just demoralizing that now that a statewide organization like CSBA is campaigning to try to repeal a part of it. I wonder what was happening pre-election — why we couldn’t work together toward that.”

San Ramon Valley schools Trustee Denise Jennison said she and others in her district have been speaking out about the cap for a long time. Last month, she tweeted to the state Department of Education and Torlakson: “If you are committed to #localcontrol you should have done something about caps on district reserves.”

Do you think the Legislature should repeal the cap?

Posted on Friday, July 10th, 2015
Under: Education | 2 Comments »

West Contra Costa district resident raises questions about use of parcel tax money

West Contra Costa resident Fatima Alleyne, a member of the Budget Advisory Committee, is raising questions about how the school district is spending its Measure G parcel tax money.

She wonders why money earmarked for “after-school programs” has been spent on athletics and why the district paid for custodians with dollars promised to retain teachers and keep campuses safe. Alleyne has sent several e-mails to Superintendent Bruce Harter and others asking for clarification and has been “bemused” by their responses.

Although the district changed the language in its most recent Measure G ballot initiative, district officials insist on characterizing it as an “extension” of the previous Measure D, as though it were worded exactly the same.

Measure D, approved in 2008, stated that money received would be used to: “improve education, including reading, writing, math and science; retain quality teachers and counselors; support libraries, computer training, and athletic programs; prepare students for college and the workforce; maintain reduced class sizes; maintain school cleanliness; and protect against state budget cuts.”

The district’s 2012 Measure G language, which appeared on the ballot, asked voters to approve the parcel tax for: “protecting core academics — reading, writing, math, science, attracting and retaining quality teachers, providing lower class sizes for the youngest children, preparing students for college and the workforce, and improving safety on and around school campuses.”

Noticeably absent was any reference to athletic programs and maintaining school cleanliness. However, the full text of the ballot measure in the voter pamphlet also listed additional possible uses for the money, including “supporting after-school programs to keep kids away from gangs and drugs.” Even in this expanded version of the measure’s text, athletics and school cleanliness were removed.

This prompted Alleyne to ask why the district spent more than $1 million in Measure G money on athletics, classifying it as an “after-school program.” She also asked why $472,930 was allocated for clean facilities “when the measure does not support funding for clean facilities.”

Harter responded in a May 5 letter that athletics had been funded through the parcel tax since 2004 and that the sports programs qualified for funding under “after-school programs.” Regarding the cleaning expenses, Harter wrote: “Clean and well-kept facilities are an important part of retaining qualified teachers and keeping campuses safe for employees and students.”

He said spending priorities “were set in place in 2004 when the district was adopting program and service cuts in the categories that are now supported through the local parcel tax.”

He did not acknowledge or explain why the district changed the ballot language in 2012 for Measure G.

Alleyne questions why the change in ballot language did not change the way the district spent the money.

“If it was the board’s intention to use ‘after-school’ program funding only for high school athletics,” she wrote in a June 17 e-mail to Harter, “why did they change the language of the text? This approach appears deceitful and misleading to voters.”

She also said she has spoken to several teachers and “none of them agreed that hiring custodians is the best manner to retain and attract quality teachers.”

Alleyne suggested that the district should evaluate the effectiveness of this strategy.

“When I think of safe conditions, I do not immediately think of custodians — rather security,” she said. “And many of my colleagues believe the same.”

Yet, the Budget Advisory Committee approved the expenditures, saying the money was spent according to the ballot measure.

Do you agree that money approved for after-school programs should be spent on athletics and that money for teacher retention and school safety should be spent on custodians?

Posted on Thursday, July 2nd, 2015
Under: Education, West Contra Costa school district | 4 Comments »

MDUSD board and Walnut Creek City Council to meet on Monday

The Mt. Diablo school board and Walnut City Council will hold a joint special meeting at 6:30 p.m. Monday in the Northgate High School Little Theater at 425 Castle Rock Road in Walnut Creek to discuss issues of mutual interest and ongoing partnerships.

Here is the agenda:

“1.0 Call to Order
1.1 Meeting Location: Northgate High School, Little Theater, 425 Castle Rock Road, Walnut Creek, CA 94598 Info
1.2 Pledge of Allegiance Info
1.3 Roll Call Info

2.0 Public Comment
2.1 Public Comment Info

3.0 Business/Action Items
3.1 Information Exchange Between Walnut Creek City Council and Mt. Diablo Unified School District Info

4.0 Adjournment
4.1 Adjourn Meeting Action”

Here is the detailed agenda report for the Item 3.1 discussion:

“The Mt. Diablo Unified School District Governing Board and the Walnut Creek City Council will provide each other updates on items of mutual interest and discuss current partnerships and other areas of cooperation. Discussion items may include:

Mt. Diablo Unified School District:
-District/School Supports
-Academics/Common Core State Standards
-Facilities Upgrades

City of Walnut Creek:
-Summary of City Funds allocated to School Functions
-Police Department Update on Resource Officer
-Drought Plan for City and School District
-Capital Projects Update
-Development Project Update”

What issues or topics do you think the school board and city council should discuss?

Posted on Saturday, June 27th, 2015
Under: Mt. Diablo school district, Walnut Creek, Walnut Creek City Council | 101 Comments »

West Contra Costa school district’s ‘data dashboard’ gives public details on demographics, test scores and more

In the world of education, data is all the rage.

Teachers talk about using “data-driven” strategies to educate their students by analyzing test results to pinpoint weaknesses, then focusing on them to ensure students “get it.”

And the state’s new funding formula requires school districts to compile data in accountability plans to show whether they are meeting goals in eight priority areas, including available courses and suspensions and expulsions.

But in many districts, it may be difficult for the public to see at a glance how their local schools are doing.

The West Contra Costa school district, however, is one of a few districts statewide that has created online interactive “data dashboards” to show the public the good, the bad and the ugly details about how its students are faring.

It’s a bold move for a district that has ranked near the bottom on test scores throughout California for years. But it’s also a refreshing turn of the tide for a district that has been known more for obfuscation than transparency, when asked for information by the public.

“This lifts the veil,” trustee Madeline Kronenberg said, after district Director of Accountability Nicole Joyner presented a PowerPoint to the board on Wednesday outlining the wealth of information available.

“Dashboards are visual displays that organize and present information in a way that is easy to read and interpret,” Joyner reported. “They are web-based and interactive, providing visibility into key measures through simple graphics such as charts and tables.”

The district’s dashboards include information on demographics, student achievement, student engagement, school climate, parent involvement, basic services, the district’s Local Control Accountability Plan and other measures. It will launch a pilot parent portal in 2015-16, Joyner said.

The district has networked with UC Berkeley and the Oakland school district to set up the dashboards, Joyner said. The Fresno district also produces these types of dashboards, she added.

West Contra Costa’s dashboards can be found at http://www.wccusd.net/dashboard. Visitors can see districtwide data, as well as information for individual schools, from 2010 through this school year.

The website includes links to a one-page Dashboard Quick Start Guide, a two-page brochure with more information, an e-brochure that allows viewers to read it as a slide show, a glossary of education terms used in school reports, and a two-page description of 28 data categories included, such as Advanced Placement courses, UC and CSU required course completion and school attendance rates. All of these documents are available in both English and Spanish.

The site also includes an update log that lists additions and revisions. The district launched the dashboard May 11 and has made 10 additions since then, including physical fitness test results.

Much of this information may be available in other places, such as the California Department of Education’s DataQuest website, but West Contra Costa’s dashboard makes it much easier for the public to easily access it in a reader-friendly way.

The demographics dashboard shows that the district’s 28,910 students are 51.6 percent Hispanic, 18.9 percent African-American, 11.4 percent Asian, 10.8 percent white, 6 percent Filipino and 0.4 percent American Indian. Nearly 72 percent of district students are low-income, 32.8 percent are English learners and 0.5 percent are foster youth. More than 13 percent of district students are in special education programs.

A map graphic on the site shows that 12,358 students live in Richmond, 6,992 are from San Pablo, 2,793 are Hercules residents, 2,149 reside in Pinole, 2,090 live in El Cerrito and 21 come from Vallejo.

The student achievement dashboard reveals that in 2013-14, less than one-third of students who took Advanced Placement exams passed, less than three-quarters of students who took the California High School Exams passed, and less than 60 percent of students in grades 5, 8 and 10 scored proficient or advanced on the state’s standardized science tests.”

How do you think the district and public could best utilize data dashboards?

Posted on Saturday, June 27th, 2015
Under: Education, West Contra Costa school district | 2 Comments »

WCCUSD appointments

At its June 10 meeting, the West Contra Costa school board unanimously ratified the following administrative appointments approved in closed session:

Sonja Bell, Coordinator of State and Federal Programs

Allison Huie, Coordinator of English Learner Program

Janet Scott, Director of Educational Services

Pat Evans, Special Education Administrator

Wendy Gonzalez, Interim Principal of Lake Elementary

Mimi Melodia, Principal of Grant Elementary

Vince Rhea, Principal of the Greenwood Academy (formerly known as Gompers continuation high school)

Sylvia Greenwood, Interim Principal of Vista High School.

At tonight’s board meeting, trustees expect to appoint principals for a high school, a middle school and an elementary school. I will post those and other appointments as updates to this blog in the future.

Do you agree with the board’s practice of voting on appointments in closed session, before ratifying them in open session?

Posted on Wednesday, June 24th, 2015
Under: Education, West Contra Costa school district | No Comments »

MDUSD board to adopt LCAP, 2015-16 budget, appoint five elementary principals and create new job descriptions

The Mt. Diablo school board will hold a special meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday in the district office at 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord.

The board expects to adopt its Local Control Accountability Plan and 2015-16 budget, appoint five elementary principals, create three new job descriptions and revise another job description.

Please note that the closed session portion of the meeting will start at 5 p.m., but the open session will begin at 7 p.m., according to the superintendent’s administrative assistant.

Here is the agenda:

“1.0 Call to Order
1.1 President Will Call the Meeting to Order at 5:00 p.m. Info
1.2 Preliminary Business Info

2.0 Announcements

3.0 Public Comment
3.1 Public Comment: The public may address the Board concerning Items that are scheduled for discussion during Special Closed Session only. These presentations are limited to three minutes each, or a total of thirty minutes for all speakers or the three minute limit may be shortened. Speakers are not allowed to yield their time. Info

4.0 Closed Session Agenda
4.1 (Item #1) Superintendent’s Evaluation Info/Action
5.0 Adjourn to Closed Session #1
5.1 Adjourn to Closed Session Info

6.0 Reconvene Open Session
6.1 Reconvene Open Session Info

7.0 Preliminary Business
7.1 Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call Info

8.0 Report Out Action Taken in Closed Session
8.1 (Item #1) Superintendent’s Evaluation Info/Action

9.0 Public Comment
9.1 Public Comment: The public may address the Board concerning items that are scheduled for discussion during the Special Board Meeting only. These presentations are limited to three minutes each, or a total of thirty minutes for all speakers or the three minute limit may be shortened. Speakers are not allowed to yield their time. Info

10.0 Business/Action Items

10.1 2015-2016 District Budget Action

10.2 Adoption of the 2015-2016 Mt. Diablo Unified School District Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) Action

10.3 Updating LEA Plan Goal 2: English Proficient/Title III Immigrant Annual Plan and Budget Update Action

10.4 Appointment of Elementary Principal – Cambridge Elementary Action

10.5 Appointment of Elementary Principal – Meadow Homes Elementary Action

10.6 Appointment of Elementary Principal – Silverwood Elementary Action

10.7 Appointment of Elementary Principal – Valle Verde Elementary Action

10.8 Appointment of Elementary Principal – Westwood Elementary Action

10.9 Create Job Description for Assistant Director of Personnel Info/Action

10.10 Create Job Description for Administrator, Compliance Info/Action

10.11 Create Job Description for Community Liaison Info/Action

10.12 Revise Job Description for Administrator, Assessment, Research & Evaluation Info/Action

10.13 Request to Increase and/or Delete Full Time Equivalent (FTE). Action

10.14 Nomination of New Member to the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) for the 2015-2016 School Year Action

10.15 Meeting Extension Action

11.0 Adjourn to Closed Session #2
11.1 Items Not Completed During the First Closed Session will be Carried Over to this Closed Session. Action

12.0 Reconvene Open Session
12.1 Reconvene to Open Session and Report Out Action Taken in Closed Session Info

13.0 Adjournment
13.1 Adjourn Meeting Action”

Do you support the creation of assistant director for personnel, compliance administrator and community liaison positions?

Posted on Wednesday, June 24th, 2015
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 23 Comments »

MDUSD appointments

Here is a list of the appointments made by the Mt. Diablo school board on June 22:

· Jose Espinoza, Director, English Learner Services

· Beverly Tom, School Support Administrator

· Samantha Allen, Administrator, Necessary Small High School – Crossroads

· Lynsie Shatswell, Principal, Continuation School – Olympic High School

· Eric Wood, Middle School Principal – Riverview Middle School

· Laura Casdia, Elementary Principal – Ayers Elementary

· Ifeoma Obodozie, Elementary Principal – Pleasant Hill Elementary

· Kelly Eagan, High School Vice Principal – Northgate High School

· David Ramirez, High School Vice Principal – Ygnacio Valley High School

· Jessica Brown, High School Vice Principal – Ygnacio Valley High School

· Stephen Slater, Middle School Vice Principal – Diablo View Middle School

· Melissa Brennan, Middle School Vice Principal – Pine Hollow Middle School

· Heather Fontanilla, Program Specialist, Career Pathways/Linked Learning

Summer School:

· Rochelle Hooks and Efa Huckaby, Summer School Administrators

The board also unanimously agreed to authorize Superintendent Nellie Meyer to make administrative appointments during the summer break, to be ratified by trustees in August.

Thanks to Debbie Maher, Administrative Assistant to the Superintendent, for providing me with this list.

I will try to update this post as new appointments are made.

Posted on Tuesday, June 23rd, 2015
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 5 Comments »

MDUSD board tonight to make appointments, vote on $38.5 million bond issuance preliminary official statement, discuss reopening two schools

The Mt. Diablo school board will meet at 7 p.m. in the district office at 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord. The board expects to make several appointments, vote on the preliminary official statement for the issuance of $38.5 million in remaining Measure C bonds and to discuss reopening Holbrook Elementary and Glenbrook Middle School, which are both in Concord, near the Naval Weapons Station. The superintendent is also asking the board to authorize her to enter into construction and administrator contracts during summer.

Here is the agenda:

“1.0 Call to Order
1.1 President Will Call the Meeting to Order at 6:00 p.m. Info
1.2 Preliminary Business Info
2.0 Announcements
2.1 Announcements Action

3.0 Public Comment
3.1 Public Comment: The public may address the Board concerning items that are scheduled for discussion during Closed Session only. These presentations are limited to three minutes each, or a total of thirty minutes for all speakers or the three minute limit may be shortened. Speakers are not allowed to yield their time. Info

4.0 Closed Session Agenda
4.1 Readmission of Student #B-15 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
4.2 Anticipated Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel pursuant to Gov’t. Code Sec. 54956.9(b), Significant Exposure to Litigation: John Doe v. MDUSD, USDC Case No. 3:14 CV 2167 Info/Action
4.3 Anticipated Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel pursuant to Gov’t. Code Sec. 54956.9(b), Significant Exposure to Litigation: 5 cases Info/Action
4.4 PULLED BY STAFF: Conference with Real Property Negotiators (Gov. Code Sec. 54956.8) Property: District Negotiator: Nellie Meyer Negotiating Parties: City of Pleasant Hill Info/Action
4.5 Discipline, Dismissal or Release of Public Employee Info/Action
4.6 Discipline, Dismissal or Release of Public Employee Info/Action
4.7 Discipline, Dismissal, Release or Reassignment of Public Employee – 14 cases Info/Action
4.8 Negotiations – The Board may discuss negotiations or provide direction to its representatives regarding represented employees, pursuant to EERA (Govt. Code Section 3549.1) Agency negotiators: Lawrence Shoenke and Deborah Cooksey, Agencies: MDEA, DMA, MDSPA, CST Local 1 and Teamsters Local 856 Info/Action

5.0 Adjourn to Closed Session at 6:00 p.m.
5.1 Adjourn to Closed Session at 6:00 p.m. Action

6.0 Reconvene Open Session
6.1 Reconvene to Open Session at 7:00 p.m. and Report Out Action Taken in Closed Session Info

7.0 Preliminary Business
7.1 Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call Info

8.0 Report Out Action Taken in Closed Session
8.1 Readmission of Student # B-15 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
8.2 Anticipated Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel pursuant to Gov’t. Code Sec. 54956.9(b), Significant Exposure to Litigation: John Doe v. MDUSD, USDC Case No. 3:14 CV 2167 Info/Action
8.3 Anticipated Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel pursuant to Gov’t. Code Sec. 54956.9(b), Significant Exposure to Litigation: 5 cases Info/Action
8.4 PULLED BY STAFF: Conference with Real Property Negotiators (Gov. Code Sec. 54956.8) Property: District Negotiator: Nellie Meyer Negotiating Parties: City of Pleasant Hill Info/Action
8.5 Discipline, Dismissal or Release of Public Employee Info/Action
8.6 Discipline, Dismissal or Release of Public Employee Info/Action
8.7 Discipline, Dismissal, Release or Reassignment of Public Employee – 14 cases Info/Action
8.8 Negotiations – The Board may discuss negotiations or provide direction to its representatives regarding represented employees, pursuant to EERA (Govt. Code Section 3549.1) Agency negotiators: Lawrence Shoenke and Deborah Cooksey, Agencies: MDEA, DMA, MDSPA, CST Local 1 and Teamsters Local 856 Info/Action

9.0 Public Employee Appointment
9.1 Appointment of Director, English Language Services Action
9.2 Appointment of School Support Administrator Action
9.3 PULLED BY STAFF: Appointment of School Support Administrator Action
9.4 Appointment of Administrator, Necessary Small High School – Crossroads Action
9.5 Appointment of Principal, Continuation School – Olympic High School Action
9.6 Appointment of Middle School Principal – Riverview Middle School Action
9.7 Appointment of Elementary Principal – Ayers Elementary Action
9.8 PULLED BY STAFF: Appointment of Elementary Principal – Meadow Homes Elementary Action
9.9 Appointment of Elementary Principal – Pleasant Hill Elementary Action
9.10 PULLED BY STAFF: Appointment of High School Vice Principal – College Park High School Action
9.11 PULLED BY STAFF: Appointment of High School Vice Principal – Concord High School (.60 FTE) and Middle School Vice Principal – Pleasant Hill Middle School (.40 FTE) Action
9.12 PULLED BY STAFF: Appointment of High School Vice Principal – Mt. Diablo High School Action
9.13 Appointment of High School Vice Principal – Northgate High School Action
9.14 Appointment of High School Vice Principal – Ygnacio Valley High School Action
9.15 Appointment of High School Vice Principal – Ygnacio Valley High School Action
9.16 Appointment of Middle School Vice Principal – Diablo View Middle School Action
9.17 Appointment of Middle School Vice Principal – Pine Hollow Middle School Action
9.18 PULLED BY STAFF: Appointment of High School Vice Principal – Mt. Diablo High School. Action
9.19 PULLED BY STAFF: Appointment of Middle School Vice Principal – Riverview Middle School Action
9.20 PULLED BY STAFF: Appointment of Middle School Vice Principal – Riverview Middle School Action
9.21 Appointment of Program Specialist, Career Pathways/Linked Learning Action
9.22 Appointment of Summer School Adminstrators Action

10.0 Board Member Reports
10.1 Board Member Reports Info

11.0 Superintendent’s Report
11.1 Superintendent’s Report Info

12.0 Consent Agenda Action
12.1 (Item #1) Items listed under Consent Agenda are considered routine and will be approved/adopted by a single motion. There will be no separate discussion of these items; however, any item may be removed from the consent agenda upon the request of any member of the Board and acted upon separately. Action
12.2 (Item #2) Mt. Diablo High School’s Trip to Cherry Lake, Stanislaus National Forest, July 7 – 9, 2015 Action
12.3 (Item #3) Independent Contract with Laurie Gulutzan, MFT, to Provide Counseling Services to Students Attending Crossroads Necessary Small High School Action
12.4 (Item #4) Independent Services Contract between Valley View Middle School, Mt. Diablo Unified School District and New Tech Network, LLC Action
12.5 (Item #5) Amendment to the Contract between Exploring New Horizons and Ygnacio Valley Elementary School Action
12.6 (Item #6) District Adoption of New Text for Government Course Action
12.7 (Item #7) District Adoption of new Textbook for World History Course Action
12.8 (Item #8) Contract with Workforce Development Board of Contra Costa County Action
12.9 (Item #9) Interagency Agreement #74-371-6 Between Mt. Diablo USD and Contra Costa County Mental Health Services Division for the 2014-2015 School Year Action
12.10 (Item #10) Interagency Agreement #29-513-17 Between Mt. Diablo USD and Contra Costa County Mental Health Services Division for the 2014/2015 School Year Action
12.11 (Item #11) Non-Public School Adjustments Action
12.12 (Item #12) Contract Increase with Non-public Agency My Therapy Company for District-wide Occupational/Physical Therapy Services for the 2014-15 School Year Action
12.13 (Item #13) Contract Increase for District-wide Physical Therapy services with Kristen O’Brinsky, Registered Physical Therapist Action
12.14 (Item #14) Contract Increase with Speech Pathology Group Action
12.15 (Item #15) Increase to the Contract with Beyond the Words for District-wide Educational Interpreter Services in the 2014-2015 School Year Action
12.16 (Item #16) Execution of Non-Public School Master Contracts for the 2015-16 School Year Action
12.17 (Item #17) Master Contract with Non-Public Agency Community Options for Families & Youth (COFY) for District-wide Mental Health Services for the 2015-2016 School Year Action
12.18 (Item #18) Contract between Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) and Maxim Healthcare Services for the 2015/2016 school year. Action
12.19 (Item #19) Contract with Speech Pathology Group to Provide Contracted Speech Therapists to the District for the 2015/216 School Year Action
12.20 (Item #20) Master Contract with Non-public Agency Ed Support Services for the 2015-16 School Year Action
12.21 (Item #21) Master Contract with My Therapy Company for District-wide Occupational/Physical Therapy Services for the 2015-2016 School Year Action
12.22 (Item #22) Contract with Resource Development and Associates (RDA) Action
12.23 (Item #23) Increase to the Contract with Document Tracking Services Action
12.24 (Item #24) Increase to the Contract with California Translation International (CTI) for the 2014-2015 School Year Action
12.25 (Item #25) Food and Nutrition Services: Purchase Order with Gold Star Foods for the 2015-2016 School Year Action
12.26 (Item #26) Food and Nutrition Services Purchase Order with Foster Farms Dairy for the 2015-2016 School Year Action
12.27 (Item #27) Food and Nutrition Service Purchase Order with Hayes Distribution for the 2015-2016 School Year Action
12.28 (Item #28) Food and Nutrition Services Purchase Orders for Davi Produce and Rubino Produce Action
12.29 (Item #29) Fiscal Transactions for the Month of May, 2015 Action
12.30 (Item #30) Budget Transfer and/or Budget Increases/Decreases for April 2015 – May 2015 Action
12.31 (Item #31) Recommended Action for Certificated Personnel Action
12.32 (Item #32) Request to Increase and Decrease Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2015-2016 School Year Action
12.33 (Item #33) Recommended Action for Classified Personnel Action
12.34 (Item #34) Classified Personnel: Request to Increase/Decrease Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2015/16 School Year Action
12.35 PULLED BY STAFF (Item #35) Reclassification of Classified Positions for Public Employees Union, Local One, Clerical, Secretarial and Technical Unit Action
12.36 (Item #36) Updated CSEA Job Descriptions Action
12.37 (Item #37) Audit Report for the 2010 Measure C Bond Program: Fiscal Year 2014 Action
12.38 (Item #38) Purchase Order for Robertson Recreational Surfaces for Bancroft Elementary and El Monte Elementary Action
12.39 (Item #39) Award of Bid #1712: Painting at Concord High School Action
12.40 (Item #40) Award of RFQ #1714: Asbestos Abatement Services Action
12.41 (Item #41) Award of Bid No. 1718: Concrete Repair at Hidden Valley Elementary School. Action
12.42 (Item #42) Increase to the Open Purchase Order for Emergency Pool Repairs Action
12.43 (Item #43) Final Change Order 1631-001 (DEDUCTIVE) to Meehleis Modular Buildings Inc. for Lease/Leaseback of Project # 1631 Modular Gymnasium Building Project at Concord High School. Action
12.44 (Item #44) Notice of Completion for LLB 1631 New Modular Auxiliary Gymnasium at Concord High School Action
12.45 (Item #45) Resolution #14/15-62: Authorization to Award Summer Contracts – Operations Department Action
12.46 (Item #46) Resolution No. 14/15-55: Authorization to Award Summer Contracts – Measure C Action
12.47 (Item #47) Real Property Lease Agreement Renewals for the Contra Costa County Office of Education Programs at Woodside Elementary and Ygnacio Valley High School Action
12.48 (Item #48) Minutes for the Regular Board Meeting held on May 18, 2015 Action
12.49 (Item #50) Minutes for the Board of Education Meeting held on June 1, 2015 Action

13.0 Consent Items Pulled for Discussion

14.0 Communications
14.1 District Organizations: At regular Board meetings, a single spokesperson of each recognized district organization may make a brief presentation following the Consent Agenda. Items are limited to those which are informational. Info

15.0 Public Comment
15.1 Public Comment: The public may address the Board regarding any item within the jurisdiction of the Board of Education of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District that is not on this agenda. These presentations are limited to three minutes each, or a total of thirty minutes for all speakers, or the three minute limit may be shortened. If there are multiple speakers on any one subject, the public comment period may be moved to the end of the meeting. Speakers are not allowed to yield their time. Info

16.0 Business/Action Item

16.1 Public Hearing for the Proposed 2015-2016 Mt. Diablo Unified School District Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) Action

16.2 Public Hearing of Proposed Budget 2015-16 Action

16.3 Public Hearing for New Requirement Senate Bill 858, Chapter 32/2014 Action

16.4 Resolution 14/15-53 Education Protection Account (EPA) Action

16.5 Submission of the 2015-2016 Consolidated Application for Funding Action

16.6 Annual Report of the 2010 Measure C Citizens Bond Oversight Committee Info

16.7 2015 – 2016 Single Plans for Student Achievement (SPSA) Action

16.8 PULLED BY STAFF: Middle College Program at Diablo Valley College Info/Action

16.9 PULLED BY STAFF: District Technology Plan Info/Action

16.10 Meeting Extension Action

16.11 Presentation of Proposed Text for High School US History Course. Info

16.12 Sports Medicine II Course of Study Info

16.13 Service Agreement with BrightBytes, Inc. Info/Action

16.14 Department of Justice – Open Purchase Order Action

16.15 Nomination of New and Renewed Members to the Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) for the 2015-2016 School Year Action

16.16 Revise Job Description for Administrator, Student Services Info/Action

16.17 Revise Job Description for Administrator, Assessment, Research & Evaluation Info/Action

16.18 Request to Increase and/or Delete Full Time Equivalent (FTE). Action

16.19 Resolution No. 14/15-54 in the matter of employment of retired classified employee Lawrence M. Schoenke Action

16.20 Post Retirement Contract for Adult Education Administrator Action

16.21 Authorize the Superintendent to Make Interim Appointments to Administrative Positions Action

16.22 Resolution No. 14/15-57 of the Board of Education of the Mt. Diablo Unified School District Approving the Form of the Preliminary Official Statement Prepared in Connection with the Issuance of Mt. Diablo Unified School District (Contra Costa, County) General Obligation Bonds, 2010 Election, 2015 Series F Action

16.23 Reopening of Glenbrook Middle School and Holbrook Elementary School Info

17.0 Future Agenda Items
17.1 Future Agenda Items Info

18.0 Closed Session
18.1 Items not completed during the first Closed Session will be carried over to this Closed Session. Action

19.0 Reconvene Open Session
19.1 Reconvene to Open Session and Report Out Action Taken in Closed Session Info

20.0 Adjournment
20.1 Adjourn Meeting Action”

Do you believe the board should agree to allow the superintendent to enter into construction and administrator contracts over the summer?

Posted on Monday, June 22nd, 2015
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 19 Comments »

A closer look at graduation and dropout rates in the East Bay

High school seniors earning diplomas this year may help schools and districts raise graduation rates for 2015, building on improvement seen in most districts between 2013 and 2014.

Just last month, the state released graduation and dropout rates for 2014, which showed 80.8 percent of students from the class of 2014 graduated, up 0.4 percent from the previous year.

But, during the same time, dropout rates statewide rose 0.2 percent, from 11.4 percent in 2013 to 11.6 percent in 2014. Those figures did not include students who continued their education without graduating, according to the state.

In the East Bay, overall graduation rates in Alameda and Contra Costa counties surpassed the statewide average, while dropout rates fell below. Alameda County’s graduation rate shot up 2 percentage points to 82.8 percent, while Contra Costa’s climbed 0.2 percentage points to 85.9 percent.

Dropout rates in Alameda County fell from 11.1 percent in 2013 to 10.7 percent in 2014, while Contra Costa County dropout rates dipped from 8.2 to 8.1 percent.

Progress in districts varied, with most graduation rates exceeding the state average and the majority of dropout rates falling below the state average. Here’s how East Bay districts stacked up, with 2013 and 2014 graduation rates followed by 2013 and 2014 dropout rates. Changes are in parentheses.

STATE: 80.4, 80.8, (+0.4); 11.4, 11.6, (+0.2)

ALAMEDA COUNTY: 80.8, 82.8, (+2.0); 11.1, 10.7, (-0.4)
Alameda Unified: 84.7, 86.0, (+1.3); 8.4, 8.6, (+0.2)
Albany Unified: 91.0, 89.7, (-1.3); 7.5, 6.4, (-1.1)
Berkeley Unified: 85.5, 89.0, (+3.5); 11.6, 9.1, (-2.5)
Castro Valley Unified: 94.9, 95.2, (+0.3); 2.6, 2.5, (0.1)
Dublin Unified: 95.6, 92.9, (-2.7); 1.6, 3.5, (+1.9)
Emery Unified: 80.0, 83.6, (+3.6); 17.8, 14.5, (-3.3)
Fremont Unified: 82.1, 92.6, (+10.5); 17.9, 4.5, (-13.4)
Hayward Unified: 76.7, 79.6, (+2.9); 19.2, 14.8, (-4.4)
Livermore Joint Valley Unified: 91.4, 90.0, (-1.4); 6.4, 5.9, (-0.5)
New Haven Unified: 79.9, 85.2, (+5.3); 9.2, 7.3, (-1.9)
Newark Unified: 87.9, 89.9, (+2.0); 9.9, 7.4, (-2.5)
Piedmont Unified: 98.1, 100.0, (+1.9); 1.4, 0, (-1.4)
Pleasanton Unified: 95.3, 95.7, (+0.4); 2.1, 2.0, (-0.1)
San Leandro Unified: 82.4, 85.9, (+3.5); 13.8, 9.2, (-4.6)
San Lorenzo Unified: 85.8, 85.4, (-0.4); 11.2, 10.7, (-0.5)

CONTRA COSTA COUNTY: 85.9, 86.1, (+0.2); 8.2, 8.1, (-0.1)
Acalanes Union High: 98.1, 97.8, (-0.3); 0.6, 0.8, (+0.20)
Antioch Unified: 77.8, 77.4, (-0.4); 11.2, 11.6, (+0.4)
John Swett Unified: 89.6, 83.9, (-5.7); 7.2, 14.7, (+7.5)
Liberty Union High: 86.9, 88.7, (+1.8); 4.5, 4.0, (-0.5)
Martinez Unified: 88.4, 91.2, (+2.8); 9.1, 5.7, (-3.4)
Mt. Diablo Unified: 82.6, 85.1, (+2.5); 12.4, 10.2, (-2.2)
Pittsburg Unified: 71.3, 74.5, (+3.2); 21.5, 20.2, (-1.3)
San Ramon Valley Unified: 98.4, 98.3, (-0.1); 0.4, 0.6, (+0.2)
West Contra Costa Unified: 79.9, 77.7, (-2.2); 13.3, 14.6, (+1.3)

Congratulations to the Piedmont district in Alameda County, which achieved a graduation rate of 100 percent! Kudos also to the Fremont district, which raised its graduation rate by 10.5 percentage points and lowered its dropout rate by 13.4 percentage points.

In Contra Costa County, the Acalanes district had the highest graduation rate at 97.8 percent. However, this was a drop from 98.1 percent the previous year.

The Pittsburg, Martinez and Mt. Diablo districts had the greatest increases in graduation rates, rising by 2.5 percentage points or more. The Martinez district saw the biggest dropout rate decline, falling 3.4 percentage points.

Mt. Diablo district Superintendent Nellie Meyer attributed gains to intervention and credit recovery programs, along with great teaching.

“We are very proud of our schools for their dedication and support of their students,” she said in a prepared statement. “We know that this is a K-12 effort and that strong graduation rates are a team effort.”

Graduation and dropout rates for individual schools can be found on a searchable database at: http://www.contracostatimes.com/data/ci_28100311/2013-14-grads-dropouts

Statewide graduation and dropout rates can be found on the state’s website at: http://dq.cde.ca.gov/dataquest/

How do you think schools and districts could improve graduation and dropout rates even more?

Posted on Friday, May 29th, 2015
Under: Alameda County, Contra Costa County, Education | 1 Comment »