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Lafayette superintendent’s July community update

Although some districts take the month of July off, Lafayette Superintendent Fred Brill has issued a message to his community to update parents about Transitional Kindergarten, student registration, the upcoming school board election, school calendar and professional development.

Here is his message:

“July 13, 2012

Dear Parents and Community,

I hope this communication finds you immersed in a restful summer vacation filled with family, friends and fun! There are a few notable changes and events of which we would like you to be aware:

· Transitional Kindergarten: The recent passage of the 2012-2013 California Budget now includes a requirement that all school districts provide a Transitional Kindergarten program, which we are prepared to do at all of our elementary school sites. In the 2012-13 school year, this program will be offered to those students born on or after November 2 and on or before December 2 in 2007. For more information, contact Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction Rachel Zinn, (925) 927-3500.

· New Student Registration: Over the summer when school offices are closed, new families may come to the Lafayette School District Administration Office, 3477 School Street, Lafayette, to enroll for the upcoming school year. Please call Melissa Hom, 925-927-3500, if you have questions.

Summer Registration Hours at the District Office are:

July 3 – August 3
Tuesdays-Wednesdays-Thursdays: 1:00 – 3:30 p.m.
Fridays: 8:00 – 11:30 a.m.

· Online Fegistration We have now moved the student information database to the Cloud. This has allowed us to collaborate with LPIE and parent organizations to streamline the parent registration process through an online website. Parents, please look forward to receiving detailed information about how to update personal information, as well as the times for your school’s mascot day (August 20), in the August mailer, which will be mailed out the first week of August.

· Governing Board Elections: Two Board member terms will end this year (Shayne Silva and Stephenie Teichman). These 4-year term seats are set to be on the November 6, 2012, Election ballot. The candidacy filing period is July 16 – August 10, 2012; however, the filing period will be extended if an incumbent does not file. For information on filing Candidate Nomination papers, election timetable, etc. contact the Contra Costa County Elections Department. If you would like information on serving on the Governing Board of the Lafayette School District, feel free to contact any current Board member whose email address can be found on our district website:

· Revised 2012-2013 School Year Calendar: We made a minor change in elementary conference dates (Grades 1-5) (changing one of the four elementary parent/teacher conference days in September from a Wednesday to a Monday). Early student dismissal will be on: September 24, 25, 27, 28 (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday, Friday). Wednesday, September 26 will be a regular, full day. To download the 2012-2013 revised calendar (pdf), visit our district website:

While many of our campuses have been overflowing with summer camps, soccer and baseball, our custodians, grounds and maintenance crews have been working tirelessly to ensure our facilities are sparkling and ready for the first day of school, and our teachers have been collaboratively planning and attending conferences in preparation for the beginning of school on August 21.

I look forward to a positive and productive school year for all of our students!

Warm regards,

Fred Brill, Ed.D.

Do you think it’s important for district superintendents to communicate with the community?

Posted on Monday, July 16th, 2012
Under: Education, Lafayette | No Comments »

Lafayette Town Hall on Education Finance tonight

East Bay parents and educators interested in discussing the state budget are invited to attend a Town Hall meeting in Lafayette tonight.

Here are more details, from an online announcement:

“Lafayette for Education presents a Town Hall Meeting: Education Finance Challenges in California, December 6, 2011 @ 6:30 p.m. Stanley Middle School (Multi-purpose room), 3455 School Street  Lafayette, California 94549.

Are you frustrated by the ongoing threat of school budget cuts in California?

Do you want to our legislators to secure stable funding for our schools?

Do you wonder how the schools budget when their budget keeps changing?

Do you want to help but don’t know where to start?

Take this opportunity to ask questions, share ideas, and get involved!

Featured speakers*:

Dr. Fred Brill, Lafayette School District Superintendent

Crystal Brown, Founder of Educate Our State

Craig Cheslog, Principal Advisor to State Superintendent of Public Instruction

Mark DeSaulnier, California State Senator

Dr. John Nickerson, Acalanes Union High School District Superintendent

Nancy Skinner, California State Assemblymember

Phil Ting, Founder of Close the Loophole, Assessor/Recorder San Francisco

Together we can improve the state of education in California

*speakers confirmed as of Nov. 19 – subject to change”

More information is at

What do you think the public can do to improve the state of education in California?

Posted on Tuesday, December 6th, 2011
Under: Education, Lafayette | No Comments »

Report of gun at Acalanes HS unfounded

In response to rumors Tuesday that a student brought an unloaded gun to Acalanes High in Lafayette, police and school administrators conducted a search of the campus, Principal Aida Glimme said, in a Wednesday message to the community.

“Yesterday, Tuesday 9/27, Acalanes administration received a report of a possible weapon on campus,” Glimmer wrote. “In partnership with the Lafayette Police Department, a thorough search and investigation were conducted. A weapon was not found on campus.

The school’s safety procedures were followed and students were secure and safe on campus. We appreciate the partnership and aid of the Lafayette PD. We continue to encourage our students to keep the Acalanes staff informed of any safety risks to our students.”

Based on the school’s reported suspensions and expulsions for 2010-11, weapons were not an issue on campus last year:

However, the school logged 67 suspensions, including 44 related to violence or drugs. This far exceeded the number of suspensions on all other district campuses. However, Las Lomas High was the only district school to expel a student last year (for sale of controlled substances, alcohol, or intoxicants).

Are you satisfied with the school’s policies and procedures related to student safety?

Posted on Wednesday, September 28th, 2011
Under: Acalanes school district, Education, Lafayette | No Comments »

Remembering Eugene ‘Gene’ Ballock

Eugene Ballock, a former principal of Lafayette, Orinda and Walnut Creek schools, has died.

Eugene Ballock, a former principal of Lafayette, Orinda and Walnut Creek schools, has died.

When Eugene Ballock took on his role as principal of Del Valle High School in Walnut Creek, he was delighted, recalls his daughter, Kim Johnson.

“He was so proud of Del Valle High School when he got there,” she said, as she reminisced about her father, who died July 3. “It was beautiful. It was the newest school in the (Acalanes Union High School) district, even though it was 25 years old.”

Many years later, in retirement, Ballock returned to the school (which was closed and used by the city) for recreational activities, she said.

“We always said it was ironic that he ended up moving to Rossmoor,” she said. “He would go swimming at the Del Valle pool.”

He was married to Lois Ballock, who was a nurse at John Muir Medical Center, for 58 years.

Here’s a brief synopsis of Ballock’s career from the family’s obituary notice:

“In 1963, Eugene’s family moved north and he became principal of Inland Valley Intermediate School in Orinda. He was also principal of Stanley Intermediate School and Fairview Intermediate School in Lafayette.

Eugene was the final principal of Del Valle High School in Walnut Creek. He became principal of Las Lomas High School in Walnut Creek in 1979 and retired in 1989. During his retirement he was Student Teacher Advisor for Chapman University.”

Since her parents didn’t have a lot of money, the family regularly visited the Pleasant Hill library, Johnson said.

“He checked out books on every subject matter you can imagine,” she said. “He was a real history buff. So, in his retirement — and throughout his life — he collected books. He had an eclectic collection that included books about President Lincoln and World War II and the Civil War and fighter pilot jets. He loved aviation. He went to his last book club meeting a couple weeks before he died.”

Ballock also loved golf, camping, fishing and his career, his daughter said. Many of his retirement golf buddies were former principals of schools such as Campolindo and Miramonte High, she said. Some were former teachers who had worked for him.

“It’s like none of them had time to play golf in the real (working) world,” she said. “They were all his friends.”

Johnson said she was incredibly touched by the comments that many of his past students have written in the online guest book that accompanies his family obituary.

“As his daughter, you don’t see your dad in the same perspective that other people saw him,” she said. “I knew he was a good man. I knew he was honest and loyal to a fault and had excellent character.”

But, she also knew him as the dad who sometimes irritated her because he wouldn’t let her sleep in on weekends. The comments, she said, gave her a stronger appreciation for how he touched others in life-changing ways.

“I have a friend and she had him at Fairview, Del Valle, Las Lomas,” Johnson said. “She said she didn’t have a good relationship with her own father and he (Ballock) was the first man she ever respected in her whole life. He made such an impact on her life.”

Another former student commented: “Mr. Ballock was a ‘good egg,'” Johnson said. “That’s true. He respected the law. He knew what was right and what was wrong. He was a man of great dignity.”

But, Ballock also had a fun side, Johnson recalled.

“He had a great sense of humor,” she said. “He told stupid jokes all the time.”

Johnson said her father stood out in the memories of many past students, including one who recognized him when the family was vacationing in Canada.

“They remembered him and he remembered a lot of kids’ names too,” she said. “Not just the good ones and the bad ones, he remembered the ones in the middle too.”

Ballock’s health took a turn for the worse after surgery on his stomach five years ago, Johnson said.

“He had been battling complications from that,” she said. “The last year was a struggle for him for sure. He’s the one who didnt’ get the memo he was dying. He just wanted to be here.”

When a minister recently asked Ballock what he was most proud of, Johnson said he responded: his family.

“He was very proud that all three of us kids like each other and we get together and we take care of our mom and we took care of him,” Johnson said.

Even though her father bought lottery tickets every week, he never won, Johnson said.

“But I think he would say he won the lottery, because he had this great family,” she said. “The fact that we love each other — I think that made him most proud.”

The family expects about 300 to 400 people at his memorial service at 2 p.m. Saturday at Walnut Creek United Methodist Church, 1543 Sunnyvale Ave. in Walnut Creek.

In lieu of flowers the family requests donations to the Walnut Creek United Methodist Church Memorial Fund, 1543 Sunnyvale Avenue, Walnut Creek, CA 94597 or Hospice of the East Bay, 3470 Buskirk Avenue, Pleasant Hill, CA 94523.

Do you have memories of Eugene Ballock that you’d like to share?

Posted on Thursday, July 14th, 2011
Under: Contra Costa County, Lafayette, Orinda, Walnut Creek | No Comments »