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MDUSD board election winners look toward the future

Updated results from the Contra Costa County elections office released Friday, which included all timely vote by mail ballots, showed no change in the outcome of the Mt. Diablo school board race between six candidates for three seats. Incumbent Cheryl Hansen finished first with 23.4 percent of votes, followed by Bay Point parent Debra Mason with 19.6 percent and incumbent Linda Mayo with 19.1 percent.

However, the gap between fourth-place finisher Michael Langley and third-place finisher Linda Mayo dropped from 477 to 417 votes, with Langley garnering 18.7 percent. followed by Herbert Lee with 9.8 percent, James Ryan with 8.8 percent and write-ins getting nearly 0.5 percent.

Another 13,000 provisional ballots and 10,000 “exceptions” that could not be counted by machine are still to be counted. Officials expect to begin counting the outstanding ballots Monday and to release another update Nov. 14, with a final update Nov. 21. The certification deadline is Dec. 2.

After the initial results were released Tuesday, the three Mt. Diablo school district winners responded via e-mail to requests for comments.

Hansen said she was happy to receive a vote of confidence from the community and was glad for the opportunity to continue working toward changes, after accomplishing some goals during her first term. Foremost among those was the ouster of former Superintendent Steven Lawrence last year, who was replaced by current Superintendent Nellie Meyer.

“From my perspective, while positive progress has been made in the past year or two, there’s still more work to be done to correct the 2010-12 board majority and former superintendent’s poor judgment and ill-advised decision making,” said Hansen, who was elected to her first term in 2010.

The 2010-12 board majority included Mayo and former Trustees Gary Eberhart and Sherry Whitmarsh. Eberhart stepped down two years ago and Whitmarsh was unsuccessful in her 2012 re-election attempt. The pair was replaced by Trustee Brian Lawrence and Board President Barbara Oaks.

Hansen said she wants to continue to restore previously cut programs, enhance employee benefits, and build school support and community relationships.

“Also,” she said, “I’d still like to see all board members embrace the concept of public service and voluntarily forgo health benefits at the taxpayers’ expense.”

Oaks and Hansen tried to push through a board bylaw amendment in September that would have required board members to pay the full cost of their medical, dental and vision coverage. But the proposal was defeated by Mayo, Brian Lawrence and Trustee Lynne Dennler. Dennler did not seek re-election this year.

This newspaper’s public employees’ salary and benefits database shows Hansen and Oaks received no health benefits as board members in 2013. Brian Lawrence received $1,458 in district-paid benefits, Dennler received $12,781 and Mayo received $14,371 for herself and her husband. Mayo said during the campaign that it’s important for the district to provide benefits to trustees so that those who may not be able to afford them would not be discouraged from serving.

Regarding the new makeup of the board, Hansen said she is excited that Mason was elected.
“She is a dedicated, experienced educator and community member who will be another important voice of common sense on the board,” Hansen said.

Mason said some voters may have chosen her over Mayo because of her fresh outlook.

“Linda has been on the board for 17 years,” Mason said, “so people may feel she has already made her contribution to the leadership of the district.”

Mayo said she was pleased that voters weighed in on the board election during a low turnout year.

“Public education should be the important first consideration for our youth,” she said. “I look forward to working with Debra Mason, Cheryl Hansen, Brian Lawrence, Barbara Oaks and Dr. Nellie Meyer during the next four years. Together, with our parents, staff and community, we have great work to accomplish.”

How do you think the loss of Dennler and the addition of Mason will affect the board?

Posted on Friday, November 7th, 2014
Under: Education, Election, Mt. Diablo school district | 67 Comments »

Mt. Diablo school board to vote on boosting principals’ salaries, discuss a “graduate profile” and vote on cell towers at MDHS and Pleasant Hill MS

The Mt. Diablo school board will meet at 7:30 p.m. tonight in the district office at 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord. Here is the agenda, which includes a proposal to fast-track pay increases for principals, a “graduate profile” aimed at describing traits and skills of a district grad, and a plan to place Verizon Wireless cell towers at Mt. Diablo HS and Pleasant Hill MS in exchange for money:

“1.0 Call to Order
1.1 President Will Call the Meeting to Order at 6:00 p.m. Info
2.0 Public Comment
2.1 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
3.0 Announcements

3.1 In Closed Session, the Board will consider the items listed on the Closed Session Agenda. Info
4.0 Closed Session Agenda
4.1 (Item #1) Readmission of Student #10-13 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
4.2 (Item #2) Readmission of Student #19-13 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
4.3 (Item #3) Readmission of Student #C-14 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
4.4 (Item #4) Anticipated Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel pursuant to Gov’t. Code Sec. 54956.9(b, Significant Exposure to Litigation: 2 cases Info/Action
4.5 (Item #5) Existing Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel pursuant to Gov’t. Code Section 54956.9 (d)(1) regarding the matter of Bay Area News Group (BANG) v. MDUSD, Case No. MSC N13-1551 Info/Action
4.6 (Item #6) Discipline, Dismissal or Release of Public Employee (Gov. Code Sec. 54957(b)(1) Info/Action
4.7 (Item #7) 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: Larry Schoenke and Deborah Cooksey, Agencies: MDEA, CSEA, Teamsters M&O, Local One CST, MDSPA, and Supervisory. 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 7:30 p.m. 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) Readmission of Student #10-13 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
8.2 (Item #2) Readmission of Student #19-13 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
8.3 (Item #3) Readmission of Student #C-14 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
8.4 (Item #4) Anticipated Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel pursuant to Gov’t. Code Sec. 54956.9(b, Significant Exposure to Litigation: 2 cases Info/Action
8.5 (Item #5) Existing Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel pursuant to Gov’t. Code Section 54956.9 (d)(1) regarding the matter of Bay Area News Group (BANG) v. MDUSD, Case No. MSC N13-1551 Info/Action
8.6 (Item #6) Discipline, Dismissal or Release of Public Employee (Gov. Code Sec. 54957(b)(1) Info/Action
8.7 (Item #7) 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: Larry Schoenke and Deborah Cooksey, Agencies: MDEA, CSEA, Teamsters M&O, Local One CST, MDSPA, and Supervisory. Info/Action

9.0 Public Employee Appointment
9.1 ITEM PULLED BY STAFF: Appointment of Administrator, Necessary Small High School/Vice Principal – Prospect Action

9.2 Appointment of Vice Principal, High School – Northgate High School 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) Recommended Action for Certificated Personnel Action
12.3 (Item #3) Request to Increase Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2014-2015 School Year Action
12.4 (Item #4) Recommended Action for Classified Personnel Action
12.5 (Item #5) Classified Personnel: Request to Increase/Decrease Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2014/15 School Year. Action
12.6 (Item #6) Budget Transfer and/or Budget Increases/Decreases for July through September 2014. Action
12.7 (Item #7 Adjustments to Contract Amount between Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) and Medical Billing Technologies, Inc. (MBT) for the 2014/15 School Year Action
12.8 (Item #8) Independent Contracts for the Event Group, Inc. and College Park High School. Action
12.9 (Item #9) Northgate Independent Contracts with Events To The T for Junior Prom and Senior Ball Action
12.10 (Item #10) Approve the contract between Exploring New Horizons and Valle Verde Elementary Action
12.11 (Item #11) Northgate High School’s Women’s Varsity Basketball Trip to Reno, Nevada Action
12.12 (Item #12) Williams Quarterly Summary Report Action
12.13 (Item #13) Approve the Purchase of Vehicles for Maintenance and Operations Action
12.14 (Item #14) Award of Bid #1685 for Custodial Supplies Action
12.15 (Item #15) Exercise extension of RFP #1665: Swimming Pool Maintenance Service Action
12.16 (Item #16) Approve Open Order for Emergency Pool Repairs. Action
12.17 (Item #17) Approve Lease/Leaseback #1663 Final Change Order #1663-001 (DEDUCTIVE)to Taber Construction, Inc. for Portable Replacement 2014 at Eagle Peak MS, Gregory Gardens ES, Silverwood ES and Woodside ES Action
12.18 (Item #18) Notice of Completion for Lease/Leaseback #1663: Portable Classroom Replacement 2014 Action
12.19 (Item #19) Lease/Leaseback #1659 Final Change Order #1659-001 (DEDUCTIVE)to Taber Construction, Inc. for HVAC Modernization at El Dorado Middle School, Highlands Elementary School, Pine Hollow Middle School, Wren Avenue Elementary School, Pleasant Hill Elementary School, Sequoia Middle School, Valhalla Elementary School and Walnut Acres Elementary School Action
12.20 (Item #20) Notice of Completion for Lease/Leaseback #1659: HVAC Modernization at Various Schools Action
12.21 (Item #21) Award Service Contract for Architectural Services to Design the PE Building Improvements at Clayton Valley Charter High School Action
12.22 (Item #22) Award Project Inspector Contract for Modular Gymnasium Project # 1631 at Concord High School. Action
12.23 (Item #23) Resolution No. 14/15-21 Compensation for Board Members Action
12.24 (Item #24) Approval of Variable Term Waiver Request Action
12.25 (Item #25) Approval of Provisional Internship Permit (PIP) Request Action
12.26 (Item #26) Minutes for the Special Board of Education Meeting held on April 11, 2013 Action
12.27 (Item #27) Minutes for the Board of Education Meeting held on April 8, 2013 Action
12.28 (Item #28) Minutes for the Special Board of Education Meeting held on April 3, 2013 Action
12.29 (Item #29) Minutes for the Special Board of Education Meeting held on March 28, 2013 Action
12.30 (Item #30) Minutes for the Special Board of Education Meeting held on March 27, 2013 Action
12.31 (Item #31) Ygnacio Valley High School’s trip to Southern California on October 29 – November 1, 2014 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 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 Create New Job Description for Workers’ Compensation Specialist Info/Action

16.2 Creation of Intermediate Typist Clerk position for Meadow Homes Elementary, Mt. Diablo Elementary, Hidden Valley Elementary and College Park High School Action

16.3 Public Hearing Resolution 14/15-20 Education Protection Account. Action

16.4 Resolution 14/15-20 Education Protection Account 2014-15. Action

16.5 Principal Salary Schedule Action

16.6 Approve Graduate Profile for Mt. Diablo Unified School District Info

16.7 Procurement of New Firewall/Security/Bandwidth Management Appliance Action

16.8 Award Lease/Leaseback contract #1631 to Meehleis Modular Buildings, Inc. for construction of the Modular Gymnasium Building project at Concord High School for a Guaranteed Maximum Cost of $3,698,805.00 Action

16.9 Approve Cellular Tower Agreement with Verizon Wireless and Mt. Diablo Unified School for placement at Mt. Diablo High School and Pleasant Hill Middle School. (Oak Park) Action

16.10 Minutes for the Board of Education Meeting held on October 15, 2014 Action

16.11 Meeting Extension Action

16.12 Execution of Documents 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 Open Session and Report Out Info

20.0 Adjournment
20.1 Adjourn Meeting Action”

Do you agree with the plan to make it easier for principals to reach the top of the pay scale more quickly?

Posted on Thursday, October 30th, 2014
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 63 Comments »

Influx of money helps support school counseling services provided by JFK University

Pleasant Hill City Councilman and JFK University alum Dr. Michael Harris has given his alma mater a $30,000 matching grant to help expand counseling services provided by the university’s masters and doctoral students in city schools by covering the cost of counselors, according to a JFK news release.

“I’ve always believed in giving back to the people and places that have given so much to me,” Harris said in a prepared statement.

The grant is also reminiscent of one of Harris’ favorite quotes: “We may not be able to prepare the future for our children, but we can at least prepare our children for the future.”

A doctor of optometry, Harris earned his JD at JFK University and is a legal consultant on healthcare issues, as well as a professor of Optometry at UC Berkeley.

In addition, the University recently received a federal grant of more than $450,000 to train mental health professionals from diverse cultures and backgrounds in order to increase mental health services and protect the health of children and communities.

JFK University and the Mt. Diablo school district, or MDUSD, began working together more than a decade ago, after school counseling positions were eliminated in 1989 due to budget cuts.

“Our partnership with MDUSD is truly a win-win,” said Gail Kinsley-Dame, Executive Director of the Community Counseling Center, in a news release. “MDUSD students get the help and support they need and JFK graduate students fulfill the mission and core values of the University while also earning the hours of supervised counseling required to complete their degree and obtain licensing.”

Mt. Diablo students and their families can also utilize the JFK University Community Counseling Center in Concord if they need support over the summer or would like family counseling. Students can be referred to the program by teachers or administrators, but need parent permission to participate in counseling.

“The program has been successful in helping students improve their self-esteem, classroom behavior, and school attendance,” said James Wogan, the district’s administrator of School Linked Services. “The strengths-based approach encourages children and helps them to feel connected to school.”

Students served by the program include some who may be dealing with issues such as homelessness and other stressful situations, or those who would like help making friends. The district is adding back counseling positions this school year, but JFK University students are continuing to help meet the strong demand for counseling services.

Celine DeFranco, a master’s student in counseling psychology at JFK University, served as a counselor at several district high schools through the partnership.

“The teen years are an important developmental time,” she said, in a prepared statement. “My work is about helping them build a solid foundation, fostering a relationship they can take outside to someone else. High school students want a safe place where someone will listen to them without judging them. I’m honored to work with them.”

More information about JFK University’s masters and doctoral programs in counseling and psychology is available at http://www.jfku.edu. Additional details about the Mt. Diablo school district’s School Linked Services is at http://demo.mdusd.org/cms/page_view?d=x&piid=&vpid=1400652641757

Do you think the Mt. Diablo school district should devote more of its budget to counselors?

Posted on Tuesday, October 28th, 2014
Under: Education, JFK University, Mt. Diablo school district | 1 Comment »

MDUSD board on Wednesday to consider extending superintendent’s contract through 2017

The Mt. Diablo school board on Wednesday expects to consider extending Superintendent Nellie Meyer’s contract through 2017, just before the November election, in which three of five seats are up for grabs. The board also expects to boost the salary for its Student Services Director, based on increased responsibilities. In addition, it expects to agree to increased benefits for Classified, Secretarial and Technical employees.

The board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday in the district office at 1936 Carlotta Drive. Here is the complete agenda:

“1.1 President Will Call the Meeting to Order at 6:00 p.m. Info
2.0 Public Comment
2.1 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
3.0 Announcements

3.1 In Closed Session, the Board will consider the items listed on the Closed Session Agenda. Info
4.0 Closed Session Agenda
4.1 (Item #1) Anticipated Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel pursuant to Gov’t. Code Sec. 54956.9(b, Significant Exposure to Litigation: 2 cases Info/Action
4.2 (Item #2) Conference With Labor Negotiator(s) (Gov. Code Sec. 54957.6; Agency Negotiators – Dr. Nellie Meyer and Lawrence Schoenke; Unrepresented Employee: DMA Info/Action
4.3 (Item #3) 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: Larry Schoenke and Deborah Cooksey, Agencies: MDEA, CSEA, Teamsters M&O, Local One CST, MDSPA, and Supervisory. 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 7:30 p.m. Info

7.0 Preliminary Business
7.1 Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call Info
8.0 Report Out Action Taken in Closed Session

9.0 Recognitions and Resolutions
9.1 Proclamation of October 23 – 31, 2014 as “Red Ribbon Week”. Action

10.0 Student Representatives
10.1 Student representatives will report on activities and happenings at their schools. Info

11.0 Board Member Reports
11.1 Board Reports Info

12.0 Superintendent’s Report
12.1 Superintendent’s Report Info

13.0 Reports/Information
13.1 Presentation from Concord Disposal regarding Recycling Program Action

14.0 Public Employee Appointment
14.1 Appointment of Vice Principal, Middle School – Oak Grove Middle School Action
14.2 Appointment of Program Specialist/Special Education Action

15.0 Consent Agenda Action
15.1 (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
15.2 (Item #2) Recommended Action for Certificated Personnel Action
15.3 (Item #3) Request to Increase and Decrease Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2014-2015 School Year Action
15.4 (Item #4) BTSA Induction Support to charter/Private School Teachers Action
15.5 (Item #5) BTSA Induction Support to Charter/Private School Teachers Action
15.6 (Item #6) BTSA Induction Support to Charter/Private School Teachers Action
15.7 (Item #7) BTSA Induction Support to charter/Private School Teachers Action
15.8 (Item #8) BTSA Induction Support to Charter/Private School Teachers Action
15.9 (Item #9) BTSA Induction Support to charter/Private School Teachers Action
15.10 (Item #10) Approval of Variable Term Waiver Request Action
15.11 (Item #11) Approval of Provisional Internship Permit (PIP) Request Action
15.12 (Item #12) Recommended Action for Classified Personnel Action
15.13 (Item #13) Classified Personnel: Request to Increase/Decrease Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2014/15 School Year Action
15.14 (Item #14) Fiscal Transactions for the Month of September 2014 Action
15.15 (Item #15) Approve Contract with Angela Barra for Services at Meadow Homes Elementary. Action
15.16 (Item #16) Approve contract with Exploring New Horizons Outdoor Schools and Strandwood Elementary Action
15.17 (Item #17) Approve the contract between Exploring New Horizons-Loma Mar and Bancroft Elementary Action
15.18 (Item #18) Approve the contract between Exploring New Horizons-Loma Mar and Hidden Valley Elementary Action
15.19 (Item #19) Memorandum of Understanding between California Physical Education-Health Project/California Center for Excellence in Physical Education and Mt. Diablo Unified School District Action
15.20 (Item #20) Memorandum of Understanding between Saint Mary’s College of California and Mt. Diablo Unified School District to provide experience to Interns in the Area of Education Specialists, Pupil Personnel Services, School Counseling, Educational Therapy, School Psychology, School Administration and Teaching Interns Action
15.21 (Item #21) Adult Education course titles for 2014-2015. Action
15.22 (Item #22) Northgate High School’s Cross Country Team Trip Action
15.23 (Item #23) Mt. Diablo High School’s Trip to Mt. Diablo State Park, October 31 – November 1, 2014 Action
15.24 (Item #24) New Membership Recommendation for Community Advisory Committee (CAC) Action
15.25 (Item #25) Revision to BP 2310: Conflict of Interest Action
15.26 (Item #26) Approve the Illness Injury Prevention Plan (IIPP) Action
15.27 (Item #27) Award of Request for Quotation #1671: Unleaded Gasoline and Diesel Fuel Action
15.28 (Item #28) Extension of Contract with Office Depot Action
15.29 (Item #29) Contract with WestEd Action
15.30 (Item #30) Minutes for the Special Board of Education Meeting held on April 28, 2013 Action
15.31 (Item #31) Minutes for the Special Board of Education Meeting held on April 25, 2013 Action
15.32 (Item #32) Minutes for the Board of Education Meeting held on April 22, 2013 Action
15.33 (Item #33) Minutes for the Special Board of Education Meeting held on April 16, 2013 Action
15.34 (Item #34) Minutes for the Special Board of Education Meeting held on April 15, 2013 Action
16.0 Consent Items Pulled for Discussion

17.0 Communications
17.1 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

18.0 Public Comment

19.0 Business/Action Item

19.1 Reclassification of Management Position (Student Services Director) Action

19.2 First Amendment to Employment Agreement for Superintendent (through 2017) Action

19.3 Request to Approve Contractual Enhancements Due to the “Me Too” Provision of the 2013-16 Clerical, Secretarial, Technical (CST) Unit Contract Agreement with Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action

19.4 Changes to CST Members Due to Reorganization. Action

19.5 Public Hearing regarding Sufficiency of Textbooks and Instructional Materials for 2014/2015 for Pupil Textbook and Instructional Materials Incentive Program and Williams Settlement Instructional Materials Funds. Action

19.6 Adoption of method books and music books for Middle and High school music courses. Info/Action

19.7 Annual Renewal of Sungard-Bi-Tech Services Contract Action

19.8 Minutes for the Board of Education Meeting held on August 27, 2014 Action

19.9 Minutes for the Board of Education Meeting held on September 10, 2014 Action

19.10 Minutes for the Board of Education Meeting held on September 24, 2014 Action

19.11 Meeting Extension Action

20.0 Future Agenda Items
20.1 Future Agenda Items Info

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

22.0 Reconvene Open Session
22.1 Reconvene Open Session and Report Out Info

23.0 Adjournment
23.1 Adjourn Meeting Action”

Do you think the board should extend the superintendent’s contract through 2017?

Posted on Saturday, October 11th, 2014
Under: Mt. Diablo school district | 107 Comments »

Mt. Diablo board candidates discuss lack of diversity in district staff

Six candidates vying for three open seats on the Mt. Diablo school board discussed a variety of issues at a forum Thursday in Pleasant Hill, including the lack of staff diversity in the district.

Incumbents Cheryl Hansen and Linda Mayo, along with challengers Michael Langley, Herbert Lee, Debra Mason and James Ryan shared a variety of perspectives on this issue, which Hansen said is a concern for most districts in Contra Costa County. Ideally, most candidates agreed, it is desirable for district staff to reflect the diversity of the student population.

“It’s a problem in communicating to students that education is a viable career,” said Hansen, who is white.

When she visited a career-oriented education academy at Ygnacio Valley High in Concord, Hansen said she was surprised that only two of 32 students said they wanted to pursue careers in education.

“A lot of it is that they don’t necessarily see it as a profession or a career or something that’s lucrative,” Hansen said. “You can’t just rely on love of students.”

Districts and the community must work to convince students that education is a meaningful and fulfilling field, Hansen said. She also suggested that districts such as Mt. Diablo could try to think out of the box when recruiting.

“Someone told me,” she said, “that you need to fish in different ponds.”

Langley said the head of the NAACP said several years ago that if you compare the number of African-American sports stars to the number of African-American dentists, you would find that there are many more dentists. But, students don’t know that.

“Kids see athletes as glorified and valued,” Langley said. “If you want to get people into education, you have to stop saying education is failing and is for losers. You have to say: ‘This is where you go to get the top job.’”

Langley said he also supports affirmative action in hiring.

“We have get a diverse workforce,” he said, adding in reference to himself, “said the old white man.”

Lee said he attended schools in Los Angeles, where the student population was 70 percent minorities.

“Most of the teachers were not people of color,” Lee said. “But I felt like it didn’t really matter. They had empathy and they understood where I came from. They cared about me. I think diversity is important, but it’s also important to understand how teachers relate to people and to get the kids to understand that there are people who care about you and they don’t necessarily have to look like you.”

Moderator John Sasaki, quipped: “Said the Asian man on the dais.

Mason, who is white, said she hired a very diverse staff in one of her Bay Point youth programs.

“The kids just thought they were ‘the bomb,’” Mason said. “I was told by a MDEA (Mt. Diablo Education Association teachers’ union) rep: ‘There’s no teachers of color out there.’ But I don’t believe that. I’ve been to other schools and I’ve seen them.”

One reason students from diverse ethnic backgrounds may not gravitate toward education careers is that they may not have had positive experiences in school, Mason added.

“If you had a negative experience in school, as many children of color do, is that a place you’re going to want to go back to? We have to value them,” she said. “In my program, four kids came back as teachers.”

Mayo, who is white, said teachers need to be esteemed in the district. Colleges, she added, must also reach out to diverse cultures for teacher credential and education programs.

“We also have to make sure that we as a community are welcoming people of color into our community,” she said, adding that diverse cities would likely attract more employees from varied backgrounds.

Ryan, who is white, said “students do better in school when they feel they have teachers who understand them.” He said the district should strive to make sure “students come up through an education system where they feel they belong and want to return to it.”

How do you think school districts could attract more diverse employees?

Posted on Friday, October 3rd, 2014
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 42 Comments »

Mt. Diablo school district could be held in contempt of court for failing to release court-ordered documents to Bay Area News Group

The Mt. Diablo school district could be held in contempt of court for refusing to turn over documents in connection with a lawsuit filed last year by this newspaper.

Last month, a Contra Costa County Superior Court judge ordered the district to release eight documents to this newspaper in response to a California Public Records Act request and subsequent lawsuit seeking all writings related to complaints, investigations or discipline of former Woodside Elementary teacher Joseph Martin, who was charged last year with 150 counts of molestation involving 14 students.

A jury acquitted Martin in August on 21 counts involving three accusers and deadlocked on 95 other counts involving 11 accusers. The deputy district attorney dismissed 34 counts before jury deliberations began and has not yet decided whether to retry Martin on the remaining charges.

Martin was placed on a leave of absence in April 2013 after a parent complained to the principal about suspicions of inappropriate touching. Martin was arrested two months later and remains in jail in lieu of $10 million bail. Civil lawsuits filed by the accusers and their families against him and the district are pending.

In response to this newspaper’s lawsuit, a judge reviewed documents the district considered exempt from disclosure “in camera,” or in the judge’s chambers. Following this review, the judge ordered the district to produce the following eight documents, saying they were not exempt:

1. Phone message of May 22, 2013, for Julie Braun-Martin, then-assistant superintendent of personnel, from a parent.

2. Letter to Martin from a parent.

3. Email from Martin to Braun-Martin dated May 16, 2013.

4. Phone message of May 22, 2013, for Braun-Martin from parent.

5. Emails from then-Woodside Elementary Principal Jenny Cronan to Braun-Martin dated May 26 and 27, 2013.

6. Letter from Cronan to “Parents of H-I Students” dated May 28, 2013.

7. Phone message of June 7, 2013, for Braun-Martin from Cronan.

8. Email to “Board Members” from then-Interim Superintendent John Bernard dated June 28, 2013.

The district’s outside counsel from Meyers Nave filed a Motion to Reconsider, arguing that the documents were produced through an “improper” inspection in the judge’s chambers. They further argued that the documents are not public records by definition, that they are not responsive to this newspaper’s California Public Records Act request, that they are privileged attorney-client communications, are subject to attorney work product privilege, and they pertain to pending criminal and civil litigation. In addition, the district argued that disclosure would infringe on the privacy rights of families whose children attend Woodside Elementary in Concord, where Martin taught fifth grade.

The district included a declaration under perjury signed by Jayne Williams, who was the district’s interim general counsel when Martin was arrested, arguing that the documents should be exempt from disclosure because they were “retrieved solely from the general counsel’s legal files.”

Regarding Bernard’s email, Williams said: “I am informed, believe and thereon allege that email was sent on June 28, 2013, following the district meeting in closed session on June 24, 2013, to address these matters.”

She attached a copy of the agenda from the meeting, which she asserted “confirms the district’s meeting in closed session to discuss a matter related to a public employee.”

However, the minutes from that meeting — which she did not attach — state that no closed session took place because the public employee issue “has been resolved.” This newspaper asked the court to order the district to show cause why it should not be held in contempt of court for failure to obey the Aug. 14 order, and the judge agreed. Both the motion to reconsider and the contempt of court order are set for Oct. 15 hearings.

Staff writer Matthias Gafni contributed to this report.

Here is the district’s Motion to Reconsider: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKcecFAxSk9jU0lYUGM/edit?usp=sharing

Here is Meyers Nave attorney Kevin Gilbert’s statement in support of the MDUSD motion: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceSTJWRU5US3V0Wkk/edit?usp=sharing

Here is former Interim General Counsel Jayne Williams’ declaration in support of the MDUSD motion: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceZlVDYTY4UEZjZTQ/edit?usp=sharing

Here’s BANG’s Application for Order to Show Cause Why MDUSD Should Not Be Held In Contempt for Failure to Obey Aug. 14, 2014 Disclosure Order: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceekFrT0pOMTg4SmM/edit?usp=sharing

Do you think the district should turn over the documents or be held in contempt of court?

SEPT. 29 UPDATE: BANG filed this Petition for Writ today, which calls into question the actions of former Interim General Counsel Jayne Williams, who appears to have compiled certain documents in a “legal” file, while allowing all other copies of those documents to be discarded, in an apparent attempt to withhold them from release to BANG’s CPRA: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceWEFsWDYwNXhJZ2s/edit?usp=sharing

OCT. 1 UPDATE: Here is BANG’s Opposition to MDUSD’s Motion for Reconsideration: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKcebWNNOXQ5M1l6YVk/view?usp=sharing

Here are Exhibits 1 and 2, which supplement BANG’s Opposition: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceVEZneFRCTGZlLVk/view?usp=sharing

OCT. 3 UPDATE: Here is MDUSD’s Request for a Temporary Stay of Disclosure Order and Opposition to BANG’s Application for Order to Show Cause: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceN2JwU09mR3RJdDg/view?usp=sharing

Here is Jayne Williams’ amended declaration: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKcedTJqNjVCMURJRTQ/view?usp=sharing

Here is Kevin Gilbert’s Declaration in Support of MDUSD’s Request for Temporary Stay of Disclosure Order and Opposition to BANG’s Application for Order to Show Cause why MDUSD Should Not Be Held in Contempt: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceYmhKR2J5dnI4OUE/view?usp=sharing

OCT. 7 UPDATE: Here is BANG’s Reply in Support of Order Holding MDUSD in Contempt for Failing to Obey the Aug. 14 Disclosure Order: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceQnhPVFRrbGNZbWM/view?usp=sharing

OCT. 27 UPDATE: Here is BANG’s motion for attorney’s fees: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceXzR1a3JwNGpaNWc/view?usp=sharing

And here is a declaration in support of the motion: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceQ1BHUFpmZ0RfM0k/view?usp=sharing

Posted on Friday, September 26th, 2014
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 58 Comments »

Poll shows Americans think teachers need better training, longer student teaching stints

As the debate over teacher tenure and teacher evaluations continues, a new poll released last week showed Americans support more stringent admission requirements for teacher education programs, more rigorous evaluations and a “bar exam” type of certification test.

Those surveyed in the second release of information from the 46th edition of the Phi Delta Kappa/Gallup Poll of the Public’s Attitudes Toward the Public Schools believe performance evaluations are important to help teachers improve and to identify those who are ineffective. But they do not support the use of student test scores as the primary tool for evaluating teachers.

These are issues that those who educate prospective teachers are already beginning to address. The Council for the Accreditation of Educator Preparation has implemented new rules that will set minimum academic standards for students seeking admission into university schools of education. In addition, more than 100,000 teachers throughout the country have earned national board certification from the National Board for Professional Teaching Standards, including many in Contra Costa County.

The American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education has endorsed a performance assessment developed by Stanford University, which is built on national board certification and has been compared to a bar exam, to determine whether a teacher candidate is ready to teach.

“Many programs designed to help teachers improve their skills already exist,” said William Bushaw, chief executive officer of PDK International and co-director of the PDK/Gallup poll in a news release. “But this year’s results show that more work, study and action by district, state and federal leaders is needed to implement these programs that Americans support.”

The poll also asked about the public school calendar, curriculum and educating undocumented children.
Key findings include:

— 81 percent of those surveyed said teachers “should be required to pass board certification in addition to earning a degree.”

— 60 percent said entrance requirements to education schools should be raised.

— 44 percent said student teaching stints with a certificated teacher should last one year; 27 percent said two years; 4 percent supported the most common practice of six-week student teaching assignments.

— 45 percent said the number of instructional days should remain the same, but vacations should be spread throughout the year instead of mainly in the summer; about 44 percent generally supported adding more instructional days.

— 31 percent generally supported adding more hours to each school day.
Support for educating undocumented children varied, depending whether or not the question included the word “illegally.”

— 56 percent supported “providing public education to children of immigrants who are undocumented.”

— 49 percent favored “providing education to children of immigrants who are in the United States illegally.”

— 91 percent said a college education is “fairly important” or “very important.”

However, the 2014 poll found an unexpected change in those categories compared to four years ago. In 2010, 75 percent of those surveyed said college was “very important,” while 21 percent said it was “fairly important.”
This year, 43 percent categorized college as “very important,” while 48 percent responded “fairly important.”

“We were genuinely surprised by the divided response on the importance of college,” Bushaw said. “Americans seem to be rethinking the idea that a college education is essential for success in the U.S. economy, perhaps in part because parents are less certain they will be able to pay for it.”

PDK, an international association of education professionals, has conducted this poll annually with Gallup since 1969. The most recent findings are based on telephone interviews completed in May and June 2014 with a national sample of 1,001 American adults. The margin of error is plus or minus 4.6 percent.

Complete results are at www.pdkpoll.org.

Do you agree with the poll results?

Posted on Friday, September 26th, 2014
Under: Mt. Diablo school district, Teaching | 1 Comment »

MDUSD tonight to appoint a Northgate HS principal, vote on board benefits and counselor positions

The Mt. Diablo school board will meet tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the school district office board room at 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord. Here is the agenda, which includes several items of interest, such as the appointment of a principal for Northgate High in Walnut Creek, a vote on board benefits, the restoration of hours for special education assistants and the creation of 12 counselor positions.

“1.0 Call to Order
1.1 President Will Call the Meeting to Order at 6:00 p.m. Info

2.0 Public Comment
2.1 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
3.0 Announcements

3.1 In Closed Session, the Board will consider the items listed on the Closed Session Agenda. Info
4.0 Closed Session Agenda
4.1 (Item #1) Readmission of Student #15-13 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
4.2 (Item #2) Anticipated Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel pursuant to Gov’t. Code Sec. 54956.9(b, Significant Exposure to Litigation: 2 cases Info/Action
4.3 (Item #3) Conference With Labor Negotiator(s) (Gov. Code Sec. 54957.6; Agency Negotiators – Dr. Nellie Meyer; Unrepresented Employee: DMA Info/Action
4.4 (Item #4) Conference with Labor Negotiator(s) – Unrepresented Employee – Superintendent. Negotiator: Barbara Oaks 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 7:30 p.m. 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) Readmission of Student #15-13 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
8.2 (Item #2) Anticipated Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel pursuant to Gov’t. Code Sec. 54956.9(b, Significant Exposure to Litigation: 2 cases Info/Action
8.3 (Item #3) Conference With Labor Negotiator(s) (Gov. Code Sec. 54957.6; Agency Negotiators – Dr. Nellie Meyer; Unrepresented Employee: DMA Info/Action
8.4 (Item #4) Conference with Negotiators – Unrepresented Employee – Superintendent. Negotiator: Barbara Oaks Info/Action

9.0 Recognitions and Resolutions
9.1 Resolution 14/15-12 Disability Awareness Month Action
9.2 Resolution No. 14/15-14 – Attendance Awareness Month Action

10.0 Public Employee Appointment
10.1 Appointment of Principal – Northgate High School Action

11.0 Board Member Reports
11.1 Board Reports Info

12.0 Superintendent’s Report
12.1 Superintendent’s Report Info

13.0 Reports/Information
13.1 Measure C Project Update Info

14.0 Consent Agenda Action
14.1 (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
14.2 (Item #2) Recommended Action for Certificated Personnel Action
14.3 (Item #3) Request to Increase Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2014-2015 School Year Action
14.4 (Item #4) Classified Personnel: Request to Increase/Decrease Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2014/15 School Year Action
14.5 (Item #5) Fiscal Transactions for the Month of August 2014 Action
14.6 (Item #6) Approval of contract increase with Non-Public Agency, Creating Behavioral and Educational Momentum (CBEM) Action
14.7 (Item #7) Renewal of the Memorandum of Understanding with Spectrum Center for 2014/15 Collaborative Program Action
14.8 (Item #8) Execution of Non-Public School Master Contracts for the 2014-15 School Year Action
14.9 (Item #9) Approval of master contract with Non-Public Agency Community Options for Families & Youth (COFY) Action
14.10 (Item #10) Approve Independent Services Contract with Mary Phalon, Support Counselor and Mt. Diablo Unified School District Action
14.11 (Item #11) John F. Kennedy University – Independent Services Contract Action
14.12 (Item #12) Educational Testing Service (ETS) High School Equivalency Test (HiSET) Action
14.13 (Item #13) Approve contract with Talk Solutions/Pleasant Hill Middle School and Mt. Diablo Unified School District Action
14.14 (Item #14) Approve contract with Marin County Office of Education (COE) Outdoor School of Walker Creek Ranch for Walnut Acres Elementary School Action
14.15 (Item #15) Approve contract with Westminster Woods Camp and Sequoia Elementary School Action
14.16 (Item #16) Firedoll Foundation Grant Action
14.17 (Item #17) Field Trips: Sequoia Middle School Action
14.18 (Item #18) Approval of text for Honors Economics course: Krugman’s Economics for AP (bfw Worth) Action
14.19 (Item #19) Memorandum of Understanding for Facilities Use between the City of Concord and Mt. Diablo Unified School District Action
14.20 (Item #20) Notice of Completion for Bid #1649: PE Building Renovation at Mt. Diablo High School Action
14.21 (Item #21) Approve Final Change Order (FCO) #1649-001 to B Bros Construction, Inc. Action
14.22 (Item #22) Approve Resolution 14/15-13 for the Mt. Diablo Unified School District for acceptance and consent to a deed or grant of real property. Action
14.23 (Item #23) Approve Quitclaim of Easements between the Contra Costa Water District and Mt. Diablo Unified School District Action
14.24 (Item #24) Temporary Suspend Board Policy and Administrative Regulation 5116.1 (Intradistrict Open Enrollment) Action
14.25 (Item #25) Memo Of Understanding Between Mt. Diablo Unified School District (MDUSD) and Contra Costa County Office of Education (CCCOE) for the 2014-2015 School Year Action
14.26 (Item #26) Minutes for the Board of Education Meeting held on May 20, 2013 Action
14.27 (Item #27) Minutes for the Special Board of Education Meeting held on May 15, 2013 Action
14.28 (Item #28) Minutes for the Special Board of Education Meeting held on May 8, 2013 Action
14.29 (Item #29) Minutes for the Board of Education Meeting held on May 6, 2013 Action
14.30 (Item #30) Minutes for the Special Board of Education Meeting held on May 1, 2013 Action
14.31 (Item #31) Recommended Action for Classified Personnel Action
15.0 Consent Items Pulled for Discussion

16.0 Public Comment
16.1 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

17.0 Communications
17.1 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

18.0 Business/Action Item
18.1 Approve creation of 12 School Counselor Positions Action

18.2 Authorizing Investment of Monies in the Local Agency Investment Fund (LAIF) Action

18.3 Adoption of Beginning Guitar as a year long course of study. Action

18.4 Revision of BB 9250 Heath and Welfare Benefits Action

18.5 Additional Monthly Meeting of the Board of Education Info/Action

18.6 SEA Hours Restoration Action

18.7 Agreement for Facilities Use between City of Clayton and MDUSD Action

18.8 Minutes for the Special Closed Session Board of Education Meeting held on June 30, 2014 Action

18.9 Minutes for the Special Closed Session Board of Education Meeting held on July 14, 2014 Action

18.10 Minutes for the Board of Education Meeting held on August 13, 2014 Action

18.11 Meeting Extension Action

19.0 Future Agenda Items
19.1 Future Agenda Items Info

20.0 Closed Session
20.1 Items not completed during the first Closed Session will be carried over to this closed session. Action

21.0 Reconvene Open Session
21.1 Reconvene Open Session and Report Out Info

22.0 Adjournment
22.1 Adjourn Meeting Info”

Do you think board members should get paid benefits?

Posted on Wednesday, September 24th, 2014
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 81 Comments »

MDUSD board tonight to approve Teamsters contract, approve counselor position and policy prohibiting tobacco use, and discuss board benefits

The Mt. Diablo school board will meet tonight at 7:30 p.m. in the district office at 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord.

Here is the agenda:

“1.0 Call to Order
1.1 President Will Call the Meeting to Order at 6:00 p.m. Info
2.0 Public Comment
2.1 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
3.0 Announcements
3.1 In Closed Session, the Board will consider the items listed on the Closed Session Agenda. Info
4.0 Closed Session Agenda
4.1 (Item #1) Readmission of Student #16-13 into a school in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
4.2 (Item #2) Anticipated Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel pursuant to Gov’t. Code Sec. 54956.9(b, Significant Exposure to Litigation: 2 cases Info/Action
4.3 (Item #3) Conference with Labor Negotiator(s) – Unrepresented Employee – Superintendent. Negotiator: Barbara Oaks Info/Action
4.4 (Item #4) Conference With Labor Negotiator(s) (Gov. Code Sec. 54957.6; Agency Negotiators – Dr. Nellie Meyer and Lawrence Schoenke; Unrepresented Employee: DMA Info/Action
5.0 Adjourn to Closed Session at 6:00 p.m.
5.1 Adjourn to Closed Session Action

6.0 Reconvene Open Session
6.1 Reconvene Open Session at 7:30 p.m. 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) Readmission of Student #16-13 into a school in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
8.2 (Item #2) Anticipated Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel pursuant to Gov’t. Code Sec. 54956.9(b, Significant Exposure to Litigation: 2 cases Info/Action
8.3 (Item #3) Conference with Negotiators – Unrepresented Employee – Superintendent. Negotiator: Barbara Oaks Info/Action
8.4 (Item #4) Conference With Labor Negotiator(s) (Gov. Code Sec. 54957.6; Agency Negotiators – Dr. Nellie Meyer and Lawrence Schoenke; Unrepresented Employee: DMA Info/Action

9.0 Board Member Reports
9.1 Board Reports Info

10.0 Superintendent’s Report
10.1 Superintendent’s Report Info

11.0 Reports/Information
11.1 Transportation Report Action

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) Recommended Action for Certificated Personnel Action
12.3 (Item #3) Request to Increase and Decrease Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2014-2015 School Year Action
12.4 (Item #4) Recommended Action for Classified Personnel Action
12.5 (Item #5) Classified Personnel: Request to Increase/Decrease Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2014-15 School Year Action
12.6 (Item #6) Education Code 44256(b)- Board Authorization Action
12.7 (Item #7) Contract/Purchase Order with Beyond the Words, Inc. for the services of Educational Interpreters for the Deaf for School Year 2014-2015 Action
12.8 (Item #8) Approve contract/purchase order with Marie Wyman, SLP for Speech and Language services for the 2014-15 School Year Action
12.9 (Item #9) Memorandum of Understanding between The University of the Pacific and Mt. Diablo Unified School District Action
12.10 (Item #10) Approve grant submission to Dow Chemical to support Project Lead the Way (PLTW) Launch Action
12.11 (Item #11) Approve grant submission to Tesoro for STEM After School Club Action
12.12 (Item #12) Approve acceptance of grant from Kaiser Permanente to Food and Nutrition Services for the Homework Café pilot at Meadow Homes and Riverview. Action
12.13 (Item #13) RFP #1684: Translator Support Providers Action
12.14 (Item #14) Disposal of District Surplus Vehicles Action
12.15 (Item #15) Field Trip: Mt. Diablo High School Action
12.16 (Item #16) Minutes for the Board of Education Meeting held on June 3, 2013. Action
12.17 (Item #17) Minutes for the Special Board of Education Meeting held on May 28, 2013. Action
13.0 Consent Items Pulled for Discussion

14.0 Public Comment
14.1 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

15.0 Communications
15.1 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

16.0 Business/Action Item
16.1 Request to Approve Tentative Agreement between Teamsters Local 856 M&O and Mt. Diablo Unified School District Action

16.2 Approval of School Counselor Position Info/Action

16.3 Certification of the District’s 2013-2014 Unaudited Actual Financial Report Action

16.4 Adoption of Resolution #14/15-4 Adopting the District’s 2013-2014 Appropriations Limit Calculation (GANN Limit) Action

16.5 Request approval of the Independent Services Contract with Mt. Diablo Unified School District and New Tech Network, LLC. Action

16.6 UC Berkeley History-Social Science Project Action

16.7 Adoption of Beginning Guitar as a year long course of study. Info

16.8 Adoption of Essential Elements for Band – Book 1 with EEi and Essential Elements for Strings – Book 1 with EEi method books for the Elementary Instrumental Music program. Info/Action

16.9 Contract for EL Achieve to Build District Capacity in the Constructing Meaning Framework Info/Action

16.10 BP 6174 Education for English Learners AR 6174 Education for English Language Learners Action

16.11 Creation of Board Policy 5131.62 and Administrative Regulation 5131.62 to prohibit students against tobacco use. Action

16.12 Revision of Board Policy 3513.3 and Administrative Regulation 3513.3 (Tobacco-Free Schools). Action

16.13 Revision of Board Policy 5030 (Student Wellness). Action

16.14 Revision to BP 2310: Conflict of Interest Info

16.15 Revision of BB 9250 Heath and Welfare Benefits Info

16.16 Minutes for the Board of Education Meeting held on June 25, 2014. Action

16.17 Meeting Extension Action

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 Open Session and Report Out Info

20.0 Adjournment
20.1 Adjourn Meeting Info”

Although the district has been promising for weeks to appoint a new principal for Northgate High in Walnut Creek, no appointments appear on this agenda.

One controversial issue is Item 16.15, which suggests that board members pay for their own benefits.

Also, Item 12.16 on the consent calendar – minutes for the board meeting of June 3, 2013 – are confusing. They note that Interim Superintendent Bernard requested that three items from the “confidential agenda” be added to the public agenda. The board voted to add the three items, but there was no report out regarding those items. The video from this meeting (as well as several others from last year) has disappeared from the district’s website. Where is the transparency and accountability that was promised when the board agreed to begin videotaping meetings?

Posted on Wednesday, September 10th, 2014
Under: Mt. Diablo school district | 73 Comments »

Kudos to Meadow Homes Elementary in Concord for hard-earned White House recognition!

I was excited to visit Meadow Homes Elementary in Concord earlier this week to see the students, staff and parents showing famous artists and White House officials how they are turning around their school by integrating visual arts, drama and music into their classes.

Alejandra Ceja, executive director of The White House Initiative on Educational Excellence said Meadow Homes is a model for underperforming schools around the country that want to engage students in learning.

“I want you to know you’re putting this conversation on the map and people are paying attention to what’s happening here,” Ceja said during a round table discussion with Mt. Diablo school district staff, Monument Community Partnership representatives and parents. “This is exactly what we need to continue to do across the country. And for us, it’s going to be so critical when we go into those emerging communities — Alabama, Arkansas, Tennessee — where there’s parents and students that are trying to figure out: How do they become more of an community in the school district? And so we’re definitely going to take away a lot of the information that was shared and follow up.”

Principal Mary-Louise Newling, teachers and parents talked enthusiastically about how rigorous instruction in painting, drawing, dance, singing and instrumental music is lighting a fire in students for learning, including some who previously didn’t want to come to school or who had behavior problems. Vice Principal Margo Peckham said the parent community at the school is very active and interested in what their children are doing, with some meetings drawing 100 people.

John Abodeely, deputy director of the President’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, said hearing about the parent involvement at the school gave him goose bumps. At some schools, he said, the only time parents visit is for disciplinary issues.

The premise of the “Turnaround Arts” program Abodeely is overseeing, he said, is that art is not a flower, it’s a wrench.

“The arts are not something you provide to students when you’ve fixed all the other problems,” he said. “Just like music is not something that’s been a part of humanities after we’ve figured out all of our other problems. It’s been a part of our soul and heart forever. So, the arts are a critical element in reform strategies.”

Despite the impressive work going on the Meadow Homes, some parents and teachers expressed frustration about the negative reputation the school has in the Concord community. Many people don’t understand how special the school is and some students fail to live up to their potential after they leave, one teacher said.

“We want them to take that empowerment with them beyond Meadow Homes,” she said. “They sense it here. We believe in them. But, there’s a point where I see them come back — and I know how smart they were and I know what they could have achieved — and I see that they didn’t. And so that saddens me.”

The teacher said that when she tells people where she works, she often gets the response: “Oh.”

Instead, she said she wants people to say, “Wow, that must be a great place to work!”

“Because that’s what I feel every day,” she said. “I feel honored to come to work here.”

Choking back tears, she added: “And I just want the community of Concord to realize that.”

Opera singer Carla Dirlikov, who dazzled the students with a mezzo-soprano song from Carmen, along with two Spanish songs, said she wants to reach out to other artists to help bring music into schools. Representatives from the Monument Community Partnership said they believe more community members — including elected officials — may be willing to visit the school and possibly partner on programs or activities. Newling said the school will need these kinds of partnerships to continue to flourish after the campus’ School Improvement Grant runs out in June. She described the school’s transformation as nothing short of a “renaissance.”

How do you think the community can help to support the arts in schools?

Posted on Monday, September 8th, 2014
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | No Comments »