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MDUSD board to meet tonight with Concord City Council

The Mt. Diablo school board will hold a joint meeting tonight with the Concord City Council to discuss issues of mutual interest.

The meeting is at 6:30 p.m. in the district office board room at 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord. The public is invited to comment on items on the agenda, which include:

A Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) presentation by MDUSD Superintendent Dr. Nellie Meyer.

An oral presentation regarding the Family Justice Center by Concord Police Chief Guy Swanger.

An information exchange between the school board and city council including updates on items of mutual interest and a discussion of partnerships and other areas of cooperation. Discussion items may include: district enrollment, student achievement, Common Core State Standards, development and educational opportunities for high school students, school/community safety, shared fields, updates on current and planned improvement projects, MDEA Second Annual Academy Awards and the communication between the district and city council. No formal action will be taken.

Here is a link to the agenda, which didn’t show up on the district’s web site home page until today: http://www.mdusd.org/boe/Documents/agendas/2014/04-02-14.pdf

Because the media was not notified in advance of this meeting, I was unaware of it until this morning, so was unable to inform the public about it in today’s Contra Costa Times.

Other items of interest that could be discussed include Clayton Valley High’s expansion plans and De La Salle’s planned middle school academy in Concord.

Do you believe the district adequately informed the community about this meeting?

Posted on Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
Under: Concord, Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 12 Comments »

Northgate HS music student seeks support for Eagle Scout project refurbishing music stands for Foothill Middle School

A Northgate HS senior is seeking donations for his Eagle Scout project to refurbish instrumental music stands at Foothill MS in Walnut Creek. Here is his statement asking for community support:

“I’m Matthew Assily, a senior at Northgate High School. I have been involved in instrumental music in the Mount Diablo Unified School District since fourth grade, and am heavily involved in the music program at Northgate.

I am also a Life Scout in Boy Scout Troop 494. For my Eagle Scout project, I am refurbishing the music stands at Foothill Middle School, which includes painting them and stenciling ‘FMS’ onto them for ease of use in the future. In order to carry out this refurbishment, I need to raise funds for tools and supplies.

If you are so inclined, I am looking for voluntary donations of between $5 and $10 to go towards the paint and the safety equipment required for the project. Donations can be sent to Matthew Assily, c/o John Assily, 3240 Stone Valley Road West, Alamo, CA 94507 and checks can be made out to Matthew Assily. I will send you a receipt for your donation. Any funds raised beyond the required money for the project will be given to the Foothill Middle School Instrumental Music program.

If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at mjassily@aol.com. Thank you so much for your contribution and for supporting instrumental music in the Mount Diablo Unified School District!”

Here is a video clip of Assily (second from left) playing “Almost Tango” by Gianfranco Gioia with his classmates Eric Nakanishi, Massimius Watson and Ben Lugten: http://www.tout.com/m/0aaowr

Posted on Wednesday, April 2nd, 2014
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district, Music | No Comments »

How much sugar does your family eat?

The nation’s reliance on fast foods and prepackaged items loaded with added sugar causes tooth decay, obesity, cardiovascular disease and diabetes, says Dr. Robert Lustig, a childhood obesity expert at UC San Francisco.

One great way to overcome this problem is to teach America’s children how to cook healthy meals from scratch. In addition, Lustig wants to build public pressure on the food industry and government leaders to cut down on unhealthy food additives to improve everyone’s well-being.

He has teamed up with the American Heart Association and Walnut Creek chef Cindy Gershen, who also teaches at Mt. Diablo High in Concord, to get the message out to parents and the general public that major changes are needed in Americans’ diets. The World Health Organization and American Heart Association agree that added sugar should only make up 5 percent of a person’s total calories each day, which amounts to 4 teaspoons of added sugar for kids, 6 teaspoons for women or 9 teaspoons for men, he said.

“In America today, we’re at 17 percent,” Lustig said, as he watched Gershen’s students cooking healthy meals with salmon, pork loin, tofu and chicken earlier this week during a Bay Bridge Cook with Heart Challenge alongside students from Galileo High in San Francisco. “So, this is a reduction by two-thirds.”

Cutting back so drastically will be a huge challenge in this country, where 77 percent of all foods sold in grocery stores include added sugar, Lustig said. Even more alarming, he said, is the amount of sugar added to foods given to schoolchildren through breakfast and lunch programs.

About one-quarter of American kids eat school breakfasts, he said. For some, a typical breakfast could include a bowl of sugary cereal and a glass of orange juice — totaling 11 teaspoons of sugar — or 7 teaspoons more than the recommended amount for the entire day.

The reason Americans are consuming too much sugar is simple, Lustig says.

“The food industry makes money by selling crappy food,” he said. “The federal government lets them, but then the federal government has to pay for the downstream negative effects of that.”

For example, the government spends $245 billion a year on diabetes, he said. And it spends $200 billion a year fighting dementia, which he said has been associated with high-sugar diets.

Instead, Lustig says the government could make money by fixing the food so that it wouldn’t have to pay later for health problems caused by sugar. The reason this isn’t happening, Lustig alleges, is that 338 of 535 members of Congress take money from the food industry.

Until there is enough public outcry, Lustig says, nothing will change, even though the economic arguments alone justify the reductions he recommends. But more importantly, he says, children and their communities would benefit from healthier diets.

“When kids eat real food, they’re thinner, smarter and their behavior problems are better,” he said. “One-third of Americans don’t know how to cook. We can’t fix this until they do.”

Lustig and Gershen advocate bringing back home economics programs to high schools so that students can learn the nutritional guidelines and skills necessary to be healthier. Gershen’s students said they have changed their own diets and the foods eaten in their homes as a result of the education and hands-on cooking experiences they have received.

“It’s important to know what to put in your body,” said Maria Aguirre, 17, a junior at Mt. Diablo High. “At home, when you see what your mom makes, you say, ‘Mom, how much did you put in it?’ We have sugar at school. But, we also use honey.”

After the San Francisco competition ended, 16-year-old Shelby Cooper snacked on a plate of peas.

“It’s a healthier snack than a bag of chips and I’m more full,” she said. “I feel guilty if I eat chips.”

Carissa Urbina, a 17-year-old junior at Mt. Diablo High, said she enjoyed the salmon and vegetables they cooked.

“It gives me a lot of energy throughout my day as I’ve been eating this food,” she said. “And I don’t feel guilty.”

Here are some video clips from the Cook with a Heart event:

Students talk about meals they cooked:

http://youtu.be/GTlW8BJcM8o

http://youtu.be/gCwA8Qm9Y5w

 http://youtu.be/Cl6n4bRTLfs

http://youtu.be/ilZFyvMF8hw

Awards: http://youtu.be/bO4pOb_Mtxg

Comments from Lustig and others: http://youtu.be/gGVrO7esKSk

Do you think schools should teach students how to cook healthy meals?

Posted on Friday, March 21st, 2014
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 1 Comment »

News group’s fight to obtain district documents heading to court this month

The jury trial for former Woodside Elementary teacher Joseph Martin — who has been charged with 150 counts of molestation involving 14 former students while he taught at the Concord campus in the Mt. Diablo school district — has been postponed until May.

But, the Bay Area News Group, or BANG, lawsuit seeking district records related to an internal report about suspicions of abuse raised in 2006, along with any other relevant documents, is set to be heard March 19 in Contra Costa County Superior Court.

Attorneys for both sides have been busily trading legal briefs and declarations bolstering their opinions during the past month.

The district is staunchly defending its decision to withhold the documents sought based on a variety of exemptions asserted under the California Public Records Act. The newspaper group disputes these asserted exceptions and is asking the court to require the district to list everything that is being withheld and to review the documents privately, then decide whether or not they should be released.

Here’s a rundown of the arguments by both sides:

The district asserts that every document being withheld is prohibited from public disclosure because it contains identifiable education information for a minor, education records, attorney-client information, and attorney work product information, as well as information protected by individual privacy laws. The district asserts that a 2006 internal report prepared by outside attorney Mark Williams related to alleged improper behavior by Martin is exempt from disclosure because it was provided to police in confidence and police compelled the district to provide it as part of the police investigation of Martin.

BANG attorney Duffy Carolan counters: “It is inconceivable under the strong body of law governing access to records of public employee wrongdoing that all responsive records pertaining to complaints known to Mt. Diablo Unified School District to at least suggest child abuse by Woodside Elementary School teacher Joseph Martin would be exempt from public disclosure in their entirety.”

The district’s “vague and unsupported privacy arguments are patently insufficient to establish that any record it is withholding is exempt,” Carolan says, in a court document filed Feb. 26. In addition, she says the district failed to explain why removing the names of students would not suffice to protect student privacy and she disputed the district’s claim of attorney-client privilege related to the 2006 report.

“In sum,” Carolan wrote, “the district has utterly failed to meet its heavy burden of proof in this case to overcome the strong public interest in access to records that will shed light on the district’s handling of serious allegations of wrongdoing that have already imperiled the well-being of its students and raise legitimate concerns about student safety throughout the district.”

Although the district has not named the documents it is withholding, Carolan asserts that a paper trail leading to the decision to call police in 2013 must exist. She suggests that documents being withheld could include: an April 24, 2013 complaint from the mother of a Woodside Elementary student to then-Principal Jenny Cronan, notification from Cronan to the assistant superintendent for personnel about the complaint, direction to call police, and notification to Martin that he was being placed on administrative leave.

Related to the 2006 incident, Carolan suggests documents being withheld could include: a report received by then-Principal Jennifer Sachs that Martin was “focusing” on some students over others, Sachs’ notification to the assistant superintendent for personnel about this complaint, the conclusion by the district that an investigation was necessary, records relating to an internal investigation into “alleged suspicious behavior” by Martin, writings detailing the suspicious behavior, records showing Sachs was “tasked with conducting the investigation,” and the 2006 letter provided by Williams.

Links to court documents filed by both sides are below:

BANG Request for In Camera Review of MDUSD documents: https://docs.google.com/a/bayareanewsgroup.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceOWJVWVdYOTVDbXc/edit

Proposed Order for In Camera Review of MDUSD documents: https://docs.google.com/a/bayareanewsgroup.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceOWJVWVdYOTVDbXc/edit

MDUSD opposition to BANG petition: https://docs.google.com/a/bayareanewsgroup.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceV2JFU29NUlVqeDQ/edit

Declaration of MDUSD attorney Deb Cooksey: https://docs.google.com/a/bayareanewsgroup.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceVlJPYnB1bU9ZZUk/edit

Declaration of outside attorney Mark Williams: https://docs.google.com/a/bayareanewsgroup.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceOWJVWVdYOTVDbXc/edit

BANG reply to MDUSD: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceNDZ2THNuaU1ya3M/edit?usp=sharing

Do you think the court should review the documents being withheld to determine whether or not they should be released?

MARCH 18 UPDATE:

Here is the judge’s tentative ruling:

“29. TIME: 9:00 CASE#: MSN13-1551
CASE NAME: BAY AREA NEWS GROUP VS MT DIAB
SPECIAL SET HEARING ON: WRIT OF MANDATE SET BY STIPULATION/COURT
* TENTATIVE RULING: *

Petitioner Bay Area News Group’s petition seeking further disclosure of records is granted. It is premature to rule on the exemptions and privileges asserted by Respondent until a complete list of the specific documents being withheld is produced and correlated with the exemption and/or privilege claimed by the District. By April 2, 2014, Respondent is ordered to create a list of each responsive document or portion thereof being withheld, describing it in detail and for each document being withheld, Respondent must discuss the consequences of disclosing the sought-after information. Conclusory or boilerplate assertions that merely recite the statutory standards are not sufficient. See American Civil Liberties Union of Northern California v. Superior Court (2011) 202 Cal.App.4th 55, 82-85; State Board of Equalization v. Superior Court (1992) 10 Cal.App.4th 1177, 1192-1193.

The court rules on Petitioner’s objections as follows:

Declaration of Deborah Cooksey

Cooksey Decl., paragraph 11: Sustained – hearsay

Declaration of Mark Williams

Williams Decl., paragraph 3, starting with “I” and ending with “appropriate”: Sustained – relevance
Williams Decl., paragraph 3, starting with “One” and ending with “conduct”: Overruled
Williams Decl., paragraph 4, starting with “That” and ending with “privileged”: Overruled
Williams Decl., paragraph 4, starting with “Further” and ending with “communication”: Overruled”

Here are the objections: https://drive.google.com/file/d/0B6mS2O1_NKceWnRFU2JnUkprd1E/edit?usp=sharing

Posted on Sunday, March 9th, 2014
Under: Concord, Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 24 Comments »

MDUSD maintenance and operations workers join Teamsters Union

I have received a news release announcing that 500 Mt. Diablo school district maintenance and operations workers — who had been members of the Local One union — voted Friday to switch to the Teamsters 856 Union. Although the news release characterized it as an “overwhelming” vote, it did not disclose the percentage of yes and no votes.

“The vote to become Teamsters comes after months of stalled contract negotiations as the District has refused to address the issue of skyrocketing healthcare costs,” according to the news release.

“’The District’s decision to freeze healthcare costs at 2010 levels has had an alarming impact on these workers – many have had to choose between buying groceries and having healthcare,’ said Peter Finn, Secretary-Treasurer and Principal Officer of Teamsters Local 856.

The maintenance and operations unit includes school bus drivers, custodians, food service workers, network technicians, as well as plumbers, electricians, painters, carpenters, groundskeepers, and other classifications working out of the maintenance department.

‘We drive children to school, prepare their meals, and make sure they have a clean, safe environment in which to learn,’ said Noven Feria, a custodian lead worker for the District. ‘We deserve to be able to take care of our families too and not have to choose between food and healthcare,’ he said.

‘It’s time for Mount Diablo to take care of the workers who take care of our children,’ Finn said. ‘We are committed and prepared to do whatever it takes to demand fairness at the bargaining table.’

Founded in 1949, Teamsters Local 856 represents 8,000 hardworking members in the San Francisco Bay Area, North Bay, Sacramento, and Central Valley communities.”

Do you agree with the maintenance and operations workers’ decision to switch unions?

Posted on Saturday, March 8th, 2014
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 13 Comments »

Bay Area News Group reporting prompts calls for mandatory training in identifying and reporting child abuse

Nearly a year after Bay Area News Group published a survey of 94 school districts that showed more than half didn’t train their employees in spotting and reporting child abuse, state and national leaders are calling for mandatory training.

Rep. George Miller, D-Martinez, said last month that he asked the U.S. Government Accountability Office to survey school districts throughout the nation about their sex abuse reporting policies, in part based on reports he read in this newspaper about abuse of children by school teachers that was not reported to police or Child Protective Services as required by law. Miller stressed that Title IX also requires schools to keep children safe from sexual harassment or abuse.

He was particularly troubled by the fact that teachers in these cases often “groomed” students for abuse by befriending them first, then paying special attention to them outside of school hours. Miller said school employees should be trained to spot grooming behavior and report that to authorities, in order to prevent sexual abuse from occurring.

Last week, state Superintendent Tom Torlakson announced his support for AB 1432, authored by Assemblyman Mike Gatto, D-Los Angeles, which would require formal training for all school employees on the identification and reporting of suspected child abuse.

“Nothing is more important than the safety of our children at school,” Torlakson wrote, in a letter to Gatto. “California has had child abuse reporting laws on the books since 1963 — for more than five decades. And yet, even as changing state laws have expanded the number and nature of ‘mandatory reporters,’ never have they required any accompanying training in these duties. This does a disservice to both school employees and to the children these laws are meant to protect.

Our efforts to make our schools safer and help prevent crimes against children must also include giving educators and others who work with children the very best training and guidance available.

According to a recent media report, fewer than half of 94 school districts surveyed actually train employees on the identification and reporting of child abuse and neglect. School districts that do not provide training are required — under existing law — to notify the California Department of Education (CDE) of their reasons for doing so. Despite our best efforts to make districts aware of these responsibilities, we have received no such notifications. Clearly, current requirements fall short.

That is why I am pleased to see AB 1432 take a step forward by requiring that all school employees receive training at the beginning of every school year in their legal obligation to report child abuse and neglect. But it also ensures that the local educational agencies providing this training have assistance, by requiring the CDE, in consultation with the Office of Child Abuse Prevention in the California Department of Social Services, to provide information and guidelines on mandatory reporter training. Importantly, this training would also now be required to include the fact that failure to report constitutes a misdemeanor punishable with jail time and a fine.

Across California, educators and school communities feel a genuine responsibility toward the children they serve — for their education and their safety and well-being. They do not believe their job begins when the bell rings and ends at the schoolyard gate, and they know that we cannot expect a fearful child to learn …”

The failure of school districts to adequately train employees in identifying and reporting suspected abuse or grooming behavior can have tragic results. In the Mt. Diablo school district, former Woodside Elementary teacher Joseph Martin has been charged with 125 molestation counts involving 13 former students at the Concord school.

Two lawsuits filed last Tuesday on behalf of nine students allege the abuse could have been prevented if district officials had alerted police or Child Protective Services of suspicions that first came to light in 2005-06.

Here is a Guest Commentary by Carol Carrillo, executive director of the Child Abuse Prevention Council of Contra Costa, regarding the need for better training in schools: http://www.contracostatimes.com/opinion/ci_25136650/training-is-designed-make-children-safe-from-abuse

She notes that her agency is now offering training in MDUSD. But, back when we did our survey, I e-mailed Julie Braun Martin about this training and she responded that the district’s legal department was pursuing different training. This was before the Martin case came to light. As Carillo states, MDUSD obviously needed a “wake up call” before it was willing to take this training seriously.

Interestingly, Carillo also talks about training for students. Perhaps if MDUSD offered the “Speak Up, Be Safe” program, Woodside students would have spoken up sooner about Martin’s behavior and would have realized that it was wrong.

Do you think the state should require districts to train employees in spotting and reporting abuse?

Posted on Monday, February 17th, 2014
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 51 Comments »

MDUSD board to discuss adult ed and Local One successor agreement

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

1.0 Call to Order
1.1 President will call the meeting to order Info
2.0 Announcements

2.1 In closed session, the Board will consider the items listed on the closed session agenda. Info
3.0 Public Comment
3.1 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

4.0 Adjourn to Closed Session at 6:00 p.m.
5.0 Closed Session Agenda
5.1 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: Julie Braun Martin and Deborah Cooksey, Agencies: MDEA, CSEA, Local One M&O, Local One CST, MDSPA, and Supervisory. Info/Action
5.2 Anticipated Litigation – Significant exposure to litigation or claims made pursuant to Gov’t. Code Section 54956.9 (d)(2) Info
5.3 Anticipated Litigation – Significant exposure to litigation or claims made pursuant to Gov’t. Code Section 54956.9 (d)(2) Info
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 Negotiations Info/Action
8.2 Anticipated Litigation – Significant exposure to litigation or claims made pursuant to Gov’t. Code Section 54956.9 (d)(2) Info
8.3 Anticipated Litigation – Significant exposure to litigation or claims made pursuant to Gov’t. Code Section 54956.9 (d)(2) Info

9.0 Student Representatives
9.1 Student representatives will report on activities at their schools. Info

10.0 Recognitions and Resolutions
10.1 Resolution #13/14-31 Women’s History Month Info/Action
10.2 Resolution #13/14-32 Arts Education Month Info/Action

11.0 Board Member Reports
11.1 Board reports Info

12.0 Superintendent’s Report
12.1 Superintendent’s Report Info

13.0 Consent Agenda Action
13.1 (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
13.2 (Item #2) Recommended Action for Certificated Personnel Action
13.3 (Item #3) Request to Increase and Decrease Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2013-2014 School Year Action
13.4 (Item #4) Recommended Action for Classified Personnel Action
13.5 (Item #5) Classified Personnel: Request to Increase Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2013-14 School Year Action
13.6 (Item #6) Position Control Program Changes Due to Implementation of Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) effective 2013-14 Action
13.7 (Item #7) Business Plus Vendor Warrant Report and Business Plus Vendor Cancellations Warrant Report for the month of January 2014. Action
13.8 (Item #8) Williams Quarterly Summary Report Action
13.9 (Item #9) Approval of Provisional Internship Permit (PIP) Request Action
13.10 (Item #10) Approval of additional contract with Resource Development Associates, Inc. to revise and administer the Title I Parent/Family Involvement Survey for the 13 Title I schools. Action
13.11 (Item #11) Memorandum of Understanding between the University of San Francisco Nursing Program and Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
13.12 (Item #12) Approve contract with Marin County Office of Education (COE) Outdoor School of Walker Creek Ranch for Valhalla Elementary School Action
13.13 (Item #13) Minutes for the Board of Education Meeting held December 16, 2013 Action

14.0 Consent Items Pulled for Discussion

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 presentation 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 Communications
16.1 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

17.0 Reports/Information
17.1 Minutes for the Board of Education Meeting held January 29, 2014 Action

18.0 Business/Action Item
18.1 Adult Education Consortium Planning Grant intents to participate as a member. Action

18.2 Opportunity for public response to the Initial Successor Agreement Proposal for Public Employees Union Local #1 Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities/Transportation/Landscape/Warehouse/Food and Nutrition Services/Technology and Information Services/Substitute Custodian and School Bus Driver Units (M&O) and Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action

18.3 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
22.0 Adjournment
22.1 Adjourn Meeting”

What items are of interest to you?

Posted on Wednesday, February 12th, 2014
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 10 Comments »

School districts seek parent input for spending plans

MDUSD administrator leads parent discussion about engagement.

MDUSD administrator leads parent discussion about engagement.

Now that the state Board of Education has adopted emergency regulations and a template to help guide school districts in creating plans for spending their money, parents throughout the state should be hearing about community meetings asking for their opinions.

The Mt. Diablo and West Contra Costa districts started holding meetings in January to explain the state’s requirements for the plans, which must focus on eight priorities.

Nellie Meyer, Superintendent of the Mt. Diablo school district, told parents during a Tuesday meeting at Ygnacio Valley High that the priorities fall into three basic categories: conditions of learning, student outcomes and engagement.

Conditions of learning include: proper teacher assignments and student access to instructional materials; implementation of the state’s new Common Core standards; and student access to a variety of courses.

Student outcomes are: pupil achievement and other measures of student success, such as reclassification of English learners as fluent.

Engagement includes: parental involvement, student engagement, and school climate indicators such as suspension and expulsion rates.

Based on these priorities, districts must decide how to divide their money in ways that will best serve their students. The money includes base grants that can be spent on districtwide needs, along with supplemental grants intended to help narrow the achievement gap for students who are English learners, low-income or foster youth.

Districts with more than 55 percent of students in these categories receive concentration grants for their additional disadvantaged students.

Mt. Diablo does not qualify for a concentration grant because its percentage of disadvantaged students is not high enough, Meyer said. However, she said some schools have a much higher percentage of disadvantaged students.

“In my humble opinion, the formula is flawed,” she said. “It should be by school.”

Parents at the meeting broke into three groups and offered suggestions for improvement in each of the three basic categories, such as ensuring high-quality staff, providing parents with more information about students’ progress and inviting families to fun activities on campus such as potlucks.

Meyer gave a similar presentation about the spending plan Wednesday to the school board. But some public speakers said the presentation included too much hard-to-understand education lingo, while leaving out information about how much money the district is receiving in base and supplemental grants.

Resident Willie Mims said the district needs to ensure that supplemental funding will help the students for whom it is intended.

The Mt. Diablo district will hold more meetings before finalizing its plan in June. Community meetings are at 6:30 p.m. Tuesday at Ygnacio Valley High in Concord, at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 20 at Diablo View Middle School in Clayton, at 6:30 p.m. Feb. 25 at Northgate High in Walnut Creek, at 6:30 p.m. March 18 at Concord High, and at 6:30 p.m. April 8 at Mt. Diablo High.

The West Contra Costa district held four community meetings in January and plans to establish a special committee comprised of parent representatives that will vote on its plan. The district has posted notes from its meetings online, including suggestions for programs or services that could help disadvantaged students.

Suggestions from El Cerrito High meeting participants included: better promotion of district resources, hiring certificated teachers for after-school programs, hiring writer coaches, reintroducing music and art, lowering class sizes at all grade levels, creating newcomer programs at schools, offering full-day kindergarten and early intervention preschool programs, eliminating classes with split grade levels, providing more alternatives to suspensions, offering writing support to English learners and additional reading and writing programs for all students, year-round schools, and more counselors.

How do you think districts should spend money earmarked for disadvantaged students?

Posted on Friday, January 31st, 2014
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district, West Contra Costa school district | 84 Comments »

MDUSD board to meet Wednesday to make interim appointments permanent, sunshine Local 1 contract proposal and discuss leadership

The Mt. Diablo school board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday 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 Info
2.0 Announcements
2.1 In closed session, the Board will consider the items listed on the closed session agenda. Info

3.0 Public Comment
3.1 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

4.0 Adjourn to Closed Session at 6:00 p.m.
5.0 Closed Session Agenda
5.1 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: Julie Braun Martin and Deborah Cooksey, Agencies: MDEA, CSEA, Local One M&O, Local One CST, MDSPA, and Supervisory. Info/Action
5.2 Readmission of Student #03-11 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
5.3 Readmission of Student #24-12 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
5.4 Readmission of Student #A-14 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
5.5 Readmission of Student #B-14 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
5.6 Readmission of Student #17-13 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. 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 Negotiations Info/Action
8.2 Action on readmission of student #03-11 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
8.3 Action on readmission of student #24-12 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
8.4 Action on readmission of student #A-14 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
8.5 Action on readmission of student #B-14 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action
8.6 Action on readmission of student #17-13 into the Mt. Diablo Unified School District. Action

9.0 Recognitions and Resolutions
9.1 Recognition of National Board Certified Teacher – Teresa Mejia, Meadow Homes Elementary School Info

9.2 Resolution #13/14-29 African American History Month Info/Action

10.0 Board Member Reports
10.1 Board reports Info

11.0 Superintendent’s Report
11.1 Superintendent’s Report Info

12.0 Reports/Information
12.1 LCAP Presentation Info

12.2 Minutes of the Board of Education Meeting of January 15, 2014 Info/Action

12.3 Board Committee Assignments Info/Action

13.0 Consent Agenda Action
13.1 (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
13.2 (Item #2) Recommended Action for Certificated Personnel Action
13.3 (Item #3) Recommended Action for Classified Personnel Action
13.4 (Item #4) Classified Personnel: Request to Increase Positions Action
13.5 (Item #5) Request to Increase Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2013-2014 School Year Action
13.6 (Item #6) Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment (BTSA)Induction Program Support to Private School Teachers Action
13.7 (Item #7) Approve increase to independent service contract with Kristin Obrinsky, Physical Therapist Action
13.8 (Item #8) Approve contract increase with Independent Contractor Dr. Sherry Burke, School Psychologist Action
13.9 (Item #9) Increase purchase order with Speech Pathology Group. Action
13.10 (Item #10) Adjustments to Non-Public Agency (NPA) Contracts Action
13.11 (Item #11) Approval of Non-Public School (NPS) Adjustments Action
13.12 (Item #12) Request for increase in funding of a previously approved contract and purchase order with My Therapy Company. Action
13.13 (Item #13) Approval of Independent Service Contract with St. Vincent’s School for Boys, Catholic Charities CYO (Catholic Youth Organization) Action
13.14 (Item #14) Independent Services Contract for Concord High School and Events to the “T” Inc. Action
13.15 (Item #15) Approval of Extension of 2012-2013 Single Plans for Student Achievement (SPSA) through May 2014 Action
13.16 (Item #16) Request for Replacement of Outdated Warrant Action

14.0 Consent Items Pulled for Discussion
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 presentation 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 Communications
16.1 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

17.0 Business/Action Item

17.1 Change Interim Appointments to Regular Permanent Status Action

17.2 Request approval for submission by Mt. Diablo Adult Education of an application for Adult Education and Family Literacy Act (AEFLA): Workforce Investment Act (WIA), Title II, Section 231 and the English Literacy and Civics Education (EL Civics) supplemental funding for 2014-2015. Action

17.3 Public presentation from Mt. Diablo Unified School District’s Initial Successor Agreement Proposal for Public Employees Union Local #1 Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities/Transportation/Landscape/Warehouse/Food and Nutrition Services/Technology and Information Services/Substitute Custodian and School Bus Driver Units (M&O). Info

17.4 2012-2013 Audit Report Action

17.5 Approve contract increase to 2012-2013 Interagency Agreement #28-325-2 between MDUSD and Contra Costa County, Mental Health Services Division Action

17.6 Approval of Master Contract with 1-on-1 Learning with Laptops, a State-Approved Provider of Supplemental Educational Services (SES), to provide tutoring services to the eligible students at the 10 Title I schools, as follows: Bel Air, Cambridge, Fair Oaks, Meadow Homes, Rio Vista, Shore Acres, Sun Terrace, Ygnacio Valley Elementary; and Oak Grove and Riverview Middle Schools. Action

17.7 Leadership Development Info

17.8 Northgate’s Model UN Trip to New York City. Info/Action

17.9 Mt. Diablo High School’s IHTA Sustainable Tourism Field Trip to New York City Info/Action

17.10 Mt. Diablo High School’s Field Trip to the 2014 Northern California Western Nevada Jr. Science and Humanities Symposium Info/Action

17.11 Proposed date change for June 11, 2014, Board Meeting Action

17.12 Meeting Extension Action

18.0 Future Agenda Items

19.0 Closed Session
20.0 Reconvene Open Session
21.0 Adjournment”

What agenda items interest you the most?

Posted on Monday, January 27th, 2014
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 87 Comments »

MDUSD board to get disproportionality update and appoint more admins Wednesday

The Mt. Diablo school board will meet at 7:30 p.m. Wednesday at the district office at 1936 Carlotta Drive in Concord. Here is the agenda, which includes a report on disproportionality, a resolution regarding the interim general counsel and other appointments:

“1.0 Call to Order
1.1 President will call the meeting to order Info

2.0 Announcements

2.1 In closed session, the Board will consider the items listed on the closed session agenda. Info
3.0 Public Comment

3.1 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

4.0 Adjourn to Closed Session at 6:00 p.m.
4.1 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: Julie Braun Martin and Deborah Cooksey, Agencies: MDEA, CSEA, Local One M&O, Local One CST, MDSPA, and Supervisory. Info/Action
4.2 Existing Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel pursuant to Gov’t. Code Section 54956.9 (d)(1) regarding matter of D. Reynolds v. MDUSD Info/Action
4.3 Existing Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel pursuant to Gov’t Code Section 54956.9 (d)(1) regarding Chester C. Lehmann Co., Inc. v. MDUSD, CCC Super. Ct. No. MSC 13-06811 Info
4.4 Anticipated Litigation – Significant exposure to litigation or claims made pursuant to Gov’t. Code Section 54956.9 (d)(2) Info
4.5 Anticipated Litigation – Significant exposure to litigation or claims made pursuant to Gov’t. Code Section 54956.9 (d)(2) Info
4.6 Anticipated Litigation – Significant exposure to litigation or claims made pursuant to Gov’t. Code Section 54956.9 (d)(2) Info
4.7 Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release/Complaint – Dismissal of Classified Employee Action

5.0 Reconvene Open Session
5.1 Reconvene Open Session at 7:30 p.m. Info

6.0 Preliminary Business
6.1 Pledge of Allegiance and Roll Call Info

7.0 Report Out Action Taken in Closed Session
7.1 Negotiations Info/Action
7.2 Existing Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel pursuant to Gov’t. Code Section 54956.9 (d)(1) regarding matter of D. Reynolds v. MDUSD Info/Action
7.3 Existing Litigation – Conference with Legal Counsel pursuant to Gov’t Code Section 54956.9 (d)(1) regarding Chester C. Lehmann Co., Inc. v. MDUSD, CCC Super. Ct. No. MSC 13-06811 Info
7.4 Anticipated Litigation – Significant exposure to litigation or claims made pursuant to Gov’t. Code Section 54956.9 (d)(2) Info
7.5 Anticipated Litigation – Significant exposure to litigation or claims made pursuant to Gov’t. Code Section 54956.9 (d)(2) Info
7.6 Anticipated Litigation – Significant exposure to litigation or claims made pursuant to Gov’t. Code Section 54956.9 (d)(2) Info
7.7 Public Employee Discipline/Dismissal/Release/Complaint – Dismissal of Classified Employee Action

8.0 Student Representatives
8.1 Student representatives will report on activities at their schools. Info

9.0 Board Member Reports
9.1 Board reports Info

10.0 Superintendent’s Report
10.1 Superintendent’s Report Info

11.0 Consent Agenda Action
11.1 (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
11.2 (Item #2) Recommended Action for Certificated Personnel Action
11.3 (Item #3) Recommended Action for Classified Personnel Action
11.4 (Item #4) Classified Personnel: Request to Increase Positions Action
11.5 (Item #5) Request to Increase and Decrease Full Time Equivalent (FTE) for the 2013-2014 School Year Action
11.6 (Item #6) Fiscal Transactions for the month of December 2013 Action
11.7 (Item #7) Approve contracts with Kevin Clark Consulting and Training for coaching services provided at Rio Vista Elementary. Action
11.8 (Item #8) Approval of contracts with Camp SEA Lab for Ayers Elementary School and Westwood Elementary School Outdoor Ed Programs Action
11.9 (Item #9) Approval of contracts with Exploring New Horizons (ENH) for Silverwood Elementary School and Woodside Elementary School Outdoor Ed Program Action
11.10 (Item #10) Approval of contracts with the YMCA at Camp Arroyo for Meadow Homes Elementary and Rio Vista Elementary Outdoor Ed Programs Action
11.11 (Item #11) Independent Services Contracts for The Event Group, Inc. and Northgate High School Action
11.12 (Item #12) Increase contract with Document Tracking Services (DTS) to include Spanish translation of Single Plan for Student Achievement for Ygnacio Valley High School. Action
11.13 (Item #13) Adoption of Abriendo Paso (Pearson Publishers) and Azulejo (Wayside Publishers)for AP Spanish & Temas (Vista Higher Learning Publishers) for Honors Spanish Textbooks Action
11.14 (Item #14) Approve submission of the After School Education and Safety Renewal Grant for fourteen elementary and middle schools and a new ASES grant for Westwood Elementary School. Action
11.15 (Item #15) Request to increase Purchase order for VeCare Health Services Action
11.16 (Item #16) Request to increase Purchase Order #87733-14 to Sabah International Inc. Action
11.17 (Item #17) Notice of Completion Bid #1638: Weight Equipment Procurement at CVCHS Action

12.0 Consent Items Pulled for Discussion

13.0 Recognitions

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 presentation 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 Reports/Information
16.1 Update on revised Corrective Early Intervening Services (CEIS) Plan Info

17.0 Business/Action Items

17.1 Resolution No. 13/14-28 in the matter of employment of retired classified employee Lawrence M. Schoenke. Action
17.2 Classified Personnel: Appointment of Educational Consultation and Behavior Management Specialist Action

17.3 Appointment of Vice Principal, Middle School – Sequoia Middle School Action

17.4 Award of Inspector of Record (Project Inspector) Contract for MDUSD Project 1663 Portable Replacements & MDUSD Project 1664 MS General Science Buildings. Action

17.5 Approval of Extension of 2012-2013 Single Plans for Student Achievement (SPSA) through May 2014 Info

17.6 Meeting Extension Action

18.0 Future Agenda Items
18.1 Future Agenda Items Info

19.0 Closed Session

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

20.0 Adjournment
20.1 Adjourn Meeting”

I’m happy to see the Powerpoint for the disproportionality report is already attached to the agenda. However, as usual, there are no meeting minutes to approve.

Do you think the board should require the superintendent, as secretary of the board, to produce minutes of the meetings (or to ask her staff to produce them)?

Posted on Monday, January 13th, 2014
Under: Education, Mt. Diablo school district | 98 Comments »