My Summary of the March 23rd, BUSD Board Meeting

Sorry this is so late...we took off a week to go get snowed in at Lake Tahoe.

Board Recognition

The Board recognized AVID write off winners and Mrs. Latham for being named Administrator of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators. No recognition for the hundreds of volunteers that make up the foundation of the district. 

Teachers Support ELA Adoption Training

Some teachers addressed the board to voice their support for the Action Learning System training for next year’s ELA Adoption. A couple teachers made suggestions on how the training could be improved. One suggested 2-3 days instead of 5 days. Another teacher requested they receive the training materials before the training. The board approved the training. The cost should not exceed $83,000.  

Report on the Local Education Agency (LEA) plan

The board received a report on the Local Education Agency (LEA) plan. This plan is a culmination of the individual school site plans with input from the Parent Academy. In case you don’t remember the Parent Academy meeting where we were able to provide input, let me help. This was the meeting at the start of the year that appeared to be the start of a serious effort by the district to involve parents. Child care was provided and the meeting was highly publicized in advance and resulted in a strong turnout. There haven’t been any meetings since involving parents in the district’s operations where a serious effort was made to encourage turnout. It’s a shame the district didn’t learn from this event how to get parents to turnout for district business. 

At the Parent Academy meeting we learned there is a requirement for an LEA to work with its community to set parameters for funding of targeted assistance (TA) schools. If a school does not have enough students that qualify for free lunches it won’t qualify as a “targeted school” for Title I funding. The LEA can designate a school for “targeted assistance” and use other funds to supplement Title I funding.

Tournament Hills has been designated by the district for TA. The LEA is supposed to solicit the community’s input to set funding parameters but isn’t required to follow the community’s wishes. Those of us in attendance at the “Parent Academy” meeting (50% Parents – 50% District Staff) were asked to fill out a form prioritizing programs for funding. I think it would be interesting to see a follow up report comparing the community’s priorities to the final LEA plan.

Report on the progress of the district’s English Learners

The board received a report on the progress of the district’s English Learners. The district’s goal is to reclassify all English Learners within 5 years of their time in the district. Reclassification means the student is proficient enough in English and is no longer classified as an English Learner. According to the report, the percent of students making annual progress is above the state target. Brookside is the only site not on target.

 

Report on proposed schedule changes for San Gorgonio Middle School 

The board also received a report on proposed schedule changes for San Gorgonio Middle School. The school is in the first year of program improvement (PI) and the staff is proposing some schedule changes to address 3 needs: 1) Instructional time for Language Arts & Math 2) Training & support for staff and 3) Structured collaboration time for teachers. 

The new schedule would consist of 6 periods instead of 7 but they would be 10 minutes longer. Longer class periods are a requirement of program improvement.  The staff at SGMS believed the longer periods would be better for the kids. 

The staff also proposed moving the “brunch” period from after 2nd period to before school. It was believed this would be less disruptive for the students and the earlier meal would help students who missed breakfast to do better in the first two periods. 

The third part of the proposal would be to have more early release (ER) days to provide teachers with more time for collaboration. The new schedule would have one early release day a week and the periods on the ER days would go back to 45 minutes long. 

The new schedule would actually increase instructional time by 130 minutes over the school year. It isn’t a significant amount of time over an entire school year but it shows the ER days won’t shorten the instructional time. 

Report on proposed schedule changes for Glen View High School

Glen View High School was next to propose a schedule change. The principal felt there was a need to offer a credit accelerated program to help enable students to come closer to graduating on time. The first part of the plan was to move from the trimester system to a quarter system. The students would be able to earn accelerated credits as long as they maintained a 90% attendance rate and completed accelerated projects. These projects would require after school lab periods and writing summaries.

Annexing the stadium site into the city of Beaumont

The board was supposed to consider authorizing the superintendent to complete an application process to annex the new stadium site into the city of Beaumont. The board decided to push this item to a future board meeting; I’m not sure why.

Closing Statements 

In the closing statements there was three items that interested me.

Judy Peterson, president of the classified employees’ union, expressed concern over the new “brunch” schedule. She is worried it will affect employment of classified staff

Trina Brown, Beaumont Teachers Association President, asked for a parent connect page on district website to update parents on parent programs. Evidently there is a GATE program for parents at Brookside on Friday 3/25 and she just saw something about it in her son’s backpack this week. Sure would be nice to have more advanced notice especially if you want a high turnout. Please read my earlier post about the non-existent GATE program  and my post about BUSD not really wanting to involve parents.

Board president David Sanchez, after reading a Staters Bros add that promoted using local business, asked why the board is criticized for supporting local businesses with measure Z money. Please read my earlier post, Mr. Sanchez, You Still Don't Get It