Wednesday, September 29, 2010
I thought you might be interested in the following information about the Pleasant Hill Education Commission's School Board Candidate Forum that will be held on October 20th. Five of the candidates will be participating (I did contact all of them): Linda Mayo, Brian Lawrence, Cheryl Hansen, Roy Larkin, and Jeff Adams.
Information is below and a flyer will be coming out and distributed soon, mostly to schools within the Pleasant Hill feeder pattern, although of course, everyone is welcome! And I'll forward information in the next couple of days about the two planned re-broadcasts as well on comcast.
Pleasant Hill Education Commission presents
2010 Mt Diablo Unified School District
Board of Education Candidates Forum
Wednesday, Oct 20, 7-9 pm
Pleasant Hill City Hall
100 Gregory Lane
Meet the candidates running in the upcoming November election for MDUSD Board of Education and get answers to your questions regarding their positions and qualifications in this discussion moderated by Contra Costa Times Political Editor Lisa Vorderbrueggen.
Questions chosen to be posed to the candidates by the moderator at the event will be a mix of those prepared in advance from community input and those submitted that evening.
To send your question in advance for consideration, please email: firstname.lastname@example.org
There is a Monday, October 4th 6pm candidate forum too, at the Dent Center sponsored by the special education Community Advisory Committee.
Monday, September 27, 2010
However, at this LINK you can find meeting dates, presentations and minutes. (thanks to Sherry Whitmarsh for providing this link)
The presentation linked from this page, dated September 14th, is a presentation by the Consultant (Jack Schreder & Associates). This appears to be a very detailed Demographic study of our district and provides some very interesting information about enrollment, projections and some visuals showing the population of each school site. I am no expert, but it almost seems you can see which schools they may be looking at combining. You see within the first couple of pages what criteria the committee will be looking at in formulating recommendation for closure. What do you think? LINK TO PRESENTATION here.
The next meeting of the committee is coming up this Thursday, September 30th at 6pm at the Willow Creek Center on Mohr Lane in Concord.
Would YOU attend an informal forum? I have contacted the candidates that have posted here (Brian Lawrence, Cheryl Hansen and Jeff Adams) and Linda Mayo, as I readily know how to contact them, I have not yet heard from Lynne Dennler, Roy Larkin or Jan Trezise. I am unsure how to reach these people. Jan Trezise, I'm actually not sure if she's still in the race, during the candidate forum with the Times, she apparantly made a rash decision not to run, then retracted afterwards. Anyway, googling any of their names did not yield a website or any contact information.
By the way, so far I've only heard back from one, Brian Lawrence, who says he's happy to attend a forum if one occurs.
Soooo, having said all that, what are your thoughts so far? What do you think about the fact MDEA has not endorsed any candidates? In 2008, MDEA was a strong force with much money behind the Eberhart-Whitmarsh run for board seats. Compared to 2008, it sure feels pretty apathetic out there so far. Does anyone care?
Links of interest:
Smart Voter site
Times Vorderbrueggen recap on forum
Replay of the Times candidate forum
Theresa Harrington: No teachers' union endorsement in MDUSD Trustee Race
Saturday, September 25, 2010
You can view the event, and RSVP on facebook.
You can view the PDF flyer by clicking HERE.
Or read more about it, and get the email in order to RSVP, on the MDUSD newsroom site here or the K to College site here. I've emailed to see if kids are able to come help. I'll let you know what I find out!
Is it really what it's all about? Curious as to your thoughts about testing in our classrooms/schools. The Clayton Pioneer had a story about the testing, and the threat last year of putting the test scores on student transcripts seemed to create a bit of panic. Do your children "try" to do good on the tests? My expectation is that my kids do the best they can on all testing, but I know some parents completely dismiss the testing. What I feel, and what I say to my kids, admittedly , are two different things - so what about you and your students?
The article discusses specificially testing at Clayton Valley High,
“I do try on the tests, but I could try harder,” said CV junior Joanna Fan. “I feel like students are only taught things so we can succeed on the STAR test, and the teachers are limited to just that.”
Fan wasn’t moved by Principal Gary Swanson’s pre-testing pep talk or the added threat of the scores being put on transcripts. “I saw it as something the school wants us to work hard on so it looks good for the school, and the students took the back seat,” she said. “If the administration really wanted to improve our learning, then maybe they should offer more challenging courses.”
This student certainly has a point I think. And it echos how I felt at Back to School night, the testing is for the school, not the students, or is it?
Thursday, September 23, 2010
How great is this? Ygnacio Valley High has the only debate team within our district high schools (and the first in YV's 50 year history) and has just competed in their first tournament. The details are below.
A debate team is a great way for students to learn persuasion techniques, arguing within "rules," research skills, public speaking skills and much more. Personally, I think debate should be a course all on its own, what a life skill!
Kudos to Dan Leahy, YVHS debate coach, for his time and dedication to this effort.
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Ygnacio Valley High School makes strong showing at first debate tournament.
Concord, CA (9/20/10)- Last Saturday Ygnacio Valley competed at the 2nd Annual Banana Classic Tournament at Analy High School in Sebastopol, CA. Seniors Najmah Sadat, Daniel Cordero, Leo Lujan and Sophomore Rosemary Riggs competed against some of the areas best teams. This is the first time YV has had a debate team in its 50 year history.
Both teams achieved winning records with the team of Sadat and Lujan being presented with awards for their success. Ygnacio Valley will compete on September 25th and October 10th at local league tournaments. The debate program at Ygnacio Valley is the only such program in the Mt. Diablo Unified School District and is funded by the Mt. Diablo CARES After-School program.
Ygnacio Valley High School’s debate program is coached by Dan Leahy, a former college debater and alumni of Ygnacio Valley class of 2000.
For more information, contact:
Dan Leahy, (925) 685-8414 x2422
Wednesday, September 22, 2010
Whew! Our new school year is truly up and running, and my hope is that your students are already experiencing success.
As I’m hitting the School Board campaign trail and trying to get my message out, I am proud that dedicated MDUSD parents, classified and certificated staff, and district and site administrators have given me their support and endorsement. Your confidence in my integrity, competence, and leadership matters. Things are busy for me at the Contra Costa County Office of Education where I am Coordinator of Instructional Leadership.
Just to fill you in on a little of my background: I began my career in education as an MDUSD teacher and administrator where I served for 24 years at schools throughout our district: Oak Grove Middle, Olympic High, Northgate High, Ygnacio Valley High, and College Park High. I then moved on to Martinez USD as an Assistant Principal at Alhambra High.
And then I had the chance of a lifetime in administration: I was hired as the founding Principal of Rodriguez High School in Fairfield-Suisun USD and successfully opened the district’s third high school. Being able to build and develop a school curriculum, staff, culture, and community from the ground up was an amazingly rewarding experience and one that lives on as Rodriguez High became a California Distinguished School.
At CCCOE, I now apply my experience and knowledge to improve instruction and increase learning in schools and districts. Here are some of my current projects:
- I’m collaborating with Contra Costa SELPA (special education) to provide training in standards-based instruction and IEPs to beginning teachers who want to obtain credentialing as special educators. Our focus is on helping these new teachers understand content standards, goal setting, high expectations, and increased access to grade-level curriculum for special education students.
- Next week, I begin our fall session of leadership training for new and experienced principals, vice principals, and district administrators. Training administrators is one of the most critical parts of my job. I have many trainings scheduled throughout the year for administrators who wish to become more knowledgeable about school improvement or who need to complete Tier II for their administrative credential. (Visit our web site at www.ab430region4.org to learn more about the program.)
- I’m continuing work that began this summer with a group of elementary principals on standards-based instruction and leadership.
- My work also continues with a middle school staff on understanding the content standards, raising the rigor of assignments, and applying research-based instructional strategies to improve student learning.
- I’m also out visiting schools in MDUSD and other districts in our county as part of California’s Williams lawsuit settlement which requires that all 1-3 decile schools provide adequate instructional materials for students, qualified teachers, and a safe, healthy facility. The good news is that MDUSD staff has worked hard to meet the legal requirements, although we still have work to do to improve student learning for all students so that none of our schools is in the bottom three deciles.
As valuable as all of my work is, I’m still excited about and committed to being able to serve on the Mt. Diablo School Board. Again, thank you to the dedicated MDUSD parents, staff, and administrators who have endorsed me. You are the foundation of our district. Your trust and support keeps me focused on my priorities: 1) Student learning that prepares students for college and career, 2) responsible budgeting, 3) competent leadership, and 4) improved trust, respect, communication, and morale.
I look forward to serving on the School Board and to hearing from you about your interests, needs, and concerns. Email me atmailto:email@example.com or visit my website at http://www.cherylhansenmdusd.com/ for more information.
Thank you for this chance to post!
Monday, September 20, 2010
Walnut Festival Parade on Saturday Night. I have to say, I was VERY impressed with all of them! A big congrats too to Clayton Valley's Rally Band, they were high energy and really, really good! They did not enter as a formal marching band, so that is why you do not see them below.
Update: Thank you to the kind reader who sent a link to a couple of the performances. Check it out! Ygnacio Valley and Concord High are featured HERE.
Here are the results:
Thank you for the opportunity to provide a post to your readers. Here is a report of some recent activities.
This past Thursday, I attended the critical MDUSD Board of Education meeting concerning expenditure of the first $65 million or so of the Measure C funds. Of the candidates running for the MDUSD school board, only Linda Mayo and I were present. Four contractors are competing for a solar panel installation contract, an important plan of action was presented in connection with the requests for proposals each submitted, and financial projections were disclosed. In sum, there are a web of complexities connected to this project and, in my view, it is imperative that board members and candidates remain informed and involved in Measure C oversight.
I am also a founding board member of the United Mount Diablo Athletic Foundation which was formed to save after-school athletics in our school district after the Board of Education voted last year to cut ALL funding of after school sports. Last year, we raised over $100,000 in our 5-K run and substantial work has been accomplished for the event this coming year. We again ask for the support of the community in connection with our second annual 5-K run scheduled on October 10, 2010 at Newhall Park!
I have been privileged to meet with, and been endorsed by, many in the community in the past week or two. This includes Mayor Hank Stratford of Clayton, Mayor Sue Rainey of Walnut Creek, Concord City Council Member and former Mayor Bill Shinn, Bay Point Council member Gloria Magleby, MDUSD school board members Linda Mayo (Pleasant Hill), Dick Allen (Concord)and Sherry Whitmarsh (Concord), eight MDUSD school teachers, two retired MDUSD school teachers, a retired teacher for the County Office of Education, members of the Community United for Excellent Schools, parents and other community members from Pleasant Hill, Clayton, Concord, Walnut Creek and Bay Point areas. It has been a pleasure to meet with these folks and an honor to receive their endorsements.
This evening, I intend to meet with individuals in support of MDUSD music programs. As some of you may know, I help form the Mount Diablo Music Education Foundation last year, created to seek grants and other financial assistance in support of music programs in MDUSD given the music funding cuts in our school district.
Tomorrow evening, I plan to first attend a portion of the Clayton City Council meeting at which a "Do The Right Thing" resolution will be considered. This resolution stems from meetings of representatives (both administrators and faculty club members) from Mt. Diablo Elementry, Diablo View Middle School and Clayton Valley High School, along with leadership from the Clayton Business and Community Association, the Clayton Police Department and other community members to encourage responsibility, respect kindness, self-discipline, integrity and courage in the lives of our youth.
I then intend to participate in part of the Foundation for Pleasant Hill Education Restaurant walk.
Again, thank you for the opportunity to post.
P.S. from MDUSDParents: Jeff Adams also has a website: http://electjeffadams.org
Sunday, September 19, 2010
I wanted to share some quick updates from my campaign for Mt. Diablo School Board.
Thursday, September 16, 2010
Is your student or school missing textbooks?
Let us know here in the comments. Gary Eberhart and Sherry Whitmarsh have both committed to looking into each and every concern.
Please provide the following specifics:
If you wish to contact Gary or Sherry individually about this matter, please do so at firstname.lastname@example.org or email@example.com
Monday, September 13, 2010
API Scores have been released. This news bulletin, just in from the Superintendent's Office.
Mt. Diablo USD News Update
Where Kids Come First
We wanted to celebrate the good news with you that 37 of our schools met their API growth targets, and as a district our API grew by 11. Though many of our elementary schools showed significant gains, Ayers, Ygnacio Valley, and Holbrook all had gains of 50 points or more. At the middle school level, El Dorado, Pleasant Hill, Riverview all gained 26 or more points. At the high school level, Mt. Diablo gained 29 points, while College Park gained 17 and broke the 800 pt barrier. The gains at all our schools were due to our teachers’, support staff members’, and administrators’ hard work, continual focus on reviewing student achievement data, analyzing and sharing best instructional practices, and supporting students who do not master a skill after the initial instruction. Attached to the bottom of this news update are the API scores for all of our non-special program schools.
We know that we need to continue to work collaboratively to analyze student achievement data and review best instructional practices to ensure that we are meeting all of our students’ learning needs. Currently, we need 56% of our students demonstrating that they are proficient or advanced on the English-Language Arts (ELA) portion of the STAR test and 56.4% on the mathematics STAR Test. District-wide 58.8% of our students were proficient or advanced in ELA and 58.5% were proficient or advanced in math. However, several of our subgroups including socioeconomically disadvantaged, English Learners, Hispanic/Latino, and African American did not meet the performance targets. Our District Goals and Objectives are critical to help continue to move forward allowing our district to meet the upcoming academic targets Not only do the District Goals and Objectives provide clear growth expectations on multiple critical measures, the document also provides strategies that we will be implementing district-wide to support every school to meet the learning needs of all our children.
If you have questions about your child(ren)s’ school’s API, I recommend that you contact the principal and discuss the school’s Single Plan for Student Achievement. If you would like to participate in the dialogue around your child’s schools plan to move forward I suggest that you join your school’s School Site Council.
In these difficult financial times, we are extremely proud of our teachers’, support staff members’, and administrators’ commitment to continually challenge ourselves to improve the learning opportunities for all our children.
|2010 Growth||2009 Base||Growth Target||Actual Growth|
|Mt. Diablo District||784||773||11|
Friday, September 3, 2010
Or click here to view as PDF.
Mt. Diablo USD News Update
Where Kids Come First
Shining the Light on Solar
As the District embarks on an ambitious and exciting solar program, we are committed to sharing the process with the community. We are grateful for the community's support for Measure C, the facilities bond that will make the solar alternative a reality in our District, and we fully intend to keep you apprised of decisions and progress as this project unfolds.
The Triple Bottom Line -- The Mt. Diablo Unified School District's Solar Plan will allow the District to meet three key goals at once: achieve millions in savings, protect the environment and model an excellent "green" program for students.
- District-wide solar rollout, including all schools and District offices
- Annual electricity savings projected to be approximately $3 million
- Additional $2 million per year for the first five years from the California Solar Initiative (CSI) Program
- From concept to completion, a three-phase project
All action and progress will be posted online, allowing the community to follow the process
Action Plan and Timeline
In order to select the best vendor for this important project, we've established a rigorous selection process. Objectives are to: (1) conduct a thorough, public vetting of the vendors and a careful examination of their qualifications; (2) ensure all vendors are reviewed by experts in the critical areas of finance, technical and legal, and (3) maximize District return on this public investment project.
Phase I. Identify and Secure Project Bids
August 4, 2010 -- Issued a Request for Proposal. The RFP can be viewed at: http:/ /1418.104.22.168/rsp.html
August 11, 12, 13, 16 and 17, 2010 -- Provided walk-thru at each site. A calendar of site visits is available at the above website.
August 23, 2010 -- Questions raised during walk-thru and corresponding answers were posted to the website.
Responses to the RFP were due at noon Thursday, September 2. The following four firms submitted responses to the RFP: Roebbelen, SolarCity, SUNPOWER, Vanir/Parsons.
Phase II. Vetting the Options
1. August 27, 2010 - Confirm a panel of solar experts in the areas of technical/engineering, project financing, and legal advice to work with Pete Pedersen (Assistant Superintendent Administrative Services), Greg Rolen (General Counsel), and the Measure C Oversight Committee members to review the responses to the RFP. None of the outside experts or Measure C Oversight Committee members are affiliated with any of the firms responding to the RFP.
Our goal is to ensure that a thoroughly vetted recommendation is made to the Board. This committee cannot approve any contract for the proposed solar project but will make a recommendation to the Board. The Board, as the elected representatives of the community, has the sole authority to approve the contract for the solar project. Information on the panel members is attached below.
2. September 7, 2010 - Selection of firms to interview
The first step in the review of the solar project will begin. Pete Pedersen will work with the outside experts to review all proposals and select the firms to be interviewed. The panel will also review the proposed timeline to determine schedule feasibility. Any changes to the below timeline will be posted on the District's website.
3. September 9, 2010 - Interview selected vendors
Vendor interviews will be conducted by a panel that includes three members of the Measure C Oversight Committee, outside solar experts, Pete Pedersen, and Greg Rolen.
4. September 16, 2010 - Board Study Session, Dent Center 6:00 - 9:00 p.m.
Panel members will present recommendations and rationale to board members in a study session. The intention is to provide full information and allow for necessary community input and discussion before taking this information to a formal board meeting.
5. September 28, 2010 - Regularly Scheduled Board Meeting Dent Center 7:30 p.m.
Panel will conduct any additional research and fact finding in order to finalize a recommendation to the Board of Education. Recommendation to include a complete timeline on installation, with consideration to school schedules.
6. October 12, 2010 - Regularly Scheduled Board Meeting, Dent Center 7:30 p.m. Present to the
Board of Education a finalized contract for approval.
It is clear that the state budget crisis is not improving. Further, there is absolutely no indication that the budget cuts to education will be returned any time soon, if at all. Therefore, it is incumbent upon the District leadership team to find savings in all possible areas.
My goal as Superintendent on this project has always been to bring a high-quality, financially responsible solar program to the District. The millions of dollars in savings from the solar project will be re-direct to return and maintain programs and services for students.
I know there have been numerous articles in the local paper about discussions between me and solar vendors. I apologize to this community for any misunderstanding or misperception my actions may have caused. I am committed to keep every step of this solar project transparent and accessible to the public.
In order to ensure transparency, we will post all meetings and decisions on the District's website. Additionally, I have personally extended an invitation to our local news media, including the Contra Costa Times, to observe and cover the solar interview process and its roll out.
My hope is that this project will be a celebrated success throughout the community and our state.
Solar Expert Panel
Russell H. Driver
Mr. Driver is a Senior Program Manager with Newcomb Anderson McCormick, Inc. (NAM), Mr. Driver has over 16 years of experience implementing comprehensive business initiatives and advanced technology projects in complex institutional environments, including statewide solar and energy efficiency programs and projects for Chico USD and Los Angeles USD, and the State of Hawaii DOT. Mr. Driver holds a Master's Degree in Urban Planning from the University of California Los Angeles and a B.A. in Urban Studies from Stanford University. Mr. Driver will lead our contract helping to facilitate and manage the California Solar Initiative evaluation program.
Kathleen J. McKee
Ms. McKee is a partner at Fagan, Friedman & Fulfrost LLP, Ms. McKee is a member of the Green Technology Advisory Board. A recognized leader in energy conservation legal matters, specifically solar, Ms. McKee helped numerous K-12 school districts implement solar projects, including the Irvine Unified School District and Antelope Valley Joint Union School District. Currently, she is working with districts that are exploring solar farms. Ms. McKee began her career as a high school English teacher, which balances her legal acumen with deference for public education.
Mr. Kerns is Managing Director in the Public Finance Department of Stone & Youngberg, an investment banking firm whose clients are school districts, cities, and other public agencies issuing municipal bonds to fund public projects. Mr. Kerns specializes in capital financings for California public school districts, and has worked on numerous renewable energy projects using financing techniques such as general obligation bonds, certificates of participation, Clean Renewable Energy Bonds ("CREBs"), and Qualified School Construction Bonds ("QSCBs"). His recent experience with solar projects includes Morgan Hill Unified School District, San Jose Unified School District, Santee School District, San Benito High School District, and San Ramon Valley Unified School District. Mr. Kerns has a B.A. degree from the University of California, Santa Cruz, and a Master's Degree in city and regional planning from the University of California, Berkeley.
Anna Van Degna
Ms. Van Degna is Vice President in the Public Finance Department of Stone & Youngberg. Ms. Van Degna specializes in the financing of renewable energy and energy efficiency projects for California public agencies, including the city of Brea, Lodi Unified School District, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, and Santee School District. Prior to joining Stone & Youngberg, Ms. Van Degna provided investment banking services for communications service providers and was a corporate treasury analyst for a U.S.-based commercial bank. Ms. Van Degna is a graduate of Cornell University and holds a B.S. in hospitality administration.
Measure C Bond Oversight Committee Members serving on the interview committee
Mr. Parker is a Project Manager for Robert L. Brown Construction, Inc. Both of his children attended and graduated from MDUSD schools. He has been an active member of the Parent Advisory Committee, Budget Advisory Committee, and other district committees. He was also an original member of the 2002 Measure C Oversight Committee.
Mr. Willis is a retired electrician from the City of Concord. Mr. Willis's children attended MDUSD schools. He is an original member of the Measure A Oversight Committee and the 2002 Measure C Oversight Committee.
Mr. Callaway has been an active parent and extremely active in MDUSD matters. Additionally, he has worked in the leadership core of the local YMCA. He was pivotal in the foundation of the Northgate High School Community Pride Foundation. An insurance broker for West Callaway Stotka, Inc., he is well versed with commercial insurance. He is an original member of the 2002 Measure C Oversight Committee and has served as Chairperson.