Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Board Meeting tonight @ 7:30

Gary Eberhart tells me he will continue to stream the meetings live from his site,so if you are unable to attend, tune in http://mdusd.blogspot.com/ or listen in at KVHS 90.5 FM.

Thank you Gary. Im happy he's able to continue this service for all of us.


  1. Lots of Silverwood parents are whining tonight.

  2. Please don't feed the troll!

  3. You know, I feel bad for anyone whose school closes. I don't know any Silverwood families, but I understand where they are coming from. Of course we should all speak up to support our schools. What I don't understand, and where they start to lose my sympathy, is when they throw my child's school under the bus. It's one thing to say, please don't close my school, but why do they have to say, please close the choice schools?!?!?! Let's be kind to each other. Let's all understand that we all have children in these schools, and stop pointing fingers!!

  4. I don't think any school facing closure should offer up other schools in their place. You should work to keep your school open on its own merits, in my opinion. However, Silverwood meets a lot of the SCAC criteria. They will need a compelling reason to stay open. It's going to be very tough going ahead for many families. I know how close knit these elementary communities can become, and it will be sad for many. The good news for Silverwood is that it is still very close to their proposed new school and the integrity of the neighborhood will be maintained. It's not the end of the world. It's a necessary evil in our current school funding climate.

    I am not able to listen to the meeting tonight due to family commitments, I would venture to guess the next meeting will be much more solemn and possibly heated when the recommended closures officially are offered to the board. Then finally to be voted on and finalized in Feb. Hang on tight.

  5. I'll tell you the lady who kept bashing the choice schools made herself look like and inconsiderate B.

  6. I agree with you all....No one wants their school to close but to say "close the choice schools" seems like a mean thing to do. To think I supported Silverwood when they were being bashed on Claycord for their little rally....

  7. You know what?? Silverwood parents were being pro-active, and they made some good points. If you felt/feel like you were being thrown under the bus, where were you tonight? 2 full rows of Silverwood supporters, and nary a person from any other of the proposed school closure sites was there..hmmmmmm Don't be mad that they beat you to the punch....

  8. It's great that they were all there. Some of us have chosen to communicate directly with board members via phone calls, e-mails, letters, etc. I have personally exchanged several e-mails with two of the board members. Never in those e-mails did I say, please close Silverwood, despite the compelling facts that would support it. There isn't a defense for throwing another school under the bus. It's just playing dirty. When Silverwood closes (and it will close) I will have compassion for all of them. I will not throw a party, as I am sure they likely would if the outcome were reversed.

  9. You know it is not about beating us to the punch. No one is mad at Silverwood for being at the Board Meeting, good for them. Its about fighting for your school but to bash other schools seems a little mean and I guess desperate. In all attempts to communicate with the Board it was never about bashing other schools. You can talk and talk all you want about how great your school is, the Board is not looking at that criteria. This is about Money not "Choice" schools or what a great community your school is....Keep bashing other schools, see how far it gets you...I hope that is not what your children are being taught...Keep doing what you are doing and see how far it gets you.

  10. At some point schools will be closed and families from the closed schools will join families from the schools that remain open.

    They/we should not start rumbling now, we may all be under the same roof soon, and how are we going to have a community then if we are breaking it down now??

    And yes, how will our kids view all of this... they are watching our every move. Let's be good role models for them.

  11. I thought the Silverwood parents who were throwing the choice schools under the bus were dispicable. I now hope that Silverwood is the first school closed.

  12. I don't see how they can't close Silverwood. Those schools out there (including Ayers) are tiny! When there's no money, you just can't operate schools that small.

  13. Hey everyone, we neen to think large scale -- closing six elementary schools. We just can't keep doing it like it is. Lets look at the larger picture. Like one poster said about the dog, lets do it all at once and get it over with.

  14. 10:45 , I agree, but then again, I'm the broken record saying they should've looked more seriously at the other option "scenario 7" that would've closed 6 schools and saved almost 3 million. Even if they took out the Rio Vista option due to increasing enrollment in Bay Point/Pittsburg, that would still be a lot than we're doing now.

    Maybe some will be stunned if the board takes all 3 scenarios and closes all of them.

    I know it would be daunting to do that many at once, but the situation just seems to be getting worse and worse.

  15. Lets cut off the tail of the dog just once, please.

  16. They could still go with option 7, they don't have to go with any of the top 3 scenarios...

  17. The Silverwood parents were something else last night. The audacity to suggest closing the best performing schools in the district. What the hell?

    It is apparent that Silverwood parents don't value high API scores based on this suggestion. Maybe that is what is wrong with Silverwood?

  18. We shouldn't lump them all together. The dad that talked about his son's anxiety going to school and how Silverwood helped was fine. I thought it was nice that he shared his personal experience. It was the woman that spoke after him that championed the idea of closing the choice schools. I imagine not all Silverwood parents are like her. Most of them are just worried, and rightly so. The good thing for them, is that they will move to Ayers, Mt View and Highlands in big groups. Sure, the dynamics will change a bit, but they'll still be close to home, and the kids will have a lot of kids that they know with them. If you look at the geographic area that PHill Elementary covers, it's like double that of Silverwood and Ayers, same with Strandwood Elementary.

    Anyway, back to my point. Let's not lump all the Silverwood parents together, I'm sure some of them are really nice, good people.

  19. I think high API scores are nice, but they certainly aren't the whole story when reviewing a school. I'm glad the committee is looking at other factors too. I am surprised that so many are throwing out API scores like its the end all in the closure decision.

    What I'd like to see is the 'choice schools' replicated. Let's repeat what works. Lets model other schools from the successes of the highest performing schools. Its not just the choice school. I will tell you that many I know preferred to buy into Walnut Acres or Mt Diablo Elementary area far over going to any choice school. There are many EXCELLENT schools in our area, so it's not just the choice schools that work. We should put effort into replicating success. And I'm am not going to buy simply demographics as the reasons some schools do badly. Yes of course it's a huge fact but no more excuses, raise expectations! Contract or no, make it known parental involvement is not an option, I know by law schools cant require it, but no one had to make me sign something to stay involved. High involvement schools breed more involvement. It has to start somewhere. It may be a cultural shift in some areas, but I feel like we give up on the lower performing schools and give them excuses to not rise up. Inspire. Prepare. Support. EXPECT. Expect more. Insist on more. Replicate what works. I'm sick of such disparities in our district. There has GOT to be a way to close the gap.

  20. MDUSD Parents and Anon 10:45

    I agree with you both. They should close all of the schools they need to close at one time.

    I would even go further and suggest the following:

    1. No option should require the addition of classrooms. That is crazy. Adjust the school site boundaries even if it means doing it district-wide. I understand that is disconcerting for people but boundaries are not guaranteed and have been adjusted in school districts since school districts first existed.

    2. Do not close what is working. Use those schools as models and provide more students the opportunity to attend schools that work. Not the other way around.

    3. It is too late now but before it is too late for future major decision in this district start the STRATEGIC PLANNING process. This school closure situation could have actually been a positive part of an overall plan to improve our schools but instead it is just another reactionary decision by our leadership.

    It is getting old and tiresome.

  21. MDUSD Parents

    This is Anon 2:37.
    I posted before your last post. YES YES YES I agree. MDUSD needs to step it up and expect more. Model those schools that are successful and stop using demographics as the excuse.

    I like your rant. LOL

  22. 2:43, ha ha, yah, that was a bit of a rant. There are just those days I get in my "save the world" modes. These school closures will not impact me directly, but I am watching with keen interest as to how they do this and looking to the future to see if we just let the lower performing schools languish , or if we rise up and get aggressive about making changes.

  23. It will require a comprehensive strategic plan to "change our world."

  24. Before you go talking about better schools/higher scores, please look at mdusd.org and look at the school sites and hit the school accountability tab. I have been reading all afternoon about API’s. According to the 2009-20010 scores, Silverwood is at 806 while Mountain View and Ayers are 798 and 778. Highlands was the only school higher in that area at 845, and they would get the least amount of students if Silverwood closed.

    On that same note, if you look at the SCC data, it says a con for closing “choice” schools is the added cost for portables, etc. This is not accurate. 1., This cost would come into play down the road, when they hope class size reduction will come back. (We all know it is not coming back in this decade…..be realistic). 2. If the families from the “choice” schools choose to leave the district or go private, the neighborhood schools could absorb the rest of the students that don’t leave at no additional cost.

    As for earlier posts that state MG takes in “Baypoint kids” and kids from undesirable neighborhood schools, ELL kids, etc….please take a look at the scenarios the SCC came up with. In the data, it shows that right now, only 6% of MG students are not english proficient. There are also approx 50 students or less that come out of BP schools to attend MG. That is less than 2 full Classrooms. To say that you are serving “all” who want to attend is a farce. Once again, take a look at any of the other schools around Concord and look at their ELL populations. They are getting high 700′s/800′s in spite of having 30% or more ELL’s.

    And NOBODY has brought up the fact about the MG students that are kicked out/asked to leave right about when it is time for the state tests. I have a friend who used to teach at a nearby school that would get one or two kids EVERY YEAR….They didn’t want these kids to be part of their results.

    I implore all of you, look at the school accountability reports, and then look at all of the released data from the demographers for the SCC. It is eye opening.

    Choice schools are not equal or fair for public school students.

  25. Anonymous 9:28, since you posted on both blogs, I'll post some follow up info on both blogs.

    I just wanted to point out, the reason the Class Size Reduction (CSR) is being taken into account now, is that this is planned for 2 years from now, not in a decade. There is money that has been earmarked specifically for the CSR. I was surprised as well. So, yes, this is a real cost that will be incurred soon. I would also say for your second point, at least for the Sequoia kids, about half of them currently live in Pleasant Hill. I would bet those kids stay at their home schools (which are almost as good as Sequoia) and they are the schools that will need the portables. The schools that have room, are the schools I believe parents will either home school, transfer out of the district, or go to a private school, rather than send their kids there.

  26. They will vote to extend the CSR override. Do you see a magic money favor tapping on California's door in the next two years????

  27. Anon 9:28
    I am not sure what your point is. Choice school means that any family can choose to put their child on the list to attend the school.

    Why is it important to you to close SMS, SES, and MG. It does not make sense to close good schools and it really doesn't make sense to close good schools that are available to all children in the district not just those who can afford to live in a neighborhood with good schools.

    I implore all of you parents who are concerned about which schools are closing to keep up this energy and insist that our district leadership begin to address the issues they know are needed to improve all our schools. I assume many of you are elementary school parents. You should start working on this now because the true problems with our ditrict are magnified in high school.

    They know they need better customer service, they know they need to hold students accountable for their behavior, they know innovation needs to be integrated into the classroom in order to engage students, and they know they need a strategic plan to do it right.

    Ask for those things with the same energy you use to save your mediocre neighborhood school. That is not intended as an insult to your school it is intended to show the irony in what motivates parents. You should be fighting for great schools not just neighborhood schools.

  28. Of course API is not and should not be the only criterion for whether a school is to stay open or be closed. But for those looking at the API, it's important to consider a school's improvement since the accountability measure began in 1999-2000 to the most recent scores for 2009-10.

    In that span Silverwood's API went from 703 to 828, a 125-point point increase; the increase from 08-09 to 09-10 was 23 points. Clearly, some effective teaching and learning is going on there.

    The API scores for Sequoia El. and Monte Gardens were high to begin with, 910 and 874 respectively in 99-00, though their gains since then have not been as dramatic, 11 points and 44 points respectively. Still there's no argument that they are high-performing schools.

    All to say, a fair analysis of a school's educational program using API scores needs to consider the school's performance since the improvement program was initiated (under Governor Grey Davis by the way) ten years ago, not just the most recent API score.

    Can anyone guess which elementary school's API has increased the most over the past 10 years? Cambridge improved by 260 points, from 467 to 727. Ygnacio Valley El. is next, from 561 to 753, a 192-point increase. Other schools showing a growth of more than 150 points since 99-00 are Highlands, Rio Vista, Shore Acres, Strandwood, and Sun Terrace.

    Some remarkable academic achievements have been taking place in MDUSD schools over the past 10 years. It is heartwarming to see and hear parents supporting their child's school. It is disappointing when they say that theirs is the only "good" school in the district and that they'll send their child to a private school if theirs is closed.

    I worked in MDUSD for 9 years and was impressed with the dedication, intelligence, and energy I saw in teachers, staff, and administrators (yes, even them). School closure is by its very nature a highly emotional issue. But it should be an opportunity to build on what's working in a variety of district schools and not to make judgments based on a single test score.

  29. Sue Berg,

    Sorry to rain on your parade of knowledge, but if follow your logic to its conclusion, you are suggesting the following:

    The best school in the district is Cambridge.

    If you truly believe that then I suggest you see a doctor because you may be mentally ill.

  30. Anon 5:09

    Wow is all I can say on your comment. What Sue is saying is we all need to look at the big picture. If you want to look at improvement, other schools besides MG, SES, and SMS have had higher gains. If it is going to be a numbers game, then look at all the facts and numbers.

    Thank you Sue for your post and information. I agree with you especially because so many parents are looking at a single number. Sad, sad times for all children. Especially if parents are going to be so judgmental and narrow minded.

    Let us remember that closing schools is very emotional and will not be easy for anyone. But as adults and parents we can make the transition easier if we can stop the name calling and put downs.