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AUSD Special Board Meeting Tonight

The Alameda Unified School District has scheduled a special Board of Trustees meeting tonight at 5:30 p.m. in the third floor conference room at the District’s head office, at 2200 Central Avenue. The agenda follows. Additional documents are available at the District’s web site.

Special Board Meeting
Monday, February 7, 2011
5:30 PM – 8:30 PM
Alameda Unified School District
Third Floor Conference Room
2200 Central Avenue
Alameda, CA 94501






D-l. Welcome New Board Member, Margie Sherratt
D-2. Board of Education Discussion of Board Protocols
D-3. Orientation and Review of Board of Education Roles / Superintendent’s Role
D-4. Discussion of Equity in AUSD – Review of Policy & Board Values
D-S. Setting of Workshops and Special Meetings (Superintendent’s Evaluation, Strategic Work [i.e., calendar, scorecards, dashboard, tiering, a-g requirements))


12 comments to AUSD Special Board Meeting Tonight

  • Sharpie

    At the risk of alienating any remaining friends, let me add my two cents regarding new taxes for schools.

    Anyone who has not been heavily medicated for the past 25 years is aware that the educational process in America has problems. Education in California is on life support and most politicians are asking you to authorize additional money ( taxes ) to fix the system. Albert Einstein said “ Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results.” How, can elected officials keep asking for more money to fix the system when they keep proving that they have no ability to fix what they do not understand? Yes I’m referring to School Boards, Superintendents, Secretary’s of Education, ( and some teachers.) Most of these officials are over the age of 50 and most of them are, or should be, retired. They are trying to fix something that for them is a distant memory of what it was like when they went to school. Education is changing and what worked 25 years ago does not work now. Rather than look forward and create a new learning environment, they try to fix what doesn’t work; and fixing always needs more money.

    The State, the County, and the School District are all going to ask you for additional taxes to fix California’s / Alameda County’s / Alameda City’s education problems. Say NO! Only through a Crisis-of-necessity will politicians look at education differently. Only through a complete restructuring will we be able to change the status quo and get educational leaders that understand modern teaching methods, modern school management and today’s student, something we currently do not have.
    Throw them, School Board and current leadership, all out and start over again. Most of the school board is retired, and no one in a position of district leadership has the skills, knowledge or ability lead. The Superintendent was the community accountability chief for Oakland Unified, the Chief Business Officer was the Director of Instructional Education at Shasta County Office of Education, the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services was the Director of Secondary and Career Technical Education for Alameda Unified, and the Human Resources Officer was an Elementary School Principal. No one leading this district held a comparable position that would provide them with the skills to lead a struggling district like ours. Is it any wonder they keep asking for more money to fix things?

    There is a scene in the movie Network where Peter Finch says “I’m as mad as hell, and I’m not going to take this anymore!” Let’s tell this administration and all of the politicians that were mad as hell and were not going to take it anymore. If they want additional taxes they need to deliver, and having California at the bottom of the achievement ladder is a status quo that we are not going to continue funding.

    Say NO, create a Crisis-of-necessity and let’s replace what doesn’t work.

  • Hot r

    Ahhh, Sharpie, the movie you quote came out in 1976. that would put you in the over 50 category too. Yet you still think you’re a sharpie…

    Fortunately the Alameda taxpayers do not have to fix the entire system of education as you allege, only prop up already excellent schools. Your logic suggests that education funds should be cut so that educators can then reinvent the system at half the cost by crowding 60 kids in a classroom, firing all the veteran teachers and becoming more “efficient” but how would you do it sharpie? The devil is in the details. I would love to hear your plan about special education, English language development kids, ADHD kids, Advanced Placement classes, and all the kids with different learning modalities. You see it’s not really constructive just to be “mad as he’ll.”

  • But the schools aren’t “already excellent” :

    Chipman school – closed due to poor performance
    Will C Wood – on probation for low performance
    Washington Elementary – the State of California says it’s a low performer and no parent need send their child their if they don’t want to

  • Hot r

    And the rest of the 28 schools are…

    And Chipman School was not closed for low performance. It was independently reconstituted by a group of teachers and members of the community as a charter- the same charter kids you argue should get “more” money from the parcel tax. If you and Sharpie are serious about educational reform, you should support efforts like Those at the former Chipman school which is undergoing growing pains right now.

    As for the others, please understand that schools are not “miracle factories” where low income, low skilled students speaking a myriad of foreign languages with little academic parental support can be quickly turned into 21st century ready young people. The fix takes years of hard work and is only a result of a strong partnership between parents, experienced and knowledgeable teachers and the taxpayers. What you should see in all the numbers is that the non performing students generally get better as reflected in the high school they feed into, Encinal, which is a 6 on the state API and a 9 when compared to schools with similar populations- a much higher rating than Washington, Wood, or the old Chipman. I think it’s time to focus on Alameda, instead of a frontal assault on education using as a model the worst of inner city schools.

  • Sharpie

    Hot r.

    If the Network quote makes me over 50, what does the Einstein quote make me, somewhere just north of ancient? Today’s youth didn’t have to see that movie or meet Einstein to relate to their expressions. Modern tools like Google, Discovery, and Wikipedia are, and will continue, to open new and ancient doors for us to explore.

    It’s no longer about seat time and mindless drills. It’s about anytime learning, teachers who are guides, and instant access to every piece of information ever noted.

    It’s about the 21st Century, Join It.

  • hobnob

    There are some good arguments being stated by both sides.

    Hot r:
    I would love to hear your plan about special education, English language development kids, ADHD kids, Advanced Placement classes, and all the kids with different learning modalities.

    Is it really the right way to try and have each school provide for all these differences in students?

    My example in point, if you have children who are learning English as a second language and b/c of their age, you put them in, say the 5th grade, only to fall behind b/c they cannot possibly keep up with the rest of the class – is that really fair to the rest of the class? I’m not saying hold them back, but maybe one or 2 schools should address this and not all.

    Same goes for AP courses, not all schools should provide AP courses, but some of them.

    I’m betting that there isn’t going to be 50% of students that will apply or are ready for the AP courses, so if they are not, then you can target the # of schools that can provide for that. If students want to take them then they’d have to go to that school. The same goes for the ESL courses for English as a second language for students.

    I think the efforts of every single school trying to target and support all types of students is possibly a waste of resources. As we are all arguing that Elementary school is very important to the children’s education, we should target this restructuring to the elementary schools first. As you go into middle school and high school they should be more structured to be uniform.

    Also, it would help if you could fire teachers easily based on merit and performance and not have the union protecting the bad teachers. Sorry, but this is one of the hugest problems that unions are now known for, shielding teachers that should get out of this profession. – I’m not targetting any Alameda teacher, I’m targetting the system.

    I do agree with Sharpie though, asking for more money to do the same status quo is bordering on insanity. The school board or AUSD should seriously consider how to modify a few schools to address the major issues of the majority of the student population. Carve a few schools out that do intense ESL classes and some for AP, but each and every school trying to cater to all students is idealistic, but a fallacy at best.

  • Hot R is typical of educators – they take the credit when test scores are good, but blame the kids and the parents when test scores are poor.

    “Excellence and equality for all” is supposed to refer to OUTCOMES Hot R….

  • Hotr

    But Hobnob, the problem with your “economy of scale” argument is that the ACLU has beat you there first. In the famous Williams v. California case, the ACLU won a settlement against the State of California in which they required schools to offer basically equal classes and facilities with equal access to higher education so as to avoid discriminating against certain types of students. For instance, what if schools on the East End offered advanced classes, and those on the West End did not? I am sure you can imagine a school with no AP classes, or no ELD classes might be sued by a lawyer claiming his client had a right to same.

    What you are really talking about is tracking which already goes on when grouping students for math and language classes, and certainly in AP and honors classes. Unfortunately, the larger the classes get (if the parcel tax doesn’t pass) the less likely it is that students of the same ability level will be grouped together. Soon we will be back to the days of the little red schoolhouse with mixed ages and ability levels, which allow the teacher only to teach to the middle.

    And Sharpie – what’s with the temper tantrum? 21st century learning already takes place in Alameda with teachers who are Google Scholars, use of blogs, search engines, flip cameras, multi-media learning, and project based assessments. Most people argue today there is not “enough” drill and kill which is why writing and math skills are not as strong. You are right that “seat time” is overrated, but remember that all students do not learn in the same way – some need the seat time, some would benefit from enhanced technology, and most need to get totally away from the distractions of music,facebook and other social media. Many scientists insist that the speed of our society is literally changing the way kids think and interact. I agree with you that schools are not first to adjust, but neither are they last.

  • Hot R is trying to re-write history.

    Chipman was indeed restructured after four years of poor performance….

    “Chipman was under a state-mandated monitoring program for two years and is on probation under the federal No Child Left Behind Act because of low test scores.”

    “Earlier this year, the AUSD Board of Trustees voted to close Chipman Middle School for failing to improve after four years in program improvement.”

  • Barb

    According to the 2009 progress report, the Williams Settlement Legislation established new standards and accountability mechanisms to ensure that all California public school students have textbooks and instructional materials and that their schools are clean, safe, and functional. It also took steps toward assuring all students have qualified teachers. The Settlement holds the state accountable for delivering these fundamental elements and provides approximately $1 billion to accomplish these goals.

    Not quite “equal classes and facilities with equal access to higher education so as to avoid discriminating against certain types of students, as referenced by Hotr.

  • hobnob

    Hot R:
    ” For instance, what if schools on the East End offered advanced classes, and those on the West End did not? I am sure you can imagine a school with no AP classes, or no ELD classes might be sued by a lawyer claiming his client had a right to same.”

    Enrollment of these schools that deliver specific needs to different students will not be done by where you live on the island.

    As I said, have 1 or 2 schools that provide AP courses, and the students that will take a majority or 1/2 their credits in AP, will get into those schools over the kids that won’t do it. That way, everybody in those AP courses are handling the excess load. Same goes with ESL kids, go to the specialty ESL school to get hard course training on English.

    The right is access and enrollment to the same. However, the right of a child to have the access to the closest school is not.

    It’s the same reasons why certain students try to get into certain Universities. You don’t go to MIT if you want a law degree, you may go to Harvard instead b/c they do it better (this is a gross overgeneralization, was just using this as an example).

    As for groupings of different kids… a classroom should very well be made of a variety of students, but the child(s) that have the hardest time learning due to say language barriers shouldn’t hold the entire class back. Also, it’s not really a teacher’s sole responsibility to do that.

    If you say that there are specialty kids, there must be enough to be able to carve up different schools to solely support these kids. If there aren’t enough to do that, then there is only but a handful of these students in each school – which could be solved with maybe a special class or a more intense learning at home with parental influence/supervision.

  • There is an argument to be made to relax attendance zone boundaries – these are, after all, something that AUSD controls – to give parents better choice on which schools their kids can go to.

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