Welcome to Board Watch for WCCUSD’s November 2nd Meeting!
At the November 2nd Board of Education meeting, our school board members heard a presentation from one of WCCUSD’s Gold Ribbon award winners, Kensington Elementary. The Board also held a public hearing on Richmond College Prep’s proposed Charter revision. Finally, the Board reviewed progress on the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) and discussed various forensic audit recommendations.
To explore the full meeting agenda, click here.
Gold Ribbon School Recipient Kensington Elementary
This past year, 14 WCCUSD schools were honored with the Gold Ribbon award, and Superintendent Matt Duffy “hopes to hear from many of them this year.” Principal Judy Sanders and staff member Ann Forester were invited to share what they’ve done to improve academics and school culture at Kensington.
Kensington uses a Collaborative Intervention Model that focuses on students who do not meet or exceed standards in ELA or Mathematics. To inform their intervention, on-site teams collaborate to review data from various assessments, including STAR Reading, BPST, SBAC, CELDT, district benchmarks, and other program-embedded assessments.
Principal Sanders noted that Kensington Elementary lifts up and encourages parent involvement, allowing parents to “volunteer in class or fundraise, in whatever form they’d like. We have parent education nights. We do everything we can to get parents engaged. Research shows the more involved parents are, the better students develop.”
Efforts have led to significant growth for students at Kensington:
- 85% of students met or exceeded ELA standards
- 85% of African American students met or exceeded ELA standards
- 69% of low income students met or exceeded ELA standards
- 40% reduction in office referrals school wide
After the presentation, our board members were very curious about how Kensington’s model and practices can be expanded across our district. Board member Liz Block wondered, “Do you think that your model could work at other schools?” Principal Sanders affirmed that it would be possible, and that she’d “love to have anybody come and visit us to see what we’re doing.”
Review Kensington’s Gold Ribbon presentation here.
Hearing on Charter Revision for Richmond College Prep
The Board held a public hearing on a charter material revision that would expand Richmond College Prep’s (RCP) program by two grade levels: seventh and eighth grades, with 60 students per grade level. The petition explains that the school will grow by one grade level for the next two years, reaching capacity in the 2018-2019 school year.
The Board invited RCP leaders and educators to present on the revision. RCP Leader Ms. Liano explained that they “started with 4 students, we now have 480. We would like to provide continuity for our 6th graders.” Ms. Tester of RCP added that “by expanding, our students will be able to maintain established relationships with staff and students.”
The team further backed their revision request by highlighting that RCP received both the Innovate Public Schools’ award (14-15 & 15-16) and California Department of Education’s Title I Academic Achievement Award (14-15). They followed this up by sharing data regarding academic growth at RCP.
After the presentation, board member Todd Groves asked if RCP was “prepared for all the needs of a middle school?” Ms. Liano replied, “We’re ready, believe me. That is why we waited four years.” Board member Madeline Kronenberg concluded the conversation by offering that “the real conversation is happening at the next board meeting.” At the next board meeting, our board will vote whether to approve RCP’s petition.
Review Richmond College Prep’s presentation here.
LCAP Goal 1 Progress Update: Improve Student Achievement
The Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) shows how district funding will be used to improve outcomes and performance for all students, especially for English Learners, low-income students, and foster youth. Superintendent Duffy noted, “This is a first attempt and a first run to look at our work.”
Assistant Superintendent Nia Rashidchi explained, “We have 5 goals in the LCAP, but we’re really focused on Goal 1.” Goal 1 of the LCAP is to “improve student achievement for all students and accelerate student learning increases for English Learner and low-income students” (2016-17 LCAP).
Before looking at WCCUSD’s programs and actions for students, Rashidchi dove into the academic data:
*UC/CSU completion refers to the rate of students who graduate having completed the coursework necessary to be eligible to apply to our state universities.
Goal 1 is broken down into 17 items. Rashidchi explained, “Of those 17 items, 7 of them are moving in the right direction. 6 of them we need to make major adjustments. 4 that we’re just implementing and will talk about at a later date.”
Throughout this extensive presentation, our school board members invited several school leaders to share details about actions and results at school sites. Leadership included representatives from Helms Middle, DeAnza High, Stege Elementary, and Dover Elementary. Many expressed gratitude to the Board for their support and funding of the many initiatives previously outlined.
Two parents from our community offered public comment on the presentation. Mr. Hernandez, a Helms parent, demanded that “Data should be sent home to students and parents. We need more information so we can be more involved and more informed.”
Another parent explained their feelings on the data: “When I see the implementation plan for the students and their achievement, it’s disappointing. What are the chances for those kids? The education span is too short. Having good results is not good enough. We need great results. We need to do much better, but not just better, but great.”
The Board will review LCAP Goal 2 & 3 items at the January 18th Board meeting.
Click here to review the LCAP Goal 1 Progress Update presentation.
Next Steps: Recommendations from Forensic Audit
As result of a recent forensic audit performed on the district’s school construction bond program, legal counsel Harold Freiman presented revisions to the Governance Handbook to our board members. Mr. Freiman’s revisions centered around conflict of interest and the need to use clarifying/concrete language in the Handbook.
Many Board members looked for more clarity on the revision process.
Board Member Liz Block wondered, “Sounds like your presentation is saying that we’re already doing this, but really they’re not okay. We’re not doing these things according to the audit. What do we do to address these issues differently?” Mr. Freiman replied, “Your bylaws (the Governance Handbook) looked at these things generally. We tried to look at them in more detail.”
Board Member Valerie Cuevas then asked, “Why is this unique for us?” Freiman responded, “It’s unique in the way that we’re doing this. What we’re doing here is we’re taking it to the next level for the Handbook.”
Before the Board approved the recommendation, Cuevas affirmed that “If we document it (the Handbook revisions), we can come back and fix those things. Adopt changes. Know that it’s not completed. And there’s more work in this.”
The Board approved the revisions to the Governance Handbook. The Board voted to push back approval of items G.5 and G.6 (Internal Auditor Job Descriptions) to a later meeting due to time restraints.
Click here to view the proposed revisions to the Governance Handbook.