5/10 Highlights: Kennedy Family Initiative

Welcome to Board Watch for WCCUSD’s Wednesday, April 12th Meeting!

The Weds, May 10 board meeting was packed with passionate members of our community who were eager to participate in discussions of key issues facing the district.

Formal discussion: primary points of debate from the agenda were a draft agreement for a long-term facility for Caliber and a comprehensive turnaround initiative in the Kennedy family of schools.

Community: During public comment, community members debated a new Mandarin language elementary school slated to replace the Serra Campus Adult School, and parents and school leaders from a prospective new charter school in the district, Invictus Academy, announced the new charter petition. The board also publicly recognized classified employees from several district campuses in celebration of Classified School Employee Week!

Long-term facility plan for Caliber

Agenda Item E.1

Caliber, which since 2013 has been in portable buildings at the Stege campus and in a lot behind Kennedy, is due a long-term facilities solution. The District is legally obligated under Prop 39 to provide Caliber, the charter school operator with a school in WCCUSD, equivalent facilities to district school buildings. Another key legal detail in this conversation is Proposition 51. The new law, which passed in 2016, gives WCCUSD, including its charters, additional funding opportunities (through loans and other indirect funding mechanisms) for school construction, renovation and relocation.

On Wednesday, the board presented a draft plan to offer, via a loan to Caliber, the opportunity to relocate to San Pablo’s North Campus, which is currently unused. The loan will help Caliber cover the cost of the move and the upgrade to the facility, though at time of writing, the draft agreement is just that: a draft.

At future board meetings, there will be more opportunities for our community to participate in this evolving discussion. See the preliminary agreement here.

Kennedy Family Initiative

Agenda Item E.2

Superintendent Matt Duffy has initiated a 5-year, $4.1mm turnaround partnership on behalf of the 10 schools under the Kennedy family.  

The Kennedy schools have consistently underperformed the state and have seen a steady decline in enrollment for several years. In addition, the proportion of English Language Learners (ELLs) to redesignated English proficient students in the Kennedy family is growing while teachers are turning over at an alarming rate. Furthermore, students in the Kennedy family come from increasingly poor households. All of these factors lead to a compelling case for the partnership.



Partners in School Innovation (“Partners”) is the organization with which WCCUSD will work on this initiative.

Partners has extensive experience in such schools, having led large-scale turnaround efforts in local districts San Francisco Unified and Alum Rock USD. Partners has developed a “secret sauce” to turn around struggling schools, CEO Dr. Derek Mitchell says. This claim is supported by the improved academic results of the districts Partners has worked with in past turnaround efforts.

The “secret sauce,” Mitchell explained in the meeting, is a blend of leadership support, additional staffing, and an innovative inquiry-based coaching approach. The 10 schools under the Kennedy family will receive this system of supports starting fall ‘17.


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