Local News

Common Core standards, tech upgrade, sixth-grade field trip on board’s agenda

By From page A1 | May 15, 2013


What: Davis Board of Education

When: 7 p.m. Thursday

Where: Community Chambers, City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd.

Watch it: Live on Davis cable Channel 17 and as streaming video at www.djusd.tv

The Davis school board will hear updates on implementation of the new Common Core academic standards, consider (and perhaps approve) the school district’s proposed technology plan, discuss the possibility of districtwide fundraising to continue the sixth-grade outdoor education/science field trip and touch on several other topics at its meeting Thursday.

Associate Superintendent Clark Bryant is schedule to give a 20-minute update on the Common Core standards, addressing the new math framework, practice tests reflecting the new standards being prepared by the Smarter Balanced Consortium, ongoing professional development to prepare teachers for instructing students under the new standards and more. The practice tests are expected to become available online this month to teachers, parents and administrators.

California school districts will be transitioning from old-style paper-and-pencil standardized tests to new online assessments of students’ academic progress as part of the implementation of the Common Core standards.

Thursday’s agenda also earmarks 30 minutes for acceptance of the district’s new technology plan. The plan includes a recent survey of computers on hand at local campuses, which found that while district elementary schools have a ratio of anywhere from three to six students per computer, many of the computers are more than four years old.

These ratios are somewhat narrower at the junior high and high school level, with two or three students per computer in junior high and six students per computer at Davis High, but again, not many new computers are available.

Among other goals, the proposed technology plan calls for upgrading/replacing aging infrastructure to support wireless access in school libraries and classrooms; studying the cost of removing site-based servers and moving storage to a centralized location; and establishing a long-term, sustainable funding plan for professional learning on current and upcoming technology implementations.

The proposed technology plan also estimates a need for $3.4 million for full implementation, with the largest portion ($2.6 million) going to install wireless technology in every classroom.

Also on Thursday’s agenda is a 30-minute item about the sixth-grade field trip. This popular overnight outing is not required under California education code, but typically has been supported by PTA fundraising or other parent-based efforts at school sites.

Davis schools usually send their sixth-graders to Walker Creek Ranch in the northern San Francisco Bay Area, operated by the Marin County Office of Education, or the Sly Park Environmental Education Center in El Dorado County, operated by the Sacramento County Office of Education. These trips typically cost about $15,000 to $30,000 per school, with several classes of sixth-graders attending.

The board also will hear the results of a recent survey of parents, students and staff that found all three groups leaning toward continuing this year’s calendar experiment, in which final exams were held in December before winter break, with the semester ending in January. The discussion also will include an update on the possibility of coordinating the Davis school district’s spring break with spring break at UC Davis.

Thursday’s agenda also includes:

* A brief update from Superintendent Winfred Roberson on interviews with consultants who might be engaged to assist with the district’s upcoming master plan process; and

* A consent calendar item asking trustees to approve a $714,800 contract with Abide Builders for demolition this summer of the aging multipurpose room at Davis High School, which was closed in 2010 following the discovery of toxic mold in the building.

Thursday’s meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. in the Community Chambers at Davis City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd. The meeting will be carried live on Davis cable Channel 17 and as streaming video at www.djusd.tv.



Jeff Hudson

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