The Davis school board met early Tuesday morning — at 7:45 a.m. — to begin the process of selecting the 26 members of the school district’s Strategic Planning Committee, which will spend the next few months developing recommendations on priorities and programs for the coming decade.
The board is expected to vote on the committee’s membership during its regularly scheduled meeting at 7 p.m. Thursday in the Community Chambers at Davis City Hall, 23 Russell Blvd.
The list of prospective committee members is still very much a work in progress, with the goal being to select a committee that will reflect a diversity of viewpoints and backgrounds, including people involved at the elementary, junior high and high school levels; parents, teachers, staff, administrators and students; and members from the community at large.
Names being mooted by the trustees and Superintendent Winfred Roberson on Tuesday morning included:
* Elementary school teachers Kim Bobadilla at Willett and Patricia Newman at North Davis;
* Junior high teacher Kristine Harvey at Holmes;
* High school teachers Andan Bailey or Widgen Neagley, both at Davis High;
* Classified staff: Kate Prien at Davis High; Justin Silva, a paraeducator; and Terri Furlow, district office;
* Davis Teachers Association president Blair Howard;
* California School Employees Association president Jim Herrington;
* Administrators: Scott Bell at Da Vinci Charter Academy, Mary Ponce at Korematsu Elementary and Kate Snow, school climate coordinator;
* Roberson, superintendent;
* High school students Han-ah Sumner at DHS and Anthony Martinez at King High;
* Community members Bill Calhoun and Darcy Houck, suggested by trustee Tim Taylor; Koren Motekaitis and Charles Rairdan, suggested by Gina Daleiden; Lisa Haas and Cecilia Escamilla Greenwald, suggested by Sheila Allen; Maria Clayton and Joshua Newman, suggested by Nancy Peterson; and Alan Fernandes and Kelly Stachowicz, suggested by Susan Lovenburg.
Allen said she is “impressed by the number of applications” from people interested in serving on the committee; Lovenburg remarked on “an embarrassment of riches,” with a large number of well-qualified and well-connected prospects in the pool of nominees.
Several other names came up during Tuesday’s 90-minute meeting, and some of these may yet end up on the list that trustees will vote on Thursday night. It is also possible that some of the people mentioned above will not be able to serve. In some cases, they had been nominated by others, and phone calls were being made to confirm their availability to serve.
The strategic planning process also will include several “action teams” that will do research and make recommendations on specific topics. Participation in the action teams is open to any interested person, and the details of when they will meet will be announced.
The strategic planning process will be the first time since the mid-1990s that the Davis school district has engaged in a long-range planning effort. Much has changed since then.
Twenty years ago, the school district did not issue a district-owned computer to each teacher (a practice that started about 2001), and few high school students brought computers to school. California schools are in the midst of a transition from the paper-and-pencil multiple-choice “bubble tests” that have been used to assess student progress during the past 12 years to a new testing regime that will involve online assessments, which are being phased in over the next two years.
The Davis school district also has gone from an era of rapidly expanding enrollment during the mid- to late 1990s to an era of flat or slightly declining enrollment during recent years, a trend that reflects both the decline in birth rates across California as well as a big slowdown in new home construction during the recent economic recession.
The demographic composition of Davis’ enrollment also has shifted over the years. This year, 23 percent of Davis students are participating in free and reduced-price meal programs (based on modest family income), which is roughly double the percentage of students who participated in those programs in 2002.
There are also higher percentages of students from Asian and Latino backgrounds studying in the Davis school system now as compared to 10 to 15 years ago.
— Reach Jeff Hudson at email@example.com or 530-747-8055.