Team assembled to chart schools’ future

By From page A1 | September 20, 2013

The Davis school board on Thursday clinched its list of 26 people tasked with reinventing the district for the next decade.

Composed of an equal number of district representatives and community members, the Strategic Planning Committee will convene for the first time Thursday, Sept. 26, through Saturday, Sept. 28, at the Veterans’ Memorial Center, 203 E. 14th St.

Superintendent Winfred Roberson said the committee, with membership approved unanimously by the board, is made up of “solid, good-willed people” with “great expertise” who “collectively represent the values and perspectives of our community.”

The target date for presenting a completed strategic plan for the board’s approval: Feb. 5.

“We’re looking to explore new possibilities for the Davis Joint Unified School District, to provide the best academic program possible for all of our students at all grade levels,” Roberson said. “We want to re-establish common values, purpose and direction and focus on our children. We want to ensure the appropriate distribution of our resources.

“Strategic planning offers the best possible hope for engaging the entire (Davis Joint Unified School District) community. Strategic planning provides a framework for ongoing renewal within the context of a rapidly changing environment in society. It gives an opportunity to reinvent ourselves as the environment and conditions around us change.”

The Planning Committee is to complete a draft plan by October. Action teams for each focus area will develop strategies for putting the Planning Committee’s recommendations into practice.

Once those focus areas are made public, applications will be taken for the action teams.

“Everyone who volunteers we’re going to accept,” Roberson said. “We want everyone to participate on an action team.”

Those named to the planning committee were:

* Roberson;

* Elementary school teachers Kim Bobadilla of Willett and Patricia Newman of North Davis;

* Junior high teacher Kristine Harvey at Holmes;

* Davis High teacher Eleanor Neagley;

* Classified staff: Kate Prien, secretary at DHS; Justin Silva, a Da Vinci Charter Academy paraeducator; and Terri Furlow, district office staff member;

* Davis Teachers Association president Blair Howard of King High;

* California School Employees Association Local Chapter 572 president Jim Herrington;

* Administrators: Scott Bell, assistant vice principal at Da Vinci; Mary Ponce, principal of Korematsu Elementary; and Kate Snow, school climate coordinator;

* High school students Han-ah Sumner of DHS and Anthony Martinez of King High;

* Trustee Nancy Peterson;

* 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 Peterson); and Alan Fernandes and Kelly Stachowicz (suggested by Susan Lovenburg).

“We are so lucky to have not only people who are highly qualified, but who are willing to submit their names and participate in the process,” Allen said.

Eighty-seven people applied for committee membership. The board sifted through 58 community applications at a meeting on Tuesday. Roberson, the CSEA and Davis Teachers Association narrowed down the staff and student applicants.

Only one member of the public addressed the board about the planning committee, and that to ask a question about its timeline.

Howard, of the DTA, said that he was hopeful about the process — the first time since the mid-1990s that the district has engaged in long-range planning — but not overly so.

“I don’t want to put too much hope into it because I don’t want to set myself up for disappointment,” he said.

In other business, the board:

* voted unanimously to cover any future difference between federal Migrant Education funding that will return the summer elementary school program to six weeks. This summer, due to sequestration, federal funds came up $2,500 short, so classes were cut to four weeks.

“Somebody should have asked us (for money),” Allen said.

Forty-six elementary school-aged students took part in the program. Despite the short length of the program, “almost all” of the students improved by at least 25 percent in math assessments, according to a staff report, while seven climbed one level in English language arts.

Ten students took part in the six-week secondary school program and in the two-week Jump Start program at Harper Junior High School.

* heard an enrollment report. The figures for elementary schools: Birch Lane, 606 (up two students from a year ago); Cesar Chavez, 638 (up 10); Fairfield 56 (up six); Korematsu, 545 (up 27); Marguerite Montgomery, 416 (up 12); North Davis, 561 (down 35); Patwin, 391 (down 31); Pioneer, 514 (down seven); Willett, 514 (even).

For junior high schools: Emerson, 451 (up 44); Harper, 619 (down 41); Holmes, 733 (up 12). For high schools: DHS, 1,712 (down 42); King, 45 (down eight); Da Vinci, 608 (up 38).

Davis School for Independent Study has enrolled 97 students, up one from a year ago. Special education preschool is at 19 students, down 16, though staff said that number typically increases during the school year.

All schools are fully staffed, with the equivalent of nine more staff than a year ago at elementary schools, three at secondary schools.

* received word that the state will not allow the low-income Children’s Center State Preschool to expand to Marguerite Montgomery. Staff are in talks with the state to determine if additional seats will be at that school or Valley Oak.

Twenty preschool spots remain open. Interested parents are encouraged to call 530-757-5300.

Cory Golden

Cory Golden

The Enterprise's higher-education and congressional reporter. http://about.me/cory_golden
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