Over the last three weeks, the pace of events coupled with disability-related fatigue have kept me from keeping you informed. My apologies for not making this a higher priority, but we are engaged in very big things. On the plus side, WCCUSD has reincarnated its Facebook account.
Below are brief coverage of outcomes for our April 24 and May 1 regular meetings.
April 24 Regular meeting
C.19 Resolution No. 87-1213: Local Control Funding Formula
The board adopted a resolution in strong support of Governor Jerry Brown’s Local Control Funding Formula. The LCFF would fundamentally reconfigure school funding in California, sensibly giving more funds to English learning students and those with low-incomes. I urge you to support this effort by contacting your legislators.
D1 Update on WCCUSD’s Integrated Food and Health Program
WCCUSD serves over a million meals each year, breakfast, lunch and dinner. Students that might otherwise go hungry have access to continuous nutrition year round. I deeply appreciate our Food and Health program’s ability to adapt to need in our community. It serves as a reminder that school performs many more roles than a classroom education.
D2. Gateway to College
Contra Costa College partners with WCCUSD to provide some of our most intriguing programs like Middle College High School. CCC continues in its innovation streak by offering Gateway to College, a program targeting at-risk students by placing them in the college environment. We heard from three students that struggled in our standard setting now thriving on the CCC campus.
F1. Tier III Categorical Flexibility- Public Hearing
The State of California send up to a third of its school funding through more than 60 protected programs known as categoricals. With serious restrictions and reporting requirements, they tend to be difficult pots of money to administer. In response to to financial crisis, the state allowed districts to use some categorical funds – the tier III programs- to use in lieu of cuts to the primary revenue limit funds. WCCUSD uses Tier III funds to stave further devastation in our classrooms, but it comes at a high price. We use over half of Adult Education’s allocated funds to support K-12 education. Adults without high school diplomas, English learners and new citizens must now wait for access to classes.
May 1 Meeting wrap-up
The May 1 meeting was heavily attended for a WCCUSD board meeting. I spent the earlier part of the day and most of the previous five at the American Education Research Association Conference. Needless to say, I entered the meeting running on fumes. Board meetings are intellectually draining. I try to reserve enough energy to give the work my full engagement, but am not always successful.
F1 Caliber Schools Charter Submission Staff Recommendation
If you’ve been around Richmond public education recently, you’ve probably heard from Caliber. This non-profit charter initiative is very eager to build a program in WCCUSD.They’ve conducted a series of community meetings to drum up family support. I’ve met with the team a number of times to discuss their vision and plans.
Caliber is presenting some very interesting ideas. They want to give each child a personalized education. I share this interest. They want to introduce computer programming as a “second language.” I also am interested in pursing this. Given these factors, I was initially leaned toward supporting their charter.
I then read their application and watched their presentation to the board. I found the application filled with aspiration, but short on specifics. The presentation to the board seemed designed to show community interest in a new schooling option, not a thoughtful examination addressing the needs of WCCUSD students.The Caliber team, while big on heart, was thin on experienced educators. The only WCCUSD teachers on their advisory team were early in their careers. Added together, these factors undermined my confidence in Caliber’s plan.
D3. Report on the District’s Families in Transition
We were presented with gripping account of our most vulnerable families. Hundreds of WCCUSD students lose their housing each year. District staff and Community Based Organizations step into support our students immediately on discovering these crises.