Bullis Charter School

   March 5: Every year up and down the state school districts are required to prepare and submit their “Second Interim (financial) Report” for examination and approval by their board. After that board process, the Second Interim Report is sent to their County Office of Education. At this meeting the Bullis Charter School Board of Directors heard their Second Interim Report, asked questions, and then voted unanimously to approve it and send it on to the Santa Clara County Office of Education. Bullis Charter School contracts with an organization called edtec to prepare this report for them. Peter Taub of edtec made his company’s presentation to the board.

   Also at this meeting the board provided input on budget discussions that are under way for the 2018-19 budget. A few items of particular interest arose here: [1] Board members recommended that they budget for one or more assistant teachers for next year so that they have more flexibility when master teachers go out on family leaves in the middle of the year; [2] There are fewer students in grades 7 and 8 than they had planned for, so board members discussed options for that. One question was “Do we have a wait list for these grades?” The answer was no, because they are capped at 105 students for each grade per the Five Year Agreement with Los Altos School District. They hear from 105 students that they plan to attend next year, so budget for 105 students. But, students also apply to private schools, and if they get in, they sometimes drop their place at Bullis, resulting in a smaller 7th or 8th grade class than originally planned for.

     The Bullis Board of Directors also reviewed and voted to approve their Finance Committee’s recommendation for a new auditor for next year. That auditor is Vincenti, Lloyd, Stutzman LLP. This auditor was approved unanimously by the board.

     Lastly, another thing all schools in California are required to do every year is prepare, adopt, and submit a SARC (Student Accountability Report Card). SARCs are done via a state template. Categories in the template are: “About Our School” (a narrative description of the school and area), Contact Information, School Description and Mission Statement, Student Enrollment by Grade Level, Student Group (race, economically disadvantaged, English Learners, Students with Disabilities, and Foster Youth), Textbooks and Instructional Materials, School Facilities conditions, State Test Score Results grades 3 – 8 (and 10) by student group, types and levels of Parent Involvement, Average Class Size and Distribution, Academic Counselors/Support Staff, Expenditures Per Pupil and Teacher Salaries (compared to the state), and lastly, a narrative on Professional Development utilized by the school. (High schools also report on a few more items.) At this meeting the Bullis Board heard a presentation on their latest SARC and unanimously approved it.

   April 2: Three items of note were presented and discussed at this meeting. The report of item one is by Greg Coladonato, our LWV alternate BCS Observer. [1] A presentation was given by two teachers from Huff Elementary school in the Mountain View Whisman School District, who took part in BCS’s STEAM Practicum, in order to learn how to implement PBL + RTI at Huff. I believe there were five teachers from Huff who took part in this program. 

For context, BCS Superintendent Wanny Hersey explained that the STEAM Practicum has been a three year effort in partnership with the Santa Clara County Office of Education’s STEAM Team. 

The three approaches they mentioned trying to teach to their students were inquiry thinking, design thinking, and a growth mindset. They mentioned how amazed they were that 5 year olds were teaching their parents what it meant to be a dendrochronologist (their word usage!).

(STEAM is a popular acronym representing work in Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math. This is distinguished from typical STEM learning. “PBL” refers to Project Based Learning; “RTI” refers to Response to Instruction.)

[2] BCS learned that it has been selected as the only school in North America to be part of P21 Global Schools Network. It joins 14 other schools around the world who were carefully selected as school models that focus on global awareness, global competence, cultural competence, and linguistic development. [3] The BCS ad hoc nominating committee has been searching for and interviewing people to potentially fill the board positions of the four board members whose terms end in June. They’re looking for people who can add to the skill sets of the current board.

— Ellen Wheeler, Observer