The board conducted the annual review of Alta Vista High School (AVHS), which continues to be a model continuation high school and the top continuation school in the county. AVHS has taken over the Terra Bella program for 15 high-risk youth from 4 local high schools, which had been run by the county. Now called the Alta Vista Opportunity Program, it includes small classes, 1-1 teaching, physical education at the local YMCA, and construction skills classes.
A report was given on the audit conducted by Principals Exchange to help the district identify institutional barriers to narrowing the achievement gap. The audit found many current programs to be effective and recommended enhancements and a more strategic approach. Math placement was an important item in the audit results and a separate report on this year’s math placement effectiveness showed that out of 868 ninth graders from partner schools, only 30 schedule changes were processed in the first semester, including 8 students who moved down, 3 who moved up, and 11 who moved from honors to a regular class.
Associate Superintendent Eric Goddard introduced Cynthia Greaves who had just been hired into the newly created position of Communications Director.
The board adopted a resolution supporting the “My Name, My Identity” Campaign developed by the National Association for Bilingual Education to advocate for pronouncing students’ names correctly and learning the stories behind the names.
The controversy over history teacher Frank Navarro’s comments about Pres. Trump continues, with a parent speaking in the board meeting to ask that the board respond to an open letter sent from Navarro to Superintendent Harding and published in the Oracle. That parent also complained that the school did not inform parents in a timely way about off-campus parties in which a parent provided students with alcoholic beverages. The San Francisco Chronicle published an article about the parties on Feb 3.
—Sally Ahnger, Observer