January 8 and 22, 2018

The main attraction of these meetings continued to be the Facilities Master Plan, which was approved at the Jan 22 meeting.  The Jan 8 meeting was preceded by a 3-hour study session on the Plan during which the master plan was presented in some detail and community members had an opportunity to speak.  Several speakers were neighbors of LAHS, concerned about the two-story building on the edge of the campus which would be very close to their homes.  Other comments concerned the parity of facilities between MVHS and LAHS, including classrooms, cafeterias, and performing arts facilities.  At the Jan 22 meeting, the architects presented a table showing the number of classrooms and the square footage of various facilities at the two schools.  In the new plan, storage and practice rooms were added to the LAHS Instrumental Music building to provide facilities comparable to MVHS. The architects also described various ways to mitigate the impact of the two-story building on neighbors.  With the Facilities Master Plan approved, design will begin immediately on the new buildings to be constructed.  The first step is schematic design, during which the architects will work with a committee of teachers, administrators, students, parents, and community members.  The classroom buildings could be built by 2020, with all of the facilities finished in 6 to 6.5 years.  The approved Master Plan will require a $295M bond, which needs to be approved before the March 9 deadline for the June election.

A report was presented by the Instructional Support Team about developing common assessments, including final exams, for all courses.  A survey of MVHS and LAHS course team leaders in all departments found that significant progress has been made toward aligning curriculum, grading systems, and practices, and that alignment improves student achievement.  Providing more time for collaboration and more leadership in collaboration would sustain and extend progress in these areas.  

The board approved: 

     – a California School Board Association resolution calling for full and fair funding of California’s public schools, by funding schools at the national average or higher by 2020, and at or above the average of the top 10 states by 2025.

     – a contract for the College Board Pre-AP Program for LAHS in World Studies and Algebra 1, which includes an intensive teacher training and improves critical thinking, reading, and writing skills in the curricula.

     – the School Accountability Report Cards for all three high schools.  

     – contract negotiation re-openers for the District Teachers Association and the California School Employee Association. Items that will be negotiated will be compensation, health and welfare benefits, and two items chosen by each side.  Public hearings were held with no speakers in either hearing.

Principal Bill Pierce presented the Alta Vista High School Annual Review.  Starting 1/22/18, Leyla Benson will be the new Associate Superintendent for Personnel.  Brenda Harris is the new Director of the Adult School.  The board accepted the independent auditor’s report for 2016-17, which had no audit findings.  

—Sally Ahnger, Observer