September 9, 2006

Test Results and Residency Verification Data Presented at Sep. 6, 2006, School Board Meeting

At the start of its September 6, 2006, meeting, the San Leandro School Board announced that it had hired Bradley Frazier as the Adult School Vice Principal during closed session.

All members of the School Board were present and two members of the public were present.

During a public hearing on the sufficiency of instructional materials for 2006-2007, there were no public comments.

The student report by an SLHS student resulted in feedback that the SLHS students want to know why the new fence has been installed. According to the student, there are rumors floating around as to why the fence was installed.

David Lorden, Director of Student Support Services, presented information on the residency verification program at the high school, middle school, kindergarten, and all students new to the district. Three documents that prove residency are required and home visits are conducted if the documents are not available. So far, 140 home visits have been conducted, resulting in 36 students not being enrolled. Of those 36, 10 home visits did not verify the student's residency, 22 home visits verified the student's residency but there was none of the required documentation, and four home visits where falsified information was discovered.

At the start of its September 6, 2006, meeting, the San Leandro School Board announced that it had hired Bradley Frazier as the Adult School Vice Principal during closed session.

All members of the School Board were present and two members of the public were present.

During a public hearing on the sufficiency of instructional materials for 2006-2007, there were no public comments.

The student report by an SLHS student resulted in feedback that the SLHS students want to know why the new fence has been installed. According to the student, there are rumors floating around as to why the fence was installed.

David Lorden, Director of Student Support Services, presented information on the residency verification program at the high school, middle school, kindergarten, and all students new to the district. Three documents that prove residency are required and home visits are conducted if the documents are not available. So far, 140 home visits have been conducted, resulting in 36 students not being enrolled. Of those 36, 10 home visits did not verify the student's residency, 22 home visits verified the student's residency but there was none of the required documentation, and four home visits where falsified information was discovered.

Trustee Ray Davis asked how the residency verification program dealt with the issue of electronic bill payment, in which required documentation may not be available. Lorden responded that companies usually have a way to produce the required documentation but agreed that this was an issue in some cases.

Trustee Louis Heystek asked who was conducting the home visits and Lorden responded that they were being conducted by an SLHS campus supervisor, a substitute teacher, a secretary and other. Lorden acknowledged that this left him short-staffed at times. Heystek also expressed concern about ongoing residency verification and Lorden stated that there were some students whose families were in crisis, which meant that required documentation couldn't be produced, but the students were legitimately enrolled.

Trustee Lisa Hague suggested that addresses and names found to fail residency verification be kept on some sort of list so that that future residency verification would pay close attention when they were seen again.

Trustee Stephen Cassidy asked about the numbers involved in verifying residency and Lorden said that approximately 50 students weren't verified at Bancroft on the first day, but that number dropped to 15 by the second day. Cassidy also asked how hard it would be to fake the information and Lorden acknowledged it could be done. Superintendent Christine Lim pointed out that the district already has a policy of red-flagging any mail sent to parents that is returned.

The second presentation was a set of PowerPoint slides by Wendy Ponder, Assistant Director of Categorical Programs, Judith Cameron, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, and Daniel Chaja, Assistant Director of Research and Program Evaluation, highlighting state and federal testing results. The information included California Standards Test (CST) results in English Language Arts, Math and Science; state Academic Performance Index (API) results; and federal Adequate Yearly Progress (AYP) results; and Program Improvement status for several schools. The information presented showed that San Leandro school and the district as a whole have shown improvement in test scores over the past three to four years, but that improvement has been at a slower rate than other school systems in Alameda County.

Trustee Linda Perry noted that the mobility rate for students in the district has always been high and that San Leandro schools have greater diversity than most other districts in Alameda County. When asked by Heystek about the data collection, Chaja said that they were using a new database and that they didn't have to go through file folders of paper any more.

Cassidy observed that San Leandro had the lowest aggregate API growth in Alameda County compared to similar districts and that we were "struggling at the middle school and high school levels" while doing better at the elementary level. Cassidy noted that Latinos were the only group with lower test scores at the middle and high schools, which has a large impact, because Latinos comprise 40% of the district's students. He also observed that SLHS had some of the lowest API scores for Latinos as a group compared to other Alameda County high schools.

Cameron agreed with Cassidy's assessment and Cassidy went on to note a recent study that suggested that there needs to be more focus on student expectations and confidence than on teacher expectations.

During public testimony, a man pursuing a discrimination complaint against the school district received clarification for the next step of his appeal after he returned from Ghana.

Head Custodian Billy Campbell spoke about a recent two-day training seminar for all custodians and said he was impressed by the camaraderie and the outstanding job done by the custodians and Waxie Sanitary representative Armando Soto. He also said that there would be an article appearing the San Leandro Times and that he was very proud of how the floor looked at Bancroft Gym.

Cassidy pulled one item off of the consent calendar concerning Heystek's request for a resolution certifying that his absence from the August 24, 2006, School Board meeting was due to hardship. Cassidy noted that a vacation should not be considered a hardship. Heystek responded that the meeting was called on such short notice that there is no way he could change his plans. Board President Pauline Cutter noted that the policy committee should take this up, as has been suggested at a previous board meeting.

The consent calendar, with the exception of Heystek's hardship resolution, was approved unanimously. The hardship resolution was approved six to one, with Cassidy voting against its approval.

The board also unanimously approved the job description and position to support the After School Education Safety Grant and the Education for Homeless Children and Youth Grant. Assistant Superintendent Cindy Cathey said that she worked with the Davis Street Family Resource Center, Building Futures with Women and Children, and the Alameda County Office of Education in order to secure the $100,000 grant.

During comments from the Board, Cassidy once again cited the Science Magazine article and also discussed the attempt by the Los Angeles mayor to take over control of the Los Angeles school system.

Hague, Heystek, and Trustee Rick Richards commended the staff while Perry noted that she attended the teacher orientation and observed that the information packet was excellent. Perry also noted that the next meeting with parents at Jefferson was scheduled for 6pm September 13, 2006, at the Jefferson library.

Davis stated that the district should recognize the $2,000 contribution of the metal workers to the metal shop and also reminded the superintendent to notify the City Council and Mayor of the date for the adult school opening.

Cutter said it was good that Lorden had the students' interests at heart and that a letter to Soto's employer or some sort of recognition should be given to him.

The meeting was then adjourned.

Posted by Mike Katz-Lacabe at September 9, 2006 11:59 PM | TrackBack
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