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August 27, 2010 > Sunol Glen Unified School Board meeting review

Sunol Glen Unified School Board meeting review

By Alyson Whitaker

The Sunol Glen School Board held its monthly meeting on August 17, approving the
resignation of one K-1 teacher and one music teacher. They announced and approved staff additions for the 2010/2011 school year, which include: Ashley Amaro-K-1, Lynn Schirmer-K-1, Stephanie Falini-6th grade, and Phillip Strangio-Music/Band.

Sunol Glen School is unofficially recognized as the Civic Center of the small community, and a 1999 School Bond implied that the school would be available to the community for use. The School Board currently does not have a written Facility Use Policy for outside organizations who wish to hold their meetings on school property. In order to comply with the Civic Center Act, the Board is working to draft a written policy, following the California Education Code requirements. The Board discussed the potential of charging a fee to groups or organizations whose use places an undue burden on maintenance staff, requiring after-hours cleaning or building security.

San Francisco Public Utilities Company (SFPUC) owns a portion of the land in front of the school, which is utilized as a parking lot for both staff and parents, as well as the school bus. Board member Neil Davies is in discussion with SFPUC to secure a longer "quit" period, should SFPUC decide to reclaim the land. Currently, there is a one-month time frame in which the school would need to vacate the property. It is mutually agreeable to extend that to a 2-year period. Discussions are also underway to improve the condition of the lot, possibly paving it to eliminate the dust and potholes that result from the unpaved area.

Over the years, some parents have expressed concern over whether Sunol Glen middle-school students are well enough prepared for entrance into high school after attending such a small school. With just one class per middle-school grade, there is limited opportunity for expanded social interactions typically associated with the middle school years. The Board encouraged parents to share their experiences, which overwhelmingly voiced support for all the benefits of the small school environment. Students across the board exhibited high self-esteem and were academically and socially well prepared for high school.

While students who reside in Sunol feed into the Pleasanton Unified School District for high school, there are students from many neighboring districts in attendance as well. A possible area of potential improvement would be to increase collaboration with outside district middle schools and high schools, introducing students to future classmates, programs, clubs, and extra-curricular activities.

The staff and school board are also looking at ways to enhance the middle school program, through the addition of after-school intramural sports programs, and perhaps adding a language option to the curriculum.

The school motto for the 2010/2011 school year is "Sunol Glen is a slice of heaven in 2011!" Principal/Superintendant Molleen Barnes reported that the school is ready for students' return on August 24. Maintenance staff has been hard at work over the summer, completing routine maintenance as well as necessary repairs to the grounds and buildings. Enrollment is at a healthy level, and almost every grade has a waiting list.

Two seats will be opening up in this November's election. Incumbents Guin Van Dyke and Don Ball are both running for re-election, as are Sunol residents Gerry Beemiller and Diane Everett.

The next board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, September 14.

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