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September 21, 2010 > Sunol Glen School Board meeting review

Sunol Glen School Board meeting review

By Alyson Whitaker

The September 14 Sunol Glen School Board meeting began with the introduction of three new grade level teachers. Stephani Fallini has joined the staff as the sixth grade homeroom teacher. Recently relocated from Oregon, she has taught fourth and fifth grades for the past six years. Ashley Amaro and Lynn Schirmer both joined the K/1 teaching team. Both from Brentwood, this is Ashley's fourth year teaching and Lynn's third.

The board reviewed and approved the textbooks in use at the school for the 2010/11 school year. Textbook selection is an ongoing process for many schools and districts. They are continually changing with updates and changes in teaching philosophies, and most textbooks are obsolete or outdated within seven years. Board member Don Ball hopes that in the near future, electronic versions of textbooks will become the standard. Publishers need to realize the need to keep up with technology, and recognize that the high price of textbook replacement puts a strain on the already underfunded public school system.

Jeff Potter, Director from the Alameda County Office of Education, presented the Unaudited Actuals from the 2009/10 year-end. Ultimately, total expenditures were $84,000 less than anticipated. Federal revenue decreased slightly from the Estimated Actuals, but some portions of Unrestricted and Restricted Local Revenue were higher than anticipated at year-end. The Sunol Glen Preschool and Eagle's Nest (after-school care program) both came in with higher revenue than expected, with a combined excess of over $11,000.

Sunol Glen qualifies for a portion of the one-time funding from the New Jobs Bill for Education. A preliminary estimate of $49,000 is expected to pass through to the District, with funds anticipated within four to six weeks. Until the money is received, it will not be added into the 2010/11 budget.

Principal/Superintendant Molleen Barnes outlined the staff development plan for the new school year. She worked with staff over the summer to compile a list of goals, aimed at maximizing each student's potential. "Every student, every lesson, every day" is the motto. Year-round assessments will help teachers ensure that all students are reaching and exceeding grade-level benchmarks. Last year, Mrs. Barnes had presented the staff with a goal of reaching 900 API by 2011, and was thrilled to announce that this milestone was reached and surpassed, with a 2010 API score of 909.

Maintaining a positive attitude on campus is another goal of the staff. A positive school climate directly impacts student achievement. Detentions and suspensions are down 55 percent from 2008/09, and staff members incorporate building important character traits into the curriculum. Monthly student council assemblies focus on good citizenship and school spirit is promoted on a weekly basis.

The current enrollment is strong, with waiting lists in almost every grade. A goal of 96 percent Average Daily Attendance (ADA) is in place, which is directly tied to the money the district receives from state and federal funding. The school has kept class sizes down, with K-3 at 22:1 and grades 4-8 at an average of 26:1.

Representatives from the school's parent teacher organization, Sunol Glen Community Club, presented fundraising plans for the year, and gave an update on the membership drive. The Community Club supports many of the "extras" at the school, including field trips, classroom technology and literacy, intramural sports, subsidy to the art and music programs, and more. The board commended the Community Club for its positivity and support.

Two seats are up for election in November, and four candidates are running. Current board members Don Ball and Guin Van Dyke are on the ballot, along with community members Diane Everett and Gerry Beemiller.

The next Board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, October 19.

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