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November 5, 2010 > Hayward Unified School District board meeting report

Hayward Unified School District board meeting report

Board of Education celebrates student scholars

By Robin Michel

Superintendent Janis Duran announced at the beginning of the October 27, Hayward Unified School District (HUSD) board meeting that beginning with that night's meeting the district was launching a live webcast of meetings so that they could be viewed anywhere via Internet access. The timing could not be more perfect.

At this meeting, every seat was occupied and Standing Room Only. The mood was jubilant - and a little nervous - as families, friends and students spilled out through the double doors at the City Council Chambers in order to celebrate the academic achievement of student scholars who achieved a Perfect Score of 600 on the California Standardized Tests in Mathematics and/or English Language Arts. Students solemnly followed their teachers to the front of the chamber to receive congratulations and a medal of academic achievement from Executive Director of Academic Affairs, Lety Salinas, and Board President Paul Frumkin. Parents, grandparents and other family members proudly snapped photographs as the scholars fingered the medallions hanging on the red, white and blue ribbons. "Yes, it's real," whispered one middle school student to herself as she left the room. Groups of students wearing their medallions and holding their certificates gathered in the lobby to pose for additional photographs with proud teachers and families.

In addition to the special Student Recognition, HUSD Board of Education received a presentation from Ms. Salinas and Jill Hoogendyk, Director of Federal and State Programs, on the Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA), a document required by law to address Hayward's status as a Program Improvement (PI) district. Every school in the District must have a SPSA, with each school's School Site Council being responsible for the development, implementation, monitoring and revision of the plan. There is some flexibility in addressing unique issues a specific school might have; however, certain elements are required in each plan. At 1,500 pages in length, as noted by Trustee Jesus Armas, the SPSAs are not light reading or easy to accomplish over a weekend. He suggested that the Board view the document as a First Reading, and consider approval at the November 17 meeting. The Board agreed.

The SPSA development process requires:
Looking at new data and setting goals on strengths and weaknesses;
Matching the budget to student need, monitoring and evaluating the progress.

Specific actions address the need for a consistent, standards-based instructional program, establishing and monitoring systems for assessment and evaluation of student learning, needs of English Language Learners and Special Education students, improving student attendance, eliminating bullying and harassment, providing cultural sensitivity training for staff, and providing interventions to all Far Below Basic and Below Basic students. The SPSAs also have a strong parent and community engagement component.

It t was noted by Trustee Louis Reynoso that what "looks good on paper" means little if not implemented. Trustee Maribel Heredia also voiced concern that an intervention component should have access to classrooms after school and that she had received complaints that teachers sometimes refuse access.

"I need assurances that this does not continue," said Trustee Heredia. "Classrooms belong to the kids. They do not belong to the teachers. They do not belong to the principals."

After these words of caution, staff was commended for their work on this onerous task, as were the School Site Councils composed of principals, teacher representatives, other school personnel, parents of the students attending the school (which are elected by other parents) and, at the middle and high school level, students attending the school.

The Board approved Memorandums of Understanding (MOUs) between HUSD and the following agencies:
New Haven Unified School District (NHUSD), for placement of a Hayward student needing a special treatment program available at NHUSD;
JL Davis Family Resource Center, for implementation of an AmeriCorps Grant to increase parent engagement for historically underrepresented parent groups; and
Alameda County Office of Education, for implementation of Project Eat, funded through an AmeriCorps Grant and a 21st Century Assets Grant.

A good portion of time was spent discussing both minutes-an ongoing source of contention for Trustee Reynoso-and Board Bylaws. At prior Board meetings, the Board has agreed-with the exception of Trustee Reynoso-that corrections to the minutes should be submitted to staff in writing.

The Board once again discussed-and approved-a revision the Code of Ethics in the Board Bylaws (Board Bylaw BB9271), which had its first reading at the October 13 Board Meeting. The major change is the title, renaming it Code of Conduct. (For full text change, please see the district Web site at www.husd.k12.ca.us and click on View Board Meeting Materials to find the October 27 Board meeting agenda and back up). Trustee Reynoso did not vote for the change to the bylaws.

The Board also conducted a Second Reading of Board Policy 9250, Remuneration, Reimbursement and Other Benefits. The Board was presented with three different options to consider for health and welfare benefits, including 1) allowing board members to participate at their own expense, 2) having the District pay or contribute to the premiums/fees to the maximum extent allowed by law, or 3) capping the contribution at a set amount, or to the maximum amount allowed by law, whichever is lower. The Board chose option two, which Trustee Armas characterized as "a bit more humanistic" for any Board member covered only under the District plan.

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