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January 25, 2011 > Sunol Glen School Board meeting review

Sunol Glen School Board meeting review

By Alyson Whitaker

The January 18 Sunol Glen School Board meeting kicked off with a "roar." Several students from the grades 2/3 multi-age classes recently concluded a dinosaur unit and came to the meeting to present their projects to the board. The classes worked for several weeks researching their dino of choice, writing a paragraph with unique characteristics of the species, creating a model, and developing a PowerPoint presentation on their dinosaur. Select students presented their paragraphs and PowerPoints to the school board to rousing applause. The benefit of their presence was two-fold - it gave the young students an opportunity to work on their public speaking skills, and the board members were able to catch a glimpse into what is happening in the classrooms.

The results of the 2009/2010 district audit were presented by Terri Montgomery of Vavrinek, Trine, Day & Co. LLP. The findings verified that all numbers were accurate in the unaudited actuals and all financial reports presented fairly. She indicated that going forward there are still many unknowns in respect to funding, and maintaining a strong enrollment will be key to maintaining a balanced budget.

Board member Neil Davies has taken on the role as ROP (Regional Occupational Program) representative from the school board. While many job descriptions and career paths are becoming obsolete, one field that is experiencing exceptional growth is that of animation and motion graphics. Mr. Davies is hoping that a partnership with the county ROP will provide additional resources to the middle school students for instruction in this field. He is also exploring the possibility of holding adult education classes on the campus.

During the community comments portion of the meeting, art teacher Natalie Campbell spoke on behalf of the staff in expressing the increase in morale among staff. Natalie is on the school "Sunshine Committee," charged with uniting the staff and spreading "sunshine" throughout the campus. The committee recognizes staff birthdays and other special events, and also supports each other through challenging times.

Parent Al Mendall also voiced his support of the multi-age classroom program for the K-3 grades. He has a kindergartner in the K/1 program, and a 2nd grader in the 2/3 program. The multi-age classrooms give teachers the ability to more accurately level students based on individual ability, rather than just grade level standards.

Principal/Superintendent Molleen Barnes reported out on recent events. Over the holidays, six classes at the school participated in an "Adopt-A-Family" program, collecting donations of new clothing, toys, and food for needy families in the Fremont/Newark area. It was heartwarming to see the outpouring of kindness and generosity, and to see the students so excited about giving.

The staff is continuing to participate in professional development courses through Alameda County Office of Education. Sunol Glen was selected by the county to receive select courses at no charge, giving staff direct access to increased development and support.

Neil Davies updated the audience on the two $1million hardship grants awarded to the district. The grants will help to upgrade the building facilities at the school, including roof repairs, plumbing improvements, and other needed fixes.

Mr. Davies also announced that he has established "office hours" for parents, staff, and community members to have a chance to meet with him and discuss questions or concerns. He will be available from 5 p.m. - 6 p.m. on the first and third Fridays of each month at the Jazz Cafˇ on Main Street in Sunol. No appointment is necessary.

The next board meeting is scheduled for Tuesday, February 15.

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