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May 11, 2012 > Fremont Unified School District Board meeting report

Fremont Unified School District Board meeting report

By Miriam G. Mazliach

The following are highlights from the Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) Board meeting held April 25, 2012.

Closed Session:
In action taken prior to the Board meeting, Ms. Genevieve Randolph was approved as the new Principal of Mission Valley Elementary School.

Superintendent's Report:
Fremont Schools' Superintendent Dr. James Morris reported on the following items:
He visited Forest Park Elementary School, and thanked the efforts of 60 dedicated parent volunteers who provide one-on-one tutoring to the students.

Fremont Adult School received accreditation and commendations for its staff and outreach as an effective Adult School Program.

District satisfaction surveys are being finalized, following the input of focus groups.

Trustee Ivy Wu held a recent Community Meeting to receive ideas and input on innovative ways to deal with the budget crisis.

On "Administrative Professional Day," Supt. Morris expressed his appreciation and gratitude to Mrs. Sharon Coco, saying, "We salute you as an Administrative Assistant extraordinaire!"

Consent Calendar Item - Communication System:
To keep students and parents informed, teachers, particularly at the secondary level, have been utilizing a variety of methods to post grades online, such as iParent, Easy Grade Pro and School Loop. At the Board meeting, a number of speakers commented favorably on behalf of the "School Loop" software system.

Many parents and school personnel took to the podium; in particular, Hopkins parent Paul Rogers detailed how the school has been piloting School Loop's usage. "We like the daily emails, receiving the grades and assignments. It's a convenient, well-run system for the parents." In line with that comment, Thomas Birbeck, who teaches at Hopkins added, "Ten teachers first took on School Loop and they're excited about it. I think 100 percent of the staff will use it. It's a total communication system between the parent, teacher and student, so that you receive daily emails from every class," said Birbeck.

After additional input and comments, the Board approved adopting the usage of School Loop at the secondary school level, beginning in the fall. It is still up to each teacher to agree, but principals will work with their staff to encourage this direction.

Agenda Item - Search and Seizure:
To ensure a safe learning environment, FUSD is following in the path of other school districts such as, Newark and Pleasanton, by implementing stronger measures to prevent illegal drugs from being brought onto campuses. The new policy would allow trained police dogs to search locker areas and parking lots only, while students are attending class. In addition, school authorities would be allowed to search student belongings or lockers, if there is reasonable suspicion of illegal activity or contraband.

Trustees Bryan Gebhardt and Larry Sweeney expressed reservations about the measure by voting against it; however, with Board President Mei, Trustees Ivy Wu and Lara York voting in favor, the Search and Seizure policy passed 3-2. The student representative on the Board, James Ho sitting in for Allison Tong, also voted in the affirmative to approve the policy.

Agenda Item - Budget Update:
Assistant Superintendent of Business, Micaela Ochoa, discussed three distinct scenarios in which to deal with the current State budget crisis and anticipated reductions to the district.

However, the district won't have a clear picture of funding until November, based on whether the Governor's Tax Initiative passes or not. According to Ochoa, even in the "Best Case Scenario," FUSD would still have to make cuts, as the district is deficit spending.

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