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562Re: Want to tell the district what you think about the coming leadership change at Claremont?

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  • Morris Dye
    May 12, 2014
      Following up on my earlier email: There is a permissions problem with the “letters others have sent to the district” link I sent before, so I had to republish with a different address:

      If you forward to others, please include the correct link. Sorry for the confusion!


      On May 12, 2014, at 7:01 PM, Morris Dye <morris@...> wrote:

      Hello Claremont Boosters and Dads Club members — First, I’d like to say that I’ve been deeply impressed with the way our community has responded to the news that the Richardsons are moving on. Since last Thursday I’ve had numerous uplifting conversations and email exchanges with teachers and parents who are more committed than ever to building on the progress we have made over the past two years. I keep getting back to the fact that our successes are the result of many people pulling together and making good things happen. The Richardsons’ departure will not change that.

      Now here’s the reason I’m emailing the Boosters group this evening: The document below was developed by several members of the Claremont PTA board to facilitate open community dialog about what comes next at Claremont. Please take a few minutes to reflect on your own questions and concerns. If you feel inclined, please share your thoughts with the OUSD officials who have the power to make important decisions about our school.

      Also: feel free to forward this invitation to others who have an interest in making Claremont great. Thanks!

      —Morris Dye


      An invitation to contact OUSD regarding the future of Claremont Middle School

      Following last week's announcement that the Richardson have decided to leave OUSD, many in our community have engaged in thoughtful discussions about the future of our school. There have been many questions about the process and timeline for filling the vacant principal and assistant principal positions. At the same time, many parents and teachers have expressed serious concerns about district-level policies and practices that may have contributed to the Richardsons' decision to leave.

      In the interest of extending this dialog to the OUSD administration and the Oakland School Board, we invite teachers, parents, guardians, neighbors and local merchants to share their views in writing with the district officials who will be making crucial decisions about Claremont’s future leadership, enrollment, staffing and resources.

      The list below outlines some of the concerns that have been raised by CMS parents. This outline suggests some of the issues you might wish to address in your message to the district. And while we encourage you to express your opinions honestly and in your own words, we have published a public document showing two examples of messages other members of our community have already sent. Click to view letters that others have sent to the district »

      The individuals you might want to contact include:

      Sondra Aguilera
      District I Regional Executive Officer
      Oakland Unified School District
      As the administrator overseeing our school site, Sondra Aguilera will be guiding the process of selecting new leadership for our school.

      Dr. Gary Yee
      Acting Superintendent
      Oakland Unified School District
      Dr. Gary Yee will continue to serve as Acting Superintendent until our new Superintendent, Antwan Wilson, takes office in July. Dr. Yee is expected to be the person who will appoint a new principal for CMS, probably sometime in June.

      Jody London
      District 1 Director
      Oakland School Board
      In addition to being a Claremont and Oakland Tech parent, Jody London is our District 1 representative on the school board and a strong advocate for quality public education in Oakland.

      Issues to consider:

      Principal Selection Process

      • An open and transparent selection process will allow members of the community to be a part of this important decision.
      • Timely progress reports to the community are essential to keep everyone informed about the process.
      • Allowing current CMS teachers to apply for the open assistant principal position could promote stability during this transition.

      Ongoing Support and Resources

      • Quality instruction is the key to educational achievement. The principal should be empowered to hire and retain effective teachers, remove underperforming teachers, and refuse to accept district transfers of teachers who do not meet the needs of the students.
      • The start of the current school year at Claremont was marred by a shortage of qualified teachers to accommodate the number of students enrolled. The district needs to establish realistic enrollment figures well before the start of the school year and provide an appropriate number of teachers to avoid the kind of crisis situation our students endured this year.
      • During the 2012-13 and 2013-14 school years, Claremont enrolled a significant number of students who were transferred from other schools. The arrival of so many transfer students created significant disruptions within classrooms and negatively impacted the school climate. The district must provide adequate staffing and services to accommodate the needs of transfer students assigned to the school.
      • In many instances during the current school year, the district failed to provide substitute teachers in classrooms when the regular teachers were absent. Our students deserve to have a qualified teacher in every classroom on every day of the school year.
      • The district should have a reasonable process in place for assessing and responding to resource issues brought to their attention by the principal. When problems are identified, we must find ways to fix them.
      • District-wide, if we don't provide our school sites with adequate staffing and resources, we will very likely continue to lose leaders who get "burned out" or seek employment in other districts where the working conditions are more conducive to success.

      After you have sent your letter to the district, we invite you to share what you have written with others in our community. Email your letter to morris@... and we will add it to the public Web page where letters to the district are being compiled.

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