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12/12/11 SSC Meeting

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  • Tim Sheiner
    All; I attended the BVHM SSC meeting on Monday, December 12th. I attended the meeting because I was curious to understand what progress, if any, had been made
    Message 1 of 1 , Jan 3, 2012

      I attended the BVHM SSC meeting on Monday, December 12th.

      I attended the meeting because I was curious to understand what progress, if any, had been made with respect to the leadership and morale issues that I had learned about in two previous school meetings that I attended this year, and reported on to this email list. 

      I have copied my notes from the meeting in raw form below.  

      Overall, I was not reassured by the proceedings.  The lack of trust between many of the SSC members and Maria Dehghanfard was palpable.  As an example, there was an exchange around budget information that the SSC had requested  where Maria said it had been delivered and the SSC said that only an incomplete version had been supplied, and were considering making a Sunshine Ordinance request for the rest.  The communication difficulties between Maria and the teachers was also evident: in two instances Maria made a statement about what information the teachers knew or had been exposed to that was immediately and directly contradicted by teachers present at the meeting.  The chair of the SSC, Frederique Clermont, seemed determined to run the meeting as if the dysfunction and tension in the room was not happening, making the entire experience somewhat surreal.

      Beyond the evidence I saw of poor communication, there is a larger problem that the scale and scope of the issues for which there was clearly no consensus is so great that the idea that these things could be resolved in a monthly meeting of 1.5 hours duration is, as one of the attendees stated, "laughable."

      As should be clear, I remain extremely concerned about the leadership at our school.  Based on my limited view of the situation, I believe there are serious problems that are not improving.  This is only my opinion, of course, and so I urge you most strongly to develop your own view on the progress of the BVHM integration by asking questions, speaking with others and attending school meetings.

      The next SSC meeting is scheduled for January 9 at 5:15 pm.  


      *** Notes from BVHM SSC Meeting 12/12/11 ***

      - In public comment
      -- I asked if there was any progress or report on teacher morale issues
      -- Tracy Dauphin asked to hear about plans for 7th grade

      Issue raised that there are 2 committee members who have missed 3 consecutive meetings.  This will be added to the agenda.

      - Report on input from BVHM Community Immersion Meeting
      -- Notes were taken, and have been submitted to ??, what is disposition?
      -- Kevin Chavez came and presented state requirements
      -- Maria believes that by choosing Spanish language dual immersion, that becomes one of the electives
      -- At Gen Ed schools, Spanish may be an elective
      -- Jenny Stanley said that at James Lick the Spanish Immersion kids get electives, but one less than Gen Ed
      -- Maria says that will happen here, but didn't happen this year for sixth grade
      -- There will not be as many electives here as at James Lick because this one is a dual immersion
      -- The block schedule allows for differentiation of instruction because it is based on 80 minutes, not 50 minutes
      -- The block schedule at 80 minutes constrains the ability to offer electives, but I didn't quite understand why
      -- Non ELD students will get an option to take an elective
      -- Reuben reports that the meeting last week was really positive, felt like there was a lot of overlap between concerns of ELD and NON-ELD parents.  Now concerned that current solution process will be just an incremental change from current, rather than leverage positive energy to do some brainstorming about what is possible, before deciding what to do
      -- Maria's point is that EL and PE requirements from the state creates the foundation for the structure
      -- There is a question of whether or not there is space in the building to support class size reduction, Maria is seeking funding even though this is not resolved
      -- Linda Perez mentioned some creative use of block schedule at SOTA, recognize might not apply to Middle School
      -- David (teacher) suggests that there might be a way to use the PE time for art, as long as PE minutes requirements are met
      -- Maria draws distinction between next semester plan and next year plan--for next year there will be a more open planning process (?)
      -- Notes from Immersion Meeting will be posted online, but not clear if they are different than the notes circulated at this SSC meeting on a green sheet.

      - Facilities
      -- Sent out survey to teachers, got 28 responses
      -- Facilities committee asked district for 
      --- girls bathroom on the first floor and also better access for boys to bathrooms from the yard
      --- Asked for more sinks in classrooms and hallways to be used for science/art projects
      -- because process requires approval by state architect, proposal must be submitted by 1/15/12
      -- Friday 12/16 at 4pm is last Facilities meeting, last chance to influence the district's plan

      - 4th/5th grade over-crowding
      -- There is an issue.  Matt Kelemen believes the current situation is not in compliance with state law.  Maria reports that Greg Bender of the district has said we are in compliance.
      -- Maria has applied for funding to reduce class size
      -- There is also a space issue--where to put the smaller classes
      -- Maria has said that she has asked for funding from Greg Bender but has heard nothing back
      -- Need QEIA funding
      -- Matt puts forward that a decision on over crowding hasn't happened, and it doesn't get on the agenda
      -- Maria says that she has made a decision to ask for QEIA funding, so not sure what decision hasn't been made
      -- Matt points out that SSC is supposed to control the school budget, so Maria moving forward without consulting SSC is improper process
      -- Matt also points out that SSC had asked for a budget that shows income and expense for the entire school, Maria has not provided this information
      -- David (teacher) says he doesn't understand issue of asking SSC for permission to ask for budget, because SSC has already asked for action, so shouldn't Maria be able to act on this issue.  He is familiar with an SSC that really had no power, now he is on one that expects to be in control, he thinks SSC needs to find a middle ground
      -- Reuben makes point that there are so many issues on the table that the idea that all could be addressed in a 1.5 hr meeting once a month is "laughable"  Need to be more frequent meetings, longer meetings, or something.
      -- David (teacher) agrees that there need to be more meetings, asks for someone to make a motion to do this
      -- Proposed to meet 1/9 at 5:15pm
      -- Linda asks for the possibility for a follow up on the letter to Greg Bender, Maria says she will follow up, and to communicate urgency
      -- Tara starts to make a motion that Maria should follow up with Greg Bender, Maria says that this is micro-management and not needed, David Z responds that this isn't micro-management, this showing support for Maria's previous action
      -- Matt suggest that in addition to meeting more frequently, we need an actual plan and schedule to know what must be accomplished by March

      - Another community meeting in January is planned
      - It was discussed that in the January 9 meeting, Maria and Frederique will show up with a proposed schedule and plan for completing the balanced scorecard
      - I raised issue that the community at large needs to be informed about the plan for getting to a balanced scorecard, there needs to be outreach through multiple communication channels

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