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Re: [wccusdtalk] Re: another assault at Portola

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  • Mark Wood
    There is $10 million in this year s federal budget for planning grants (presumably it will be competitive) for programs to be modeled on the Harlem s Children
    Message 1 of 35 , Dec 14, 2009
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      There is $10 million in this year's federal budget for planning grants (presumably it will be competitive) for programs to be modeled on the Harlem's Children Zone.  I have not seen or heard of any details yet.  County Supervisor Goia's office is aware of it. 
       
      Probably a better near term answer is the California Endowment, which has selected Richmond as one of 14 sites for its Healthy Communities program  (TCE tentatively identified North Richmond and the Iron Triangle as the target ara).   Among the ten outcomes are"Children and their Families are Safe from Violence in their Homes and Neighborhoods" and "Communities Support Healthy Youth Development."   Funding is expected to be between $500k and $3 million per year per site, for up to ten years.  According to the Healthy Richmond website they are at the following stage (if anyone has additional info about what is going to be proposed, tha would be helpful):

      "In mid-March 2009, The California Endowment invited representatives of organizations to participate in a pre-planning effort to create one coordinated proposal and transparent process for a nine-month planning initiative to begin June 1, 2009 (A list of organizations involved in the pre-planning is available at www.HealthyRichmond.net).  As applicant agency, The East Bay Center for the Performing Arts (EBCPA) submitted a proposal on May 1st and received funding from TCE for the nine-month planning process and will allocate funds to facilitators and consultants to help guide the planning process.  EBCPA’s role will be mostly administrative."
      Finally, the weak link seems to be in the middle schools.  The violent suspension rate in the District's middle schools is 25% versus 2% in high schools and 2% in elementary schools.  The Rand Corporaton did a major analysis of the poblems in midde school “Focus on the Wonder Years: Challenges Facing the American Middle School," and had the following recommenations:
       

      • Consider alternatives to the classic 6–8 grade middle school configuration that
      would reduce multiple transitions for students and allow schools to better align
      their goals across grades K–12 (the full report talks about he benefits to low-income students in K-8 schools because of the continuation of relationships that teachers have built with the students during K-5/6  that can be continued until 8th grade, as opposed middle school which combines the tumult of early adolescence with a new school environment, however the Disrtict is resistent to this approach).
      • Offer interventions for the lowest-performing students, possibly including
      summer programs, before the 6th grade and additional reading and math
      courses, and tutorials after 6th grade to lessen the achievement gaps between
      certain demographic groups.
      • Adopt comprehensive disciplinary models that focus on preventing disciplinary
      problems and changing the social norms or a peer culture that fosters antisocial
      behavior, and provide principals with technical assistance to support the cultural
      changes such models require.
      • Make use of proven professional development models, to compensate for the
      lack of preservice training in subject-matter expertise and classroom management.
      • Offer parents information about the academic and instructional goals and
      methods used in middle grades and suggest activities to facilitate learning at
      home.Mark Woo

      --- On Sun, 12/13/09, tag1022 <tag1022@...> wrote:


      From: tag1022 <tag1022@...>
      Subject: [wccusdtalk] Re: another assault at Portola
      To: wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com
      Date: Sunday, December 13, 2009, 5:13 PM


       




      From what I heard, it was a very powerful presentation that may have reached some kids, but a one time event is not enough to change our environment. We probably could use a variety of different programs to enliven the school year. I might choose different ones for my kids, but I can't fault this presentation. It's the expense and short duration of these programs that have me thinking.

      I don't think anything less than a sustained, coherent effort designed and supported by most adults in our community has much chance of success. The same kids that were in trouble in kindergarten are the kids in trouble at middle and high school. Why can't we alter these outcomes?

      It's not been the traditional role of the school, but the stakes of failure are higher than ever before. California prisons have 70% recidivism rate. Our middle schoolers and young high schoolers flirting with serious crime are 70% doomed. We have to find a way to break the cycle, and the school is an obvious place to start.

      Where have we been successful in reaching tough kids? Shuffling kids from campus to campus hasn't worked. I also have trouble with transferring victims instead of victimizers. We accept way too much as inevitable. The problems are so big we don't really try to solve them.

      Does anyplace have a handle on this? I keep seeing the same kids causing the most problems. We need a better solution for handling them. Schools weren't designed to do this, so we will have to create fixes. We already have partnerships with social services and law enforcement. Perhaps more can be done on the preventative end. We can also consider more experimental approaches like restorative justice, where offenders must listen to those they have harmed.

      We can't keep doing what we've traditionally done. Could Co Co County Social Services better integrate with elementaries? Should we have guidance counselors for younger students? How about parent peer support in obtaining qualified services like Healthy Families, Special Ed and the like? We need to start early. I don't know how likely or useful any of this will be, but we have to start somewhere.

      Todd Groves

      --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogro ups.com, "reducingandreusing " <valerie.snider@ ...> wrote:
      >
      > Todd, you mentioned the assembly the eighth graders attended that morning at the high school. I got a taste of the program (an anti-bullying theme) when I visited their website (after receiving an e-mail asking Portola parents to chaperone the kids walking between Portola and the HS).
      >
      > I was completely turned off by what I saw on their website. It reminded me of a holy-roller religious event.
      >
      > Here is the link: http://www.TeenTrut hLive.com
      >
      > There's a video of what happens at the assembly. I'm glad I was able to view it, because I don't want my kids attending this crap when they're in the eighth grade.
      >
      > I wonder how much the district paid for this? It's amazing how these shysters are able to fool district administrators.
      >
      >
      >
      > --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogro ups.com, "tag1022" <tag1022@> wrote:
      > >
      > > Anyone spending time in the schools knows how deep these problems are. By my informal count, this district lost upward of 10 kids to violence in roughly the last year. That may be the highest per capita of any district in the country.
      > >
      > > We know the problem intimately, but the solutions are extremely elusive. We live in a violent, fractured community where kids are lucky to make it through unscathed. Our schools add little value to the bulk that attend. We need to fundamentally rethink the purpose of the school in this community. Intimidation and alienation are rife in our school climates. Unruly kids dominate the classrooms and the hallways, ready to unleash on anyone who challenges them.
      > >
      > > Currently, our few available solutions are to detain or refer them, alternately suspend or expel. If they get in deep enough trouble, they may be identified for some alternative programs, in lieu of punishment. Portola has been ravaged by kids from both rich and poor homes that bring their frustrations to school.
      > >
      > > We need to develop programs to reach kids before they become unreachable. The adolescent behavior starts to accelerate in 5 and 6 grade now, where the elementaries ar poorly equipped to deal with it. The come to middle school highly sexualized, disengaged and morally immature. Testosterone is the most dangerous drug in our schools.
      > >
      > > A thousand programs take a thousand marginally small bites at the apple. I've never seen a program admit it doesn't work, so just bringing in a new one is likely to change much. That morning, the Portola 8th graders attended an event designed provoke thought in the kids. Trainers will gladly sell you the programs and "crisis facilitation. " In the area of fixing schools, those with the most certainty are the least likely to succeed. Let's start with a ruthless examination of the problems, identify potential fixes, and cull what might work. Let's target the early adolescent population before it's too late to reach them.
      > >
      > > Many of our behavior problems are tied to a lack of engagement and general dislike of school. Violonce is an artifact of the broader community, but warehousing kids becomes a deciding factor. We all know it, but don't know what to do about it. I don't see how 40 kid middle school classrooms are going to help. Walking through the middle and high schools, one can feel the powder keg potential. We need to identify the pathologies that keep us on the edge.
      > >
      > > Our board subcommittees are vital tools of policymaking, but are like trying to drain a lake with a garden hose. Every problem we have is a function of capacity. We need to exponentially expand the our thinking on these subjects. The district fears losing control, but they lost it a long time ago. The fear us snooty El Cerrito folks further disenfranchising other kids to extend our kids' already considerable privilege. On the other side, we constantly fear the driving of our kids' interest to the lowest common denominator. Both perspectives have justification, but the impasse created confirms the fears of both sides, and perpetuates the conditions that harden positions.
      > >
      > > This district needs unequivocally embrace the growth of all kids academically and socially to their fullest potential. This will mean differences in instructional offerings and personal development. Working with tons of Portola kids across the spectrum, I can't see an alternative. The needs are too vast and disparate.
      > >
      > > We have no expert to turn to. We can pinch ideas from places that are working, but no wholesale off the shelf reform will work! I want to see a community of adults committed to deeply understanding our kids and their issues. I have some ideas on ways to create this if others want to pitch in. We may get somewhere or not, but we can't walk away from these problems. They have a way of walking back.
      > >
      > > Todd Groves
      > >
      > > --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogro ups.com, Kevin Rivard <kfrivard@> wrote:
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > I open today's paper and see the that gang activity is still alive and active at De Anza High School and still being allowed by this district to flourish. This is the school where 15 years ago my friends son was taken down to Alameda and killed by a gang from De Anza High School. Popped in the back of the head with a baseball bat.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Oh, there was not enough evidence to prosecute but there was plenty of evidence that the school was warned beforehand that my friends son was being intimidated by the gangs at De Anza. My friend had received confirmation that her son had been accepted into Salesian High School, a move she made when she could not get cooperation from this school district to get the gangs off campus and or stop intimidating her son. So she had to pay to get her son into Salesian. Unfortunately, two weeks before the move the gang decided to make an example of her son. He now rests up in Marin County and she gets to visit him in a crypt.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > I am sure Marin Trujillo heart goes out to her son and those that bashed his head in. This is very personal to me because my friend ask me to go to Doctor's Hospital in Pinole and see her son, who's head was wrapped in gauze, twice the size of normal and she asked me to talk to the doctor's and explain to her what she should do. She and her husband came from Cambodia escaping the Khmer Rouge and losing their first born son along the way. Now here she was with her first born American son lying before her and me and she asked me what she should do. Her son was the same age as my son and I had to explain the doctors had told me they had done a third brain scan and still there was no significant brain activity and in their opinion he was gone. Together my wife, her husband, she and I discussed the disconnecting of life support. The next day she and her husband ended her son's suffering.
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > To: wccusdtalk@yahoogro ups.com
      > > > From: valerie.snider@
      > > > Date: Sat, 12 Dec 2009 22:15:53 +0000
      > > > Subject: [wccusdtalk] Re: another assault at Portola
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > Yeah,I noticed that too. Along with his comment that the Richmond HS homecoming was a successful event.
      > > >
      > > > And when the Portola teacher was attacked last May, he blamed it on the bad economy.
      > > >
      > > > The guy is an idiot. That's the only G-rated word I can think of.
      > > >
      > > > --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogro ups.com, Kevin Rivard <kfrivard@> wrote:
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > I wonder if Marin Trujillo heart goes out to all the perps in the Richmond High rape as well.
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > This district would be well served to find another spokesperson for this district if their current spokesman equates the perp and the victim as equal as his statement seems to purport.
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > Statement from news article: ' "We're absolutely commited to the safety of students in all of our schools," he said. "Our hearts go out to both students for the unfortunate events that happened." '
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > Kevin
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > To: wccusdtalk@yahoogro ups.com
      > > > > From: valerie.snider@
      > > > > Date: Sat, 12 Dec 2009 19:55:26 +0000
      > > > > Subject: [wccusdtalk] another assault at Portola
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > Here is the link to the CC Times article about a sexual assault (on Thursday) at Portola Middle School:
      > > > >
      > > > > http://www.contraco statimes. com/search/ ci_13979750? IADID=Search- www.contracostat imes.com- www.contracostat imes.com
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > >
      > > > > ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _
      > > > > Hotmail: Powerful Free email with security by Microsoft.
      > > > > http://clk.atdmt com/GBL/go/ 171222986/ direct/01/
      > > > >
      > > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > >
      > > > ____________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _________ _
      > > > Hotmail: Trusted email with powerful SPAM protection.
      > > > http://clk.atdmt com/GBL/go/ 177141665/ direct/01/
      > > >
      > > > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
      > > >
      > >
      >








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    • tag1022
      Thanks for the perspective, Pat. The High School academies are up, running and seem to be expanding, at least at ECHS. To better ensure their success, we
      Message 35 of 35 , Dec 29, 2009
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        Thanks for the perspective, Pat.

        The High School academies are up, running and seem to be expanding, at least at ECHS. To better ensure their success, we should broadly advertise them at middle school. Some kids that might avail themselves of the academies have largely given up by high school. Giving them something to shoot for might save a few.

        We should also look at facilitating transfers of kids into academies of interest. I doubt many middle school families know about the variety offered at different high schools.

        Cultural Geography, Uniforms, Open Court... have been centrally conceived, mandated and extremely ineffective at best. The lesson for the district is what causes so many policies to fail.

        Have we authored a truly successful policy at the central district level? If so, what is it? None of our institutions seem to be functioning. Can we restore purpose to SSC's, GATE or others in the litany of supposed oversight bodies? How do we create competence? We are all actors in a really bad play, and the bad reviews come in the form of an exodus of potential students. Trying to govern schools with these vestigial institutions is about as surreal as holding a PTA bake sale to buy a metal detector.

        We can't seem to capture the essence of what works and what doesn't. We appear to lack a central repository of lessons learned. We suffer from legacies of decisions made years in the past, when we should have dumped them long ago. Cultural Geography overwhelmingly fails to provide value worthy of a year of high school social studies, but yet it persists. Uniforms are mandatory on paper, but not on kids. Open Court routinely fails large portions of learners, but we must stick to the script. How can this keep happening?

        What is the root of our dysfunction. Is it the hodgepodge nature of our district? Is it the aspirational differences in our constituents? Is it institutional failure? NCLB set off to cure the deficits of the ghetto and barrio (oddly, not trailer park) and gave us a direction, but is it where we need to go? We could insist on different measures of progress, and establish our own standards. Do we accept the premises of the quantitative education researchers as to what our goals should be? Let's propose substantial alternatives to our current assessments.

        If we measure elements of physical and emotional security, we will start to see the bigger issues. Comprehensive assessments are available, http://www.wested.org/cs/chks/print/docs/chks_home.html . It sounds like we should already administer these surveys, but does anyone know where the data is?

        We commit our children to the common space of school, and deal with the consequences of divergent norms. Everyday, we try to wash away the materialism, banality and general meanness that the kids associate with normative values. Luckily, most are resilient, but it's just sad to undo unnecessary damage. Far too many get absorbed into devastating life choices because alternatives were not accessible.

        Let's also have contingencies to engage each tranch of the performance quintile from Far Below Basic to Advanced. Every kid should find something interesting in their school work. Right now, we seek performance for performance sake.

        Let's also get rid of mean or ineffective district employees. We can't afford them. Every disparaging comment causes damage, as does every lost year of instruction.

        We can provoke systemic change through improved understanding of the issues. I've always shied away from this stuff, assuming someone else had a better handle on it. If there is a higher level understanding, it's never filtered down to the schools my kids attended. If something nonsensical persisted, it was usually attributed to district policy, and deemed unchangeable. We can no longer accept it.

        Todd Groves







        --- In wccusdtalk@yahoogroups.com, playeredu@... wrote:
        >
        > Having read several emails about what can be done to increase
        > the success of all our students at a given site....Most of the ideas have
        > been done over the past 30 years .....but check this out....Site Based
        > Management programs ...at Highland a few years ago....Is it still operating?
        > Gardens at Verde and Mira Vista have been in the past for sure...great
        > involvement of neighborhoods and students. Are they still functioning? School
        > academies at the High Schools give real alternatives to students....Richmond High,
        > DeAnza, Pinole were examples in early 2000? Are they still
        > functioning...hard to keep going if staff retires....finally, a secondary course that had
        > much success in encouraging student involvement in their schools was Family
        > Life Education in 70's and 80's....the units were vital to the interests of
        > the students...unfortunately I don't think Cultural Geography,9th grade
        > course, meets the ticket since the materials, films and updated syllabus never
        > were provided. However, some teachers have developed good units, but most
        > teaching assignments are made to new teachers with little training and
        > experience....I am very sorry that happen on my watch in 2004...Pat
        >
        >
        > [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
        >
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