SCUSD Observer

Sacramento, California

Archive for the ‘Alice Birney’ Category

Most of That Has Died Down

In today’s Bee, a story by Melody Gutierrez reports that SCUSD students who are having their school closed next fall get a choice about where to attend next year. A special open enrollment period for those students (which began on Monday) ends today.

Toward the end of the article, Associate Superintendent Mary Hardin-Young is quoted.

District trustees voted April 16 to close the four schools because of budget cuts, which prompted anger among parents and concern from school site staff.

Hardin Young said most of that has died down.


Written by scusdobserver

May 6, 2009 at 1:22 pm

They would not listen, they’re not listening still. Perhaps they never will…

Regarding last night’s agenda and school closures, specifically, here’s how it went down: the decision to close Mark Hopkins Elementary will be put off for one year.

All of the other elementary schools slated for shut down; Thomas Jefferson, Alice Birney, Lisbon and the one high school, G.E.N.E.S.I.S., will close their doors to SCUSD students in mid-June, 2009.

Here are the votes:

Alice Birney closure: Bell (no), Grimes (no), Rodriguez (yes), Arroyo (yes), Kennedy (yes), Houseman (yes), Terry (yes)

G.E.N.E.S.I.S. closure: Bell (yes), Grimes (yes), Rodriguez (no), Arroyo (yes), Kennedy (yes), Houseman (yes), Terry (yes)

Lisbon closure: Bell (no), Grimes (no), Rodriguez (no), Arroyo (yes), Kennedy (yes), Houseman (yes), Terry (yes)

Jefferson closure: Bell (yes), Grimes (yes), Rodriguez (no), Arroyo (yes), Kennedy (yes), Houseman (yes), Terry (yes)

Written by scusdobserver

April 17, 2009 at 1:27 pm

Closing Alice Birney Elementary: Why?

All this week, we’ve been asking questions surrounding recommended school closures and today we’ll focus on Alice Birney Elementary. Like the other schools on the hit list, Alice Birney has a diverse neighborhood population and a school community composed of committed teachers and administrators.

And like all the other schools we’ve cited this week, the Alice Birney community and its students will be thrown into turmoil if the school closes and the students are moved to John Cabrillo Elementary.

What happens to children when their neighborhood school closes? Do they develop a lack of trust or alienation at a system that shuffles them around? Do teachers become overburdened and unmotivated in their work when they are asked to make these transitions?

Are the children at the receiving schools impacted also? Certainly some must have difficulty adjusting to an influx of new students, unfamiliar teachers, and a different parent community that barges in on their turf.

Is anyone asking these questions?

Written by scusdobserver

April 10, 2009 at 2:08 pm

All the Little Ones…

At last night’s school board meeting, a heartbreaking parade of teachers, parents and students voiced their concerns about school closures. Thomas Jefferson, Lisbon, Old Marshall School, Genesis High School, Mark Hopkins, and Alice Birney are recommended to be shut down this fall.

Especially poignant were a group of parents dismayed at the plan to close Mark Hopkins Elementary. One father stated that his boy would not be able to go to school if he couldn’t walk across the street because the family had no other means of transportation and an elderly grandmother who takes care of the boy would not be able to walk the two miles required to fetch the child from nearby John Bidwell or John Sloate.

After waiting three hours to address the board, another parent informed the panel that she took a day off from work and had her pay docked as a result — all for a chance to speak her plight for one, timed minute.

A 6th grader said she valued her experience at Mark Hopkins because attending the school has been a tradition in her family. She explained that she and her graduating classmates are saddened this year, however, because they leave behind all the little ones.

Written by scusdobserver

April 3, 2009 at 2:09 pm

Have they just been wasting our time?

SCUSD Board Trustee Donald Terry raised an interesting question at last Thursday night’s board meeting. Specifically Terry wanted to know why “we are looking” at the Kit Carson Middle School/Sutter Middle school consolidation if that plan is “budget neutral.”

Like Terry, we would like to know what stands to be gained by merging Kit Carson and Sutter Middle Schools and why not even a hint of this proposal was put forth at recent community meetings. The first public mention of this plan was floated in a Sacramento Bee editorial last Sunday.

Additionally, why are Alice Birney, John Sloat, Lisbon and Thomas Jefferson Elementary schools on the chopping block for the first-round of closure? What do these schools have in common?

Except for Lisbon, all of these schools (including Kit Carson and Sutter) are mentioned for closing and/or consolidation in the original district-requested consultant report on “assets” –a report that was commissioned before the community engagement process began.

Which leads a thinking person to wonder if the board-initiated “listening” exercise was simply an elaborate sham. Was this yet another dishonest attempt to mockingly entertain “outside the box” thinking?

With all of the criteria (and added criteria) and matrices and drill downs and study areas and “looks” combined with the mountains and mountains of data, it STILL appears that the SCUSD Board is in danger of choosing the path of least resistance for budget remedies — school closure and teacher/staff layoffs.

So much for transparency.

Alice Birney meeting adds new comments to the community’s voice

  • We would like to hear the creative options SCUSD claims to have generated.
  • The “greenness” of a school needs to be added to the matrix.
  • Every elementary student should be able to have a safe walk to school.
  • Preschools need to be expanded so that all children can have the “classic Kindergarten” experience since Kindergarten is now first grade.
  • Sacramento State and some community colleges are having a facility shortage and partnerships would be of benefit.
  • Our populations of seniors are another area to look for partnerships.
  • Please consider the need for different types of education for different kinds of students.
  • Replicate the Waldorf model into more schools.
  • Small schools have a large purpose.
  • No one study area should carry an extra portion of this burden.
  • The study areas seem to be creating an artificial division because of the unknown nature of who might be closed.

Written by scusdobserver

January 26, 2009 at 3:55 pm