SCUSD Observer

Sacramento, California

Archive for the ‘Sutter Middle School’ Category

Matusi to host health care town hall at Sutter MS

Rep. Doris Matsui (D-Sacramento) will hold a town hall meeting tomorrow, October 10, at Sutter Middle School.
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Written by scusdobserver

October 9, 2009 at 3:02 pm

Premature and Precipitous

Sutter Middle School’s Parent/Teacher/Student Organization (PTSO) has posted a 3-page letter on the school’s home page that asks for clarification on the District’s plan to blend Sutter with Kit Carson Middle School. The Observer would have to agree with the Sutter PTSO’s assertion that too many questions about the “blending” are not being addressed, let alone answered.

Written by scusdobserver

March 28, 2009 at 3:52 am

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.

East Sacramento Middle School Inequities…

Among other things that will be addressed at tonight’s board meeting is Superintendent Susan Miller ‘s plan to directly address the specific inequity between two middle schools in the center of the city, Sutter Middle School and Kit Carson Middle School.

The Sacramento Bee editorialized about it over the weekend:

…Sutter Middle and Kit Carson are “within a stone’s throw from each other” and have 1,600 students between them. But one has 1,200 students and the other has only 400. One is high-achieving, the other is struggling. So Miller proposes to create two schools of 800 and to blend staff.

Dissenting voices to the plan fear that the “blending” will fail, subsequently wrecking the superior Sutter experience.

In the meantime, another group of advocates are pushing to move the entire Sutter population to Kit Carson, chop down enrollment numbers, and turn Sutter into the long-debated and highly controversial (consent decree) high school for the East Sacramento neighborhoods.

Which begs the question…why do neighborhood folks advocate moving the entire Sutter program TO Kit Carson to satisfy the consent decree but do not favor replicating the Sutter program AT Kit Carson to satisfy middle school inequity?

Send Your Kids to School

Highlights from Tuesday evening’s community meeting at Sacramento Charter High School in the North Study Area.

Board Members in attendance: Roy Grimes, Ellyne Bell, Patrick Kennedy, Gustavo Arroyo and Diana Rodriguez

The large audience included parents, students, teachers and neighbors representing The Met Sacramento, Sacramento Charter High, PS-7, Sutter Middle,West campus, Theodore Judah and Father Keith B. Kenney, among others.

Staff comments:

  • The district has experienced declining enrollment over the last 8-10 years
  • SCUSD must cut $30 million from its budget in the next 18 months
  • “We’re not going to serve any less lunches, we’re just going to serve them in less places”
  • Budget decisions will be made on or around March 15
  • If schools are closed they won’t be shuttered…the district is working with the city to to provide partnerships with other entities (health clinics, preschools, child care, etc)
  • The Serna Center has cut back its capacity by 10,000 square feet in order to rent or lease that space
  • The school board is committed to a transparent, thoughtful process
  • Extraordinary times call for extraordinary measures and new ideas.
  • Marketing has been the weak link and the staff is working on promotion, recruitment and showcasing.
  • Staff is also working to put together a plan that makes sense — one that balances the budget and stays away from the classroom.

Community concerns:

  • Sacramento Charter High should be fully utilized for its capacity and considered as a site for co-location
  • The large contingent of attendees representing the Met voiced their concerns about possible “blending” with another campus. Many spoke of wanting to save their small school environment
  • Small high schools have a specific focus but lack a balanced education — look at the big picture and include art, music and sports into the curricula
  • Neighborhoods that have struggled for decades will deteriorate if schools close and urban blight will take over
  • SCUSD needs to make its programs attractive to retain enrollment. Make schools a shining light and people will want to go there
  • Oak Park has been lacking a middle school for over 40 years
  • Co-locating Sac Charter HS with another school will upset the program and the solution is not to create more havoc
  • PS-7 has worked hard to establish a culture and consolidation is not the answer, investment in what’s working is the solution
  • The zero tolerance policy the board established for truancy in its last meeting is going to further burden children in poverty-stricken areas

Ideas:

  • consolidate administration to a 4-day work week
  • expand programs that are successful
  • return to the K-6 elementary, 7-9 junior high, and 10-12 senior high model
  • consider that small programs limit the need for special education services
  • consider instituting the block system on more high school campuses
  • offer fee-based pre-school, child care, language education and martial arts at schools to increase revenue
  • partner with churches to lease space
  • take a regionalized approach by establishing empowerment zones for local businesses to sponsor schools — work with legislation to provide tax incentives
  • set up suggestion boxes around the city to gather input on an ongoing basis
  • expand waiting lists for popular programs and make it easier for students in other districts to transfer to SCUSD