SCUSD Observer

Sacramento, California

Archive for the ‘West Campus’ Category

I better stop now before I get in trouble*

Stories that developed while on hiatus:

  • Proposed Senate Bill 1317 (Mark Leno, D-San Francisco) will legislate the incarceration of parents of truant California children.
  • The Sacramento Bee reports that SCUSD is eligible for federal funding to help 1,801 refugee children in grades K-12 who have arrived in the county in the last three years.
  • West Campus’s test scores continue to put that local high school in the state spotlight for excellence.
  • Still more education reporting from the Bee (Phillip Reese and Melody Gutierrez) reveals that the number of students who aren’t proficient in English dropped to its lowest level in about a decade.

Also, California lost out on Race To The Top funding, the California legislature passed SB-1381 (Kindergarten Age,) and the Los Angeles Times invented the Teacher’s Box Score.

And as a bizarre side note, Sacramento was deprived of a celebrity wedding this weekend when Kevin Johnson and Michelle Rhee sent out e-mails to uninvite guests to their Labor Day nuptials, calling the big plansĀ  “a mistake.”

*The Mayor’s words, as quoted by Kitty O’Neal.

Written by scusdobserver

September 4, 2010 at 9:11 am

A student’s voice

The SCUSD Observer is pleased to announce the addition of Jordan Feri to our writing team. Feri is a sophomore at West Campus High School and he has served on his school’s Associated Student Body for the past two years as vice president and president of his class. Jordan is involved with the SCUSD Student Advisory Council and the California Association of Student Councils. Jordan is an avid supporter of student and teacher representation in the Sacramento City Unified School District.

Written by scusdobserver

April 22, 2010 at 6:50 am

Highlights from the Special Board Workshop of 2/12

Thoughts from a reporter in the field….

It was great see the “new” board members in action — a group of intelligent people trying to solve problems. Gustavo Arroyo thanked the gallery for attending, and invited us to chime in. Donald Terry advocated effectively for his constituents in Rancho Cordova, showing a good understanding of the issues particular to that community. Diana Rodriguez made a smart suggestion about ways to quantify the lower income students by means other than subsidized lunches. Electing our board members by ward is a great step forward.

The cost-cutting focus seems aimed primarily at staffing and class-size reduction with some big, scary numbers involved. Under DRAFT Plan A, 119 teaching positions would be dropped in elementary, 24 in middle, and 38 in high school. DRAFT Plan B would more than double the elementary teachers dropped to 234!! March 5th was the date given for more “firmness” in the numbers, but they are ghastly. A whole bunch of pink slips could be just around the bend.

As for facilities use and/or co-location, the staff suggestions seemed remarkably tame. Staff distributed a spreadsheet which implied that they are operating the right number of high schools for a district this size. Ellyne Bell sought some clarity on that point, but didn’t get it. Most of the ideas on the facilities side involved tinkering with elementary schools, and leasing Marian Anderson and possibly adding some more students to Kit Carson. Absent was a discussion about moving St. Hope to West Campus, and bringing the small schools under one roof.

The district appears to be leaning towards layoffs as the primary solution to balancing their budget.

Report by James Broderick

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