LIVE BLOG: Los Altos School Board Meeting Aug. 27

Los Altos Patch is trying a low-tech live blog directly on the site Monday night, and updated more slowly. To comment, you must be registered on the Los Altos Patch's site.


7:15 p.m.

 Mark Goines called the meeting to order a few minutes ago. Goines said the board has nothing to report out from the closed session meeting that took place just prior.

Niki Mitchell from the Los Altos Teachers Association just spoke about how much the teachers liked the professional development day choices. Lot of excitement.

Sue Wood from the California School employees Association is talking about how excited employees are about starting this year. Bill Cooper asked about new employees. She says they just finished the data specialist's job description, they are interviewing for small group support person (formerly called "instructional aides."). Hiring. "We're growing, very definite about that."

7:20 p.m.: 

Item G.1. Educational Blueprint

Different deputy superintendents are talking about what they have done under the various objectives of the blueprint, and what dates have moved in the execution. 

Assist. Superintendent Alyssa Gallagher: Just finished hiring three instructional coaches. Continuing with identifying ways that teachers can learn from other teachers through observation. Working on spreading proficiency with iLearn platform.

Assist. Superintendent Randall (Randy) Kenyon: Has moved target date of communication plan implementation using Davis School District model to Nov. 15.

Possible bond measure: Postponed until the growth taskforce underway

7:25 p.m.

Jeff Baier: Under the objective, "keeping staff parents and community members engaged," (communication) One person has been tasked to work with three different vendors to get the live webcasting/broadcast of board meetings on KMVT underway.  They will have a "not live" run of the last meeting in September (Granicus). Can go live at the first meeting in October.

7:30 p.m.

Jeff Baier: The fourth objective under communication includes developing a comprehensive communications plan which will include regular emails from the superintendent, updating of the website, Twitter and a curriculum blog. 

Under "Explore develop and implement innovative practices," they have an Oct. 16 meeting with the community coming up to discuss initiatives.

Item G.2. The 2012-13 School Year 

Baier is playing a short slideshow of the first day of school around the district. Lots of smiles and pictures of classrooms and kids. 

There were 24 new classroom teachers that started this year. They were meeting today with beginning teacher induction program, a two-year program at LASD.

Randy Kenyon: We are at 4,499 right now. Last year were 4,485 at this time last year, but really 4,500. Inflated number because we didn't have the capability of students who we expected to come but didn't show up. Last year grew from beginning to the end of school 35-40 kids. We usually get more students arriving after Labor Day.

Tamara Logan is asking if any 2nd year teachers who didn't return voluntarily. Baier: Four teachers we didn't invite back because it wasn't a match, but none decided not to return on their own.

President Mark Goines thanks the staff for having put all the work in to make the first day of school successful.

Item G. 3. The Summer Academy

Jason Dewberry, the principal for the summer school is presenting. He thanks the staff and outgoing principal of the site, Santa Rita School:

"By design, we had a smaller population this year that really catered to the needs of the students who really needed the extra support. Allowed us to have a lot of small classrooms. We had a P.E. program and a computer lab program. 

There were 229 this year, 312 last year. Teachers were collaborative, innovative, cooperativ. Brought in Kahn Academy, new apps people were sharing. Letter School Lite (?).

Considerations for next year... pilot program was buggy in terms of data. Need more buy in from schools to loan their equipment. Know that individual PTAs buy that equipment, but need more to use during the summer. 

Tamara Logan: Said she dropped by and was able to see the kids excited using a new app, (Flash Math?) and teacher was able to work with kids in small groups.

Item G.4. Taskforce on Enrollment Growth

Speaker from the floor, Ron Haley is getting set up: Haley says that the task force is just handing off the problem of getting Bullis Charter . Anyone capable could have done it in a half hour, he said.

K-5, 6-8 configuration would free up enough students to go to Egan and Blach and be able to accommodate all the children in the district, including BCS.

By 2013 you could absorb BCS and close a second school. For every school you close you save $500,000 in operating costs. "Maybe I'm missing something here. There is no capacity problem."

(He was speaking very fast, and the two-minute limit buzzer came up, so this may not be complete, but the figures he had presented on the document viewer is attached to this article).

Jeff Baier is speaking on the task force he is proposing to look at the enrollment capacity of the district: This task force has several proposed members from different backrounds.

"This will be a challenging task, dealing with some difficult issues." The timeline is aimed toward a possible June 2014 bond issue.

Doug Smith: Asks how we can get a broad cross section if city councils, for instance, choose representatives. 

Baier: What we're really doing is drawing on the community as a whole to come up with a recommendation of what the community believes as a whole. Balance from the group. We want that broad representation of viewpoints. 

Doug Smith: The that might not typically involved would be representative. Such as a citizen but not the parent of a school aged child. Don't just focus on parents of kids in our schools, for example.  

Bill Cooper: No board member on this committee, can you walk us through the logic?

Baier: says that to not be directly represented is OK. "We want to tap into the community viewpoints and expertise. It will be a recommendation that comes to the board."

Mark Goines: This board could put together some policy guidelines and educational guidelines that would be helpful to the committee to understand, say the trade-offs between middle schools and junior highs. And what size. Very easy to do the math and say, "Well, it's very easy to move all the 6th graders into the junior high schools and frees up all this space." Don't want to have wide-ranging discussions without. That is the largest variable. It's easy to say the sites can hold 600 people, but I think that the target is 550. When we run over 550 we begin to have social issues because of how we are configured. So I think giving this group guidelines of policies that we are likely to stick with.

Steve Taglio: I think if they are guidelines that can be overridden I'd be in favor of that.

Baier: I think the idea of guidelines is good, but I wouldn't want it to inhibit creativity of this group.

Item G.5. Revision to Board Committees and Appointments

The board just voted to switch two board responsibilities of Tamara Logan and Mark Goines. Logan will be on the city-schools committee and Goines will be the liaison to the county office of education.

Item G.6. Board Policies, Administrative Regulations and Board Bylaws

These are recommended changes in five regulations, for first reading:

- AR 1340, Access to District Records

- BP/AR 513, Absences and Excuses (expands excused absences, including allowing children to spend time with member of family on active duty leave)

- AR 5125, Student Records

- BP/AR 5131l7 Weapons and Dangerous Instruments

- BP/AR 6173.1 Education for Foster Youth 

8:10 p.m.

Board and Staff Reports

- Alyssa Gallagher says the STAR reports are out. You'll see them by the end of the week. 

- Jeff Baier: As you know Mrs. Gilbert announced her resignation, last day is Friday (Gardener Bullis). Mrs. Eccles will take her place. He will be meeting with the Gardener Bullis community about the leadership of the school.  

There is a PTA council meeting next Wednesday morning at the MVLA HS District Office. 

Board members are briefing each other on the meetings they've attended. They are putting up their hands to spread out to attend all the Back to School Night events.


Mark Goines noted that Craig Mann had resigned from the county board of education. He thinks the board should send input on the his replacement appointment.

Steve Taglio asked that the county board of education be on the agenda each time because there is a lot happening there and changing.

Jeff Baier: Asked if LASD should invite the new county Superintendent Xavier de la Torre to a LASD board meeing.

Agreement on that point.

Tamara Logan: (Because of the redrawing of the board's district lines last spring) Mr. Mann and Ms. Hover-Smoot are in an area would be combined in a future election (not 2012).



Los Altos Patch is experimenting with live-blogging the Aug. 27 school board meeting directly on the site, updated more slowly.

This will not have the features of CoverItLive or ScribbleLive, so bear with us.

If you want to comment, do so directly on the comment section below. You will have to register (it's free!) on the site to do so (make sure you check your email to activate it).


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