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News Archive

Applications Available for Committee to Consider High School Consolidation (05/23/2018)

 

Applications for a new Committee to Consider High School Consolidation are now available on the AUSD website.

 

The committee, which is being convened at the request of the Board of Education, will analyze the viability, desirability, and effects of combining Alameda High School and Encinal High School into one comprehensive high school. 

 

The idea of merging the two schools has been raised several times in the past. This spring, community members, athletic directors, and teachers asked for a new review of the concept for two reasons. First, it would allow AUSD to provide a more comprehensive high school education to all AUSD students (because one school could provide more course offerings more equitably to more students). Second, the money saved by combining the schools could go towards improving AUSD employee salaries, which despite recent raises have long been less than the county average.

 

The Board has asked that a report laying out several possible scenarios for a new configuration of schools be presented next February.

 

The district is looking for community members who represent the ethnic and racial composition of Alameda and who are teachers, parents, business people, students, administrators, renters, and property owners. Committee members must also be available to attend six to eight meetings between September 2018 and January 2019.  

 

More details on the process are available in this presentation from the May 22, 2018 Board of Education meeting.

 

The application is available here. The deadline for submitting applications is 5 pm on June 14, 2018.  You can send your application to Susan Davis by email (sdavis@alamedaunified.org) or mail (AUSD, 2060 Challenger Drive, Alameda, CA, 94501).


 

Posted by: Rob van Herk, District Admin, Alameda Unified School District Published:5/23/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Superintendents Call for Education Funding that Matches State's Economic Power (05/23/2018)

May 23, 2018Alameda, California – Twenty-one superintendents from across Alameda County joined Alameda County Superintendent L. Karen Monroe in sending a letter yesterday to all six California gubernatorial candidates. The letter, which was addressed to “Our Next Governor,” predicts a “fiscal crisis” in school districts across the state if funding for public schools is not increased and calls for education funding to match the state’s economic power.

 

The letter acknowledges that state funding increased this year,  but it also notes that escalating costs for employee pensions and unfunded mandates are forcing districts into deficit spending, closing schools, and laying off teachers.

 

“The children of California deserve better,” the letter begins. “They deserve better than underfunded schools, stretched resources, eliminated programs, and a lack of essential services. They deserve great schools to match the fast-changing, dynamic world in which they will attempt to find their place.”

 

Currently California ranks 46th in the nation for per pupil spending, 48th in students per staff member, and 49th in students per counselors.

 

“California is the 6th largest economy in the world,” says AUSD Superintendent Sean McPhetridge, who worked with other county leaders to craft the letter. “We cannot continue to be ranked nearly last in all measures of school funding and quality across our nation. It’s time to match our economic power with sufficient education funding. If legislators continue to fail to fund schools adequately, the economic future of California families is at risk. We must do better by families, students, and staff, but we rely upon our legislators to make it right.”

 

The letter was delivered to the campaigns of Travis Allen, Gavin Newsom, Delaine Eastin, Antonio Villaraigosa, John Chiang, and John Cox yesterday.

 

“As the superintendents and educators who proudly represent the diverse, vibrant communities of Alameda County, we come directly to you as a candidate for the highest  office in our state, demanding change to  the troubling  narrative of funding inadequacy and to  make public education in our state the top priority,” the superintendents write in their letter. 


“We want you to take responsibility with us for educating the children of California, and we will  not wait quietly for that to happen,” the letter concludes. “We will band together, and we will rally our communities to join us to speak up and speak out. We will support a new governor who shows leadership, one who seeks partnership. And we will loudly oppose anyone who is not willing to make the children of this state their highest priority.”

 

The full letter is available here.

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:5/23/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Free Bus Pass Program Eases Student Commute to School (05/17/2018)

 

JOINT AUSD, CITY PRESS RELEASE

 

May 17, 2018

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Contact:

Gail Payne, Senior Transportation Coordinator

510-747-6892

gpayne@alamedaca.gov

 

Island High School celebrated the start of a free bus pass pilot program for its 120 students in partnership with the City of Alameda and paid for by the City’s Measure B and BB monies. The celebration included a special assembly with presentations from Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer, City Councilmember Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, and Alameda Unified School District Superintendent Sean McPhetridge.

 

“The students are very pleased, excited and grateful,” said Ben Washofsky, principal of Island High School. "he free bus passes will make a difference in school attendance.”

 

The free AC Transit bus pass program began last month and will last until July 2019. The City prioritized this pilot after 64 percent of community survey respondents “Strongly Agreed” or “Agreed” that Alameda should make it easier for students to walk, bike, or take transit to and from school. In response, the Transportation Choices Plan addresses the need to improve transportation for youth and to make it easier to ride the bus.

 

Island High School is AUSD’s continuation high school, with 60 percent of the student body qualifying for free or reduced priced school lunches. The City initiated efforts at this school to best support these high school students’ opportunities to succeed. Island High School draws from students throughout Alameda, so they are more apt to need and use the AC Transit bus system. The free bus passes allow Island High School students to have unlimited local rides within the East Bay on AC Transit buses.

 

The City has requested that the Alameda County Transportation Commission’s Student Transit Pass Program include Island High School if the program expands in July 2019. The purpose of the countywide program is to make it easier for students to travel to/from school and school-related programs, jobs, and other activities. Results from the countywide program show that participating students take transit more often and have easier access to school, increased school attendance, and increased participation in afterschool jobs or non-school-based afterschool activities.

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:5/18/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


District, City Introduce Jewish American and Asian Pacific American Heritage Banners (05/18/2018)

As you visit our schools this month, you may see two beautiful new banners honoring Jewish American Heritage Month and Asian Pacific American Heritage Month. The banners are a joint project of the City of Alameda and two of AUSD’s Equity Round Tables.

 

The Jewish American Heritage Month banner was developed by the Jewish Education Round Table, which was formed earlier this year. The banner features Elie Wiesel, Alexandra (“Aly”) Rose Raisman, Albert Einstein, Bella Abzug, Levi Strauss, Rashida Leah Jones, Steven Spielberg, and Ruth Bader Ginsberg. 

 

The Asian Pacific American Heritage Month banner was developed by the Asian Pacific American Round Table and features Dwayne Johnson, Mindy Kaling, Chloe Kim, Fred Korematsu, Patsy Mink, Lea Salonga, Eugene Huu-Chau “Gene” Trinh, and Gene Luen Yang.

 

Biographies for the people featured on both banners can be found below.

 

“I’m grateful to the City of Alameda and our round tables for working on these banners,” says Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “It is so important to highlight the contributions and leadership of our Jewish and Asian Pacific American brothers and sisters, not only to provide role models to our students but also to raise the awareness of all of our community members.”

 

The banners will remain up at our sites until the end of May.


 

Eliezer "Elie" Wiesel

Born in Romania, Elie Wiesel was a writer, professor, political activist, Nobel Peace Prize recipient, and Holocaust survivor. He authored dozens of books including Night, which is read in Alameda schools and is based on his experiences in concentration camps. Wiesel helped establish the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum in Washington, D.C. and was a strong defender of human rights during his lifetime.

 

Alexandra (“Aly”) Rose Raisman

Raisman  is an American gymnast and two-time Olympian. She was a member and captain of both the 2012 and 2016 U.S. Women's Olympic Gymnastics teams, which won team gold. In 2016 Raisman also won the individual all-around silver medal and floor silver medal. In 2012 Raisman was the most decorated American gymnast with gold medals in the team and floor competitions as well as a bronze medal on the balance beam.

 

Albert Einstein

Born in Germany, Einstein was a theoretical physicist who developed the theory of relativity. He is famous for his mas-energy equivalence, commonly referred to as E=MC squared and also known as the "world's most famous equation." Einstein received the 1921 Nobel Prize in Physics. He settled in the United States after Hitler came to power in 1933 and became an American citizen in 1940.

 

Bella Savitzky Abzug

Bella Abzug, also referred to by her nickname "Battling Bella,” was a lawyer, U.S. Representative, social activist, and leader of the Women’s Movement. In 1970, her first campaign slogan was, “This woman’s place is in the House – the House of Representatives.” She co-founded the National Women’s Political Caucus in 1971. She went on to lead the National Advisory Commission for Women.

 

Levi Strauss

At 18, Levi Strauss traveled to the United States to join his brothers who had a wholesale dry goods business in New York City. As a businessman, in 1853 Strauss went on to found the first company to manufacture blue jeans, Levi Strauss & Co., in San Francisco. 

 

Rashida Leah Jones

Rashida Jones is an American actress, producer, singer, and writer. She is well known for playing Ann Perkins on the comedy series Parks and Recreation. She also appeared as Karen Filippelli on the comedy series The Office, was also on the drama series Boston Public, and has appearrf in a number of films. Currently, she stars as the lead title role in the comedy series Angie Tribeca. Rashida Jones attended Harvard and gave the commencement speech there in 2016. 

 

Steven Allan Spielberg

Steven Spielberg has been a filmmaker for more than 40 years and is the highest-grossing director in history. Spielberg co-founded DreamWorks Studios. He won the Academy Award for Best Director for Schindler’s List and Saving Private Ryan, and was nominated five other times. Three films, Jaws, E.T., and Jurassic Park, broke box office records

 

Ruth Bader Ginsburg

Born Joan Ruth Bader to Russian Jewish immigrants in New York and often referred to as “RBG,” Ruth Bader Ginsburg is an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of the United States. Upon her appointment on August 10, 1993, she became only the second female justice to be confirmed. Ginsburg earned her bachelor's degree at Cornell and studied law at Harvard before transferring to Columbia where she graduated first in her class.

 


 

Dwayne Johnson

A Samoan and African American film actor and former professional wrestler, Johnson was born in Hayward, California in 1972. He is famous for his roles in movies including Moana, Jumanji, and the Fast and Furious series. He was second-highest paid actor in Hollywood in 2017.

 

Mindy Kaling

This Indian American actor, writer, producer, and director is currently producing and starring in The Mindy Project. She is also known for her work on The Office as a producer, writer, and actor and as the voice for Sadness in Inside Out. She has written two memoirs. Her most recent Why not Me? came out as #1 on the New York Times’ best seller list. In 2012, Mindy was named one of Time Magazine’s 100 most influential people in the world.

 

Chloe Kim

A Korean American gold medalist in the 2018 Pyeongchang Winter Olympic Snowboard Halfpipe contest, Kim, at 17, became the first female snowboarder to land back-to-back 1080s (three spins in the air followed by another three spins on the opposite side). This California native is also the only athlete in X Games history to earn three gold medals before the age of 16.  

 

Fred Korematsu

This Japanese American civil rights activist objected to the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II.  He was born in Oakland and attended Castlemont High School in that city. In 1942, at the age of 23, he refused to go to the government’s internment camps. He appealed his case all the way to the Supreme Court, which ruled against him in 1944. His case was reopened and his conviction cleared in 1983. Fred received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1997. In 2010, California passed the Fred Korematsu Day bill, making January 30 the first day in the US named after an Asian American.

 

Patsy Mink

Born in Hawaii in 1927, Mink was the first Japanese American woman to practice law in Hawaii and the first woman of color elected to Congress. She began her political career serving on the Hawaii senate in 1956. Without support from the Democratic Party leadership, she ran a grass roots campaign in 1964 and was elected to the U.S. House. She served for 12 years. She was elected

again from 1990 until her death in 2002. She is recognized as a key figure in passing the Title IX legislation that brought academic and athletic equity to American educational institutions.  

 

Lea Salonga

This Filipino American actress and singer is best known for her performance as Eponine in Les Miserables on Broadway and as Mulan and Jasmine in the Disney movies Mulan and Aladdin. Salonga won a Tony for Best Actress in a Musical for her starring role in Ms. Saigon on Broadway in 1991. 

 

 Eugene Huu-Chau "Gene" Trinh

After earning a Ph.D. in applied physics at Yale, Trinh began his career as a senior research scientist at the Jet Propulsion Laboratory at NASA. In 1992, he became the first Vietnamese American astronaut in space when he flew aboard NASA Space Shuttle mission STS-50 in 1992. As an astronaut, he spent 13 days, 19 hours, and 30 minutes in space.  

 

Gene Luen Yang

The Chinese American comic book writer of Avatar: The Last Airbender, American Born Chinese, and Boxers and Saints. Born in the Bay Area, his career began when he self-published his own comics while he taught high school computer science in Oakland.  Gene earned a MacArthur Genius award in 2016 for “confirming comics’ place as an important creative and imaginative force within literature, art and education.” In 2016 he appointed as National Ambassador to Young People's Literature.  

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:5/18/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


10 Ways to Appreciate Your Teacher (05/10/2018)

Wednesday was the official Teacher Appreciation Day. But if you missed that opportunity to thank your child’s teacher, remember that this whole week is designated as Teacher Appreciation Week! Looking for ways to appreciate your students’ teachers in a big way? Here are some ideas:

 

  • Write a thank you note: Not an email, not a text, but a real letter that expresses what you most appreciate about the educator who has been working with your child this whole year.

 

  • Encourage your student to write a note: Handwritten thank you notes aren’t as common as they used to be, but they’re still an elegant means of expressing gratitude. And thank you notes aren’t just for those young students who are still learning to write and spell, by the way. A heartfelt letter from a middle or high schooler can have a big impact on a teacher. 

 

  • Send supplies: No matter what time of year it is, teachers appreciate basic supplies like dry erase markers, push pins, tape, scissors, hand wipes, and books for their classroom libraries.

 

  • Donate to a teacher’s pet cause: Does he volunteer with a local animal rescue group? Is she an avid hiker? Did your teacher recently lose a beloved parent to cancer or volunteer with a group that helps immigrants? Consider donating to a non-profit organization in your teacher’s name.

 

  • Gift a gift card – and be creative! Coffee is always appreciated, but consider, too, a gift card to a flower shop, restaurant, movie theater, crafts store, book or gift shop, sporting goods store, or special bakery. Any place that a teacher could go and feel a little pampered!

 

  • Give the gift of time – May gets to be a wee bit hectic for teachers. Consider offering your teacher a couple of hours of volunteer time – either during the school day or on the weekend.  They may need help creating end-of-the-year folders for student work, for instance, or tidying up their supply closets, sorting books, making copies, or preparing their rooms for the summer.

 

  • Fill a basket with a few of your teacher’s favorite things – whether it’s baking supplies, music, a craft (such as knitting or woodworking), gardening tools, picnic supplies, or DVDs and books related to a trip he or she is taking this summer.  

 

  • Curate a play list In the old days we made CDs as thank you presents (and before that we made cassettes!). Now you can use services like Spotify to curate a list of just about any kind of music – from show tunes to ancient Mayan music and from American folk to the most abstract jazz. Hint: Foreign language teachers might enjoy a compilation of songs in the language they teach; teachers who include reading periods in their days might appreciate quiet background music.

 

  • Decorate a teacher’s door It’s crazy simple but can also be a wonderful surprise. Let the students write “I love my teacher because….” messages on post-its or butcher block paper. Or tape up gift cards, word art, or inspirational images of what summer will bring! (Pinterest has hundreds of ideas for teacher door art, if you need inspiration.)

 

  • Treat your teacher to…  Sweet treats can be great. But something practical can be even better this time of year – like a pot of homemade soup or stew, a jar of your best made-from-scratch tomato sauce or pesto, or a basket of healthy muffins that your teacher can share with staff. Think about food that will lighten your teacher’s load a little this busy time of year!

 

Some of these projects take time, of course, which brings us to our final point. There’s no need to limit yourself to one day or one week in thanking a teacher. It can happen any time of year!

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:5/10/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD Announces Teacher of the Year (05/09/2018)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:    

 

Sean McPhetridge, Superintendent (510) 337-7060 and

Gray Harris, President, Board of Education (510) 337-7187

 

 

Alameda — May 9, 2018 — At the Board of Education meeting last night, Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) staff announced the district’s 2018 Teacher of the Year: Mary Otieku, an 18-year veteran of AUSD.

 

Otieku, who received both her BA in psychology and her teacher credential from Saint Mary’s College in Moraga, currently teaches a 4/5 combo at Bay Farm School. Prior to that, she worked as a 3rd grade teacher at Lum Elementary School for three years and  at Paden Elementary for ten years. She has also served as a math coach in the district and a coach for new teachers.

 

“Teaching is in my blood,” Otieku says. “My grandmother was a teacher, my grandfather was a geology professor at Stanford and UCLA, and my mother was an elementary school teacher.  It is what I am meant to be doing.”

 

Passion as a driving force

Recommendation letters submitted in support of Otieku’s nomination cited her use of differentiated instruction, books from different cultures and mixed-race authors, classroom meetings, gratitude cards, respect for students, and clear and consistent communication with parents.

 

“From the flexible seating options that allow students to choose furniture that works best for them at a given time to the classroom meetings in which she keeps a notebook of student suggestions, she constantly communicates that she values the students’ opinions and that they can make a difference,” Bay Farm School parent Lina Hannigan wrote in a recommendation letter.

 

A teacher who was mentored by Otieku when she worked as a coach for beginner teachers praised her mentoring skills. “Mary’s approach to dig deep and really get to know her students, even in a large class of 32 fifth graders, exemplified what I wanted to be and how I had interpreted the role of a teacher,” said Lily Bianchi, who now teaches third grade at Paden Elementary School. “Children connected with her openness and felt safe to take risks in the classroom environment. She is the very embodiment of what happens when a teacher spontaneously makes passion the driving force of how to engage children.”

 

When asked what advice she would give a new teacher today, Otieku said, “‘Learn and collaborate with others.’  Teaching can be very isolating and overwhelming, but if you work with your team, it can be immensely collaborative and much more manageable.” 

 

The power of empathy and compassion

Parents also emphasized Ms. Otieku’s lessons on the importance of respect and kindness. “When my daughter corrected me in my usage of the word ‘easy,’ saying ‘What might be easy for one person, Mommy, isn’t necessarily easy for everyone,’ I knew that she was learning some unique and powerful lessons about differences, respect, inclusivity, and kindness,” Hannigan wrote. “It fills me with pride and hope to know these kinds of conversations are happening among peers with Mrs. Otieku’s leadership in her dynamic classroom.”

 

Wrote Jennifer Williams, a parent at the school and also an AUSD Board Member, “My daughter is learning the power of empathy and compassion this year, lessons that will shape who she is and the adult she will become. As the world we live in becomes more complex, teaching children to be kind and to be an ally to other members of their community will help them be successful citizens in the long run.”

 

Nominees for AUSD Teacher of the Year come from parents, students, staff, and the community. After being invited to submit materials (including a resume and letters of support), a selection committee observes nominees in the classroom and then interviews them. Next fall, Otieku will compete to become Alameda County Teacher of the Year.

 

“I am honored and humbled to be chosen as Teacher of the Year,” Otieku said. “All teachers deserve recognition for their hard work and dedication to our kids.  It is the hardest job there is.”

Said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge, “AUSD has been lucky to have Mary Otieku teaching Alameda students all these year, and we are thankful for her exemplary model to children and adults alike.”

 

The other finalists this year were Tyra Cable (Lincoln Middle School), Rebecca Baumgartner (Lincoln Middle School), and Pauline Stahl (Encinal Jr. & Sr. High School).

 

“I am proud of all of Alameda’s teachers for their dedication to the students in our community,” said Board President Gray Harris. “It is a pleasure to honor these four educators for their outstanding work. We are lucky to have inspiring teachers like Mrs. Otieku whose passion energizes students every day.”

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:5/9/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AEF Salutes Alameda Education Stars (05/04/2018)

At its annual “Salute to Education” event on April 27, the Alameda Education Foundation (AEF) honored more than three dozen noteworthy staff members, volunteers, and programs in public schools across the island.

 

AEF offers a wide range of programs that support public schools in Alameda, including Adopt-a-Classroom (which provides $500 donation to nominated classroom teachers), enrichment classes and camps, College Prep Academies, the Equipped 4 Success backpack drive, robotics programs, Art Across the Island, and middle school sports. The event last Friday night was its 35th Salute to Education.

 

“It was a wonderful event because it honored the amazing staff and volunteers we have in this community,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “Every year at this event I am reminded and inspired yet again by not only the innovative work showcased but also the incredible support shown by our local education foundation. Thank you, staff. Thank you, volunteers. And thank you, Alameda Education Foundation.”

 

This year’s honorees are listed below.

 

Alameda Unified School District

Program: Jewish Education Round Table

Volunteer: Alicia Cernitz-Schwartz

 

 AUSD Elementary Schools

 

Amelia Earhart Elementary School

Program/Leader: Music to Support Science (Susan Lee)

Volunteers: Rachil Tam and Stella Bourgoin

 

Bay Farm School

Program/Leader: Bring Your Own Device (Roxanne Clement)

Volunteer: Spencer Tse

 

Edison Elementary School

Program/Leader: Change Makers (Ryan La Londe)

Volunteer: Angela Tamblin

 

Franklin Elementary School

Program/Leader: Blended Learning (Barry Arbreton, Darlene Norman, Marianne Dilworth, Debamitra Guha)

Volunteer: Nancy Walker

 

Henry Haight Elementary School

Program/Leader: Positive Recess Supports (Rochelle Kealohi, Kara McClymont, Brian Deshay, Willie Stewart, Terasita Sangab, Eddi Garrett, Mary Sullivan, Heather Demarest, Melissa Saunders)

Volunteer: Jen Bullock

 

Maya Lin School

Program/Leader: Title 1 Literacy Intervention (Betsy Weiss)

Volunteer: Joyce Cheng

 

Otis Elementary School

Program: Otis Elementary PTA

Volunteer: Beth Aney

 

Paden Elementary School

Program/Leader: Maker’s Space (Erin Head, Ali Bower)

Volunteer: Pam Arneson

 

Ruby Bridges Elementary School

Program/Leader: Star Time (Kristin Furuichi-Fong)

Volunteer: Karen Bane

 

AUSD Secondary Schools

 

Alameda High School

Program/Leader: Teal Tech Volunteer Program (Nancy Read)

Volunteers: Ann Krainer and Tom Lynch

 

ASTI

Program/Leader: The ASTI Initiative (Ken Der)

Volunteer: Georzann Chaco

 

Encinal Junior & Senior High School

Program/Leader: Political and Proud (Lily Conable, Anisya Lustig-Ellison, Sarah Skiff

Volunteer: The Band Boosters

 

Island High School

Program/Leader: College and Career Exploration (Lupe Santoyo, Ty Cobb, Jamie Crane)

Volunteer: Layne Vann

 

Lincoln Middle School

Program/Leader: Cafeteria Conservation (Maria Darnell)

Volunteer: Zoe Banchieri

 

Wood Middle School

Program/Leader: Music and Art Programs (Anselmo Reis and Lindsey Shepard)

Volunteer: Nuala Creedon and Peri Drake

 

Charter Schools

 

Academy of Alameda Elementary School

Program/Leader: Run Like a Girl (Kathryn Rizzo, Shanel Hudson, Deanna Haurie)

Volunteer: Louie McFarland

 

Academy of Alameda Middle School

Program/Leader: Physical Education (Ashley Black, James Sampson, Giliat Ghebray)

Volunteer: Claudia Page

 

Alameda Community Learning Center

Program/Leader: Leadership (Molly Fenn)

Volunteer: Anthony Steuer

 

Nea Community Learning Center

Program/Leader: Rock Band (Cliff Rawls)

Volunteer: Amy Fong

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:5/4/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Measure B1 Found Valid After Court Challenge (05/04/2018)

 

Alameda, Calif. — May 4, 2018 — Superior Court Judge Ioana Petrou has approved a stipulated judgment agreed to by the parties in a lawsuit that challenged the Alameda Unified School District’s (AUSD) Measure B1 parcel tax. The stipulated judgment preserves all of the approximately $12,000,000 in revenue that Measure B1 projects to generate for the district.

 

The tax, which is an extension of Measure A and goes into effect on July 1 of this year, was passed by 74.2% of Alameda voters in November 2016. Like Measure A, it will support a wide range of programs, including small class sizes, neighborhood schools, high school athletics, technology, and elementary music, PE, and media centers.

 

Under state law, parcel taxes need to be applied uniformly to all parcels of taxable property. Measure B1 taxes all parcels at a rate of $0.32 per building square foot up to a cap of $7999. The plaintiffs in the B1 lawsuit — Nelco, Inc., Santa Clara Investors II, and Edward Hirshberg — filed a lawsuit in December 2016 claiming that the parcel tax structure was not “uniform” because of the cap and because parcels without buildings would pay no tax. 

 

The plaintiffs had argued a similar lack of uniformity in a lawsuit filed against Measure A soon after it was passed in 2011. AUSD won that case at the trial court level. Because Measure A was found valid, Judge Petrou found that Measure B1, which has a nearly identical structure, was also valid as an extension of Measure A. In order to bring Measure B1 into full alignment with Measure A, the stipulated judgment also requires that Measure B1 incorporate the $299 tax on unimproved parcels provided for by Measure A.

 

In 2008, the plaintiffs filed suit against AUSD’s Measure H lawsuit, also on grounds that its structure was not uniform.  The district won that lawsuit at the trial court but lost at

 

the appellate court. The state Supreme Court refused to hear the case, and in 2015 the district issued Measure H refunds to those property owners who applied for them consistent with applicable law.

 

“I am relieved and heartened that Measure B1 has been found to be valid by Judge Petrou,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge.  “In the course of our budget analyses this spring, the fact that the state simply doesn’t give us enough money to both provide high quality programs and retain and attract high quality employees has become abundantly clear to us. As such, AUSD remains highly dependent on its parcel taxes.  I remain deeply grateful to the members of this island community for the consistent and generous support they give to the community’s schools.”

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:5/4/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


ASTI and LMS Named Green Ribbon Schools (04/25/2018)

Both Lincoln Middle School and the Alameda Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) were named “Green Ribbon Schools” at a ceremony with State Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson on Monday.

 

The Green Ribbon Schools program honors schools, school districts, and institutes of higher education for excellence in resource efficiency, health and wellness, and environmental and sustainability education.

 

“Green Ribbon schools are leading the way in resource conservation, health and wellness, and environmental literacy,” Torlakson said in a press release. “California won’t reach our smart and ambitious climate goals without the public sector—and especially without public schools—leading the way.”

 

The two schools were honored for a wide range of “green activities,” including school gardens, recycling programs, anti-bullying programs, and leadership opportunities for students. A listing of just some of each school’s green programs can be found below.

 

Both schools attained the “Gold Level” of the awards program, meaning they scored a 75% or more on the rubric. Last year ASTI made it to the Silver Level.

 

Bay Farm School received both the state and federal Green Ribbons in 2016.

 

“I am thrilled that two more of our sites have been designated as Green Ribbon schools,” Superintendent Sean McPhetridge said. “As a school district situated on an island, we are aware daily of the need for healthy oceans, reduced litter, robust habitats, and reducing climate change and sea level rise. I am grateful to the hard work and profound commitment of our teachers, parent volunteers, and students in creating and growing these environmental programs at their schools. They are leading the way in teaching our district and our community to be better stewards of the environment on which we depend.”

 

Some highlights of ASTI’s programs include:

 

  • Reducing greenhouse gas emissions by 5 metric tons (31%)  between 2015 and 2017 by diverting food scraps and compostable paper from the landfill.
  • Using sheet mulching and drip irrigation to reduce water usage, fundraising for rain barrels to collect water from rooftops, and installing planters to soak up rain rather than having it run off into the streets.
  • Replacing large swaths of blacktop with planter boxes.
  • Converting 100% of the school’s landscapable grounds into ecologically beneficial uses. These areas include an organic vegetable garden, a green house, a seating area, an orchard, a compost area, a milkweed patch to attract monarch butterflies, and a living willow fedge. Students use these areas for lessons and hands-on labs inbiology, green club activities, to interact with wildlife and fauna and for socializing with peers.
  • Integrating environmental topics such as climate change and social justice into classes such as English, History, Biology, and Spanish.
  • Opportunities to take environmentally themed elective classes at College of Alameda, such as Environmental Control Technology, The Financial Case for Clean Energy, Indoor Air Quality & Building Envelope, Native Plant ID & Culture, Global Climate Change, and Sustainable Urban & Regional Planning.
  • Supportig an active Green Club that maintains the garden and volunteers with Ploughshares Nursery, the Golden Gate Audubon Society, Community Action for Sustainable Alameda, and Alameda Point Collaborative.
  • Maintaining a successful recycling and compost system.
  • Encouraging a “no-bullying” culture that relies on restorative justice rather than punishment to help students learn non-confrontational ways of interacting.

Some highlights of Lincoln Middle School’s program include:

 

  • A one-acre Nature Area, which is used for science education, including plant and weather observations, tidal monitoring, and modeling physics concepts, as well as art lessons and literary experiences. 
  • An Outdoor Development Class, through which students learn hands-on skills for landscaping and building projects, as well as manage the school’s waste-sorting efforts.
  • Status as an Ocean Guardian School, through which Lincoln students remove invasive plants, install native plans,  pick up litter along the bordering wetlands and shoreline, and report the results to NOAA.
  • Participation in the International Carbon Footprint Challenge, as well as plans to have each student participate in a personal climate change mitigation project in which they will calculate and try to reduce their carbon footprint.
  • 63% of the students walk or “roll” (bike, scooter, or skateboard) to school
  • A school garden program that includes lessons on sheet mulching and composting, as well as  growing and cooking organic vegetables.
  • A reduction of its landfill trash from 14 cubic yards per week (2010) to 8 cubic yards per week (2017). The school has also increased its organics collection to four cubic yards per week. This has resulted in the prevention of 6 metric tons of greenhouse gases.
  • An Environmental Science elective that includes collecting data on the shoreline and reporting it to the NOAA, as well as giving presentations to the PTA, Greater Farallones National Marine Sanctuary Advisory Council Meeting, and Alameda Earth Day Festival.
  • A water bottle filling station that has helped eliminate theneed for 21,800 single use plastic bottles.
  • Robust anti-bullying programs.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:4/25/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


CSEA 27 and CSEA 860 Sign Tentative Agreements with AUSD (04/25/2018)

In negotiation sessions last week, two bargaining units signed tentative agreements with Alameda Unified School District (AUSD).

 

The agreements are with California State Employees Association Chapter 27 (CSEA 27), which represents office/technical workers and paraprofessionals, and CSEA 860, which represents custodial, maintenance, and food service workers in the district.

 

Under the terms of the tentative agreement (TA), members of both unions will receive the same salary increase as the Alameda Education Association (which represents teachers, nurses, counselors, and speech and language pathologists). AUSD is in negotiations with the AEA this spring.

 

The contract with CSEA 27 also clarified the process by which paraprofessionals are transferred from one school to another and increased opportunities for professional growth.

 

Both CSEA contracts are for three years and will go through June 30, 2021.

 

The next step is for the two unions and the Board of Education to vote on whether or not to ratify the agreements.

 

“We are always gratified when our labor partners and district bargaining team can come to an agreement,” says Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “We know negotiators on both sides of the table work hard to find common ground so that our employees can continue to thrive and grow in our organization.” 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:4/25/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Update on Historic Alameda High School Restoration (04/12/2018)

 

picture of crane at HAHSFrom the outside, it’s hard to know exactly what’s going on at Historic Alameda High School (HAHS) right now. Parts of the building are boarded up with plywood. Other parts are currently missing windows. On any given day, there are trucks, bulldozers, loaders, excavators - even giant cranes - parked at the site. And there is, of course, the brown fence encircling the whole complex.

 

What with the noise, the piles of dirt, and the holes in the historic building’s façade, it can be easy to forget what’s happening on the inside. But incredible things are indeed happening. Here’s our behind-the-scenes look at the transformation taking place.

 

Overview

The 100,000-square-foot historic high school building, which was constructed in 1924, is a registered Historical Landmark that is being retrofitted and restored with funds from the 2014 Measure I Facilities Bond. Quattrocchi Kwok Architects did the design work; Lathrop Construction is the contractor.

 

When completed, the renovated building will include: historic interior and exterior restoration;  45 state-of-the-art classrooms and 10 new science labs; new instructional technology; seismic retrofitting; updated structural, mechanical, and electrical systems; new landscaping and seating areas along Central Avenue; an outdoor learning space; and, yes, removal of the brown seismic perimeter fence.

 

AUSD’s Board of Education approved the plans for HAHS on March 28, 2016. The groundbreaking ceremony took place on April 10, 2017. An inspector with the Division of the State Architect (DSA) has said that this project is the biggest and most complicated rehabilitation project the division has overseen in its 50-year history.

 

Seismic Retrofit

The District Office moved out of HAHS in 2013, due to reports by seismic experts that showed a significant risk of collapse in the event of an earthquake.  The risk is due to two factors: sandy soils that can liquefy during an earthquake and structural issues with the HAHS buildings.

 

To stabilize (or “densify”) the soil, engineers injected grout into it at 6000 different spots on the site. They also drilled helical piles, which look like corkscrews, 30 feet into the ground to anchor the buildings to more stable soil.

 

Interior steel braceTo shore up the buildings, workers took off the roof and used a crane to place enormous steel braces along the walls on all three floors. These are creating a “building within a building” that will be able to withstand a strong earthquake. Steel piers are also now supplementing many of the original concrete columns in the building. Those columns were built to withstand 1000 pounds per square inch of force; the current standard is 3000 pounds per square inch. Many columns had begun to crumble from age.

 

To date, more than 700 tons of degraded concrete have been removed from the foundations and floors, to be replaced with concrete that is up to modern-day codes and meets DSA requirements.

 

“Expansion joists” will be placed between the buildings so that they can move with the force of an earthquake but not crash into each other. In order to insert these, the concrete between the buildings had to be removed. This required a 52-inch circular saw that was so heavy it had to be put on a vertical track bolted to the building to move up and down.

 

Once the masonry finish was removed from the exterior buildings, workers also discovered about twice as many cracks in the exterior as expected. These, too, need to repaired so the walls don’t crumble in the event of an earthquake.

 

Classrooms

One blackboard still has Spanish verbs on it. One wall is still decorated with sky and navy blue stars. But HAHS classrooms are mostly unrecognizable at this point. The floors and walls have all been removed in order to build newer, bigger classrooms. At the same time, workers are installing new electrical and fire sprinkler systems, as well as the infrastructure needed for more modern instructional technology.

 

Classrooms framedMany of the facility’s 250 historic windows are currently being repaired; in fact, one whole room has been designated as a window workshop. As per an agreement with the Alameda Historical

Society, the windows need to retain their wooden sills and sashes. But the concrete around the windows also has to be restored due to degradation from wind, rain, and sunlight over the years.

 

The project is scheduled to be completed in December 2019 and is currently on track. Once it is complete, the brown seismic fence that surrounds the building will also be removed.windows in workshop

 

“For decades, Alameda citizens have looked upon Historic Alameda High School and wondered how it could be restored to its former glory and returned to student use,” says Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “Soon the citizens of Alameda and their children will be able to enjoy the building again, and AUSD will be able to offer 21st-century learning environments within that beautiful neoclassical building.”

 

“This is a dynamic and exciting time in Alameda,” he continues, “and AUSD is grateful to Alamedans for passing the bond and investing in the future generations who will benefit.”

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:4/13/18
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Earhart Elementary, Bay Farm Schools Designated "Distinguished Schools" (04/13/2018)

The California Department of Education (CDE) has selected both Earhart Elementary School and Bay Farm School as 2018 "Distinguished Schools.”

 

The award recognizes schools that have made exceptional gains in meeting the state’s academic and performance standards as described on the new California School Dashboard. Those standards include test scores in English Language Arts, Mathematics, and Science, as well as suspension rates and English Learner progress.  (Information on the performance of all AUSD schools on these indicators is available on the AUSD Dashboard page.)

 

This year, only 287 schools from across the state received the award.

 

“These schools implement outstanding educational programs and practices that help California students realize their potential and put them on the path to achieve their dreams,”  State Secretary of Education Tom Torlakson said. “Every day at these schools, teachers, administrators, and classified employees, working with parents, apply their dedication, creativity, and talents toward providing a great education for all their students.”

 

Between 2015 and 2017, the Distinguished Schools program was replaced by the Gold Ribbon Schools program as the state transitioned to its new assessment and accountability system.

 

Model Practices

 

As part of the Distinguished School process, applicant schools need to describe a “Model Program/Practice” that they believe has contributed to their success.

 

  • Bay Farm School described its implementation of Positive Behavior Intervention Systems (PBIS), which is part of a district initiative to improve school climates by establishing shared expectations and rewards for good and safe behavior.  Bay Farm also cited its Coordination of Services Team (COST), through which school staff collaborate to support students who may be struggling, especially those who are new or who receive special education services.
  • Earhart Elementary School described its Music with Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math M(STEM) innovative program. The program includes instruction and professional development provided by a dedicated science teacher and weekly hands-on learning in the school’s two science laboratories, as well as music instruction.

 

“Bay Farm and Earhart students, staff, and families should be proud of this well-earned and well-deserved distinction,” Superintendent Sean McPhetridge said. “We all should be grateful and proud of the efforts evidenced in the Distinguished Schools application process this year, and we look forward to ongoing efforts at these schools to continue in excellent service to their students.”

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:4/13/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Board of Education Approves Budget Realignment (04/13/2018)

At its public meeting on April 10, AUSD’s Board of Education approved a set of budget changes designed to improve employee salaries. The decisions came after an exhaustive review of the district’s budget and programs that took place over the course of five Board of Education meetings since mid-February.

 

AUSD’s salaries for all employees have long lagged behind those of neighboring districts and are currently among the lowest in Alameda County.  In January, the Board directed staff to provide information on why the salaries are low, how AUSD’s budget compares to that of neighboring districts, and how the district’s budget could be adjusted to help improve employee salaries.

 

Low Salaries

Over the course of the five meetings, staff presented data on a wide range of budget items, including the costs of full day kindergarten, innovative programs, staffing, teachers on special assignment (teachers who do district work outside of the classroom), special education, cuts that District Office has already made to its staff and programs, and the parcel tax program.   

 

Staff found a number of reasons why AUSD’s salaries are low, including:

 

  • AUSD’s class sizes are lower than the county average
  • Many AUSD classes are not filled to the contractual limit
  • AUSD’s special education costs are higher than the county average

The budget exploration also found that AUSD’s administrative costs are lower than the county average and that AUSD spends less of its overall budget on administrator salaries than surrounding districts.

 

“We have had a full and robust set of presentations about how resources and funds are now allocated in this district,” Superintendent Sean McPhetridge said at the meeting. “As a result, we are farther along in our ability to start discussing why these decisions have been made, as well as how the Board is committed to making new arrangements to take care of the district as a whole and to take care of the collective interests of people who work here and the families we serve.”

 

All of the presentations to the Board of Education, as well as FAQs on the budget realignment process and links to other resources, can be found on the AUSD Budget Talks page.

 

Approved Budget Changes

At the April 10 meeting, staff presented the Board with a list of ways to potentially shift funds to employee salaries. After discussing the list, the Board asked staff to implement the following changes for the 2018-19 and 2019-20 budget:

 

Program

Implementation Year & Estimated Savings

 

2018-19

2019-20

Full Day Kindergarten

 

$432,256

Innovative Programs

 

 

Bay Farm Innovative Funding

$14,000

 

Earhart Innovative: Some staff and additional technology

$47,000

 

Maya Lin Innovative: Part-time literacy coach, counselor, and Spanish teacher

$134,469

 

Maya Lin Innovative: 25:1 ratio in grades 4 & 5

 

$90,450

Encinal Innovative: Additional supplies & technology

$30,592

 

Teachers on Special Assignment

 

 

TSA ELD/Literacy Coaches (6)

$377,046

 

TSA Math Coaches (4)

$251,364

 

TSA Bay Science  (part-time)

$25,136

 

TSA Teacher Induction (1)

$62,841

 

Staffing

 

 

Change LMS/WMS 7-period day to 6-period day; fill classes to contractual limit (33:1)

$779,228

 

Fill high school classes to contractual limit (35:1 except at Island High)

 

$314,205

District Office

 

 

Reduce services; eliminate discretionary IT funds; cancel software programs

$557,446

 

Change funding source of some DO positions

$116,000

 

Reduce school site discretionary funds 25%

$205,000

 

Optimize use of LCFF supplemental funds

$250,000

 

 

“Some schools that have received more over recent years in staffing and other arrangements will potentially get less in the coming years,” Superintendent Sean McPhetridge said. “People have heard me say that everyone is going to have to get ready for some austerity measures and some changed conditions if we are to move toward where we need to go with regard to fair salaries of employees in AUSD.”

 

Long-term changes

During the meeting, both community members and board members called for long-term plans to identify the community’s educational values and then find creative ways to implement them while developing a salary schedule that can both retain and attract excellent employees. Ideas include merging Alameda and Encinal High Schools, combining elementary schools, and leveraging grants, partnerships, and other alternative funding sources.

 

In a separate agenda item, the Board decided not to place a parcel tax on the November 2018 ballot to raise funds for employee salaries, citing both a lack of support in the community and the need to right-size the budget via structural changes first.

 

“I want to acknowledge this as being a difficult process,” McPhetridge said, “and I want to praise the Board, public, and AUSD staff for the advocacy and inquiry they have shown throughout this process. This work is not easy, and in some ways it really is just beginning.”

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:4/13/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Cindy Zecher Named Classified Employee of the Point (04/13/2018)

 

 

The Alameda County Office of Education (ACOE) named Cindy Zecher, the office manager at Lincoln Middle School, a Classified Employee of the Year this week.

 

ACOE named honorees in six categories: Child Nutrition; Maintenance, Operations, and Grounds; Office and Technical; Para-Educator and Instructional Assistance; and Support Services and Security.  Honorees now move on to be considered by the California Department of Education as State Classified Employees of the Year.

 

Ms. Zecher, who serves as the president of CSEA 27 and has worked for AUSD for 32 years, won in the Office and Technical category. Her nomination commended her as being indispensable to her school site for her leadership and institutional knowledge, as well as her strong relationships with students.

 

“It is certainly an honor to be recognized for something I love doing - working with middle schoolers,” said Zecher, who attended Lincoln Middle School and has worked there for 22 years. “A few years ago when I was the CSEA Area C Director, I was fortunate to participate in reading the Classified School Employee of the Year (CSEY) nomination forms.  Never in a million years would I have ever thought I would be in the position of having someone at the state level reading a nomination form for me.”

 

“Many of our classified members are deserving of this recognition,” she continued. “ I’m very fortunate to work with a amazing team here at Lincoln Middle School, especially Amy Kesner along with the other 6th grade CORE teachers, Julie Kemp along with the office staff, and Principal Michael Hans, who took the time to write the nomination forms to move my name forward.  Thank you!”

 

Superintendent McPhetridge congratulated Zecher during the April 10 Board of Education meeting, saying: “We’re very proud of Cindy, We thank her for her dedication to the students, staff, and families at Lincoln Middle School over the years, and we appreciate her for her service as the president of the CSEA 27 bargaining group.”

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:4/13/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


LMS Student to Compete in State Spelling Bee (03/22/2014)

 

An eighth grader from Lincoln Middle School will be one of two students representing Alameda County in the State Junior High Spelling Bee later this spring.

 

Hazel Purins, 13, came in 5th at the island’s Alameda Spelling Bee on February 3. She went on to take second place at the ninth annual Alameda County Junior High Spelling Bee on March 10.  More than 50 students, hailing from 10 Alameda County school districts, competed in that event. 

 

Purins missed first place at the county competition when she misspelled “condescension.” Anisha Rao, of Dublin Unified School District, was able to spell that word and so secured top spot.  As the top competitors, both Rao and Purins will now compete in the California State Spelling Bee in San Rafael on May 5. Purins is the first AUSD student to make it this far!

 

Adriana Argyriou, a 5th grader at Haight Elementary School, won 4th in the 10th annual Alameda County Elementary Spelling Bee. She was runner-up in the Alameda Spelling Bee in February. 

 

In an email to Hazel’s family, Superintendent Sean McPhetridge shared how as an elementary school student he won a spelling bee by correctly spelling ichthyology. “Competing at this level is something for which Hazel should be very proud,” he wrote. “I am personally grateful knowing that Hazel admirably represents Lincoln Middle School, AUSD, Alameda, Alameda County, and her family in this way.”

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:3/22/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Superintendent's Note: On Community Spirit and a Home Town's "A" Game

Over the last year, many of my reports to the public have focused on difficult issues such as bias and bullying. And many of them have focused on Board and District Office reactions to these incidents, rather than stories focused on the good news of our amazing students or inspiring staff. But today, I'd like to focus this space entirely on the incredible achievement of the AHS Hornets men's basketball team, which heads later this evening to Sacramento to compete for the CIF Division II State Championship.

 

When the world is in as much turmoil as it is right now, being able to celebrate the accomplishment and spirit of a hometown public school team is remarkably healing. One reason most of us have dedicated our careers to public education is because public schools lie at the heart of their communities and are supported by a network of not only dedicated and talented volunteers, but also city agencies and local non-profit organizations. Public school districts offer a safe and constructive place for a community – literally a “common unity” – around which citizens and institutions rally. And here in Alameda, we have seen the community rally again and again, not only to fund our schools, but also to protect our students, beautify our campuses, support our teachers, enrich our programs, and, now, to send this team of talented scholar athletes to the state championship.

 

Thank you, Hornets volunteers, for so quickly organizing the trip and working with us to generate publicity for the game.  Thank you, Alameda Theatre, for so quickly agreeing to show the game on a big screen Friday afternoon (details below). Thank you, Alameda community members, for sharing and amplifying the great excitement we all feel about the upcoming game. And thank you, especially, Hornets coaches and scholar athletes, for bringing your “A” game, your talent, your hard work, and your team spirit this far, this season. We are all rooting for you!

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:3/22/18
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AHS Men's Basketball Heads to State Championship (3/22/2018)

This Friday afternoon (March 23), the Alameda High School Men’s Basketball Team will compete for the CIF Division II State Championship up in Sacramento. The Hornets will be playing the private Crossroads Roadrunners from Santa Monica.

 

The game will be held in the Golden 1 Center Arena at 4 PM. Tickets are available here. (A 10 AM ticket provides general admission for the whole day.)

 

If you can't go to Sacramento, Alameda Theatre is livestreaming the game! Doors open at 3:30 for the 4:00 PM game. Tickets are available now at the box office and online.

 

To watch the game from home, go to NBC Sports California (broadcast channels) or online.

 

Word has it that the team is encouraging community members to wear black and gold on Friday in support of the team, too.

 

“I am so proud of the Hornets players and coaches for making it this far in the post season,” says Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “And I am grateful for the outpouring of support we are seeing from the community. This is a wonderful event for the people of Alameda.”

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:3/22/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Superintendent's Letter on School Safety (03/16/2018)

 

March 16, 2018

 

Dear Community Members,

 

I am saddened to report that today two of our high schools were subject to threats of violence. This morning, a student found graffiti in a bathroom at Alameda High School threatening violence against Muslim students this coming Tuesday, March 20. Later this morning, graffiti threatening violence against students was also found in a bathroom at Island High School.

 

In both cases, school and district staff worked closely with Alameda Police Department to assess the risk and determine next steps. Because every situation is different, what happened at each site was also different.

 

At Alameda High School, Principal Robert Ithurburn sent an email to his parents describing the threat and reached out to the school’s Muslim Student Union to give them a chance to talk about the threat. He has also circulated a photo of the graffiti to teachers to see if they recognize the handwriting. The school’s administration and the Alameda Police Department are continuing to investigate that situation, which has been deemed a hate crime. As superintendent, I want to be very clear that we denounce such hate speech on our campuses and will not tolerate it.

 

At Island High School, the graffiti threatened violence at noon. Because the threat seemed imminent and there was not enough time to fully investigate, AUSD placed the students at Island and Woodstock Child Development Center (WCDC) in a shelter in place. Out of an abundance of caution – and in consultation with police - AUSD then released the students early. WCDC students remained in shelter in place for a short while longer, and then they returned to their normal routine. Those students were not released early because the threat was no longer deemed credible. APD and Island High staff are continuing their investigation of that incident. That, too, will include handwriting analysis.

 

Of course, coming on the heels of Wednesday’s National Walkout Day, today’s threats are disheartening.  On Wednesday, thousands of our students participated in student-led vigils on their campuses to honor the 17 victims in the Parkland shooting. About 1000 students then marched to Washington Park for a rally that was organized by and attracted students from all four of our high schools, two charter schools, and several middle schools. The rally included voter registration, opportunities to write and call legislators, information on gun control, and student speeches. It was a powerful, inspiring, and humbling event.

 

Today, a few individuals posted disturbing and violent graffiti, frightened their peers, disrupted classes, and distracted staff from being able to support schools and students in other meaningful and valuable ways. That is not powerful. It is not inspiring. Nor is it unusual at this point. Since the Parkland shooting, schools across the Bay Area and indeed the entire country have had to close due to threats.

 

It is sad that this is our new normal. And yet we can’t ever take it as normal. As district and school administrators, we have to take every threat seriously and respond to it. I wish I could promise to make the threats stop, but I cannot. What I can do is promise that we will continue to work on violence prevention by implementing anti-bias and anti-bullying programs and assessing the mental health and behavioral needs of our students. And we will continue to strengthen our incident response by training staff and students on emergency procedures, modernizing the safety features on our campuses, and working closely with APD on assessing those threats that do occur.

 

Without question, something in our society is changing and providing fertile ground for these threats. What gives me hope in these times is the strength, passion, resilience, and optimism of the young people on our campuses. What gives me confidence is the expertise, capacity, and determination of our staff to respond to threats skillfully when they occur. And what gives me sustenance is knowing that much of our island community supports our “Everyone Belongs Here” vision and the urgency of protecting the young people here.

 

Please join us in our vigilance and in our work to report threats when they occur, and please know we continue to work with APD and our school administrators to keep our campuses safe and responsive when threats occur.

 

Sincerely,

 

Sean McPhetridge, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:3/16/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


10 Things to Know About Walkouts Next Week (03/09/2018)

 

 

Students across the country are planning walkouts, forums, and other activities on March 14 to protest gun violence in our schools. Students in many of our AUSD schools also plan to engage in such activities.  We hope the following guide helps you understand what will be happening at the school sites and how AUSD and our school sites will respond.

 

  1. Students have certain First Amendment rights to free expression and speech on our campuses. While the events planned for March 14 are not affiliated with AUSD, we support these rights for all students, no matter their opinion on gun control.
  2. A group of students representing high schools in Alameda is coordinating a centralized rally to take place after the site events on Wednesday. This rally will include speakers, voter registration, community art, letter writing, and calls to legislators.  We are gathering information about this event now and will be working with Alameda Police Department, site administrators, teachers, staff, and student leaders to try to make these events as safe and constructive as possible.
  3. Students at some middle schools will be holding walkouts on their own campuses. The idea is for this to be about 17 minutes long (to honor each of the 17 victims in the school shooting in Parkland, Florida last month).
  4. If parents and teachers of elementary students want to engage in action that day, we are encouraging them to focus on themes of inclusivity, respect, and peace rather than gun violence or school shootings.
  5. Students will not be disciplined for walking out that day. They will be disciplined if they break the law or school rules during this time (e.g., vandalizing property, bullying, or causing personal injury to others). 
  6. Students cannot be compelled to walk out or disciplined or marked down for choosing to stay in class.
  7. Students will receive unexcused absences if they walk out. They will also be responsible for making up lost work.
  8. We are encouraging teachers to view the walkouts through an educational lens, by teaching about civic engagement, the history of walkouts, and other relevant, age-appropriate topics.
  9.   On the day of the walkouts, teachers will be assigned to either supervise students walking out of class or supervise students who choose to stay in class.  Staff from district office will also be at the sites to help supervise.
  10. We are expecting media coverage of these events and developing plans to work with reporters while minimizing disruption to our campuses.

Please know our focus is on the learning and on the safety of our students. We hope you will discuss these issues at home with your children so we all can focus together on the reason students are leading collective action and organizing to speak up for peace and safety in these times.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:3/9/18
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ASTI Senior Receives Recognition for Community Service (03/09/2018)

 

 

ASTI senior Ken Der has been recognized as a Prudential Spirit of Community top student volunteer in California.

 

Presented annually by Prudential Financial in partnership with the National Association of Secondary School Principals, the Spirit of Community awards honor young people across the country for their outstanding volunteer service.

 

Ken received a Certificate of Excellence from the company, which means that he has been ranked among the top 10 percent of all applicants in the state.

 

ASTI nominated Ken for national honors this fall in recognition of the volunteer work he does for a number of organizations. Currently he serves on the district’s Board of Education, as well as on ASTI’s School Site Council, School Advisory Committee (which allows students to help develop school policy), and No Place for Hate campaign (which is an anti-bias program coordinated with  the Anti-Defamation League).

 

Over the last several years, he has also served as a math peer tutor and is currently the lead tutor for the after-school math tutoring program at Ruby Bridges Elementary School. “Under Ken’s leadership, this program grew fourfold,” says Principal Tracy Corbally, “and has engaged upwards of 50 ASTI students in community service.  Ken is now in talks to expand the program to Maya Lin.”  Ken received a state-wide student activist award for this work from the California Teachers Association last June.

 

Last year Ken also approached the City of Alameda requesting to intern as a volunteer to improve the bus system in Alameda. In the course of his work, he created an inventory of bus stops that could use benches or bike racks. He recorded his results in an easy-to-read spreadsheet for city staff, who were impressed with his initiative and noted: “If Ken does pursue a career in transportation, he will be a step ahead of this cohort, and he will continue to have a positive influence on his community.”

 

Based on the number of volunteer hours Ken puts in, he also now qualifies for a President’s Volunteer Service Award. 

 

“Ken possesses great compassion, ingenuity, and determination,” Corbally says. “ We are very proud of his accomplishments and deeply appreciate the legacy he will leave at ASTI as future students pick up the mantle of ASTI Initiative and continue Ken’s vision of high school students serving as mentors to district elementary school students. I look forward to seeing what feats Ken accomplishes in the future.”

 

Adds Superintendent Sean McPhetridge, “We are grateful to Ken for his service to others, and I know the Board of Education and I all appreciate his active participation as a student Board Member and as a student leader and role model.”

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:3/9/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


ASTI Students Embark on Civil Rights Pilgrimage (03/02/2018)

 

Two ASTI students are accompanying a bipartisan delegation of US Congressional Representatives this weekend as they embark on a Civil Rights Pilgrimage sponsored by the Faith and Politics Institute.

 

ASTI senior David Gaines and sophomore Charlotte Potes will go as part of their internships with the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Center, where they have been studying the life and teaching of King as well as developing leadership and professional skills.  The ASTI students – along with a group of other Freedom Center youth from neighboring districts – are guests of Congresswoman Barbara Lee (D-California). 

 

Representative John Lewis (D-Georgia) has chaired and led the pilgrimage for many years. This year the trip is expected to be especially poignant because the delegation will stop in at the Lorraine Motel in Memphis to commemorate the 50th anniversary of Martin Luther King, Jr’s assassination.

 

About 30 members of Congress will participate in the pilgrimage, which will also visit: the National Civil Rights Museum in Memphis; the Civil Rights Institute and 16th Street Baptist Church in Birmingham; and the Dexter Avenue King Memorial Baptist Church, the Civil Rights Memorial, Rosa Parks Museum, and the Southern Poverty Law Center in Montgomery.  The pilgrimage concludes in Selma, with a program at the Brown Chapel A.M.E. Church and a walk across the Edmund Pettis Bridge.

 

This year’s pilgrimage is hosted by Senator Doug Jones (D-AL) and Senator Lamar Alexander (R-TN), along with Congressman Lewis. 

 

The Alameda students will be as much teachers as learners on the three-day trip. They will travel on the bus with the representatives, orchestrate reflection circles with them, and give presentations on civil rights and non-violent strategies.

 

When asked if he felt nervous about spending so much time with the representatives, Gaines said: “I see it as an opportunity to help them learn more about the ways of Dr. King.”

 

“AUSD is extremely grateful for the leadership shown by these students,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “We want to praise them for their work as emerging civil rights leaders."

 

Added Dr. Roy Wilson, executive director of the Martin Luther King, Jr. Freedom Center: “History will show that this year, 2018, was a moment of reawakening a spirit in the American people that is moved to protect and serve the common good. This reawakening, while involving all living generations, is propelled by the energy of youth. The role of students integrated into this year’s Congressional Civil Rights Pilgrimage offers hope and encouragement to all.”

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:3/2/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Joint Statement That There is No Threat at LMS (02/26/2018)

 

 

Contacts

Sean McPhetridge (Superintendent)

510-337-7060    

 

Sarah Henry (City of Alameda)

510-747-4714

 

 

This morning Lincoln families contacted Principal Michael Hans to report a disturbing Snapchat message that multiple students were forwarding. In the message there was a reference to an Instagram post suggesting that someone had made a video threatening to “shoot up” “our school” at an undisclosed location. 

 

AUSD staff immediately contacted the Alameda Police Department, who, out of an abundance of caution, sent several officers out to investigate and monitor the situation. Lincoln families were informed of the situation via robocall and emails; AUSD also communicated about the status of the investigation with the public on its home page and on social media.

 

APD investigated and learned from the reporting LMS student that the post viewed on the student’s phone was actually connected to a “Lincoln High School” in Tacoma, Washington. (You can see an article about the Tacoma school threat here.)

 

"We learned from our investigation that there was not a threat to Lincoln Middle School or any school in Alameda today," stated Police Chief Paul Rolleri. "Social media posts related to Lincoln High School in Tacoma, Washington were spread locally that caused many people in our community to feel uncomfortable and afraid. We take every threat to our community and our schools seriously, and through our investigation we learned that students who shared these posts did not make any threats or act in a criminal manner. At this point, APD considers the investigation closed, as there are no known threats related to the City of Alameda or its schools."

 

 “We appreciate the families who brought these concerns forward to Principal Hans and the Alameda Police Department,” Superintendent Sean McPhetridge said. “And while APD and AUSD certainly encourage people to report to us when they hear or see something of concern, we want to remind people that rumors on social media can cause greater disruption to our educational settings. We urge Alamedans to work with the school district and police department directly before posting on social media or contacting the press.”

 

“Again, we thank those who reported directly to APD and AUSD so we could all work together to keep our community and its schools safe.”

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:2/26/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Superintendent's Letter (February 2018)

 

February 22, 2018

 

Dear Community,

 

This is a challenging time for us as a nation, as a state, as a community, and as a school district. The recent school shooting in Florida has understandably resulted in grief and outrage felt by students, teachers, and families there. As a result, there is an increased level of collective action in that state, in Washington DC, and in Alameda schools as well. Just this past week we saw a small number of AUSD students walking out a week after the massacre in Florida, and we can expect more students to walk out on March 14th when a national student walkout is planned.

 

So what does it all mean? What is the takeaway message? Already parents are asking how the district will both keep our students safe from gun violence and support our students who want to express their political concerns. I write today to describe actions we have taken and actions we have planned going forward.

 

Emergency Protocols

I cannot emphasize enough how seriously AUSD takes student and staff safety. Every year our schools run earthquake drills, fire drills, and lockdown drills so that if and when threats to our safety arise, both staff and students know what to do. AUSD has partnered actively and well for years with the Alameda Police Department and other community organizations on these drills – including creating and practicing reunification plans in case students need to be moved off their campus during an emergency. (Our next reunification drill will take place this May.)  AUSD also has had two full-scale active shooter drills (with staff, law enforcement, and student participation) in recent years and is planning another for 2020.  

 

That said, we also aim to review our emergency preparedness training protocols with our families, our students, and our staff in weeks and months ahead so everyone understands the protocols. Please take the time to read the hand-out that AUSD schools provide every year to describe these protocols, as well as details on how AUSD communicates in the event of an emergency. The more prepared we all are, the safer we all will be.

 

Facilities

The key focus of our Measure I facilities bond is safety and security. Steps that are being taken to improve safety and security at our school sites include perimeter fencing, new door locks in classrooms, and reconfiguring school offices where necessary so as to better log and monitor visitors. You can see AUSD’s Safety and Security standards here.  These safety standards were drafted by a committee that included law enforcement personnel, principals, and district office

staff, and they were based on state-of-the-art, “best practice” recommendations from school safety experts.

 

Emotional and Social Wellness

As we have discussed several times in Board of Education meetings and community newsletters, AUSD is in the process of strengthening its anti-bias, anti-bullying, and social-emotional curricula to help students learn to relate to each other in healthier, more inclusive ways. At the same time, we are adjusting how we work with students with behavioral challenges and assessing the mental health needs of students in our schools. Taken together, we believe this work will help us better identify and counsel students who need support as they learn how to manage their emotions and relationships with others.

 

Supporting Walkouts

I want to acknowledge and praise actions taken by students to make themselves heard and raise their voices as young citizens. This past Wednesday — the same day groups of students walked out of our high schools — I was scheduled already to speak with Leadership students at Alameda High School about how they can frame issues and lead collective action. That same day, I also had opportunities to hear the concerns of students who marched to City Hall, witness EHS students gathering in their front quad, and attend the “Political and Proud” rally that students organized that evening there as well. As an educator, it was incredibly gratifying to have these opportunities to watch students act and lead locally in response to national events.

 

I know that we can count on students to continue to speak their minds. We appreciate this opportunity to partner with students and with other community agencies to help ensure students have the opportunity to participate in non-violent social activism and collective action efforts. We also appreciate our students’ passion for making progressive change in the world we share with them. Please know that we will continue to support the students as they share in, fight for, and realize the AUSD vision of an “inclusive, safe, and secure learning environment” that prepares them to be responsible citizens.

 

Sincerely,

Sean McPhetridge, Ed.D

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:2/23/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Tips for Managing This Year's Flu (02/14/2018)

As many families are aware, this year’s flu season is quite severe and in some cases is causing complications that require hospitalization. Please read the following memo to learn how to reduce your child’s risk of getting, spreading, or getting more ill from this year’s influenza.

 

To reduce the risks of getting the flu:

  • Get the flu vaccine if you have not already. It can still help reduce your risk of getting a severe flu this season. (Most health insurance companies cover flu vaccinations. If you do not have insurance, you can find low-cost clinics that provide flu shots here.)
  • Remind students to wash their hands frequently.
  • Remind students to avoid sharing food, drink, and utensils.

To reduce the risks of spreading the flu:

 

If your student is ill, please keep him/her home. AUSD’s policy is that students remain home if they have the following symptoms:

  • A fever of 100 degrees or more
  • Vomiting, diarrhea, or nausea
  • Untreated draining ears or earache
  • Severe sore throat
  • Skin rashes of unknown origin or that require a clearance from a physician to return to school

Please note: Students need to stay home for 24 hours after the symptoms subside. This helps ensure not only his/her recovery but also avoids spreading the flu to more vulnerable people, such as children who have asthma or children who live with elderly people, pregnant women, infants, or people with compromised immune systems. 

 

To avoid the risks of your student developing serious complications

 

Most children who get the flu do not need medical attention. Those who develop symptoms of serious illness, however, need prompt medical attention. Contact your doctor immediately if your child:

  • Has trouble breathing or is breathing very fast
  • Has bluish skin
  • Has a persistent high fever or has one that flares up after subsiding
  • Complains of chest pain
  • Cannot wake up
  • Appears confused or disoriented
  • Has clammy or sweaty skin
  • Has a fever and rash

Please talk to the health clerk at your school if you have more questions.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:2/14/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD Accepting Nominations for Classified Employees of Year (02/05/2018)

 

Do you know a custodian, tradesperson, food services employee, payroll technician, paraprofessional, instructional assistant, school secretary, or office manager in the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) who you think is doing excellent work for children and staff?  Alameda community members can now nominate AUSD employees for the state's Classified School Employee of the Year program. Nominations go first to the school district, which then sends the nominations to the Alameda County Office of Education. The county office, in turn, sends nominations to the California Department of Education (CDE).

 

You can nominate classified AUSD employees in the following five categories:

 

  • Child Nutrition (e.g., food service employees )
  • Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities (e.g., custodians and tradespeople)
  • Office and Technical  (e.g., school site secretaries and office managers)
  • Para-Educator and Instructional Assistance (e.g., paraprofessionals and teacher assistants)
  • Support Services and Security (e.g., campus supervisors, payroll technicians, and student services assistants)

You can read about prior winners in this 2017 press release from the CDE. You can download nomination forms and find detailed instructions here. Once the forms are filled out, please send them to Humera Khalil at hkhalil@alameda.k12.ca.us. The deadline is February 23, 2017 at 5 pm. Please note that each nomination requires three recommendation forms.

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:2/5/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Applications Available for Haight Renaming Committee (02/05/2018)

 

Last December, community member and AUSD alumnus Rasheed Shabazz brought to our attention a startling historical fact: Henry H. Haight, the California governor after whom Haight Elementary School was named, had expressed racist and xenophobic sentiments during his tenure.

 

Because of that, Mr. Shabazz suggested the name of the school should be changed.

 

According to AUSD board policy, the school renaming process has to start with a petition with 100 signatures from school employees, students, and parent/guardians. That step has been completed, and the district is now accepting applications for a School Renaming Committee. School staff, students, parent/guardians, alumni, and representatives of local organizations are all eligible to be a part of this committee.

 

The Renaming Committee will be responsible for both choosing a potential new name and surveying the school community to see if people think the school should adopt that one or keep the current one. If the majority of respondents prefers the new name, the committee will submit it to the Superintendent for consideration. If he approves of it, he will submit it to the Board of Education, which will publicize the name and solicit community response. After receiving that response, the Board will decide whether or not to approve the name.

 

The Haight community has now generated the signed petition, and the principal is taking applications for the School Renaming Committee. You can find that application here. Applicants must be students, family members, alumni, or staff at Haight Elementary School or members of community or business organizations in the neighborhood. The deadline for the applications is February 28 at 5 pm. Please return the applications to Chad Pimentel (cpimentel@alamedaunified.org).

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:2/5/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Superintendent's Letter (January, 2018)


January 30, 2018


Dear Community,


Lately there has been talk around town about potential cuts to programs at our school sites. So far, this talk is preliminary. The Board of Education has not yet formally considered these ideas, and no decisions have been made. We will begin having community meetings about the AUSD budget and possible cuts next month. In the meantime, however, I know people are understandably concerned, and I’d like to help you understand what’s happening. We need everyone to be informed and understand why we are here.


The Board of Education has directed my staff and me to review budget priorities in light of the fact that, despite recent raises, our AUSD employees are still among the lowest paid public school district employees in the county. Last fall the district used deferred maintenance funds to offset escalating costs of pensions and special education.  Two years ago we also cut 10% from central office department budgets. Those are excellent examples of cutting “away from the classroom” in order to reprioritize spending.


But to further increase AUSD salaries, we would need still more money.


How much money? A 1% salary increase for AUSD employees costs about $750,000. As such, a 5% salary increase would cost $3,750,000. A 10% salary increase would cost $7,500,000. Twenty percent would cost $15 million. That’s a lot of money for an agency with a $100 million budget.


Right now AUSD’s finances are healthy. In fact, while many districts in the Bay Area are slashing their budgets due to deficits, AUSD is continuing to pass multi-year budgets and get good feedback on annual audits. However, we do not have millions of surplus dollars to fund raises. The only way we can free up that money is by making cuts elsewhere. And the only way we can choose which cuts to make is to put every possible option on the table and talk about it with the Board and public.


In other words, the district is trying to provide as much flexibility as possible by coming up with as many options as possible and then having community-wide conversations in Board of Education meetings about what our educational values are and what our budget priorities should be.


These will not be easy conversations. They will no doubt trigger claims that “the district” and “the Board” are to blame - that we’re cheap, or we don’t know how to manage money, or we don’t care about teachers or children. I invite you to go beyond this kind of divisive and simplistic thinking so we can explore the deeper roots of our funding problem: the inadequate funding from the state. This is a historic problem really.


In 2009 and 2010, the state radically cut public school funding because of the recession.  In 2013, California legislators approved the “Local Control Funding Formula” as the new mechanism for funding the state’s public schools. Under that formula, all school districts get a similar “base funding,” and school districts with higher percentages of “unduplicated students” (i.e., English Language Learners, low-income students, and foster youth) receive supplemental funding on top of that. Over the last five years, the state has been slowly but surely adding to that base funding. But at the same time, the state has mandated how that funding can be used, while also shifting the burden of pension costs onto districts and employees.  So even as funding has increased, so too have our mandated expenditures. 


This is dirty pool. It is a shell game. The state continues to shortchange us.


To make matters worse, politicians are now claiming that LCFF is “fully funded.” This is a bunch of malarkey. California schools remain among the lowest funded in the nation. LCFF has simply gotten us back to the 2007-08 funding levels – what it was before the state cut funding during the Great Recession. That money isn’t enough for school districts to provide quality programs and better salaries, not to mention our increased share of pensions and spiraling special education costs.


Current state funding simply isn’t enough for AUSD to provide both high-quality programs and higher raises. Some districts do indeed pay their employees more. Many factors play into this disparity, but the three most important ones are: 1) they have higher percentages of “unduplicated” students and so receive more state money; 2) they have higher parcel taxes; and 3) their class sizes are higher.


What’s the solution? On the state funding side, AUSD is now working with the School Funding Coalition to create the collective action it will take from the


legislators and voters of California to make changes to how public education is funded in this state. We have had meetings with our local legislators, and we have worked with other districts and with the Alameda County Office of Education to make ourselves heard by legislators.  I would like to encourage our public, too, to direct their concerns and outrage to legislators of the State of California who don’t seem to care enough about your families or our employees to actually work on adequate educational funding in this state.  The reason we have limited resources is clearly inadequate funding from the state.


Locally, please be assured that none of us want to cut programs. But we need to have some frank discussions about where we are as a state and as a district, and we need people to engage in civil discussions about problems we have faced for decades before us and problems we probably will be facing for decades ahead.  We will start having community meetings about the district’s priorities in February. We will also send out a survey to gauge public opinion on spending priorities. And we will be launching a website with easy-to-understand information about the district’s budget, the state funding system, and how we compare with other districts in the county. Our intention is to provide as much factual information to the public as possible. We need people to know the whole story so we all are aware of the challenges we face.


I ask all of us to put our thinking caps on and prepare for serious discussions and dedicated inquiry.  We are a unified school district, and I know our community has long supported our students and our teachers. We look forward to hearing your thoughts. And we look forward to us coming together to review the facts so we can collaborate on fixing problems instead of simply fixing blame. We will need to make sense of this together, and that is what we aim to do.


Sincerely,


Sean McPhetridge, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:2/1/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Spelling Bee Registration Open! (01/19/2018)

 

 

Registration is now open for the 2018 Alameda Spelling Bee!

 

Sponsored by the Alameda Elks, the Spelling Bee is open to students in grades 4-9 who live or attend school in Alameda. The event will be held at Otis Elementary School from 9:30 am to 12 pm on February 3.

 

Depending on the number of entrants, there may be a written as well as an oral spelling bee. The written test will determine a group of 25-30 spellers who will participate in the oral bee.

Prizes will be given to the winning spellers. In addition, the top winners of the Alameda Spelling Bee will be sponsored to participate in the Alameda County Elementary Bee (Grades 4-6) and/or the Alameda County Junior High Bee (Grades 7-9). Both will be held on March 10. The top two winners of the Alameda County competitions, in turn, will be sponsored to participate in the California State Spelling Bee in May.

 

Visit http://alamedaspellingbee.org to find more information and register. The registration deadline is February 1, 2018.

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:1/19/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Nominate a Teacher for AUSD's Teacher of the Year! (01/12/2018)

Do you know a teacher who goes above and beyond in (and out of) the classroom? Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) is now accepting nominations for its Teacher of the Year program.

 

“This is one of my favorite annual programs,” says Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “It is an excellent forum for showcasing the creativity, commitment, and professionalism of the teachers in our district.”

 

The Nomination Process

 

Nomination forms are available on the Employee Recognition section page of AUSD’s website. Anyone can nominate a teacher; the deadline to submit nominations to the nominee’s principal is 3 pm on February 2, 2018. 

 

After being nominated, AUSD teachers who meet the county and state criteria are invited to participate in the next phase of the process, which requires them to submit an application packet (including a resume, an introductory letter, and letters of support) to the district office.

 

The AUSD Teacher of the Year Selection Committee then meets to screen applications and determine which applicants will move onto the next phase: classroom observations. During that stage, the Selection Committee members visit classrooms, interview finalists, and determine this year’s Teacher of the Year. This year the members of the Selection Committee are:

 

  • Ardella Dailey, Ed.D. (Vice President, Board of Education)
  • Judith Klinger (President, Alameda Education Association)
  • Drew Sarratore (Principal, Paden Elementary School)
  • Page Tomblin (President, PTA Council)
  • Sandy Wong (Coordinator, AUSD Human Resources
  • Kevin Gorham (2017 Teacher of the Year)
  • Amanda Cline (2016 Teacher of the Year)
  • John Dalton (2015 Teacher of the Year)

The winner will be honored by the Board of Education in May and by the Alameda County Office of Education in the fall. He or she also becomes eligible for the Alameda County Teacher of the Year Award, as well as potentially the State Teacher of the Year Award.

 

In recent years, the award has gone to a wide range of teachers, including: a kindergarten teacher who uses art lessons to help her children master academic standards and express themselves (Mandie Cline, Ruby Bridges Elementary School); a middle school teacher who started an innovative anti-bullying program (Chris Hansen, Lincoln Middle School); and a high school teacher who helps his students learn the craft of media production and storytelling (John Dalton, Alameda High School). 

 

The 2017 Teacher of the Year is Kevin Gorham, who teaches at Encinal Jr. & Sr. High School. He was honored for his ability to engage students and his leadership on developing a broadcast media studio at his school. He was named a 2017 Alameda County Teacher of the Year last October.

 

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:1/12/18
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Superintendent's Letter (December, 2017)

 

Superintendent’s December 2017 Letter to the Community

 

December is a time when we end a calendar year and acknowledge shorter days and longer nights. Some of us celebrate religious holidays, and some of us simply celebrate time with families and friends.  However you celebrate, on this Solstice Day I want to reflect on the light and dark in the year behind us and make commitments for the year ahead. A wise man once said you can make sense of life looking backwards, but you have to live it walking forwards.  Hopefully we all can move forward together in dialogue, in inquiry, and in a shared quest for better outcomes for the children we serve.

 

Without question, this has been a hard year, perhaps one of the hardest I’ve experienced in my years with AUSD. The year began with a federal ban on immigrants from Muslim countries, a xenophobic act that struck fear and outrage in the hearts of many of our community members. In February, a beloved board member, Solana Henneberry, passed away. A few short weeks later, we discovered that Lum Elementary School was seismically unsafe, and we began to explore moving students and staff off the campus for the 2017-18 school year. Throughout the year, we have also seen more reports of anti-Semitic and racist incidents. These reports also triggered fear and outrage in our community, as well as no small measure of divisiveness between and among individuals. Alameda, we have seen, is neither separate nor immune from the larger social forces in our country.

 

And yet on this shortest day of the year, I must also talk about the rays of light I see. In the last 12 months, we became one of the first districts to identify ourselves as a Safe Haven District for immigrant children. We passed a resolution that affirmed our pledge to support all students. We convened a Jewish Education Round Table that will advise AUSD on issues of multicultural education, bias, and responding to anti-Semitism when it occurs. Three of our schools (Alameda High School, ASTI, and Otis Elementary) have begun working with the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) “No Place for Hate” program, and all of our teachers and managers have now received first steps in anti-bias training from that organization. In November, we held our first “Beyond ‘Everyone Belongs Here’” event to address issues of bias in our district; on January 30 we will hold a second workshop in that series.

 

Meanwhile, last week teacher Audrey Hyman won the prestigious David Sanchez award from California Teachers Association for her advocacy of LGBTQ rights.  Audrey was instrumental to our work with the LGBTQ Round Table over past years, and she was instrumental to the “Everyone Belongs Here” campaign taking hold in the district and in the

 

broader community. Audrey, who also introduced AUSD to ADL last spring, is a compassionate leader in promoting the cause of civil rights for all people. I thank her for her service, and I am grateful for the light she has brought us in our lives.

 

I also want to thank community member, AUSD alumnus, and local activist Rasheed Shabazz for calling our attention to the fact that the namesake of Haight Elementary School, former California Governor Henry Haight, was both a racist and a xenophobe. The process to rename a school needs to be initiated by the school community, but I strongly believe that as a community we should not allow schools to be named after people whose views were reprehensible and counter to the foundational principles our nation, our cities, and our schools are meant to represent. While we may be uncomfortable with confronting the ugly truths of bias and racism in our lives and in our history, I am grateful to those who name problems and work with us to fix those problems instead of merely fixing blame.

 

We are at our best here in Alameda when we partner together to solve issues and serve children and families. I want to thank and acknowledge the many AUSD employees and families, as well as members of the broader community, who are working with us to make our school district and our island a more loving, inclusive community for our children and families. We need a new civil rights movement in this country, and I strongly believe we have one here in Alameda. We are dealing with difficult issues, and we sometimes lash out due to our own fear of the darker forces at play in the world. But we have bold and honest people who are pointing out injustices and who are working side by side with us to create more light, more kindness, and more support.

 

We are grateful and honored to work with all who are contributing to that cause. And we are grateful and honored to work with all who are treating others as they themselves would want to be treated, whether that be through their participation in round tables dedicated to advising and partnering with us to improve upon social problems that impact us or in other committees aimed at providing the advocacy and action needed for a better world. As we close a challenging year, let us look forward to ongoing dialogue and inquiry as we work together for a better future.

 

Sincerely,

Sean McPhetridge, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

 

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:12/22/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Teacher Audrey Hyman Receives Award from CTA (12/14/2017)

 

Audrey Hyman, a teacher at Edison Elementary School and former president of the Alameda Education Association, has won the prestigious David Sanchez GLBT Leadership Award from the California Teachers Association.

 

The award honors those who have supported, promoted, recognized, and educated the education community regarding gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered (GLBT) issues. It is named after CTA President David A. Sanchez, who was both the first Hispanic CTA President and the first openly gay CTA President. 

 

Ms. Hyman was a member of AUSD’s LGBTQ Round Table from 2012 to 2017. During her time as a member, she supported efforts to strengthen Gay Straight Alliances at the secondary schools, helped clarify how proposed initiatives might affect teachers, and  worked to support the district’s LGBTQ employees. She was also instrumental to the “Everyone Belongs Here” campaign launched by the round table in 2015. That poster has become an intrinsic part of the inclusive culture of AUSD and the broader Alameda community.

 

“I count Audrey as both a friend and colleague and am so happy she was recognized for her work,” says Gene Kahane, an English teacher at Encinal Jr. & Sr. High School and a current co-chair of the LGBTQ Round Table. “Her contributions to the round table have been significant and deserve recognition and celebration. She's also been a special mentor - showing me how to be a queer ally and a role model to my fellow teachers.”

 

Currently, Ms. Hyman is president of the City of Alameda’s Social Service and Human Relations Board.  

 

“I am grateful to have known Audrey as a colleague, and I want to thank her for her consistent record of speaking up for the rights of all people,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “As we put a close to 2017, I thank Audrey for her leadership and for her example of compassionate service to others.”

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:12/14/17
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ASTI Seniors Receive Congressional Recognition (12/13/2017)

Two seniors at Alameda Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) received Congressional Recognition yesterday for their entry into the Congressional App Challenge.

 

The challenge aims to inspire efforts around STEM, coding, and computer science education by engaging students from communities that are traditionally underrepresented in technology and connecting them with their Congressional representatives.

 

The ASTI students - Vivian Phung and Raymong Huang - received recognition from Representative Barbara Lee of the 13th District for their Gender Neutral Restroom For All App. The web-based application allows people to find gender-neutral bathrooms in any part of the country by linking to a database of some 50 million establishments with gender neutral bathrooms in the US.

 

 “Everyone needs safe places to go to the bathroom,” says Phung. “This helps people find them.”

 

Gender segregated restrooms feel comfortable to people who identify as either “male” or “female.’ But for transgender people and people who otherwise don’t conform to binary notions of gender (i.e., male or female), using those bathrooms can feel uncomfortable or even dangerous. As a result, more and more establishments across the country are offering “gender neutral” bathrooms. In California all public school districts are required to offer at least one at every site.

 

Phung learned to code at a “Girls Who Code” program at Facebook last summer. She is also a youth and gender activist who was appointed by the Hayward City Council to rewrite the City of Hayward’s Anti-Discrimination Policy.  She developed GNR for All as part of an activity in ASTI teacher Brian Rodriguez’s Humanities Seminar.

 

Huang designed his first website while in the 3rd grade and hopes to study computer technology after graduation. He worked with Vivian to make the app more user friendly.   “I was surprised in the cosmopolitan Bay Area that there was no app to help those with such a basic human need.  I am proud to have worked on it,” he says.

 

The app displayed in the Capitol Building in Washington, DC. “AUSD is proud of these students’ work to provide for others and advocate for the civil rights of all people,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge.

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:12/13/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


State Releases Updated Accountability “Dashboard” (12/12/2017)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:        

Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

Board President Gary Lym (510) 337-7187     

 

 

 

Alameda, Calif. — December 12, 2017 —  The State Board of Education (SBE) and the California Department of Education (CDE) have released the Fall 2017 “California School Dashboard,” a website that features easy-to-read reports on multiple measures of school success, including test scores, graduation rates, absenteeism, and suspension rates.

 

The dashboard, a key piece in California’s new school accountability system, replaces the Academic Performance Index (API). That system, which relied exclusively on standardized tests and gave each school just one numerical score, was suspended four years ago. The new system provides 10 different measures (six state and four local) of a school’s “performance,” which is defined as a combination of current status and growth over time.

 

The dashboard uses pie chart indicators and tables to display meaningful information about district and school performance that local communities can use in making important decisions about their schools. A description of those graphics is included at the end of this press release.

 

“A Multi-Dimensional View”

 

The six state measures are: Academic Achievement, Career/College Readiness, Graduation Rate, Suspension Rate, English Learner Progress, and Chronic Absenteeism. The four local measures are Basic Services and School Conditions; Parent Engagement; School Climate; and Implementation of Academic Standards.  Indicators are given both for the district and school as a whole and for various demographic subgroups.

 

Last March (2017), the state released a partial dashboard that left out some data or used data from previous years. The dashboard released this week includes more up-to-date data on all of the indicators except Career/College Readiness.

 

 

“This fall release gives us more current data, which brings us several steps closer to having comprehensive performance results for all of our schools and students,” says Chief Academic Officer Steven Fong. “This multi-dimensional view, in turn, lets us more closely assess both the effect of our recent efforts and the current needs of our students.”

 

AUSD Results

 

Taken as a whole, AUSD continues to be a high-performing district, receiving green marks for the five state indicators for which the state supplied data: Academic Achievement; Graduation Rate; Suspension Rate; English Learner Progress; and Chronic Absenteeism. AUSD performs better than the county and state average in most indicators, as well. For instance, our overall chronic absenteeism rate is 8.9% versus 10.9% for the county and 10.8% for the state.

 

Within the overall numbers, some student groups scored very highly in some areas. For instance the following groups were ranked blue (or “highest performance”)

 

  • Asian students for suspensions and mathematics
  • Filipino students for graduation
  • White students for English Language Arts

 

The data also shows that certain student groups are struggling more than others.  Within that same chronic absenteeism category, for instance, African American, American Indian, Hispanic, and Pacific Islander students have rates that are 2% to 4% greater than the district average. Similarly, although AUSD ranked “green” (“high performance”) on its suspension rate, Students with Disabilities, African Americans, and Foster Youth scored red (“lowest performance”) in that category.

 

Indeed, students with disabilities received “red” for suspension rate, graduation, and English Language Arts.  And under the new accountability system, districts with student groups that are low-performing (red) across two or more state dashboard indicators will be eligible for “differentiated assistance.” Those districts will work with their county offices of education to identify the causes of the subgroup’s struggle and develop ways to support them. 

 

About 200 districts across the state qualify for differentiated assistance.

 

Over the last several years, AUSD’s Department of Special Education has begun analyzing and formulating improvements to the special education programs offered at its school sites. The Special Education Strategic Planning Group (comprised of teachers, staff, administrators, and parent/guardians) is developing a comprehensive three- to five-year plan for the delivery of special education services in the district. The district is also implementing both Multi-Tiered Systems of Support (MTSS) and Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) in its schools.

 

 “I am hopeful that the work we are doing district wide with MTSS and PBIS as well as the changes that we will be implementing in special education will better address the range of needs that our students who receive special education services have,” says Chief Student Support Officer Kirsten Zazo. “The data released yesterday shines a light on the areas in which we – with the county’s help – can offer more support to our most vulnerable students.”

 

“While we are pleased to see the success of many of our learners, we must acknowledge and respond to this report’s data showing the additional work required of us to marshall resources and focus our efforts toward improving outcomes for our youth in need of additional support,” says Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “We know this data supports our work with the strategic plan, MTSS, and PBIS. We look forward to reinforcing that work going forward.”

 

###

 

 

Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves more than 9600 students in Alameda, California, an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area.  For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

 

 

How to Use the State’s Accountability Measures

 

Dashboard

 

On the Dashboard, a school’s or district’s performance on each measure is displayed as a pie chart indicator  with a full blue pie illustrating  “very high” performance and a red pie with just one slice illustrating “very low” performance.  Green, yellow, and orange signify varying intermediate levels.  Clicking on the indicators brings up more detailed information on the group’s most recent “status” on the measure, as well as its change over time.

 

A sample report from the AUSD dashboard.
 

 

Five by Five Placement Reports

 

To display a school’s or district’s performance (which, again, is a combination of status and change over time), the state also provides color-coded Five by Five Placement Reports for the state indicators.  On these charts, the different colors can signify very different types of performance. For instance, a school that had very low achievement on one measure but increased significantly is ranked “yellow.” So, too, is a school that has very high achievement but declined significantly, as evident in the chart below. Similarly, a school that had medium status but increased is “green,” as is a school that maintained a high status.

 


 

 

For more basic background, please see this video, which was produced by the Alameda County Office of Education. There are also resources on the CDE Dashboard webpage.

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:12/12/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AHS Students Learn from Holocaust Survivor (12/1/2017)

More than 400 sophomores at Alameda High School learned about the horrors of Nazi concentration camps from a Holocaust survivor last month.

 

The speaker, Ben Stern, was born to Jewish parents in Warsaw in 1921. Between 1939 and 1945, he survived two ghettos, nine concentration camps, and a grueling “Death March” from Buchenwald to the Tryolian Mountains. During the two assemblies AHS organized, Stern and his daughter, Charlene, showed a moving documentary about his experiences (“Near Normal Man”) and then answered questions from the teenagers in the audience.

 

AHS tries to organize such assemblies every year for sophomores, who study the Holocaust in their history classes. “Anytime we can provide young learners with first-hand accounts of the history and experiences of members of our community, those learners are enlightened and emboldened to act so that such tragedies are not repeated,” explains AHS Principal Robert Ithurburn. Because of these and other efforts, in the spring of 2016 the Jewish Federation of the East Bay recognized AHS teachers for their exemplary work on educating students about the Holocaust.

 

“We didn’t feel human”

 

During the assemblies last month, Stern also provided students with a glimpse into the deep trauma of losing loved ones (all of Stern’s family perished in the ghetto and camps), witnessing unimaginable cruelty, and then trying to create a normal life in the aftermath.

 

“My wife and I didn’t feel human until we had our first child,” Stern says now. “She was a living thing that came out of us – it was so sweet.”

 

But Stern and his daughter Charlene (who produced the documentary) also emphasized Stern’s resilience.  Throughout all of his experiences, Stern says, he was determined to “go on, to not give in,” despite starvation, illness, and unimaginable loss. “We were half skeletons,” he says of the 7000 other prisoners on the death march. “I barely could walk myself. But I would tell myself, ‘you just got to keep going.’” Only 155 other prisoners survived that march; Stern weighed 78 pounds when the Americans liberated the prisoners.

 

Continuing to fight Nazis

 

After the war, Stern and his wife (also a Holocaust survivor) moved to Skokie, Illinois, which at the time had the highest percentage of Jewish residents in the country. There his resilience took a new form. In response to a Nazi plan to march through Skokie in 1977, Stern helped organize a demonstration that attracted 60,000 Jewish people and their allies. The massive show of support disrupted the Nazis’ plan. It also sparked a debate about hate speech and the First Amendment that continues to this day.

 

This past August – a full forty years after his Skokie activism - Stern again led a group of Jewish demonstrators to protest a right-wing rally in Berkeley.  And again, the right-wing rally was canceled. Speaking from a flatbed truck, he called on the counter-demonstrators to “rise above hatred” and to never forget the 60 million people who were killed in WWII.

 

“I hope you recognize that I was once a teen ager just like all of you,” Stern told the Alameda High students. “I have seen things that are so hard to describe to young people. But I decided I would tell my story and I would keep telling it. It is part of how I became human again. We cannot let this happen again.”

 

###

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:12/1/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Wood Principal & Two Students Win “Women Who Dare” Awards (11/17/2017)

We are so pleased to announce that Wood Middle School principal Cammie Harris and students from Encinal High School and ASTI have been selected as Women Who Dare Awardees by Girls Inc. of the Island City.

 

The annual awards recognize women and teens who exemplify the Girls, Inc. qualities of “strong, smart, and bold” and provide powerful role models for girls. 

 

Wood Middle School Principal Cammie Harris was chosen for her many accomplishments at her school, including establishing a Technology and Design Lab; securing grants for a Robotics Club; ushering in the school’s innovative STEAM program; and helping the school win a 2017 Gold Ribbon for STEAM-Integrated Learning. 

 

 

 

Joey Gong, a senior at ASTI, is being honored for her academic and extracurricular achievements. When she graduates this June, Joey will become the first person in her family to attend college. She will also already have earned two Associate of Arts degrees. Joey’s leadership roles include student body president, vice president of the PTSA, and past member of the School Site Council. Additionally, Joey serves as Interact president and vice president of the Red Cross Club, and she tutors children, raises money for burn victims, and volunteers to help the homeless.

 

My Tam Tran (or “Tammy”), a senior at Encinal High School, is ranked in the top 5% of her class with a 4.48 GPA.  She is a National Honor Society member, and her extracurricular activities include Red Cross, Muslim Student Association, Vietnamese Club, and DECA. She has participated in two mentor programs through UC Berkeley and interned with the Oakland District Attorney Justice Academy. She has completed nearly 600 hours of community service, and she has received awards in Varsity Tennis.

 

The Women Who Dare awards ceremony and luncheon will be held February 10, 2018 at the Oakland Scottish Rite Center. Tickets are available here.

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:11/17/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Two AUSD Teachers Win STEM Awards (11/17/102)

 

Two AUSD teachers placed in the Fuel Your School STEM contest last month. 

 

Sponsored by Chevron in collaboration with DonorsChoose.org and Maker Ed, the contest was open to teachers in Alameda and Contra Costa County who posted Science, Technology, Engineering, and Math (STEM) projects on the Donors Choose website.

 

The projects had to be “maker” projects (i.e., those that included opportunities for students to tinker, build, design, and problem solve). Each project was judged on four criteria: whether it aligns with a core STEM concept, whether it represents maker education, the originality of the project, and the feasibility of the project. DonorsChoose chose 20 of the 45 submissions in the first phase of the judging; Maker Ed then chose the top three finalists.

 

Elephants on a Bridge

Erin Head, the teacher/librarian at Paden Elementary School, won theYoung girl creating bridge with plastic elephants on it. First Place prize of $5000 in the contest for her “STEM in the Library: Building Bridges, Building Empathy.” Ms. Head’s aim is to expand the Makerspace in her school’s library by purchasing books and other materials to combine reading and “making.”

 

Her award-winning project involves students reading 21 Elephants, a true story about how P.T. Barnum led 21 elephants across the Brooklyn Bridge to prove it was safe. Ms. Head will then challenge her students to work in small groups to build a bridge that holds 21 plastic elephants. You can see a video of Ms. Head explaining the project here. The students will also read Strictly No Elephants, a story about a boy who is ostracized because he has a pet elephant.

 

“Literature is a great tool for developing empathy because it provides opportunities for kids to see themselves reflected in stories and also a chance to imagine themselves in someone else’s shoes,” Ms. Head says.

 

Mousetraps and Solar Power

Pamela Schaffer, an 8th-grade science teacher at Wood Middle School, won Second Place (and $2500) for a mousetrap car building project that she introduced last year. The project helps students learn about the physics of energy, force, and motion by designing and building model

vehicles using springs from mouse traps to power their cars. The Chevron award will allow Ms. Schaffer to add solar and electromagnetic powered vehicles to the project.

 

A mouse trap car with a pink flower and a very detailed sketch in background.As a STEAM-integrated learning school, students will document their projects and explain the science behind them in websites they’ll create in their English classes,” Schaeffer says. “They will also analyze test data and make calculations of the energy, force, acceleration, and momentum of their vehicles in Math. This Project Based Learning experience provides students with an authentic challenge using science to address real world issues and helps them develop and use critical thinking, problem solving, creativity, collaboration, and communication skills across the curriculum.”

 

Congratulations to these two forward-thinking teachers. We can’t wait to hear how their projects turn out!

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:11/17/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Students, Staff Continue Helping Fire Victims (11/16/2017)

 

Students and staff at a number of AUSD schools have continued to organize relief efforts for those affected by the fires up north last month.

 

Wood Middle School students, for instance, collected clothing for victims of the fires.  Edison Elementary school students also collected clothing, including 685 pairs of socks and 378 pairs of underwear. And Alameda High School leadership students coordinated with other relief efforts on the island to collect donations at the school and then get them up to the North Bay.

 

Bay Farm School students collected more than 700 new and gently A photo of a cute bookmark made by a child.used books for students affected by the fires. The Bay Farm students also created handmade bookmarks, each of which had a note or a picture on it. Roxanne Clement, Bay Farm School’s teacher/librarian, delivered these “Libraries in a Box” to the Sonoma County Office of Education last weekend. 

 

In recent years, the Bay Farm School Library in a Box program has also provided books to students affected by other natural disasters (such as Hurricane Katrina, Super Storm Sandy, and fires in Riverside) and those in shelters in Alameda and Oakland.

 

“’Library in a Box’ is one of my favorite projects because it is a ‘Kids to Kids’ authentic project,” Clement says. “Children are empowered and truly make a difference in the lives of their peers by giving of themselves and encouraging a love of reading (while perhaps finding some new books they want to read themselves).”

 

Photo of boxes with  Library in a Box  stickersNotes Superintendent Sean McPhetridge, “This time of year, we especially give thanks and feel gratitude to students, staff, and families who have given of themselves to provide relief to those in need.”

 

 

 

                                                          

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:11/16/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


LMS Visitor Posed No Threat, APD Says (11/13/2017)

 

 

Contacts:

 

Superintendent Sean McPhetridge

(510) 337-7060

 

Chief of Police Paul Rolleri

(510) 337-8300

 

Public Information Officer Sarah Henry

(510) 747-4714

 

For Immediate Release

November 13, 2017

 

Following an autodialer message sent to the Lincoln Middle School (LMS) community last week, social media reports over the weekend detailed two incidents in which a young man visited the LMS campus last week and made some disturbing comments. Families understandably have had concerns about the comments and questions about how this situation is being handled.  We are writing today to let you know how the situation has been handled and to prevent the spread of speculation and fear on social media.

 

AUSD Superintendent Sean McPhetridge, Chief of Police Paul Rolleri, and LMS Principal Michael Hans jointly worked to respond to this situation over the weekend. We would like to reassure all community members that officers with the Alameda Police Department (APD) have investigated the situation, interviewed the young man in question, and believe he does not pose a threat to LMS or any other campus in Alameda. No crime has been committed, and the young man who was questioned apologized for his remarks.  He also apologized for unintended concerns that were raised because of it, and he has agreed to stay away from the campus.

 

To help reassure families, APD stationed several officers at LMS throughout the day today. In addition, LMS staff have been briefed on the incident, including being made aware of the identity of the young man who made the comments, as have all AUSD principals. At the end of the day today, APD will re-evaluate the deployment of officers on campus.

 

Please know that all AUSD schools drill for campus intruder incidences, and many APD officers are trained in school crisis intervention and response. We believe that as a community we are fully prepared to assess and respond to a wide variety of circumstances so that we can keep students, staff, and the community safe.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:11/13/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Tips for Safe Driving at Dusk (11/09/2017)

Earlier this week, an AUSD elementary school student was hit by a car on the East End. Several days earlier a teen was hit by a car on the West End. Both accidents occurred around dusk.

 

While we encourage community members to drive carefully at all hours of the day, we urge you to be especially careful in the late afternoon and early evening, when the angle of the sun and growing darkness reduce visibility. We reached out to Officer Adam McCallon of the Alameda Police Department for advice about safer driving in the dark. He sent us these tips:

  • Keep windows clean to avoid increased glare and condensation.
  • Visually scan both sides of an intersection for pedestrians crossing in a marked or unmarked crosswalk.
  • Don't blind others - if you are using your high beams, dim your lights when faced with another driver.
  • Help drivers see you in twilight by turning your headlights on before sunset and keeping them on for an hour after sunrise.
  • Have your eyes checked regularly for problems which can affect your night vision.
  • Be aware that other road users may behave erratically, so be prepared to give them more space.
  • Watch out for pedestrians, especially near bars and restaurants around closing time.
  • Allow more time for your own journey, so you're not driving under pressure.
  • If you can, dim your dashboard lights to reduce reflections and avoid reducing your night vision.

Please remember that students are often walking or riding home around 3 pm in the afternoon and again around 5 or 6 pm. And please also remember that the speed limit in most areas of Alameda is 25 miles per hour. Thank you for driving safely!

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:11/9/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Superintendent's Letter (11/9/2017)

         November 9, 2017

 

         Dear community partners,

 

Last week the Alameda Board of Education and I received a letter and saw a press release written by a local ACLU affiliate that claimed our school district had banned students from supporting the Black Lives Matter movement. That statement is simply false. We support our students’ rights to freedom of expression on this important issue.

 

There is some misinformation out there because of how this was reported. We are disappointed the local ACLU affiliate failed to reach out to us and gather all the facts before issuing erroneous reports to the public. The public has now seen and responded to this information without knowing all the facts. It is perhaps just a sign of the times we all live in now. Instead of reaching out to us to know the facts in this matter, some people rushed to judge and make pronouncements based on inaccurate social media reports and emails taken out of context. We want to set the record straight on this issue, and we now need to remind people that it requires dialogue and inquiry to do so.

 

On our campuses, students openly support Black Lives Matter on a daily basis by wearing t-shirts, making artwork, and talking about the movement and the meaning of the slogan. A picture is worth a thousand words. Here is a photograph I took yesterday of a beautiful tile mural entitled “Black Lives Matter: Emancipate Yourselves” that Encinal Jr./Sr. High School students created with faculty member Christina Craig-Chardon back in 2016. The mural is a permanent and weather-proof installation that is prominently displayed on the school’s campus year-round. Students designed and created the mural, and hundreds of students see it daily walking from class to class. This mural is a constant reminder to all on campus that the school and district support students’ freedom of expression.

 

The ACLU publicly asked us to reverse our ban on students’ freedom of expression on the issue of Black Lives Matter. But there never was a ban to reverse. To the contrary, we have long supported students advocating for their belief in the positive and uplifting message that Black Lives Matter. The mural proves that fact. We want the ACLU and the public to know we stand by the rights of students and staff to express their opinions in constructive dialogue, and we welcome our students and staff engaging in healthy and civil debate on social issues that are impacting our community and nation. And we also want to welcome dialogue with the ACLU and others who want to know more.

 

Sadly, local and national reporting alike misrepresent the facts of this issue if and when the focus is on attention grabbing headlines without documenting the full story. Again, please know we invite and welcome phone calls and personal meetings with any and all who want to further their understanding of district policies, but we are troubled by the local ACLU affiliate’s false claim that we have banned students from expressing themselves about the Black Lives Matter movement on our campuses. It is simply not true.

 

To be fair, ACLU’s reporting on this represents our policies inaccurately and also shows ACLU in an unfavorable light because the organization failed to speak with us before issuing their letter and press release. We agree with ACLU’s defense of freedom of expression. However, it is also a disservice to our common cause of fair treatment and improved understanding when false truth claims lack the evidence to back them up. We believe ACLU as an organization can do better than this, and all we ask is that people meet and speak with us so they can know the whole truth before they make misinformed claims about our district. We look forward to the truth being known, and we invite and welcome the ACLU and others to speak with us so they can know and accurately represent the facts.

 

Sincerely,

 

Sean McPhetridge, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:11/9/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Budget Update (11/3/2017)

Last week, we published an article alerting the community to several fiscal challenges AUSD is facing. This week we are providing an update and a correction to that article.

 

Update

In last week’s primer, we explained that one budgetary concern is the fate of Measure B1, which is an extension of the current Measure A parcel tax. As we noted last week, a small group of plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the measure last February. This week, we learned that the judge in this case had issued a “tentative ruling” in AUSD’s favor.  While this is not a final decision, we are hopeful that the measure will stand so that we can count on the $12 million per year it provides.

 

Because of this development, the Alameda County Office of Education is no longer requiring AUSD to submit a proposed list of budget cuts by mid-December.  Some budget cuts still need to be made due to the other factors discussed in the primer; these will be addressed in the course of our usual budget updates to the Board of Education.

 

You can find information about Measure A and Measure B1 here.

 

Correction

Another budgetary concern discussed in last week’s primer was low salaries.

 

In that section, we noted that AUSD salaries remain among the lowest in the county even though employees have received “15%” in raises since 2013. This is not accurate. AUSD teachers have received 13% in ongoing salary increases since the 2012-2013 school year.  In addition, they received a 1.25% one-time increase in 2013-14.  In 2015-16, the district and the teacher’s union also agreed to allot a 1% increase to: dental benefits; a stipend for speech therapists; and hourly salaries.

 

The latter two items should not have been counted as “salary increases.” We apologize for the error in calculation.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:11/3/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Two Adult School Teachers Win Awards (11/02/2017)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:    

 

Sean McPhetridge, Superintendent (510) 337-7060 and

Gary Lym, President, Board of Education (510) 337-7187

 

Two Adult School Teachers Win Awards

 

Alameda, California ­– November 2, 2017 – Two teachers at the Alameda Adult School have won awards from the California Teachers of English to Speakers of Other Languages (CATESOL).

 

CATESOL is a nonprofit organization with 12 chapters across the state. Members include educators of adult English language learners, including teachers from adult schools and community colleges. 

 

Intervention teacher Lisa Gonzalves was selected as the winner of the 2017 Norma Shapiro Teacher Award. CATESOL gives that award each year to an educator demonstrating exceptional skill in at least three of the following four areas: classroom teaching, teacher-training/professional development, materials writing, or curriculum development. Ms. Gonzalves, who is also working toward her PhD in linguistics from UC Davis, formerly worked as an immigrant law advocate.

 

CATESOL selected beginning literacy teacher Jennifer Land as the
winner of the Adult Level Kareen Kjelstrup Memorial Professional Development Scholarship. This scholarship is awarded to a prospective CATESOL member who submits a professional development plan that incorporates the conference into their professional goals.

 

“We’re lucky to have such excellent teachers providing rigorous and engaging instruction to newcomer immigrants,” says Adult School Principle Joy Chua. “Lisa and Jennifer work together to provide classroom instruction and small group interventions so that all level 1 ESL students have access to building their language ability, whether they have a college degree in their home country or are learning how to write for the first time in any language.“

 

Added Superintendent Sean McPhetridge, “AUSD is proud of and grateful for the dedication that Lisa Gonzalves and Jennifer Land (and indeed all Alameda Adult School employees) show each and every day as they work to help their students. We thank Lisa, Jennifer, and Alameda Adult School for their contributions and commitment to adult students they serve.”

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:11/2/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Ruby Bridges STEAM Studio Opens (10/27/2017)

Teachers, students, parent/guardians, and community members turned out Wednesday afternoon to celebrate the grand opening of Ruby Bridges Elementary School’s STEAM Studio, a key component of the school’s new innovative Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math program.

 

“The studio will be used for some of our messier, creative projects that engage the right side of the brain,” said Mandie Cline, a former kindergarten teacher at the school who now coordinates the STEAM program.

 

For instance, this week students in grades TK-3 have been creating and experimenting with paintbrushes made from common objects, while 4th and 5th grade classes are building a game called “1 Ring to Rule Them All” that involves multiple loops of string that they then use to move a tennis ball up and down.

 

 Next door to the studio, a STEAM Lab has been set up where teachers have a clear space in which to do FOSS science experiments and art projects.  Currently Ruby Bridges parent and professional filmmaker Joe Golling also uses the space to run a noon club in which students learn about graphic design, illustration, and writing using both analog and digital media.

 

During the opening, students took photographs and created stop motion videos using an iPad, colored in a group mural, created Lego sculptures on the wall, and applied tattooes to guests – including Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer.

 

While the program is just getting started, amazing things are already happening at the school. Last week, for instance, cellist Nancy Baun of Young Audiences visited the school to talk about the mathematics of music and the science of sound. Students then got to engineer their own instruments. (Ms. Baun is the sister of Ruby Bridges teacher Beth Kroener, by the way!) 

 

“It was delightful visiting the STEAM Studio to see Ms. Cline and Mr. Golling working with students who were so fascinated and involved in doing, making, and thinking,” commented Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “‘Full STEAM ahead,’ I say! Go STEAM team!”

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:10/27/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Budget Cut Primer (10/26/2017)


You may have heard that AUSD is considering potential budget cuts in coming years. Several factors are creating budget pressures in the district now, and we want to be sure our community understands them.
 

Areas of Concern


The current areas of budgetary concern are:


Rising Costs
Two factors are driving escalating costs in the school district.


First, the state has increased the amount of money that school districts have to contribute to employee pensions. Between 2014-15 and 2020-21, AUSD will be required to increase the percentage it pays for “certificated” employees (meaning those with teaching certificates) 10.2%. The district will be required to increase the percentage it pays for classified employees (those without teaching certificates) by 12% over the same period.

 


 

 

Between 2-18-19 and 2010-21, this will cost AUSD $10 million. Cost of Living Adjustments provided by the state government cannot nearly cover this expense, so it needs to come from the general fund, which reduces the amount of money available for programs and employees.

 




This is a problem that is affecting every school district in the state. 


Second, the amount of money that AUSD is spending on special education rose from $18.7 million in 2012-13 to $25.5 million in 2016-17. Because the state has not provided more funding to cover these mandated Special Education services, the amount AUSD takes from its General Fund to pay for special education has risen from $9 million to $17.3 million in the same period. The Special Education Department is currently looking for ways to reduce their expenses.

 



Low Salaries
Without question, employee salaries are among the lowest in Alameda County, and the Board of Education, our community, AUSD management, and employees all have a shared interest in increasing salaries so that we attract and retain the very best employees possible.  AUSD teachers have received 13% n raises since 2013 (along with 1.25% one-time salary increase in 2013-14 and a 1% increase that went to stipends, a dental benefit, and hourly salaries), but their salaries continue to be low compared to surrounding districts.*

 

*A prior version of this primer said that AUSD employees have received "15% in raises since 2013." We apologize for this error.
 

Measure B1 Litigation

Last November, voters approved Measure B1 by 74%.  An extension of the current Measure A parcel tax, Measure B1 was expected to raise more than $12 million per year to be spent on class size reduction, athletics, secondary school choice, arts, and programs to close the achievement gap.  (For more information on these parcel taxes, please see the Measure A page on the AUSD website.)


In February, 2017, however, a small group of plaintiffs filed a lawsuit against the measure, saying it is illegally structured. The lawsuit was heard in court in September, and we are now awaiting the judge’s decision on the matter.


Aware that a loss of Measure B1 would deprive AUSD of $12 million per year, the Alameda County Office of Education asked the district to prepare a list of potential cuts. This is to ensure that the district remains solvent even if it loses the parcel tax revenues.


The Bottom Line
Currently, the district expects to have to cut between $16 and $20 million from its $100 million budget to cover rising expenses and the loss of Measure B1 revenue. Any cuts made to free up funds for employee raises would come on top of those cuts.


Next Steps
District managers have met with bargaining units and site administrators to explain the budgetary challenges now facing the district.  Staff will continue meeting with stakeholders over the next few weeks. A draft budget reduction list will be presented to the Board of Education at its November 14 public meeting. An amended list (if needed) will be presented on November 28, and the Board will vote to approve the final list on December 12.

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:10/26/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Local Elks Club Supports Ruby Bridges (10/20/2017)

Earlier this fall, the Alameda Elks offered to give dictionaries to 3rd graders at Ruby Bridges Elementary School - as they do for all AUSD schools each year. In the course of that charitable effort – which is part of the national Dictionary Project – the organization also made a very generous contribution to one of the school’s signature programs.

 

“I asked Ted Hommert – who came out to give out the dictionaries and was adorable with the kids – about financial support for local schools,” says Principal Jesse Woodward. As a result, the Elks gave Woodward $2500 to spend on the school’s annual 5th Grade Science Camp.

 

The camp is a 3-day trip on which students learn about nature and environmental science. The school relies on donations to fund the trip, as many of the families can’t afford the $300/student expense.

Ruby Bridges students wrote thank you letters to the Elks, and then Woodward, Vice Principal Ben Lundholm, 5th grade teacher Dawna Watty, and School Site Council member JoJo Lee attended an Elks meeting to talk about the science camp and receive the check. 

 

“It was really, really great,” Woodward says. “Ruby Bridges Elementary would like to express our sincere gratitude to the Alameda Elks club organization for their generous $2,500 donation to the 11th annual Ruby Bridges 5th grade Science camp,” Woodward says. The money, he adds, will support 10 students who otherwise wouldn't be able to go.

 

Notes Lee Watson, Exalted Ruler of the Alameda Elks, "Our primary targets for charitable support are children and veterans, so when we heard that the school has so many underprivileged children who may not be able to attend, we knew we wanted to help."
 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:10/20/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Island Bowl Coming Up October 27! (10/20/2017)

The Alameda High School Hornets and the Encinal High School Jets will compete in the 63rd annual Island Bowl next Friday, October 27, at AHS’s Thompson Field.

 

The JV game begins at 4:30 pm, and varsity begins at 7 pm. Tickets are $6 for adults. Tickets are $4 for students with ID cards and $3 for students with an ASB sticker. They can be purchased at the gates on Walnut Street and Clement Street.

 

Currently the Hornet’s overall record is 4-4, and the Jets are undefeated. Both teams are at the top of the West Alameda County Conference Shoreline League’s rankings — with Encinal at 2-0 and Alameda at 1-0.

 

The annual bowl began in 1955. The official name of the trophy that the winning school gets to showcase each year is the “Alameda Chamber of Commerce Perpetual Trophy.”

 

Alameda leads the series 32-28-2; Encinal has won 23 of the last 35 games.

 

You can find a recap of every game between 1955 and 2015 here.

 

We celebrate this hometown tradition and appreciate the friendly rivalry between the schools,” says AUSD Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “And we look forward as always to good sportsmanship and fun times at Alameda’s ‘Big Game’ next Friday!”

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:10/20/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Retired AUSD Employee and Students to Receive City Volunteer Awards (10/19/2017)

A retired AUSD employee and three AUSD students will receive community volunteer awards from the City of Alameda next Thursday, October 26. 

 

Don Sherratt -- who worked at AUSD for more than 40 years as a teacher, principal, and district administrator and who has served as a community volunteer for just as long – will be named Community Volunteer of the Year.

 

Sherratt’s volunteer roles over the years have included:

  • Commissioner & President, Alameda Recreation & Parks Commission (10 years)
  • Coach, Alameda Little League
  • Coach, Board Member and General Manager, Alameda Babe Ruth
  • Member, Board of Alameda Boys & Girls Club (40 years and still going strong!)
  • Member and Chair, Personnel Committee of Trinity Lutheran Church
  • Trustee, Board of the Alameda County Agricultural Fair Association (since 2012)
    • Member, Racing Committee
    • Co-Chair, Operations Committee
  • Member, Peralta Community College Bond Oversight Committee

Two years ago, Don volunteered to not only join AUSD’s Measure I Citizen’s Bond Oversight Committee but also serve as its chair.  And last year he became a founding member of the Alameda High School Hall of Fame (and is still on the selection committee).  

 

“Don is a model for us all on how to be involved in the community in a consistent, constructive, and caring way,” says Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “I personally benefited greatly from his mentorship as a new administrator in the district when I started here, and I know many who have also valued his personal dedication to AUSD and Alameda writ large.”

 

Youth Awards

 

Three AUSD students are receiving Community Service Youth Awards.

 

Emily Chau, a senior at Encinal Jr. & Sr. High School, is being honored for her work with the EHS Red Cross Club, through which she has coordinated monthly Bingo at convalescent homes, set up blood pressure booths for city events, participated in holiday gift wrapping to raise funds for disasters and other projects. Emily is also Vice President of the EHS Kiwanis Key Club and volunteers as a tutor with the Salvation Army.

 

Lily Conable, a junior at Encinal Jr. & Sr. High School, volunteers at Encinal’s Student Justice Center. She led a Women’s Rights Rally at the school last spring and helped lead successful period products drive this past spring to bring attention to the issue of menstrual equity. Assembly Member Cristina Garcia recognized Lily for her efforts, and one of the bills for which she fought for (AB10 to put period products in schools) is now on the Governor's desk.

 

Lily interned this summer at CARE in Atlanta. CARE works around the globe to save lives, defeat poverty, and achieve social justice.

 

Ken Der, a senior at ASTI, sits on the School Site Council and the Alameda Board of Education as a student member. He is active in the school’s “No Place for Hate” campaign, and he has reinvigorated ASTI’s tutoring program at Ruby Bridges Elementary School. He is now talking about expanding it to Maya Lin School. In recognition of this contribution, Ken received a state-wide student activist award from the California Teachers Association.

 

Ken also approached the City requesting to intern as a volunteer to improve the bus system in Alameda, and he ended up creating an inventory of bus stops that could use benches or bike racks.

 

 “I am so grateful and appreciative for the work that volunteers and students contribute to the community and to AUSD,” McPhetridge says. “These people are pillars of our community and role models for us all.”

 

The City of Alameda will hold an awards reception for the winners at the Alameda Elks Lodge next Thursday, October 26. The ceremony begins at 6:30 pm.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:10/19/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD Schools Contribute to Community-Wide Donation Drive for Fire Victims (10/13/2017)

As part of a massive outpouring of community support, AUSD students, teachers, and families have been collecting, sorting, and loading goods for victims of the unprecedented fire storms up north.

 

Boxes lined up outside The Local cafeThe community-wide effort has been led by Tera Masters, Lisa Knittel, and John-Michael Kyono of the Alameda Peeps Facebook group and Otto Wright, the owner of The Local” café on Park Street. They collected donations at the café -- so many, in fact, that as of Friday morning, boxes not only filled the café, but were also piled along the sidewalk in front of and alongside it. Another batch of donations was collected at Knittel's house. Over the last several days, dozens of community members also showed up to help sort, load, and deliver the materials to the North Bay. (Photo credit: Cheryl Ramirez)

 

 A number of AUSD schools contributed to the donation drive. At Maya Students and parents helping to load the truck at Maya Lin School.Lin School, for instance, teacher Terry Eichel opened her classroom to collect donations. Knittel and Kyono, along with LIz Rodriguez, all joined in the effort. Ms. Eichel’s kindergarteners then helped load the giant UPS truck that pulled up to the school this morning. Rodriguez also raised $2500 in donations to help the victims. (Photo credit: Vickie Smith)

 

Other schools and programs, including Bay Farm School, Franklin Elementary, Alameda High School, Earhart Elementary, and the Ruby Bridges LEAPS program also contributed to the effort.

 

Across the island, St. Philip Neri collected donations, as did Temple Israel and Quba Masjid Mosque. And the Teamsters Local 315 donated trucks and drivers to get the goods up to Santa Rosa, as well as storage space from which the donations will be distributed to shelters.

 

As Friday evening, two large UPS trucks, multiple moving trucks, a 20-foot U-haul, and innumerable individual car trips had left the island with items needed for the fire victims. 

 

More donations will be collected as the victims get settled and have a place to store more goods, Rodriguez said.

 

“It is heartwarming and humbling to see students, families, teachers, and community members rally to take care of those in need because of the North Bay fires,” Superintendent McPhetridge said. “I am also very grateful to AUSD teachers, administrators, and support staff who have worked hard this week to take care of AUSD students during times of fluctuating air quality that caused us to limit outdoor activity in our schools. It is great to see Alameda schools and the broader Alameda community work together to take care of others and one another.”

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:10/13/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Forging a Sustainable Path (Superintendent's October Letter)

 

 

Dear AUSD Families,

 

Last Friday, a local family invited me to their house to take part in a meal to mark Sukkot, an eight-day Jewish holiday that celebrates the harvest season and that comes after Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur, two other very important holidays in the Jewish faith tradition.

 

I was deeply touched by the family’s invitation to join them in this way.  There was a feeling of great comfort and welcome provided me there, and on a personal note I found it a healing event after months of feeling troubled by events in the world, nation, Bay Area, and Alameda. Being able to break bread and share in Sukkot was a real joy for me, and I know that Sukkot’s focus on themes of thanksgiving and unity also recalled feelings of harmony and togetherness many experienced at this year’s second annual Unity Picnic just a few weeks back.

 

I was also moved by our conversation about the Jewish faith. I was particularly heartened and inspired by seeing the family’s daughter sing and pray in Hebrew, and it provided me a glimpse into a tradition I had never experienced before in that way. We also discussed ways that we – as a school district and community – can, should, and must respond if and when anti-Semitic incidents such as those that occurred last spring occur again. As we know, this is a time when anti-Semitism is on the rise in the nation and Bay Area, a place where many of us are shocked by these events. AUSD is committed to protecting all students, families, and staff – no matter their differences – and we must commit to do so for Jewish people now more than ever because of anti-Semitism’s rise.

 

As many of you are aware, news reports over the last several weeks have detailed different bias-related incidents that occurred regionally, in our schools, and in our community since last January, including both anti-Semitic comments and racist graffiti at numerous Bay Area schools. These incidents are very upsetting for students, families, staff, and community members alike. I want to be sure all our AUSD families are aware of the steps we are taking to address these issues. We must continue to work together as families, staff, and students to counter this trend of bigotry. And it is why we have spent significant time discussing the issue in letters home to families, meetings with staff, Board of Education meetings, and interviews with journalists. We must stand up against bias and bigotry. This is work we must all engage in.

 

First, we all need to understand that helping students grow into aware, compassionate citizens isn’t a matter of holding one-time assemblies or handing out suspensions. It involves curriculum for our classrooms, professional development for staff, consistent character education, and thoughtful counseling and discipline if children make poor decisions and engage in hurtful treatment of their fellow students. As such, our response to these incidents needs to be thoughtful and multi-faceted if we are to find success in our goal of countering and resisting bias and bigotry where and when we find it.  That range includes:

 

Professional Development

  • Providing all AUSD teachers and administrators with the Anti-Defamation League’s foundational anti-bias training this fall. Schools will continue that work throughout this year.
  • Providing resources for educators to help students discuss bias, hate, and current events that have impacted us (e.g., Charlottesville, Las Vegas, and other events of hate and violence that have understandably caused fear and distress).

Discipline

  • Reviewing the AUSD Anti-Bullying Statement  
  • Reviewing existing AUSD Disciplinary Matrices
  • Continuing to implement Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports (PBIS) to create healthier school climates in our schools
  • Continuing to train staff on restorative justice practices as part of that PBIS work
  • Planning refresher courses for all site administrators on how to respond to and report bullying incidents

Curricula

  • Implementing a new K-5 English Language Arts that includes a strong social-emotional learning component
  • Reviewing materials from outside organizations (such as Teaching Tolerance, Anti-Defamation League, and Facing History) to use in establishing a stronger anti-bias framework
  • Exploring ways to align our History/Social Sciences curriculum with our anti-bias/anti-bullying work
  • Reviewing the literature used in conjunction with the anti-bullying lessons developed in 2010, updating it, and continuing to train staff in the anti-bullying curriculum

Community Engagement

  • Providing tips for families on talking to students about hate and bias on our our Anti-Bias Resources page
  • Developing ways to engage various stakeholders in providing input on next steps for the district and the community at large in anti-bias/anti-bullying work
  • Continuing to support our LGBTQ Round Table, our Black Achievers Alliance, and our Latino Achievers Alliance (ALCANCE)
  • Creating a Jewish Round Table
  • Adopting a Resolution Affirming Our AUSD Pledge to Protect All Students and providing it to schools to post in every classroom. 

I am especially excited about our “Beyond Everyone Belongs Here” workshop on November 15, where district staff will help the community understand how we respond to hate incidents and community members will help us understand their concerns. I look forward to all of us being able to collaborate on ways that we as a district and a community can better respond to these incidents.

 

Again, none of this can be done in isolation or completed overnight. But we continue to work at forging a thoughtful and sustainable path toward equitable and inclusive schools. I know personally that I learned a lot last Friday when I was welcomed to my first Sukkot celebration, and thus I am confident that we all can benefit as a school district and a community when we learn more about one another, talk to one another, take time to appreciate diversity, and work together to take steps to heal the world around us.

 

Sincerely,

 

Sean McPhetridge, EdD

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:10/13/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Students Help Get City Straw Ordinance Passed (10/13/2017)

AUSD students played a big role in getting City Council to pass an ordinance reducing the use of single-use plastic straws in Alameda this month.A letter from a student thanking City Council for passing the straw ordinance

 

Such straws are a major contributor to plastic pollution in landfills, waterways, and oceans. In the U.S. alone, consumers use and discard 500 million straws per day – enough to wrap around the world’s circumference 2.5 times per day.

 

“This is a great story of the students leading the way to a big policy change that will improve our community,” says Ruth Abbe, a board member on Community Action for a Sustainable Alameda (CASA) who has also been deeply involved in AUSD’s Go Green efforts. “As a result of their work, we now have the best Sustainable Foodware Ordinance in Alameda County.”

 

From school cafeteria to city restaurants

 

The movement to reduce plastic straws and serving ware actually began six years ago when AUSD first eliminated both straws and spork packets (plastic spoon-fork combinations wrapped in plastic) from school lunches and students began drinking milk straight from the carton. Since then, there have been a number of milestones on the quest for reducing the amount of single-use plastics used on the island including:

 

Spring 2016: Bay Farm School students got fired up about the straw issue after inviting a representative from the Last Plastic Straw to give a presentation. 

 

April 2017: Edison students initiated a districtwide petition/letter writing campaign last April, sending more than 200 letters to City Council. That campaign inspired students from Bay Farm School, Earhart Elementary School, Lincoln Middle School, and other AUSD schools to write letters as well.

 

April 2017: CASA formally requested that City Council pass a sustainable foodware ordinance.

 

October 2017: City Council voted 5-0 to pass an ordinance asking restaurants and retailers to only serve straws on request (rather than handing them out with drinks automatically).

 

Letter from student thanking City Council

January 2018: Restaurants will begin distributing straws only on request, and all foodware packaging will need to be compostable.

 

“Five years ago, AUSD supported a request from the Go Green committee to reduce waste by eliminating plastic straws from the elementary school lunch program," says Michele Kuttner, a second grade teacher at Bay Farm School. "Just at my school alone, this meant that about 30,000 fewer plastic straws were no longer headed for the landfill each year. Imagine what kind of impact we will make when we are doing this as a city! I’m proud of our students for inspiring us to do better and AUSD leadership for supporting our sustainability goals.” Ms. Kuttner is also the Go Green Coordinator for AUSD.

 

Adds Superintendent Sean McPhetridge, “Seeing this young generation of Alamedans inspire us all to adopt earth-friendly policies and practices in our schools and our community is really what it is all about. I am so grateful. We all should be. These young people are teaching us and helping us learn how to save the planet.”

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:10/13/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD Scores Stay Steady on Common Core Tests (10/12/2017)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:    

    

Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

Board President Gary Lym (510) 337-7187 

 

Alameda, California — Thursday, October 12, 2017  Student scores on the Common Core tests administered last spring across Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) generally stayed stable and  continue to be higher than county and state averages, test results released last week show.

 

The data, which was released by the California Department of Education (CDE) on September 27, included state, county, district, and individual school scores on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress ("CAASPP"). This test measures students' mastery of the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics, which were introduced in 2013-14. The state administered the first official CAASPP in the spring of 2015.

 

More than 4700 AUSD students in grades 3-8 and 11 took the state tests in the spring of 2017. The results show that in many cases AUSD students maintained or improved on scores from 2015 and 2016. The percentage of third and fifth graders who met or exceeded the standard in both ELA and Math rose, for instance, between 2016 and 2017.So too did the percentage of Students with Disabilities (on the ELA test ) and the percentage of English Language Learners, Economically Disadvantaged,Hispanic, White, and students identifying as “Two or More Races”(on the Math test).

 

Across the district, a number of schools at the elementary, middle, and high school levels also showed significant gains in ELA and/or Math. In other cases, however, the percentage of students meeting or exceeding the standard was higher than in 2015 but had stayed the same as (or dropped slightly from) the percentage in 2016.

 

“Our results reflect a larger trend across the county and state,” says Chief Academic Officer Steven Fong.  “Following the initial gains made between 2015 and 2016, our 2017 scores changed little from the previous year.  For AUSD, this reaffirms the importance of the recently implemented math and ELA curricula.  We expect our scores to steadily improve as we build upon our initial  implementation of the new curricula and can shift our focus on the deepening and refinement of instructional practices.”

 

Test results show that serious gaps still exist between groups in AUSD, a detailed analysis of the results showed, including:

  • Students with parents with a college education score significantly better than those without
  • White and Asian students score higher than other ethnic subgroups
  • Some AUSD schools have higher overall scores than others

In addition, the percentage of Native Hawaiian/Pacific Islander students who meet or exceed the Math and ELA standards has decreased for the second year in a row.

 

A more detailed analysis of the data is included in this full report, as well as this presentation, which the Board of Education heard at its October 10 public meeting. Further details on the district and individual school performance can be found on the state’s website: http://caaspp.cde.ca.gov/sb2017/default.

 

All students who took the tests last spring will receive a Student Score Report either in the U.S. mail or sent home with their children. 

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:10/12/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Encinal’s Kevin Gorham Wins County Teacher of the Year Award (10/06/2017)

 

        

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Issued By:

Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

Board President Gary Lym (510) 337-7187 

 

Alameda ­– October 10, 2017 – Kevin Gorham, a veteran teacher in theHead shot of Kevin Gorham Alameda Unified School District (AUSD), was selected last night to represent Alameda County in the 2017-18 California State Teacher of the Year competition.

 

Gorham, who teaches AP government and economics and leads the student-run radio station at Encinal Junior & Senior High School, was chosen as AUSD’s 2017 Teacher of the Year last May.

 

“Without teachers taking time out of their day to make sure I was on track, I don’t know where I would be today,” Gorham said after receiving the award. “If I can make a difference like those teachers did for me, then I’m going to live a great life.”

 

Oakland Unified School District’s Stephanie Taymuree was also selected to represent the county. Taymuree works with students with special needs in the Technology & Augmentative Communication for Learning Enhancement (TACLE) program at Oakland’s Redwood Heights Elementary School.

 

“Well-deserved spotlight”

The two teachers were selected from the 18 Alameda County school district Teachers of the Year, each of whom submitted extensive applications for panel review. The winners were announced at an event at the Castro Valley Center for the Arts that was attended by 300 people.

 

“Each year, we are honored to host this event in celebration of the district winning teachers,” said L. Karen Monroe, Alameda County Superintendent of Schools. “It is not only a time to acknowledge the work of these amazing individuals, but to also shine a well-deserved spotlight on our county’s education community. These winning teachers are representatives of all the extraordinary educators serving and supporting Alameda County youth.”

 

Gorham started his career as a radio broadcaster in San Francisco and transitioned to teaching in 1992. He spent his early years as a teacher at a middle school in East Oakland. ”Working with many

marginalized students and families there,” he says, “I learned to adapt my approaches to situations based on the realities of their lives.”

 

He began working with AUSD in 1999, when he was hired as an 6th and 8th grade core teacher at Lincoln Middle School. In 2006, he took a job as Men’s Varsity Basketball Coach and History Teacher at Encinal High School. Since then, he has worked as a teacher, assistant principal, athletic director, and basketball coach at the school. He also helped create the Junior Jets middle school program on the campus, so that the entire school now serves grades 6-12. 

 

“Kevin’s emphasis on caring for and connecting with students is a blessing in the classroom, and his ability to engage and energize students in a variety of contexts benefits the entire school community,” says Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “He is a tremendous role model in our community. I am deeply grateful for his service.”

 

 “A Dream Come True”

Currently Mr. Gorham teaches AP Government, Economics, and Broadcast Journalism Radio I & II at what is now called Encinal Jr. & Sr. High School, and he also serves as the Athletic Director there. Over the last several years, he also led an effort to secure funding and approval for building a state-of-the-art radio studio at the school as part of a Career Technical Education (CTE) pathway in media. Since March, students have been broadcasting “live” from KJTZ (96.1 FM) every morning; the studios are available for Alameda Community Radio and Poor Magazine at other times.

 

 “What pleases me the most is seeing kids of all types come together for the same goal, producing a great, quality show for the city of Alameda,” Gorham said after being selected as AUSD’s Teacher of the Year last May. “I’ve seen so many students break out of their shells and lose their shyness in this arena. Their enthusiasm is overwhelming.  To hear these young broadcasters on the air is a dream come true. I couldn’t be prouder of them.” 

 

Adds Board President Gary Lym,   “I am thrilled that Kevin won this award. As a teacher and an athletic director, he is able to connect with students in AP and CTE programs alike, as well as athletes and colleagues. We are very fortunate to have a teacher of this caliber in our district.”

  

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Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves 9500 students in Alameda, California,  an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:10/6/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Alameda Promise Program Off to Remarkable Start (10/06/2017)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By: 

 

AUSD Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060

AUSD Board of Education President Gary Lym (510) 337-7187        

COA Dean of Special Programs & Grants Toni R. Cook (510) 748-2135

 

Alameda, California –October 6, 2017—Enrollment in the College of Alameda Promise Scholarship Program has grown 8-fold in the last year, new figures show, which is a testament to the outreach efforts of both the college and the Alameda Unified School District.

 

Under the program, graduates of Alameda high schools receive a year of free tuition at College of Alameda (COA), along with a book stipend, intensive academic support, college transfer assistance, and priority registration. In the fall of 2016, just ten students had enrolled in the program. In the fall of 2017, 84 students enrolled. Most of these students are recent graduates from Encinal Junior & Senior High School and Alameda High School and are now enrolled full-time at College of Alameda. 

 

Goals of the program include: increasing the percentage of high school graduates in the city of Alameda entering college; strengthening students’ access to career pathways; and deepening the connection between College of Alameda and its island community.

 

 “A College-Going Culture”

 

College Promise initiatives like those in Alameda are part of a growing national movement to support college access and completion, especially for low- to middle-income students. The hope is that these will create a “college-going culture” in their communities and strengthen local economies.

 

The rapid growth of the Alameda Promise Program has been attributed to the efforts of the College’s Outreach Department staff working closely with Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) to connect with prospective students.

 

“There is great excitement at the College regarding the exponential increase in Alameda Promise students this year,” said College of Alameda President Dr. Timothy Karas. “The Alameda Unified School District has provided tremendous support, and our Mobile CoA outreach staff has made fabulous strides in effectively disseminating application information to eligible local high school students.”

 

According to the California Community Colleges Chancellor’s Office, a growing body of research suggests that students who participate in Promise programs are more likely to enroll full-time in college, complete more credits, and receive a degree than their non-Promise classmates.


Opportunities for All

 

All AUSD seniors receive letters about the offer, as well as instructions on how to participate, in the spring. More information is also available on the College of Alameda website.

 

“The Alameda Promise provides opportunities for our students who may not otherwise be able to afford college,” said AUSD Superintendent Dr. Sean McPhetridge. “It’s a great program for our students and our community. We’re very grateful for this partnership with COA.”

 

Alameda Promise students must enroll full-time at College of Alameda, sign a mutual responsibility contract, maintain a GPA of 2.0 or higher, and take a prescribed set of academic courses, including English, Math, College Success, and general education.

 

The Alameda Promise program was founded in 2016 after the College of Alameda received an anonymous $500,000 seed gift establishing a Promise Legacy fund. The long-term funding strategy for the program includes building this endowment while simultaneously raising the annual program costs required each year.

 

Tax-deductible donations to the Alameda Promise can be made online to the Peralta Colleges Foundation by designating College of Alameda.  Donations also may be made through checks with “College of Alameda Promise” printed in the memo section and mailed to: The Peralta Colleges Foundation, 333 East 8th St., Oakland, CA 94606.

 

For more information about the Alameda Promise, contact Toni R. Cook, Dean, Special Programs and Grants, at (510) 748-2135 or Amy H. Lee, Ed.D., Dean, Enrollment Services, (510) 748-2288. Application information is available online at http://alameda.peralta.edu/COAPromise/.

 

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About College of Alameda

College of Alameda (CoA) is a small, friendly community college noted for the excellence of its academic, vocational, and student support programs. Situated on a beautiful park-like campus on the island city of Alameda, the College offers the quiet of a suburban setting, just minutes from downtown Oakland. CoA offers academic programs that transfer to four-year universities and workforce training programs in a variety of career areas. Students of all ages and backgrounds are welcome to enroll. College of Alameda is fully accredited by ACCJC/WASC and is one of four colleges in the Peralta Community College District (PCCD).

 

About the Alameda Unified School District

Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves about 9500 students in Alameda, California, an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area.  For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:10/6/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Kindergarteners Learn Fire Prevention and Pedestrian Safety (10/05/2017)

For the 44th year, kindergarteners from every AUSD elementary school met McGruff the Crime Dog, practiced pedestrian safety in a miniature town, and explored emergency vehicles this past week.

 

The event, which is held every October, is organized by the Alameda Fire Department, Alameda Police Department, and volunteers from Bayview Women's Club and Alameda Kiwanis Club.

 

“AUSD is grateful for the partnerships that have made this early safety education experience possible for so many Alamedans over the years,” says Superintendent Sean McPhetridge.

 

"Cherished Alameda Tradition"

Kindergarteners watch Freddy the talking fire truck.During the hour-long field trip, students watch a video about fire safety, meet a talking firetruck named Freddy, learn how to cross a street safely, and investigate both an ambulance and a fire truck.

 

The event used to be held at Alameda Point, but this year it was held at the Alameda Fire Department’s gleaming new Emergency Operations Center at 1809 Grand Street.  The miniature Safety Town, however, still had the same miniature buildings and the same sidewalks, crosswalks, stop signs, and traffic signals for practicing pedestrian skills.

 

“This is a cherished Alameda tradition,” says Jane Lee, a retired AUSD principal who has organized the event for the last three years. “As a teacher and principal I was always aware of Safety Town. But coordinating the experience has given me new insights, perspectives, and appreciation for the program. This long-standing Alameda collaboration teaches kindergarteners about safety. Equally important, the children come away with a positive experience with our police officers and firefighters." Kindergarteners practice crossing the street on a mocked-up crosswalk

 

“Both of my grown children went to Safety Town,” Lee continues, “and this year my grandchildren are attending.  And one of the kindergarten teachers from Haight School who brought her class this week was a student of mine in fourth grade! How special is that?”

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:10/5/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


EHS Students, Staff Raise Suicide Prevention Awareness (09/22/2017)

Music was thumping, students were dancing, and balloons were bobbing at a lunchtime display at Encinal Junior & Senior High School this week. But the topic was deadly serious: suicide prevention.

 

“I am here because I have friends who are depressed,” said Jake, a senior at the school. “I want to be able to help them and my community.”

 

Cultivating Protective Factors

A joint project of the School-Based Health Center, the school’s Queer Straight Alliance, and Leadership students, the “You are Loved” awareness event yesterday included information about suicide, suicide prevention, mental health, and local resources that students can access for help. But organizers also wanted to bring a different element into the project – one that’s more positive.

 

Three six graders crowded around a table.One of our goals through the You Are Loved campaign was to move away from the more traditional methods of bringing awareness about suicide with statistics and instead make efforts to encourage and model protective factors directly on campus,” says Kale Jenks, Psy.D., Program Director for School-Linked Services.  In the days leading up to the lunchtime event, we blanketed the school with School-Based Health Center flyers that contained positive affirmations that students could take. The goal was to provide supportive messages to students with the intent of increasing self-esteem and reminding them of their access to mental health services on campus, both of which are protective factors.”

 

#YouAreLoved

As part of this modeling, students hung a huge #youareloved banner on the wall, so that students and Student writing on  You Are Loved  bannerstaff could write positive messages for each other. The messages included “You are strong, worthy, and important!” and “You will be found.”  There also was a display where students could write where they thought they will be in 1, 2, 3, 5, 10, or 15 years (such as “I’ll be a Junior Jet” and “I will be an organic farmer in Oregon.”) “This activity was designed to highlight the protective factor of future planning,” Jenks explains.

 

All high school students are being asked to create acrostics that represent the hope, support, and care embedded in Suicide Prevention Awareness. (The Junior Jets students also had an opportunity to create acrostics at the table if they wanted.) The acrostic that best represents these values will be turned into a poster and displayed at all three of the School-Based Health Centers in the district next month. Students could also take key chains with important resource numbers on them and enter a raffle to win a backpack with information.

 

AUSD’s New Suicide Prevention Program

At its August 8 public meeting, the Board of Education approved a new board policy on Suicide Prevention. Working with Alameda Family Services, Crisis Support Services of Alameda County, district counselors, psychologists, and a group of parents, AUSD staff also drafted new procedures for preventing suicide among AUSD students. Those procedures include:

  • Training staff on crisis support for students
  • Overall support for at-risk youth
  • Identifying, assessing, responding to, and reporting students who appear to be at risk for suicide
  • Designating school suicide prevention coordinators at each school
  • Supporting students, staff, and families after a suicide does occur

handwritten note that says  you are strong, worthy, and important!

At Encinal on Thursday, both Jake and another senior, Amy, said they had gotten involved in the “You are Loved!” event not only to raise awareness about suicide, but also to raise awareness about the the School-Based Health Center. “The Health Center has all kinds of mental health resources,” Amy said, “and the people there are very welcoming and open-minded. You can ask any kind of question there. It’s just a good place to hang out!”

 

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month continues through the end of September. The School-Based Health Center at Alameda High School will have a similar event at lunch next week.

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:9/22/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Applications for District Advisory Committee Now Available (09/22/2017)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:         Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

                          Board President Gary Lym (510) 337-7187 

 

Alameda, California – September 22, 2017 – Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) is now accepting applications for a District Advisory Committee (DAC) that will study and make recommendations for what the district should do with five properties that it currently holds.

 

The five properties are:

  • Bachelor Officer’s Quarters (Alameda Point)
  • Food Services Warehouse
  • Lum Elementary School
  • Maintenance Yard
  • Thompson Field

 

State law requires that members of a District Advisory Committee be representative of the demographics of the school district and include parents, teachers, business representatives, and those with expertise in environmental impact, legal contracts, building codes, or land use planning in the City or County of Alameda. The DAC will also work with other community members to understand a wide range of perspectives to inform their recommendations to the Board of Education.  The Board of Education will consider the DAC’s recommendations and then make the final decision about the properties under consideration. 

 

Application forms are available here. Completed applications are due at the District Office by 5 pm on October 13, 2017. Applications can be dropped off at the district office (2060 Challenger Drive, Alameda) or emailed to dkrueger@alameda.k12.ca.us.

 

The committee will have at least six meetings, each of which will be one to two hours.  More information on the DAC process can be found in this September 12 staff presentation to the Board of Education.

 

For questions, please call the General Counsel's office at  (510) 337-7187.

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Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves more than 9600 students in Alameda, California,  an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area.  For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:9/22/17
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Earhart Students Teach Adult Designers About Ocean Guardianship

This past Tuesday,  Earhart 5th graders got to be environmental educators when they gave a presentation on what it means to be an Ocean Guardian School – not to other students but to adults. The audience was a delegation of scientists, engineers, and architects who were part of the Resilient by Design Bay Area Challenge. This one-year project is bringing together local residents, public officials, and experts to develop community-based solutions to the regional issues brought by climate change. The delegates were exploring Alameda sites that are particularly vulnerable to sea level rise.

 

An Ocean Guardian School makes a commitment to the protection and conservation of its local watersheds, the world's ocean, and special ocean areas, like national marine sanctuaries. The school makes this commitment by proposing and then implementing a school- or community-based conservation project. The program is run through the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

 

"A strong connection"

Ruth Abbe, a board member with Community Action for a Sustainable Alameda, suggested that the Resilient by Design delegation meet with a group of Earhart students along the Bay Trail near their school to learn more about issues affecting Alameda’s shoreline and the Bay. Also present were representatives from NOAA's Monterey Bay offices. The students shared their passion for protecting the Bay and ocean from damaging human impacts, such as plastic pollution, over fishing, and ocean warming due to excessive fossil fuel use. Students also discussed their plans and ongoing actions to help combat these serious issues.

 

"Our students feel a very strong connection to the bay and ocean,” says Marci Nettles, who leads the science program at Earhart Elementary School and organizes the Ocean Guardian program. “Protecting this life-giving resource comes naturally to them. Earhart is proud to be a part of the AUSD community of Ocean Guardians."

 

Earhart became an Ocean Guardian School last year and is focusing on reducing the use of plastic at the school and at home, improving the site’s recycling, and creating a compost area in the school garden. Lincoln Middle School is in its third year as an Ocean Guardian School and is focusing on restoring the shoreline by removing trash and replacing invasive plant species with natives.

 

Last year, AUSD also became an Ocean Guardian School District. It is the second (and largest) district in the state to receive this designation.

“All of this work represents why AUSD is so focused on science instruction and on efforts to protect the environment,” says

Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “We are proud of Earhart, Lincoln, and all our schools, students, and teachers who help us make AUSD a NOAA Ocean Guardian School District.”

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:9/15/17
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ASTI Adopts ADL’s “No Place for Hate” Program (09/15/217)

Starting this fall, students and staff at the Alameda Science and Technology Institute will be participating in the Anti-Defamation League’s (ADL) “No Place for Hate,” program. The program provides schools with a framework and tools for preventing bias, bullying, and hatred, which in the long term helps to create positive school climates. Schools receive a “No Place for Hate” designation when they:

 

  • Build inclusive and safe communities
  • Empower students, staff, and family members to take a stand against hatred and bullying
  • Engage schools and communities in at least three anti-bias activities per year
  • Send a clear message that all students belong on their campuses.

 

ASTI student leaders took ADL’s “Becoming an Ally” workshop in August. Today they held a “Bonding Day” at the school, and next week they will  conduct workshops in classrooms so that their classmates can sign a “Resolution of Respect.”

 

In October, the student leaders will hold an evening for ASTI parents and guardians. This event will be co-hosted by the ASTI PTSA (which will provide dinner for participants). Upcoming events include a Season for Nonviolence speech contest and two more schoolwide events planned by student leaders to address bias, stereotypes, and bullying. ASTI student leaders will also engage parents in mini-activities at Awards Nights. 

 

“'No Place for Hate' aligns with ASTI's schoolwide goals to build integrity, reflection, and empathy in the school community,” said ASTI Principal Tracy Corbally. “No Place for Hate is a comprehensive program that engages all stakeholders (students, parents/guardians, staff) in working together toward common goals that will make our school a safer place for all students by building our skills as allies.”

 

Later this month ASTI student leaders will also volunteer at Otis's upcoming No Place for Hate family night. “This is a wonderful opportunity for our students to engage in this work with the community beyond our school,” Corbally says.

 

This fall, all AUSD teachers and staff will also receive preliminary No Place for Hate training from ADL. That training will help employees learn to examine their personal identity, develop effective strategies for combating prejudice, transfer anti-bias concepts and methods into the classroom, and develop mechanisms to create and sustain inclusive classroom and school communities.

 

“I am grateful for the work our colleagues are doing in collaboration with ADL to help staff, students, and families make AUSD schools safer and more inclusive," said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “This represents a next step in our journey as a district and as a community to teach and talk to one another about difference, equity, and inclusion. We are lucky to be able to partner with ADL, now more than ever.”

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:9/15/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


New Principal Hired for Franklin Elementary School (09/14/2017)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:         Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

                          Board President Gary Lym (510) 337-7187     

 

 

Alameda, California — September 14, 2017 — At its public meeting Tuesday night, the Board of Education for the Alameda Unified School District approved the hire of Lynnette Chirrick as the new principal of Franklin Elementary School.

 

Ms. Chirrick, who has been teaching at Franklin Elementary School for three years, grew up in Alameda and attended Lum Elementary School, Wood Middle School, and Alameda High School.  She received her BA, multiple subject credential, and certificate to teach English Language Learners from CSU East Bay. She received her Master’s Degree in Education Administration and her administrative credentials from Stanislaus State University. She graduated from both programs with academic honors.

 

In her 20 years in education, Ms. Chirrick has served as a teacher (7 years), assistant principal (1 year), and principal (9 years). She has also worked as a district administrator overseeing community outreach and intervention support programs. For the last three years, she has been teaching kindergarten, first, and second grades at Franklin Elementary.

 

“I am thrilled to take on a new role at Franklin, in a community I care about deeply,” Ms. Chirrick says. “I am committed to making the transition the best it can be for the entire school. I am excited to work with Franklin parents and children to make sure the school remains a family-friendly environment that supports every child’s success.”

 

Notes Superintendent Seam McPhetridge, “Ms. Chirrick has shown the kind of experience and skill we seek in our principals, and we are especially pleased knowing her familiarity with both Alameda and Franklin Elementary School. We welcome her and thank her for her commitment to her school and hometown.

 

Ms. Chirrick, who lives in Alameda, has two nephews and a daughter who currently attend AUSD schools.

 

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Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves 9500 students in Alameda, California,  an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area.  For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:9/14/17
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AHS Team Wins SF Film Awards (09/11/2017)
What kind of a film would you make if you were given these parameters? The film has to be four to seven minutes long. It has to include an avocado. It has to be filmed and edited in a 48-hour period. And it has to relate to the theme "A Fish Out of Water."

Promotional poster for film with picture of star.
That was the challenge that Alameda High School senior Bryce Bromberger took on when he and his "Alameda Entertainment" team took part in the San Francisco 48-Hour Film Project last month. Bryce, 17, has taken Multi-Media and TV Media 1 & 2 at Alameda High School and has been experimenting with video production at home for the past year. He ended up creating a film about a young boy (played by his 12-year-old brother Micah) who is "bullied and teased at school, and goes into a dream world to escape," Bryce says. 

 

"When I Live My Dream" was screened along with 32 other short films at the Roxie Theater in San Francisco on August 28 and 29 and won both Best Costume Design and Best Cinematography at the award ceremony on September 2. "It felt great to see this film that we all worked so hard on up on the big screen and viewed by a lot of people," Bryce says.

Bryce and his team shot the film at Otis Elementary School, the Palace of Fine Arts in San Francisco, Grizzly Peak, and the Oakland Hills. Other AHS members of the team included Max Swinderman, Daisy Copperwaite, and Tristan Wiley (actors). Adults who helped out included Saul Bromberger and Sandra Hoover (creative consultants) and Jeannette Copperwaite (actor).

The film is available on YouTube.

 

"I feel a great sense of accomplishment," Bryce said of making the film. "I hope this will help me get an internship in the future."
Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:9/11/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD Adopts ELA Curriculum with Social-Emotional Learning Component (09/08/2017)


This fall, AUSD elementary school teachers are introducing a new English Language Arts (ELA) curriculum. Called “Collaborative Literacy,” the curriculum was chosen for its comprehensive literacy program, embedded social and emotional learning (SEL) components, and comprehensive professional development. We believe this program will ensure students develop a strong foundation in both ELA and SEL to help them navigate skillfully through the increasingly complex and diverse world in which we live.

 

“We are very excited to bring this new curriculum to our schools,” says Shirley Clem, Ed.D., Coordinator of Elementary Education. “AUSD anticipates that this balance of academic challenge and direct support will enable every student to make strides in their literacy development.”

 

Literacy and Social-Emotional Development

What is distinctive about this program is its commitment to the whole student. Both literacy and socioemotional development are core components of the curriculum. Learning experiences honor and build on students’ intrinsic motivation and are designed to support student engagement for constructing knowledge in a safe, caring learning community. Collaborative Literacy fosters productive listening and discussion skills, and it encourages students to consider diverse perspectives and to articulate their own ideas in a respectful manner.

 

Student responsibility and independence are developed in a workshop-style model, and thoughtful, inclusive discussions are promoted through the use of carefully selected award-winning literature. The program builds a learning community where students feel empowered, are supported in taking risks, and are responsible to themselves and others.

 

Teachers, principals, parent/guardians, and students were involved in reviewing the curriculum before it was piloted in all elementary schools last spring.

 

“We love Alameda’s diverse community, but we also understand that the world is much bigger than Alameda,” says Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “As educators we are called upon to help students develop academically, socially, and ethically. We believe that this program will provide the tools for a foundation our students can utilize to become more involved in the important conversations we see developing globally. I am heartened knowing this curriculum will involve students by engaging both their hearts and minds.”

 

Adoption of the Collaborative Literacy program is a key step in the district’s alignment to Common Core State Standards (CCSS). The program’s goals emphasize critical thinking and the ability to comprehend multiple types of texts. Moreover, it helps AUSD schools and students integrate social and emotional learning as they learn to express themselves in writing and understand the world by reading.

 

 A video about the curriculum is available  here. Or go to www.collaborativeclassroom.org for more information.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:9/8/17
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Applications for Measure A and Measure I Oversight Committees Available (09/07/2017)

The Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) is now accepting applications for both the Measure A Oversight Committee and the Measure I Oversight Committee.

 

Measure A, a parcel tax passed by Alameda community members in 2011, raises $12 million per year for core programs, including AP classes, neighborhood schools, small class sizes in grades K-3, athletics, enrichment, and technology. It sunsets in June, 2018. Its 11-member Oversight Committee is made up of community members (including parent/guardians and district employees) . The committee meets four to six times a year to review the district’s compliance with the terms of the measure. (More information on those terms is available on the Measure A page on the district’s website.) The committee’s work culminates in a staff Annual Report, as well as a shorter committee report, that is presented to the Board of Education in January. (Those reports are available here.)

 

For an application, please visit this page on the district website. Applicants can also get an application by calling the district office (510-337-7066) or stopping by the district office (2060 Challenger Drive, Alameda). Completed applications must be received in the district office no later than 5 pm on September 19, 2017. Appointments will be announced on September 26, 2017.

 

Measure I, a bond measure passed by Alameda residents in 2014, raises $179,500,000 for needed repairs, upgrades, and new construction projects to the District's schools.  

 

The oversight committee meets quarterly between January and December of each year. The committee’s work includes: informing the public concerning the District's expenditure of Measure I bond proceeds; reviewing expenditure reports to ensure proceeds are expended only for the purposes set forth in Measure I; and presenting to the Board an annual written report outlining their activities and conclusions regarding these expenditures.

 

Applications for the Measure I Bond Oversight Committee (which will begin meeting in January 2017) are now available. For an application, please visit this page on the district website. Applicants can also get an application by calling the district office (510-337-7066) or stopping by the district office (2060 Challenger Drive, Alameda). 

 

Completed applications must be received in the district office no later than 4:30 pm on October 6, 2017. Appointments will be announced on October 24, 2017 at the Board of Education meeting.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:9/5/17
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August News: Earthquake Prep, Anti-Bias Resources, Employee Adventures!

AUSD'S August newsletter includes information about: #PrepareOurIsland  -  the earthquake preparation project we have launched with City of Alameda; our Anti-Bias Resources page; and some super-cool adventures our employees had this summer.

 

Take a look!

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:9/1/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Our Pledge to Protect All Students (08/17/2017)

Dear Alamedans,

 

I have loved working in this community since hired as an assistant principal here back in 2000. Really my whole experience of the new century is tied to Alameda, and I learned over the years that many of us thank our lucky stars to live or work here because of how friendly and tight-knit this town is. Now more than ever, I am increasingly aware of people and things I love and respect here. The resilience of Alameda’s citizens and their tenacious commitment to taking care of one another inspire and uplift us all.

 

Even the most tightly knit of communities, however, are facing challenges now, and Alameda is no different. We have been challenged for months by an uptick in bias-related speech and action, both across the nation and in the Bay Area. Certainly we have seen this most recently with the tragic, fatal events of Charlottesville. We must all work together to never let this hatred and violence happen here. As a country, we have made great progress in our pursuit of civil rights for all. But there are some who want to see us go backwards, and we cannot let these forces gain traction. We should remember our progress to protect freedoms for all, and Alameda as a community must commit to continue uplifting each and everyone. 

 

It’s times like these that call us to identify what we believe and to stand up for those beliefs. As such, I want to clearly express what we as a school district believe and what we will work to protect as an organization committed to all.

 

We believe…

 

We believe everyone belongs here – no matter your nationality, ethnicity, faith, race, sexual identity, gender identity, or abilities, AUSD’s mission is to include you, respect you, learn with you, and help you feel safe in our schools.

 

We believe hate speech and action based on bias are wrong and intolerable. Intimidation and violence have no place in our schools, our town, or our nation.

 

We believe critical thinking, cultural competence, and scientific inquiry are crucial to helping students understand historical context, make complex arguments, find solutions to the world’s problems, and benefit from varied experiences and diverse viewpoints of those who share the planet with us.

 

We believe social and emotional learning is a powerful key to helping students navigate our increasingly complex, connected, and diverse world.

 

We are aware our school year is starting with historic tensions across the country. We are aware many in our community are feeling anxious. Please know we are committed to providing spaces for teaching and learning that are safe and secure as preconditions for learning. We are committed to working with families and staff to foster healthy school climates that support inclusion and tolerance for all. And we are committed to working with all our partners to create an Alameda that sees all community members as equal.

 

We ask you to join in our work to...

 

Name and confront all forms of hate, bigotry, and bullying. 

 

Counter any speech or any action preventing any child or adult from feeling included and safe.

 

Help our students and staff understand our need to stand up for the rights of all and teach students and staff to stand up against racism and ethnocentrism.

 

Stand up against anti-Semitic and anti-Muslim actions and speech, as well as speech and actions that are homophobic or anti-LGBTQ.

 

Protect the rights of immigrants to this country.

 

Uplift all students in our district, regardless of any differences in ability or whether or not they receive Special Education services.

 

Despite troubles we have seen, and regardless of challenges we have faced, Alameda is a strong and resilient community. Please know we welcome you back to the new school year with a sense of hope and a commitment to making continued progress for AUSD students, families, and staff. We look forward to working with you and standing together for a better Alameda.

 

Sincerely,

 

Sean McPhetridge, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools


 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:8/18/17
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Board of Education Approves Salary Increases for CSEA 27 and 860 (06/29/2017)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:         Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

                          Board President Gary Lym (510) 337-7187 

 

Alameda, Calif. — June 29, 2017 — The Board of Education for the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) unanimously approved salary increases for two labor partners at its public meeting on June 27, 2017. 

 

The approved increases were with California State Employees Association Chapter 27  (CSEA 27), which represents office/technical workers and paraprofessionals, and  CSEA 860, which represents custodial, maintenance, and food service workers in the district.

 

Members of both unions will receive an ongoing 0.5% salary increase in 2017-18 and an ongoing 0.3% increase in 2018-19.

 

The agreement with CSEA 860 also includes implementation of a Compensation and Classification Study completed in 2016. Implementation of that study will bring salaries of certain CSEA 860 positions closer to the market average in the region. 

 

“I am always excited when we can offer our employees the salary increases they so deserve,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “I am especially excited about the implementation of the Compensation and Classification Study, which will bring some of our lowest-paid employees up to a higher level. These employees work hard. We want to pay them fairly.”

 

AUSD and the two CSEA chapters will re-negotiate their entire contracts in 2018.

 

This spring, the district also began negotiating with the Alameda Education Association, which represents certificated employees such as teachers, counselors, speech and language pathologists, and nurses. Those talks are expected to resume in September.

 

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Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves more than 9400 students in Alameda, California, an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:6/29/17
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Superintendent's Letter (June 20, 2017)

Dear AUSD families, colleagues, and community partners,

 

I am saddened to report more disturbing graffiti was discovered this past weekend at Edison Elementary School. As many of you know, this comes on the heels of several other graffiti incidents that have expressed racial, religious, and/or anti-LGBTQ bigotry at our schools. I was especially saddened to hear this weekend’s graffiti referenced Hitler. On behalf of the district, I want to express our empathy and concern here for Jewish students and families who have been impacted by anti-Semitic acts.

 

This is not the first such anti-Semitic incident on an AUSD campus in recent months. Please be aware that as a district we denounce anti-Semitic speech as completely unacceptable because it makes our community both less inclusive and less safe for people of Jewish descent and faith. Indeed, anti-Semitic actions and speech diminish and threaten all of us, regardless of the faith we may (or may not) practice. We cannot ignore these incidents if we are to ensure a safe and inclusive learning community for all students, staff, and families. We cannot and will not condone any acts of hatred.

 

Like districts around the Bay Area and across the country that are experiencing an increase in hate incidents, we are working to develop appropriate, effective responses to them. In our classrooms, we will continue to teach  students to resolve differences non-violently, respectfully, and empathetically. At our school sites, we will continue to incorporate restorative justice practices to help our students more deeply understand how to repair the hurt they cause their peers and school community when they are not mindful of their actions. And across the district, we will continue to implement our Positive Behavioral Interventions & Supports (PBIS) efforts, which help us to improve school climates, academic outcomes, and disciplinary practices in our schools.

 

This summer, we are working to review and update the AUSD K-5 literature lessons used to teach our students about experiences and rights of all people, particularly those who have protected class status because of any differences (e.g., disability, gender, race, nationality, religion, and sexual identity). AUSD teachers are rolling out a brand new English Language Arts curriculum with a strong social-emotional learning component. And when school begins again in August, we will reiterate the need for staff, students, and families to report any incidents of bigotry, hate, and bullying.

 

Without question, there is more we should and must do in months and years ahead to counter and disrupt hatred and intolerance in our school district and to make good on the promise of “Everyone Belongs Here.”  We hope you will join us in our efforts to monitor, report, and take positive steps to counter hate and bias wherever it occurs.

 

Sincerely,

Sean McPhetridge, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:6/20/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Bon Voyage to the AUSD Class of 2017! (06/07/2017)

More than 600 seniors are graduating from Alameda Unified School District this month and celebrating an accomplishment that will launch them in a wide variety of exciting directions.

 

A number of our seniors are enlisting in the U.S. Armed Forces, including the Army, Navy, Air Force, Marines, and Coast Guard. Some will be taking either part-time or full-time jobs. And many are heading off to two- and four-year colleges, including eight University of California campuses and eight California State University campuses, as well as:

 

Table of colleges and universities to which AUSD seniors are going

 

"It is so exciting to see these young adults who come from incredibly diverse backgrounds and bring with them incredibly diverse talents move on to the next stage of their lives,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. "Whatever they choose for themselves in the coming years, I wish them happiness,  love, friendship, engagement with their community, and the great satisfaction that comes from applying one’s best effort to the vocations and avocations nearest and dearest to their hearts.”

 

Awards and Scholarships

 

A number of seniors received full or partial scholarships to the colleges of their choice.  Many students also received scholarships from local organizations, including the Rotary Club, the Kiwanis Club, and the Elks.

 

In addition, community members (including alumni and the estates of alumni) provide scholarships each year to our graduating seniors. This year, those scholarships were awarded to:  

 

Scholarship Name & Criteria

Award Recipient

Beatrice B Barrett Scholarship

Senior with intent to pursue any science discipline

Gloria Fung (AHS)

Florinda Bartalini Scholarship

Student who demonstrates exemplary community service and wants to pursue a  career in public health

Jessica Choy (EHS)

Cox/Hollywood Scholarship

Well-rounded AHS student

Lara Vetter (AHS)

Abraham and Sara Kofman Alameda Times-Star Journalism Scholarship

Most deserving journalism student from AHS and EHS

Elise Frankel (AHS)

Kathy Yan (EHS)

Marlene and Steve Kofman Scholarship

AHS art student

Corine Tan (AHS)

Chipman/Mastick Scholarship

Most deserving EHS student, good grades, good citizenship

Elizabeth Onibokun (EHS)

 

Paul Hardy Parker Scholarship

Students pursuing a career in education

Ginny Woodworth  (AHS)

Affton Maryland (EHS)

Ken Brown Scholarship

EHS student

Allyson Luber (EHS)

Susan Scott Scholarship

EHS student

Raymond Li

 

Lou Allen Scholarship

EHS student

Ze Feng Yu (EHS)

Van Sickle Scholarship

Student who exhibits academic achievement, leadership, and financial need.

Cammie Young

Steven Sizer Scholarship

Sierra Vance (AHS)

Sally Gallagher Scholarshiip

AHS student pursuing a career in education.

Helen An (AHS)

California Retired Teachers Association Scholarship Ethan Woon (ASTI)
Robert Lippert Scholarship William Flores (ASTI)

 

 

We congratulate all of our graduating seniors. Have a wonderful ceremony and a wonderful next year!

 

Upcoming Board of Education Meetings

 

June 13, 2017

City Hall, 6:30 pm

 

June 27, 2017

City Hall, 6:30 pm

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:6/7/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD Schools, Students Win Awards and Honors (06/02/2017)

Schools and students in the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) have received a number of recognition this spring, ranging from national awards to local honors.

 

US News & World Report and CBEE Awards

 

Two Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) high schools received medals in the US News & World Report annual "Best High Schools" report released last month. Alameda High School—which was ranked #618 in the country and #109 in the state—won a Silver Award. Alameda Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), an Early College High School where students take college classes instead of AP classes, won a Bronze Award. (Only Gold and Silver Award winners receive numerical rankings.)

 

Wood Middle School (WMS) and ASTI have also been named to the 2017 Honor Roll of California Business for Education Excellence (CBEE), a professional organization comprised of business leaders committed to improving public education in this state. The designation honors schools that have demonstrated consistently high levels of student academic achievement, improvement in achievement over time, and reduction in achievement gaps.

CBEE designated Wood Middle School (WMS) as a "Star School" because it enrolls a significant number of low-income students but is also high performing and closing the achievement gap. The organization designated ASTI a "Scholar School" because it is a high-performing school that does not enroll significant levels of low-income students. 

 

A full list of the Honor Roll schools and districts, as well as an explanation of the organization's methodology, can be found on the CBEE’s website.

 

“I congratulate the students and staff of these two secondary schools for work well done and awards deservedly won,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “Both schools ranked very well among both state and national high schools. It is enormously gratifying to see this recognition bestowed upon both ASTI and WMS.”

 

PSAs, Posters, and a Certificate of “Awesomeness”

 

Many AUSD students (and former students!) also received amazing recognitions this spring. For instance:

 

  • Kaitlin Alcontin, an 11th grader at Encinal Jr. & Sr. High School, was chosen to read a poem about Abigail Adams at a “Hamilton” performance on May 3.
  • A number of students won awards in the Harvey Milk Poem and Poster Contest this year.  Tuesday Bakker (EJSHS) won first prize in the poster contest; Talia Grumet (AHS) and Kirsty Lastra (EJSHS) won Honorable Mentions in that category. Salma Hassan (Bay Farm School) won first prize in the poem contest, and Sofia Coffin and Selena Phu (also of Bay Farm School) won Honorable Mentions. The cash prizes were awarded on Harvey Milk’s birthday (May 22nd) at a ceremony at the main library. Poster printing was donated by the Alameda Collaborative for Children, Youth, and their Families.
  • Middle and high school students across AUSD also won awards in the Alameda County Office of Education Tobacco Use Prevention Education Public Service Announcements competition. Specifically, Ken Der (ASTI) won 1st place in the audio category, and Yuting Li and Kelly Cai (also ASTI) won second place. Arnold Yoo and Ethan Woon (ASTI) won first place in the photo contest. Ming Gao and Anne Huang (ASTI) won second place in the high school video category; Aneesh Patil (Lincoln Middle School) won third place in the middle school video category.  Cammie Young (ASTI) won first place in the poster contest.
  • Nine-year-old Malek Farhan, a fourth grader at Ruby Bridges Elementary School,  received a “Certificate of Awesomeness” from Mayor Trish Spencer for his quick-thinking action after a classmate fell on her head from the monkey bars. Young Malek helped revive the younger girl by blowing on her face and then ran to get help.
  • Last but by no means least, Encinal High School alumna Malaika Fraley and her colleagues at the East Bay Times were awarded the Pulitzer Prize for their coverage on the Ghost Ship fire!

“These are stories that should give us faith in our current practices and hope for our future,” McPhetridge says. “These types of honors and recognition showcase the talent and efforts of students and teachers alike. AUSD is proud of the achievements of students, staff, families, and the many partners who help make Alameda a great place to live and learn.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Upcoming Board of Education Meetings

 

June 13, 6:30 pm

City Hall

 

June 27, 6:30 pm

City Hall

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:6/2/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Superintendent's Letter (May 30, 2017)

Dear community partners and stakeholders,

 

Without question, our school district has faced some significant challenges in the 2016-17 school year, including the tragic passing of Board of Education Member Solana Henneberry, a lawsuit that has been filed against Measure B1, and now the recent recommendation we as staff had to make to the Board of Education to relocate students and staff from Lum Elementary School due to recent discoveries of seismic hazards and safety concerns at that school site. We have also seen an uptick in hate speech at our school sites this year, ranging from graffiti motivated by racial and religious bias to direct speech aimed at individual students. These have been challenging times indeed.

 

We know these situations have been emotional and upsetting, and we know we must focus our commitment and our efforts on now coming to terms with their impact and repairing the trauma we have seen as we move forward. But as we approach the end of a very tumultuous year, I also want to remind our community about some amazingly good work that is being done at our schools, in our district, and in partnership with other community organizations to continue our attempts to help make Alameda Unified School District a more inclusive, supportive community for all. We must stay mindful of challenges and milestones alike. There is work yet needed, but there is work underway.

 

First, in response to an increase in hate speech and anti-immigration rhetoric in our nation, we have partnered with other organizations to put on two events on Wednesday, May 31.  From 6:30 to 8:00 pm, AUSD is hosting a “Know Your Rights” Workshop at Ruby Bridges Elementary School for immigrant families that was led by the City of Alameda’s Social Service Human Relations Board. Facilitated by Sara MacPherson of the International Institute of the Bay Area, the workshop will help Alameda families answer questions about their rights, deportation concerns, and ICE raids in their homes, schools, workplaces, and wider community. Alameda Police Chief Paul Rolleri has also agreed to talk about Alameda’s Sanctuary City status and what it means for our community. The event is free and will be held in English and Spanish. A similar workshop specifically tailored for Arabic-speaking and/or Muslim families will also be coordinated by SSHRB and held later this summer.

 

That same night, Jacqueline Regev, education director with the Anti-Defamation League’s Central Pacific Region, will be leading a discussion on how to disrupt bigotry, bullying, and hate crimes. This “Imagine a World Without  Hate” event, which is co-sponsored by the PTA Council. will take place from 7:00 pm to 8:30 pm at Edison Elementary School. Babysitting will be provided, and there is a $10 suggested donation. You can RSVP here

 

AUSD and school districts across the county, state, and nation have witnessed an increase in hate incidents since November (including racial bias incidents and anti-Muslim, anti-Semitic, and anti-LGBTQ speech). We are grateful that our LGBTQ Round Table helped design the “Everyone Belongs Here” campaign last year, knowing as we do that it provided a powerful platform for both our school district and our community at large to respond to these incidents. Community members adopted this theme to respond to the first instance of hate graffiti in February; we have continued to use it as our internal compass as we have navigated similar situations at our school sites. Using this compass, AUSD has also helped convene new round tables, including the work of the Black Achievers Alliance and ALCANCE (our Latino achievement round table).

 

In the wake of these incidents, our Teaching and Learning staff have also begun to look for ways to update the anti-bullying curriculum our district adopted back in 2009. Much has happened in our town, state, and country since our community struggled then with the issue of anti-bullying lessons for our elementary school students. I am excited to see what new kinds of lessons are available now for teaching students how to be more compassionate, accepting, and supportive of their peers, and it is important for us to work together with our teachers and our support staff to make sure we are able to align our future anti-bias curricula with our new English Language Arts adoption also.

 

One of our first responses to the emerging threats against immigrant families was to pass a resolution declaring AUSD a “safe haven” district. We must remain committed to that vision and indeed to an expanded vision, one in which “safe haven” applies not just to immigrants but also to all our students, all our families, and all our staff.  And as I write this, I know there is ongoing work we must do to uphold our value of a more inclusive district and society.

 

As we near the end of this year, I wish you all safe and peaceful weeks ahead.

 

Sincerely,

 

Sean McPhetridge

Superintendent of Schools

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:5/30/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Board of Education Votes to Move Students off Lum Campus (05/24/2017)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By: 

 

Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060

Board President Gary K. Lym (510) 337-7187 

 

Alameda, Calif. — May 24, 2017 — The Board of Education for the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) voted unanimously last night to move students off the Lum Elementary School campus for the 2017-18 school year.

 

Board members based their decision on analyses from three geotechnical engineering firms, two structural engineering firms, and an architectural firm, all of which concluded the Lum building foundations cannot withstand the significant soil liquefaction that is likely to occur in the event of a strong earthquake. Because a foundation failure could lead to partial or total building collapse, the structural engineers recommended the district make plans to move students off the campus.

 

“This has been a difficult process for all,” said Board President Gary Lym. “As board members we have listened carefully to the voices of families and teachers who don’t want to leave this campus. But as board members we also cannot ignore the scientific findings and recommendations of firms that have significant experience with K-12 facilities in earthquake country and with state rules and regulations that govern school site safety.

 

“It’s important for all of us to remember that we aren’t closing the school permanently,” he added. “We are relocating our children, staff, and parent volunteers to safer facilities while our community and school district explore options to resolve seismic conditions and liquefaction risks at the site.”

 

Based on a survey sent to Lum families about their preferences, district staff are currently working on a plan to assign Lum students who will be in grades K-3 next year to nearby elementary schools. The Board of Education also gave direction to staff to explore an option wherein 4th and 5th graders will potentially have a separate, elementary program on the Wood Middle School campus to help minimize transitions while helping those families stay close to their current campus. Lum families will receive their new school assignments in the first week of June.

 

“I know this is extremely hard, and I know some families will be unhappy with this decision,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “But as a public school district, we have a legal, moral, and professional duty to protect the safety of students and staff. AUSD will work to make the upcoming transition as smooth as possible, and we will collaborate with our other schools and our community partners to harness the great power, resilience, and optimism of this community. I have seen AUSD families come together to help each other time and time again in this town. I know we can do it.”

 

District staff are currently working with the district’s employee organizations to determine the best way to reassign Lum teachers and staff to new schools, and Superintendent McPhetridge shared

how he plans to recommend Lum Principal Jesse Woodward for appointment as the new principal of Ruby Bridges Elementary School at the next Board of Education meeting (June 13). “Mr. Woodward has considerable experience engaging and empowering highly diverse school communities, having served as a principal of a Title I school that also received Gold Ribbon recognition from the California Department of Education in 2016 before coming last fall to work with us here in Alameda.”

 

McPhetridge added, “Mr. Woodward is extremely tech savvy and also has a strong interest in STEAM education, which is a central theme of the innovative program proposal Ruby Bridges has recently presented to the Board of Education. Thus, I think he is an excellent fit for that school.”

 

Background on the soil and foundation issues at Lum Elementary School are available on the district’s Lum Seismic webpage. Updated information on the enrollment plans for Lum Elementary School will be posted on that page, as well as on the district’s Enrollment page.

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Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves more than 9400 students in Alameda, California, an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area.  For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

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Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:5/24/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Second Structural Engineering Firm Recommends Moving Lum Students (05/18/2017)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Issued By: 

Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

Board President Gary Lym (510) 337-7187          


Alameda, Calif. — May 18, 2017 — In a letter to the Board of Education of the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD), a second structural engineering firm recommended yesterday that the district develop a plan for moving Lum Elementary School students off their campus.

 

The firm, Murphy Burr Curry, Inc., has extensive experience analyzing and retrofitting educational facilities.  Steven Curry, who authored the letter, is vice president of the firm.

 

In his letter, which is posted on the AUSD website, Mr. Curry noted that the “type of construction [of Lum buildings] is not well suited for differential settlements of the order of the magnitude expected. The existing foundations do not appear to have the capacity or interconnected layout to mitigate the expected differential settlement.” As a result, he explained in the letter, “The wall and roof framing would be subjected to the same differential movement. This could result in life-safety concerns, such as partial roof collapse due to roof beams or joists becoming unseated from their connections or hangers.

 

“Given the life safety and egress concerns outlined above,” Mr. Curry continued, “we agree that the district develop a plan to provide alternate accommodations for students and faculty and/or if feasible, perform a seismic foundation retrofit.” Both the district’s architect (Quattrocchi Kwok Architects) and the structural engineers who originally recommended moving Lum students off campus ( ZFA Structural Engineers ) have suggested that the extensive improvements to either the soil or the building foundations at Lum could require additional building upgrades and could not be completed during the 2017-18 school year.

 

Board members also received an expanded version of the recommendation to move students from Chris Warner, senior principal with ZFA Structural Engineers. The firm, which also has extensive experience working with California schools, provided the expanded analysis “to clarify our conclusion that the existing classroom, multi-use, and administration buildings at Donald Lum Elementary School have a high potential for partial or global collapse during a design-level seismic event due to foundation failures as a result of expected large differential settlements.”

 

In addition, Mr. Warner provided a copy of the calculations he used to come to this conclusion. Both of those documents are also on the AUSD website.

 

“I have tremendous empathy for the parents at Lum Elementary School who are distressed by the possibility that their children may go to another school next year,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “But in light of this new information, I must continue to recommend that students be moved off the campus next year. As a district we have a legal, moral, and professional obligation to protect the lives and safety of our students and staff.”

 

The Board of Education will hear a presentation on the technical updates at its May 23 meeting, in addition to an update from a committee of parents opposed to removing the students. The Board is scheduled to vote on whether or not to remove students from the campus for the 2017-18 school year at the same meeting. At its May 22 public meeting, the Board will hear presentations on innovative plans being proposed for Paden Elementary School and Ruby Bridges Elementary School, as well as an update on AUSD’s 2017-18 budget.

 

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Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves more than 9400 students in Alameda, California, an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area.  For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:5/18/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Board Approves New Paden Principal, Director of Special Education (05/10/2017)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:         Sean McPhetridge, Superintendent (510) 337-7060 and

Gary Lym, President, Board of Education (510) 337-7187

 

Board of Education Approves Hires of

Paden Principal, Director of Special Education

 

Alameda ­– May 10, 2017 - The Board of Education for the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) last night approved the hire of two new employees: a principal for Paden Elementary School and a new Director of Special Education.

 

The new principal for Paden, Drew Sarratore, is currently a principal with Vincent Academy in West Oakland and has experience working with schools that serve diverse and underserved populations, including low-income and English Language Learning students. He is committed to building strong school communities by supporting teachers, providing resources to families, and educating the whole child. At Vincent Academy, for instance, he helped organize weekend workout classes, turkey and toy drives, and weekly coffees with the principal. The academy also offered animation, robotics, sports, cooking, and science-based afterschool classes.

 

The new Director of Special Education is Victoria Forrester, Ed.D., a former AUSD teacher. Dr.  Forrester currently serves as the Director of Student Services, Special Education, and Community Wellness for San Leandro Unified School District and is an adjunct visiting professor in the Mills College Educational Leadership program. She was a principal for seven years in San Leandro and also worked as a secondary literacy coordinator and eighth grade teacher at Chipman Middle School here in Alameda. Prior to that she taught at Earhart Elementary School.

 

The board also approved hiring Kai Dwyer as the new Dean of Student Services at Alameda High School. Ms. Dwyer is currently a counselor at Wood Middle School.

 

 “I am very excited to welcome Mr. Sarratore to our school district and to welcome Dr. Forrester back to our district,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “I look forward to working with these two highly qualified educators as we move forward on our goals of providing an excellent education to all students. Meanwhile, I am delighted to see Kai Dwyer assume a new role in AUSD, knowing as I do her stellar work to date with young people at Wood Middle School these past years.”

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Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:5/10/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD Announces Teacher of the Year (05/10/2017)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:  Sean McPhetridge, Superintendent (510) 337-7060 and

                   Gary Lym, President, Board of Education (510) 337-7187

 

Alameda ­– May 10, 2017 - Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) staff announced the 2017 Teacher of the Year award at the Board of Education meeting last night: Kevin Gorham, an 18-year veteran of AUSD.

 

Mr. Gorham, who started his career as a radio broadcaster in San Francisco, transitioned to teaching in 1992. He spent his early years as a teacher at a middle school in East Oakland. ”Working with many marginalized students and families there,” he says, “I learned to adapt my approaches to situations based on the realities of their lives.”

 

Mr. Gorham began working with AUSD in 1999, when he was hired as an 6th and 8th grade core teacher at Lincoln Middle School. In 2006, he took a job as Men’s Varsity Basketball Coach and History Teacher at Encinal High School. Since then, he has worked as a teacher, assistant principal, athletic director, and basketball coach at the school. He also helped create the Junior Jets middle school program on the campus, so that the entire school now serves grades 6-12.  

 

“Teaching is my passion, and finding new ways to engage all students is my mission,” Mr. Gorham says.  “I can’t think of anything else I would want to do professionally that has given me such joy. The kids inspire me daily.”

 

“A Dream Come True”

 

Currently Mr. Gorham teaches AP Government, Economics, and Broadcast Journalism Radio I & II at what is now called Encinal Jr. & Sr. High School. Over the last several years, he also led an effort to secure funding and approval for building a state-of-the-art radio studio at the school as part of a Career Technical Education pathway in media. Students broadcast “live” from KJTZ (96.1 FM) every morning; the studios are available for Alameda Community Radio and Poor Magazine at other times.

 

 “Since we first aired on March 6th I could not have hoped for a better start,” he says. “It has been an amazing experience after an incredible four-year journey to make this radio station a reality. But what pleases me the most is seeing kids of all types come together for the same goal, producing a great, quality show for the city of Alameda. I’ve seen so many students break out of their shells and lose their shyness in this arena. Their enthusiasm is overwhelming.   To hear these young broadcaster’s on the air is a dream come true. I couldn’t be prouder of them.”  

 

“The Perfect Balance”

 

Mr. Gorham takes a two-fold approach to teaching and mentoring. First, he emphasizes “student voice and perspective” in the classroom, by routinely implementing academic strategies that allow students to think critically and share perspectives on subject content, including pairing up students to discuss topics, holding “fish bowl discussions” and Socratic seminars, and organizing a Mock Congress in which students write and debate bills in an attempt to get them passed by their peers.

 

“As a classroom teacher, Mr. Gorham finds the perfect balance of rigor, relevance, and student-centered learning,” Dexter Moore, Jr., a former student and now associate director of programs at Head-Royce School, wrote in his recommendation letter.  

 

“The Ability to Engage”

 

Equally important for this seasoned teacher is building strong relationships with students and families. Noted Moore, “I’ve seen Mr. Gorham sacrifice his family’s time and finance to help provide stability for other people’s children. I’ve accompanied him on trips to hospitals, correctional facilities, and grocery stores to ensure that his most vulnerable students were healthy, safe, and free. When students have given up, Mr. Gorham has continued fighting.”  That strong connection with students has led to friendships and mentorships with students that continue long after they graduate.

 

Mr. Gorham has also inspired his colleagues. “Kevin’s passion, energy, and commitment to his students and profession bring out the best in all of us around him,” Peter Hill, a Lincoln Middle School teacher, wrote in a recommendation letter.  “He leads by example and wants to bring as many colleagues as possible into the fold in order to raise the standard of excellence. Kevin’s arrival at LMS 17 years ago literally transformed my teaching. I saw in him the ability to engage students and create meaningful relationships. He is unmatched in this district when it comes to connecting with kids.”

 

Added Superintendent Sean McPhetridge, “Because of his ambitious and sincere enthusiasm for improvement to schools where he has served, Kevin has made a great different to the education and lives of young people here in Alameda. I consider him one of the most committed educators I have known, and I am grateful for his service to the Alameda community.”

 

Nominees for AUSD Teacher of the Year come from parents, students, staff, and the community. After being invited to submit materials (including a resume and letters of support), a selection committee observes nominees in the classroom and then interviews them. Next fall, Gorham will compete to become Alameda County Teacher of the Year.

 

“The Teacher of the Year award is always exciting because it showcases the high-quality teaching that goes on in AUSD classrooms day in and day out,” said Board President Gary Lym. “Mr. Gorham clearly exemplifies that, both in his success in creating new programs and his ability to connect with students and colleagues alike. He is an inspiration to us all.”

 

The two other finalists for the award this year were Scott Hixon, who teaches at Haight Elementary School, and Kelly (JC) Johnson, who teaches at Ruby Bridges Elementary School. 

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Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:5/10/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Superintendent's Letter (May 2, 2017)

Dear community partners and stakeholders,


One of my favorite tasks as a superintendent is reporting good news — such as school awards, innovative teaching practices, student successes, and measures of community support that astound and enrich us year after year. We have had many reports of good news in the past year and in the years before that, and  let us always remain mindful of and grateful for our wonderful schools.


However, an equally important part of my job also has to be leading our school communities through difficult times, including those times involving uncertainty, anger, fear, and grief. Last week was one of those times when I had to share news none of us wanted.


Many have now heard that engineers have recommended that we no longer house children at Lum Elementary School. This is due to a troubling combination of soil that is at high risk of liquefaction and foundations not adequately built to withstand that liquefaction. Engineers have warned us that the situation at Lum Elementary could be unsafe in the event of a 100-year (6.8 on the Richter scale) earthquake. And many of us also know that some experts say the Bay Area is now overdue for a major seismic event long predicted along one of the several different faults that run through the area.

 

You can learn more about the technical issues involved at Lum on our website. I want to emphasize my — and my staff’s — commitment to keeping students and employees safe, to giving you as much information as possible about the situation, and to engaging the community as we move toward seeking out solutions. I know that all our families and staff have strong connections to their school sites and school communities. I know that this news is devastating to many in the Lum community and many others who are impacted also. I know we need to have a series of conversations about what ultimately will be decided by the Board of Education as the best solution for Lum students, Lum staff, Lum families, AUSD, and the Alameda community at large.


Some members of the Lum community have formed their own committee to represent their concerns and advocate for keeping Lum open. I have thanked them for doing so, and I appreciate their efforts to work together on behalf of their school and families. Please know we aim to listen closely to the committee members with open minds and with respect. I hope all of us will also listen to AUSD staff and engineering experts with open minds and respect. All of us have a part to play to make sense of this difficult news. 


We need to respect the need for inquiry to understand what we must discuss going forward, and we need to respect this process that ultimately impacts us  all. I am convinced that this community can navigate this issue to move forward. But I also know firsthand from past experiences in similar situations that we can only do that if we all work together, listen to one another, and advocate for a way forward that is deliberate and thoughtful. I respect those who are asking us to slow down and talk about this, and I also know that the Board of Education and AUSD staff do as well. Meanwhile, in my role as superintendent, I am mindful that we must focus on  protecting the physical safety of students and staff throughout, and our recommendations to the Board going forward must be always based on that legal, moral, and professional responsibility.


Please know we look forward to continued conversations so we can access the great strength of the Alameda community as we chart a way forward. We welcome input from community members and staff as we look forward to Board of Education meetings ahead. Thanks to all who are working to support one another throughout.


Sincerely,

 

Sean McPhetridge, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:5/3/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD Announces Next Steps in Lum Elementary Seismic Analysis (05/02/2017)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By: 

 

Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

Board President Gary Lym (510) 337-7187        

 

Alameda, Calif. — May 2, 2017 — Alameda Unified School District announced today the next steps for the analysis and decision-making process on the seismic issues at Lum Elementary School. The district had announced last week that the site has a high risk for liquefaction in the event of an earthquake and so Lum students and staff may need to be relocated for the start of the next school year.

 

“At the special Board of Education meeting on April 28, the board heard from district staff, consultants, and the Lum community,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “As a result of the feedback we heard from community stakeholders and board members, Board President Gary Lym and I have decided the board should postpone its decision on Lum to May 23, so that more information can be gathered.

 

“Meanwhile, AUSD staff will propose potential relocation plans at the May 9 Board of Education meeting to continue our efforts to inform the public as to what we know and how we can plan for whatever decision is made on May 23,” McPhetridge added.

 

Over the weekend, the superintendent also heard from Lum’s PTA president and parent leaders that a parent advisory committee had been formed to look into the issue. “The board looks forward to hearing the ideas and input of the parent committee,” McPhetridge said, “and both the board and staff appreciate the parents’ efforts to organize themselves.”

 

According to engineers hired by the school district to analyze the seismic safety of the Lum Elementary School campus before two classrooms were to be built there, the high risk of liquefaction on the campus combined with a shallow foundation means the buildings could sink and/or partially collapse in the event of a strong earthquake. The structural engineer recommends that the district make plans to house students in different facilities.

 

A group of parent/guardians and teachers opposes the potential closure and has asked for more information regarding the soil and structural engineers’ methodology and findings. District staff are currently researching those questions.

 

The public can find up-to-date press releases, FAQs, and meeting information for the situation at Lum Elementary School on the district’s website.

 

 

###

 

Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves more than 9600 students in Alameda, California, an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area.  For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:5/2/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Lum Elementary Soil Found to be Vulnerable to Liquefaction (04/26/2017)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:   

 

Sean McPhetridge, Superintendent (510) 337-7060 and

Gary Lym, President, Board of Education (510) 337-7187

 

Alameda ­– April 26, 2017 - Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) officials told family and staff at Lum Elementary School today that structural engineers have determined that the school cannot be guaranteed to be safe for long-term continued use because the soil on which it was built has been found to be susceptible to liquefaction in the event of an earthquake.

 

The risk was discovered just recently as the district was preparing to build a new classroom building on the Lum campus. Tests at the school indicate that during a strong earthquake the soils would be subject to liquefaction (a process by which sandy or silty soils lose their strength during strong ground shaking and behave like a liquid). The structural engineer subsequently determined the building could sink as much as 5 inches in a 100-year earthquake and become structurally unsafe.

 

The district then ordered five more samples to be taken from around the Lum campus. Each sample came back with similar results, causing concern for the existing campus buildings.  As a result, the engineers have recommended that “the district develop a plan to provide suitable alternate facilities for the students as soon as feasible.”

 

A special Board of Education meeting has been scheduled for this Friday, April 28, at 6:30 pm so that the board and community members can learn more about the situation. District staff will be recommending that Lum Elementary School be closed at the end of this school year and that Lum students be enrolled in other, nearby school sites to protect their safety.

 

“I know this is terrible news to hear,” Superintendent Sean McPhetridge said “Our schools are our communities, and Lum Elementary School is a fabulous community. But as staff we will be recommending to the board that the site be closed in 2017-18 due to our concern for the safety of students and staff.”

 

Added Board President Gary Lym, “We are fully committed to doing everything in our power to make this process of fact-finding, community engagement, and decision-making as smooth as possible.”

Peer review of the findings have confirmed that the Lum soil could be subject to liquefaction. Geotechnical engineers have tested the soil at several other AUSD campuses and found that earthquake-induced settlements do not pose safety concerns at those sites.

 

“I have seen this community pull together time and time again to take care of each other,” McPhetridge said. “If we all work together and support each other, I know we can get through this. We must work together deliberately and thoughtfully to face this challenge, and we must cooperate and coordinate our actions going forward to take care of our community and the Lum Elementary School families we serve.”

The district has set up a website with more detailed information on the issue here and will be adding to it over the next several weeks.

###

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:4/26/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Two AUSD Schools Receive Gold Ribbon Awards (04/19/2017)

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:  

 

Sean McPhetridge, Superintendent (510) 337-7060 and

Gary Lym, President, Board of Education (510) 337-7187

 

Wood Middle School and ASTI Recognized by State

 

Alameda – April 19, 2017 – Two secondary schools in the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) have been designated Gold Ribbon Schools, the California Department of Education (CDE) announced Tuesday.

 

The Gold Ribbon Schools Award was created to honor schools in place of the Distinguished Schools Program, which is currently on hold as the state transitions to new assessment and accountability systems. Schools applied for the award based on a model program or practice, including standards-based projects and practices that led to gains in implementing state standards and can be replicated in other districts.

 

Last year the CDE gave the award to elementary schools, including four in AUSD (Otis Elementary School, Maya Lin School, Earhart Elementary School, and Haight Elementary School). This year the CDE honored secondary (middle and high) schools. The  two AUSD schools that received the designation are:

 

Wood Middle School for its STEAM-Integrated Learning Through Inquiry program

 

Alameda Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) for its Early College High School program

 

You can see more detail about these programs here.

 

"I am always thrilled when our schools are recognized by the state Department of Education,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. "It is testament to the hard work of teachers, staff, students, and families. It serves as a reminder to us all that Alameda is truly blessed with excellent and innovative educational programs for our youth.”

 

In March, ASTI also won a Green Ribbon award from the CDE.  Both ASTI and Wood Middle School will be recognized for their accomplishments at a luncheon hosted by the CDE in Santa Clara next month.

 

###


Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves more than 9600 students in Alameda, California, an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, “like” the AUSD Facebook page, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:4/19/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AHS Students Create Goodness During Season of Nonviolence (04/19/2017)

 

AHS Students Create Goodness During

Season for Nonviolence

 

Students at Alameda High School (AHS) spent the whole month of March creating “goodness” at Alameda High School, all in the name of caring for themselves, caring for others, and improving the overall school climate.

 

The idea came up when Bhavna Bharvani, a therapist with Alameda Family Services’ School-Based Health Center, went on a retreat in India.  Participants in the retreat made a pledge to create goodness in the world by doing something to care for themselves or others. When Bharvani returned to Alameda, she wanted to introduce something similar as a pilot program for AHS students.

 

“There is often a peak in the amount of stressors for teens during the month of March” says Kale Jenks, Psy.D., director of the School-Based Health Centers through Alameda Family Services. “We wanted to use this opportunity to address school climate.”

 

March also is the closing month for the international “Season for Nonviolence,” a 64-day celebration of the lives and philosophies of Mohandas Gandhi and Martin Luther King, Jr. Both Alameda Unified School District and the City of Alameda participate in the Season for Nonviolence with daily readings, student speech contests, and other activities.

 

The campaign was simple: Jenks and his staff printed up small
business cards that included a way of doing good in the world for all 23 school days in March. Suggestions included “have patience” (3/2); “get in touch with an old friend” (3/15); “use kind and positive speech” (3/23); and “do something nice for my parents/guardians.”  Students were encouraged to document what they did to fulfill each pledge – in a journal, for instance, or as a memo on their phone. Then every Friday, the School-Based Health Center staff and several students set up a table in the quad at lunchtime and would mark off students’ cards.

 

Leadership students and the Acts of Random Kindness club helped promote the campaign with posters and PA announcements, and students in the school’s TV/Media classes created short video clips on SnapChat to encourage students to participate. Local businesses – including Lola’s Chicken Shack, Poke Koma, Lauren’s Closet, Taqueria Ramiro & Sons, Troy Greek, and i-Tea – provided prizes.

 

The project was a pilot for AHS this year; next year Jenks hopes to extend it to Encinal Jr. & Sr. High School students as well. “It’s a lot about encouraging teens to take the time to be mindful of what they do every day,” he says.

 

"What I liked about the Creating Goodness Campaign is that it made me set a major goal for myself during the whole month of March,” says Jess, a senior. “Honestly it looked impossible at first, because my eyes immediately saw the day that said I could only be on social media for twenty minutes, and I check my social media regularly. But somehow by the end of the month I accomplished each of the goals that were set every weekday. What I learned from this experience is that with enough incentive, perseverance, friends supporting me, and desire to achieve my goals, I can make that happen."

 

Noted Talia, a sophomore at AHS, "The #CreatingGoodness Campaign was amazing since it provided an opportunity for the students at my school, including myself, to give something good to the world and ourselves. Each day's goal was something we could do to be kind to either ourselves or one another, and I think that is very important for a high school environment."

 

Superintendent Sean McPhetridge said that this is the kind of project that highlights the benefits of the Season for Nonviolence. “We celebrate the Season for Non-Violence in Alameda deliberately and thoughtfully as a way to help the community stay mindful of how we can make positive change in our lives and in the world around us,” he said. “This kind of activity shows just how powerful it is for us to intentionally work at practicing acts of kindness.”

 

###

 

Upcoming Board of Education Meetings

 

April 25, 2017, 6:30 pm

City Hall

 

May 9, 2017, 6:30 pm

City Hall

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:4/19/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD, City Leaders to Mark HAHS Groundbreaking (04/10/2017)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:         Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

                          Board President Gary Lym (510) 337-7187     

 

1924 neoclassical building to be restored, modernized to honor history and serve students

 

Alameda, Calif. — April 10, 2017 — Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) staff, Board of Education members, and community leaders will gather April 24, at 4:00 pm, for a groundbreaking ceremony celebrating the seismic retrofit and restoration of Historic Alameda High School (HAHS).

 

The 100,000-square-foot historic high school building, which was constructed in 1924, is a registered Historical Landmark. Over the years, it has contained classrooms, the district office, the Alameda Adult School, and the Alameda Free Library. The library moved out in 2006, and the district office moved out in 2013 after seismic experts deemed it unsafe. The complex has stood empty since then.

 

The retrofit and restoration, which was designed by Quattrocchi Kwok Architects (QKA), will be paid for out of funds from the 2014 Measure I Facilities Bond. HAHS’s project completion is anticipated in December 2019.

 

“I am beyond excited that this beautiful building will be restored to its former glory and made into modern classrooms for AUSD students,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “My sincere thanks goes to QKA for having the vision and expertise to create this beautiful design, and I am grateful that this community approved Measure I, without which we would not be able to preserve this vital and iconic community resource and keep our facilities current for our students.”

 

The neoclassical revival building’s design includes:

 

  • Historic interior and exterior restoration, including preserving main lobby to resemble the original
  • Modernization reconstruction that includes 45 state-of-the-art classrooms, 10 new science labs, and an infusion of needed teaching technology
  • Seismic retrofitting and updating structural, mechanical, and electrical systems for functionality and efficiency, as well as aesthetics, to complement the design
  • New landscaping and seating areas along Central Avenue
  • Outdoor learning space
  • Removal of the perimeter seismic brown fence (once construction is complete)

AUSD’s Board of Education approved the plans for HAHS on March 28, 2016.

 

“As a significant community historic resource, this restoration has been an incredibly rewarding project where we’ve had the opportunity to preserve this piece of history while implementing a redesign of its classroom spaces for today’s learning and teaching environments,” said Mark Quattrocchi, principal at QKA. “We are thrilled for AUSD and this monumental occasion to officially begin construction after it being underutilized for nearly 50 years.”

 

QKA, a Bay Area K-12 industry architecture firm, also designed the restoration of the similar looking neoclassical Napa High School, which was built in the early 1920s and was also successfully upgraded to its original grandeur. Lathrop Construction is serving as the HAHS project contractor and has teamed with QKA on many school new construction and reconstruction projects. 

 

"As an important piece of Alameda's history and architectural legacy, it is wonderful to see the HAHS getting the restoration and modern updates needed to keep it safe and accessible for future generations,” says Christopher Rummell, president of the Alameda Architectural Preservation Society. “AAPS applauds the efforts of everyone involved in preserving this local treasure."

 

The ceremony, which will include remarks from the mayor, the superintendent, and others, will take place in front of Kofman Auditorium. A portion of the brown earthquake fence surrounding HAHS will be removed, as a symbol of the commencement of work to make the high school accessible again.

 

“The fence we have long utilized to keep the students and community safe will remain intact during construction,” McPhetridge said, “but the symbolic action of demolition at our event is a testament to our excitement to remove this fence and unveil our beautifully preserved gem at the conclusion of the project.”

 


 

 

About AUSD

Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves more than 9600 students in Alameda, California, an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area.  The Measure I bond, passed in 2014, is providing $179.5 million for facilities projects across the district. This bond was based on the 2014 Facilities Master Plan, which identified $590 million worth of renovations, modernizations, and repairs needed in AUSD's school sites. For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

 

About Quattrocchi Kwok Architects

QKA provides comprehensive master planning, design, and construction administration services for Northern California K-12 and higher education, historic renovation, and community facilities. With more than $1.5 billion in projects completed in the company’s 31-year history, QKA’s award-winning portfolio reflects a commitment to design that emphasizes environmental sustainability and community impact. Recent projects include the American Canyon High School, which is heralded as the “greenest school in America” and has achieved one of the highest scores of a California school to date from the Collaborative for High Performance School (CHPS) Verified program. Visit: www.qka.com.

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:4/10/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Lum Third Graders March for Peace (03/30/2017)

Cars honked, dogs barked, and bystanders gave big waves this morning as third-graders from Lum Elementary School marched to City Hall to deliver a message: “Everyone Belongs Here.”

 

Chanting “Courage! Hope! Lots of Love! Inspiration! Appreciation!” and waving homemade signs, the children walked along Otis Drive, up Park Street, and then over to City Hall, where they were greeted by Mayor Trish Spencer.  The children then marched up two flights of stairs to Council Chambers, where Board of Education, City Council, and other government meetings are regularly held.

“We’re marching against hate and for peace,” one Lum student said. “We should close our hearts to fear and open our hearts to love,” said another.

 

“Can Kids Protest?”

 

The idea for the march came from 8-year-old Emme Gerhard, teacher Mary Otieku told the assembled audience of students, teachers, parents, and dignitaries (including the Mayor, Councilwoman Marilyn Ezzy Ashcraft, and City Manager Jill Keimach).

 

“We were reflecting on the principles of non-violence protest,” Otieku explained. “And Emmie asked, ‘can kids protest?’ and I said, ‘of course!’ Then another girl said, ‘We should have a march!’ and when I asked, ‘what will you protest?’ the class said, ‘We want to protest hate and march for peace.’”

 

The classroom work on peace was part of the district’s and city’s annual celebration of the 64-day Season for Non-Violence, which is devoted to demonstrating the healing and transformative power of nonviolence in our lives and in our communities. It honors the visions of Mahatma Gandhi, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and other social justice leaders. Each marcher had a sign that focused on one of the principles discussed during the season.


“I’m super proud of you guys,” Otieku told her students at City Hall. “You’ve done an amazing job talking about these principles, learning about these principles, and reading about these principles. You should be really proud of yourselves.”

 

 

 

 

“Filled with Joy”


Several Lum students read essays and poems about inclusion, peace, life skills, and how at Lum Elementary School “Everyone Belongs Here.”


“It’s only my first year here and I already feel like I belong at Lum,” one girl said. “When I see all the Everyone Belongs Here posters in my school, I am filled with joy. Lum is so understanding and accepting. I look around and everyone looks different on the outside but they’re all still friends.”


After the readings, Mayor Spencer led the children in the classic protest songs  “This Land is Your Land” and “If I Had a Hammer.” 
“One way I protest is by singing,” she explained.


Hands Across Lum


The march kicked off with Principal Jesse Woodward leading Lum students, teachers, staff, and families in a “Hands Across Lum” event in which everyone held hands and talked about the Season for Non-Violence. Superintendent Sean McPhetridge and Alameda Education Association President Audrey Hyman attended the kick-off and also walked with the children along Otis Drive.


“A Part of That Family”


 Students who were interviewed as they ate lunch on the City Hall lawn said they loved the morning’s activities. “Good people marched with Martin Luther King,” said a young protester named Kirk. “I want us to be a part of that family.” When asked how he felt about giving a speech infront of the mayor, he said, “It felt good. It felt important.”


Emme, who was eating a sandwich out of a Disney Princess container, explained that non-violent people “use their words and don’t punch people” and noted “it’s fun and cool to go to City Hall.”

 

Dante Leach, 9, said he marched because he wanted to “get rid of hatred. Non-violence is about getting rid of that, not attacking people, not being mean.” Added his friend Toby, “It’s about using love to heal.” 
 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:3/30/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Superintendent's Letter (March 28, 2017)

Dear community partners and stakeholders,


Over the last several years, we have seen great progress in our district goal of improving our AUSD Career Technical Education (CTE) programs.

 

For instance, I was delighted to go to Alameda Hospital recently to see Alameda High School (AHS) Sports Medicine students don blue coats and begin their orientations for our new FACES for the Future work-based learning experiences which we have set up via our emerging partnership with the Alameda Health System. Under this program, AHS students have an opportunity to prepare for a career in the healthcare sector by interning at Alameda Hospital, receiving academic support, and benefiting from training in wellness and leadership.  The program also aims to bring more diversity into the health professions and address healthcare disparities.

 

Our goal is to offer the same allied health CTE experiences to Encinal students someday soon. In the meantime, Encinal students can already take college classes in biotechnology and genomics, and in so doing they earn both high school science credits and college credits from AUSD and Peralta Community College District (PCCD). Moreover, it has been exciting to see Encinal staff and students work on building and launching their own FM radio station (96.1/KJTZ) from their new radio/television lab. That lab is allowing Encinal students to learn broadcast journalism through hands-on  audio and video production. Be sure to tune in Monday to Friday, 8 AM – 11 AM, to hear news, commentary, and music from our youth!

 

Just last week, we also held our 3rd Annual Career Pathways and Youth Job Fair. More than 600 students visited the fair, where more than 50 local businesses as well as tradespeople and representatives from PCCD were available to talk about education opportunities, jobs, internships, and careers. We are so grateful to our many partners here in Alameda who supported this event, including the City of Alameda, Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, Alameda County Workforce Development Board, KRA, the Alameda Collaborative for Children, Youth, and their Families, and of course our local businesses.


We are blessed and fortunate with the many powerful partnerships we maintain. Our partnership with the College of Alameda (COA) has resulted in the Alameda Promise wherein now every interested AUSD graduate can benefit from a free year of tuition and books paid for by PCCD and its benefactors. For over a decade, COA has been a vital partner to us because they help make possible our Early College High School, Alameda Science and Technology Institute. Indeed, we also now have Island High School students also benefiting from college credit classes they are enrolled in through our work with COA. We look forward to increasing efforts of partnership with COA and PCCD in years to come. 


Last month, I wrote about challenges we face as a district. In months ahead, we will continue to wrestle with difficult challenges we face, but as we head to our spring break, I hope we can remember to take stock in and stay mindful of the great things we are accomplishing with partners to help us in our goal of ensuring all students can graduate college and career ready.

 

Sincerely,

 

Sean McPhetridge, Ed.D.
Superintendent of Schools

 

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:3/29/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Coming Up! AUSD Youth Career Fair (03/17/2017)

 

 

Employers, colleges, trades, and summer opportunities for Alameda teens will be featured at March 23 event  

 

Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) and community partners will hold a Career Pathways & Youth Job Fair on Thursday, March 23, 2017, from 2:30 to 4:30 pm, in the Encinal Jr. & Sr. High School gymnasium.

 

The event, which is free to all high school students in Alameda, is supported by AUSD, the City of Alameda, Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, Alameda County Workforce Development Board, KRA, and the Alameda Collaborative for Children, Youth, and their Families.  

 

During the event, high school students will have opportunities to apply for summer jobs and paid internships in local agencies and businesses, talk to representatives from the Peralta Community Colleges, and explore opportunities in vocational education. AUSD will also provide a Resume Help Desk for students and information on the district's Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. A list of the participants is available here.

 

The event is part of AUSD’s ongoing collaboration with the East Bay Career Pathways Trust (CPT) consortium, which has brought together 11 school districts, six community colleges, two Regional Occupation Programs, the Alameda County Office of Education, business partners, and professional development providers to reshape the East Bay’s K-14 educational programs. AUSD is currently strengthening and expanding its career technical programs at its high schools.

 

"This is our third annual Career Pathways & Job Fair, and every year it gets bigger and better,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. "We are excited to provide students with this opportunity to find summer work and to explore potential careers after they graduate. I am so pleased to be able to collaborate with these amazing organizations to host this event for all high-school aged youth in Alameda.”

 

Noted Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer, “I am excited to see how this event has grown remarkably since its start three years ago.  As word gets out about the annual career fair, It shows the strong bond between the business community and our youth, while providing students with the opportunity to gain valuable work experience.”

 

Upcoming Board of Education Meetings

March 28, 2017 – City Hall, 6:30 pm

April 25, 2017 – City Hall, 6:30 pm

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:3/17/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


State Releases New Accountability "Dashboard" (03/17/2017)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:         Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

                          Board President Gary Lym (510) 337-7187     

 

State Releases New Accountability “Dashboard”

for Districts and Schools

 

Alameda, Calif. — March 17, 2017 —  The State Board of Education (SBE) and the California Department of Education (CDE) have released the “California School Dashboard,” a website that communicates information about public schools and school districts with easy-t0-use indicators and graphics.

 

The dashboard, a key piece in California’s new school accountability system, replaces the Academic Performance Index (API). That system, which relied exclusively on standardized tests and gave each school just one numerical score, was suspended three years ago. The new system provides 10 different measures (six state and four local) of a school’s “performance,” which is a combination of its current status and its growth over time.

 

“A Multi-Dimensional View”

 

The six state measures are: Academic Achievement; Career/College Readiness; Graduation Rate; Suspension Rate; English Learner Progress; and Chronic Absenteeism.

 

The four local measures are Basic Services and School Conditions; Parent Engagement; School Climate; and Implementation of Academic Standards.

 

Indicators are given both for the district and school as a whole and for various demographic subgroups. One important note: On this year’s dashboards the Academic Achievement measures are from last year (2015-16) as compared to 2014-15.  Graduation, Suspension, and English Language Learner data are from 2014-15 (as compared to previous years). This year’s dashboard also includes neither College/Career Readiness data nor Chronic Absenteeism data; the CDE anticipates adding those in subsequent years.

 

“Eventually, having ten up-to-date measures will give us a more multi-dimensional view of how our students, school sites, and district as a whole are doing,” says Chief Academic Officer Steven Fong. “Even without all the data, it is clear to us that the new dashboard will be a vital tool for identifying students who need more resources and support.” This is in part due to the fact, Fong said, that the new system tracks smaller groups of students. For a subgroup’s score to be listed on the API, there had to be at least 50 or 100 students (depending on the school size).  The new dashboard displays results for subgroups of at least 30 students. “The dashboard provides us with a clear call to action,” Fong says, “because it allows us to more holistically identify more needs of more students.” 

 

Visual Displays of Achievement and Growth

 

On the dashboard, a school’s or district’s performance on each measure is displayed as a pie chart indicator  (as on a car’s dashboard) with a full blue pie illustrating  “very high” performance and a red pie with just one slice illustrating “very low” performance.  Green, yellow, and orange signify varying intermediate levels.  Clicking on the indicators brings up more detailed information on the group’s most recent “status” on the measure and change over time.

 


 

To display a school’s or district’s performance (which, again, is a combination of status and change over time), the state also provides colored Five by Five Placement Reports for the state indicators.  On these charts, the different colors can signify very different types of performance. For instance, a school that had very low achievement on one measure but increased significantly is ranked “yellow.” So, too, is a school that has very high achievement but declined significantly, as evident in the chart below. Similarly, a school that had medium status but increased is “green,” as is a school that maintained a high status.

 


 

 

AUSD’s Performance

 

This year’s dashboard shows that AUSD as a whole continues to be a high-performing district, especially for its academic scores and suspension and graduation rates (all of which received green indicators).  Within that general data, certain schools and subgroups of students also received blue indicators on various measures. For instance:

 

  • White, Asian, and students of two races received blue indicators for suspensions and English Language Arts
  • Asian students received blue for Mathematics
  • Filipino, Hispanic, and students of two or more races were marked blue for graduation rates

 

AUSD schools and subpopulations also received mid-range green, yellow, and orange indicators, which reveals the complexity of the new system. For instance, English Learners received a “yellow” on the ELA assessment, because they maintained a “medium” performance. Yet the indicator for Filipino students on the same measure is also yellow, because they achieved at a “high” level, but had declined from the prior year. “It’s important to drill down to the data and see what happened in each instance,” Fong says. “The colors just tell us how a school or subpopulation did most recently and what the movement has been since prior years.”

 

Some school sites and subgroups continue to need more targeted attention. Pacific Islander students, for instance, received red on the Mathematics achievement measure.  The suspension rates for African-American students and students with disabilities also received a red indicator.  

 

“This is both a wake-up call and a confirmation that we are on the right track,” McPhetridge said. “For instance, since 2015, we have implemented programs that specifically address our higher rates of suspension for some groups of students. This is a reminder that we did this for a reason, and it reminds us that we must continue to be vigilant in our efforts to make sure that all students have the opportunities and support they need to succeed. While we continue to do well overall, we cannot rest on our laurels for our areas of high performance.”

 

For more basic background, please see this video, which was produced by the Alameda County Office of Education. There are also resources on the CDE Dashboard webpage.

 

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Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves more than 9600 students in Alameda, California, an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area.  For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

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Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:3/17/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD Board Appoints Anne McKereghan (03/16/2017)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Issued By:           Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

                            Board President Gary Lym (510) 337-7187           

 

 

 

Alameda, California  —  March 16, 2017  —  At its meeting on Tuesday, March 14, the  Board of Education for the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) appointed Anne McKereghan to the seat left empty when Board Member Solana Henneberry died last month.

 

McKereghan, a local realtor, is the former President for the Alameda Association of Realtors, the current Northern County Director for the Bay East Association of Realtors, and Regional Chair for the California Association of Realtors. She has served on the Alameda Education Foundation board since 2003 and the Alameda Boys and Girls Club board since 2014, and she was Secretary for the League of Women Voters of Alameda in 2016. She was the fundraising chair for the Measure E and A parcel tax campaigns and a member of the Measure A Oversight Committee for three years. She was also a member of the steering committee for the campaign for the Measure I facilities bond.

 

McKereghan ran for the Board of Education in November 2016, when three seats were open. She came in fourth, with 10,597 votes. Several board members noted that although the pool of applicants was highly qualified, the fact that McKereghan ran for a seat during the election and came in fourth meant that she was the logical choice for appointment. 

 

“We had nine phenomenal candidates,” Board President Gary Lym said in the meeting. “(But) I favor respecting, supporting, and honoring the Alameda voters’ next choice on the ballot to fill this vacant seat on the board. This appointment would seat the five highest vote getters of the last two school elections who were able to serve.”

 

McKereghan begins her term, which ends in 2018, immediately. “Having the opportunity to represent our community on behalf of students, teachers, and staff is a privilege and one I take very seriously,” she says. “My hope is to honor Member Henneberry by striving to meet the unwavering dedication she demonstrated during her time on the board.”

 

Superintendent Sean McPhetridge said he welcomes McKereghan’s extensive experience in community service, especially in matters of education. “I have known Anne for many years,” he said, “and I have long admired her energy, her tenacity, and her depth of knowledge about educational funding and policy. It gives me great pleasure to address her as ‘Board Member McKereghan.’”

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Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves more than 9600 students in Alameda, California, an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area.  For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:3/16/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


College of Alameda, AUSD Announce “Alameda Promise” Initiative (03/15/2017)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:         Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

                          Board President Gary Lym (510) 337-7187    

 

 

Program to provide first year of college tuition free for

all AUSD graduates

 

Alameda, Calif. — March 15, 2017 — At the Board of Education meeting last night, College of Alameda’s President Tim Karas presented on the “Alameda Promise Initiative,” a program developed by the College of Alameda (CoA) with support from Alameda Unified School District (AUSD). The Alameda Promise provides AUSD graduates with one year of fees, a voucher for textbook purchases during that first year of enrollment, and intensive academic and counseling support to assist students with the transition to college.

 

Goals of the “Alameda Promise” program include the following: increasing the percentage of high school graduates in the city of Alameda entering college; strengthening students’ access to career pathways; and deepening the connection between College of Alameda and its island community.

 

“All graduates should have the opportunity to follow their educational dreams,” said Tim Karas, President of the College of Alameda. “Higher education should be a path to shared prosperity, not a path only available to a privileged few.”

 

To support AUSD high schoolers who wish to attend CoA, Alameda Promise organizers plan to: 

  • Create information and facilitate outreach on the value of community college education
  • Offer registration and financial aid workshops at AUSD school sites
  • Work with AUSD to recruit students who thought college was out of reach so more students can avail themselves of post-secondary education in their local community college

The Peralta Community College District is also implementing similar “promise” initiatives in Berkeley and Oakland. Funding for these programs comes in part from the California College Promise Innovation Grant Program established by Assembly Bill 1741.

 

All AUSD seniors will receive letters about the offer, as well as instructions on how to participate, in the next few weeks.

 

“AUSD is fortunate to have such a great partnership with College of Alameda and the Peralta Community College District,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge, “and we are so grateful for the 'Alameda Promise' program providing a free year of tuition and books to our graduates who may have otherwise thought college out of reach. We are also very grateful for other dual enrollment initiatives already underway in AUSD where our high school students benefit from early college experiences while still enrolled in AUSD high schools. We are very excited at this next development in our longstanding partnership, and we thank CoA and PCCD for their efforts to work with AUSD to make college accessible and affordable for all.”

 

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Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves more than 9600 students in Alameda, California, an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area.  For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:3/15/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


ASTI Wins Green Ribbon Award from State (03/03/2017)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:      

 

Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

Board President Gary Lym (510) 337-7187    

 

School honored for recycling, gardening, sustainability,

and curriculum achievements

 

 Alameda, Calif. — March 3, 2017 — The Alameda Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), a public magnet and early college high school in Alameda Unified School District (AUSD), received a prestigious Green Ribbon Award from the California Department of Education today.

 

The Green Ribbon Schools program honors schools, school districts, and institutes of higher education for excellence in resource efficiency, health and wellness, and environmental and sustainability education.  ASTI won a “silver award” from the program this year.

 

The awards were given out at a news conference at Redondo Union High School in Redondo Beach this morning. Representatives of the other winning programs also attended the ceremony and spoke of their work.  “These schools and districts serve as role models for their students in two important ways,” State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson said in a press release. “First, they manage their own facilities wisely by saving energy, conserving water, and reducing their impact on the environment. Next, they provide innovative education programs that teach students about nature, the importance of clean air and water, and how to make good choices to preserve the environment for future generations.”

 

ASTI science and PE teacher Todd Higashi accepted the award on behalf of his school.

 

The State's Green Ribbon Program

 

Green Ribbon Schools demonstrate exemplary achievement in three categories or "pillars": reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff; and providing effective environmental education that incorporates science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), civic skills, and green career pathways.

 

ASTI's Green Ribbon Achievements

 

ASTI’s 50-page application for the award detailed numerous achievements in these areas, including: 

 

  • Creating and maintaining a drip-irrigated organic school garden that serves as both a hands-on outdoor learning center and student retreat
  • Replacing large swaths of blacktop with planter boxes
  • Developing a fruit orchard and drought-tolerant living willow fedge
  • Planning to develop a butterfly garden later this spring
  • Integrating environmental topics such as climate change and social justice into classes such as English, History, Biology, and Spanish
  • Opportunities to take environmentally themed elective classes at College of Alameda, such as Environmental Control Technology, The Financial Case for Clean Energy, Indoor Air Quality & Building Envelope, Native Plant ID & Culture, Global Climate Change, Sustainable Urban & Regional Planning, and Lighting Efficiency Technology
  • Supporting an active Green Club that maintains the garden and volunteers with Ploughshares Nursery, the Golden Gate Audubon Society, and Community Action for Sustainable Alameda
  • Maintaining a successful recycling and compost system
  • Participating in energy efficiency and conservation efforts through both AUSD and the College of Alameda
  • Encouraging a “no-bullying” culture that relies on restorative justice rather than punishment to help students learn non-confrontational ways of interacting

 

“I am honored and excited to see ASTI win this award,” said Principal Tracy Corbally. “This is the result of years of hard work, visionary thinking, and environmental commitment on the part of our students, staff, and families.” Principal Corbally especially expressed gratitude to Chantal Currid, an ASTI parent and member of the Alameda Green Schools Challenge steering committee, who prepared the lengthy and very detailed application for submission last fall.

 

The award is the third major recognition of green programs received by AUSD and its school sites in the last several years. In 2014, the district-wide Green Schools Challenge won a Golden Bell Award from the California School Boards Association for its work on waste sorting, and Bay Farm School won a Green Ribbon award last year. 

 

“ASTI’s emphasis on sustainability, school climate, and social justice is nothing short of awesome,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “I am so grateful to the work of the ASTI community and our partnership with the Peralta Community College District, which has allowed the school to make available courses and volunteer opportunities that help ASTI students grow as both learners and stewards of our environment.”

 

The California Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Award Program web page includes more details on the award program.

 

 

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Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves about 9500 students in Alameda, California, an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

 

 

 

Posted by: Rob van Herk, District Admin, Alameda Unified School District Published:3/3/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Encinal Jets Radio to Go Live Monday, March 6 (03/02/2017)

A new radio station managed by Encinal Jr. & Sr. High School (EJSHS) students will go live for the first time Monday, March 6, at 7 am. The station, KJTZ FM-LP 96.1, will feature a live interview with Superintendent Sean McPhetridge at 7:45 am and a ribbon cutting with the superintendent and Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer at 8 am. 

 

The station is part of EJSH’s new Career Technical Education program in media. Beginning Monday, students in the program’s Radio Broadcast Journalism class will feature news, interviews, music, and Central Avenue traffic reports weekdays 7 am – 11 am.

 

A Community Partnership

 

The launch on Monday marks the final step in a long journey that Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) began six years ago when the district partnered with Alameda Community Radio (ACR) to apply for FCC licenses to jointly use 96.1 FM for low-powered FM stations (along with a third partner, Poor Magazine).  Under the agreement, AUSD provided the studios and ACR provided the transmitter and antenna, which just last month were erected on top of the Masonic Temple in downtown Alameda with generous grants from Alameda Rotary and the Alameda Community Fund. 

 

"AUSD is very grateful for the community partnership and staff leadership that envisioned and built this new Career Technical Education pathway,” McPhetridge says. “It will not only benefit Encinal Junior and Senior High School but also the Alameda community writ large. We are excited that more AUSD students and the public will be having hands-on broadcast journalism and media engineering opportunities to prepare them for college and career while simultaneously improving media access to the local community."

 

State-of-the-art radio studios, funded with Career Technical Education grants, have been built at the school, and “the students are raring to go,” says Encinal teacher Kevin Gorham, a radio broadcast veteran with a 20-year career in the industry who is overseeing the program. “They’ve learned how to use the technology and how to develop programming. The next step is going live.”

 

A Local Opportunity

 

Members of Alameda Community Radio (ACR) will use the studios to operate KACR-LP (also 96.1 FM) when KJTZ FM-LP is not on the air.  Notes Peter Franck, a long-time radio activist and chair of the ACR Board of Directors, “ACR is proud of its partnership with AUSD and is excited to be bringing local radio back to Alameda. And we’re excited to invite Alameda residents to get involved with this new station.”

 

For more information about KJTZ, contact Kevin Gorham at kgorham@alameda.k12.ca.us  or 510-387-5406. For more information about Alameda Community Radio, contact Peter Franck at peter@culturelaw.com or 510-788-1009.

 

Photo Credits: Eric Fonstein and Felicia Vargas

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:3/2/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD Now Accepting Applications for Board of Education (03/01/2017)

 

Issued By:  

     

Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

Board President Gary Lym (510) 337-7187    

 

Alameda, Calif. – Wednesday, March 1, 2017 The Board of Education for the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) is now accepting applications for the seat left vacant when Solana Henneberry passed away several weeks ago, district leaders announced today.

 

The application is available on the AUSD website. Hard copies are also available at the front desk of the district's office at 2060 Challenger Drive in Alameda. The deadline for submitting the applications is 5 pm on March 8, 2017.

 

According to board policy, when a board seat becomes open, the remaining board members can choose to fill that seat via appointment or special election. At its public meeting on February 28, the Board of Education voted unanimously to fill Board Member Henneberry’s seat via appointment.  

 

Residents of Alameda who are registered to vote and have no disqualifying criminal record are eligible to apply. District staff will review the applications to make sure applicants meet the minimum legal qualifications. Board members will interview the applicants and select one to appoint at board’s public meeting on March 14, 2017.

 

Completed applications should be returned to: Office of the General Counsel, Attention: Kerri Lonergan, 2060 Challenger Drive, Alameda, California 94501 or klonergan@alameda.k12.ca.us. Questions about the application and selection process should be directed to Chad Pimentel (AUSD General Counsel) at 510-337-7188.

 

 

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Alameda Unified School District serves more than 9500 students in Alameda, California, an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:3/1/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


ASTI’s Todd Higashi Wins LifeChanger of the Year Award (02/28/2017)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:        

 

Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

Board President Gary Lym (510) 337-7187    

 

Alameda, Calif. — February 28, 2017 — Staff and students at the Alameda Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) surprised veteran teacher Todd Higashi today with news that he had won a prestigious National LifeChanger of the Year Award.

 

Higashi, a science and physical education teacher at ASTI, is one of just 15 teachers from across the country who won an award from the National Life Group Foundation, which every year recognizes K-12 public and private school educators and employees who are making a difference in the lives of students by exemplifying excellence, positive influence, and leadership. 

 

Higashi was nominated by a group of ASTI colleagues. “Mr. Higashi
wears many hats,” said Principal Tracy Corbally. “He teaches a wide variety of subjects, from biology and media to physical education. He embeds his talents and passion for his subjects into his curriculum, engaging students and making learning matter.”  

 

The school garden is one of Mr. Higashi’s greatest contributions to ASTI. Starting in 2012, Mr. Higashi and his Green Club students worked tirelessly to secure the space and create a 5000 square foot organic garden to be managed by students. The garden includes an orchard that will be furnished with outdoor seating and also serves as an outdoor classroom where students learn about hands-on gardening, the environment, and nutrition. 

 

“Students use the garden as a peaceful place of refuge,” Corbally explained. “Mr. Higashi has created a space where all students feel welcomed and valued, and it gives all students an opportunity to contribute positively to their school community. He is also changing the way students think about food, nutrition, farming, and their impact on the environment.” 

 

Mr. Higashi’s LifeChanger of the Year nominee profile is available at:  www.LifeChangeroftheYear.com.  

 

Students, staff, and LifeChangers representatives surprised Higashi in the ASTI quad at noon. Even Higashi’s wife Noriko and kids Mika and Tatsuya were in on the surprise—they took him out to lunch while students helped the folks from Lifechanger get ready. “It's a huge honor to be recognized by this award,” Higashi said. “I'd like to thank my principal for nominating me and everyone who has supported my nomination. Most of all I'd like to thank my students and the ASTI community for creating a welcoming and warm community to work in. The enthusiasm, kindness, and curiosity that my students exude makes it a joy to be around them and inspires me to be the best teacher that I can. Without them, I would not have been able to receive this award.”

 

Higashi, who was also a finalist for a 2016 AUSD Teacher of the Year award, has taught at ASTI for 9 years.

 

“Todd is an example of the kind of education we hold most dear in AUSD,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “He is innovative, hands-on, and focused on reaching all students.”

 

Photo Credits: Terry Chau and Yongqi Kuang

 

Background

 

Each school year, the LifeChanger of the Year program receives hundreds of nominations from all 50 states and the District of Columbia. Fifteen individual school employees won LifeChanger of the Year awards in 2016-17. Winners receive a cash award that is split between the individual winner and their school. The national Grand Prize award is $10,000. The top five winners will also be honored at a national awards ceremony in Naples, Florida. 

 

The selection committee, which is comprised of former winners and education professionals, chooses winners based on the following criteria: 

  • A proven ability to make a beneficial difference in the lives of students 
  • An ability to positively add to the development of the school's atmosphere 
  • Is involved in leadership activities at the school and/or community level 
  • A demonstrative record of excellent performance at the professional level 
  • A commitment to producing a nurturing atmosphere 
  • Adherence to high moral and ethical standards 

                              

AUSD’s Alameda Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) is an Early College High School located on the College of Alameda campus; ASTI students complete their high school diplomas by taking a combination of college and high school classes. The program is committed to ensuring that all students – and especially under-represented students – receive the support and resources needed to get a college degree. ASTI won a Blue Ribbon from the U.S. Department of Education in 2015.

 

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Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves more than 9600 students in Alameda, California,  an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area.  For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:2/28/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Superintendent's February Letter to the Community (02/28/2017)

 

February 28, 2017

 

Dear community partners and stakeholders,

 

February brought significant challenges to the district. The sudden, tragic passing of Board of Education trustee Solana Henneberry shocked us all. The AUSD community and community at large mourn her loss. Solana fought a very tough and brave battle with cancer, showing commitment and resilience despite great personal challenge. We will always remember Solana for her service to the children and families of Alameda. Solana will be remembered for core values of improving early childhood education, labor-management relations, and special education in AUSD. We are grateful to her and her family for her stalwart contributions serving in 2016 as the President of the Board of Education. Solana Henneberry will be missed: we were lucky to know her.

 

This is not the first time we have faced a tragic loss of a Board of Education member during their term of office. It was only two years ago we also lost Nielsen “Niel” Tam, and AUSD and the Alameda community also must remember his fine example for us going forward. Niel was a man similarly driven like Solana to work toward dialogue, improvement, and solutions for the challenges and problems we face as a people. Like Solana, Niel was someone who particularly valued early childhood education and special education, once having been (just like Solana) a special educator himself. Personally I know that Niel and Solana both would have reminded us to stay mindful and resilient during times of challenge. Let us invoke and remember that wisdom as we go forward, rising to the challenges we face to improve our district and world.

 

AUSD has witnessed triumphs and challenges alike so far in 2017. I was personally proud of the work of the Board of Education to pass our “Safe Haven” resolution in January, joining the City of Alameda in action and in word to make the city sanctuary to all people and to embrace our goal of a safe, inclusive place where all of us belong. And I am also pleased to see a culmination of goals we have worked on as a district with regard to recent events organized by AUSD’s Black Achievers Alliance and ALCANCE (our Latino achievement initiative). Work being done by community leaders like these to celebrate and support achievements of our young people is impressive, and I continue to be inspired by their work and the work of other colleagues (e.g., the LGBTQ Round Table and the Alameda Special Education Parent Support Group) who also help us maintain a focus on issues of equity and inclusion as a school district.

 

AUSD is also proud to be embarking on a bold and inclusive strategic planning effort to engage in inquiry aimed to improve upon our special education services in the district. This was a particular goal of Solana Henneberry’s, and it is one that will certainly serve to shed light on challenges we face as a district in delivery of these services. Ultimately we know that we must be careful, diligent, and focused on improvement now and going forward if we are to face our challenges and brainstorm new ways to get better. 

 

AUSD is very fortunate to have a team of committed professionals working together as general education teachers, special education providers, and administrators who will engage in broad-based community engagement efforts with families in years ahead. This is what is required of us to work in data-based inquiry efforts, to adapt to the challenges of our special education service delivery mandates, and to adopt both general education and special education best practices so we can work together to build a multi-tiered system of supports and a system supporting all AUSD students.

 

At last week’s PTA Council, our parent/guardian leaders unanimously endorsed an Alameda PTA Diversity and Inclusion Statement to voice support to our commitment to the learning and welfare of all Alamedans. I am heartened by the discussions we are having there about what equity means to us as a community, and I look forward to ongoing efforts for us to focus on issues with an eye on equity in months ahead. Whether it be in PTA Council, community and district LCAP meetings, our different equity-focused affinity groups, or our AUSD Board of Education meetings, we will continue to present on our work and our budgeting processes aimed to address the needs of the collective and allocate district resources in a way that is fair and equitable to all. And we must do this while staying ever mindful of the limited resources we must share as we also acknowledge and aspire to the unlimited impact we can make by working together in inquiry and partnership. They say politics is about “who gets what, where, how, and when.” We will continue to lead active dialogue and enact responsible governance to make political decisions that aim to fairly and equitably allocate district resources according to community values we represent.

 

Since my start with AUSD back in 2000, I have never known a time where we did not face challenges as a school district and community. As much as they may discomfort and vex us, these challenges also present us opportunities to speak to our values and work toward ongoing improvement of conditions we face and services we provide. Today as always—indeed, today more than ever—I am mindful and grateful for the many examples of commitment and resilience we share to guide us forward as a district in these times of local and global challenge, challenges that can lead us toward continuing inquiry and ongoing dialogue to help us bring about new opportunities for increased student success and improved relations with our fellow human beings.

 

Sincerely,

 

Sean McPhetridge, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:2/28/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD to Form Special Education Strategic Planning Group (02/24/2017)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Issued By:    

 

Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

Board President Gary Lym (510) 337-7187      

 

Alameda, Calif. — February 24, 2017 —   Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) announced today that it is forming a broad-based Special Education Strategic Planning Group to develop a three- to five-year special education plan for the district.

 

The group, which will be comprised of parents/guardians, certificated and classified staff members, union leaders, and district staff, will create a plan based on recommendations drawn from:

 

  • The state’s 2015 “Blueprint for Great Schools”  
  • The state’s Special Education Task Force
  • The Fiscal Crisis Management Assistance Team (FCMAT) internal review of AUSD special education operations
  • Current research on exemplary special education programs across California and the country

A thorough review of program and service delivery options, student performance measures, and financial data.


The development of the AUSD Special Education Strategic Plan will include goals, strategies, and concrete action steps focused on use of best practices in the following five priority areas:

 

  • Intervention and Identification
  • Service Delivery Models
  • Support Systems
  • Leadership and Communication
  • Monitoring and Compliance

The planning group will meet monthly for eight sessions, with the first session scheduled for March 30, 2017. Meetings will be held at the AUSD District Office from approximately 6:00 pm - 8:30 pm. Meetings will be hands-on, collaborative, and highly participatory. Members of the planning group are asked to commit to attending all eight meetings to help foster the development of a cohesive plan and a collective voice that will help AUSD improve its Special Education services. 

"We are excited about the formation of this Special Education planning group,” said AUSD’s Chief Student Support Officer Kirsten Zazo. “Collaboration among general education and special education staff, students, and families is critical to our students' success. We are looking forward to examining our special education programs and services, our data, the latest research, and FCMAT recommendations and creating a special education plan that will guide our efforts in the years ahead."

 

Added Superintendent Sean McPhetridge, “I am looking forward to seeing this work take shape under Ms. Zazo’s leadership. This broad-based team will help AUSD and the community we serve do deep data-based inquiry and investigation of best practices in special education so that we can  incorporate them in our own program.”

 

Community members interested in serving on the planning group can submit an application form. For more information, please contact Kirsten Zazo at kzazo@alameda.k12.ca.us or by phone at (510) 337-7095.

 

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Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves more than 9600 students in Alameda, California,  an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area.  For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:2/24/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Board Member Solana Henneberry Passes Away (02/14/2017)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Issued By:        

Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

Board President Gary Lym (510) 337-7187 

 


Alameda, Calif. — February 14, 2017 — Alameda Unified School District and the Board of Education are deeply saddened to announce that Board Member Solana Henneberry died early this morning after battling serious illness for more than a year.

 

Ms. Henneberry, 44, taught special education in West Contra Costa Unified School District and specialized in assistive technology. She was elected to AUSD’s Board of Education in 2014 and served as its president in 2016.  She was devoted to public education and especially committed to supporting early childhood education and children with special needs.  She served as co-chair of the Alameda Collaborative for Children, Youth, and their Families and as an active representative on the Measure B1 campaign committee last fall.

 

“Board Member Henneberry was stalwart in her fight against this illness,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “As president, she did not miss a single Board of Education meeting, even when she was undergoing treatment. Her commitment and leadership were truly inspiring. We will remember her as someone who dedicated her life to public education, her community, and her family. Our thoughts are with her friends and family now as we all grapple with this great loss to the Alameda community.”

 

Ms. Henneberry is survived by her husband Mike, daughter Emma, and two sons Eamon and Finbar. A memorial service will be held at a time and location to be determined. A donation account will be set up for the family in the days ahead; AUSD will share that information as it becomes available.

 

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:2/14/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Measure B1 Opponents File Lawsuit Against AUSD (02/07/2017)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:  Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

                   Board President Gary Lym (510) 337-7187

 

Alameda, California — February 7, 2017 — Three plaintiffs who have previously sued Alameda Unified School District over its parcel taxes have filed a new lawsuit alleging Measure B1 is illegal.

 

The measure, which is essentially an extension of the current Measure A, was passed by 74.2% of voters in a record turnout this past November.

 

The three plaintiffs (Nelco, Inc., Santa Clara Investors II, and Edward Hirshberg) were part of a group that also sued the district over Measure H, a parcel tax passed in 2008. In that lawsuit, the plaintiffs claimed that the measure’s differing rates for residential and commercial property owners were not “uniform” as required under state law.  That lawsuit was settled in 2014. 

 

The plaintiffs also sued AUSD over Measure A, a parcel tax passed by 68.01% of the voters in 2011, but were unsuccessful.

 

If the current lawsuit succeeds, it could threaten more than $12 million in revenue per year for AUSD. Those funds, which comprise the second-largest revenue stream to the district, are allocated to a wide range of programs and services, including small class sizes for grades K-3, neighborhood elementary schools, high school sports and AP classes, programs to close the achievement gap, and visual and performing arts.

 

“The Alameda community has shown us again and again that they value these programs and are willing to pay a parcel tax to support them,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “We are disappointed that these plaintiffs continue to try to block this funding. But we structured Measure B1 in a way that we believe is fair and legal, and we will fight for this tax, these students, and our community with determination and diligence so we can best provide for the children and families we serve.”

 

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Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves more than 9600 students in Alameda, California, an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area.  For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, “like” the AUSD Facebook page, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:2/7/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD Accepting Nominations for Classified School Employees of the Year  (02/03/2017)

Do you know a custodian, tradesperson, food services employee, payroll technician, paraprofessional, instructional assistant, school secretary, or office manager in the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) who you think is doing excellent work for children and staff?  Alameda community members can now nominate AUSD employees for the state's Classified School Employee of the Year program. Nominations go first to the school district and then on to the Alameda County Office of Education. The county office, in turn, sends nominations to the California Department of Education (CDE).

 

You can nominate classified AUSD employees in the following five categories:

 

  • Child Nutrition (e.g.,  food service employees )
  • Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities (e.g., custodians and tradespeople)
  • Office and Technical  (e.g., school site secretaries and office managers)
  • Para-Educator and Instructional Assistance (e.g., paraprofessionals and teacher assistants)
  • Support Services and Security (e.g., campus supervisors, payroll technicians, and student services assistants)

 

You can read about prior winners in this 2016 press release from the CDE. You can download a nomination form here. Once it is filled out, please send it to Humera Khalil at hkhalil@alameda.k12.ca.us. The deadline is February 23, 2017 at 5 pm.

 

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Upcoming Board of Education Meetings

 

February 14, 2017

City Hall, 6:30 PM

 

February 28, 2017

City Hall, 6:30 pm

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:2/3/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Superintendent's Message About Providing Safe Haven (01/31/2017)

 

 

Dear Families and Staff:

 

In challenging times, we must always stay mindful of Alameda Unified School District's vision: we believe a diverse community of students will be prepared to be responsible citizens if given a rigorous academic program in an inclusive, safe, and secure environment.

 

I write today to assure you AUSD remains committed to upholding and safeguarding this vision – especially in these charged and uncertain political times.

 

Both this weekend and last, I received emails from AUSD parents and staff members who are increasingly worried now for the safety and security of Alameda students and families who are foreign-born and immigrants to this nation. I acknowledge these concerns and feel compelled to respond.

 

In the past month, many California school districts, cities, and other public agencies have committed to values of providing sanctuary and safe haven to all people. AUSD has joined this movement. In response to fears triggered by increases in hate crimes and speech, this month district staff drafted and presented a “Safe Haven Resolution” to AUSD’s  Board of Education. Unanimously approved in a 5-0 vote, the Safe Haven Resolution spells out protections AUSD pledges to uphold for the children and families we serve. This resolution is additionally supported in the City’s recent proclamation claiming our community a “Sanctuary City.” You can find the press release we sent out jointly with the City of Alameda here.

 

This is not new work for us. Over the last decade, AUSD has worked to promote safety and inclusiveness for all in our schools, including by creating an anti-bullying curriculum, by developing an “Everyone Belongs Here” campaign, and by establishing round tables to support some of our most vulnerable student populations. 

 

I am proud of the steps AUSD has taken over time and in recent weeks to build a foundation of inclusiveness and acceptance towards all. I want you to know we will continue to strengthen and expand that foundation with our community partners. As time goes on, we will also continue to update you on the steps we take and the progress we make to address the understandable concerns that many of our community members are having now.

 

For now, please know our classrooms and schools are safe, we deeply believe “Everyone Belongs Here,” and we will continue to work to provide a safe haven for all students, families, and staff.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

Sean McPhetridge, Ed.D.

Superintendent of Schools

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:1/31/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Sanctuary City and Safe Haven Resolutions Affirm City, School District Commitment to Inclusivity (1/20/2017)

Joint Press Release

 

 

CONTACTS:

 

Sarah Henry, Public Information Officer

City of Alameda

(510) 747-4714

 

AUSD Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060

AUSD Board President Gary Lym (510) 337-7187

 

 

Alameda, California – January 20, 2017 Both Alameda’s City Council and the Board of Education of the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) have in recent weeks affirmed their commitment to safety and respect for all individuals.

 

At its meeting on January 17, Alameda City Councilmembers voted unanimously (with one member not present) to adopt a resolution that reaffirms the City of Alameda’s commitment as a Sanctuary City to the values of dignity, inclusivity, and respect for all individuals, regardless of ethnic or national origin, gender, race, religious affiliation, sexual orientation, or immigration status. (Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer had to leave for the Mayor’s Conference in Washington D.C. before the vote.)

 

At its meeting on January 13, AUSD’s Board of Education members unanimously expressed support for a resolution declaring AUSD a “safe haven” district for all students. The Board will vote on this resolution at its meeting January 24, 2017.

 

The City’s Resolution

 

The City’s resolution that was adopted Tuesday night reconfirms existing City policies and serves as a formal declaration that the City has and will continue to be inclusive to all individuals.

 

“Following the election, fears that certain groups of people might be targeted or deported have increased in our city,” stated City Manager Jill Keimach. “Those fears are based on a number of factors, including statements made by the President-elect during the campaign and on social media.” On December 20, 2016, the City Council unanimously directed staff to prepare a resolution, reaffirming the City of Alameda’s commitment to LGBTQ rights, religious freedoms, and racial, social, and economic justice, and our commitment to the values of inclusivity, respect, and dignity.

 

The City’s resolution is the latest action in a century-long tradition of embracing diversity and respecting the civil and human rights of its residents, while acknowledging and understanding laws at every level in the past were often at odds to progress. Since 1917 the City’s Social Service Human Relations Board (SSHRB) has been working to create an environment that encourages and brings about mutual understanding, respect, and goodwill among groups of people in the community. Over the years the City has also co-sponsored campaigns including “Alamedans Together Against Hate,” “Pledge for a Hate Free Alameda,” “No Room for Hate in Alameda,” “Everyone Belongs Here,” and most recently “Love Our Island.”

 

Thirty community members lined up to speak Tuesday night, one quoting Martin Luther King Jr., “True peace is not merely the absence of tension; it is the presence of justice.” The City’s resolution reaffirms the stance the City took many years ago against biased, racist, and unconstitutional acts.

 

Councilmember Matarrese directed staff to include that all requests or mandates from the federal government for use of City resources, or the absence of such requests, be reported on a regular basis to the City Council for advice and direction.

 

“The dichotomy of starting this week with the celebration of Martin Luther King Jr.’s life and ending it with the events in Washington is not lost on me,” stated Councilmember Jim Oddie, who brought the resolution to Council as a referral in December. “We all have more work to do to increase inclusivity in Alameda and ensure that justice is for all.”

 

The School District’s Resolution

 

At its meeting on January 10, 2017, AUSD staff presented the Board of Education with a resolution designating AUSD a “safe haven” district that has an “unequivocal commitment to ensuring a safe educational environment for all.” The resolution also reaffirms within the confines of the law the authority of the Superintendent to protect the data and identities of any student, family member, or school employee who may be adversely affected by efforts to collect such information. The Board will vote on the resolution at its meeting on January 24.

 

“Ours is a very diverse district,” AUSD Superintendent Sean McPhetridge says. “About 17 percent of our students are English Language Learners; among them they speak more than 72 languages. Last year we launched the ‘Everyone Belongs Here’ campaign, in partnership with nine other Alameda-based organizations that asserts that our schools are safe spaces for all students. We have had an uptick in hate speech at our school sites since the election.  This resolution re-affirms that inclusivity, safety, and respect for all is a core value of our district.”

 

In recognition of the resolutions, both the City and the school district will hang banner-sized versions of the “Everyone Belongs Here” poster in their lobbies today. Over the next several weeks, the district will also hang the banners at each of its school sites.  

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Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:1/20/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Nominate a Teacher for Teacher of the Year! (01/12/2017)

Do you know a teacher who goes above and beyond in (and out of) the classroom? Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) is now accepting nominations for its Teacher of the Year program.

 

“I wholeheartedly support this annual tradition because it gives families, staff, and community members a chance to sing the praises of our many excellent teachers,” says Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “Every year I can’t wait to learn who has been nominated and what innovative teaching practices they use.”

 

The Nomination Process

 

Nomination forms are available on the Employee Recognition page of AUSD’s website. Anyone can nominate a teacher; the deadline to submit nominations to the nominee’s principal is 3 pm on February 1, 2017. 

 

After being nominated, AUSD teachers who meet the county and state criteria are invited to participate in the next phase of the process, which requires them to submit an application packet (including a resume, an introductory letter, and letters of support) to the district office.

 

The AUSD Teacher of the Year Selection Committee then meets to screen applications and determine which applicants will move onto the next phase: classroom observations. During that stage, the Selection Committee members visit classrooms, interview finalists, and determine this year’s Teacher of the Year.

 

The winner will be honored by the Board of Education in May and by the Alameda County Office of Education in the fall. He or she also becomes eligible for the Alameda County Teacher of the Year Award, as well as potentially the State Teacher of the Year Award.

 

In recent years, the award has gone to a wide range of teachers, including: a kindergarten teacher who uses art lessons to help her children master academic standards and express themselves (Mandie Cline, Ruby Bridges Elementary School); a middle school teacher who started an innovative anti-bullying program (Chris Hansen, Lincoln Middle School), and a high school teacher who helps his students learn the craft of media production and story telling (John Dalton, Alameda High School).

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Next Board of Education Meetings

 

January 24, 2017, 6:30 pm

Alameda City Hall Council Chambers

 

February 14, 2017, 6:30 pm

Alameda City Hall Council Chambers

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:1/12/17
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Local Families Can Receive Free Toys from Alameda Firefighters (12/7/2016)

Alameda families who need help covering holiday expenses can receive toys and gift cards for their children this month through the Alameda Firefighters Toy Program.

 

The program is a partnership between the Alameda Collaborative for Children, Youth, and their Families (ACCYF), Alameda Food Bank, Alameda Red Cross Youth, Alameda firefighters, and other community organizations.  Families can sign up to receive age-appropriate toys for children aged 0-12 and gift cards for youth aged 13-16 at the Alameda Food Bank.

 

The deadline for signing up to receive toys is December 14.

 

Families who wish to donate to the program have until December 16 to place new, unwrapped toys in boxes placed at more than three dozen sites around the city (see list below). Organizers of the program say they especially need crafts, sports balls, and other items for older children.

 

Donation boxes are available at the Alameda Unified School District’s office and every school site, as well as:

  • Alameda Fire Dept. Station 1, 2401 Encinal Ave.
  • Alameda Fire Dept. Station 2, 635 Pacific Ave.
  • Alameda Fire Dept. Station 3, 1703 Grand St.
  • Alameda Fire Dept. Station 4, 2595 Mecartney Rd.
  • Alameda City Hall, 2263 Santa Clara Ave.
  • Alameda Police Department, 1555 Oak St.
  • Alameda Free Library, 1550 Oak St.
  • Alameda Recreation & Park Dept., 2226 Santa Clara Ave.
  • Alameda Municipal Power, 2000 Grand St.
  • Alameda Chamber of Commerce, 2215-A South Shore Dr.  (South Shore Center)
  • Alameda Hospital (Use Oak St. Entrance)
  • Bank of Marin, 2130 Otis Dr. and 1416 Park St.
  • Child Unique Montessori, 2226 Encinal Ave.
  • Coffee & Tea Traders, 883 Island Dr. (Harbor Bay Landing Shopping Center)
  • First Community Bank, Nob Hill Foods, 2531 Blanding Ave.
  • Mastick Senior Center, 1155 Santa Clara Ave.
  • McGee’s Bar & Grill, 1645 Park St.
  • Rising Star Montessori, 1421 High St.
  • Toy Safari, 1401 Park St.
  • Tucker's Ice Cream, 1349 Park St.                                                                                       

The Alameda Welfare Council, Alameda Community Fund, Rotary Club of Alameda, Bay Ship & Yacht, Bank of Marin, First Community Bank, Alameda Police Foundation, ACI, and Tuckers Ice Cream have provided Target gift cards for teenagers.

 

“Once again, I am amazed and inspired by the generosity that Alamedans show toward their fellow community members,” says Superintendent Sean McPhetridge.  “I hope that all Alameda families who could use a helping hand this season sign up for this program, as well as explore the programs offered at the food bank.”

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:12/7/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Applications Available for 2016-2017 Charter School Boards (11/30/2016)

The Board of Education for the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) is now accepting applications for district representatives to the boards of four local charter schools: Academy of Alameda, Alameda Community Learning Center (ACLC), Nea, and Community Learning Centers Schools (the organization that oversees ACLC and Nea).

 

Under state law, charter school authorizers (in this case AUSD) can appoint representatives to charter schools’ boards of directors. At its November 1, 2016 meeting, AUSD’s Board of Education directed staff to set up an appointment process for selecting such representatives.

 

The representatives need to be able to attend charter board meetings regularly and should be familiar with public education or the oversight of public bodies, have familiarity with Alameda schools, and be committed to transparency and openness in governance.

 

The Board of Education will appoint one representative to each charter school board after interviewing applicants in public session. Representatives will serve a one-year term.

 

Applications are available here. The deadline for applications is 5 pm on December 12, 2016. Applications can be submitted via email cpimentel@alameda.k12.ca.us) or fax (510-337-2322) or dropped off at the District Office (addressed to Chad Pimentel).

 

Upcoming Board of Education Meetings

 

December 13, 2016

6:30 pm

Alameda City Hall

 

January 10, 2016

6:30 pm

Alameda City Hall

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:11/30/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD and CSEA Sign Tentative Agreement (11/18/2016)

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Issued By:        

 

Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060

Board President Solana Henneberry (510) 337-7187

CSEA 860 President Frank Muñoz

 

Alameda, Calif. — November 18, 2016 — Negotiating teams for the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) and the California School Employees Association Chapter 860 (CSEA 860) have reached a tentative agreement (TA) in their re-opener negotiations over salary and other contract considerations.

 

AUSD and CSEA 860 (which includes custodians, maintenance, and food service employees) signed a three-year agreement in August, 2015. That contract gave CSEA 860 the right to “re-open” salary and other contract articles in 2016-17 and 2017-18.

 

Under the terms of this week’s TA, members of CSEA 860 will receive an on-going 3.11% raise in salary, retrospective to July 1, 2016.  The contract also included provisions that:

 

  • Ease the creation of work calendars
  • Facilitate job postings and employee training

The signing of the TA completes bargaining on the re-opened articles in the CSEA 860 contract. The two teams will meet again on December 1 to continue their negotiations on job descriptions for all of the unit’s classifications.

 

 “The members of CSEA 860 are indispensable to the operation of our schools and the support of our students and staff,” says Board of Education President Solana Henneberry. “I am so pleased to hear that their salary schedule will now be increased along with our other employees.”

 

The Board of Education ratified new agreements with the Alameda Education Association (which represents the district’s teachers, nurses, counselors, and speech and language pathologists) in early November and with CSEA 27 (representing office/technical workers and paraprofessionals) in June.

 

“I would like to thank CSEA 860’s negotiating team for all their hard work in coming to this agreement with AUSD,” says Frank Muñoz, president of CSEA 860.

 

The next step is for CSEA 860 members and AUSD's Board of Education to vote on whether to ratify the agreement.

 

“I am grateful that we now have a tentative agreement with our third bargaining unit,” says Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “I thank CSEA 860’s negotiating team for working with our team to craft an acceptable contract, and I look forward to our continued partnership as we make ongoing progress on our work to support all students and staff over the coming years.”

 

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Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves more than 9600 students in Alameda, California, an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area.  For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:11/18/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD High Schools Win Big in Fall Sports Season (11/15/2016)

Sports teams at Alameda High School (AHS) and Encinal High School (EHS) had a banner season this fall, with multiple teams winning West Alameda County Conference (WACC) championships and a number making it to the North Coast Section (NCS) playoffs.

 

At Alameda High School:

  • The women’s golf team won the WACC championship, placed 3rd in the NCS Championships, and participated in the NorCal playoffs.  Elizabeth Scholtes competed in the California Interscholastic Federation championships.
  • The women’s volleyball and the men's and women's cross country teams both won the WACC championships and competed in the NCS playoffs.
  • The women’s tennis team and the football team both placed second in the WACC championships and were chosen for the NCS playoffs.
  • The women’s water polo team won the WACC championship, and both the men’s water polo team and the women’s water polo team made it to the NCS quarterfinals.

At Encinal High School:

  • The varsity football team won the WACC championship and was chosen for the NCS playoffs. This last weekend they won their first game and move on to the second round this coming weekend. (Special congratulations go to senior Akil Francisco, who plays wide receiver and cornerback for the Jets and has been offered several full-ride football scholarships!)
  • The men’s and women’s water polo teams both made it to the second round of NCS playoffs, and player Madeline Nelson was named Women’s Water Polo Player of the Year.
  • The women’s tennis team made it to the NCS playoffs.
  • The women’s cross country team earned the WACC Championship, and Shelby Nelson was named Runner of the Year.
  • Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams qualified for the NCS playoffs.

In other sports news, Encinal Coach Ricky Rodriguez was awarded Coach of the Week by the Oakland Raiders. And Olympic Gold Medalist Tyler Clary visited the Encinal Junior & Senior High School swim center last week to give a clinic.

 

“Our community’s generous support of the Measure A parcel tax – and its extension, Measure B1 – is what makes our athletics programs possible at the high school level,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “These programs allow our students to challenge themselves physically, mentally, and socially, to learn teamwork and sportsmanship, and to earn recognition at the local, regional, and state level. I congratulate our players and their coaches for a season well played, and I thank the community for its consistent support of our student athletes.”

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:11/15/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Staying Mindful of the Great Strength of Our Community (11/10/2016)

Dear colleagues, families, and partners,

 

After a long and often divisive election season, we have heard from students, families, and staff who have expressed ambiguity and anxiety following Tuesday's election. It is normal for us as a community, as a nation, and as a people to struggle with this change, and I appreciate the efforts that you are taking to help students and families make sense of the uncertainties we face after a very turbulent national election.

 

I write to you today to reaffirm the work we have done over the years to envision our AUSD’s mission to provide “an inclusive, safe, and secure environment” for every member of our community. I want to remind us all of the great work we are doing to take care of one another and to renew our commitment to the rights of all people to be here and to be provided with the promise public education holds – the promise of a progressive agenda that respects the rights of all people. Regardless of the divisive rhetoric that has oft dominated this presidential campaign, I am confident our democratic values will prevail, and we must remember to keep faith in that. We must continue our efforts to improve our world around us.

 

Last night I was encouraged, heartened, and uplifted while visiting school events that embodied our commitment to promoting and safeguarding great places to learn in Alameda Unified School District.

 

At a Haight Elementary School PTA meeting, I sat and listened to parents, teachers, and students coming together in mindfulness training that is practiced in many of our classrooms and schoolyards daily across the district. We all do well to simply stay mindful of what is happening now and to stay mindful of our goal of finding peace and unity in times of challenge and opportunity.

 

At Wood Middle School, I saw hundreds of families, staff, and students come together to showcase their STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Mathematics) programs that aim to integrate arts instruction with other core curricula so young people are reached in ways that recognize and honor them as whole people who are using hands and hearts and minds to make sense of the world around them.

 

At Alameda Adult School, I was uplifted by an open house for dozens of families that saw all kinds of people convening in fellowship to break bread together, many of whom are immigrants who are trying to better themselves by learning English and continuing their educations so they can work to achieve the American Dream and make better lives for themselves, their families, and the Alameda community.

 

Finally, I was so inspired by my visit to Ruby Bridges Elementary School where a graduation ceremony was held for our newest graduates of the PTA School Smarts Academies we provide to our families, and I was also totally amazed by the fact that we now offer this seven-session program in six different languages

 

(Arabic, Chinese, English, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese). Throughout the evening and across the island, I witnessed people of diverse backgrounds and experiences coming together to better themselves and improve our world. I know firsthand that we are working hard and working together for progress.

 

And that was just some of the great work happening in our schools on one Wednesday night in November, the night after Tuesday’s political election! Now, both today and yesterday, we have seen some students at our high schools staging peaceful demonstrations and walkouts of classes, and staff of both AUSD and Alameda Police Department working to support students’ peaceful examples of collective action.

I know students, families, and staff in our schools are struggling at times with making meaning of the world and nation we live in now. The most important thing that we can do is take stock in our strength, take heart in our progress over the years, take care of one another, and give support to those who need it in a time of change and uncertainty. I still believe everyone belongs here, and I know I am not alone in this. This week, I have spoken with leaders and members of ACSA, AEA, CSEA 27, CSEA 860, and PTAs to share our concerns and make sure we are all still working together to take care of one another. I want us all to remember AUSD remains steadfast in commitment to our diverse community, and please know I am grateful to you all for continuing to work together and show care for one another daily during this time.

 

For those of us who are frightened of losing ground on the progress we have made, let us remember the great strides we have made at a local and state level, whether it be the passage of the renewal parcel tax, Measure B1, or passage of Proposition 51, Proposition 55, and Proposition 58 that have been momentous reminders of progress we are making to prioritize and take a stand for progressive education in Alameda and the state. Things are getting better in many powerful ways in Alameda and California, and we need to keep striving to keep the momentum up so we maintain our progress.

 

So let us remember that we believe as a community and as a school district that everyone belongs here. Regardless of whatever challenges and opportunities we face now, AUSD will continue to work toward uplifting all we serve and taking care of each other, and I thank you for your daily work to make it so.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Sean McPhetridge, Ed.D.

Superintendent

 


 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:11/10/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Measure B1 Passes, Ensuring $12 Million Per Year for AUSD (11/09/2016)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:    Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

                   Board President Solana Henneberry (510) 337-7187               

 

Measure B1 Passes

Extension of parcel tax ensures $12 million annually for AUSD

 

Alameda, Calif. — November 9, 2016 — Measure B1 – an extension of an existing parcel tax that benefits AUSD schools – passed by a super majority last night, preliminary results show. The measure, which extends without increasing the popular Measure A parcel tax, received 73.9% of the total votes cast.  It needed 67% of the votes to pass.

 

Approved in 2011 by 68.01% of Alamedans who voted, Measure A raises $12 million per year for popular programs in AUSD, including neighborhood schools, small class sizes in grades K-3, innovative programs, counselors, visual and performing arts, athletics, AP courses, programs to close the achievement gap, and attracting and retaining excellent teachers. The measure sunsets in June 2018. Residents and business owners both pay up to .32 cents per building square foot, up to a cap of $7999.00.

 

Measure B1 will pay for the same programs using the same rate structure. It will begin in June 2018 (after Measure A sunsets) and extend through June 2025.

 

 “I am so grateful to the Alameda community for once again stepping up to support our public schools,” said Superintendent McPhetridge. “This is the highest percentage of yes votes we have ever received for a parcel tax.  The programs and people for which this parcel tax pays are crucial to the success of our students, our employees, our families, and our community. We could not do what we do without this support of our local community.”

 

Added Board of Education President Solana Henneberry, “I am astonished and pleased at this clear mandate from our community. And I am incredibly grateful to the many volunteers who poured time and effort into this campaign.  We all know how hard it is to pass a parcel tax. You fought for what is right, and your efforts will preserve valued programs for years to come. Thank you.”

 

Board of Education, Propositions

 

Jennifer Williams, Gray Harris, and Ardella Dailey won the three open seats on the Board of Education. “I would like to congratulate all three,” McPhetridge said, “and extend my gratitude to outgoing Board Members Hu and Kahn for their service to our district and our community.” Said Henneberry, “I welcome our new board members and look forward to working with them over the coming years.”

 

Earlier this fall, the Board of Education also passed resolutions in support of state propositions 51 (authorizing facility bonds for schools), 55 (extending the 2012 income and sales tax increase), and 58 (repealing English-only education programs). Voters approved all  three of those propositions last night. “We see these victories as victories for education funding and education inclusiveness,” Henneberry said.

 

Added McPhetridge, “We are seeing a mandate at the state level to adequately fund education in California, and while we have much more yet to do to get there, I am optimistic that we as a people will continue to see children, families, and educators prioritized in years to come.”

 

Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves more than 9600 students in Alameda, California, an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area.  For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:11/9/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD Board of Education Approves New Contract with Teachers (11/02/2016)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:   

 

Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060

Board President Solana Henneberry (510) 337-7187

Alameda Education Association President Audrey Hyman (510) 684-8896

 

 

Alameda, Calif. — November 2, 2016 — The Board of Education for the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) approved a new contract with the Alameda Education Association (AEA) at the board meeting last night.

 

Under the terms of the two-year agreement, the salary schedule for AEA members (the district’s teachers, nurses, counselors, and speech and language pathologists) will increase 4% starting December 1, 2016.   

 

“I am so pleased that once again the two teams were able to come together to create an agreement that works for all,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “I realize this takes both tenacity and an ability to compromise – two qualities that I admire greatly in my colleagues here in AUSD. I look forward to the continued collaboration of our two teams.”

 

The district and union also agreed to provisions that will:

 

  • Ease implementation of full day kindergarten
  • Schedule the first 14 days of school as minimum (short) days for kindergarteners
  • Set up committees to study teacher salaries, budget priorities, and best practices for instructing students who receive special education
  • Create a joint AUSD-AEA Academic Committee to deepen district/teacher collaboration on choosing and evaluating instructional materials and professional development
  • Increase flexibility for using leave time
  • Give the children of AEA members the same priority for enrolling at the school site where they work as children who live in that neighborhood

 

The two sides also agreed that the existing Calendar Committee will create school calendars through the 2018-19 school year and will now include members from other bargaining units.

 

 “I am very appreciative of the work done by the AEA Bargaining Team to bring this matter to a close,” says AEA President Audrey Hyman. “We are pleased by the many collaborative opportunities the new contract gives our members to have more voice in the decision-making process. We look forward to tackling the task of finding ways to bring employee compensation in Alameda in line with surrounding districts.”

 

Adds Solana Henneberry, president of the Board of Education, "I am delighted how both sides worked together to resolve outstanding issues of concern, and I look forward to hearing the reports and recommendations of the new committees. I truly believe this kind of collaboration is what creates an environment in which our students and employees can thrive.”

 

AUSD and the AEA will reopen negotiations about salary in February, 2017. Both bargaining teams will also be able to open one contract article of their choosing at that time.

 

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Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves about 9600 students in Alameda, California, an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:11/2/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Superintendent's Letter to the Community (October 2016)

Dear community partners and stakeholders,

 

October marks National Energy Awareness Month, and I write today to encourage us all to stay mindful of our ongoing work in AUSD to build a more sustainable Alameda. Each year we learn how to improve in our stewardship of our natural resources and protection of our local environment, and I am impressed by Alameda’s progress.

 

In 2015, a California state task force convened by Superintendent of State Instruction Tom Torlakson issued a groundbreaking “Blueprint  for Environmental Literacy.” The 48-page report called for the development of curriculum and learning experiences to help all California public school children understand the environmental challenges currently facing our state, nation, and planet. These challenges inspire our work!

 

“Environmental content is a key element of the new California Next Generation Science Standards,” the report stated.  “The complex thinking and problem solving abilities required of students by the California Common Core State Standards are exactly the types of skills required to meet the environmental challenges our students will face in the future.” Indeed, these challenges help  frame the work ahead for us.

 

Here in AUSD, we already have a very strong foundation of environmental education. Our district-wide “Go Green” program recently won a Golden Bell Award from the California School Boards Association in 2014. Then Bay Farm School won a prestigious Green Ribbon Award from the US Department of Education in 2016 (primarily for its efforts to teach students how to take care of their world). In addition:

 

- Paden Elementary School has launched an innovative “Learn and Play by the Bay” program that empowers children to learn about ecology by studying and enjoying the San Francisco Bay.

- Students at Lincoln Middle School, now an Ocean Guardian School, have been learning also about the Bay Area’s fragile ecosystem as well as helping it by replacing invasive plants and picking up trash along Alameda waterways.

- Students at Wood Middle School, also an Ocean Guardian School, have long participated in Alameda County Office of Education’s Service Learning Waste Reduction Program so students and staff learn to reduce, reuse, and recycle.

- Encinal Jr. & Sr. High School continues to offer courses in Marine Biology. 

- Alameda High School continues to offer a popular AP environmental course.As part of that course, students present an environmental science project to AUSD elementary and middle students.

- And many of our schools have gardens that are used to teach lessons on science. and healthy cooking.

 

Whether it be through wonderful outdoor education efforts like those in Ruby Bridges Elementary School’s 5th Grade Science Camp or Earhart Elementary School’s explorations of the shoreline near its campus, AUSD students and staff are stepping up to the challenge of learning how to be better stewards of our local ecology.

 

I am also excited about new initiatives we are exploring in response to last year’s Blueprint. For instance, we recently partnered with “ChangeScale,” a local non-profit committed to helping schools integrate new NGSS science standards into their core curriculum and improve environmental education for K-12 students in the Bay Area. This work dovetails with work AUSD teachers and administrators are doing with BaySci and UC Berkeley’s Lawrence Hall of Science to increase science instruction in our schools. All of us recognize how science is a core academic area that is required of college and career readiness in a global 21st century economy that demands deeper levels of scientific inquiry and environmental literacy for us to make the world better. The Board of Education recognized the primacy of science  in academic preparation with their acknowledgment of our partnership with BaySci in this resolution here.

 

Another program about which I’m excited is our partnership with Cenergistic through which we are educating staff and students to conserve water and energy with such simple strategies as turning off lights, powering down computers, turning down heat over the weekends, and fixing leaks. Reducing our energy use helps the district save money, of course, which makes us more sustainable as an organization and frees up funds for district priorities that would otherwise be wasted. It also helps students and staff develop lifelong habits that can help reduce greenhouse gas emissions (and hopefully climate change) in the future. This effort is so important to AUSD the Board of Education recently passed a proclamation that focuses on our conservation efforts.

 

If I were to name one thing that I love about our island – aside from the schools, of course – it would be the amazing ecosystem here, nestled as it is by the San Francisco and San Leandro Bays. I look forward to our ongoing efforts to teach our students about how we can take care of this environment over the next several years, and I am grateful to staff and students who practice mindful energy conservation every day in AUSD schools. We value science as a key subject to prepare students for college, career, and the 21st century economy. And we know outdoor education is a great way to help students engage, have fun, and make meaning of scientific inquiry.

 

Sincerely,

 

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:10/21/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD Schools to Participate in Great California ShakeOut (10/13/2016)

Students and staff at Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) schools will participate in the Great California ShakeOut on October 20, along with about 9.5 million other Californians.

 

The drill, which was launched in 2008, gives individuals and organizations a chance to practice behaviors that can help them survive and recover from a major earthquake.  The drills are based on decades of research into what happens physically during an earthquake, as well as how best to respond and what motivates people to prepare.

 

The California ShakeOut is part of the larger, national Great ShakeOut event, which is expected to draw 35 million participants this year, making it the largest earthquake drill ever held.

 

“Living in the Bay Area, we all know an earthquake could strike at any time,” says Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “This annual drill is a great way for all of us in the AUSD community to make sure we’re prepared and to practice protecting ourselves.”

 

At 10:20 am on October 20, AUSD school sites will practice “Drop, Cover, and Hold On,” which refers to the recommended:

 

  1. Drop onto your hands and knees (to avoid getting knocked down)
  2. Cover your head and neck with one arm and hand (for protection) or, if possible, crawl under a sturdy table or chair or next to an interior wall (away from windows)
  3. Hold on to the table or chair if you’re under one or cover your head and neck with your arms and hands

 

Superintendent McPhetridge urged AUSD families to use the ShakeOut as an opportunity to replenish earthquake supplies, discuss best practice responses with students, and create or review a family emergency plan. Earthquake preparedness resources for families are listed on the next page.

 

“What we do to prepare now will determine how well we can survive and recover in the event of an earthquake,” McPhetridge says. “This is an excellent opportunity to practice our response and identify what we all can do to keep ourselves, our families, our schools, and our community safer.”

 

###

Resources

 

AUSD: “Student Safety: Emergency Procedures” (includes tips for parents)

Great California ShakeOut: “Drop, Cover, and Hold On

Great California ShakeOut: “Recommended Earthquake Actions

American Red Cross: “Earthquake Preparedness

Department of Homeland Security: “Plan to Protect Yourself and Your Family

Earthquake Country Alliance: “Seven Steps to Earthquake Safety

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:10/13/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD and AEA Sign Tentative Agreement (10/04/2016)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:   Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060

                      Board President Solana Henneberry (510) 337-7187

                      AEA President Audrey Hyman (510) 684-8896

 

AUSD and AEA Sign Tentative Agreement

 

Alameda, Calif. — Tuesday, October 4, 2016 — Negotiators for the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) and the Alameda Education Association (AEA) reached a tentative agreement (TA) Friday in their negotiations over salary and other contract considerations.

 

Under the terms of the two-year agreement, members of the AEA (which represents teachers, nurses, speech and language pathologists, and counselors) will receive a salary increase.  The district and union also agreed to provisions that will:

  • Increase flexibility for using leave time;
  • Set up committees to study teacher salaries, budget priorities, and best practices for instructing students who receive special education; and
  • Create a Curriculum Council to deepen district/teacher collaboration on instructional materials and professional development.

In addition, the existing Calendar Committee will create school calendars through the 2018-19 school year.

 

“Our members have made a tremendous effort to help us gain a settlement,” said AEA President Audrey Hyman. “This agreement respects their concerns regarding maintaining current class size. It also reflects a number of gains for AEA, including incorporating more formal options to add our professional voice into key district decision-making processes that affect teaching and learning in AUSD.”

 

The next step is for AEA members and AUSD's Board of Education to vote on whether to ratify this new agreement. Union members will vote from October 17 to October 21, 2016.  The Board of Education will vote on ratification at its regular meeting on November 1, 2016.

 

“I am heartened by this good news and am inspired by the levels of cooperation shown in this tentative agreement with AEA,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “I am very grateful to our negotiating teams for their resilience, flexibility, and ability to compromise in coming to this agreement.”

 

Added Solana Henneberry, president of the Board of Education, “I am pleased with how quickly the negotiating teams came together to address the ongoing concerns of AEA members, and now I look forward to increased levels of communication for the benefit of all students in the district.”

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Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves about 9500 students in Alameda, Calif., an island community in the SF Bay Area. For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:10/4/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD Releases 2015-16 Annual Report (9/30/2016)

The Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) released its 2015-16 Annual Report on this week, after presenting it to the Board of Education at its meeting on September 27. 

 

This is the second Annual Report district staff has prepared (the first was for 2014-15). The purpose of the report is to “put basic information about the district’s enrollment, budget, academic progress, and facilities in one place,” said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. “It’s an at-your-fingertips resource written in a layperson-friendly style to make this information as easily accessible as possible.”

 

The report contains sections on AUSD’s demographics, awards, bond program, swimming pools, Measure A (parcel tax) program, Local Control Accountability Plan, and community engagement programs. It also includes a timeline of major events.

 

“So much happens between the first day of school and the last day of school,” McPhetridge explained. “Often we forget how many challenges we faced and how many successes we achieved over the course of a school year. An annual report helps us bring it all together.”

 

To save paper as well as printing and mailing costs, the 13-page report is available on the AUSD website. A digital version will be shared with all employees, local media outlets, and community members who subscribe to AUSD’s emails or follow AUSD on Twitter or Facebook.  (The sign up link for AUSD emails is also on the AUSD home page.) Community members who would like a printed copy, however, can order one from Susan Davis, Senior Manager Community Affairs, sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

 

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Upcoming Board of Education Meetings

 

October 13, 2016

6:30 pm, Island High School Multipurpose Room

 

November 1, 2016

6:30 pm, Island High School Multipurpose Room

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:9/30/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD Hires New Principal for Edison Elementary (09/28/2016)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:   

Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

Board President Solana Henneberry (510) 337-7187         

 

Alameda, Calif. — Wednesday, September 28, 2016 — The Board of Education for the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) last night approved the hire of Robert Slauson, a veteran teacher and principal devoted to supporting students and staff so that all can reach their highest potential. 

 

Mr. Slauson, who has worked as a principal in Oregon, Colorado, and Nebraska, has won a number of awards, including “Outstanding High School Principal” in Nebraska. He was also selected for the Fulbright Principal Exchange Program in Germany. During that exchange program, he traveled with about twenty school administrators from across America to learn about the German school system and meet German administrators.

 

After completing his undergraduate work in education at Pacific University in Oregon, Mr. Slauson received a Master’s degree in Education, as well as his administrative credential, at Lewis & Clark College in Portland.

 

Mr. Slauson said he is looking forward to working in “an outstanding district with positive, pro-active leadership and great community support. I am very impressed with the Edison learning community and the commitment of the staff.  The parental support is obvious and the students are successful.”

 

Added Superintendent Sean McPhetridge, “I am so pleased to bring another experienced and passionate principal to our administrative team. I think the Edison community will be happy with Rob Slauson’s strong leadership, professional background, and deep commitment to student success.”

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:9/28/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Applications Available for 2016-17 Measure I Bond Oversight Committee (09/21/2016)

The Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) is now accepting applications for the Measure I Bond Oversight Committee.

 

Measure I, a bond measure passed by Alameda residents in 2014, raises $179,500,000 for needed repairs, upgrades, and new construction projects for the District's schools.

 

Proposition 39 required a 55% supermajority for approval; Measure I was passed by 61.41%. After a bond authorized under Proposition 39 is passed, state law requires that the Alameda City Unified School District Board appoint an Independent Citizens’ Bond Oversight Committee to work with the District.

 

This committee meets quarterly between January and December of each year. The committee’s work includes: informing the public concerning the District's expenditure of Measure I bond proceeds; reviewing expenditure reports to ensure proceeds are expended only for the purposes set forth in Measure I; and presenting to the Board an annual written report outlining their activities and conclusions regarding these expenditures.

 

Applications for the Measure I Bond Oversight Committee (which will begin meeting in January 2017) are now available. For an application, please visit this page on the district website. Applicants can also get an application by calling the district office (510-337-7066) or stopping by the district office (2060 Challenger Drive, Alameda). 

 

Applications can be submitted via email(dkrueger@alameda.k12.ca.us) or mailed to the Superintendent's attention at the district office (2060 Challenger Drive, Alameda, CA 94501). Completed applications must be received in the district office no later than 4:30 pm on October 17, 2016. Appointments will be announced on November 1, 2016 at the Board of Education meeting.

 

Upcoming Board of Education Meetings

 

October 13, 2016 6:30 pm Island High School

 

September 27, 2016 6:30 pm Alameda City Hall

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:9/21/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD Students Show Improvement on New State Tests (09/15/2016)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:         Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

                        Board President Solana Henneberry (510) 337-7187

 

 

Alameda, Calif. — Thursday, September 15, 2016 -- Students in the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) made progress on Common Core tests administered last spring and continued to do better than county and state averages, test results released last month show.

 

Equally important, the results provide teachers, parents, and staff with detailed data on student performance across various grade levels, schools, and subgroups.

 

Data released by the California Department of Education (CDE) included state, county, district, and individual school scores on the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress ("CAASPP"). This test, which was piloted in schools in 2014, measures students' mastery of the new Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in English Language Arts (ELA) and Mathematics, which were introduced in 2013-14. The state administered the first official CAASPP in the spring of 2015.

 

More than 4700 AUSD students in grades 3-8 and 11 took the state tests in the spring of 2016. The results show that a higher percentage of AUSD students overall met or exceeded the standards than did at the county or state level, as did a number of students in AUSD's subgroups, including Black or African Americans; Hispanic or Latinos; Socio-Economically Disadvantaged; and English Language Learners.

 

But serious gaps still exist between groups in AUSD, a detailed analysis of the results showed, including:

  • Students with parents with a college education score significantly better than those without
  • White and Asian students score higher than other subgroups
  • Some school sites score higher, overall, than others

"We did well the first year of CAASPP, and we continue to do well this second year of the new testing system," said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. "It's still a new assessment tool. But I am impressed overall by how well our students did, and I am grateful to our teachers for preparing the students so well. And while I'm aware of the work that still needs to be done, I am excited about how we will use the new data to create stronger programs for our neediest students."

 

A more detailed analysis of the data can be found here, as well as in this report presented at the September 13, 2016 Board of Education meeting. Further details on the district and individual school performance can be found on the state’s website: http://caaspp.cde.ca.gov/sb2016/default.

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:9/15/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Superintendent's Letter to the Community (September, 2016)

You can read the full-scale, printable, hyper-linked version of the Superintendent's September 2016 Letter to the Community here.

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:9/2/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Applications for 2016-17 Measure A Oversight Committee Available (08/31/2016)

 

Applications Available for 2016-2017 Measure A Oversight Committee

 

The Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) is now accepting applications for the 2016-2017 Measure A Oversight Committee.

 

Measure A, a parcel tax passed by Alameda community members in 2011, raises $12 million per year for core programs, including AP classes, neighborhood schools, small class sizes in grades K-3, athletics, enrichment, and technology. It sunsets in 2018.

 

AUSD is committed to maintaining accountability and transparency with all expenditures of Measure A dollars. A key component of that commitment is maintaining an 11-member Oversight Committee made up of community members (including parents and district employees) to review the district’s compliance with the terms of the measure. (More information on those terms is available on the Measure A page on the district’s website.)

 

This committee meets four or five times between January and December of each year. The committee’s work culminates in a staff Annual Report, as well as a shorter committee report, that is presented to the Board of Education in January. (Those reports are available  here.)

 

"Measure A supports a broad range of programs in our schools," says Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. "I encourage community members to apply to this committee so they can help provide the oversight and transparency that we need to maintain the public trust in our management of these tax dollars."

 

Applications for the 2016-17 Measure A Oversight Committee (which will begin meeting in January 2017) are now available in English, Spanish, Cantonese, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. For an application, please visit this page on the district website. Applicants can also get an application by calling the district office (510-337-7187) or stopping by the district’s office (2060 Challenger Drive, Alameda). Translated versions of the application are available both on the website and at the district office.

 

Applications can be submitted via fax (521-0529); email (dkrueger@alameda.k12.ca.us); or at district office.

 

Completed applications must be received in the district office no later than 5 pm on September 19, 2016. Appointments will be announced on September 27, 2016.

 

Upcoming Board of Education Meetings

 

September 13, 2016

6:30 pm

Alameda City Hall

 

September 27, 2016

6:30 pm

Alameda City Hall

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:8/31/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD Schools Donate Books to Summer Students (07/21/2016)

 

The children walk excitedly into the media center at Ruby Bridges Elementary School. They seat themselves on the rug in front of the rocking chair and wait for Connie Chapman, the teacher/librarian for AUSD's Summer School programs. They listen with rapt attention as Ms. Chapman reads Eric Carle's classic, The Very Busy Spider. And then the really, really good part comes: From tables covered with books, the children choose four titles to bring home.

 

The program, called "Summer Book Bucks Fair," was the brain child of Chapman (who serves as the Otis Elementary School teacher/librarian during the school year) and Roxanne Clement (the teacher/librarian at Bay Farm School). Several years ago, Clement created a program out of Bay Farm School called “Library in a Box,” through which books are collected and shipped to schools and agencies in need around the state, country, and world. Clement’s program has donated 1300 books to the Summer Book Bucks Fair the last two years. Otis families donated more than 800 new and gently books.  And with additional money made available by AUSD, Chapman also bought steeply discounted contemporary trade books through Scholastic.

 

"Some of our summer school students have trouble with reading while others are acquiring English. Reading for pleasure helps with both," Chapman says. "There is a direct connection between a child’s recreational reading frequency and their academic performance. So the goal of this program is to both foster a love of reading and teach students how to select books they will be able read and enjoy."

 

Instructional versus Recreational Reading

 

AUSD offers summer school to students who can benefit from extra support and who: attend Title 1 elementary schools, are English Language Learners, or are receiving special education services.  About 360 students are enrolled in the four-week program this year.

 

To help the students find books that they can truly read for pleasure, Chapman coaches them on how to choose a book at their recreational reading level (which is different from their instructional reading level, where reading is a bit more condensed and slightly challenging). She also encourages reviewing back covers for plot points and looking for award winners (think Caldecott and Newbery). The children are given one "book buck" for each day they attend school (and another for working hard), which they can then use to "buy" books when they go to the library each week. To make book bucks seem like real currency, Chapman and a few volunteers made each of the 400 students a duct tape wallet as well.

 

"My goal is for each child to buy 12-20 books by the end of summer school," Chapman says.

 

The program is a huge hit with the kids. "This is the second year that we've done it, and even in the first week of school this summer, children were coming up to me and saying, 'when do we get our books?'" Chapman says.

 

And that, she adds, is what it's all about. "I really, really want to turn our struggling readers into big recreational readers," Chapman says. "I want them to learn the magic of completely losing themselves in a good book."

 

How You Can Help

 

Once schools are in session, you can email Connie Chapman at conniechapman@alameda.k12.ca.us  if you would like to donate gently used children’s books (preschool to 5th grade level) for the program. (Note: board books for preschoolers are in especially short supply!)

 

 

Upcoming Board of Education Meetings

August 9, 2016

City Hall, 6:30 pm

 

August 23, 2016

City Hall, 6:30 pm

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:7/21/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Board of Education Approves New Hires, Appointments (06/29/2016)

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:         Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

                        Board President Solana Henneberry (510) 337-7187

 

Board of Education Approves New Hires, Appointments

 

Alameda, Calif. — June 29, 2016 — The Board of Education for the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) approved several new appointments at its meeting last night.

 

Those appointments include:

 

  • Jesse Woodward has been hired as the new principal of Lum Elementary School. Mr. Woodward is currently the principal of Marshall Elementary School in Castro Valley, California. He received his BA in Mathematics Teaching from Clemson University in South Carolina and is an Alameda resident.
  • James Assia will become the permanent Director of Food & Nutrition Services. An AUSD employee since 2008, Mr. Assia has served as interim director of the department since March of this year.
  • Kim Kelly, an English teacher at Alameda High School, has been promoted to vice principal at the school.  Since 2003, Ms. Kelly has also worked as a teacher at Island High School, a reform coach, a teacher on special assignment, and a Coordinator of State and Federal Compliance and School Innovation for AUSD.
  • Shirley Clem, Ed.D., will be joining the Teaching & Learning staff  as  the Coordinator of Elementary Education. Ms. Clem received her doctorate in education from Mills College. She has worked as a vice principal and principal at Franklin Elementary School (2001-2006), a Coordinator of AUSD's Beginning Teacher Support and Assessment program (2006-2008), and a principal at Otis Elementary School (since 2008).
  • Terri Elkin, who is currently AUSD's Coordinator of Instructional Initiatives, will become the Coordinator of Secondary Education. Over the course of nearly 30 years with AUSD, Ms. Elkin also has worked as a teacher at Chipman Middle and Island High schools, a teacher on special assignment, and a Coordinator of Assessment and Achievement.

     

    All five appointments go into effect on July 1, 2016.

     

    Over the last four months, AUSD has also hired Daniel Hurst as the new principal for Encinal High School (to replace Kirsten Zazo, who is becoming Chief Student Services Officer), Wendy Garner as the new Student Services Coordinator, and April Dizon as the new Director of Fiscal Services.

     

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Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves more than 9600 students in Alameda, California, an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area.  For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:6/29/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD and CSEA 27 Sign Tentative Agreement (06/21/2016)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:         Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

                        Board President Solana Henneberry (510) 337-7187           

 

Alameda, Calif. — June 21, 2016 — Negotiators for the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) and the California School Employees Association Chapter 27 (CSEA 27) reached a tentative agreement yesterday (June 20) in their re-opener negotiations over salary and other contract considerations.

 

CSEA 27 (which represents office/technical workers and paraprofessionals) and AUSD signed a three-year contract in June 2015. That contract gave CSEA 27 the right to "re-open" salary discussions yearly for the duration of the contract. Yesterday's TA provides for a 3.11% salary increase to all CSEA 27 members.  

 

"We thank our CSEA partners for working with us to come to this agreement," said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. "I look forward to another year of collaboration and mutual support in 2016-17, and I am grateful we all continue in our work together to serve the Alameda community."

 

The two teams came to agreement in two meetings. The next step is for CSEA 27 members and AUSD's Board of Education to vote on whether to ratify the agreement.

 

"We were happy with the collaborative tone with both teams at the negotiation table," said Karen Keegan, president of CSEA 27. "Our team is pleased that our members will be receiving a salary increase this coming school year,  pending approval from our members and the Board of Education."

 

Said Solana Henneberry, president of the AUSD Board of Education, "As a Board, we are charged with ensuring that our schools are excellent in every way. We are very thankful that CSEA 27 and AUSD were able to collaborate on this tentative agreement, and we appreciate the great service that these employees provide students, families, and our community."

 

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Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves more than 9600 students in Alameda, California,  an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area.  For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:6/21/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AEA Votes Down Tentative Agreement with AUSD (06/16/2016)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Issued By:

        

Superintendent Sean McPhetridge 337-7060

Board President Solana Henneberry 337-7187                                                     

Alameda Education Association President Audrey Hyman 521-3034

 

AEA Membership Votes Down Tentative Agreement with AUSD

 

Alameda, Calif. — June 16, 2016 — Members of the Alameda Education Association (AEA) — which represents certificated employees including teachers, counselors, and nurses — have voted down a tentative agreement (TA) signed with Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) last week.

                                                                       

The union's current contract expires on June 30, 2016.

 

"I am saddened AEA members won't have a new contract on July 1," said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. "But I also understand that ultimately this was a complex package deal with several compromises that a majority of AEA members simply found unacceptable. While collectively we tried and failed to find agreement and align interests at this time, I am confident we will work even more closely going forward so we build on contract provisions both sides liked and re-structure those provisions that proved unsatisfactory. We can do it."

 

Under the terms of the TA, 3.7% would have been added to the salary schedule. 3.11% of that increase was new money; the remaining .59% was to be re-allocated from members' dental benefits negotiated in last year’s contract.  

 

The new contract also would have reduced class size to 24:1 in transitional kindergarten and kindergarten, increased flexibility in using leave time, provided adjusted prep times to kindergarten teachers transitioning to a full-day program, and provided a process by which class size overages would be addressed. The new contract also created new committees to provide increased AEA voice in district management decisions.

 

Approximately 70% of the union members who submitted votes voted against the TA.

 

"It is clear AEA members voiced concern over their working conditions and compensation," said AEA President Audrey Hyman. "New language about class overages was a point of contention. I understand their concern and am hopeful that, when the two teams resume negotiations in the fall, they will be able to find a resolution that will meet AEA members' needs."

 

Next Steps

The two teams signed the TA just five days after they declared an impasse on June 2. Bargaining will most likely resume in September.

 

“As Board President, I consider it my responsibility to make sure that the conditions exist for students and staff to flourish," said Solana Henneberry, president of the AUSD Board of Trustees. "My colleagues on the Board share this same commitment. Occasionally tentative agreements that are recommended are rejected. We will return to the table and craft an agreement with the teachers that will work for instructors, students, and the District. I look forward to finding an agreement that is of benefit to all of us next fall.”

 

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Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves more than 9600 students in Alameda, California, an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:6/16/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


So Long, Farewell…Class of '16 Heads Off (06/14/2016)

Some 600 seniors are graduating from Alameda Unified School District this month and within one short ceremony will commence the beginning of their young adulthoods.

 

Graduates of Alameda High School (AHS), Alameda Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), Encinal High School (EHS), and Island High School (HIS) now move on to a wide range of exciting opportunities. A number of students will start their careers with the military or at military academies.  And many are heading off to two- and four-year colleges, including:

 

 

Academy of Art

American Academy of Dramatic Arts

Arizona State University

Bard College

Bennington College

Boston University

Brown University

CSU Channel Islands

CSU Chico

CSU Los Angeles

Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Humboldt State University

Lewis & Clark University

Mills College

New York University

Oberlin College

Occidental College

Pacific University

Peralta Community Colleges

Portland State University

Princeton University

Purdue University

Rutgers University

Saint Mary's University

San Diego State University

San Francisco State

Santa Barbara City College

Simmons College

Sonoma State University

Stanford University

UC Berkeley

UC Davis

UC Irvine

UC Los Angeles

UC Santa Barbara

UC Santa Cruz

University of Hawaii

University of Oregon

University of Nevada

University of Southern California

University of Wisconsin, Madison

Wellesley College

Xavier University


"I am always amazed to learn about the accomplishments of our seniors and the paths they choose to take," says Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. "Many of them have been with us since kindergarten – and now they are leaving us to explore college, career, and their emerging adult identities. I wish them every success and happiness in their next steps ahead."

 

Awards and Scholarships

 

Many seniors received full or partial scholarships to the colleges of their choice.  Many students also received scholarships from local organizations, including the Rotary Club, the Kiwanis Club, and the Elks.

 

In addition, community members (including alumni and the estates of alumni) provide scholarships each year to our graduating seniors. This year, those scholarships were awarded to:

 

Scholarship Name & Criteria

Award Recipient

Beatrice B Barrett Scholarship

Senior with intent to pursue any science discipline

Yishan McNabb

Florinda Bartalini Scholarship

Student who demonstrates exemplary community service and wants to pursue a  career in public health

Ju-Hoon Lee

Cox/Hollywood Scholarship

Well-rounded AHS student

Ashley Cobb

Abraham and Sara Kofman Alameda Times-Star Journalism Scholarship

Most deserving journalism student from AHS and EHS

Jasmin Ruiz Virgien (AHS)

Stacy Sahagun (EHS)

Marlene and Steve Kofman Scholarship

AHS art student

Eric Martinez

Chipman/Mastick Scholarship

Most deserving EHS student, good grades, good citizenship

Anne Barretto

 

Paul Hardy Parker Scholarship

Students pursuing a career in education

David Bui  (AHS)

Kristal Osorio (EHS)

Ken Brown Scholarship

EHS student

Anne Barretto

Susan Scott Scholarship

EHS student

Wed Basedeq

 

Lou Allen Scholarship

EHS student

Kadeef Salaam

Van Sickle Scholarship

Student who exhibits academic achievement, leadership, and financial need.

Tannya Vargas

 

 

We congratulate all of our graduating seniors. Have a wonderful summer and a wonderful next year!

 

Upcoming Board of Education Meetings

 

June 14, 2016

City Hall, 6:30 pm

 

June 28, 2016

City Hall, 6:30 pm

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:6/14/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD and AEA Reach Tentative Agreements (06/08/2016)


FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Issued By:        

Superintendent Sean McPhetridge 337-7060

Board President Solana Henneberry 337-7187                                                     

Alameda Education Association President Audrey Hyman 521-3034

 

 

Alameda, Calif. — June 8, 2016 — Negotiators for the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) and the Alameda Education Association (AEA) — which represents certificated employees including teachers, counselors, and nurses — reached a tentative agreement (TA) yesterday in their bargaining over salary and other benefits.

 

The two teams had jointly declared an impasse last Wednesday when they were unable to come to agreement on compensation. The teams agreed to meet one more time in an effort to find a compromise, however.

 

Under the terms of the TA crafted yesterday, AEA members will receive a 3.7% salary increase for the 2016-17 school year. About 3.1% of that increase is new money; the remaining .59% will be re-allocated from members' dental benefits. The teams will begin negotiating salary again in February, 2017.

 

"I am heartened knowing that our two negotiating teams reconvened to keep talking and to keep working at finding agreements," said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. "Hard decisions were made by both teams, and both teams recognize there is a long way to go. But I am hopeful that we are developing a deeper relationship that will help us now and in years going forward, and I am grateful to all stakeholders for their work to come together."

 

Other Tentative Agreements

In earlier negotiating sessions this spring, the two teams also reached TAs that:

 

  • Provide prep times to kindergarten teachers as they transition to a full-day program  
  • Reduce class size to 24:1 in transitional kindergarten and kindergarten
  • Increase flexibility for using leave time
  • Create a formal process for class size overages


The district and union also agreed to create three new committees:

 

  • A Salary Study Committee to research strategies for bringing AUSD teacher salaries closer to the county average
  • A Special Education Task Force to develop guidelines on the best ways to serve students receiving special education services in general education classrooms
  • An Academic Committee that will provide input and evaluations on all curriculum and instructional materials, training, and professional development of teachers

 

In addition, the existing Budget Committee will begin to examine the district's budget priorities and how those can best be met in coming years.

 

"These new committee mandates will help AEA and AUSD find ways to bring employee voice into key district decisions that affect our learning and working environments," said Audrey Hyman, president of the AEA. "It is important that we keep the dialogue channels open between the two organizations."

 

Next Steps

AEA members and AUSD's Board of Education now need to vote on the agreement. Union members will vote from June 9 through June 15, 2016. The Board of Education will vote at its regular meeting on June 28, 2016.

 

AEA members received a 4% increase in salary in June of 2o15.  If ratified by the AEA, the current TA will bring the total salary increase to AEA to about 12 percent over the last three years.  These increases followed years of steep cuts to state funding for education, which resulted in a lack of raises for AUSD employees between 2008 and 2012 and a salary cut in 2010-11 due to furlough days.

 

"My fellow board members and I are pleased that a settlement has been reached with the AEA," said Board of Education President Solana Henneberry. "The proposed agreement will allow us to move forward together with the parcel tax renewal and assure the success of all of our students."

 

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Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves more than 9600 students in Alameda, California, an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:6/8/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD and AEA Declare Impasse in Negotiations (06/02/2016)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Issued By:    Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

                   Board President Solana Henneberry (510) 337-7187

 

 

Alameda, Calif. — June 2, 2016 — The Alameda Unified School District and the Alameda Education Association have asked the state Public Employment Relations Board (PERB) to declare an impasse in the two teams’ salary negotiations, the district announced today.

 

The district and the union have been negotiating various articles in their contract since January.  While Tentative Agreements have been reached on numerous articles, "our perspectives on salaries are so far apart that we all agreed we need outside help to come to a mutually beneficial resolution," Superintendent Sean McPhetridge said.

 

If PERB declares an impasse, the agency will assign a third party mediator to work with the two teams. If they still can't come to agreement, they'll enter into factfinding, in which a panel reviews the arguments and proposals of both sides and then develops a recommended course of action.

 

AUSD's Offer

By the end of the day on Wednesday, June 1, the AUSD bargaining team made offers that would:

  • Provide increases of teacher compensation by 4.6% over the life of a two-year contract
  • Expand the ways in which teachers could use sick leave
  • Ease the transition to full-day kindergarten programs of value to both students and families

"We were disappointed that this offer was rejected," McPhetridge said, "as we are trying to give as much as we can within our limited resources. Our intention all along has been to work with our AEA colleagues to find an agreement that supports our employees while both protecting AUSD's financial future and serving Alameda families."


Budget Background

AUSD employees have received a 10 percent increase in compensation over the last three years – including last year, when the district increased total compensation to AEA unit members by 5%.

 

The district’s current budget forecast, however, shows a deficit of $17.5 million by the end of 2018-2019, due in part to:

  • Alameda's Measure A parcel tax, which brings $12 million per year to the district, expires in June, 2018. More than 80 percent of those revenues go to teacher salaries.
  • State funding to AUSD is less than many surrounding districts, and the state has imposed new restrictions on the funds it does provide.

The Path Forward

 

The district hopes to place a renewal of the Measure A parcel tax on the ballot in November of this year. But the district can't create state-mandated budget forecasts based on hoped-for funds. Instead, districts are required to provide detailed evidence that they will be able to cover their expenses in the current year plus the next two years. Districts that can't do that risk being taken over by the state.

 

"As much as we wish we could provide larger raises to our teachers, we can’t risk going far into the red by doing so," McPhetridge said. "In the long run, that would negatively affect our students, our programs, and our staff. Indeed, AUSD and AEA discussed at the table how to work together to find a long-term solution that could bring AUSD teachers closer to the median salary in the county.

 

"While I am saddened that we have reached an impasse, I have a deep faith in the process and the people leading it," he continued. "When two sides can't agree, the best way to move forward often is to have a neutral expert come in, analyze the data, and help find common ground. I remain optimistic that we can find compromise and reconciliation if we keep talking."

 

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Alameda Unified School District serves more than 9600 students in Alameda, California., an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:6/2/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD Schools Win Awards, Honors This Spring (05/31/2016)

AUSD Schools Win Awards, Honors This Spring

 

School sites across the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) have won awards this year for accomplishments ranging from closing the achievement gap in elementary schools to helping students prepare for college via Advanced Placement courses in high school.

   

"Our schools continue to impress not only families looking for a community in which to raise their children but also outside agencies and organizations," said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. "We are beyond proud of the incredible achievements of our schools."

 

National Awards

The U.S. Department of Education gave special honors to two AUSD schools this year.

 

In November, Alameda Science and Technology Institute (ASTI), which is AUSD's Early College High School, received a National Blue Ribbon Schools Award. ASTI was designated an "Exemplary High Performing School," which means it is in the top 15 percent of schools statewide, as measured by various assessments. 

 

In May, Bay Farm School received a national Green Ribbon Award, which recognizes schools and school districts for excellence in resource efficiency, health and wellness, and environmental and sustainability education. The school received a California Green Ribbon Award in February, as well as a nomination for the national award — along with just four other schools in the state. Bay Farm, which has an innovative K-8 program focused on 21st century education, was the only public school nominated in the state this year.

 

State Awards

In April, the CDE announced that four AUSD schools had won Gold Ribbon School Awards:  Earhart Elementary School, Haight Elementary School, Maya Lin School, and Otis Elementary School.

 

The CDE created the Gold Ribbon Schools Award to replace the Distinguished Schools Program, which is currently on hold as the state transitions to new assessment and accountability systems.  

 

This month, both Haight Elementary School and Maya Lin School also received Title 1 Academic Achievement Awards from the CDE.  The award goes to schools that:

 

  • receive federal Title 1 funds to meet the educational needs of students living at or below the poverty line;
  • have student populations in which more than 40% are socio-economically disadvantaged; and
  • have demonstrated that all students are making significant progress toward proficiency on California's academic content standards.

Haight has an innovative program focused on global learning; Maya Lin's magnet program focuses on integrated learning with an emphasis on the arts and inquiry learning.

 

Due to the very high standard for qualifying, only 10 other Title 1 schools in Alameda County won the award this year, out of about 200 schools that receive the funds.

 

US News & World Report

Alameda High School (AHS) won a silver award in the US News & World Report annual "Best High Schools" report released this month. The publication's rankings, which include more than 21,000 public high schools across the country and 2400 in California, are based on the schools' performances on state assessments and how well the schools prepare their students for college.

 

Factors that the analysts consider include:

 

  • the number of students taking Advanced Placement or International Baccalaureate courses;
  • students' scores on those tests; and
  • the percentage of economically disadvantaged students enrolled at the school.  

The magazine ranked AHS 102nd in the state (which puts it in the top 4% of all high schools here) and 609th in the country (which puts it in the top 3%  nationwide).

 

California Business for Education Excellence

California Business for Education Excellence (CBEE), a professional organization comprised of business leaders committed to improving public instruction, named four AUSD schools “2015 CBEE Honor Roll Schools" this month.  The designation honors schools that have demonstrated:

 

  • consistently high levels of student academic achievement;
  • improvement in achievement over time; and
  • reduction in achievement gaps

CBEE designated ASTI and Lum Elementary Schools as "STEM Honor Roll Schools" (which have higher levels of poverty, are closing their achievement gaps, and have a STEM focus).  The organization selected ASTI, Lum, and Paden Elementary School as "Star Honor Roll Schools" (which have a significant number of low-income students but are also high performing and closing the achievement gap).  Earhart Elementary was named a “Scholar Honor Roll School" (a high-performing school that does not have “significant levels” of low-income students). 

 

"To have this many AUSD schools winning this many awards this year is incredible," McPhetridge said. "I am grateful to our teachers, staff, and families for the hard work they do every day to support our students. And I am continually grateful to our island community for their support of our Measure A parcel tax, which helps make

possible the small class sizes, AP courses, talented teachers, innovative programs, and programs to close the achievement gap that so clearly fuel our schools' great successes."

 

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Upcoming Board of Education Meetings

 

June 14, 2016

City Hall, 6:30 pm

 

June 28, 2016

City Hall, 6:30 pm

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:5/31/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


ASTI's Brian Rodriguez Wins California History Teacher of the Year Award (05/27/2016)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Issued By:       Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

                      Board President Solana Henneberry (510) 337-7187

 

 

Alameda, Calif. — May 27, 2016 — The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History last week announced that Brian Rodriguez – a history teacher at AUSD's Alameda Science and Technology Institute (ASTI) – has been chosen as its 2016 California History Teacher of the Year.

 

A panel of teachers, administrators, and scholars from across the state chose Rodriguez based on his "innovative history curricula, which fosters a spirit of inquiry while emphasizing critical skills in U.S. history, Modern World History, Humanities, and Economics," the institute announced in a press release.

 

Rodriguez taught history at Encinal High School for 19 years before joining the ASTI faculty in 2014. He received his undergraduate degree in rhetoric from the University of California, Berkeley, a law degree from  University of Southern California, and a teaching credential from Holy Names College in Oakland. He was named AUSD's Teacher of the Year in 2008.

 

"I am thrilled and honored to receive this award," Rodriguez said. "My father was a poor Mexican-American kid whose life was radically changed for the better by the kindness and care of a school nurse and a teacher.  That made a tremendous difference to my family.  I have never forgotten that, and I try to fulfill that role every day for Alameda students."

 

Recognizing the "Crucial Importance of History Education"

 

The Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History is a New York–based national nonprofit devoted to the teaching and learning of American history. The Institute’s programs have been recognized by awards from the White House, the National Endowment of the Humanities, and the Organization of American Historians. The History Teacher of the Year Award highlights the crucial importance of history education by honoring an exceptional American history teacher from each state, the District of Columbia, Department of Defense schools, and US Territories. A "National History Teacher of the Year" will be selected from this list of state winners and honored at a ceremony in New York City next fall.  

 

As part of his recognition, Mr. Rodriguez will receive a $1,000 honorarium from the institute, and ASTI's library will receive a core archive of history books and educational materials. ASTI also becomes a "Gilder Lehrman Affiliate School," which gives its teachers access to regional forums with noted historians and extensive resources to use in the classroom.

 

Alameda Mayor Trish Spencer nominated Mr. Rodriguez for the award. He submitted two lessons with his application: one in which students trace their family history through US history and one on the September 11, 2001 attacks. (You can read our community bulletin about that lesson here.)

 

"Democracy is Not Passive"

 

For Rodriguez, history isn't about a dusty past; it's about an engaged present and better future. "I teach my students that democracy is not passive," he says. "This year my students were inspired to be advocates for social justice.  After a lesson on the school to prison pipeline, they started a tutoring program at a local elementary school, and after learning about immigration, they made a school-wide video inviting a young Syrian refugee to our school.  Other students travelled with a Congressional delegation to South Carolina with the MLK Freedom Center and started soccer programs for the disabled.  There is no more exciting place than a vibrant history classroom."

 

ASTI is AUSD's Early College High School, which means students can earn college credits in addition to a high school diploma. It is supported by Measure A, a parcel tax approved by Alameda voters in 2011.

 

"Brian Rodriguez is an innovative teacher at an innovative high school," Superintendent Sean McPhetridge said. "Our students are so fortunate to have the opportunity to go to this school and to benefit from the experience and creativity of passionate teachers like Brian. ASTI and AUSD are lucky to benefit from his service in the classroom!"

 

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 Alameda Unified School District serves more than 9600 students in Alameda, Calif., an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:5/27/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD Announces 2015-2016 Teacher of the Year (05/11/2016)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Issued By:         Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

                        Board President Solana Henneberry (510) 337-7187

 

 

Alameda, Calif. — May 11, 2016 — Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) announced its 2015-2016 Teacher of the Year last night:  Mandie Cline, a kindergarten teacher at Ruby Bridges Elementary School. 

 

Cline, who has been teaching at Ruby Bridges since it opened in 2006, was chosen for her passion for arts education, her dedication to community building, and her deep support of her students as "whole children."

 

"It is an honor to be able to announce that Ms. Cline is our Teacher of the Year," said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. "Her dedication, enthusiasm, and skill are an inspiration to us all."

 

Cline has a bachelor's degree in Art & Education, as well as a master's degree in Fine Art Printmaking. She began her teaching career in Cleveland, but since 2005 she has been teaching in AUSD. In addition to her work as an educator, she has worked as an assistant at printmaking and booking studios. This year she won a full scholarship to be a studio assistant for a session on book arts at the Penland School of Crafts this summer.

 

"No Small Thing"

 

In her kindergarten classroom, Cline focuses not only on teaching her young students to master the standards for kindergarten as independent learners, but also on supporting her students' social and emotional well-being.

 

"Every moment of every day is geared toward encouraging student engagement, confidence, camaraderie, and peer accountability," she wrote in her application. "My students are empowered to think independently, critically, and to accept responsibility for individual actions as well as those of the community. I nurture the abilities and strengths of all students and give them tools to better themselves and each other."

 

Cline also volunteers to teach art to 1st to 5th graders at Ruby Bridges during her prep periods because, she wrote, "I know that visual arts is crucial to a child's academic and emotional success." Last year, she also spearheaded an Art Show/Silent Auction that included art from all of the classrooms and raised nearly $3000 for the school.

 

In a recommendation letter, Susan Jones-Szabo, the teacher librarian at Ruby Bridges, wrote: "It is no small thing that she has given so much of her time and expertise in order to bring the gift of art to our students, many of whom have suffered so much already in their young lives. Her students can then use art to find a way to express themselves, create a powerful emotional response, and learn to see the world with a deeper appreciation of the beauty around them."

 

"The Ultimate Team Player"

 

Cline is also dedicated to building a sense of community at her school site.  In recent years, her projects have included a staff "shout-outs" board and a "kindness tree" on which students and staff can leave loving notes for others. She makes the time to show up at school events ranging from pumpkin sales to teacher talent shows. In 2014, she launched an initiative to have all Ruby Bridges staff receive Mindfulness Training; all of the school's K-5 classes now practice mindfulness daily.  And she is now collaborating with family and staff to use Measure A funds to develop an innovative program at the school focusing on student wellness, science, and art.  "My vision is to have students thrive in a school where the values and skills taught in kindergarten are values supported school-wide," she says.

 

Notes Ruby Bridges Principal Cheryl Wilson, "She is the ultimate team-player who understands how important it is to collaborate and share information as a community of learners as opposed to teaching and working in isolation."

 

When asked what she loves about teaching kindergarteners, Cline responded "They are so full of love! Kindergarteners see the world in a simple, complete way, and they have so much joy, excitement, and eagerness to be seen and heard. I'm just here to facilitate, to help them find a way to become strong, happy, confident people in the world."

 

Nominees for AUSD Teacher of the Year come from parents, students, staff, and the community. After being invited to submit materials (including a resume and letters of support), a selection committee observes nominees in the classroom and then interviews them. Next fall, Cline will compete to become Alameda County Teacher of the Year.

 

"Mandie is the ultimate example of an educator who strives to integrate the well being of the whole child into her instructional practice," says Audrey Hyman, president of the Alameda Education Association and also a former Ruby Bridges kindergarten teacher. "She teaches from her heart, and her passion for her students and the Ruby Bridges community is obvious to all who work with her. I have seen her analyze data to work with her colleagues and come up with new approaches for age appropriate learning models.  She is a key member of the school workgroup developing an innovative plan for the site.  Mandie’s resolve to make things better for the children she works with shines through in all she does."

 

 

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Alameda Unified School District serves more than 9600 students in Alameda, California., an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:5/11/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Board of Education Approves New Encinal Principal Appointment (04/27/2016)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Issued By:         Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

                        Board President Solana Henneberry (510) 337-7187           

 

 

Alameda, Calif. — April 27, 2016 — The Board of Education for the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) approved the appointment of a new principal for Encinal Junior & Senior High School last night.

 

The appointee — Daniel Hurst — is an Alameda resident who has two children in grades TK and 1st in AUSD schools. He worked as a teacher, assistant principal, and principal in the Oakland Unified School District for more than 25 years. Most recently, he served as assistant principal at Terra Linda High School in San Rafael.

 

Mr. Hurst is committed to three principles in leading high schools: high expectations and high support; collaboration; and meeting the needs of all students. "As educators, it is our great moral responsibility to maximize the potentials of every student wherever they may be on all spectrums of development," he says. "I am honored to have this opportunity to contribute all I have to offer to Encinal Junior & Senior High and to support all those doing such extraordinary work there in support of students."

 

Mr. Hurst will begin his appointment on July 1, 2016. "I am grateful to Mr. Hurst for accepting our offer and look forward to partnering with him to continuing and expanding the great work that is being done at Encinal," said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. "He brings a long history of focusing on issues of equity, student achievement, and instructional leadership."

 

Last night the Board of Education also approved the hire of Wendy Garner as Student Services Coordinator and April Dizon as Director of Fiscal Services.  Ms. Garner is currently the principal of Hesperian Elementary School in San Lorenzo. Ms. Dizon is currently the Controller in AUSD's Fiscal Services Department.

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:4/27/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Alameda Schools Devoted to Greening Campuses, Island, Planet (04/22/2016)

Every year, Earth Day provides an opportunity to celebrate our planet, our environmental heroes, and the many efforts around the globe aimed at protecting, preserving, and sustaining the Earth. Here in AUSD, we also want to acknowledge the fantastic work being done in our schools to protect not only our local environment, but also our regional, national, and global ecosystems.

 

As many of you know, all of our schools currently support a sophisticated garbage sorting system through which students and staff divide their waste into green waste (compostable), recycling (glass, paper, metal, and plastics), and trash (primarily plastic). Since 2009, the district's overall recycling rate has increased from 41% to about 70%. As a result, the amount of trash the district sends to landfills has plummeted, as has the amount of methane (a potent greenhouse gas) produced when that trash breaks down.

 

In 2014, AUSD won a Golden Bell Award from the California School Boards Association for this work. This year, Bay Farm School won a prestigious Green Ribbon Award from the U.S. Department of Education for both its impressive 85% diversion rate and its Outdoor Learning Center, which is managed by a full-time garden teacher who regularly teaches the students about plants, gardening, nutrition, and cooking.  Bay Farm School was the only individual public school to win in California this year. The school will be honored in a ceremony in our nation's capital, Washington, D.C., in July.

 

Restoring the Shoreline, Planting Gardens

 

A number of other AUSD schools are also doing amazing green work.  For instance, environmental science students at Lincoln Middle recently unveiled a sign supporting their efforts to replace invasive species with native species along the bay. Those efforts have been undertaken as part of the school's designation as an Ocean Guardian school by the National Atmospheric and Oceanic Administration. To date, LMS students have removed 232 pounds of trash and 6886 square feet of non-native invasive plants from the shoreline. In their place, the students have planted 195 native plants which will help attract beneficial native insects, birds, and small animals.

 

Most of our elementary schools — and several of our middle and high schools — now have school gardens where students learn not only how plants grow, but also valuable lessons about nutrition, sustainability, and cooking. Last summer, Island High Students restored the garden at Woodstock Child Development Center (the district's preschool). This year, the Alameda Science and Technology Institute is expanding its beautiful garden to include a fruit-bearing orchard. This Sunday (April 24), Haight Elementary School will be holding a Garden Work party from 10 am – 2 pm to work on their school plot. Contact plantsforhaight@gmail.com for more information.

 

Many of our schools have gone the extra green mile in honor of Earth Week.  Edison Elementary School, for instance, is collecting old sneakers to be recycled into new playgrounds. Paden Elementary School just introduced a new "green" opportunity for play -- two sheds full of recycled business waste including all shapes and sizes of plastic bins, cardboard boxes, electronics, and more. (You can see a video of students building and creating with these materials here.) Wood Middle School has been holding waste reduction competitions between the grade levels; today, students will also receive seed paper that they can soak in water to generate wildflowers.

 

Reducing Energy Use

 

Every school in the district is also now part of a district-wide effort aimed at reducing its energy use. Through a contract with Cenergistic, AUSD is implementing a conservation program aimed primarily at changing employees' behavior (e.g., turning off lights and powering down computers and copiers when not in use) and precisely tracking data related to energy use. The program is expected to help the district save more than $750,000 over the next five years – money that is far better spent on classroom programs than wasted energy.

 

At the same time, school modernization projects completed through our Measure I program will include energy efficiency upgrades wherever possible. This in turn will also generate financial savings by reducing the amount of energy and water the district uses on an annual basis, as well as reduce the district's carbon footprint.

 

"Environmental education – whether it's in a classroom, a lunchroom, or a school garden, or along an island's shoreline, park, or street – helps students learn about science, stewardship, teamwork, and community building," says Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. "AUSD is working hard to invigorate our efforts in science education across the district and throughout the grades, and there is really no better way to contextualize science learning than helping students and teachers explore and investigate our relationships with our planet and our Bay Area's abundant natural resources. I am so proud of our students, teachers, staff, and families who partner to honor our natural world."

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:4/22/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Four AUSD Schools Receive Gold Ribbon Awards (04/15/2016)

 


Alameda – April 15, 2016 – Four elementary schools in the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) have been designated Gold Ribbon Schools, the California Department of Education (CDE) announced Wednesday.

 

The Gold Ribbon Schools Award was created to honor schools in place of the Distinguished Schools Program, which is currently on hold as the state transitions to new assessment and accountability systems. Schools applied for the award based on a model program or practice, including standards-based projects and practices that led to gains in implementing state standards and can be replicated in other districts.

 

In AUSD, the CDE recognized the following schools as Gold Ribbon winners:

 

• Earhart Elementary School: Math, Science, and Technology with the integration of Music M(MST) Innovative program

 

• Haight Elementary School: Collaborative Instruction, Intervention, and Supports

 

• Maya Lin School: Integrated Learning Through Arts and Inquiry

 

• Otis Elementary School: Literacy Learning Groups

 

You can see more detail about these programs on the AUSD website.

 

"What fantastic news it is to have four of our schools win this prestigious award in one year," said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. "I send my deepest congratulations to the principals, teachers, staff, and students of these schools who have done such phenomenal work teaching and learning in their schools. We are proud of their achievements!"

 

The CDE recognized 772 elementary schools as Gold Ribbon winners this year; last year the department honored 373 middle and high schools with the designation.

 

Earlier this year, the Alameda Science and Technology Institute won a national Blue Ribbon Award, and Bay Farm School was also nominated for a prestigious national Green Ribbon Award.

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Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:4/15/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD and SSHRB to Present Film, Panel on Muslim Students in America (03/25/2016)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

 

Issued By:   

     

Sean McPhetridge, Superintendent (510) 337-7060 and

Solana Henneberry, President, Board of Education (510) 337-7187

Jim Franz, City of Alameda Community Development Coordinator (510) 747-6883


 

Alameda, Calif. — March 25, 2016 —The Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) and the city's Social Service Human Relations Board (SSHRB) are jointly hosting a forum on "Muslim Students in America" on April 11 at Kofman Auditorium. Doors will open at 6:30 pm and the program will begin at 7 pm.

 

The free event will feature the award-winning film "Fordson: Faith, Fasting, Football," which follows a football team from Dearborn, Michigan as it prepares for its cross-town rivalry game during the Muslim holy month of Ramadan. It shows how the football team and Fordson High School, which are composed primarily of Muslim students, work to both maintain their Islamic faith and traditions and be a part of mainstream America.

 

After the screening, Gene Kahane, an English teacher at Encinal High School, will lead a panel discussion about the movie. Panel members will include several Muslim students from AUSD, as well as Sameena Usman, government relations coordinator with the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR), which is the nation’s largest Muslim civil rights and advocacy organization. The panel will also take questions from the audience.

 

The forum is part of the "Everyone Belongs Here" campaign in Alameda, which advocates for accepting people of all races, sexual orientations, faiths, gender identities, ethnicities, and abilities.

 

"We are excited to present this program in support of our Muslim families and the ideal of safety, inclusion, and diversity," says Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. "Everyone truly does belong here in AUSD and our larger community. Events like this help to underscore and illuminate this concept."

 

Adds SSHRB President Doug Biggs, "This is an important movie to see and an important discussion to have. At a time of rising tension around who belongs and doesn't belong in America, this kind of gathering helps communities find common ground and express their support for all their members."

 

The Alameda Collaborative for Children, Youth, and their Families is co-sponsoring the event.

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:3/25/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Island High Students Explore Identity, Expression Through Poetry (03/16/2016)

In a room filled with tears, shouts, laughter, and applause this winter, Island High School students performed poems they had written about subjects ranging from alienation, regret, and love to racism, poverty, and war.  In so doing, they gave voice to their inner lives and provided adults in the room a raw look at the power of adolescent emotions, identity, and perspectives on the world.

 

"I'd turn to my past if I wanted a liar," read one student in a growling voice. "I stand for my family, my world, my faith/That's all that I got." Read another, "It's complicated how life is like a puzzle and I can't fix it." And still a third: "She was now seventeen/She was disowned/Acting especially mean/In her own world she drowned."

 

"Developing Their Own Voice"

 

Island High School is the Continuation High School for the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD), which means that its programs are designed to help students who have struggled to get the credits they need to graduate —not only due to family troubles, substance abuse, and teen pregnancy, but to the many other complications life has to offer.

 

The annual Poetry Slam is a unit in teacher John Nolan's English 4 class for seniors. "We teach this unit to help students learn to write and analyze poems and have an opportunity to tell their stories," said Nolan, who has taught at Island High for eight years and was voted AUSD Teacher of the Year in 2012. "It's a chance for students to develop their own voice and use it."

 

For many students, this can be remarkably healing work. As Greg (who preferred not to use his last name) read during the slam, "I'm from a long line of people who just don't understand my plans." In an interview after the event, he explained, "The class let me write what was on my mind. I will never forget what has happened to me. This was a way to say it."

 

"I Can Get Away With a Lot"

 

Several other students also talked about the way learning to write and perform verse helped them. "I wrote about my life, stuff going on every day, stuff I've been put through," said Jeremiah Braxton, 17, who penned the "It's Complicated" poem quoted above and came to Island High School after "messing up" in 9th and 10th grade at Encinal High. "In poetry, I can get away with a lot. I can express my emotions." Braxton, who has performed as a rapper and singer in northern and southern California, said that the poetry unit helped him learn to choose words and tone to convey meaning, which will be helpful in the musical career he wants to pursue.

 

Samantha Castro, 18, wrote a poem about her 7-month old son, Julian.  She said she loved the poetry unit for the opportunity it gave her to explore and express her feelings. "My parents have been in and out of jail," she said. "I have seen a lot of violence. But I wanted something better for myself. It's not easy taking care of a baby, but I am doing what I have to do. I want my baby's life to be different. I want to be the best mother I can be." Castro plans on becoming a nurse or a teacher after she graduates.

 

 

Isaiah Aleman, 17, who performed the poem about faith and family quoted above, ended up at Island High School after falling behind in his credits and struggling with a number of difficult issues. This April, he said, he will have been on a more focused path for a year. "I am a different person," he said. "I've become more creative, more thoughtful. I can think more critically about what I want people to feel from my words, what I think, how I feel about other people." Though he had written poetry before, he said, the unit helped him learn about the best use of structure and vocabulary in a poem, as well as looking more deeply into the subject.

 

 "Good Learning, Good Teaching, and Good Students"

 

This year, Alameda's poet laureate, Julia Park Tracey, coached the students on their poems before their slam, by helping them with writer's block, editing, and finding their voice and narrative style. The unit, she said, "is a huge win for the kids. These aren't students whose lives revolve around student government, pep rallies, and dress-up days. They have gone through real trauma.  They are already living grown-up lives. Having the opportunity to take words from their heart and soul and then share those words can be incredibly powerful."

 

Some of the words from these teens' hearts and souls are as much about hope as trauma. Brittany Cox, who described the disowned teen at the start of this story, expressed a compelling optimism as she projected a peaceful close to the protagonist's life journey:

 

She was now seventy

Sitting in row one of the church holding her granddaughter

Knowing this was her destiny

She watches her son waiting at the altar

 

She was now ninety

looking around the white room at all the faces

There was no longer a fight with society

She smiles as she passes

 

Whether the resulting poems are angry or hopeful, filled with fear or brimming with strength, Nolan said, teaching the course annually reinforces his belief in the "deep, powerful stories" of students. "They come from such unique circumstances," he said. "It can be healing for them to process these experiences in a creative, productive way." Teaching the unit also has reinforced his belief that poetry is "flourishing" in our culture today. "I see so many artists with so many poetic skills and innovative rhymes," he said. "They're making up  poems on the fly. We are living in really poetic times."

 

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Upcoming Board of Education Meetings

 

 

March 22, 2016

6:30 pm, City Hall

 

April 12, 2016

6:30 pm, City Hal

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:3/16/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Coming Up! AUSD Career Pathways and Youth Job Fair (03/15/2016)

Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) and community partners will hold a Career Pathways and Youth Job Fair on Friday March 18, 2016, from 3 to 5 pm, in the Encinal Jr. & Sr. High School gymnasium.

 

The event, which is free to all high school students in Alameda, is supported by AUSD, the City of Alameda, Alameda County Supervisor Wilma Chan, and the Alameda Collaborative for Children, Youth, and their Families (ACCYF).

 

During the event, high school students will have opportunities to apply for summer jobs and paid internships in local agencies and businesses, talk to representatives from the Peralta Community Colleges, and explore opportunities in vocational education.  AUSD will also provide a Resume Help Desk for students and information on the district's Career Technical Education (CTE) programs. Participants in this year's fair include:

 

 Colleges

College of Alameda

Berkeley City College

Laney College

Merritt College

 

Agencies

Alameda County Public Defender

Alameda County District Attorney

City of Alameda Fire Department

Alameda Recreation and Park Department

Alameda Police Department

Alameda Free Library

Alameda Point Collaborative

 

Trade Unions

Iron Workers Local 378

Cypress Mandela Training Center, Inc.

Pile Drivers Local 34

 

Health-Related Jobs/Education

Pacific Homecare Services

Bladium Sports & Fitness Club

Alameda Hospital

Bay Area Training Academy – EMT School

 

Summer Jobs

Student Conservation Association

Alameda Theatre

Tucker's Ice Cream

Friends of the Alameda Animal Shelter

Charming Charlie

 

"This is our second annual job and career fair, and I expect it will be even bigger and better than last year," said Superintendent Sean McPhetridge. "We are excited to be able to provide students with more opportunities to learn more about career opportunities and gain work experience while they're in high school or right after they graduate."

 

The job fair is part of AUSD's ongoing work with the East Bay Career Pathways Trust (CPT) consortium, which has brought together 11 school districts, six community colleges, two Regional Occupation Programs, the Alameda County Office of Education,  business partners, and professional development providers to reshape the East Bay's K-14 educational programs. AUSD is currently developing plans to strengthen and expand its career technical programs at its high schools.

 

"The partnership between the City of Alameda, AUSD, local employers, and my 'ALL IN – Alameda County' initiative is helping our youth achieve financial self-sufficiency," said Supervisor Chan, who launched the initiative in 2014 to help reduce poverty and inequality in the region.  "The job fair offers important career guidance and helps students make the connections they need to succeed in career and life. The success of this year’s job fair shows once again how deeply Alameda is committed to the well-being of its youth."

 

Alameda Mayor Trish Herrera Spencer  also praised this collaborative effort. "It is a pleasure to be able to help students explore the connection between their education and viable career paths," she said. "I am also excited that providing local career pathways can provide local businesses with a custom-made source of skilled employees."

 

 

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Regular Board of Education Meetings

March 22, 2016

6:30 pm, City Hall

 

April 12, 2016

6:30 pm, City Hall

 

Special Board of Education Meetings

Presentation of Enrollment Committee Recommendations

March 15, 2016

Island High School, 6:00 pm

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:3/15/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


AUSD Superintendent Announces Reorganization of Educational Services Department (03/11/2016)

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:         Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

                        Board President Solana Henneberry (510) 337-7187           

 

 

AUSD Superintendent Announces Reorganization

of Educational Services Department

 

Alameda, Calif. — March 11, 2016 — Superintendent Sean McPhetridge announced today a restructuring of the Alameda Unified School District’s Educational Services Department.

 

Currently, the Assistant Superintendent manages the entire department, which is composed of Teaching & Learning, Student Services, and Special Education. Each of these departments, in turn, has its own director.

 

Under the reorganization, the Assistant Superintendent, along with the three directors, will be replaced by a Chief Academic Officer and a Chief Student Support Officer. 

 

Superintendent McPhetridge has appointed Steven Fong, currently Director of Teaching & Learning, to the Chief Academic Officer position. Mr. Fong, who received a BA in Integrative Biology and an MA in Education from UC Berkeley, began his career as a science teacher at Berkeley High School before joining the faculty af Alameda Science and Technology Institute (ASTI). He went on to serve as dean of ASTI for three years. He became AUSD's Director of Teaching & Learning in 2013.

 

Kirsten Zazo, currently principal of Encinal Jr. & Sr. High School, has been appointed to the Chief Student Support Officer position. Ms. Zazo received her BA in Liberal Studies from Cal State Hayward and did graduate work at Saint Mary's College.  She was a teacher at both Lum Elementary School and Chipman Middle School before becoming assistant principal of Chipman. She was hired as AUSD's Coordinator of Student Services in 2010. After serving as the Director of Student Services, she became principal at Encinal High School in 2013.

 

The reorganization comes in the wake of several senior leaders in Education Services announcing their planned departure from the school district. Assistant Superintendent Barbara Adams is resigning at the end of the school year. Director of Special Education Susan Mitchell is retiring at the same time.  Former Director of Student Services Kelly Lara resigned in January.  Those resignations, McPhetridge said, presented an opportunity to reorganize the district office so as to provide more focused attention to a number of key programmatic areas.

 

"I am grateful to Mr. Fong and Ms. Zazo for agreeing to serve in these two new positions during this period of change in our district," Superintendent McPhetridge said. "I believe the new structure will help us provide better service to our students, our families, and our employees. I have great admiration and respect for these leaders who have served as teachers, site leaders, and district administrators over their years here in AUSD. I thank them for their service, and I look forward to their ongoing commitment and evidenced dedication to Alameda students, families, and staff."

 

The Board of Education is expected to confirm the appointments of Mr. Fong and Ms. Zazo at its next meeting, March 22, 2016.  They will begin their new positions on July 1.

 

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Alameda Unified School District serves 9500 students in Alameda, California,  an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:3/11/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Parent Notification: Judge Rules Against Releasing Confidential Student Data (03/09/2016)
March 9, 2016
 
Dear Parents and Guardians,
 
In an email I sent on February 19, I explained that the California Department of Education (CDE) was under court orders to release data it had collected on some 10 million current and former public school students in California.
 
I want to let you know that the court has now ruled that the CDE will not have to release confidential data. Instead, the plaintiffs in the case (Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Association and the Concerned Parent Association v. California Department of Education) will be able to submit data queries to the CDE, and the CDE will be able to respond without providing personally identifiable information unless the plaintiffs' attorneys can demonstrate that the information will be stored securely.
 
At a hearing on the matter, the judge noted that she had received "voluminous" numbers of objection forms from parents and students concerned about the possible release of confidential student information. Those forms will be included in the court's official documentation. If you would still like to submit an objection to the original order, the court will be accepting forms until April 1, 2016. You can find the forms here.
 
I hope this eases the minds of families who were concerned about this release. We will continue to let you know of any changes in this situation as they develop.
 
Sincerely,
 
Sean McPhetridge, Ed.D.
Superintendent
Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:3/9/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Board of Education to Hold Special Meeting on AUSD Enrollment Policies (03/07/2016)

The Board of Education for the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) will hold a Special Board Meeting March 15 to study and discuss the recommendations of the AUSD Enrollment Committee. The meeting will be held at Island High School and will begin at 6 pm.

 

Convened in October 2015 and composed of parents, staff, teachers, and principals, the Enrollment Committee has met eight times to discuss and develop recommendations for revising AUSD's enrollment policies. 

 

Suggested changes include:

  • Letting families know if their child is going to be diverted from a neighborhood school that is full before the start of the school year
  • Ensuring that students who are diverted get to stay at their new school, rather than getting diverted again
  • Requiring families to submit verification of residency more often
  • Allowing the children of employees who work at schools to attend those schools as intra-district transfers
  • Allowing Coast Guard families to enroll long-distance (without having an in-person appointment) when they have received orders to move to Alameda from another state

The full set of recommendations is posted with the meeting's agenda.

 

Community members are encouraged to attend the meeting to learn about the committee's work and express their opinions about the recommendations.

 

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Upcoming Board of Education Meetings

 

March 8, 2016

6:30 pm, City Hall

 

March 15, 2016 (Special Board Meeting)

6:00 pm, Island High School

500 Pacific Avenue

 

March 22, 2016

6:30 pm, City Hall

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:3/7/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Wanted: Classified Employee of the Year Nominations! (02/26/2016)

 

 

 

Do you know of a custodian, tradesperson, food services employee, payroll technician, paraprofessional, instructional assistant, school secretary, or office manager in the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) who you think is doing excellent work for the children and staff of this district?  Alameda community members now have a chance to nominate AUSD employees for the state's Classified School Employee of the Year program. The community's nominations go first to the school district, which then chooses nominees to send to the Alameda County Office of Education. The county office, in turn, sends nominations to the California Department of Education (CDE).

 

Who is eligible? You can nominate classified AUSD employees in the following five categories:

 

  • Child Nutrition (e.g.,  food service employees)
  • Maintenance, Operations, and Facilities (e.g., custodians and tradespeople)
  • Office and Technical  (e.g., school site secretaries and office managers)
  • Para-Educator and Instructional Assistance (e.g., paraprofessionals and teacher assistants)
  • Support Services and Security (e.g., campus supervisors, payroll technicians, and student services assistants)

 

(The state also takes nominees for a sixth category, Transportation, but AUSD has no staff working in that category.)

 

"I love this program because it allows us to honor and highlight staff members who aren't always in the public limelight," says Superintendent Sean McPhetridge, Ed.D. "But we couldn't have the great schools we have without the contributions of these men and women. I laud their work and am grateful for it every day."

 

You can download the nomination form here.   Once it is filled out, please send it to Humera Khalil, at hkhalil@alameda.k12.ca.us. The deadline for submitting nominations to the district is March 5, 2016.

 

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Upcoming Board of Education Meetings

 

Regular Board Meetings

 

March 8, 2016

6:30 PM, City Hall

 

March 22, 2016

6:30 pm, City Hall

 

 

Special Board Meeting

 

March 15, 2016

6 pm, Island High School

(Board study session on enrollment policies)

 

 

 

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:2/26/16
Audience: Homepage and Homepage


Bay Farm School Receives Prestigious Green Ribbon Award (02/26/2016)

 

 

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Issued By:         Superintendent Sean McPhetridge (510) 337-7060 and

                        Board President Solana Henneberry (510) 337-7187           

 

Alameda, Calif. — February 26, 2016 — Bay Farm School, a K-8 program in the Alameda Unified School District (AUSD), received a California Green Ribbon Schools Award from State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson in a ceremony at the school on Friday.  

 

The Green Ribbon Schools program honors schools, school districts, and institutes of higher education for excellence in resource efficiency, health and wellness, and environmental and sustainability education.  Bay Farm is now also a nominee for the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools program.

 

Only five schools can be nominated for the federal award from each state.  Bay Farm is the only individual public school that won the nomination in California this year. The other nominees are: Los Angeles Unified School District, Manhattan Beach Unified School District, San Francisco Unified School District, and the private Bishop O’Dowd High School in Oakland. The schools and districts were also named "Green Achievers," the highest honor in the California Green Ribbon Schools recognition program.

 

Their nominations – along with those from 25 other states – will be confirmed by the U.S. Department of Education on Earth Day (April 22).

 

"I commend these schools and districts for reducing their environmental footprints and engaging students using sustainability and the environment as the context for learning," Torlakson said in a press release issued by the California Department of Education (CDE). "Their efforts are helping to build healthier, more resilient communities and a more prosperous California."

 

"A School Culture"

 

The awards were given out at a news conference Friday morning. Representatives of the other winning programs also attended the ceremony and spoke of their work, which led former science teacher Torlakson, who convened an Environmental Literacy task force in 2014, to tell the audience, "Clearly I'm passionate about environmental education. But your passions bring me to a higher level."

 

Bay Farm teachers and students didn't learn of the award until the morning assembly, when AUSD Superintendent Sean McPhetridge announced it to the entire school. "You have helped save the world," he told Bay Farm's students, teacher, and staff. "You're a model for our whole district. You're a model for the whole state. You are now a model for the whole United States!"

 

Green Ribbon Schools demonstrate exemplary achievement in three categories or "pillars": reducing environmental impact and costs; improving the health and wellness of schools, students, and staff; and providing effective environmental education that incorporates science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), civic skills, and green career pathways.

               

Bay Farm School was honored for its implementation of a highly efficient, student-led "Green Waste" program that diverts 85 percent of solid waste from the landfill to recycling and compost. Bay Farm School has also developed an Outdoor Learning Center that is managed by a full-time garden teacher who regularly teaches the students about plants, gardening, nutrition, and cooking.

 

Second grade teacher Michele Kuttner, who is also a Go Green Coordinator at Bay Farm, as well as a member of AUSD's Green Schools Challenge Steering Committee, accepted the award on behalf of the school. "At Bay Farm, what began as a program to increase recycling and build a garden has become our school culture," Kuttner said. "Our entire school community works to prove that a school can increase in size and population and reduce the size of its carbon footprint."

 

In 2014, the district-wide Green Schools Challenge won a Golden Bell Award from the California School Boards Association.

 

After the ceremony, the nearly 100 attendees from across the state toured Bay Farm's butterfly garden, Outdoor Learning Center, and classrooms, so that they could learn more about the school's green practices.

 

You can read more about Bay Farm’s efforts on their Go Green web page. The California Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Award Program web page includes more details on the award program.

 

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Alameda Unified School District (AUSD) serves about 9500 students in Alameda, California, an island community in the San Francisco Bay Area. For more information, please visit the AUSD website, follow @AUSDNews on Twitter, or subscribe to our email communications. Questions? Contact Susan Davis, Senior Manager, Community Affairs, at sdavis@alameda.k12.ca.us.

 

California Nominees to the U.S. Department of Education's Green Ribbon Schools Program
(from the California Department of Education press release)

 

Bay Farm School, Alameda, Alameda County

Bay Farm School has implemented an efficient three-stream waste diversion program that diverts 85 percent of solid waste from the landfill. Students are critical to these efforts, monitoring lunchtime sorting and conducting multiple waste audits to keep recyclables out of classroom and playground trash. Bay Farm’s Outdoor Learning Center (OLC) is managed by a full-time garden teacher. All students regularly learn outdoors in part by working in the OLC and eating the food they grow there. Read more about Bay Farm’s efforts on their Go Green Web page.

 

Los Angeles Unified School District, Los Angeles County

LAUSD is the largest school district in California and the second largest in the nation, serving approximately 650,000 students in grades K–12. In 2003, LAUSD became the first school district in California to adopt the sustainability standards of the Collaborative for High Performance Schools (CHPS) for all new schools and modernization projects. To date, 78 LAUSD schools have receive CHPS certification. LAUSD has installed 21 megawatts of solar capacity, supported more than 375 school gardens, and built more than 180 outdoor classrooms. The District’s sustainability Web site, Learning Green, provides information and resources for all schools. LAUSD’s Susan Miller Dorsey Senior High School was recognized as a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School in 2015.

 

Manhattan Beach Unified School District, Los Angeles County

MBUSD has documented a 33 percent reduction in non-transportation energy use and a 44 percent reduction in greenhouse gas emissions from a 2009 baseline. All MBUSD schools are ENERGY STAR certified. MBUSD diverts 100 percent of food waste by combining on-site composting with a municipal program that converts food waste into Engineered Bioslurry used to generate energy. MBUSD was the first district to pilot and implement the parent-initiated programs Grades of Green and Growing Great. MBUSD earned a CA-GRS Silver Level Award in 2015, and Grand View Elementary School was recognized as a U.S. Department of Education Green Ribbon School in 2012.

 

San Francisco Unified School District, San Francisco County

SFUSD utilizes a Shared Savings Program that rewards schools for reducing their use by giving them 50 percent of the savings generated through conservation as discretionary funding. Every school in SFUSD has an Environmental Liaison, and SFUSD’s Environmental Science Center has been providing standards-based environmental education in the Golden Gate National Recreation Area since 1976. SFUSD has installed nearly 60 green schoolyards since 2005 and will expand schoolyard “greening” to every site using a local modernization bond authorized in 2011. The District’s Green the Next Gen Web site features teacher resources; student programs; and utility, commute, and waste diversion data from SFUSD schools. SFUSD earned a CA-GRS Silver Level Award in 2015.

 

Bishop O’Dowd High School, Oakland, Alameda County

O’Dowd’s Center for Environmental Studies, completed in 2014, is a LEED Platinum certified building. The campus also supports a four-acre “Living Lab” that has undergone ecological restoration annually since 2000 and received Bay Friendly certification and Wildlife Habitat certification. The Living Lab features four different local ecosystems, beehives, chickens and rabbits, edibles, and water catchment systems. It is used for field research, experiential learning, and spiritual meditation. Green Gloves, a 2015 partnership with the ReThink Disposable project, replaced disposable plates and bowls in the cafeteria with reusable baskets, reducing solid waste by 3,376 pounds per year. O’Dowd was recognized by CAPSO as a CA-GRS Gold School in 2015 and a Silver School in 2014.

Posted by: Susan Davis, District Staff, Alameda Unified School District Published:2/26/16 <