This is an excerpt of On Assignment, education writer Theresa Harrington's blog on Contra Costa County schools. Read more and post comments at IBABuzz.com/onassignment. Follow her at Twitter.com/tunedtotheresa.
The Mt. Diablo school board on Monday voted 4-1 to extend contracts for the superintendent and four other top administrators, after hearing many complaints about the district from speakers earlier in the meeting.
Here is an excerpt of those comments (which may be paraphrased): Debbie LaDue: Referred to Times story about Walnut Creek school district raises. "I hope this district takes guidance from its neighboring district and values the contributions of its nonmanagement employees." Stephanie Perry, mother of Horizon alternative education student: I heard the program is going to be moved to Ygnacio Valley High. It's better for my daughter to be on a smaller campus where all the teachers are accessible to all the students. It's a very calm atmosphere .... Please reconsider and leave Horizon where it is." Jo Ann Semas, grandmother of Prospect alternative high student: "I became aware that Prospect is going to be moving to Ygnacio Valley High. I request that the board do further study and reconsider and allow Prospect school to stay where it is. I've taken my grandson to Ygnacio Valley for summer school and the congestion was horrendous ..." Carolyn Accatino, library media teacher at Meadow Homes Elementary in Concord: "We ask you to consider boundary changes so we can best serve our students.... Please don't shove us under the rug. Please remember us." Corie Irving, parent of Sun Terrace Elementary student: "I have a huge problem with the communication with our principal and what has happened with our first grade class. Since January, our teacher in first grade has been on maternity leave. We've had 13 substitute teachers with no communication to the parents. I'm a passionate parent when it comes to my daughter's education. We're going over STAR testing. My daughter is not at grade level where she needs to be. I feel this is a major concern." Katherine Friedman, parent at Sun Terrace Elementary: —... When the first substitute left, I expressed my concern to (Principal) Mrs. (Gretchen) Jacobs. I expressed my concern several times and was brushed off. It wasn't until I submitted a letter to the district that I got a letter from Mrs. Jacobs. My son is no longer progressing. The school year is almost out (tearfully) and my son is struggling and my class is struggling...." Louis Acevedo, father of Sun Terrace Elementary student: "... My son was injured and nobody notified me. A week later, he had a bloody nose and nobody notified me." Karen Gamez, parent of Sun Terrace Elementary students: "... That is ridiculous that we cannot communicate with our principal. It has come to the point that I have to email the school board. I feel my children are no longer safe...." Dan Roll, student services, Sun Terrace: "Listening to parents' concerns tonight, I'm hearing communication, security and wanting to have a feeling of support from Principal Gretchen Jacobs. I wanted to come here tonight to communicate to you guys, that based on conversations I've had with Gretchen Jacobs, I believe she is listening to these concerns and is working on ways to resolve all these. ..." Willie Mims, district resident (Regarding concerns raised by parents at Sun Terrace): "It would seem to me that there are some laws against harassment, intimidation and bullying. There are state laws, so actually it's a crime for someone not to handle it." (Also talked about achievement gap.) John Ferrante, chairman of the Bond Oversight Committee (Regarding invitation-only "Turn on the Sun" solar dedication at 1 p.m. Tuesday at Northgate High School): "I found out about it Friday in the paper. Not at the bond oversight committee meeting the night before. We've have had communication problems in this district since (former Superintendent) Bob Baum. I have been complaining for year after year to get it fixed. It still isn't fixed." Ashtyn Friday, Horizons alternative education student (In opposition to moving campus to Ygnacio Valley High): "We're like the gem of the district, not something you can throw away. Our building was built for Horizons. What are you going to do with it? ... I strongly suggest that you rethink this whole thing about moving us ...."
Do you think the district is responsive to community concerns?