9/1/16 The Marin County superintendent of schools has requested the U.S. Office of Civil Rights and state superintendent of public instruction look into the Sausalito Marin City School District after a report highly critical of its operations.
The 106-page report issued last month by the state Fiscal Crisis and Management Assistance Team concluded the Sausalito Marin City School District board favors a charter school in Sausalito to the detriment of minority children who attend a traditional campus in Marin City. The team will return in six months to see if there have been changes.
Mary Jane Burke, county superintendent of schools, who asked for the review, now has written to federal civil rights officials to determine if an investigation is warranted. Another letter to state Superintendent of Schools Tom Torlakson asks his office to request an opinion from the California attorney general to investigate whether the school board has a conflict of interest. Four of the five school board members have ties to the charter school.
“We have children who have not yet been provided with an education we know that they need,” Burke told more than 200 people who gathered at the Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy multipurpose room to hear from the authors of the state report at a meeting of the county school board Wednesday night.
Many of those who turned out were outraged members of the Willow Creek Academy charter school community, who called into question the accuracy of the state report.
“The report before you is factually incorrect, draws erroneous conclusions and makes recommendations that would hurt the very high-need kids the report aims to protect,” Kurt Weinsheimer, acting board president at the charter school, told the county board. “It also fuels divisiveness in our district when collaboration is what we need to solve the district’s very real education problems.”
Weinsheimer requested the report recommendations pertaining to Willow Creek be rejected by the county board, and allow charter school officials to present their own report.
A top concern among Willow Creek backers is the assertion that a “pattern has been established at WCA to create a segregated school” in part because it limits the number of special education students, according to the report.
Several parents of special-needs children said the charge is not true and others added that in terms of race, the school’s (?404-member?) student body is highly diverse. At Willow Creek 43 percent of students are white, 27 percent are Latino, 12 percent are Asian or Pacific Islander, 8 percent are black, with 10 percent — Filipino, multi-racial and Native American children — falling into the “other” category, according to data provided by school backers at the meeting.
Willow Creek officials also noted 150 Marin City children currently attend the charter, while the enrollment of Bayside MLK is 143 students.
Some of those who supported the state report had no qualms with the educational program at Willow Creek, but said it is partly funded by pulling dollars away from the Bayside MLK by a board that is aligned with the charter school.
Daniel Norbutas, former principal at Bayside MLK who left in 2014, said the school’s successful program was dismantled by the board.
“The board made conscious decisions to eliminate programs at this school,” he said, noting credentialed math, science and English positions were eliminated, while cuts were made to foreign language, art, music, physical education and counseling. “Absolute cuts for the last four years; it has been a continual draw-down of what’s been effective at this school. Subsequently there was increasing funding every single year to Willow Creek.”
The state report called into question two areas of funding: roughly $730,000 for special education the charter does not pay for, and an estimated $235,000 the district provides in furnishings and equipment, utilities, trash service, alarm monitoring and grounds upkeep.
While not illegal, board critics say those dollars could be used for education programs at Bayside MLK. But Willow Creek backers note more is spent on students at Bayside MLK. The district’s most recent budget shows funding per student for instruction is $11,274 at Bayside MLK and $7,100 at Willow Creek.
Josh Barrow, a member of the Sausalito Marin City School Board, said his goal is to address the “appalling achievement gap” in the district at both schools, adding that the state agency that did the report “doesn’t understand our district.”
“I want to fix things,” Barrow, a Marin City resident, told the crowd. “What this report fails to put in context around that achievement gap ... is that the achievement gap exists also at Willow Creek. We all need to fix that.”
County School Board President Dr. Curtis Robinson concluded at the end of the four-hour hearing that change is needed in the local district.
“I’m concerned about the kids that have been left behind, the kids in Marin City that need the extra help to bring equity to the situation here in Marin,” he said. “We need to talk about segregation, racism, institutional racism, even if people don’t understand that the actions that they are taking are to the detriment of another group of people.”
He suggested a merger between the Sausalito Marin City district and the Mill Valley School District to “finish this nonsense of a segregated county.”
source Marin IJ , Mark Prado
The Sausalito Marin City School District may join a new state pilot program to help boost Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy, which has struggled with poor student performance.
The Sausalito Marin City School District appears poised to join forces with a new state program in an effort to boost Bayside Martin Luther King Jr. Academy, which has struggled with poor student performance.
The head of the newly formed state California Collaborative for Educational Excellence visited Marin City this week to discuss the program with the school board. A pilot program would offer advice, assistance and resources and follow an education blueprint already approved by the school board.
“We want to work with people at the local level to get them the right kind of help to rescue kids,” Carl Cohn, executive director of the program, told the Sausalito Marin City School District board at a Wednesday meeting. “We want to help implement a cycle of continuous improvement.”
Cohn said while his group will help, and specifics will come, it will be locals who will have a large role in the process.
“We are not going to come in and force anyone to do anything,” Cohn said.
The help from the state comes as another state agency, the
One board member said community interest is growing in the school process, and the timing could be right for the new collaborative program.
“It seems in the past two or three years we have had more community involvement and more community attention to what the school is doing,” said school board member Bill Ziegler.
A state-required Local Control and Accountability Plan that guides the district’s future will serve as the basis for the help the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence will provide. The accountability plan focuses on eight areas identified as state priorities. The plans will also demonstrate how the district’s budget will help achieve the goals, and assess each year how well the strategies in the plan were able to improve education.
“I am for us taking these next steps,” said Ida Green, school board member.
Superintendent Will McCoy said he would draft a resolution formally solidifying the partnership and bring it to the school board next month. There is no charge to the local district to be a part of the partnership, which will extend over several years.
The state agency was established by the governor and Legislature in 2013 — and only became fully operational in February — to advise and assist school districts.
The Legislature recently approved $24 million for the California Collaborative for Educational Excellence; most of the funds will be used to train educators around the state, with $4 million set aside to develop four pilot programs to assist school districts.
At Bayside MLK, minorities account for more than 90 percent of the student body, which numbers 144. 47% of the students are black and 31% are Latino. 72% of students are classified as low income, while 38% are English learners. Recent test results show seventh- and eighth-graders are not at grade level.
The state agency is governed by a five-member board composed of the:-
The formation of the agency reflects a shift in California’s approach to improving student academic achievement from the more punitive and compliance-based approach of the defunct Federal No Child Left Behind Act, (now remnants are turned over to the States) to directing focus on control and accountability on a local level, according to the agency website.
source Marin IJ , Mark Prado
Proposed Charter School Appeals SRCS Board Decision,
PETITION "Stop IPSO Charter School from joining
San Rafael City Schools" I don't know enough about the quality
of the existing school system to sign it.
Some Members of the San Rafael community have demonstrated strong support for Ipso School.
We will continue to outreach as we progress through the planning and start-up phases. Please refer to Element G for information regarding community meetings held thus far as well as a student recruitment plan.
In addition, Appendix 2 shows sample distribution
materials shared within the community.
San Rafael City High School District is
Students needing Special Education services made up 7.1% of all 9-12 students attending high schools in the San Rafael City High School District.
Need for College Preparatory Academics
Page 21 Marin County has wide disparities in education, health, and income. According to A Portrait of Marin: Marin County Human Development Report commissioned by the Marin Community Foundation in 2012, a resident of the town of Ross will live 7.5 years longer, is 5 times more likely to have a bachelor’s degree, and will earn $40,000 more per year than a resident of the Canal.
In education, the achievement gap measured in Standardized Testing and Reporting (“STAR”) test scores is stark in Marin County as well, with
In the San Rafael City High School District, these disparities are just as wide. On the same 2013 English Language Arts test in the San Rafael City High School District,
Large disparities also exist according to socioeconomic status.
The same disparities in achievement are also seen in the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (“CAASPP”) results from 2015 as shown below. As with the STAR tests, these gaps are significantly greater than statewide achievement gaps. See Tables 2 - 8 for a summary of achievement data from the 2013 California Standards Test (“CST”) in the San Rafael City Schools, Marin County and the State of California5, and the 2015 CAASPP results from the San Rafael City High School District and Marin County.