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BOE Meeting for April 8, 2003

1. PUBLIC HEARING Adoption of K-5th Grade Reading/Language Arts Program: "Houghton Mifflin: A Legacy to Literacy"

Background: The State Board of Education approved two publishers for the K-5th grade reading/language arts adoption. For background information, see California's Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Adoption Processes. Twenty six teachers in Alameda have been involved in a year-long pilot of these two reading programs: SRA/Open Court Reading and Houghton Mifflin Reading: A Legacy of Literacy. Thirteen teachers piloted each program. The pilot teachers met several times throughout the school year to discuss features, strengths and weaknesses of both programs.

The pilot teachers recommend adopting Houghton Mifflin Reading: A Legacy to Literacy.

Fiscal Implications: Approximately $500,000 to be paid with State Instructional Materials Funds(monies that are available for instructional materials). Because of recent state cuts in these funds, the recommendation is to purchase the materials in two phases. Three grade levels will be purchased in 2003-04, and three for 2004-05.

Board approved the adoption.

2. PUBLIC HEARING Adoption of 4th-8th Grade Reading Intervention Program for English Learners: "Hampton Brown High Point"

Background: The State Board of Education approved one publisher for reading intervention programs for English Learners at grades 4-8. For background information, see California's Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Adoption Processes. The program adopted was Hampton Brown High Point series. Our English Language Development department has succesfully used this program in summer school courses.

Fiscal Implications: These materials will be purchased with one time funding which being provided by the State this year. The one time funding is earmarked for intervention programs for students in reading/language arts.

Board approved the adoption.

3. PUBLIC HEARING Adoption of 4th-8th Grade Reading Intervention Program : "SRA/Reach"

Background: The State Board of Education approved six publishers for reading intervention programs for students at grades 4-8 who are reading two or more years below grade level. For background information, see California's Curriculum Frameworks and Instructional Resources Adoption Processes. We currently have several schools using the SRA Corrective Reading Program to help students learn phonics and reading fluency. Teachers and literacy coaches have requested that we adopt SRA/Reach program as our approved reading intervention program.

Fiscal Implications: These materials will be purchased with one time funding which being provided by the State this year. The one time funding is earmarked for intervention programs for students in reading/language arts.

Board approved the adoption.

4. Bay Area School Reform Collaborative (BASRC) Report"

Background: The Bay Area School Reform Callaborative (BASRC) is a non-profit organization deveoted to making the Bay Area a vital, innovative and effective place to learn and teach. BASRC gives support to local and district leadership teams through resources such as leadership insitutes, learning communities and coaching. The goal of all BASRC schools is to raise student achievement and close the achievement gap.

In 2002/03 the collaborative expanded to include Woodstcok Elementary and Encical High School. Paden Elementary was the original member of BASRC, while Chipman Middle and the District joined the collaborative in 2001/02. The grants that BASRC provides for a site reform coordinator as well as time to collaborate among the other schools in the collaborative. For more information about BASRC see: Bay Area School Reform Collaborative.

In Alameda the goal of BASRC is to increase capacaity of the school sites and district office to supporta SUSTAINABLE adult learning community focused on closing the achievement gap in literacy. In 2003-04, the collaborative will focus on four major strategies:

  1. Support the development and implementation of reading interventions for targeted students.
  2. Refine formative assessments and use of data.
  3. Support of Cycle of Inquiry.
  4. Communicate our work thorughout the district, and work with the district to spread the cycle of inquiry.

7. Approval of Superintendent Recommendations for Budget Consideration

Background: As a result of the unprecedented State budget crisis and the projected State's $34.8 billion deficit, it is necessary for the District to make budget reductions of approximately $1,700,000.

To assist the Superintendent and the Board identify possible budget reductions, the Superintendent's Education Advisory Committee (SEAC) was convened. On April 1, 2003 the SEAC presented its recommendations to the Superintendent. On April 3rd, the Board held a workshop to review the AUSD Website PDF Document of Superintendent's Recommendations with Explanations and the SEAC's Recommendations to the Superintendent. For additional background information, see 2003-04 Budget Reductions Frequently Asked Questions

The Board on a 5-0 vote to approve the 2003-04 Board of Education Approved Reductions. The following changes were made to the Superintendent's recommended reductions:

  • A .5 FTE redcution in Special Education management was inserted in lieu of one Resource Specialist position
  • Funding for Media Center will be shifted to categorical funding
  • Board will reduce its funding of an entire School Resource Officer in the amount of $112,00
  • The carpenter position was removed from the list and will be filled
  • The Board of Education then directed staff to enter in negotiations with employee groups to determine the likelihood of bargaining for a two day furlough.

    Where no one is left behind

    San Francisco Chronicle Editorial, April 29, 2005

    IT'S ONE THING to say "No Child Left Behind," it's another to mean it.

    With 50 percent of its students once performing below grade level, Chipman Middle School in Alameda held a comfortable spot on California's list of low-performing schools. It would have been easy to stay there, too, had the school's educators decided not to make a change and give their students an actual chance.

    But they did -- and on Thursday, first lady Laura Bush paid a visit to Chipman with the goal of making it a national model for schools with at-risk students.

    That's a far cry from four years ago when Chipman teachers were sent to research programs to address their students' severe reading deficit.

    The team chose to implement the state-adopted REACH method of teaching, an intensive intervention program for grades four through eight for students reading below grade level.

    The teachers also agreed to launch a three-tiered core program, which involved identifying "benchmark" students, that is, those who read at grade level, "strategic" students, who read one to two years below grade level, and "intensive" students, who read more than two years below grade level.

    The model is based on enabling students reading below grade level to make two years' progress in one year's time by teaching an extended intervention class on comprehension, writing, spelling and "decoding," which is learning how to say the words aloud and comprehending their meaning.

    It was an ambitious goal -- and a refreshing one, given that many schools with at-risk students cite budget woes, bigger class sizes and lack of quality teachers as excuses for not implementing more rigorous programs. It's always easier to blame outside forces rather than take them on.

    "But not only have we implemented this program," says Principal Laurie McLachlan-Fry, "we've restructured the entire school around it. We've made it even more intensive."

    Since implementing all three levels of the program in 2002, state scores for Chipman have gone up. In addition, under the REACH program, reading and writing skills have gone up 8 percent for African-American students and 9 percent for Hispanics. School-wide, there has been a 7 percent improvement.

    Now, Laura Bush, building on the president's No Child Left Behind Act, cited Chipman's success in visiting the East Bay school Thursday. "I'm so glad you're in a school that pays attention to reading, because if you can read, you can do every subject," she told the students.

    "Mrs. Bush is going across America and highlighting programs that have worked, that have a record of success. Chipman has shown this success," said Susan Whitson, press secretary for the first lady.

    Not that it's been easy. Katherine Crawford, who has been a teacher at Chipman for nine years and is now teaching the core program, said the sessions are "draining" and the work is "nonstop," but that nothing has been more rewarding.

    "They keep improving and we keep pushing," she said.

    And that's the difference.

    Teachers at this school care. And in a climate where low-performing schools are seen as the black eye of our educational system, it's refreshing to know that at one school, teachers remain tireless in their efforts and merciless in their demands for a better education for all students.

    Making Chipman Middle School a national model is great. But let's not stop at home. Right next door, Oakland high schools have been described as "dropout factories" by a recent study of California schools.

    Let Chipman be a model for them, and maybe Oakland, too, will lose its comfortable spot on the list of the low-performing schools.

    It might just give the first lady another reason to come back.



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    Last modified: April 9, 2003

    Disclaimer: This website is the sole responsibility of Mike McMahon. It does not represent any official opinions, statement of facts or positions of the Alameda Unified School District. Its sole purpose is to disseminate information to interested individuals in the Alameda community.