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News
News Archive

Audience: Homepage

 

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.

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 4/26/17

Audience: Homepage

 

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.”

 

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Upcoming Board of Education Meetings

 

April 25, 2017, 6:30 pm

City Hall

 

May 9, 2017, 6:30 pm

City Hall

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 4/19/17

Audience: Homepage

 

 

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.

 

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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.

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 4/19/17

Audience: Homepage

 

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.

 

 

 

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 4/10/17

Audience: Homepage

 

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
Published: 3/17/17

Audience: Homepage

 

 

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

 

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 3/17/17

Audience: Homepage

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.

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 3/15/17

Audience: Homepage

 

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.

 

 

 

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Posted by: Rob van Herk
Published: 3/3/17

Audience: Homepage

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

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 3/2/17

Audience: Homepage

 

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.

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 3/1/17

Audience: Homepage

 

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 2/28/17

Audience: Homepage

 

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.

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 2/28/17

Audience: Homepage

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.

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 2/24/17

Audience: Homepage

 

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.

 

 

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 2/14/17

Audience: Homepage

 

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.

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 2/7/17

Audience: Homepage

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

 

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 2/3/17

Audience: Homepage

 

 

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

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 1/31/17

Audience: Homepage

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
Published: 1/20/17

Audience: Homepage

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

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 1/12/17

Audience: Homepage

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
Published: 12/7/16

Audience: Homepage

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

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 11/30/16

Audience: Homepage

 

 

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.”

 

###

 

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
Published: 11/18/16

Audience: Homepage

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
Published: 11/15/16

Audience: Homepage

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

 


 

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 11/10/16

Audience: Homepage

 

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.

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 11/9/16

Audience: Homepage

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.

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 11/2/16

Audience: Homepage

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,

 

 

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 10/21/16

Audience: Homepage

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

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 10/13/16

Audience: Homepage

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.

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 10/4/16

Audience: Homepage

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

 

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 9/30/16

Audience: Homepage

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
Published: 9/28/16

Audience: Homepage

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

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 9/21/16

Audience: Homepage

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
Published: 9/15/16

Audience: Homepage

You can read the full-scale, printable, hyper-linked version of the Superintendent's September 2016 Letter to the Community here.

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 9/2/16

Audience: Homepage

 

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

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 8/31/16

Audience: Homepage

 

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

 

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 7/21/16

Audience: Homepage

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

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 6/14/16

Audience: Homepage

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.

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 6/2/16

Audience: Homepage

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

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 5/31/16

Audience: Homepage

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.

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 5/27/16

Audience: Homepage

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
Published: 4/27/16

Audience: Homepage

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

 

 

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 3/16/16

Audience: Homepage

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

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 3/15/16

Audience: Homepage

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.

 

###

 

 

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.

 

more
Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 3/11/16

Audience: Homepage

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

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

                   Board President Solana Henneberry (510) 337-7187         

 

AUSD Releases 2014-15 Measure A Report

 

Alameda, Calif. – Wednesday, January 13, 2016 – The Alameda Unified School District presented its 2014-15 Measure A Staff Report last night at the Board of Education meeting. The report shows that in 2014-15 the parcel tax continued to support core, highly valued programs in the district, and the district continued to spend its parcel tax revenues as stipulated in the original measure language.

 

The Measure A Oversight Committee also released its annual report Tuesday night.

 

Measure A, a 7-year parcel tax passed by 68.01% of Alameda voters in 2011, raises approximately $12 million per year for the district, making it AUSD's second-largest revenue stream.  An 11-member Oversight Committee reviews Measure A revenues and expenditures several times a year to ensure the parcel tax program foll0ws the measure's mandates.

 

Measure A specifies that the tax's annual revenues be allocated to 11 categories, including: maintaining neighborhood schools and small class sizes for grades K-3; preserving art, PE, media center, and AP classes; maintaining teacher salaries; closing the achievement gap; supporting and upgrading technology; preserving the high school sports programs; supporting charters; and creating innovative and magnet schools.

 

The measure sunsets in June, 2018.

 

In 2014-15, the district received $12,167,478 in Measure A revenue and spent $12,003,353. (The slight difference is due to a delayed purchase in the Technology Department.) The percentage of Measure A funds allocated to each category remains true to the measure's language, as shown in the table on the next page.

 

The Measure A Oversight Committee's report confirmed that the data in the staff report was accurate and noted that the district has shown "a high level of ongoing fiscal transparency" in reporting the measure's revenues and expenditures.  "As a committee, we are deeply aware of how crucial this parcel tax is to the success of our schools, students, and employees," Sherice

Youngblood, who chairs the committee, says. "We very much appreciate the care district staff take in making this information both public and understandable."

 

Notes Superintendent Sean McPhetridge, "Measure A allows AUSD to maintain high-quality programs and retain high-quality teachers. I am grateful to the Oversight Committee for supporting us in this work and grateful to Alamedans for providing the school district with this much-needed revenue. Because of it, we continue to be able to offer wonderful educational opportunities and strong schools here in Alameda."

 

Both reports, along with supporting materials, can be found on the Measure A section of AUSD's website.

 

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Item #

Expenditure Category

Percent
Allocated (Measure A)

Percent
Spent
(2014-15)

Actual
Expenditure
(2014-15)

1  

Small Class Sizes K-3
   •Maintaining 25:1 K-3 class size

13-14%

13%

$1,565,247

2  

Neighborhood Elementary Schools
   •Maintaining Franklin, Otis, and Washington[1]

7-8%

7.5%

$898,046

3  

Secondary School Choice Initiative and AP Courses
   •EHS 1.6 FTE[2]
   •AHS 1.8 FTE
   •ASTI 2 FTE
   •Island 4 FTE

7-8%

7%

$838,172

4  

Programs to Close Achievement Gap
   •JROTC
   •Partial math, SIM, & IBD initiatives[3]
   •Restore 5 AEA days

15-16%

16%

$1,899,948

5  

High School Athletic Programs
   •Coach stipends
   •Athletic supplies
   •Outside services

4%

4%

$478,956

6  

Enrichment Programs
   •Elementary schools - music, PE, and media centers
   •Middle schools - 4 Fine Art sections
   •High schools - 10 Fine Art sections

9-10%

9%

$1,077,649

7  

Attract and retain excellent teachers
   •Maintenance of current AEA salary schedule

25-26%

26.5%

$3,057,834

8  

Counseling and student support services
   •Counselors: 8 FTE

•College Career Techs: 8 FTE

6%

6%

$718,433

9  

Alameda Charter Students

3-4%

3%

$360,387

10  

Technology
   •Equipment
   •3.5 FTE

5%

4%

$491,832[4]

11  

Adult Education

4%

4%

$480,516

 

Subtotal

 

 

$11,867,021

 

Accountability and Transparency

1.5-2%

1%

$136,332

 

Total

 

 

$12,003,353

 

 

 

[1] Now called Maya Lin School

[2] FTE: Full-Time Employees

[3] IBD: Inquiry by Design (an English Language Arts curriculum); SIM: Strategic Instruction Model (content literacy)

[4] This amount includes some carryover funds from 2013-14.

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Posted by: Susan Davis
Published: 1/13/16