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Superintendent Board Meeting Report - August 26, 2021

Good evening Trustees,

First Week of School

Last week we completed our first full week of the 2021-2022 school year. Students and staff are following health and safety protocols and enjoying reconnecting with one another on school campuses. As I visit our campuses, I am delighted to see our students and staff engaged, learning, and following our district’s safety protocols. 

Our layers of safety protocols to mitigate the spread of the virus are working, as are the recommendations from public health officials to address positive cases, close contacts, and non-close contacts when these happen. Just this week, our amazing district nurse, Karin Kimiecik, attended a county meeting which confirmed that, since the start of the school year, there have been no outbreaks in schools in Santa Clara County. Where there are clusters, they have not been epidemiologically related to one another, indicating that they are coming from community spread, not the classroom. Again, this emphasizes that all that we are doing to protect our students and staff is working. Our strategies are effective.

Dashboard Update

To help our staff and families to see what’s going on at their school site, our COVID-19 tracking dashboard on our website now allows the community to filter by site. Please remember that cases are only reported on our dashboard if they are confirmed to have been on campus during their infectious period and as a final step after the district nurse has confirmed the case with the public health department and sent out contact notices. The dashboard is updated a minimum of once a week and more often as we confirm new cases. 

Town Hall Information

Naturally, when an exposure notice is received, whether an individual was determined to be a close contact or not, there are feelings of anxiety and questions that surface. Additionally, as we are entering wildfire season, we have also received questions about air quality protocols for schools in this pandemic environment. There are common themes emerging in the questions. Knowing the answers to these common questions would benefit the entire community so we hosted a webinar yesterday evening for the community to answer these questions and provide clarification on where to get accurate information.

Thank you to the 1,200 community members who attended. We were able to answer a large portion of the 450 questions that were submitted during the town hall. The recording and Q&A from the meeting are available in the COVID-19 section of our website;  The Q&A will continue to be populated as we work over the next several business days to answer the questions we were unable to get through during the meeting. 

Weekly Screening Testing Update

Next, an update on our weekly screening testing with Concentric. Our goal was to have the program launched this week. Unfortunately, due to a shortage of PCR tests in California, we had to announce a delay. We now anticipate a soft rollout the week of August 30th; however, this will be based on the number of PCR tests received by then.

As we prepare for the ramp up of the program, we continue to urge families to submit a consent form for each of their students. We sent reminders out on Monday and will continue this for several weeks and as new students enroll.

Other Updates

Since the last board meeting, in addition to the visits to school sites, I continue to attend various in person and virtual meetings. In the last two weeks, I attended the Schools for Sound Finance board meeting, the Silicon Valley Central Chamber of Commerce Finance committee meeting and regular monthly board meeting. Last Friday night, I joined several trustees at the Farm for dinner to raise money for student backpacks. Earlier this week, San Jose Councilman David Cohen and County Supervisor Otto Lee visited our new Agnew and Huerta campuses after school hours. 

Since the last meeting, our labor management team has been meeting to finalize planning for this year’s work. We look forward to bringing an update to the Board regarding this year’s work and new structures for district collaboration. Last year, the team recognized that to move to the partnership work forward, we need to “rebrand”. So, I’m pleased to announce that the collaborative partnership work is now being referred to as the CUDOS Team (CSEA, UTSC, DO, SCUMA) . I'm so thankful for the continued effort to build a strong collaborative partnership among our partners. 

Staffing Updates 

For the first 10 days of the school year, we have monitored our registered enrollment and actual student attendance at each school by grade level.  As of yesterday (August 25th), we had 13,622 students, about 955 students less than projected.

These enrollment and attendance numbers were compared to enrollment projections as well as the available staff allocated to each school by grade level.  In addition to following the provisions of our UTSC agreement, we also followed the Board’s guidance from last spring regarding class size loading.

As a result of this analysis, four elementary classes throughout the district are being combined.  Those four teachers will be part of our instructional team in the independent study program. For our Title I schools, we have maintained the additional staff that was allocated this past spring to support instruction loss mitigation. So, for the Title I schools that had staffing reductions, we continue our commitment to support our plan to allocate additional staff to support these students.

An enrollment update will be provided at a future board meeting, as well as more details of our process making these decisions.

Donations

I would like to highlight the donation on tonight’s consent agenda. Thank you to:

  • The Rosenberg family for their donation of $1,000 to Santa Clara High School music program.

Closing

This concludes my report for this evening.