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Superintendent Board Meeting Report - June 9, 2022

June 9, 2022

Good evening Trustees,

This report is being shared as an attachment to the agenda as I will not be in attendance at tonight’s meeting due to the work restrictions from my broken arm that I sustained on May 27th while leaving the MECHS graduation.

COVID-19 Updates

The last day of school was last Wednesday, June 1st. There have not been any major updates to COVID-19 protocols so, this month, I will share updates during the Superintendent’s Report.

  • Cases in the county and district seem to be declining. The 7-day rolling average of new cases per day in the county is 984, compared to 1,032 reported at the last board meeting. The total number of cases in the district during the last full week of school was 129 students and 33 staff. This is compared to 207 students and 35 staff reported at the last board meeting.
  • The county health department continues to remind the public that indoor masking is still strongly encouraged.
  • An updated decision tree was released on June 1. The county made a few clarifying updates in “definition box,” specifically:
    • Definition # 2 — Clarifies that staff may provide a time-stamped photo as proof of at-home test results.
    • Definition # 3 — Clarifies that all staff must follow the Cal/OSHA ETS (6 feet) definition of close contact. All other individuals may follow the CDPH (shared airspace) definition of close contact, which we follow for the group exposure contact tracing and notification.
    • Definition # 4 — Clarifies that schools may use discretion in determining when a student may return to school when, in place of a negative test, a healthcare provider has documented that symptoms are typical for an underlying health condition.
  • As we shared at the last meeting, the district’s COVID team is watching the ongoing developments happening at the state level regarding COVID-19 safety measures and guidance for the 2022-2023 school year. This will guide us in our preparations for the 2022-2023 school year. Most notably, we are awaiting guidance from the state regarding school-based COVID-19 testing programs for next year. This week, an initial school testing framework was shared with COVID-designees indicating the state is shifting away from state-funded weekly PCR testing programs for schools. Rapid antigen tests are now the preferred initial testing method. Additionally, with the increasing availability of rapid antigen tests in the community, state-funded rapid antigen testing programs for schools will likely focus on providing supplemental at-home testing supplies to students and staff, reducing the need and state funding for on-site testing programs. We are continuing to monitor this and will bring you updates as they become available.

SCUSD Student Attendance

  • Our final overall attendance averaged at 94%.

Enrollment Monitoring and Staffing

Enrollment Monitoring

The board and I have received several emails regarding enrollment and staffing at Central Park Elementary for the 2022-2023 school year so I’d like to provide an update to clarify understanding about Central Park specifically, and reminders regarding how enrollment and staffing is monitored in general as we transition between school years.

Central Park is one of the schools that we are watching closely. The current enrollment numbers for next school year are elevated a little in a couple of the grades compared to projections. However, we also have not yet seen the disenrollments that we typically see at Central Park. For example, over the last five years, Central Park has experienced:

  • An approximate 4% decline when 2nd grade students move to 3rd grade, and
  • An approximate 4% decline when 4th grade students move to 5th grade

We are closely monitoring the disenrollments over summer and will staff to the board-approved ratios. It is our goal to have staffing as accurate as possible on the first day of school based on the best information available and the board-approved staffing ratios.

Next, there seems to be a misunderstanding about the staffing ratios for Central Park, stemming from a couple of places:

  • First, from a community meeting in 2016 when comments were made to the community that class sizes would be 24 to one. This comment was in regards to GSA, Grade Span Adjustment, which applies to K-3. It seems it was not clarified in those meetings that the "24 to one" commitment was for GSA —in other words, grades K-3— so some parents and teachers have interpreted that as a commitment for all grades at Central Park.
  • Another reason perpetuating the misunderstanding is due to the commitments that were made in the 2020-2021 school year resulting in no reductions in the number of staff for the current school year. As you know, that decision was directly related to the pandemic and returning to in-person instruction and this resulted in lower class sizes for the 2021-2022 school year.

Of course, the board has set a lower K-3 GSA of 22:1 for the 2022-2023 school year, which will be applied at Central Park as well. As with all schools in the district, the ratios for 4th and 5th grade will follow the negotiated contract. As a reminder, 4th and 5th grade classes are staffed at a ratio of 29:1 for the 2022-2023 school year, one student less than the negotiated contract of 30:1.

Based on the current (as of June 6) general education enrollment numbers for Central Park, the K-3 GSA is slightly higher (22.6:1) than the 22:1 GSA established by the Board for the 2022-2023 school year. The current enrollment for 4th grade is below (27.3:1) the district’s projections and 5th grade is slightly higher (30.5:1). But, this doesn’t account for the natural attrition that normally occurs during the summer months due to disenrollments, which for Central Park was 7% for the 2021-2022 school year and the five-year average for the entire district is 3% summer attrition.

Principal Kamstra has been working with the staff and families to correct any misunderstandings and explain the enrollment and staffing process for the 2022-2023 school year. Following tonight’s meeting the SCUSD team will follow up with any staff or families who have reached out to us to share this information.

Finally, as you know, our cross-department teams — Student Services / Enrollment Center / Human Resources / Business Services — continue to monitor enrollment for all schools throughout the district on a regular basis in preparation for the 2022-2023 school year.

Staffing

Recruiting and hiring staff in a tight labor market is a challenge. I want to recognize and applaud our Human Resources department who had their first SCUSD Classified Job Fair this past Saturday, June 4th at Wilcox High School. They had over 150 visitors interested in the paraeducator, transportation, food service, preschool, and clerical positions. Many of the applicants were parents and members of our community. In order to support and guide the interested applicants, the HR department had computer stations so that applicants could apply and submit their applications on the spot!

End of Year Celebrations and Showcases

Since the last board meeting, I’ve had the pleasure to attend a number of the end of year celebrations across the district. I want to give a shout-out to all the folks to help to make these promotions and graduation celebrations so successful. There are many people - from our facilities teams, maintenance and operations, IT, and site teams who make these events memorable for all.

I attended the SLI class of 2022 graduation event to celebrate the “first in-person” completion of this six year enrichment program. Thank you to our partners - Chevron, 49ers Foundation and SVEF for attending to celebrate our students and staff. After spending six years together in the program, the students and staff naturally know each other very well. A highlight of the event was the STEMMY Awards, in which the students playfully recognized each other and their teachers.

This week, I attended a meeting at the Portuguese Hall, hosted by our mayor, Lisa Gilmor and members of the city council and representatives from West Valley Mission College to meet with a delegation of Portuguese Universities who shared the opportunities for students to attend university in Portugal. I was surprised to learn that many of the universities offer programs in English. That coupled with the affordable cost of attending one of their many universities makes it an interesting option for SCUSD students. Principals Gonzalez and Shelby attended with me and will bring this information back to their counselors. Also joining the delegation were funders who are interested in supporting the development of a Portuguese language pathway. This work has already begun with a connection to MCC, where we are looking to establish dual enrollment Portuguese language classes for our high school students. SCUSD is committed to work with our partners to make this a reality for our community.

Donations

We would like to recognize the donations on tonight’s consent agenda:

  • Don Callejon K-8 School received $4,000 from the Don Callejon School Community Organization for field trips
  • Central Park Elementary School received $5,000 from their PTA for field trips
  • Washington Open Elementary School received $1,000 from Larry McColloch to be used at their discretion, and $55,000 from Washington Open Parent Faculty Group for field trips and discretionary needs

Closing

This concludes my report for this evening, thank you.