District Deeds Sunday Reads – February 23, 2020: Why No On Prop 13; Explicit, Structured Phonics; African American Male Achievement Department

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Here are some interesting articles we received and discovered this past week…

ENJOY!

Quote from Article:

Declining school enrollment may have an enormous impact on California’s proposed $15 billion school construction bond, Proposition 13, on the March 3 ballot. 

California Department of Education’s data show total K-12 enrollment has been dropping for several yearsAnd the Department of Finance projects further loss of 258,000 kids by 2027-28.

Most of that decline will be concentrated in the six Southern California counties from Ventura to San Diego as well as in Santa Clara County, the heart of Silicon Valley.

And…

With current staffing levels, California’s projected enrollment loss will eliminate the need for about 1,000 teachers and 1,000 classrooms and hundreds of non-classroom employees. 

We simply are no longer having enough babies to fill the empty desks in many school districts. The number of babies born in the state has plummeted from 566,000 in 2007 to just to just 452,000 in 2018.

Department of Finance demographer noted fewer people are arriving from Mexico, which has a high birth rate, and more are coming from China, which has a lower birth rate. 

California’s high cost of housing, combined with massive student loans, may be forcing young people to delay having children simply because they cannot afford them.

And…

The new state bond proposes directing $6 billion to community colleges, California State University and University of California. Their demographic forecasts look slightly better as kids from the baby boom era are either in the higher grades in K-12 schools or already in college. 

The Department of Finance projects the number of high school graduates, potential college students, will only decline by about 4,000 by 2027-28.

Claims of “soaring enrollment” have been a core argument for virtually every school bond proposed in recent decades. 

Supporters of the $15 billion bond probably hope that assumption is still planted in the minds of voters since we have approved five school construction bonds since 1998.

But California’s new reality is that we ran out of beachfront property years ago and are apparently entering a new era with little population growth. The state’s declining birth rate, and declining school enrollment, may create a truly difficult path to victory for this new bond in March.

District Deeds Synopsis:

An excellent article explaining why we should VOTE NO on Prop 13 – MORE funding for SDUSD when they have already squandered previous funding initiatves and have done everything in their power to avoid any level of spending accountability or transparency.

In the future we believe a new proposition SHOULD fund a comprehensive, independent, forensic audit of the SDUSD to uncover all of the improper accounting and funding practices approved by the completely corrupt SDUSD School Board of Education and the completely incompetent Elementary School Superintendent (ESS) Cindy Marten.

Until a full audit is completed and/or ESS Marten is fired, we will NOT be voting for any new SDUSD funding initatives and we urge our readers to do the same.

Read the District Deeds “Quote of the Week” at the end of this post for why you should vote NO on the Prop 13 School Bond…wisdom from 255 years ago applicable today!!!

‘Explicit, Structured Phonics’ a Focus of Madison Schools’ New Literacy Curriculum Recommendation

Quote from Article:

Madison Metropolitan School District officials had hoped to recommend a new K-5 literacy curriculum to the School Board this spring.

With new superintendent Matthew Gutiérrez starting in June and the lessons learned in reviewing the current system, the board has bumped the plan back a year.

“Next year at this time we want to have named something,” assistant superintendent for teaching and learning Lisa Kvistad said in a Feb. 7 interview. “We want to be able in this year to prepare people to receive the new materials, new materials that will be more rigorous and standards-aligned.

And…

“We see this as an investment not only in our children… but also in our teachers as they hone their craft, as they learn about the reading research, and that informs their own practice as they stand in front of children every day.”

It’s the first time the district has updated its literacy curriculum since 2010. And it has a big hill to climb, with district reading scores below state averages, especially for minority students.

The 2018-19 state Forward Exam, given to students in grades 3 through 8, showed 35% of students scored proficient or advanced on the English Language Arts portion. For black students, it was 10.1% and for Hispanic students, 16%.

And…

Those scores come amid a nationwide, and more recently statewide, push for using the Science of Reading to educate students at an early age. That includes the use of phonics — the understanding of the relationship between letters and sounds — and connecting that knowledge to text.

As detailed in an Isthmus article this spring, the district and state have, until now, focused on so-called “balanced literacy,” an approach that mixes foundational skills education and phonics with group and individual work on reading and word study. Kvistad said they’ve heard the push for more phonics education from teachers throughout the review process.

“We want explicit, structured phonics,” Kvistad said. “Our teachers are saying they want that.”

And…

After choosing materials, district leaders will shift their focus to helping teachers with the implementation, something they’re already thinking about, said MMSD K-12 literacy coordinator Theresa Morateck.

“That training needs to happen with our teachers along the way… rebuilding that practice, that instructional knowledge, so that when you’re getting those materials, you understand why those materials are arranged how they are,” Morateck said.

Morateck and Kvistad stressed that they view this process as a special opportunity, including for Gutiérrez, “to join us in this work, to bring his own thinking and knowledge base around reading to this implementation process,” Kvistad said.

“It’s a great responsibility but it also is really exciting for a new superintendent to be involved in and for teachers to be involved in,” she said. 

And…

“(Reading is) not a natural act. It’s sequential, it has to be taught,” Kvistad said. “Teachers need to learn and understand the science behind that. We are, I think for the first time ever, talking about that explicitly and appreciate the state’s focus on that as well.”

Assessing how the new curriculum is working will be based on outcomes as well as feedback from staff and students through surveys and focus groups, Kvistad said. 

“It is certainly more than student test scores,” she said. “The goal is to improve outcomes, just to be really clear, but there are all kinds of strategies along the way to assess how people feel about it and how implementation is going.”

They’re also emphasizing the need to find a curriculum that includes “formative assessments,” or those that can be used during the school year for teachers to redirect their work with specific students.

“The problem with some of these higher stakes, summative assessments is that you don’t get the results back for months,” Kvistad said. “The results aren’t very actionable. Teachers have been saying, and what we’re looking for, is something that has these formative assessments that help us to know children better.”

In addition to the assessments, staff are looking for materials that are culturally competent and can offer parents ideas for how to advance their children’s literacy skills at home.

The central office staff members are hopeful the plan can ease the burden on teachers who spend “hours on the internet trying to comb through and find” materials to help their students, while at the same time reflect instructional practices.

“We always say teachers should be spending their time teaching the children that are in front of them, looking at the data and adjusting instruction based on where children are at,” Kvistad said. “We don’t think it’s the best use of teachers’ time to be seeking, far and wide, for materials or things that actually maybe haven’t been vetted.”

And…

Last week, a new state advocacy group held a press conference at the Capitolcalling on the state Department of Public Instruction, higher education institutions and school districts to move to using the science of reading.

The Wisconsin Call to Action for Reading Excellence, or WI-CARE, group has outlined five actions to improve reading scores across the state: leadership for the science of reading; training, coaching and resources for educators; support colleges of education in using the science of reading; improve the school report cards; and comply with state laws.

Members of the group speaking Feb. 12 emphasized that teachers who learn about the science will be excited to implement it in their classrooms.

“Our request is simple: We know what works, let’s start doing it,” said School District of Thorp superintendent John Humphries. “We don’t want any more money, no new mandates, no new requirements. We simply ask that Wisconsin starts teaching our children to read proficiently.”

District Deeds Synopsis:

What an inspiring story about an initiative deployed by a highly qualified Superintendent that was newly assigned through an extraordinary process of community involvement.  The amount of involvement by all Stakeholders to select Superintendent: Dr. Matthew Gutiérrez for the 27,000, 52 school Madison Metropolitan School District (MMDS)was an outstanding example of how the district has already been positively galvanized by an exceptionally experienced Superintendent selection.

Here is the selection criteria report compiled by the MMSD community: Madison Metropolitan School District Community Engagement Report – November 11, 2019 

This is a perfect example of a skilled, newly hired senior administrator taking the time to make a full assessment and determine an inclusive path with all district stakeholders to make it happen.

This inclusive process is completely OPPOSITE of the unlawful SDUSD process (in violation of the Brown Act) that Trustee “Tricky Dick” Barrera and his Trustee cronies deployed to select incompetent, unethical and grossly inexperienced Elementary School Superintendent (ESS) Cindy Marten for the San Diego Unified School District…a district nearly FOUR TIMES LARGER than the MMSD

We described the unlawful appointment of Marten in our “Anatomy of a Failed Superintendent” series of articles.

Here are the Credentials of Dr. Matthew Gutiérrez:

Dr. Gutiérrez is currently the Superintendent of the Seguin Independent School District in Seguin, Texas. He previously served as deputy superintendent with the Plano Independent School district with 54,000 students and before that as an interim superintendent and human resources director in the Little Elm Independent School District.

He began his career in education as a middle school English Language Arts teacher, and also served as an elementary school principal and middle school assistant principal. Dr. Gutiérrez earned a Ph.D. in Educational Leadership from Texas Tech University.

Here are the credentials of ESS Cindy Marten straight from her profile on the SDUSD website:

Her 25 years as an educator include teaching elementary grades as a classroom teacher and later, serving as a school-wide literacy specialist in the Poway Unified School District.

After participating in a seven-year improvement effort at a struggling school in Poway, Marten chose to take her experience to one of the most challenging schools in San Diego Unified — Central Elementary in City Heights— where she served for 10 years as teacher, instructional leader and principal.

So in comparison:

Dr. Matthew Gutiérrez:

  • Ph.D. in Educational Leadership
  • Teacher
  • Elementary School Principal
  • Middle School Assistant Principal
  • District Human Resource Director
  • Interim Superintendent
  • Deputy Superintendent
  • Superintendent (54,000 Students)
  • Superintendent (27,000 Students)

ESS Cindy Marten:

  • Master’s Degree in Curriculum and Instruction
  • Teacher
  • School Wide Literacy Specialist
  • Elementary School Principal (700 Students)
  • Superintendent (105,000 Students)

So for a school district ONE QUARTER THE SIZE OF THE SDUSD, the MMSD was able to fully involve the community in selecting a Superintendent with at least TEN TIMES THE SKILLS of incompetent ESS Cindy Marten.

To prove this point, the intelligent FIRST decision by Dr. Gutiérrez to fully assess the MMSD resulted in the ongoing development of a literacy curriculum highlighting “Explicit Structured Phonics” inclusive of ALL Stakeholders, especially Teachers!

Since the new MMDS Superintendent hasn’t even started yet and ESS Marten (a supposed curriculum expert) has been around for over six years, the new MMDS “Explicit Structured Phonics” component MUST be part of the $1.3 Billion SDUSD education budget, so we searched the SDUSD Website for Marten’s Phonics plan:

First we tried “Explicit Structured Phonics”: 

No results.

So we tried “Structured Phonics”:

Again…NO results.

So then we tried just “Phonics”

We only received 2 hits on “Phonics” on the SDUSD website, neither of them regarding a current curriculum, just a questionnaire in English and Spanish for a “review period through December 31, 2014”!!!   NO phonics.

Guess what ESS Martens first BIG initiative was after being improperly appointed?

That’s right…

The MRAP!!!!

Links:

District Deeds MRAP Article 

SDUSD News Release Returning MRAP

This is what you get when corrupt leadership illegally selects an incompetent senior administrator with no credentials and no Stakeholder involvement:

The EES Cindy Marten version of BIG ideas!

Seattle Public Schools Launches Department to Support Reading Achievement Among Black Boys

The district is among those nationwide seeking ways to help African American students succeed at critical stages and increase the number of black teachers.

Quote from Article:

Immediately after launching her tenure as Seattle Public Schools superintendent, Denise Juneau was faced with a troubling statistic: Only about about 30% of the district’s African American 3rd-grade boys were meeting the state reading standard.

Knowing that figure had to change, she and her team set off on a “listening and learning tour” with the intention of finding a solution.

The group focused on attending community centers and meeting places where families of color congregated. They went into their worlds, rather than asking them to come to the district, said Sherri Kokx, senior advisor to the superintendent.

What they heard was disheartening.

“The families told us about their experiences of frustration, anger and sadness,” Kokx said. “It was hard to hear from our underserved families how we’ve let them down.”

Though the 53,876-student district is only about 14% African American, it is known for its racial achievement gap. About half of its African American boys are clustered in 13 schools.

And…

A Stanford analysis found the Seattle achievement gap starts early, with the typical white student scoring 2.2 years above grade level and African American students scoring 1.5 years below grade level. This gives Seattle the ninth-widest achievement gap out of 200 districts measured nationwide. The gap breaks up between the years of 3rd and 8th grades, presumably due to the level of education students receive in the district.

And…

“We believe reading is a fundamental civil right,” Kokx said. “Students will be on track for the most part by 8th grade if they can read and write by 3rd grade.”

The district wants to see 70% of those students reading at the state standard level within five years, with a goal of eventually raising that figure to 100%. Its action plan includes the formation of the African American Male Achievement department, lead by Dr. Mia Williams. The new department will ensure African American boys get the educational support they need while focusing on improving 3rd-grade reading proficiency.

This new department — which joins the district’s other African American student initiatives including King MakersMy Brothers Keeper Forum and Rising Sons — will include an AAMA Student Leadership Council.

And…

Just as reading by 3rd grade predicts future academic success, statistics show a 9th-grader with good grades will likely graduate high school. With this in mind, the University of Chicago and its To&Though Project developed the Freshman OnTrack program.

“Freshman year is a time of transitions, changing schools, moving into schools with new peers and new adults,” said Alex Seeskin, chief strategy officer at the University of Chicago Urban Education Institute and director of the UChicago To&Through Project.

It’s also a time when students lose their way, he said.

And…

Data shows African American and Latino males are more affected by the 9th-grade transition. The core GPAs of high-achieving black students fall twice as much as those of their white and Asian peers, and PE/health scores fall as much as a full letter grade from 8th to 9th grade.

“Any failure during freshman year is a warning sign that students need more intensive support,” Seeskin said.

The program uses mentoring, either peer-to-peer or adult-to-student, to support and encourage struggling freshmen.

“We know that relationships are positive supports that are essential to the social and emotional welfare of students,” Seeskin said. “Students need places to go to talk about challenges and make sense of what is happening in their world. They begin to make sense of who they are through those relationships. Reflection is really important, and we gear that reflection into action.”

And…

Teachers of color inspire black students

A John Hopkins study found one black teacher in elementary school makes African American students more likely to graduate and significantly more likely to enroll in college. Yet, only 2% of the nation’s teachers are black men.

Quan Neloms is on a mission to change that. Last July, he launched In Demand, a Detroit initiative that uses hip hop, rap and beatboxing to get more men of color into education as teachers, mentors and volunteers.

“Volunteering is a great segue into education,” said Neloms, a teacher in Detroit Public Schools. “That’s the way it started for me. I started off as a volunteer and I was so enamored and impressed that I switched my major from engineering to education.”

“Everyone has something that they can do,” Neloms said. “The goal is to develop a database where any school that needs black men can go and recruit them.”

Neloms believes getting more black men into the classroom may be just a matter of putting the option out there.

“Growing up I was surrounded by teachers, but no one ever thought of asking me about becoming a teacher,” Neloms said. “It’s about having those initial conversations and having the counselors offer that as a viable career option.”

And…

Just as African American teachers are a benefit to black students, schools with black principals are 5-7% more likely to hire black teachers.

Brandon Johnson, an African American principal at Lake Ridge High School in Mansfield, Texas, believes it’s important for a staff’s ethnicity to reflect that of the student body, be it black, Hispanic, mixed or otherwise.

“However, I want quality teachers,” he said. “I just can’t put myself in a position to hire off certain criteria.”

To hedge its bets in favor of finding high-quality black teacher candidates, Johnson’s district recruits out of historically black colleges and universities, or HBCUs. Yet despite the district’s efforts, Johnson still needs to add about 20% more educators of color to truly reflect the diversity of the student body.

Not only do teachers of color serve as role models for ethnically similar students, they also create cultural awareness.

“The more representation we have, the more we can build-in that cultural awareness component,” he said. “From hijabs, to do-rags to hoods and techniques that African Americans use to smooth their hair. If we don’t have awareness among our staff, there will be an implicit bias, and because of that we are often targeting African American students. But if we have representation on the staff, we can talk and eliminate about those biases.”

District Deeds Synopsis:

The African American Male Achievement Department…a great idea that would even even be considered in the “White Woman Mafia” world of ESS Cindy Marten.

District Deeds tries hard to provide examples of what REAL support of black students looks like in a variety of United States school districts.  We feel that the biggest strength in the SDUSD is the wide diversity of Stakeholders and that REAL change is possible with the right, highly skilled leadership.

These articles universally show that there are many paths to black student…and ALL student success and that is is our obligation as citizens and taxpayers to force the current corrupt SDUSD leadership to step up or step off.

Our children need it and our stakeholder community demands it.

We need to vote out all the current SDUSD Trustees,  Richard “Tricky Dick” Barrera and Sharon Whitehurst Payne, and replace them with new leaders who will be fully transparent and hold ESS Marten accountable for her horrible budget. educational and operational management disasters.  Barrera is running unapposed so we suggest the following write in candidate:  “Blank”

Unless we make this leadership change, NONE of the initiatives offered in our posted articles will ever become a reality in the SDUSD.

VOTE!

Now for our Quote of the Week:

If you don’t chase the money thou wilt not run the hazard of fresher losses, by throwing good money after bad.” – Maryland Gazette January, 1765

Have a great week!!!

__________________________________________________________

IF

  • Your family has been injured by the San Diego Unified School District, go to the District Deeds Complaint Forms page to find instructions to fight for your Civil Rights!
  • YOU ARE TIRED OF THE COVER UPS AND LIES BY SUPT. CINDY MARTEN…

Please Click the Link Below and sign the Petition Today and READ the COMMENTS to Support the REMOVAL of Marten by SDUSD Stakeholders!

FIRE San Diego Unified School District Superintendent Cindy Marten Immediately!

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