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Santa Clara Education Desk: Jan 15, 2014

Students Honored at First Meeting of New Year

In choosing to honor four students at its first board meeting of the New Year, Santa Clara Unified made it clear that achievement comes in many forms besides being an “A” student. At the Jan. 9 meeting, the board recognized two middle school and two high school students:

  • Petersen 8th grader Michelle Mathew, an outstanding student who is regularly tutors fellow students in math, and spear-headed the school’s GREEN TEAM, which meets with public officials to find creative ways to reduce waste and improvement the environment.
  • Petersen 8th grader Nick Whitaker, who made a dramatic academic turnaround over his three years in middle school to become an outstanding student and starting player on the Peterson eighth Grade Basketball Team.
  • Wilcox High School Senior, Joeseta Fatuesi, who received a full four year scholarship to the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, based on her academic improvement from 10th to 11th grade, and outstanding skills as a basketball player.
  • Wilcox High Senior Marisa Kwiatkowski, who is one of 12 national finalists for the Wendy’s High School Heisman award, honoring high school seniors who excel in athletics, academics and community service. Selected from 48,000 national applicants, Marisa and her family will attend the Heisman weekend in New York where the two one winners will be named.

Changing World, New State Requirements Make MetroED Career Technical Education More Important Than Ever

When structural changes to California adult education funding first surfaced last year, there was widespread local concern that the new system – which aimed to eliminate the overlap between K-12 district and community college adult and career education programs – would spell the end for the 40 year-old Metropolitan Education District, MetroED, which serves six local school districts, including SCUSD, with career technical education, adult education and teacher credentialing.

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In fact, the new accountability requirements put in place by the new funding structure – the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) – make the services provided by San Jose-based MetroED even more valuable for the districts it serves, MetroED Superintendent Alyssa Lynch told the Santa Clara Unified school board at its Jan. 9 meeting. MetroED is only one of two such career-education centers in California, she said.

Because the agency can leverage its size and scale to provide a wide variety of programs to thousands of students, MetroED’s offerings would be hard to duplicate at a local high school. Further, the agency’s services provide a gateway to work, she said, noting that 90 percent of MetroED’s students go on to college.

Lynch gave the board an overview of MetroED’s programs, including program name changes to the Silicon Valley Career Technical Education Center and Silicon Valley Adult Education. MetroED currently provides 2,900 different classes to 17,000 high school and adult students, according to Lynch, and funds 29 sections of career technical education classes in SCUSD. MetroED also provides a middle school Tech Exploration summer day camp that’s utilized by SCUSD.

Trustee Chris Stampolis asked if there were more applicants for the summer programs than available spots. While Lynch didn’t have the numbers on that – leading SCUSD Superintendent Stan Rose to be tasked with providing that information at a future board meeting – she noted that there are currently plenty of seats in CTE classes.

Lynch also added that because its contract with SCUSD is to provide these programs to district students, its planning naturally included working closely with staff to provide the required resources.

“Over the next three years you’ll see some new additions that will attract students to the programs at our center,” Lynch told the board. “You’ll see a lot of innovative things. Career-readiness is more important than ever, and career technical education is being measured throughout the state.”

“What we see so much is that these career tracks are a vehicle to have some income to have some income to pursue college goals,” observed Trustee Jim Canova, who also serves on the MetroED governing board. “I think we see in this new century that our lives are not going to have one career over an entire life – it might be chapters and one leads into another.” And in this new world of work, continuing career education is an imperative.

You can take a virtual tour of MetroED’s programs at http://youtu.be/BJ0LOh843tY.

Changes in State Law Driving District Policy Revisions

The board also unanimously approved a series of changes to district policy mandated by the California Department of Education, based on the new education funding laws passed last year. The changes, explained Board President Christine Koltermann were small, but have to do with changes in the law. “These things have to be included specifically because of new legislation,” said Assistant Superintendent Tanya Fisher, “Anti-bullying, anti-discrimination, and so forth.”

You can find the policy changes in the meeting agenda packet at tinyurl.com/krzp6xk.

New Contract With Teachers’ Union Offers 4.48% Raise

The board also unanimously ratified the tentative collective bargaining agreement with the United Teachers of Santa Clara. The new three-year contract includes a 4.48 percent raise – which includes a salary scale restructuring as well as a 3 percent increase – a 2.77 percent increase in retirement contributions, and a 6.92 percent increase in health benefits contributions (roughly $1,200 a year). The 3 percent increase is retroactive to July 1, 2013, while benefit increases begin after the contract is ratified.

In addition, teachers will get an additional paid training – “development” – day during 2013-2014 specifically for training on the Common Core State Standards. The new contract also increases the split-site stipend from $600 to $1,000. This does not apply, however, to teachers whose responsibilities are generally at several sites – for example, speech therapists and elementary school music teachers.

Teachers will also receive an additional 2 percent payment at the end of February based on the new salary schedule. This will be rolled into the salary schedule for 2-14-2015 provided that the district receives an additional $2 million or more in property tax revenue currently projected by the County Assessor.

Teachers work a 186-day work year, and the current salary schedule ranges from $51,640 to $92,270. Salaries are set on a “step” basis, with steps correlating to years of experience.

In addition, there are three salary “classes:”

  • I – BA plus a teaching credential or completion of 30 semester units
  • II – BA plus 45 semester units
  • III – BA plus 60 semester units

Teachers also receive an additional $1,600 for a Masters, Doctorate, or National Board Certification. You can find the new contract terms and the 2013-2014 salary schedule in the agenda packet at tinyurl.com/krzp6xk on pages F.9.7 through F.10.2.

Spring Newsletter Provides One-Stop SCUSD Info Shop

Take a moment to read the SCUSD School Days Spring 2014 newsletter, the work of Interim Public Information Officer Jennifer Alcazar Dericco. It has information about the changes to school funding, the district budget, bond projects, educational programs, and key dates in the school calendar. SCUSD sends the newsletter not only to every district resident, but to every Santa Clara city resident as well, even those in different school districts.

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