The Silicon Valley Voice

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School board discusses future plans for schools

Principals from around the district turned out to hear what the Santa Clara Board of Trustees had to say about each of their schools’ respective Single Plan for Student Achievement.

Each year, schools submit a Single Plan for Student Achievement for the board’s approval. The document details the school’s budget, achievement data, goals and suggestions for improvement. Each school’s school site council has already approved the plans, and the item came before the school board at its Thursday meeting as a planning item.

Superintendent Stanley Rose said the Single Plan for Student Achievement is an important document in the success of each school because it ensures there is “no surprises.” Even though the documents are “living” documents, meaning they change throughout the course of the year, they are essential, he said.

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“This creation of systems of communication, both formal and informal, allow … [schools to] make recommendations to you that are fully vetted,” he said. “We are a work in progress, but I think if we get all these things in place, it will be very intuitive to you. There is a lot of molding and shaping that is going on this time.”

Board member Andrew Ratermann said that without being at each of these schools, it is hard for the board to fully understand each principal’s vision for his or her school. He asked if there was anything the board could do to help.

However, board member Jim Canova felt differently, saying that he wondered what the board could do to not impede the schools’ abilities to thrive and empower schools with more autonomy.

“I really encourage things from the bottom up; that is where the gems are found,” he said. “If we need to get out of the way, we are capable of doing that.”

The board also heard from Larry Adams, director of school bond projects, about plans for two new schools in the district.

Adams unveiled concepts for the layout of the K-5 Monticello site, a relocation of the New Valley/Gateway schools, and another called Patrick Henry, a TK-2 or 3-5 school at the Peterson Fields location.

Adams stressed that the concepts are preliminary; they are not plans or designs.

The Monticello site would play host to it current programs running concurrently, Adams said. The additions, which he estimates would be in the ballpark of $25 million, could be completed over the summer, adding 11,620 square feet to the campus.

The Patrick Henry would help alleviate what Adams called “pressure” on Laurelwood Elementary. It would relocate 500 students from that school to the roughly 45,000 square foot building.

Canova said he favored the schemes that left as much of the existing layout since Adams didn’t have exact figures as to which of the four concepts was the most cost-effective.

Ratermann said he wanted to “make sure the facilities were optimal” as well as preserve Full Circle Farm, which shares a border with the school’s footprint, and make sure the plan maintains the current number of soccer fields.

The board will vote on the Single Plan for Student Achievement documents at its next meeting.

Board member Christopher Stampolis was absent for a majority of the meeting, showing up with roughly 15 minutes remaining.

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