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Feather River Bulletin
Quincy, California
May 26, 2010     Feather River Bulletin
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May 26, 2010

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6B Wednesday, May 26, 2020 Bulletin, Record, Progressive, Reporter The Plumes County Office of Education And Plumes Unified School District Accomplishments 2009-10 The Superintendent's office, Governing Board, all county and district employees have been working diligently to lead this district through the most difficult financial times that have ever faced education and the state of California. Here is what we have been working on this year: 1. Two Year Contractual Settlements with Unions Working with employee unions for months to reach a two-year settlement that is designed to assist all our employees with a 1% salary increase, and an increase in the benefits cap (amount district contributes to employee health care costs). This increase is intended to assist all our molovees lurino financial times with many districts across the state negotiating furloughs, salary and benefit reductions. Included in the Certificated Teachers Agreement is considerably improved language for teacher evaluation. Our.teachers and principals now have a rubric to ensure all individuals have meaningful feedback to assist them in improving what we do for students. We are listening to our employee needs! 4 2. Citizens Advisory Committee Established The Superintendent's office has created a Citizens Advisory Committee (in accordance with the Strategic Plan) composed of students, community members and staff from across the county to seek their input in the review and development of a direction for 7-12 educational programs. The CAC had its initial organizational meeting in April, and will meet again Wednesday, June 16 from 8:30 a.m.-12:00 p.m. in the Plumes County Office of Education. 3. Facilities Advisory Committee Established Plumes Unified School District announced during the May 11 board meeting that it will establish a Facilities Advisory Committee to conduct a cost-benefit analysis on the current use of its facilities. The committee will be composed of a site adminis- trator, teacher, and community member from each community, and the Director of Maintenance and Business Director. The focus of the committee will be to present a thorough cost analysis of our facilities and educational programs, and make recommendations regarding the future use of our facilities to the Superintendent and Governing Board. Should any school closure recommendations come from this analysis, the Governing Board will establish a school closure committee to examine the issue in 2011 in compliance with state educational code. Note: State educational code requires that school boards create school closure committees composed of no more than eleven members with representation from the communities affected prior to a board of education making a decision regarding school closure. / 4. Registrar Clerk Hours Increased in all schools. After meeting and listening to all district site clerical staff last year, the district increased all registrar clerk hours to full time for high schools and two hours per day at all elementary schools. This returns focus to school sites for monitoring and conducting attendance and is another significant shift in district direction. The belief is that the best response to families and attendance needs is at the sites where staffs are directly involved with students. It is our hope that by increasing these resources at our school sites, better communication with families and increased student attendance will result: We want our students attending school! 5. Teacher Collaboration Time In a move that supports best research practices regarding school improvement, the school district implemented Monday collaboratioh time for teachers in 2009-2010. Collaboration time is designed for focused discussions with staff using student data to guide discussion and site decisions for increasing student achievement. The discussions are focused and data driven centering on student achievement and best practices. 6. Feedback Surveys for Technology, Maintenance and Staff Development In an effort to listen to our staff, surveys were implemented in 2009-2010 to gather staff perceptions of district efforts in the following areas: keeping our schools clean and safe; the effective use of technology; and staff development desires, initial surveys were implemented in the fall at each site to establish a baseline as to how staff felt about their sites. Follow up surveys were conducted this spring to observe changes in staff feelings or perceptions as to how the district was servicing its schools. These surveys and other information tools are helping us listen to site needs in our various communities. Based on these surveys our maintenance and custodial, technology, and personnel departments have a better idea how to focus on tite improvements. Listening to our communities is important to us! 7. Budget Building Processes In an effort to provide consistent communication to our principals and communities, the district has developed a School Resource Accountability Model that allows principals to do advance program planning with their budgeted allocations. In doing so, they can then tie their allocations directly to their strategic planning efforts at the school Sites. This process is a first for the schools, and principal involvement is positive as they now have a tool to more accurately project and design their pro- gram plans for the following year. In addition to this effort, the district has developed and published its first annual report to the community. This report will become an annual event as we work to improve the depth and accuracy of our communication to the entire county. This is another historic shift in district and county practice that will keep everyone more informed. 8. Communication In an effort to increase our communication to our communities, the district is working to develop a bimonthly article inthe newspaper to keep everyone informed of school actions countywide. Effective this year, we have consistently implemented our "Eblast." This information update is designed to give parents a short tidbit of upcoming events in all our schools. Interested in subscribing? To subscribe just go to www. and click on the "ablest." 9. Waldorf Focused Classroom Last year a group of parents approached the Superintendent with a desire to create a Charter School in Quincy to provide Waldorf classrooms. Meetings at first were a little anxious as both parents and our district were not sure how to approach this idea. As more meetings were held and the district assisting parents in working through the Charter School process, it quickly became evident that a Charter School would not be fiscally viable. In a continued effort, the district continued to listen to our parents' desires, and a team was formed to research the development of a Waldorf focused Classroom pilot within Pioneer-Quincy Elementary. After various Waldorf school visitations and discussions over the course of the year, a design for such a pilot program was brought to the Board for support. The Board has endorsed this pilot and we are proud of the opportunity to work with our parents to create something that will meet the needs of their children. By taking the time to work together, we can accomplish great things for students. 10. School Safety Trainings Begin Last year, district administration began a review of district and school safety. This review led to initial trainings and certification of all site administrators in the Incident Command System. The district is working with a school safety consultant who will as- sist our sites in 2010 with the revision and implementation of school safety plans and specific site trainings to handle various incidents. We are presently working with multiple agencies around the county on various training exercises to improve our re- sponses to events. 11. Joint Planning Efforts The United States Forest Service and Plumes Unified School District are currently developing a strategic plan to assist district students, as the Forest Service develops natural resource capacity within the various communities. By July of 201D a completed draft of the plan will be available with initial implementation set for August of 2010. The Quincy Farmers Market and school district are in the initial phases of discussing a Farm to School Cafeteria sustainable program. This program has the possibility of bringing local produce into our schools to improve what we offer for students, and assist our local farmers. The Sierra Institute has been working with our school district on a telernedicine pilot program to improve methods of assisting students and families with medical needs. ' Plurnas Unified School District has participated n the early dave opment of a regiona cooperative w th Plumes Sierra Rura Bectr c to apply formerican Recovery and Re nvestment Act funding for expanding broadband within Plumes, Lessen and Sierra counties: All counties.willieam more as the grant application is reviewed by the Department of Acnthe ih'brttho  cornel '''' : ..........  ': :" ' ' ' ": : " : ' ....  ......... ................... ' 12. Literacy . : - -  All elementary school teochers are committed to specific training in Comprehensive Early and Extended Literacy instruction for the 2009-2011 school years. This training focuses on specific effective instructional practices such as Interactive Writing, Shared Reading, Interactive Editing, Guided Reading, etc. Intensive training in these classroom practices improves literacy achievement for all students. Trainings will continue during the early fall of 2010, with school based coaching pro- vided by professional literacy coaches throughout the years. A literacy boot camp will be scheduled in August for all new teachers and for those teachers changing grade levels, Each elementary school has a teacher who was selected by the school staff to be professionally trained in literacy instruction and coaching strategies during the 2009-2010 school year. Beginning in 2010-2011 they will assume more of their coaching duties to assist staff in implementing Comprehensive Early and Extended Literacy instruction for all students. Our middle and high school staffs have spent the year exploring effective literacy methods in content area literacy. Based on their experiences and information from statewide professionals they have elected to participate in a district wide series of Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) trainings. AVID is designed to assist all students in achievement. The AVID curriculum is based on rigorous standards, developed by middle and senior high school teachers in collaboration with college professors. It is driven by the WlCR method which stands for writing, inquiry, collaboration, and reading. AVID curriculum is used in AVID elective classes, in content-area classes in AVID schools, and even in schools where the AVID elective is not offered. Training schedules for all our high schools are being developed with selected teachers and principals attending the AVID summer institute in Sacramento. For more information about AVID, you can go to 13. District Administration/Board Members Community Forums The Superintendent, District Administration and Board members have held various meetings throughout the county over the past several months. Beginning in 2008 the superintendent's office established a practice of scheduling regular community visits to discuss local and district issues with staff. A team composed of all district level administrators conducted site visitations and meetings with school staff to discuss issues facing our county and district schools. This year school board mem- bers joined the visitations as we expanded our meetings to include annual community forums. The time was spent listening to parents' and students' ideas and concerns. In addition to answering various informational questions, parents and staff shared various instructional and program ideas. Results of the meetings were the following: Portola Community Three portables were added to the Purloin High School campus to assist in the relocation of the Junior High onto the High School campus last summer. This was done to improve student safety, increase instructional time, and increase involvement of the middle school program with the high school. In visiting with middle school teachers and students during the year, the above benefits were affirmed in hearing the appreciation students and staffs have for the change. The painting of the portables will be completed this summer. The Purloin High School Cafeteria Expansion project is set to begin construction after Memorial Day. The expansion will provide a full service kitchen and expanded seating to accommodate all student groups. The design will upgrade the lunchroom into a modern cafeteria experience. C. Roy Carmichael staff and our Alternative Education Director recently joined the Superintendent in a visitation of South Lake Tahoe Schools. Results of the visitation and follow up discussions are the establishment of a developmental.kindergarten pilot for next year. This first year kindergarten program will give many students a "gift of time" to participate in school, increasing their exposure to early literacy, and creating a more successful student during the regular kindergarten year. Quincy Community Parents were concerned about educational offerings, increasing technology and the high costs per student of keeping small schools open. Based on this meeting and others in Greenville, the district is putting additional sections iqto all hi oh schools for the 2010-2011 school year. The additional sections, designed by principals, are being created using our new AERIES software for registration this year. The additional high school sections will reduce class size to no more than 25 students in all courses except for physical education and music, This change constitutes a significant shift in practice from past years. The influx of additional coursework will assist our current students, while providing time for the district to study its facilities. Pioneer-Quincy Elementary Schools A Reading Recovery Teacher Training Center was designed for the intensive instructional training of all district kindergarten teachers. This intensive training model allows teachers to work with a mentor as they are observed behind the glass learning and practicing instruction in this method. After the lesson, instructional practices are analyzed by a teacher trainer and colleagues to improve their instructional literacy practices. This model dramatically increases early literacy for our struggling first grade students. Eight Reading Recovery Teachers graduated this past week and becoming Reading Recovery Certified. With the addition of these newly trained teachers to our existing staff, all elementary school communities are now fully implemented in Reading Recovery. Indian Valley Community Several meetings were held throughout the year in Indian Valley about concerns over the future of Greenville High School. While the future of small rural schools remains in question as rural populations throughout this country continue to decline, the district is exploring future options for Greenville High School based on parent and staff feedback. Based on the desire of the community to have a principal specifically assigned to the high school, district administration and the boarci took action to reallocate administrative assignments while having to make cuts in administration county wide. The changes approved in the spring were the approval of a full time principal for Greenville High School, while the part-time vice principal has been reassigned to be the principal for Greenville Elementary and Taylorsville Elementary Schools. This move will support the high school in a focused effort for renewed leadership. While creating an opportunity to bring the two valley elementary schools under one leader and ultimately closer together. A new principal has been selected for Greenville High School and we look forward to having Mr. James Lake Jr. and his family return to Plumes County. In a reaction to prompt state cuts to the after school program, which would have severely reduced the program to the Greenville and Purloin communities, the district allocated approximately $30,000 of general fund monies to maintain the program this year without disruptions for students and the communities. Based on the requests from Indian Valley parents and students for more options at the high school, the district has been working with various providers to expand its online options for all hiah school student#, The discussions are currently ongoing, but we hope to be able to expand a range of options for students from AP courses, A-G courses to various electives for students. The Natural Resources Grant for Greenville High School officially ended this year, with the school to have a sustainable program at the end of the grant duration. Although the school does not have a sustainable program at this point, the district has reviewed the program of work the teachers and students are doing. The course of work is exceptionally creative and the review has led to additional support for the 2010-2011 school of approximately $9,000.00. The funding prioritized by Mrs. Willits (acting GHS principal) will continue to allow students to participate in the science competitions and field trips necessary to expose students to the natural science and potential professions. Although this funding is not the amount the school would like to see, it is supported by all administration throughout the district and represents a reasonable allocation based on current and future funding cuts our district is facing. Set for completion this spring is the new lighting system for the Greenville High School football field. The new system will replace the decaying wooden poles with metal poles providing a safer environment for families and students. Chester Community Chester area schools are participating in all district wide improvements with a focus on completion of the remodeling of the Chester High School Gymnasium. The projeCt, completed in the late fall, is a significant improvement for the school site. Chester Elementary staff worked with their community and Principal Sally McGowan as the school was eligible to participate in the California Distinguished School program. Program eligibility consists of only those schools consistently showing significant academic gains in their API from state testing scores. Chester Elementary became eligible last year and decided to compete for the award. In April of 2009 State Superintendent Jack O'connell notified Chester Elementary staff and community that they were, in fact, the recipient of the award. Sally McGowan and others will attend a state recognition ceremony in southern California later this year to receive the prestigious award. We compliment and support Chester Elementary in their notable signature practices to improve student achievement. As our staff, Goveming Board and Superintendent are working hard to improve possibilities for students, we invite you to check for our bimonthly informational ads that will begin  Superintendent Plumes County Office of Ed.SincerelY'Glenn Harris, Superintendent Plumes Unified S.D.  ,", --" _ in June of 2010.