Board Meeting Highlights
November 1, 2016

At the November 1 Board meeting, five Sinaloa Middle School students and teachers, Mary McGurkey and Jennifer Becker, presented a model lesson on verb tense study from the Clark Consulting and Training for the English Language Development Program.


Also at the November 1 Board meeting, Austyn Negrete, a student from Marin Oaks, was recognized for his poem, “Where Animals Move Like Planets,” that was selected from over 500 submissions for the California State Anthology of Student Poems.  Congratulations Austyn!  

DISCUSSION/ACTION:  Get Focused, Stay Focused!
At the November 1 Board meeting, the Board of Trustees approved the Get Focused, Stay Focused! course for all 9th graders beginning in the 2017-18 school year.   

The  Get Focused…Stay Focused! (GFSF) course is designed to provide every student with the necessary information and experiences to develop college and career readiness skills as well as facilitate the development of an online 10-year Career and Education Plan. Students will develop the skills and knowledge needed to navigate and achieve their post-secondary goals. Many districts across California have adopted the Get Focused…Stay Focused! course through a partnership with their local community college.  Novato Unified is fortunate to have a strong and growing partnership with College of Marin, a partnership that will provide our students with the benefit of the course content and associated skill development, dual high school and college credit and the opportunity to be enrolled at College of Marin.  

The GFSF course will replace Geography as a requirement for incoming freshmen. However, both high schools will continue to offer Geography as an elective as well as the Advanced Placement Human Geography. Further, World History and United States History will continue to provide high school students with a strong background in geography within the historical context. This also aligns with the new History-Social Framework recently released by the California Department of Education. NUSD Board Policy 6146.1 was also included in this board report to reflect the changes to graduation requirements.

The Get Focused…Stay Focused! course has already been approved by the UC and CSU’s as a college preparatory course in the “g” category (elective). An articulation agreement with College of Marin means that all freshmen in NUSD will be enrolled at COM and the majority of students will receive college credit (grade dependent). Finally, students will develop a comprehensive 10-year plan that has proven to motivate students.   In addition, the data for school districts that have successfully implemented the course has seen:
  • 9th grade course failure rate decreased
  • Freshman suspension rates decreased
  • Overall school attendance increased
  • Improved Advanced Placement performance
  • Higher ACT and SAT scores
  • Increased graduation rates
More information can be found in the November 1, 2016, Board Report Discussion/Action Item 8.a.   

STAFF REPORT: Teacher Retention Data:  At the November 1 Board meeting, Kris Cosca, Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources, presented the Board information regarding teacher retention data from 2013-16 for NUSD.  Teacher retention is critical to a school district and is tracked annually.  

To view the 2013-16 Data and Mr. Cosca’s powerpoint presentation, please see the November 1, 2016, Staff Report Item 9.d.  

STAFF REPORT: Schoolzilla Data System:  At the November 1 Board meeting, Ivan Chaidez, Assistant Superintendent of Education Services, Sean Rozell, Director of Information Technology, and Alex Perez, Data Systems Supervisor, shared a presentation with the Board of Trustees on Schoolzilla, a data warehouse and data analytics tool. Schoolzilla serves as a single repository for all of the critical data points that are tracked by the District. With the implementation of Schoolzilla, most of the data will now be in one place. Reports have been created that administrators and staff can use to make informed decisions. The first two reports created were an A-G Tracker and a Student Profile Report. The A-G Tracker was created for high school counselors and administrators to monitor students’ progress towards meeting to UC/CSU A-G requirements. The Student Profile Report will help teachers, counselors and administrators observe student success by showing them the data on attendance, grades, discipline, and assessment scores, etc. The Student Profile Report is presented as a standardized dashboard for an “at-a-glance” view into a particular student’s progress.  

STAFF REPORT: Presentation on the District Plan for Student Achievement: November 1, 2016, Ivan Chaidez, Assistant Superintendent of Education Services, reported that during the past two October School Board Meetings the Board of Trustees approved all the Schools Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA). The District Team shared a presentation on the 2016-2017 District Plan for Student Achievement (DPSA), which supports and is in alignment with Site Plans and LCAP throughout the 2016-2017 school year. The DPSA supports strategies and action steps to support school plans and to implement district-wide goals and priorities, including Equity, Student Success, Staff Success, and Community Involvement and Engagement.  The full DPSA can be reviewed on the NUSD website here.  

Future Board Meetings:

12/6/16      Regular Board Meeting, 7 pm Open Session
12/20/16    Regular Board Meeting, 7 pm Open Session  

District Office
101 7th St
Novato, CA 94945
Phone: 415-897-4201