Board Highlights
from the February 12, 2019 meeting
Damon James named Director
of Human Relations
In Closed Session, the Board approved Superintendent Cheryl Jordan's recommendation for Certificated Director of Human Relations. In Open Session, she introduced and recognized Damon James, currently principal of Thomas Russell Middle School, as the new member of the team. After he was recognized, James came forward to say a few words.

"Esteemed Members of the Board, I would like to thank you for the opportunity to continue to be of service to the Milpitas School District as the Director of Human Relations," he said. "Booker T. Washington said, 'If you want to lift yourself up, lift someone else up.'  And I endeavor to do this each and every day."

James said that, to him, "true leadership is servanthood," and he credited his parents, Kenneth and Beverly James, "who have always shown my family the importance of sacrifice, developing grit, and working alongside people to do great work - not for fame or fortune but because it is the right thing to do."

James has been with Milpitas Unified School District since 1997, at which time he started as an English teacher. In March 2006, he became Interim Assistant Principal at Rancho before advancing to Assistant Principal at Thomas Russell Middle School through 2008. At that time he became Principal of Joseph Weller Elementary School. James has served in his current capacity as Principal of Thomas Russell Middle School since 2013.
Knights of Columbus honored for raising more than $5,500 for Special Education program
Superintendent Jordan and the Board of Education honored representatives from the Knights of Columbus St. Elizabeth Council 8747 for raising $5,649.23 collectively with Ocean Supermarket and New Pho Saigon for Milpitas Unified School District's Special Education programs. They took a picture with Special Education employees, as that is where the monies are allocated.

For the last 16 years, Gunawan Alisantosa -- former Board Member, Knight, and Chairman of the People with Intellectual Disabilities Program -- said the service organization has raised funds for the District's Special Education programs through a number of means, including a car wash and an electronic waste drive. Additionally, this year New Pho Saigon donated 20 percent of the proceeds of their sales during a certain time period.
Lexie Petersen chosen as January classified employee in #WEareMUSDChampions program
Trustees and Superintendent Jordan honored Lexie Petersen, Principal Secretary at Thomas Russell Middle School, who was chosen as the January classified employee winner in the District's #WEareMUSDChampions program. Petersen was chosen for the award after being nominated by Registrar Jayne McGowan.

McGowan said Petersen has demonstrated her work with the following Strategic Goal: "Improve communication systems for better outreach to parents, students, and staff."
Local Control Accountability Plan update highlights greatest progress, needs
Norma Rodriguez, Assistant Superintendent of Learning and Development, presented a Dashboard update for the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) process, highlighting areas for action. The District is in year two of the three-year inclusive plan, which has broad goals aligned to specific measurable outcomes.

The annual update process provides a link or bridge between the current year and upcoming year's LCAP goals and actions. Offering stakeholders information on the progress the district is making towards achieving goals and actions as well as progress made with specific groups of students.

According to the report, the greatest progress seen was in mathematics at 34.1 points above standard, English language arts at 48 points above standard, and graduation rate with a 95.3% graduation rate. Additionally, current English learners, reclassified English learners, and English only groups made the greatest progress in academic performance.

Demographic expert projects continued growth in Milpitas birth rates despite declining figures in Santa Clara County
Demographic expert Tom Williams from Enrollment Projection Consultants has conducted enrollment studies for MUSD for over 20 years, and his projections have been extremely accurate with a less than 1% margin of error. 

Williams presented a summary of the data that he has compiled in determining how and in what areas of Milpitas enrollment is climbing as well as decreasing. The grade span with the greatest expected growth is in the elementary grades; approximately 688 new students are expected by 2023. As the bubble of students moves through the middle and high schools, there will be an expected decrease at the secondary level. It should be noted that the additional group of 688 elementary students will continue to advance in grade level, which means that the increased student population should be realized at the secondary level after 2026. 

"Your community has had a huge rise in the local birth numbers that correlate to the pending school years, compared to the births correlating to your current and recent kindergartens," Williams' full report states. "This rise in births is contrary to the declining birth figures in virtually all other Santa Clara County districts. Your elementary (TK-6) enrollment totals only had relatively minor differences in the last five years, with early October figures that had a high of 5,502 in 2014 and a low of 5,334 this year.
That is a loss of only 3% when most South Bay districts had much larger percentage declines in their elementary totals since 2013. Several lost more than 3% in the last year alone."

Williams added that the growth is heavily concentrated in the Mabel Mattos Elementary School attendance area due to the thousands of new housing units that have and continue to be built there.

Board approves Lease-Leaseback resolution
Lease Leaseback (LLB) is a state approved construction delivery method. A building or use of a property is leased to a builder, typically for $1 per year, who then leases the property back to the District over the course of construction. As construction is completed, lease payments will be made to fulfill the terms of the agreement. LLB reduces district liability, improves build quality and has better control over the project schedule. It helps to manage the risk of a less competitive bid environment and produces fewer change orders than the publicly bid projects.

From the pool, a contractor will be selected based on qualifications, demonstrated competence, and a proven track record for cost-effective and timely construction projects.

The Board approved Resolution 2019.30 to adopt procedures for evaluating qualification of lease-leaseback contractors and approval of the issuance of a request for qualifications for construction services.

Board approves Bond Implementation Team
On November 6, 2018, Milpitas voters passed the Measure AA bond of $284 million. This creates a need for the District to establish a bond implementation team. Staff reached out to other districts and researched bond implementation structures in order to make a recommendation to the Board of the most effective model in meeting the interests of the District and our community.

Superintendent Jordan presented three models for implementing the Bond program:

  • Independent consultant team
  • Program management firm
  • Team that becomes a part of the staff

The Superintendent recommended an independent contractor team as no pensions will be paid, since the contractors would be tied directly to the bond and they wouldn't be staff members. Additionally, as the bond program work decreases, so too would the contractor team. Jordan explained this would also provide the district with the most effective way to implement the program while containing escalation costs.

After discussion, the Board approved the Bond Implementation Team contractor model. The Superintendent and Trustees will discuss the funding source for the team at a later Board Meeting.

Trustees adopt resolution recognizing February as African American History Month
The Milpitas Unified School District Board of Education and MUSD staff wish to recognize the experiences of its students and staff by adopting resolutions that give voice to the rich diversity here. By adopting this resolution, Milpitas Unified School District is joining other communities and school districts in our nation in celebrating February as African American History Month. Student Board Representative Vivek Chotai read the resolution into the record.

"WHERES, the origin of BLACK HISTORY MONTH began in 1915, the creation of noted historian Carter G. Woodson and other prominent African Americans," the resolution states. "...WHEREAS, the local African American community has enriches the diversity of perspective in our District; and the Board of Education desires to recognize and honor the achievements and contributions of African Americans."