Board Briefs provides important information about the work of the 
San Rafael City Schools Board of Education. Following Board meetings on a
regular basis, SRCS will publish Board Briefs as a resource for the
greater SRCS community on Board discussions, actions and activity.

Below are updates from the April 2019 Board meetings.
Newcomers Continue Education to Earn High School Diplomas 

Director of Secondary Education Kevin Kerr and Transitional Youth Case Manager Susana Tolchard shared an update on the District's Adult Education Program. Over the past few years, SRCS has built a program to transition newcomer students who enter our high schools at 16-17 years of age and soon "age out" at 18-years-old without completing the traditional high school graduation requirements. The students have been in the United States for 1-2 years and are English learners. Thanks to the Adult Education Program, they can continue their bilingual education and receive a SRCS high school diploma.

For 2018-19, there are 56 students participating, which is expected to double next year. SRCS high school teachers and Adult Education staff lead the evening classes, and the students are credited with their hard work and high levels of engagement and commitment to their education. The program is fully funded by the Marin County Adult Education Consortium.

Next Steps in Selection of a Superintendent 

The SRCS Board of Education is in the process of conducting a search to hire the District's next Superintendent.  Leadership Associates (LA), an executive search firm, is advising the Board in this important process. Assistant Superintendent Amy Buster Baer gave an update on the superintendent search at each of the April meetings. The updates included:

Review of Timeline 
  • The LA consultants facilitated several feedback sessions in March with a variety of district stakeholder groups, as well as forums at multiple sites for parents and the community. Spanish interpreting services were provided at all forums. The online survey closed on April 5; 350 responses were received. LA consultants were impressed with the overall participation from the SRCS community.
  • In April, the position description was developed based on the feedback received and it was approved by the subcommittee of the Board. It was shared at the April 15 Board meeting. Click here to view the position description
  • LA is currently widely recruiting for the position, which closes on May 6. The Board will review all applications on May 20. Finalists will be interviewed by the Board and a community advisory panel on May 29.
  • A site validation visit to the finalist's district is to be scheduled in June and the Board is scheduled to approve the appointment at the June 10 meeting for a July 1 start date. 

Community Advisory Panel

The five members of the Board of Education will serve as a panel in interviewing all finalists. The Board has chosen to gain further input from the greater SRCS community by inviting a representative cross-section of stakeholders to serve on a community advisory panel to interview finalists.

Out of respect for the confidentiality of the recruitment and interview process, the names of the advisory panel members will be confidential until a superintendent is appointed. The search subcommittee of the Board has selected panelists that are representative of SRCS and include a variety of stakeholder groups, such as:
  • Students from the Elementary and High School Districts
  • District English Language Advisory Committee (DELAC) Parent
  • Parent Organization Leaders (PTO / PTA / Foundation / etc.)
  • Parent of Students with Disabilities
  • Union Leadership
  • School Principal
  • HeadsUp Education Foundation
  • Local Elected Official
  • Bond Oversight Committee
  • Parcel Tax Oversight Committee
The advisory panel interviews will coincide with the interviews that the Board is conducting, on the same day and at the same location to maximize confidentiality. The panelists will share their feedback with the Board. The Board of Education is responsible for selecting the next superintendent.

Please stay tuned for more information as the search progresses and visit  www.srcs.org/next-SRCS-leader  for updates.
Leveraging Differentiated Assistance Work 
for System-Wide Improvement

Members of the SRCS Education Services team gave an update on Continuous Improvement in SRCS. This year, SRCS qualified for differentiated assistance, part of the state's system of support, based on data from the California Dashboard for student groups not demonstrating continuous improvement.

A Continuing Improvement Committee (CIC), which includes a wide range of SRCS teachers, staff, parents and school and district administrators, is working closely with the Marin County Office of Education to develop a plan to improve outcomes for all students, but in particular for underperforming groups. The CIC created a problem statement to guide the work: Why is our system producing discrepancies in student performance results, K-12, for our Students of Color, English Learners, Students with Disabilities, Socio-Economically Disadvantaged, Homeless and Foster Youth?

Using research-based tools and strategies, the group is working to identify root causes of the systemic inequities; review data; self-assess where we are; conduct "Empathy Interviews" with students and families; and more. CIC's feedback so far has been a need for more culturally-responsive teaching practices and multi-tiered systems and differentiated supports. The next steps include creating statements to focus on improvement areas; integrating the CIC team into the LCAP development work to ensure the committee's actions and results are a key part of the District's next LCAP; continuing to use Empathy Interviews; and more.

Public Hearings on Transition to By-Trustee Area Elections

The SRCS Board approved a resolution in March that indicates its intention to transition to by-trustee area elections. Board members are currently elected "at-large," where each member is elected by voters throughout the District. Under the new system, Board members will be elected by-trustee-area; they will be required to live in the area they represent and will be elected only by the registered voters of that area.

At its meeting on April 15, the Board approved an agreement with National Demographics Corporation (NDC) for demographic services pertaining to this process. At the meeting on April 30, there was a public hearing for members of the public to provide input on the trustee-area boundaries before maps are drafted.

The public hearing began with a presentation from the District's legal counsel and demographer regarding the California Voting Rights Act; the process for transitioning from at-large to by-trustee area elections; and the criteria that may be used in drafting the trustee area boundaries. There was then a public discussion on what considerations should be taken into account when developing draft maps. Click here to view the presentations.

There will also be a second public hearing for this same purpose at the Board meeting on May 13 at 6 pm at 310 Nova Albion Way; members of the public are welcome and encouraged to attend.

Visit www.srcs.org/trustee-elections to learn more.
MCOE Recommendations on SRCS Budgets

Marin County Office of Education (MCOE) Assistant Superintendent Kate Lane spoke at the April 30 Board meeting to share information about MCOE's review of SRCS' Elementary and High School Districts second interim budget reports. After the district issues its budget reports throughout the year, MCOE is required to review them to determine if they allow the district to meet its financial obligations during the current fiscal year as well as multi-year projections. The review of their findings was shared with the Board President ( click here for ESD letter; click here for HSD letter).

As described in the letters and in Ms. Lane's remarks, MCOE positively certificated the second interim reports for both districts and commended the districts for their good fiscal stewardship. However, it was also noted that for the ESD, given that the ending fund balance is declining, MCOE recommended the District consider incorporating a deficit reduction and recovery plan for the coming years.

MCOE provided similar recommendations for the HSD, but with heightened attention and caution due to the significant deficit spending and potential of the ending fund balance falling below the minimum required reserve for multi-year projections if no changes are made. Ms. Lane described several challenges that are contributing to the financial situation, including: an increase in student enrollment that outpaces property tax growth (which does not generate additional revenue as the District is dependent on property tax growth); the District's increased liability for pensions; the increase of special education costs; and more.

The District is carefully reviewing MCOE's recommendation to create a deficit reduction and recovery plan to ensure that both fiscal solvency and student programs are protected, and will engage the greater SRCS community as the process unfolds.
Resolution in Support of California's English Learner Roadmap

The Board approved Resolution 1819-25 in support of the State Board of Education's English Learner Roadmap and Proposition 58. In July 2017, the California State Board adopted a historic new English learner education policy, the English Learner Roadmap. The Roadmap offers a vision and direction for English learner (EL) education that sets California on a new course that views the education of English learners as a system-wide responsibility, recognizes the need to provide EL students with a rich and challenging curriculum from early childhood to grade 12, and respects the value of English learners' primary language and culture. 

Additionally, in November 2016, California's Proposition 58 overwhelmingly passed; Proposition 58 places the decision of how to educate English learners back in the hands of county offices of education, school districts, schools and communities. 
Kindergarten Readiness Program Enters 15th Year

The Board approved a MOU with Marin Head Start for the 2019 Summer Bridge Program. This annual summer program, which is in its fifteenth year, is designed to increase school readiness for children who are entering kindergarten at SRCS elementary schools. In addition to the preschool program, it provides opportunities for parents and children to work and learn together.

The curriculum is provided by Marin Head Start and pre- and post-data will be collected to measure student growth. The program takes place at Bahia Vista Elementary School. Grant funding from the First 5 Marin initiative covers teacher and staff salaries and materials and supplies for program. In-kind support from Marin Head Start and SRCS will cover facilities, hiring process costs, janitorial and incidental staff time in implementation of the project.
The next regular Board of Education meeting is 
Monday, May 13 at 310 Nova Albion Way. 
Board of Education
Greg Knell, President; Maika Llorens Gulati, Vice President;
Linda M. Jackson; Rachel Kertz; and Natu Tuatagaloa 

Michael Watenpaugh, Ed.D.