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 Jan. 14 and Jan. 28, 2019 Board meetings.
Improving Access to Electives in Middle School

Deputy Superintendent Mayra Perez, Ed.D. and Davidson Middle School (DMS) Principal Bob Marcucci reported on the progress of the Middle School Task Force, a group that is working to increase elective opportunities for middle school students. They reviewed the goals of the task force; their recent work; and an update on DMS' new A/B schedule that was implemented in 2017-18. They also shared the following data:
  • In 2014-15, 47% of all middle schoolers participated in an elective, and in 2017-18, it was increased to 82% of all middle schoolers.
  • In 2014-15, 34% of all English learner middle schoolers participated in an elective, and in 2017-18, it was increased to 77% of all English learner middle schoolers.
They concluded with an overview of the task force's next steps this year to create a roadmap for providing two electives for each student and the related considerations to support and sustain the plan.

Click here to download the presentation.
Strengthening Our Math Instruction

Elementary and high school teachers and administrators gave an update on the several math-focused professional development initiatives that are underway.
For the elementary school district, Director of Elementary Education Stephanie Kloos and Instructional Coach Molly Todd highlighted how the PD opportunities are being designed and delivered to teachers based on research. They described various math strategies and content areas and demonstrated a "head problem" as an example of one strategy that is used in our schools. The intentional focus on math this school year has led to many effective shifts in practice and positive feedback from teachers about their improved abilities to help students problem solve, practically apply math and much more.
Director of Secondary Education Kevin Kerr and Terra Linda High School (TLHS) math teachers Amy Reid and Hallie Foster shared a progress update on their collaboration with CALLI (California Learning and Language Innovation collaboration). SRCS applied for the new statewide-project when it launched in 2016 and is now one of six districts collaborating in CALLI's high school math portfolio. The group meets several times throughout the year to learn new skills, refine tools and approaches, share best practices, implement new strategies and to more effectively address the key challenges and opportunities of transitioning to the new California Standards. CALLI is sponsored by the California Education Partners and they are covering all costs for SRCS' participation. 
In their report to the Board, the group shared how they are bringing their learnings back to the District and detailed several specific outcomes for the TLHS math department over the course of their participation, which most recently include positive shifts in pedagogy with more student voice; progress towards focusing on juniors in Geometry and Algebra 2 and others. They also made the connection that TLHS has seen a significant increase in their SBAC results in math over the past year.
Board Approves New Sustainability Policies
Developed by Student-Led Committee

embers of SRCS' Sustainability Committee - which consists primarily of SRCS high school students - presented to the Board their recommended new policies regarding Green Initiatives and Environmental Preferred Purchasing. The students collaborated with Dan Zaich, Ed.D., Senior Director of Capital Improvements, and Rosa Mason, a SEI Climate Corps Fellow who partnered with SRCS as a Sustainability Coordinator. 

The students discussed how they've been working together since 2016 and what they've achieved, including conducting waste audits, implementing compositing and providing education on sorting. Furthermore, they determined through their initial steps towards reaching the LCAP item on sustainability and Green Ribbon Schools Certification, that SRCS is in need of new policies to endorse SRCS' commitment to sustainable practices. They presented the following policies:
  • Green Initiative Policy: This policy outlines SRCS' commitment to the following areas: reducing waste, environmentally preferable, purchasing, energy conservation, environmental education, landscaping and grounds, transportation and sustainable food practices.
  • Green Purchasing Policy
    This policy encourages the use of environmentally preferable products and services when quality,  performance, price, and functionality are comparable to their non-environmentally preferable counterparts. 
These policies were approved by the Board at the Jan. 28 meeting. The next steps involve developing a High School Waste Management Plan working closely CSEA; high school student, teacher, and staff training and rolling out the Waste Management Plan later this year.

Report on Early School Success Initiative Summarizes Comprehensive Early Education Program 

MCF logo School and district leaders gave an update on the Promoting Early School Success (PESSA) initiative, highlighting the impact of the work this year and the next steps as the grant moves into its tenth year. PESSA is a county-wide collaborative effort that is designed to close the achievement gap by focusing on early literacy, a precursor to academic success in our schools. It is generously funded by the Marin Community Foundation (MCF) and is supported by the Marin County Office of Education (MCOE).

In SRCS, Bahia Vista Elementary School, San Pedro Elementary School and Venetia Valley School participate in the initiative. The partnership with MCF has brought a shared vision for high-quality early education, positive school climate, strong parent engagement and extended learning opportunities, in support of socio-economically disadvantaged students. The participants pride themselves on aligning their work with District programs and goals.

The schools' principals discussed the work and impact of several of their aligned efforts to improve instructional practices. Additionally, a cornerstone of the initiative is parent education; all the schools discussed their exemplary programs to deepen levels of connection and collaboration. The social-emotional development of students is also a key aspect, and the schools shared how they've developed partnerships that help support positive school climates.

Mid-Year Superintendent
Performance Evaluation Timeline / Process 

Board President Greg Knell and Vice President Maika Llorens Gulati reviewed the timeline and process which the Board had previously established and reported for the mid-year Superintendent performance evaluation. Click here to read a statement that was shared by the President and Vice President in English and Spanish.

As a reminder, the SRCS Board of Education is conducting a mid-year performance evaluation of the Superintendent, Dr. Michael Watenpaugh. As part of the evaluation, there is a survey as a tool for the Board to receive community input regarding the Superintendent's performance and progress. The SRCS Board is interested in receiving feedback from everyone who is vested in San Rafael City Schools. The survey is open until the end of the day on Friday, February 1, 2019.

Building Partnerships Through Community Schools

SRCS Assistant Director Tyler Graff provided an overview of the San Rafael Community Schools Initiative. He summarized the steps taken in the past few years, such as the development of a Leadership Council and Partnership Council. He also reviewed the vision and four areas of need that were identified and the event that took place in 2017 to encourage more school partnerships.

Mr. Graff also shared some data about current levels of partnerships in our schools and highlighted examples what some other school districts are doing in the area of community schools. In terms of next steps, he updated the Board on the plans to revise school asset maps to identify the work in progress and find gaps in service / support and to then host another partnership event to help full those gaps.

SRCS and SRTA Reach Agreement 

The Board approved the agreement with the San Rafael Teachers Association (SRTA). SRTA represents the District's certificated staff in its elementary and middle schools. The most significant factor of the agreement is an across the board 4% ongoing increase on the base salary retroactive to July 1, 2018.

The next regular SRCS Board of Education meeting is Monday, February 11. Closed session begins at 5 pm and open session begins at 6 pm 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.