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 October 8, 2018 Board meeting.
Board and Parent Leaders Discuss  
Parcel Tax and Student Schedules
At the Board meeting on October 8, leaders from the WeAreSR! parent group at San Rafael High School and the Board and District administration spoke to a number of issues, particularly about the the Measure B Parcel Tax, the Parcel Tax Citizens Oversight Committee (PTCOC) and the freshman and sophomore SRHS student schedules. Superintendent Watenpaugh provided a summary of recent events.

Apply for the PTCOC 
SRCS is currently looking for members for its independent Parcel Tax Citizens Oversight Committee (PTCOC). The tax is to be used to maintain and improve quality education, improve reading and mathematics, enhance technology and science programs, preserve small class sizes and attract and retain quality teachers in the elementary and high school districts. The Oversight Committee is charged with ensuring that special tax proceeds are spent for their authorized purposes, and to report annually to the Board and the public regarding the expenditure of such funds. Click here to learn more and download the application. 
Dr. Watenpaugh shared that in May 2018, it was brought to the attention of the District that the PTCOC had lapsed. The ballot measure for Measure B (the High School District Parcel Tax that was renewed in 2014) included the language for PTCOC oversight, but the Elementary School District measure did not. Reinstating the PTCOC was included in the high school's 2018-19 LCAP and over the summer, the District began taking steps to bring back the committee by updating the associated Board regulations (AR 3470). Then, at its Sept. 17 meeting, the Board approved the calendar of upcoming PTCOC meetings and appointed the initial set of members. See the box to the right to learn more.

In regard to how the parcel tax funds have been spent over the years (approximately $3 million in revenue per year for the HSD), Dr. Watenpaugh explained that the parcel tax revenues and expenditures are in a separate special account from other District funds, and have been included in the District's Board-approved adopted budgets each year. Furthermore, since the parcel tax funds must be spent in alignment with the priorities identified in the ballot language, independent auditors have reviewed and affirmed that these funds were appropriately spent. It was noted that most of the funds are spent on teacher salaries; further information and detailed reports will be reviewed with the PTCOC members at their first meeting in November and the committee will prepare a report to the Board of Education.

Also, as part of the agenda item discussion on Monday, it was shared that in the beginning of September, it was discovered that SRHS had a master scheduling error for students in third period. As a result, there was the limited availability of elective classes for freshmen and the early release of some freshmen students due to their schedules on "A" days. Through a collaborative process with parents and school and District leaders, solutions were quickly implemented to address the scheduling issues and allow these freshmen to have an optional second elective and/or a schedule without an early release.

High School Schedules 
SRCS' high schools are staffed so that 9th and 10th graders can take six classes; these students can take seven classes, which includes an optional second elective, on a space-available basis. To meet graduation requirements, 11th graders are required to take a minimum of six classes and 12th graders are required to take a minimum of five classes. In addition, many students take an array of elective offerings and community college courses.

Due to budget constraints and an increase in enrollment, we recently made reductions in high school staffing, which increased class size to an average of 30 students per class. These reductions were primarily in core academic areas (English, Math, Social Science and Science) and physical education. These core subject areas have been reduced particularly at the 9th and 10th grade levels, which resulted in higher class sizes in these core subjects, and not a significant reduction in elective offerings. 
WeAreSR! Board members discussed their concerns about student schedules, and advocated for the importance of elective offerings and availability. They noted they were concerned about the recent high school staffing reductions. Learn more about staffing at the high schools in the box to the right. As the group started to learn more about funding of the high schools, they initially thought the parcel tax funds were not being spent, but later understood the funds had been spent. They also expressed that the PTCOC is being reinstated and the three of them have joined the committee.

The parent leaders, Board and District administrators emphasized they look forward to working together on these issues to provide further communication, transparency and collaboration.  
CAASPP Test Results Released

Deputy Superintendent Dr. Mayra Perez and Data Analyst Marie Henrio presented SRCS' results from the 2018 CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress) tests in English Language Arts (ELA) and mathematics, which were released earlier this month.
This is the fourth year of the computer-based tests, which use California's challenging academic standards and ask students to write clearly, think critically, and solve complex problems, as they will need to do in college and 21st century careers. They are administered each spring in grades 3-8 and 11.
Our SRCS scores generally were flat or increased very slightly in 2018 compared with a year ago, which is similar to trends in Marin and across the state. Since the tests launched four years ago, our overall results (as measured by the number of students who are "at or above standard") have increased by .4 points in ELA and have increased by 2.4 points in math. Click here to download the presentation, which breaks down the information by grade-level groups and by student groups. Click here for the appendix, which contains the data tables supporting the presentation.
We recognize there is work to be done to make greater progress. Our District and school administrators, teachers, parents and community members are analyzing our data with a shared commitment to increasing student achievement for all students.
While the CAASPP tests are important, they are only one tool designed to help us better understand how our students are performing under new state standards, to measure student growth and to implement effective learning strategies tailored to individual children. We're extremely proud of our teachers and staff for their dedication and commitment to our students, of our students for working hard to develop the skills they'll need to achieve in the years ahead and of our families for partnering with us to help our students succeed.
Learn more: District and individual school performance can be found on the state's website: https://caaspp.cde.ca.gov/sb2018/Search  
The next regular SRCS Board of Education meeting is 
Monday, October 22 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.