http://pleasantonweekly.com/print/story/print/2012/06/15/pusd-brings-back-staggered-reading-programs


Pleasanton Weekly

News - June 15, 2012

PUSD brings back staggered reading programs

Policy will create smaller classes for young students

by Glenn Wohltmann

The Pleasanton school district is looking back to move ahead, re-instituting a policy of staggered starting times that it had in place 16 years ago.

Meanwhile, parents are upset with what they say was little warning about the change in the schedule for kids in first through third grades next year.

Parents on Pleasanton Weekly's online Town Square forum have accused the district of slashing instructional time for students in secret, and arbitrarily eliminating a month and a half of instruction time.

But it's no secret -- the board has had discussions at its meetings for weeks -- and it's not even new.

People who've lived in Pleasanton since the 1990s may be familiar with the district's early- and late-bird programs designed to give young readers a boost. Cindy Galbo, assistant superintendent of educational services, said the new plan would bring back a modified version of that plan, cutting the school day for students in first, second and third grades by 45 minutes a day.

The tradeoff is smaller classes, Galbo said.

"The purpose behind this is that we will have a class of 15 as opposed to 30 for reading instruction," she said.

The students will all have the same amount of classroom time, with some starting earlier and leaving earlier, others arriving later and leaving later. The teachers' hours will remain the same.

Galbo explained that when class sizes were reduced in the late 1990s, the district dropped staggered reading but added time in school.

"The state requirement for instructional minutes for grades one through three is 50,400 minutes (per student) for each grade. This will give us, with this reduction, 50,515 minutes," she said. "We're still ahead. We're over the minimum requirement for the year by 115 minutes."

Since eliminating staggered reading, those students were above state minimums by nearly 6,000 minutes with a total of 56,030 minutes per year, she added.

"It's four days a week. It'll be Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday. We'll continue with the same late start Wednesday program that we already have," Galbo said.

Many parents have said they were surprised by the notification at the end of the school year. Galbo said the hope was to get the information out quickly so parents could make arrangements over the summer and not at the beginning of the school year.

"We wanted to give parents as much notice as we could," Galbo said. "We're working with daycare providers for additional support, the way we had it 16 years ago."

Like much of what occurs in districts across California, Galbo said part of the issue is state funding.

"It's all connected to decisions that were made (by the school board) on June 5," she said. "One of the cuts was to reduce the P.E. section. If we had reduced that section, we would not have had enough minutes of instruction. The other piece was we didn't know what would happen with class-size reduction. We didn't know we were going to be able to have a staggered schedule until the board made its decision on June 5."

While it may look like the old early- and late-bird schedule, Galbo said there's one important difference: There's no stigma attached to being in one group or the other.

"We are going to have a variety of instructional levels at all times of the day. What if you put a student in a group and they do better? If somebody needs to be moved to a higher group or if somebody needs more intensive instruction, we don't have to change their times," she said.

Comments

Posted by Parent, a resident of Laguna Vista
on Jun 14, 2012 at 2:44 pm

I looked at the bell schedule for the 2012/2013 school year and don't see a change at my daugher's school. She is going into 3rd grade at Lydiksen. Is the new schedule for ALL schools?? Did we miss a notice that went home??


Posted by Fuzzy Math, a resident of Downtown
on Jun 14, 2012 at 3:31 pm

The District has told a false statement to the Pleasanton Weekly. I guess they have no problem telling lies to reporters.

There have never been 56,030 minutes of Instructional Time for Grades 1 through 3 at PUSD. What a fantasy! Is that a misquote or did PUSD say that? YIKES!

When there are 180 calendar days of Instruction, the Actual Instructional Minutes are 55,915 instructional minutes for Grades 1 through 3. When there are 177 calendar days on Instruction (for instance for furloughs in School Year 2010-2011), there are 54,895 Actual Minutes of instruction at PUSD for Grades 1 - 3.

Reducing the day 45 minutes for 4 days a week will not meet State minimum requirements of 50,400 minutes for the first through third grades. Also when you put minimum days on top of that, they will miss it by a longshot.

The Pleasanton Weekly needs to Google the audit reports for PUSD that are prepared by Christy White. There are exhibits that show "Schedule of Instructional Time" in each report toward the end.

Ronald Reagan said "Trust, but Verify." With PUSD, better re-check everything they tell you before you print anything. With PUSD, the motto should be "Never Trust, Always Verify."


Posted by None of the Above, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2012 at 3:50 pm

@Fuzzy:

Looks to me that the Christie White report is for 2010-2011, when the district had four furlough days. With no furlough days for teachers, like the district had this year, the number's higher.

But I guess you can do the math to add the hours for four days, right?


Posted by Mike, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 14, 2012 at 4:18 pm

The number with no furlough days and 180 days is 55,915 like Fuzzy Math says. Look at the audit reports when there were no furlough days.


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 14, 2012 at 6:19 pm

Mike, I believe APT and CSEA have have signed off on up to four furlough days for 2012-13.


Posted by steven, a resident of Stoneridge
on Jun 14, 2012 at 8:54 pm

Let the people decide who's numbers are accurate. The so--called experts cant add numbers up because they are all incompitants schooled in public schools where socialism is more important then accuricy. Fuzzy math is far better then bias expert math.


Posted by Mike, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 14, 2012 at 11:36 pm

How many more email blasts will parents be getting from the district with further revisions to the original 'communication'?

Hilarious that the original mail blasts contained not a phone # number to contact not from the district, but from a company called California Home Remodeling.

Too funny! I'm sure tomorrow there will be another blast with REVISION #3

Sounds like they really thought about this plan and gave it a LOT of thought before sending it to everyone. Pink paper. Nice touch.


Posted by Tami, a resident of The Knolls
on Jun 15, 2012 at 8:12 am

I had kids in PUSD during staggered reading and I was disappointed when it ended. I believe it will benefit the students. It will also improve the traffic congestion at drop off and pick up.


Posted by HaHaHa, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 15, 2012 at 8:28 am

@Mike....LOL...
How many calls do you think that business received?
I feel sorry for their operator!


Posted by Mike, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 15, 2012 at 8:31 pm

I understand that PUSD just lost $2.7 million in State funding by implementing this old program with 30 students.

Last year's budget had $2.7 million coming from the State for CSR.

So that means PUSD killed the CSR program and lost $2.7 million, yes?


Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 15, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Mike, I don't know the exact amounts, but CSR, like many other state mandates, is not fully funded. So this loss means the district gains in whatever contribution they had to make.


Posted by Mike, a resident of Birdland
on Jun 16, 2012 at 12:33 am

Kathleen, yes, but the students by grade are posted on Ed-Data. The State's additional funding of $2.7 million was more than adequate to pay for the additional Grade 1, 2 and 3 21 teachers needed to have a 1:25 ratio for those 3 grades.

Students 25 students 30 students
1 1001 41 34
2 1055 43 36
3 1083 44 37
------- ------
Teachers 128 107

A simple break even analysis shows that as long as the 21 teachers made less than $129,000, the State funding was more than adequate to cover the costs of the additional 21 Grade 1 through 3 teachers needed to have CSE.

21 teachers ($2.7 M for this if salary is less than avg $129,000)