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Opportunity School

Original post made by Resident on Apr 28, 2011

Did anyone understand what Opportunity School was?????

Comments (24)

Posted by I have no idea, a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 28, 2011 at 10:09 pm

It sounds as if the administration and trustees have expanded Village High continuation school for 6 through 12 graders without the state's approval -- the state has only licensed it for grades 9 through 12. Ed-data only has 3 middle schools so it looks like the school administration hasn't told the state about it. Web Link

This is what was posted by someone in another thread [don't worry., a resident of the Downtown neighborhood] --

I hate the "facts" about opportunity. I happen to go there and it is not a special school for middle school students who need additional tutoring and counseling, it's a continuation school for people who get expelled/kicked out of PMS, Hart, or Harvest park. Get your facts straight.


Posted by I have no idea, a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 28, 2011 at 10:50 pm

You know, this Opportunity program sounds very familiar. This sounds just like the alternative program that the California Department of Education slammed the Oakdale school district for when it placed 33 young people in "alternative education" programs rather than placing them in programs designed to deliver special services for young people with learning disabilities. The State team investigated this program shortly before Casey left this District. There were a series of articles in the Modesto Bee about that Web Link


Posted by In Mourning, a resident of Carriage Gardens
on Apr 28, 2011 at 11:16 pm

Against Bad Judgment says it all. I can't believe the depths to which people sink. Wow.


Posted by another mom, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 29, 2011 at 8:33 am

Its another "opportunity" for the PUSD to keep their scores up at the regular schools by kicking out kids with problems ASAP!

Been there done that (my kid was 15yr)when sentenced to Village H.S watered down curriculum and graduation criteria of just showing up!


Posted by Why rush to blame?, a resident of Birdland
on Apr 29, 2011 at 8:38 am

[Post removed because it was off topic.]


Posted by raise your kids yourself another mom, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2011 at 9:30 am

AM says -- "Its another "opportunity" for the PUSD to keep their scores up at the regular schools by kicking out kids with problems ASAP!
Been there done that (my kid was 15yr)when sentenced to Village H.S watered down curriculum and graduation criteria of just showing up!"
So you use this poor boy's death as a way to vent against the PUSD because your lack of parenting required them to move your kid. What were you doing to control your child when he was so out of control that it required him to be put in an alternative school? Obviously nothing. Do you think that every other child should have been subjected to your kid's behavior with the result that most of the teacher's time would be spent just doing what you failed to do?
If you had been a parent instead of a bystander your kid would not have been placed at Village HS. I will never understand people who have kids then sit back and demand that everyone else raise them.


Posted by another view, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2011 at 9:45 am

hey there "raise your own kids yourself another mom", you are overlooking another likely possibility. the toxic 'another mom' may have been extremely involved in her kid's life, and it may have been the levels of toxicity created by the involvement that contributed to her kid's difficulty. some parents are bad parents, and when we hear/read them, all one can think of is plato's suggestion that kids be taken from their parents early on to be raised by wise and experienced community care givers.

does anyone doubt for an instant that most of these self-pronounced 'i'm home-schooling my kids' wackos are doing serious damage to their kids?


Posted by Saddened, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 29, 2011 at 9:52 am

Opportunity is not a separate school, or part of Village High; it is a program. Stop looking for any "opportunity" to bash the district. We are lucky to have such fine alternative education programs for students who have difficulties and don't fit into the Amador/Foothill box. [Portion removed because it was off the topic of this thread.]


Posted by I have no idea, a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 29, 2011 at 2:16 pm

Village is not an "alternative education" program. It is a continuation high school. And now we have not one, but TWO children who in recent years originally went to Donlon Elementary School, then Hart, that then wound up at Village High, who have committed suicide shortly after starting at Village High. One even left detailed information on the internet describing the misery that child suffered in their daily lives at Village High.

I am also concerned about the parent bashing going on in this thread.

I know of some excellent parents who have had the District recommend their child go to Village because the child was bullied and the District said they could not "protect" the child in the regular school environment. Some children have never had disciplinary issues but are moved there by the District. Is that insane or what?

Once the District recommends a placement, it is up to the parents to hire lawywers to go against the bevy of lawyers the District pays to bully parents into submission (and bully Board members into submission).

Another thing, by having a phantom middle school that the State apparently knows nothing about located at Village High, does that mean the test scores of these kids under AYP and API are never recorded against the real middle schools -- Hart, PMS and Harvest Park.


Posted by Saddened, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 29, 2011 at 9:04 pm

You are just plain wrong and don't want to listen. Opportunity is a program for middle schoolers; Village is an actual WASC-accredited high school. It has been recognized as a model alternative school by the CA Dept. of Education.
The primary reason students attend Village is because they get too far behind in credits towards graduation. Placement at Village is voluntary for these students. Some students are very unhappy at the larger schools for a variety of reasons, or have had multiple disciplinary issues. If students get expelled from Amador or Foothill, they have option of Village or the community school run by ACOE in Hayward, so obviously parents choose Village because of the distance. Opportunity test scores are included at the students' middle schools. Village's test scores are reported as Village's. You obviously have an axe to grind and are not willing to deal with facts as you keep repeating yourself. My son went to Village for a time several years ago, and the small class environment and wonderful staff really helped him out. Two of their teachers were Teachers of the Year. My son graduated and is doing just fine as an adult. To suggest students become suicidal because of attending Village is outrageous and disgusting.


Posted by NO ON E!, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2011 at 9:47 pm

If Measure E passes, you can be sure you'll see more of this. You can't just throw money at it. What kind of things are we teaching our children? No on E!


Posted by yawn, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Apr 29, 2011 at 10:26 pm

Another intelligent post from a No On E poster. Uninformed, incoherent, directionless. What IS it about the tea party that attracts these nutjobs?


Posted by I have no idea, a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 30, 2011 at 12:28 am

Village is an actual WASC-accredited continuation high school for 9-12 grade, not middle school grades.

So Saddened, which teachers at Village High Continuation school have credentials in special education as well as teaching severely dyslexic students, students with autism spectrum disorders, etc. Please name them.

The Modesto Bee report who slammed Casey's District said:

'Investigators said the district "has continuously failed to provide numerous students with disabilities a free and appropriate public education within alternative programs for at least four years or longer."'

'A state investigation maintains that those students received inappropriate referrals to alternative education programs and concludes that the district has not complied with several special education codes.'

also

'In two expulsion cases, investigators found the district did not follow appropriate procedures for evaluating disabled students. To comply with education codes, the investigators recommend that the district take several steps to assure parents that their children are receiving proper placement and education. The district also is advised to provide intensive training for staff members and administrators so that students are evaluated properly before they are placed in alternative education programs.'


Posted by Saddened, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 30, 2011 at 9:32 am

The ones that I know of: Village/Opportunity teachers with many years of teaching experience and special education credentials: SDC teacher, Dutch Anderson; Resource Specialists Amy Gofron, Valerie Dillon, Karla Couture. Connie Bishop, who retired a couple years ago, was Teacher of the Year, and has special ed.credential.

Go look up their credentials on the CTC website. It's public info. Jeesh.

In reading the story on the Modesto district, they were not providing services to the special ed. students at the continuation school. That has never been the case with our schools. Special ed. students have certified special ed. teachers.


Posted by I have no idea, a resident of Danbury Park
on Apr 30, 2011 at 1:52 pm

There is a single teacher listed for "Opportunity" on the Village High website Web Link . That person is Karen Cobb, who I assume is Karen Elizabeth Cobb, has only credentials for limited English proficient students and general education students. She holds no special education teaching credential. The staff you cite to are involved with 9-12 and Independent Study.


Posted by One of "those" teachers from another district, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Apr 30, 2011 at 3:00 pm

Education has been "the" topic of these forums in recent week. I have been amazed at the misinformation, half-truths and vitriol that have been posted by people.

This topic grew out the tragic death of a middle school student. Rather picking up the phone and calling the school site for information, posters have turn to the Internet.

Continuation high schools, and by extension Opportunity Programs (not schools), ARE by definition alternative education programs. They are alternatives to the comprehensive programs. While these programs can include special education students, they are not exclusively for special education students. Not every teacher needs to have special education credentialing.

WASC accreditations are generally for high school programs, not middle/ junior high school programs. Village has earned a full six-year accreditation for its last visit by the WASC team. Only 20-25% of schools visited receive this term. The preparation requires a full year of self-evaluation requiring many, many hours prior to the visit. Alternative programs use the same instruments as comprehensive programs.

Enrollment for the PUSD Opportunity Program is listed in the State Department of Education data site, not hidden.

How do I know this information? I have been a continuation teacher for 35 years in another district. I have participated in several WASC visits and have been the WASC visit coordinator.

I will probably be seen as "just one of those teachers" trying to cover up something, but as an alternative education instructor, I find the use this misinformation steaming from the tragic death of a student used the call for no votes on Measure E totally inappropriate.


Posted by Saddened, a resident of Downtown
on Apr 30, 2011 at 4:50 pm

Well said, "One of Those". My final response is, Opportunity is NOT a special education class. If there is a special ed. student
in the Opportunity class, (which is very small anyway), he/she is seen individually on a pull-out basis by the special ed resource specialist Karla Couture. Mrs. Cobb has a regular teaching credential, and a classroom aide. They do a wonderful job with those kids. Full compliance by PUSD. Enough. Go take a walk.


Posted by Will not be taking a walk, a resident of Danbury Park
on May 1, 2011 at 10:35 pm

The bottom line is that the former superintendent of PUSD left his previous District shortly after allegations of complete his incompetence regarding intervention of children with dyslexia. Here is an excerpt:

'Businessman Mike Stone told trustees Oakdale school districts have been "doing kind of a bum job" with students who have learning and other disabilities...Debbie Johnson, mother of a dyslexic youngster, complained that Oakdale teachers are not trained to handle children with special needs. "My son had to go to Turlock to a special school. It was a big adjustment for him."

Fairoaks School teacher Karyn Miller added that she had to attend out-of-district sessions on handling special needs children on her own time, while other districts paid for the training.

Parent Valerie Cooper complained Oakdale children with special needs are being offered an education "that is sort of like a reverse program: You get stupider the longer you stay there." The parent of a dyslexic daughter, Cooper said she "threatened to sue a math teacher," who told her, "You can't fight her battles for her."

Interim Superintendent John Casey, who is superintendent of the high school district, noted that special education is one of the first things the new unified district should tackle." '

Published July 8, 1997
PARENTS TO OAKDALE TRUSTEES: SPECIAL ED LACKING
By Elizabeth Leedom

The other issue is the high correlation between dyslexia and suicide. Web Link

I'm sure the elementary school staff and middle school staff are and Village High staff all thinking they are doing a fine job and pat themselves on the back on a daily basis.

However, according to the Pleasanton patch, children with dyslexia are not being diagnosed until middle school? Why is this? Why, if PUSD is doing such a great job, didn't this child's 1st or 2nd grade teacher recognize the signs of dyslexia?

BTW-one of "those" teachers: Village learned WASC accreditation for grades 9-12, not earlier grades. Look it up on the WASC website.


Posted by sleepless, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 1, 2011 at 11:09 pm

@Will not be taking a walk

Classy, all the way. Maybe a walk would allow some blood to circulate to your brain?


Posted by Will not be talking a walk, a resident of Danbury Park
on May 1, 2011 at 11:56 pm

Very classy and devious indeed. Very cute scheme where in Oakdale, dyslexic children were not educated properly, but instead enrolled in "alternative programs", where the parents were responsible for paying for private tutoring centers yet the District used them as a big money maker:

"....as Oakdale administrators figure, the district could end up making a bundle in state funds on the deal....

Once it gets a charter, the Oakdale district could start collecting $3,500 in state funds for every student it enrolls.

Because parents would serve as teachers and homes would serve as classrooms, the district's staff and facilities costs would be minimal. That means the charter school could be a real money-maker for the district.

Casey's preliminary estimates show if 50 students are enrolled, the district would collect $175,000 but spend less than $106,000. The remaining money would go into reserves and the district's regular general fund." (Modesto Bee excerpt, Dec. 7, 1995)


Posted by Pike Byson, a resident of Rosewood
on May 2, 2011 at 10:59 am

Lots of folks in PTown know this dirty little secret about Village ... kids that are having challenges in class are getting sentenced to Village to get rid of them. It cleanses the classroom of kids that are different and has the big bonus of keeping test scores high. All that administrators care about is that damnation AYP number. To hell with the kids that can't read or do math or have emotional problems from divorces and foreclosures. Every kid I know who has been sentenced to the Village gulag has crashed and burned ... unemployed, trouble with the cops, hanging out with crims, doing weed, and on welfare. And completely preventable if reading help and other special ed had been provided instead of the money being siphoned off for cool stuff and fat paychecks. It's a total disaster there and we are just being lied to about how bad it is.


Posted by Pike, a resident of Mission Park
on May 2, 2011 at 12:29 pm

Pike.......and did you or do you have a child yourself at Village? If not then keep you rude comments to yourself. I have a child attending Village that is doing GREAT and is holding an A average. Why don't you take a trip and go talk to Greg the principal and see first hand what Village is all about.


Posted by 'Amador' Grad, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on May 2, 2011 at 3:23 pm

Everyone here needs to understand that NO ONE gets "forced" into attending Village. The district cannot do that. It is by ALL means a choice and often, the result of parents giving up on their child.


I was basically failing out of amador, didn't have enough credits to graduate, had problems with teachers/administrators, and it was suggested that I go to village. I didn't want to go there, and my parents didn't want me to either, so after making our wishes known to the school they did everything in their power to find a place for me where I could be successful and comfortable. I did independent study for a semester and graduated on time with my class.

Village works for the majority of students that attend there. Do not blame the school for something that two out of thousands of successful students have ended up doing.


Posted by another mom, a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on May 2, 2011 at 7:11 pm

re "raise yr kid yourself" uniformed & biased assumptions commented about me & my kid - I am not using the tragic death of Joey to vent against PUSD - I'm saying that it didn't help my kid and maybe not Joey either - i.e. the loss of mentoring programs, clubs, sports, higher math, foreign language classes etc. and being let out of school early with no homework? (its done in class) There are some great teachers there, but the system deprives kids of opportunities that may have changed their lives or opened their eyes to other interests. I have been very involved with my child's welfare since pre-school, (helping out in classrooms, after school sports, charity work etc.)I don't believe in letting other parents raise my kid - & yes, we went to therapy, drs. etc. & was diagnosed with learning disabilities among other things. I only hope to keep this topic alive of a substandard school to raise awareness & improve Village. Maybe another kid will have it better than mine


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