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The school district has lost the plot

Original post made by Disappointed, Another Pleasanton neighborhood, on Jun 8, 2012

The school district informed parents this week that they plan to shorten the school day by almost an hour in 1-3rd grade. This is in ADDITION to raising class sizes to 30-1 next year. It is for staggered reading, but without different lessons for different ability levels. Not at all helpful for the students. Parents, this is a wake up call.

Comments (85)

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Posted by disappointed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2012 at 2:39 pm

Correct if this is wrong, but this change may mean that our children are losing about 165 hours (55 minutes x 180 instructional days) of instruction, which is about a month of learning a year. This change does not appear benefit the children.


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Posted by disappointed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2012 at 2:49 pm

I was wrong about the minutes. It's 40 minutes a day less. So 120 hours being lost and a bit more than three weeks of learning lost.


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Posted by KeithB
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 8, 2012 at 2:50 pm

Not acceptable- I am wondering why they "chicken sh@t" school district decided to send this "pretty pink" letter on the last day? so that they can run and hide before parents can read it? I tell you what, if they ask for a tax increase or prop tax raise, they can kiss it where the sun does not shine.
This state has gone to the dogs, and that is the way they are treating our kids.
Fire all the overpaid nuts and put the funding where it needs to go- education and healthcare.


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Posted by Secrets
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2012 at 2:56 pm

I finally see what people have been saying all along.

The school districts do things in secret and then don't discuss it in public at all, then foist it on everyone.

The superintendent and board need to go.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 8, 2012 at 3:10 pm

This is interesting. The perceived benefit is, for those 40 minutes, class size is 15ish:1 . As I recall, there was some benefit for the morning students,; they are fresh (and hopefully awake). I don't believe the afternoon group (tired, seeing her friends go home) did as well. The district dumped early bird/late bird reading years ago for some reason(s). Why is this being revisited? My suspicion is it gives teachers who are losing CSR a break.


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Posted by disappointed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2012 at 3:19 pm

Kathleen, this change is being sold as going back to before CSR, but it is actually different because they previously split the students by ability. That is not happening this time. Losing 40 minutes a day is a big deal when class sizes are also increasing.


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Posted by Jill
a resident of Carlton Oaks
on Jun 8, 2012 at 3:47 pm

The teachers ARE to split up the students by ability. The letter says that during the first two weeks of school, everyone will start early while the teachers ask some students to stay late each day "to be assessed for placement in the correct reading group." Then, "The reading groups will be set up so that there will be a variety of leveled groupings at each grade."



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Posted by disappointed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm

I don't think so. The variey of leveled groupings means that they are going to have a variety of struggling, doing just fine and advanced in each session.


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Posted by no more teacher raises
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 8, 2012 at 3:50 pm

So now they get every evening off, every weekend off, every holiday off and all summer off. Plus an extra hour each day. Yeah, they really need a raise. Don't come knocking on my door for it.


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Posted by disappointed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2012 at 3:53 pm

The teachers will teach for the same number of hours. The students will get 40 minutes less because some will come in at the regular time and leave 40 min early. Some will come in 40 min late and leave at the regular time. The teachers will teach the same content twice in a day - thus the lost instruction time.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 8, 2012 at 3:54 pm

Disappointed, I get it. But before CSR, I'm pretty sure they had already dropped split reading. I'm saying there are definitely problems with this plan. I don't see, however, that the teachers get more time off; they just have reduced class size at the beginning and the end of their day.


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Posted by disappointed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Jill, I read this again and maybe they will be in different reading groups each for their own level. I hope this is the case, though still don't think we can lose 40 minutes of the day.


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Posted by None of the Above
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2012 at 3:56 pm

Actually, I think they're going to shorten one day, Wednesday. That'll be for teacher planning sessions and collaboration, I think.

Can you check your letter, Disappointed?


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Posted by disappointed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2012 at 3:57 pm

I never said or thought teachers had time off. The kids have time off.


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Posted by Disappointed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2012 at 4:00 pm

Unless I've read the letter wrong, the new schedule will be for every day. Group A will go to school from 8:15 - 2:10 and Group B will go from 9:00 - 2:55. Both groups will lose 40 minutes from their day compared to this year.


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Posted by KeithB
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 8, 2012 at 4:47 pm

Yes I agree with disappointed-

End result will be each child (3rd grade and below) will loose 40min of school time.

Of course the teachers still have same amount of teaching time.

This will of course include the existing 1/2 day off parent-teacher conference times (which is senseless since many students/parents, do not have the conference. +
and various furlough/holidays.

The
Gov + school district is doing everything in it's power to make sure "more children are left behind"


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Posted by disappointed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2012 at 4:55 pm

We can't stand by and let our kids lose 40 minutes a day of school time when there are so many other cuts being made. Education is suffering enough in this state.


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 8, 2012 at 7:15 pm

"Gov + school district is doing everything in it's power to make sure "more children are left behind""

What Jerry Brown and the Teachers Union are attempting to do is convince taxpyers that the only option is for voters to vote to increase their own taxes. There are other options but the debate has been framed around "Our Childrens Future vs. Higher taxes".

Of course these aren't the only possible options - just the ones the governor and teachers unions will push as November nears.


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Posted by Teacher Too
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 8, 2012 at 8:22 pm

Staggered Reading was standard practice in California school districts until Class Size Reduction.

When CSR was first implemented, all primary children were dismissed earlier than upper grades because k-3 students do not have to attend school for the same minutes as upper grade students.

In 1998, the board saw an opportunity to lengthen the instructional day beyond the required minutes. Thus, grades 1-5 were on the same schedule.

Now, children need the 15-1 reading instruction. If you don't understand why, try to teach 30 first graders of all different abilities to read.

This decision brings PUSD back to the instructional practices before CSR. This is a great decision as far as reading instruction for children is concerned.


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Posted by John
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2012 at 8:27 am

"Arnold", "no more teacher raises",

As far as I an tell, this is good a good idea and will benefit education. It has nothing to do with raising taxes or any of that. My youngest will benefit from this program. The school district isn't bad just be you think "government" is bad.


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Posted by sammy
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 9, 2012 at 8:41 am

"The perceived benefit is, for those 40 minutes, class size is 15ish:1 . As I recall, there was some benefit for the morning students,; they are fresh (and hopefully awake). I don't believe the afternoon group (tired, seeing her friends go home) did as well."

How will 30 tired students do in the afternoon? This is a good thing for kids.


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Posted by Marie
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 9, 2012 at 8:46 am

I am not opposed to staggered schedules, but why should the students day be shortened? Instead, I propose the teachers day be extended 40 minutes.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 9, 2012 at 11:39 am

Sammy, same as they do now. Fourth and fifth never had CSR as an example. Hard to concentrate when half the class leaves to go play. CSR is not the only reason this was abandoned. And if it's such a good idea, why not do the same in fourth and fifth for math perhaps? And they could have done that despite CSR to help those grades too.

Just seems to me it's gotten a little too easy to defend whatever program is put in place, dropped, and put in place again, let alone not applying staggered classes at more grade levels.


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Posted by Teacher
a resident of another community
on Jun 9, 2012 at 12:12 pm

Just out of curiosity, do the Pleasanton schools have an 180 day school year? They got out yesterday, correct me if I'm wrong, and it seems early for them. I always remember them getting out the second week of June.


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Posted by Resident
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2012 at 12:41 pm

Personally, I like the shortened school day. I think students are in school too long, and much of that time is wasted anyway and they come home with tons of homework.

I don't like the class size increase but I like the shortened school day.


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Posted by sammy
a resident of Pleasanton Meadows
on Jun 9, 2012 at 12:42 pm

"CSR is not the only reason this was abandoned. "
what was the reason? I don't recall. It must have been about 15 years ago. I believe 4th and 5th graders are better able to stay focus for the longer day than a 1st or 3rd grader.


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Posted by Arnie
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Whatever program the unions and Governor moonbeam put in place, you can count on it drawing upon unfunded liablities and unsustainable practices that don't illicit value from teachers. Cv + (-)/acct x 1.004 hours + teacher/student ratio = a loss for taxpayers. Cutting teaching force by half would solve this unsustainable problem. Anything less is irresponsible.


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Posted by Sasha
a resident of another community
on Jun 9, 2012 at 2:00 pm

As a parent whose child just graduated from Foothill after 13 years in the district all I can say is "TYPICAL"! I'm lucky my child turned out to be a 3.5 graduate but it was due mostly to her own efforts. In her 13 yeas, I can count on one hand the teachers I would call excellent and I don't have enough hands to list the less than fair ones. Just another example of secret planning, poor decisions and mediocre management. Sad but true. Foothill high school is an embarassment.


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Posted by Teacher Too
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 9, 2012 at 2:23 pm

Kathleen, upper graders never had staggered schedule because they are required to attend school for more minutes than K-3 students. Again, you appear to be trying to get people upset when the district truly has learning reading as a high priority.

This was standard practice in all the districts before CSR. We are returning to staggered reading because the state government has stopped funding CSR. This is the best solution for children. They need more attention and a smaller class size during reading instruction.

The children aren't going to lose instructional minutes because with less children (15-1), a teacher can get so much more accomplished. Plus our primary students have been going over required minutes since 1997.

When I taught primary grades with a staggered schedule, the afternoon children were learning after their friends left. Children LOVE the attention they are given in a 15-1 format. That's a silly to say they can't learn the last 45 minutes of the day when they are learning during those 45 minutes now. Some people just can't help but find fault with everything this district does.



The district is trying to find the best avenue to teach reading, the most important of skills.





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Posted by Starcy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2012 at 4:42 pm

Dear Teacher Too,
Kathleen was saying that but she really wasn't saying that. Sometimes you have to take context into consideration. Here, she said it but really didn't say what you say she said, but she meant it a lot like you meant only not quite.


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Posted by KeithB
a resident of Mohr Park
on Jun 9, 2012 at 4:55 pm

Nothing will change and the reduced school time will start in August.
It sounds like the need for a 30 student class, indicates a loss of a teacher or two?

We as Parents/students and citizens should file a lawsuit to block this bogus classroom change.

No I don't want a monetary win (Only lawyers care about that)

We want what the children deserve and what the parents/citizens need.


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Posted by Shocked
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 9, 2012 at 5:34 pm

Good idea Keith B....Pleasanton residents need to file an injunction to halt this immediately. And Sasha, I agree. The school district and high schools are a total embarrassment with only a few excellent teachers a few and huge numbers of poor teachers. No wonder there are 25 tutoring centers in town.

That is what they did in Fremont when they attempted to change attendance districts to faux fake the STAR test scores to pull some schools in performance improvement out of performance improvement. Sounds like Fremont tactics are what is happening in Pleasanton.

They serve notice the last day of school thinking parents won't have time to file a lawsuit or lawsuits. Maybe the city will join into the lawsuit as a petitioner because this doubles the cost for the people that the city funds to serve as crosswalk guards. This just doubled the cost of the city. Bet they weren't consulted about this either.

What the school district is also probably attempting to do is enrage all the parents with children aged 0 to 8.


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Posted by common sense
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 9, 2012 at 5:59 pm

Perhaps, Parents can take up the slack and actually participate in teaching their children. Nothing says all education has to be performed in a school. If a school doesnt have the funds to teach children so be it. But, when push comes to shove it is not the school or school districts responsibility, they are your children and your responsibility.


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Posted by Shocked
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 9, 2012 at 6:11 pm

PUSD just wastes money and does have the funds but. Residents would gladly take the $170 million the district currrently wastes that us taxpayers give it to 'teach' about 14000 or so people. If you disband the district, just have the State give all the families the money instead. Ah, the celebrations!

1 child households will get an annual check for $12,000. 2 child households will get a check for $24,000, 3 child households $36,000, etc.

PUSD can be disbanded or dissolved by a vote of the people. Or depending upon the vote of the people, it could simply go away and merged into a better managed district.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 9, 2012 at 8:29 pm

Teacher Too, not trying to upset anyone. Staggered reading and CSR are time mgmt tools for teachers--some support it; others don't. I think until you get to 15:1 for all classes all day, it doesn't benefit students. And we can't afford it. Students do lose learning time and I don't see how it can be a good thing. We already cant compete with other countries who scool their students with longer days and more than 180 days.

I'll see what I can dig up on why staggered reading was stopped.


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Posted by Parent
a resident of Donlon Elementary School
on Jun 9, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Folks,

This seems like retaliation for not passing Measure E. The school board is trying to strong arm Pleasanton into passing it when it gets on the ballot again and guaranteed it will!

I urge more Parents show up at the School Board meetings to voice their disgust.


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Posted by Teacher too
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 10, 2012 at 8:34 pm

Kathleen, I was working as a teacher in the district when staggered reading stopped. The board realized they could lengthen the school day and it would "add" instructional beyond the required minutes. So, they decided to do this. The district has already checked to make sure they are complaint with the state. They weren't able to implement this unless P.E. specialists/time was brought back, and that is why the decision is so late in the making. But, teachers have been asking for staggered schedule since last year.

With staggered schedule, the children won't lose instructional minutes; the will gain more focused instructional minutes with the teacher. I am so tired of those of you who NEVER taught giving your opinion about reading instruction. Teaching a child to read is the most important of all skills and staggered schedule will improve reading instruction. I have taught 28 years and served as a literacy trainer/reading specialist. How many years have you taught, Kathleen? You are always bashing the district, no matter what they try to do for kids.
And yes, I agree, this is a hassle for parents.


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Posted by disappointed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 10, 2012 at 10:27 pm

So by bringing back one PE section a week, we take away 40 minutes a day - 200 minutes a week academically on everything else. Great. Talk about unintended consequences.

I agree too, this is a hassle for parents and helpful for teachers, but neither is the key consideration here. It's the students and they are losing out on weeks of learning time in the next school year. Not four possible furlough days, weeks of educational time in total.




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Posted by Shocked
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 10, 2012 at 10:32 pm

"complaint with the state" -- what a Freudian slip!

Hilarious math "Teacher" too (sounds you aren't a teacher but an insider like a board member or one of the genius bureaucrats who came up with this plan that has never set foot in a class.) How else would so called "Teacher" know that the state has been notified (which probably is not the truth either).

It takes 10 minutes to get children ready to depart and 10 minutes to get children settled to take attendance which means they will have to do this twice a day, meaning the amount of time getting kids in and out of the classroom will be doubled. This idiotic plan makes the teachers take attendance, TWICE. And figure out what the children will have for lunch, TWICE.

How can children losing 45 minutes a day, when the teachers will be busy an extra 30 minutes a day getting children.

I'll bet the children will concentrate sosssss much with Grand Central Station of kids coming and going.


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Posted by Mrs. Richards
a resident of Amberwood/Wood Meadows
on Jun 11, 2012 at 3:51 am

Loose rhymes with goose.
Your screw is loose.

You may lose your screw if it is loose.
Do you see the difference between 'lose' and 'loose'?

Also notice that 'a lot' is two words, not one.

Class dismissed.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 11, 2012 at 7:46 am

Teacher Too, No, I haven't taught, but I learned a lot sitting through 16 years worth of board meetings, and most often from the teachers/former teachers. I have bashed the district for many, and very legitimate, reasons. In this case a final day notice on a very important topic is a total disregard for families.

I'm not bashing teachers, however. Yes, reading is the most important of skills, so why was staggered reading droppedt with CSR. There you could have had 10 kids benefitting. Kids are definitely losing instructional minutes in some other subject because they are are being sent home early or being brought in late. Unless you lengthen the day, they lose. We are already behind (US) in science and math.

So, if the goal is to give students the best education, telling me this is okay because there were always more minutes than required informs us all that going backwards is acceptable. I know times are hard, but there is no cohesive plan for keeping cuts from the classroom and holding on to what students need most - time, strong instruction, and the best teachers. You can't accomplish that when you are cutting instructional days (furloughs) AND instruction minutes.


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Posted by Starcy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2012 at 8:11 am

Sometimes we need to bash administrators. Sometimes we need to bash the state. Sometimes we need to bash the school district. Sometimes we need to bash the unions. Sometimes we need to bash the teachers. This isn't to say that there are some teachers, somewhere, that are very good. I'm sure there probably somewhere are. And, of course, we have not taught anywhere and are not trained to do so. But look, Kathleen and I are fiscal conservatives who have nothing better to do with our lives than use our rightwing ideological notions to bash all of the above. It's because we care. And what else can one do with our ideology in a Democratic state of California except stir up the rubes? We're falling behind internationally in science and math, and PUSD is leading the way, down.


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Posted by Dog Paw
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2012 at 8:15 am

Is the horrendous cost of illegal aliens ever going to dawn on Californians? Do you know how many additional dollars you school district would receive if the state didn't have to pay for educating illegals? Do you know how much that 30:1 student/teacher ratio would be reduced if the state didn't have to pay for educating illegals? You owe it to yourself to demand that information from your state legislators. If they won't give it to you, vote them out!


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Posted by avidreader
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Jun 11, 2012 at 8:37 am

We did_not needed an "assitant" superitendent who was given a two-year contract with Pleasanton, starting at $162,340, plus $3,450 in stipends for a 220-day work year, with 18 sick days.
That money could be used for needed teachers, situations, and students....
Just another example of the massive waste that makes it impossible to balance the state budget And still provide good services to schools, police, etc. The Governor's tax the rich scheme won't work, then the general population will be told everyone needs to pay higher income taxes. Get ready, its coming....
California tax payers pay almost double to what the people in Texas pay on a per person basis for State services.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 11, 2012 at 8:48 am

Sometimes, we just need to pay attention. Starcy would imply it isn't necessary, trust us, and that being part of the "Democratic state of California" means just look the other way and by all means keep your fingers off the keyboard.

There are many flat out amazing and excellent and great and really good teachers here and across the nation. I would say it is what little hope most families have right now. Everyone knows, including teachers, the few clinkers cause real damage. Please feel free to take them and start your own school.


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Posted by Not again!!!
a resident of Birdland
on Jun 11, 2012 at 8:48 am

To Shocked...

I would think a teacher that plans his/her day well would take attendance and call out the need for lunch when the second set of kids enter the classroom and all students are there. When the early students leave the classroom, the late students go to recess. The late students would receive their reading block when they come back from recess.

I don't think the class will be as disrupted as you think it will be. You all are just wanting to complain. How about having the attitude "okay...this is what it is. Let's make it work for our students".

What are we teaching our students by complaining about everything. Life is about ups and downs and changes. Let's make it work for our students. If you are not happy with what PUSD is doing...take your child out and home school because I am thinking that you all think you can do it better.


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Posted by Starcy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2012 at 9:05 am

I dare the liberal state to take my fingers off this keyboard! Because that's what it wants to do. Shut Kathleen and me and other rightwingers from bashing what she calls the 'clinkers' -- fyi, in case you didn't know, 'clinkers' are a combination of clunkers and Klingons. If you don't take them back to the Klingon Empire, we'll chase them out. We know who they are. Trust me. If the unions didn't stand in the way, Kathleen and me could take our brooms and sweep them all away.

Pay attention everyone! Most states in the union spend a good deal more on students than California does. That's because California uses the money to pay teachers and administrators. We need better performance and less taxes. Out with the clinkers! We'll not be intimidated! Furloughs AND cuts in instruction? How do you figure? Double the furloughs and cuts in instruction (cost) will disappear. Eliminate pensions, except for those like Kathleen and I who retired early (nyuk-nyuk-nyuk), and we'll get our tax money back. It's about the children.


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Posted by liberalism is a disease
a resident of Parkside
on Jun 11, 2012 at 9:11 am

liberalism is a disease is a registered user.

There's no doubt home schooled kids would be better educated than under public instruction. Problem is, for those of use who have to work to pay for your entitlements to satisfy your misplaced guilt, we don't have the time to take on one more thing.


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Posted by Crissy
a resident of Valley View Elementary School
on Jun 11, 2012 at 9:20 am

Even if they 15 who stay late are tired, they will still benefit better in reading with this program than in a 30-1 setting.


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Posted by teacher 25+years
a resident of Golden Eagle
on Jun 11, 2012 at 9:25 am

Unfortunately because of the budget school districts are having to make
horrible choices. Losing 40 minutes a day is not what any teacher would
want. This means that regular curriculum will have to fit into a shortened day.
On the positive side I think that staggering times so that reading, phonics, fluency,
comprehension, and writing are taught to a much smaller number of children is a
very effective way to counter the class size increase.
As a matter of fact, staggered reading is exactly the system that was used in the 50's,
60's, 70's, and 80's in California. During the decades mentioned California's
students were tops academically in the U.S.A. So this is a system that is conducive to
students learning and achieving.


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Posted by disappointed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2012 at 10:03 am

Losing this class time has no impact at all on the budget. There are no cost savings.


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Posted by disappointed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2012 at 10:42 am

Losing 40-45 minutes a day is over 200 minutes a week. This is almost a full day of teacher time a week, subtracting time spent at PE/Science/Music/Computer lab. I do not see how almost one day a week less of teacher time is going to improve education. K-3 has had enough with CSR being taken away.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 11, 2012 at 10:48 am

Starcy, so shrill . . . glad you are out.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 11, 2012 at 11:09 am

Teacher Too - I just want to say that you are brave to continue your reasonable posts here in a forum where teachers are frequently bashed. Some of these people are simply jealous that you have the summer off. And I agree, how can people who have never taught in a classroom have any clue? A "board meeting" is not the same as actually trying to teach a medium to large group of 6 year olds to read. I've seen some parents completely unable to manage their single 6 year old in a Target store! And despite what everyone posting here thinks, all of your kids are not angels. It's not a homogenous group of well behaved children who have an equivalent skill set in the areas of language, maturity, etc. Someone said that with staggered schedules it was unfair to the afternoon kids because at that time it's harder to learn. So, are you saying all kids should go home at lunch time? And this obsession with instructional time is ridiculous. You can't compare education between countries simply based on "time in school". What is done during those hours counts more than the actual time. Here we care more about test scores than if a child actually *learns* something. Most teachers I know HATE teaching to a test, but they are pressured to do so. You can't simply compare instructional time here with that in other countries and yet totally discount the differences that culture, educational philosophy, parenting styles, diversity, etc. imparts. I think everyone should have to try being a teacher for a week - that whole "walk a mile in my shoes" concept - and then see how humbled you'd all be. Many parents live for being able to dump their OWN kid(s) with a babysitter and get "adult time" and yet somehow believe it's easy to be around 20-30 other people's children for 6 hours/day and also having to deal with the parents of those kids.


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Posted by Starcy
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2012 at 11:18 am

Teacher Too,

Can't you talk about the issues without bashing Kathleen? I don't think she quite meant what you are attributing to her. On a forum like this where we need to talk civilly about how our educators are failing us in every manner possible, I don't think it's appropriate to criticize a courageous critic who simply points out the obvious, even if she is a early retiree and pension vacuum like all the corrupt union teachers.


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Posted by disappointed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2012 at 11:21 am

It's 4 hours or less a day with the students after recess and specialist sections taken out. No one said it was easy, it is a profession that is trained to work with groups of children. Many other countries educate their children better than the US now and almost every state does better than CA. We have excellent and well trained teachers in Pleasanton, but they need time to teach the children.


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Posted by Shocked
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 11, 2012 at 12:04 pm

Staggered start and stop times will double the cost of transportation costs to the District thus this will increase the cost to the district by several hundred thousand dollars. The Durham bus service for special ed students will have to pick up twice and drop off twice to each school, thus this will cause the costs to double, causing more teachers to be laid off.

You will also have to incur the costs of even more yard duty personnel and teachers put in yellow vests doing yard duty rather than teaching in the class room.

You really DID think this through, didn't you, PUSD?


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 11, 2012 at 12:46 pm

Anonymous, No, a board meeting isn't the same as teaching, and I would be the first to tell you it would never have been my calling. But these meetings are where educators make presentations and where critical issues are determined, particularly curriculum—so, yes I learned. And I have spent plenty of time in the classroom and have nothing but respect for what must be accomplished on any given day.

Afternoons can be difficult when half the kids leave—equate it to when half the office gets to leave early, afternoons drag a little don't they? It's not that it can't be overcome, and the best teachers will do exactly that.

I think someone else already pointed out you can look at results from other countries and states. California, using state averages (and CA districts do outperform those numbers) has been at the bottom for a very long time—money or not, CSR or not, staggered reading or not.

There are educators who will not acknowledge "culture, educational philosophy, parenting styles, diversity, etc." as mattering (well, unless it's about socio-economic makeup of low performers).

Starcy, you must know something about critical thinking. Try looking beyond what you cherry pick for commenting.


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Posted by John Bronzini
a resident of Vineyard Avenue
on Jun 11, 2012 at 3:10 pm

It's called a budget crisis folks...Read with and spend more personal time with your kids and they will be fine...I've never thought that education was 100% the responsibility of P.U.S.D. anyway...Tighten your belts!


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Posted by Bill Carman
a resident of Country Fair
on Jun 11, 2012 at 4:40 pm

Pleasanton is a wealthy city whose citizens should support additional revenue sources to support education. Shame on those who oppose parcel taxes and use the excuse; I don't have kids or my kids are grown.


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Posted by disappointed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2012 at 4:55 pm

This change has NOTHING to do with revenue. In fact, given some comments above, it might cost the district money.


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Posted by Shocked
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 11, 2012 at 7:47 pm

The District could have solved the problem for FREE by putting Barton tutor and reading tutor volunteers throughout all schools. But nooooo. This split shifting schedule will cost around $700,000 - $1 million dollars extra a year.

Kids used to be able to walk to and from school with their friends. Now this will come to an end. Parents will be forced to drive their kids to school rather than walk.

Now the crossing guards posted all over Pleasanton work from around 8 - 8:20 and 2:55 - 3:15. With the inane new plan, they'll need to work far longer shifts such as 8 - 9:05 and 2:00 - 3:15, almost 4 times as much. Multiply that by 9 elementary schools (Lydiksen, Hearst, Mohr, Fairlands, Walnut Grove, Valley View, Vintage Hills, Donlon, Alisal) and the costs escalate dramatically.

This will quadruple costs, taking money from existing programs both in PUSD and the city. They'll have to pay for extra yard duty personnel before and after school. They'll have to pay for more buses to pick up and drop off Special Education students. Think of the extra fuel costs PUSD will incur.

And think of all the extra fuel costs that parents will have to incur constantly zipping around the school locations to pick up kids and drop them off. Imagine having a 2nd grader and a 4th grader at the same time. What a NIGHTMARE!


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 11, 2012 at 8:20 pm

OMG. The world as we know it will end because of this scary staggered schedule! People complain because they don't like 30 kids per class and the same people complain when they try to cut the class size in half for just an hour/day. How about the kids walk to school with their friends who are on the same schedule? Friends have the opposite schedule? Boohoo. They'll live! Maybe they will find new friends like the kids who end up at different middle or high schools than their friends. You call this a "nightmare" having to drive two kids at different time? Okay, inconvenient, but hardly "nightmare". A "nightmare" to me would worrying about suicide bombers targeting my kid's school. And guess what - you will have that inconvenience anyway when one kid is a 4th grader and the other is a 6th grader because then <gasp> they will be in different schools. If that is too inconvenient for you perhaps you should home school!

John is right, quit thinking that the "free" public education is sole in charge of educating your kids. Spend time with them! And I don't mean drilling them on math facts.


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Posted by disappointed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2012 at 8:27 pm

"People complain because they don't like 30 kids per class and the same people complain when they try to cut the class size in half for just an hour/day"

They aren't just cutting the class size in half - they are removing close to an hour of the day from the school schedule. This is out of the 4-5 hours in total with the teacher depending on which year you are talking about.

You think that's OK? The people complaining are the people who care about their kids' education. They are the ones that voted for a parcel tax, donated to the local foundation and read to their children. The people who don't care and who do not read to / spend quality time with their children and in the classroom are also the people who would let this kind of thing slide by.


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Posted by Spudly
a resident of Laguna Oaks
on Jun 11, 2012 at 9:19 pm

No big deal. Kids do not retain anywhere near what is taught at these ages. Let them play more or participate in other out of school activities. Sick of the public school system? Enroll in a private school to remove more funds from the public system. Parents need to take more ownership as they should in the first place and not rely so much on the public school system to teach their kids so much...it is your responsiblity not the PUSD..just view them as a component of your childs learning program at best.


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Posted by disappointed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 11, 2012 at 9:38 pm

Many people don't depend on PUSD to educate their children in total -it's part of the process and they will learn, as you suggest, in many ways. Though some families do depend on school, and they will bear the brunt of this.

People are annoyed because this does not have to happen - there are no cost savings, it was communicated badly and we don't need this extra blow to education after class sizes have gone up.

Why do you think we should sit back and take it? Many societies and cultures take education very seriously - and that is why the US gov't is begging their students to come here to work as engineers etc.

Enrolling in private schools does not remove funds from the public system - you are still paying for it as you have your entire life. This generation is just getting a much worse education. Thanks.



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Posted by Shocked
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 11, 2012 at 9:40 pm

PUSD has never supported class size reduction for K-5 ever since it unified and joined with the high schools. Even when parents put a parcel tax on the ballot for $204 a year in March 1996 to reduce class size for K-5 classes, the District itself refused to endorse it.

Face it. Their priority is High School students, High School teams that go out and win awards, and High School people recognized for academic achievement. K-5 is way low on the totem pole, in spite of their lip service.


From Ed-data -
3/1996
Parcel Tax

K-5 small classes
$204/parcel for 5 yrs

45.6%
no

66.7%
yes


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Posted by Kate
a resident of Pleasanton Middle School
on Jun 12, 2012 at 1:49 pm

Did not read all the posts as so many are negative so am not sure if anyone brought to the attention of the group that K - 3 is just going back to the number of hours of instruction that are required by the State of California. Livermore has had this time split for a decade or longer, we have just been blessed here in Pleasanton that we could afford for the K - 3 children to spend the same amount of time in school as the 4 -5. Now, with less money the District has to make cuts and some are going to be the "extras" like the extra amount of time the K - 3 children were receiving.


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Posted by Shocked
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 12, 2012 at 1:56 pm

This was sent out. Hilarious how Ahmadi and Larson made Cindy Galbo-Lorimer send it out, when probably Galbo-Lorimer had no part in this plan at all. Email addresses to contact them to oppose this plan are pahmadi@pleasanton.k12.ca.us and the board members are Web Link Also hilarious that June 5 was never listed on the Board calendar as a Board meeting until a few minutes before the meeting.

For Immediate Release
June 12, 2012

Cindy Galbo-Lorimer, Assistant Superintendent
Pleasanton Unified School District


PUSD STAGGERED READING INFORMATION

Pleasanton, California- These are very challenging times for public
education. Due to the elimination of Class Size Reduction, the Pleasanton Unified School District will have class sizes of 30 students for grades one through three beginning in August. Prior to the implementation of CSR, students in grades one through three attended school on a staggered schedule with about half of the students coming early and leaving early and the other half coming later and leaving later to reduce class size during reading instruction.

The skills of reading and writing form the basis of all future learning. Learning to read is a highly personal, challenging and at times, difficult task. It is critical that all of our students learn how to read, write and think well in our global society. Research on reading tells us that teachers need to provide reading instruction in small, flexible, skill-based groups. A staggered reading schedule will allow for groups of 15 students rather than 30 students for a portion of daily reading instruction. A staggered reading schedule allows teachers to focus not only on students who are struggling to learn but also provides on-going opportunities for extension and enrichment for our high achieving students.

The decision to implement a staggered reading schedule was not made
lightly. The Governing Board met on June 5th to consider program
restorations that were made possible by employee group concessions. The restoration of Class Size Reduction was not possible because of the high cost of this program. As a result, staff worked with school principals and teachers to develop a plan to reduce class sizes for at least part of the day for reading instruction in grades one through three. The District notified parents of the change for next year as soon as we were able to so that parents and families can begin to plan. As we move forward, the District will be exploring supervision options for this fall.

Teachers and administrators agree that having 30 students in each
classroom in grades one through three presents challenges for effective teaching. Carving out 45 minutes per day four days per week (Monday, Tuesday, Thursday and Friday) is critical for high-quality reading instruction to take place. During these staggered blocks of time, students will get the personal attention and support they need in smaller groups for optimal reading and writing instruction.


# # #


___________________________________
Pleasanton Unified School District
4665 Bernal Avenue
Pleasanton, CA 94566-7495
Web Link
Phone: 925.462-5500


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Posted by Shocked
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 12, 2012 at 2:02 pm

The date June 5 was only added to the Calendar of board meetings here on June 5 right before the meeting Web Link

This document was not revised 5/22/12 like it says but 6/05/12 to add the June 5 board meeting right before it occurred.


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Posted by disappointed
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 12, 2012 at 2:25 pm

Cindy is retiring at the end of the month. Why can't the district have the letter actually written by someone who is going to be working here next year?

Donation money is now going on math workbooks. Donation time is now going on my kids.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 13, 2012 at 10:16 am

Yes Kate, that was mentioned. But no one wants to hear it. They only want to complain about "losing" time. Some people here have insinuated that PE, music, etc. are not worthy of being part of the school day. Let's be honest, for many people, the public school system is merely free child care. No one wants to lose any time - even if it simply means going *back* to what is supposed to be. I don't see the staggered schedule as having a goal of saving money - it's to give students a smaller class size while they learn reading. I know Dublin does this in at least one school.


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Posted by Shocked
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 13, 2012 at 1:26 pm

Having half the class sit in some sort of focused with the noise of half the class out in the playground waiting to come in for the day or the noise of school dismissal basically means for 45 minutes the kids will be sitting there with their heads looking out the windows at kids playing outside.


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Posted by Anonymous
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 14, 2012 at 12:05 pm

Shocked, you and many others have claimed similar scenarios. What do you base this on? If we follow your logic, some kids should NEVER be in school because I'm betting that the majority of them do what you suggest every day no matter what! What about when some of the school is at recess and others are inside...do you suggest there should be no recess? I bet you do! There are bells all day long! Oh no, a kid sneezed...maybe the whole class can't learn now because they are all distracted!

Guess what - PARENTS should keep their kids quiet while "waiting" to come inside. And teachers will have the class control and ability to get their kids to focus. If the kid can't focus...time to talk to the parent!

I like the idea of my kid having a portion of the day learning something challenging with only half the class present. If my kid can't focus with HALF the class there, I doubt s/he can focus with ALL of them there. And, I will expect the teacher to inform me if my child is having trouble paying attention, because then *I* will handle the situation with my kid and not expect the teacher to continue dealing with it!


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Posted by Shocked
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 14, 2012 at 12:34 pm

Guess what? The PUSD should not have a new schedule that puts the number of instruction minutes BELOW what the State requires for 1 to 3 grades, which is 50400 minutes.

Also, their 2011 PUSD audit report here Web Link on p.61 says:

Schedule of Instructional Time
------------------------------
This schedule presents information on the amount of instructional time offered by the District and whether the District complied with the provisions of Education Code Sections 46200 through 46206.
Districts must maintain their instructional minutes at either the 1982‐83 actual minutes or the 1986‐87 requirements, whichever is greater, as required by Education Code Section 46201. Then it has a table on p. 55.

There are 180 instructional days in a school year, which is 36 weeks of instruction.

The Laursen/Ahmadi plan is to have this staggered start/time 4 days a week. But in 2010 at all of the Forums that occurred Cindy Galbo and John Casey said this could happen at most 3 days a week. They were right. Does the new superintendent have a calculator? I guess not.

Maybe she should use one:

Monday 285
Tuesday 285
Wednesday 225 (Late start - kids arrive at 9:15, leave at 2:55)
Thursday 285
Friday 285
---
1365 minutes per week

36 X 1365 minutes per week = 49140 per year = 1260 Minutes short

So for the State minimums they are short 50400 - 49140 = 1260. Seriously, who is running this District that doesn't know the State mandated times for instruction?

And also the shortening of the instructional day violates the ED CODE requirements that are clearly spelled out in the Audit Report.

Clearly, PUSD has no idea what they are doing.


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Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 14, 2012 at 12:39 pm

Anonymous, I share some of the concerns posted, but would agree the best teachers will manage the students well enough. Where do you stand on knowing those 45 minutes will be taken out of other instruction? This isn't just losing the extra minutes previously added (minutes that were added, in part, because they were needed to meet higher expectations).


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Posted by Fuzzy Math
a resident of Downtown
on Jun 14, 2012 at 3:39 pm

From this Web Link they've LOST THE PLOT definitely. According to the quote, they don't even know what the current number of instructional minutes are. 56,030? It has never been that high for grades 1 through 3.

I did call the school on the last day and was put on hold while they looked for someone named Peg Green or Peggy Green or something like that. I don't even know who that is. Did she write the pink paper that appeared in the backpacks? Who is that?

I can't believe they put them in the manila homework folder on the last day of school. How crass.


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2012 at 5:53 pm

A multiple regression analysis, using taxpayer dollars as quotient, and 56,030 for the base along the vertical axis, would show without question that the pot has been lost. (Probably got swept away with leftover salad greens.)


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2012 at 9:32 pm

"A multiple regression analysis, using taxpayer dollars as quotient, and 56,030 for the base along the vertical axis, would show without question that the pot has been lost. (Probably got swept away with leftover salad greens.)"

Why don't you use your own name? Is it an inferiority complex you're dealing with?

What do you think about the cost of the teacher's retirement system doubling for the school district? How will that affect the budget/class room? Do you know? Adding an additional 16% to employee payroll will blow a big hole in the budget (that is an additional 16k for every 100k). Has the district even started planning for the inevitable cost increase? Answer: NO!


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2012 at 10:23 pm

Same reason you don't use yours. Nope, not mine, perhaps yours.

I think some residents of PUSD better start thinking about footing the bill for some excellent teachers. Additional revenue will affect the classroom positively. I'm pretty sure. Yes, I think they have, though it is difficult because what revenue stream will be 5 years from now is not known. There may in fact by that time be a surplus.

Have I answered your questions? Someone must've gotten swept away with the salad greens.

Major point: A big block of ice is going to fall; it will cause a tsunami; we'll be inundated; we can't survive the unsustainables without adding revenue. My namesake is too stupid or too cheap to even begin to think of doing so as obvious recourse.

ps You are not the only Arnold in this world, though your stupidity and penchant for making the identical point, day in and day out, is more than likely unmatched by any other Arnold in this world. Have you thought about building an ark?


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2012 at 11:05 pm

OK, but What do you think about the cost of the teacher's retirement system doubling for the school district? How will that affect the budget/class room? Do you know? Adding an additional 16% to employee payroll will blow a big hole in the budget (that is an additional 16k for every 100k). Has the district even started planning for the inevitable cost increase?

You still haven't addressed my question. Not interested in your opinion but I would be interested in the opinion of someone from the school board. Does the PUSD have a plan to address the DOUBLING of pension costs?


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Posted by Arnold
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Jun 14, 2012 at 11:16 pm

Cost of teacher's retirement system doesn't bother me. What bothers me is a billionaire contributing 10 million to a rightwing PAC that argues that teachers are making too much money. The hypocrisy of a fat casino owner doling out tens of millions to cut middle-class salaries, wages, pensions, jobs, bothers me a great deal; the stupidity of those who fail to recognize the hypocrisy simply boggles the mind.

In case I wasn't clear, it sounds like P-town residents will have to kick in some additional tax revenue until the economy comes around. It is a wealthy district. Crying 'poor mouth' is so much Republican claptrap. So kick in a few extra bucks ... Or you can continue to ask the same bone-headed, ideologically informed question that my namesake asked (disingenuously) while he pretends to build an ark.


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Posted by Shocked
a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Jun 14, 2012 at 11:30 pm

Actually what astounds me is that they could have retained the existing class sizes if they had implemented a step pay freeze like everyone else seems to have done on the Planet.

What also astounds me is the lack of apparent computational skills of the teachers and the management to not notice that for the March 2013 month posted here -

Web Link

- that there are actually 21, not 20 Total Instructional Days K-12 and that they have proposed a 181 day, not 180 day calendar and no one seems to have noticed.

Maybe what the real Arnold says about the salad greens and the pot is actually correct.


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Posted by Brain freeze
a resident of Canyon Meadows
on Jun 15, 2012 at 5:33 am

Pay freeze? You say everyone on the planet has had their pay frozen? I've checked, and this does not apply to Livermore, Dublin, San Ramon, or any other district In the Bay Area. Nor does it seem to apply to private industry jobs. I have to wonder, then, Shocked: which planet are you referring to?


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Posted by Tami
a resident of The Knolls
on Jun 15, 2012 at 7:38 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.


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