Change is Not always for the best Schools & Kids, posted by A voice unheard, a resident of another community, on Nov 18, 2009 at 10:12 am
So many changes in the last three years are causing divisiveness and inequity at our little school. Decision makers at Sunol school continue to make poor choices when it comes to spending funds and meeting the community's needs. Money that could be spent on educational supplies and salaries for quality tenured teachers and staff is frivolously spent on the unnecessary remodeling of the classrooms, unnecessary new furnishings for offices and classrooms, and class space used for a single person office, just to keep up appearances. Time and money spent moving and re-moving preschool and childcare from room to room are unnecessary expeditures. Each move requiring some form of remodel or upgrade to meet licensing requirements. Why not leave them were they were? In a perfect, approved and safe location. Administrators continue to award themselves raises while other employees remain stagnant. There are other less costly solutions. I was taught to make do with what you have until it really must be replaced. So what if all the tables and chairs don't match? The air of affluence is overestimated by reality of needs. Personal pride is getting in the way of quality education. Administrators who monopolize power and control rather than admit error in their decisions and refuse to correct those errors, cause poor moral and feelings of inequity on campus. Children suffer the consequences. The safety of students on campus after dark, in out of the way unlit areas, is dangerous and is compromised out of stubbornness to change or "give in". Our studentís safety is a priority to be considered. I donít want to have to face the consequences of injury to a child. Why are we in this business of education and nurturing if not to educate to the best of our ability with the resources that we have.Ē Why are we in this business if not to protect and properly supervise children in our care? This is not a competition to be won by power. This is a challenge to educate our children during difficult times to become future leaders and productive adults. Let's stop the petty issues of control and get back to the real task at hand. Let's take this journey together using all of our resources for the benefit of the children and forget the selfish pride. Let's conserve resources and plan before we take actions that will hurt our programs. Letís visit the consequences of proposed actions before we take them. Let's climb down off of self created pedestals and get to work. Until we do, our children will continue to suffer the cuts made to their educations.
Posted by Sunol Parent, a resident of another community, on Nov 19, 2009 at 9:23 am
I am so sorry you feel this way. My first question to you is... Why are your children attending Sunol Glen? If you are a resident you may apply for a transfer if you do not live in Sunol then you are more than welcome to move back to your own school district. I am not sure what world your head is in but I have had nothing but great experiences @ Sunol Glen. If you have a problem with the administeration than you should (in an adult manner) take it up with them. I have on many occasions discussed my opinion face to face with the administeration and found them more than willing to listen and discuss the issues. In my opinion (and please take a poll at the school) Sunol Glen is the best kept secret around. It is proof that money does not make a school great. It is the teachers and administeration that make a school GREAT!
Posted by Agreeing parent, a resident of the Foothill Farms neighborhood, on Nov 19, 2009 at 10:00 am
I completely agree with the first post. Our "best kept secret" school has very much changed in the last couple of years. I have been around long enough to see the dramatic change especially the last 3 years. Our administration is more concerened with petty things then what we SHOULD be concentrating on. THE CHILDREN. I have on many occasions gone to administration with my concerns and have been made to feel like I do not know what I am talking about or "brushed off". So I think the suggestion to go to administration with my concerns only works when it agrees with the way "they" want to run it. Now as far as the other post tht says we should go to another school if we are uncomfortable. How unfair? I live in this town and it is convienant for my child to attend this school, why should we have to leave because we have a difference of opinion? I am a concerned parent and I should be heard. I think all parents opinions should be heard. Not be told to go elsewhere. The main thing in this whole thing is that I feel the children are suffering. That is my main concern. Money is going to places that should be spent elsewhere. Our teachers are not being compensated like they should. Let's worry about the quality of our kids education. Let's worry less about the unnecessary improvements to the classrooms. I choose a great education. Sunol Glen School use to be that school. Let's get it back.
Posted by parent, a resident of the Foothill Farms neighborhood, on Nov 19, 2009 at 10:17 am
some children attend after school care in the very back of the school and personally it is creepy to have to walk back there after dark to pick them up! they use to be in the front, in a more accessible safe area until this year.
Posted by Kilkare parent, a resident of another community, on Nov 19, 2009 at 11:03 am
I never worry about my personal safety at Sunol Glen. Carry a big maglite flashlight if you are afraid. Works on dogs and coyotes too!
But seriously, you should take your concerns to the administration, or address the issues at school board meetings, and let them decide. Posting comments on a message board like this is not a way to solve problems.
Posted by Sunol Resident, a resident of another community, on Nov 19, 2009 at 1:15 pm
Sunol Glen is a wonderful school. Both my children attend and have been very successful in both academics and character. It is a small school with a big heart. I agree with "Sunol Parent" it is the "best kept secret" around.
Posted by Educated, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Nov 19, 2009 at 1:48 pm
I know people who work at Sunol Glen School and whose children have gone to school there, and they are very unhappy with the changes that have happened the last couple years. All I know is what I hear from them, but they are people I have the utmost respect for. Based of what they say, I wouldn't want my kids to go to the school as it is currently being run.
Posted by Thrilled, a resident of another community, on Nov 19, 2009 at 5:26 pm
I think Sunol Glen is a wonderful school. They have art, music, science, sports, and a progressive approach to teaching like multi-age classes. I've been on campus and witnessed a lot of smiling faces. It's like one giant family. Sometimes there's problems but what school doesn't have a few problems. They have a new Pricipal who seems very nice and has always gone out of her way to listen. I think that if your concerns are legitimate you should go talk to her. As far as raises go...we've got over 10% unemployment now with the state continuing to cut education to the point that schools are being closed. I think its an accomplishment that Sunol can keep its programs.
Posted by HappyToBe, a resident of the Another Pleasanton neighborhood neighborhood, on Nov 19, 2009 at 6:48 pm
It's ber unproductive and very tiresome to constantly complain. The best results are those that come from hard work, cooperation, and have the best interest of the children on the forefront. The administration and staff at Sunol Glen have this! Decisions are made to better the education of the children served and help them reach thier potential. The kids on campus are happy, full of life, and getting an azing education. Teachers go above and beyond within thier classrooms and with extra curricular offerings. The teachers are united and building bridges between classrooms and curriculum levels. Student achievement is rising.
Some of the posts mention unwliingness to change in one sentence and too many changes in the other. Reality is changes are being made and the children are benefitting. Just because you don't support those changes or were not involved in the conversation doesn't make it a bad decision. The happy children, teachers, and majority of the families do. It time to stop complaining and work together with your administration to add components that will further enhance the school and education of the kids. We can't go back, so move into the future with a better attitude.
Posted by Sunolian, a resident of another community, on Nov 19, 2009 at 9:01 pm
After having my children attend Sunol Glen for many years, I have seen changes in the past couple of years. When I have had a concern I have gone directly to the teacher, administrator, and Board meetings. My issues have always been resolved with the teachers. I can not say the same for the Board. When I have voiced concerns at Board meetings, My concerns have not been welcomed with open arms but rather resistance and ' put on a happy face' attitude. My concerns regarding my children are just as valid as anyone else's conerns. I have personally talked to Board members and have not felt true resolution to my conerns. I wish everyone would be heard equally as we are all here for the children.
Posted by Sunolian too, a resident of another community, on Nov 19, 2009 at 10:30 pm
My kids go to Sunol Glen too and it use to be a great school. Many parts of it are still wonderful. Art, music, field trips, fun learning experiences....but it lacks in leadership now. Administrators don't listen without patronizing false postures. They try to smooth over the issues brought before them with smiles and empty solutions. I have been the recipient of comments like those made by Sunol Parent to transfer out if I am not happy. Hey I wonder if you are really a board member?? Since enrollment is up and ADA is coming in who cares if we loose a few Students right? School board does nothing but support the Principal. Can you say puppets? I am glad a new board will be elected in November 2010!!!
Posted by memeber, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Nov 20, 2009 at 7:54 am
We need to go outside of Sunol and get a reality check. Our schools has so much more than the neighboring schools. I think people have been at Sunol Glen for so long they loose sight of how amazing our schools is. Pleasanton as well as Fremont, the teachers lost all preps, class sizes went up, etc. I just read that Fremont cut all teacher/parent conferences due to budget cuts. As someone who is on campus all the time, the kids are happy and thriving. This small school offers so much more than the text book education that even the top rated API schools provide. We are so blessed to have such an amazing school. We need to stop, regroup and realize how amazing our school is. It makes me sad for our amazing teachers who are working so hard and are so commited to our students. Sunol Glen students are so well-rounded and confident. Our teachers deserve praise. support and encouragment. It is a gem. Please take time to look at our students in class. Look and onserve before you judge. Spend our time supporting our staff and students, volunteer instead of writing hateful things.
Posted by Neil Davies, a resident of another community, on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:20 am
I am the publisher of the Sunolian. We welcome any and all comments. Address them to the editor: firstname.lastname@example.org or PO Box 69, Sunol, CA 94586. The rule is that your comment be respectful and limited to 250 words. I do not censor or control content of the paper and we do not publish anonymous letters. Also please include a way for the editor to get in touch with you so she can confirm that you are the author. Our next publish date is nearly here so get typing.
Posted by A concerned friend of Sunol students, a resident of the Parkside neighborhood, on Nov 20, 2009 at 11:27 am
I see the greatest changes happening in this school. The kids benefit from the great small school and happy environment that they feel when attending this school. The new staff in the last couple years has helped to improve the quality of education for the kids wonderfully. The love their teachers.
Posted by Former Sunol Parent, a resident of another community, on Nov 21, 2009 at 10:39 pm
We pulled our children from Sunol Glenn last year, amid severe conflict among administration, teachers, staff, Sunol Parents and transfer parents who make up 80% of the Sunol Glenn enrollment.
Interesting that the former administration prior to the new admin, was lazy and burnt out, had ongoing personal problems, didn't follow mandated procedures for hiring, wasn't in compliance with health and safety and a host of other compliance issues.
Interesting that a core group of teachers and staff that have consistently created the ongoing drama and dysfunction, low moral and hostility within the school and community are as follows:
A) A long time established Sunol family hailed by the community as the end all of stellar community involvement etc., who just happen to have, or have had FOUR family members on the payroll! Actually pretty old fashioned religious, IMO lazy and negative towards the children too! A family that happens to be, or happened to be a substantial chunk of the payroll budget and who the new admin, new teachers board members, were/are not really excited about retaining for justifiable reasons.
B)Crabby and negative long term office staff that had had carte blanche free reign under the old admin to run the school as they saw fit, based upon outdated and often questionable methods.
C)A retiring LONG tenured teacher that basically ran the school and staff "underground" behind the scenes for years!
D)A former teacher that that again the community hailed as stellar. who tried to strong arm the new admin into hiring a friend to JOB SHARE her class, a friend who did NOT pass clearances. This teacher held the admin hostage and finally gave notice, then tried to rescind, creating a very disruptive and hostel time of community conflict.
The dynamics at Sunol Glen when our children attended were dysfunctional at best. For the most part, community members insisted on running the school as if it were a private school, when in fact it is a public school and again was being run, way out of compliance under the former administration.
Posted by Another Happy Former Sunol Parent, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on Nov 24, 2009 at 10:23 am
I just submitted a post in response to the not so happy former parent. I forgot to enter a name, so hopefully it will be posted, as I took great time to address the negativity of the Nov. 21 post by the former Sunol parent.
Posted by Former Happy Sunol Parent, a resident of the Castlewood neighborhood, on Nov 25, 2009 at 8:39 am
I am a former Sunol parent not because we left, but because my children graduated from this wonderful little school. Each attended kindergarten to 8th grade and each had wonderful teachers, wonderful experiences, and received a fabulous education. I was a very involved parent at Sunol and now I am very involved at the high school level. So, let me offer a different perspective than that of the Nov. 21 posting.
As a very involved parent, I found the former administrator welcoming, pleasant, and hard working. She attended functions from beginning to end. I saw her at many Community Club meeting, Board meetings, Walkathons, middle school dances, Ladies Night Out, and social functions not directly related to school events. At school events, she was not only one of the first to arrive, but would be there with the cleanup crew doing her share. She was always the one to lock up after Board meetings and Community Club meetings. I understand it's a little different now. Custodians have to extend hours to lock up after Board meetings and Community Club meetings because the principal can't leave fast enough. Friends with children still attending Sunol never see her at dances, say she makes appearances at the Walkathons, and that she was a NO SHOW at this year's Ladies Night Out. Loud and boisterous doesn't connote presence. I'll take the reserved and demure nature of the last administrator any day.
It was mentioned that the last administrator didn't follow mandated procedures for hiring. Has anyone looked into how the current administrator got the job. The rumors are quite interesting. That aside, as far as the track record of the last administrator, let's just say she hired well, and if she didn't follow mandates, well then Pleasanton USD doesn't either as they have hired many of the Sunol's past teachers. One such teacher was instrumental in beginning the laptop program at the middle school, one teaches AP history at FHS and has one of the highest percentage rates of students passing the AP test, one is one of Pleasanton's Ecology Coaches. Two who were among the massive exodus due to the current administrator have yet to make their mark, but I'm sure we'll hear great things as this is only the beginning of their second year.
Regarding out of compliance with health and safety brings a current issue to mind. I understand the preschool is being moved (AGAIN) to where the office is (AND HAD BEEN FOREVER) and the office is being moved to where the preschool is (a classroom right across from the auditorium. How safe is it to put a preschool at the front of the school with no office as a buffer. What happened to STRANGER DANGER? Also what will be done with the beautiful, huge, radiator the current office still uses for heat. That can't possibly pass safety clearance for a preschool. Set aside health and safety. What about man hours and money. How many times has this preschool been moved? Why wasn't the classroom used as a classroom as it has been for the past few years and the preschool left where it was? What is this ridiculous move going to cost? Is this district rolling in money? If so, why are the teachers paid so little?
In regard to the STELLAR family that takes half of the payroll. Well, I bet if you added the paychecks of the three family members, they wouldn't equal the current administrator's salary and percs. This family I know personally and I can say first hand that I have never met harder working, more honest, more generous people. Yes, they are religious, but LAZY? I think not. In fact I think Mormon and lazy is an oxymoron. Old fashioned? Maybe, but I heard this year's upper grade costumes would compete with those seen on 19th street in Oakland. Negative toward children? I don't think so. My kids and their classmates love this family. Stern, consistent, fair consequences, are the words that I might choose.
"Crabby, negative, long term office staff. . ." Oh boy. You really hit a cord there. The long term office staff is probably the reason we decided to enroll. The ladies that greeted us were happy, jovial, and welcoming. The office during our time there was the hub of the school. It was a bright and cheerful place, full of laughter and excitement. It was a place you felt welcome and comfortable. These ladies were known as the "Sunshine" crew. They decorated the teachers' mailboxes in a different theme each month. They started Secret Pals, Secret Santas, Boo gift mysteries, spread spring sunshine treats, and set the happy tone that was Sunol. Their cheer was infectious. The staff room was always filled with treats. You would always meet another parent, teacher or staff member there wondering what delightful treats were in store for the day. I understand the term :Ghost Town" is now used in reference to the staff room.
A retiring long tenured teacher who ran the school from underground. Well, I know this teacher personally. My kids had her and she was probably one of the more quieter teachers on the staff. My kids worked very hard in her class as she held them to high standards. A more professional lady I have never met. While on the quiet side, her knowledge of subject matter was uncanny. In fact, her knowledge was uncanny. This lady knew so much about everything. But, I don't think the teachers on staff at that time were ones to be reckoned with. All were/are intelligent, worldly, high level thinking individuals. I don't think this one teacher was running the show.
The former teacher who tried to "strong" arm the current administration into hiring a friend who did not pass clearances. Well, this friend, happened to be a former teacher who had retired the previous year. According to the State Teachers Retirement System, this retired, multiply credentialed, trilingual, veteran teacher, could teach part time. My children had this teacher, and a finer teacher cannot be found. This woman was so smart, loving, and gifted, I felt like I learned so much when I volunteered in her classroom. She brought the world into her lessons, be it art, math, social studies, reading., whatever. She had a way of connecting her background and knowledge to everything she did. She had lived in South America, traveled the world as an airline stewardess in her younger days, taught in San Francisco, and raised a family while teaching at Sunol. I am thankful my children benefitted from her teachings before she retired. Now the story I hear is not that she didn't pass clearance, but that the current administrator bought allegiance from parents who wanted "younger" teachers. If given a choice, I would take an experienced, veteran teacher any day. Oh, and the stellar, former, teacher . . . well, she is currently tutoring many of the second/third grade students. So, if the test scores are good, it might be because this STELLAR teacher is tutoring those that the younger teachers can't figure out. My children also had this teacher and she prepared them well! I still have the hard bound books my children wrote/made in her class. First grade is an important grade and she was the perfect first grade teacher. She left no stone unturned.
So, dysfunctional? Not my experience nor that of my children's. They loved it from the get go. They had the best kindergarten experience ever. In fact I would compare notes with others in P-Town, and they couldn't believe what my kid's class was doing in kindergarten. Not only the academic program, but all the extras. I understand this teacher is still there and bravo for her. I know you won't find a harder working, more dedicated, Sunol loving individual. Again, my kids were lucky to have her. In fact I feel we were all lucky to find this little school.
I am sorry your experience was so negative, but rather than casting stones at the old, perhaps you should look at the common denominator to the recent problems. Ummm, that would be the current administration would it not? Three years? That's about how long she has been there. And, from the title of the lead article, I guess it has been one change right after another. Did you know that looking to change things just for the sake of change, is a sign of insecurity and negativity? Interesting, isn't it.
Posted by OK, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Nov 25, 2009 at 8:11 pm
Those "people and their children" are a BIG part of the ongoing problem and have continued to pit anyone, and any workable soultions AGAINST the good of the community! All under the fairytale of the "Sunol Family Of The Decade(s)" The Hawk ZEEEEZ
"Posted by Educated, a member of the Foothill High School community, on Nov 19, 2009 at 1:48 pm
I know people who work at Sunol Glen School and whose children have gone to school there, and they are very unhappy with the changes that have happened the last couple years. All I know is what I hear from them, but they are people I have the utmost respect for. Based of what they say, I wouldn't want my kids to go to the school as it is currently being run."
Posted by Former Sunol Parent, a resident of another community, on Nov 25, 2009 at 8:31 pm
Former Happy Sunol Parent,
Let me rebuttle the following for starters:
For starters there were four family members when when my children attended Sunol Glen as follows:
A Mainenatnce Man who walked around the school at about1/10th of a mile and hour. One who mixed maintenance with child/student related
tasks at any given time.
The Maitenance mans wife, and two daughters who ran the preschool and after school care. Although there were MANY concerns related to the afterschool care as evidenced by several surveys, NOTHING ever changed!
"In regard to the STELLAR family that takes half of the payroll. Well, I bet if you added the paychecks of the three family members, they wouldn't equal the current administrator's salary and percs. This family I know personally and I can say first hand that I have never met harder working, more honest, more generous people. Yes, they are religious, but LAZY? I think not. In fact I think Mormon and lazy is an oxymoron. Old fashioned? Maybe, but I heard this year's upper grade costumes would compete with those seen on 19th street in Oakland. Negative toward children? I don't think so. My kids and their classmates love this family. Stern, consistent, fair consequences, are the words that I might choose."
"Crabby, negative, long term office staff. . ." Oh boy. You really hit a cord there. The long term office staff is probably the reason we decided to enroll. The ladies that greeted us were happy, jovial, and welcoming. The office during our time there was the hub of the school. It was a bright and cheerful place, full of laughter and excitement. It was a place you felt welcome and comfortable. These ladies were known as the "Sunshine" crew. They decorated the teachers' mailboxes in a different theme each month. They started Secret Pals, Secret Santas, Boo gift mysteries, spread spring sunshine treats, and set the happy tone that was Sunol. Their cheer was infectious. The staff room was always filled with treats. You would always meet another parent, teacher or staff member there wondering what delightful treats were in store for the day. I understand the term :Ghost Town" is now used in reference to the staff room."
Posted by Former Sunol Parent, a resident of another community, on Nov 25, 2009 at 8:47 pm
Sorry, I hit the wrong key and that posted although I was not finished.
As I was saying, there were issues and some pretty major concerns with the child care situation, the entire three years our children attended Sunol Glen.
Our experience as follows:
Grumpy, short on patience and way too old fashioned style, NOT healthy for the children. She would most often be involved with some FAMILY oriented project, letters etc. and would YELL at the children constantly from across the room. Not Good! Obviously ZERO early childhood education in a LONG, LONG time, OR wasn't open to "non Mormon" principals in regard to what is considered healthy adult child interactions.
Although the more positive and outgoing of the bunch as a pre school teacher, she became a GHOST after becoming director. Always in that little office on the COMPUTER, perhaps surfing the world wide web?
I understand that Baby Bear is no longer working at Sunol Glen? She was when our children attended and I was appauled to she her constantly on the Internet on her personal lap top most often. A LOT of parents had a BIG problem with that.
So, that being said, POPULAR with the Sunol group? Heck yes as they DID in fact spend most every waking moment with Sunol children and related events and projects.
Does that mean that their style of interaction was in line with modern times and the needs of children as far a HEALTHY interaction with adults? That is what I and many other families had an issue with.
More tomorrow as I need to hit the HAY cowboys and cowgirls.
We didn't know the former Admin very well and my comment was based upon information related from MANY families we knew at Sunol Glen.
Perhaps they were wrong, or perhaps your children attended while she was at here prime?
Posted by a Happy Parent of Sunol, a resident of another community, on Nov 27, 2009 at 2:16 pm
This is absurd! If you have a problem with the school, then go take it up with the superintendent as I'm sure she will listen to what you have to stay. If you don't like the school and are an interdistrict transfer from I don't know FREMONT, then just leave the school.
Posted by Psych student, a resident of another community, on Dec 2, 2009 at 6:11 pm
Thank you all for participating in my thesis project! your demographics and bias' are interesting in this column. The results were as expected and only proved the point of my hypothesis. Your conversational comments and flow line graphs give a very valid picture of your insecurities and perceived self images. All in all, a great study!
Posted by Drusilla (aka)kawigurl, a resident of another community, on Dec 10, 2009 at 7:18 am
I am so proud of the happenings in "Sunol", the school and the town itself. The people that i have personally met and read about in the "Sunolian", are genuine and nice people.
I pass through the tiny town of, Sunol, often and observe a wonderful place that reminds me of a little bit of, heaven on earth.
It is sad to read that there are more critics that surround the obscurity of the genuineness of a hard working town and its people.
I can only say that, because, as a passerby, I have had the opportinity to see the garden, that the school was involved in creating. They did such a wonderful, job!!!!
Not to mention, the school is always clean, I mean morning, noon and night. Clean....Absolutely no litter... In Japan, they have a very strict law, of no littering...The streets are always clean, there.
If the critics of "Sunol", would be at the forefront of being on the frontlines of leadership in a productive way that benefits all...well, then, that is what we would say..."a positive step forward".....
Regardless of negative mistakes of the past.....when does change for the "better", come? It starts with making the positive step forward...with everyone's foot stepping forward.....
Anyway, I love, the tiny town that said: "she could and did", "Sunol"...
Keep going ...Hard working, people of "Sunol" ... that have drawn up a critics following, negative as it may be... KEEP GOING.....YOUR DOING SOMETHING RIGHT, BECAUSE I KNOW AND CAN SEE ALL OF YOUR HARD WORK PAYING OFF.....
by the way, "I am expecting to see way more positive things happening in the future of, your town."