Committee being created to look at Pleasanton schools 2017 calendar

School board seeks parents who are 'open minded' to help make decisions

The Pleasanton school board heard a report from district staff about the process and timeline for the 2016-17 calendar during Tuesday night's board meeting.

Bill Faraghan, assistant superintendent of Human Resources, presented information about the stakeholder calendar committee, proposed calendar committee meeting dates and a timeline.

Staff reports said the committee will be made up of three teachers (elementary/middle/high school), three parents (elementary/middle/high school), two classified staff, three principals or site administrators (elementary/middle/high school), three students (one from each high school), one Curriculum Department administrator, one classified administrator, one Association of Pleasanton Teachers (APT) representative, and one California School Employees Association (CSEA) representative. Faraghan will be the facilitator.

However, trustee Jamie Hintzke addressed that there were more staff members than parents on the committee, requesting there should be more parent committee members.

Trustees Valerie Arkin and Joan Laursen, as well as Pleasanton schools superintendent Parvin Ahmadi, agreed with the request.

According to Faraghan, a notice will be sent out to all parents informing them how to apply for the calendar committee.

Hintzke suggested that the school board members be the ones to look at the applications and decide what parents be a part of the committee.

Laursen added: "We don't want parents that are set on their advocacy with the calendar. We want them open-minded."

The anticipated calendar process time-line includes discussing and developing a survey, which would be sent out to staff, parents and students in June or September. In addition, the 2016-17 calendar will be brought to the school board for approval sometime in December or January.

In other business:

* The school board discussed the proposal for a STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, mathematics) Preschool at the school district's Bernal site.

Staff reports said some of the benefits of a STEAM preschool include overall academic achievement and school success, less grade repetition and special education, and increased high school graduation rates.

"The STEAM Preschool would provide a daily environment that is rich in opportunities for the young child to explore and experience a variety of STEAM activities," the report added.

According to Kids Club program director Traci Peterson, the goal of the program would be to have an enrollment of 48 students (24 per room), with a total capacity of 52.

The STEAM Preschool would be open to children 3 to 4 years old, and from any city.

It would be staffed with one lead supervisor, four full-time STEAM teachers and two teacher's aides.

Peterson said the district would form a preschool committee that would help form objectives for the general goals of the preschool, such as meeting young children where they are -- enabling children to reach goals that are developmentally appropriate, challenging, achievable, and responsive to social and cultural contexts.

In addition, Peterson said staff hope to have the preschool open around June.

"Depending on approval and the process, we'll do our best," she said.

* During the community comment session of Tuesday's meeting, two people spoke in response to the guest opinion piece calling for Ahmadi's resignation, authored by parent Bruce Henry and published by the Pleasanton Weekly on March 13.

Susana Lopez-Krulevitch and Arnaldo Avalos commended Ahmadi for her work in the school district.

"We cannot let the voices of a disgruntled few drown out the work that has been done on behalf of our children," said Lopez-Krulevitch. "I stand in support of Superintendent Ahmadi, and I have others who are here in support and stand with her, and ask you to do the same."

Both Lopez-Krulevitch's and Avalos's comments were followed by rows of community members standing in support of Ahmadi.

*The school board recognized Pleasanton Middle School student Isabella Guevara for winning the California Association for Bilingual Education's Writing Award.

* Sarah Wolverton was unanimously appointed by board trustees as the senior director for Special Education Local Plan Area (SELPA).

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