Pleasanton school board adopts new curriculum for students with dyslexia

Adult ed, deferred maintenance also discussed at regular meeting Tuesday

Pleasanton school board trustees approved new curriculum for students with dyslexia and other reading difficulties at their regular meeting Tuesday night.

The curriculum adoption followed a second presentation and discussion on the subject, as administrators brought the proposal back for a second reading after trustees provided input at the Oct. 10 meeting.

At the last meeting, district officials gave a presentation on the Wilson, Fundations and Just Words reading and spelling programs that would be used primarily by resource specialists for elementary and middle school students with dyslexia, phonological processing deficits and other reading challenges.

In a board memo, they recommended that the board approve the adoption of these supplemental instructional materials while they await specific new guidelines from the state that would be implemented next school year.

The new guidelines stem from the passage of AB 1369 last fall, which requires the Superintendent of Public Instruction to develop program protocol and educational services for students with dyslexia.

Following a discussion among trustees and district staff as well as comments from parents at its last meeting, the decision was made to bring the proposal back after further review by administrators.

On Tuesday night, board members heard a recommendation that the new materials be implemented in two phases.

In the first phase, the district will provide Wilson instructional materials as one of the options for general and special education students based on assessment and screening results. It would also pilot Orton-Gillingham based programs in student groups, administrators said.

Phase 1 will also consist of staff training, instructional coaching, student screening and progress monitoring.

Phase 2 will include further review of research-based intervention programs and additional supplemental curriculum proposals brought to the board.

“We still have things to do,” said Odie Douglas, PUSD Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services. “We want to make sure we meet the needs of all our children.”

Before approving the new curriculum, board members thanked the parents who spoke during public comment about their struggles accessing services for their child in the district.

“I am personally sorry for what’s happened to any child who didn’t get the services they needed,” trustee Valerie Arkin said. “I hope this is the start of something much better for our district.”

In other business

* Trustees heard a report from Beth Cutter, Pleasanton Unified School District's assistant director of adult and career education, on the department's current and future workshop offerings.

One such offering is the upcoming Community Education Series, a collaboration between Pleasanton Adult & Career Education (PACE), the City of Pleasanton, Parent-Teacher Association Council and Pleasanton Partnerships in Education.

The series will feature various workshops, film events and guest speakers including a special event with keynote speaker Julie Lythcott-Haims, author of “How to Raise an Adult,” on Feb. 4 at Hart Middle School.

That event will include breakout sessions on topics such as homework and finding the right college, Cutter said.

Other initial offerings have included English as a Second Language School Literacy for Parents/Guardians and Google Apps for Parents/Guardians. Future workshops will focus on parenting skills and informational sessions for families with children and adults with disabilities.

* The board also heard about deferred maintenance projects completed and planned at Harvest Park Middle School, Hart Middle School, Amador Valley High School, Foothill High School, and Mohr Elementary School.

In April, the board approved an agreement for various summer deferred maintenance projects including asphalt replacement at Harvest Park and removal and installation of flooring in the small gym at Foothill and in the multi-purpose rooms at Hart Middle and Mohr Elementary.

The $233,000 Harvest Park paving project has been completed, along with updates to the boys’ locker room restroom at Amador Valley High School.

The flooring projects at Mohr, Hart and Foothill are still to come. Administration plans to bring proposed construction contracts to the next meeting for the board’s consideration, PUSD Deputy Superintendent of Business Services Micaela Ochoa said.

* Trustees also approved a resolution for the release/non-reelection of an unnamed temporary certificated employee.

Under current education code, the board of trustees must take action to release a temporary employee who has been employed in a position requiring certification according to a board memo.

* The board recognized the Hart Middle School Swing Dance finalists at the start of open session.

* In closed session, the board voted 4-0 on a settlement agreement for $7,040 in unspecified educational expenses through the 2017-18 school year. Trustee Chris Grant was traveling and had to miss the meeting.

* The next board meeting has been moved to Wednesday, Nov. 9 due to Election Day.

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9 people like this
Posted by LP
a resident of Kottinger Ranch
on Oct 27, 2016 at 11:56 am

This is a long overdue step from the school board. Perhaps they will some day tackle ADHD. Some teacher instruction would be fantastic and is overdue.

From a parent of a severe ADHD child

10 people like this
Posted by Stu Shader
a resident of Birdland
on Oct 27, 2016 at 12:26 pm

Wow - Its about time. For those of you who don't know the previous Board had killed the dyslexic program within the schools and along with the former superintendent. Both groups were extremely nearsighted and derelict in their duty to help all children.

To be fair - this is now a mandated "law" passed by the state of California, so Pleasanton is fortunate and can get an early start.

But SHAME on some of the current and former school board members for NOT SUPORTING 20% OF THOSE STUDENTS WHO NEEDED HELP! YES - 20% of the population has some form of Learning Disability and or ADD/Dyslexia. They were focused on the students scores and AP classes and everything BUT LD students. What a real shame. (BTW - Valerie is one of the exceptions, but she couldn't gain support by the rest).

Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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