News

PUSD summer intervention programs under review this week

Board of Trustees will also hear update on annual district budget

The Pleasanton Unified School District Board of Trustees is set to take a look at progress and updates from the district’s recent summer school programs at its meeting Tuesday night.

Enrichment courses and intervention programs offered this past summer at Amador Valley High, Walnut Grove Elementary and the Harvest Park preschool center will be reviewed as part of a staff presentation that evening.

The district's intervention summer school is an invite-only program modeled after traditional summer school but meant for students who are struggling academically.

Noted highlights include a total of 938 pre K-12 students in intervention summer school this year, and evidence that “students continued their growth of important skills” in the same program, according to the staff report.

Teachers “noted that a majority of students were properly placed” this summer, which staff called “an improvement over prior years,” and that all grade levels exhibited “continued positive behavior.”

Students in the intervention program gave their own feedback as well. Some “noted improvement needed in the area of technology, teacher training, and academic integrity.”

Staff reported that they “continue to see an over-representation of students who identify as male in our intervention summer programs,” with males making up about 60% of participants in this year’s program. As a counteraction, “collaboration with school sites and data collection will take place over the 19-20 school year in an effort to better understand the potential causes and to gain insight into instructional and behavioral support strategies that will interrupt the pattern.”

More than 600 high school students “successfully completed” credit recovery or grade replacement courses through a “blended format” of online learning and subject area-credentialed instructors. The average grade for all courses was 76% or a C, according to the report.

Since 2016, 42% of students in grades K-8 were enrolled in summer school for at least two of those four years. Another third were enrolled in three of the past four years, and 15% had attended every single year during that time with the exception of students in Extended School Year.

Students took advantage of the district’s 14 enrichment classes this summer including algebra readiness, graphic design, video production, culinary arts and STEAM courses.

Several areas for improvement that staff will focus on over the coming year include planning to “work with site leadership and intervention specialists to clarify intervention pathways” and “continue to coordinate wrap-around services for our most vulnerable students.”

The intervention summer programs budget was approximately $542,877. Funding came from the PUSD general fund, Local Control and Accountability Plan, Title I, special education, fees and donations.

Tuesday night's meeting is set to start at 7 p.m. inside the PUSD board room, 4665 Bernal Ave.

In other business

The board will also hear a report Tuesday night on the district’s unaudited actuals, which include PUSD’s actual revenues, expenditures and fund balances for the school year.

Under state law, the district is required to annually submit those statements to both the California Department of Education and the Alameda County Office of Education. A few “key changes in the unaudited actuals since the estimated actuals that were presented at the 2019-20 budget adoption” will be highlighted in the staff presentation.

The district’s general fund ending balance for fiscal year 2018-19 is $26,417,508, according to public documents. Of that total, $11,016,568 is “unassigned/unappropriated” and $4,980,140 is designated “other assignments.”

More than $5 million-plus is accounted for legally restricted balances, which are unspent balances of specific types of entitlements such as state categorical funds and local contributions from the Parent Teacher Association and Parent Faculty Club. Another $211,612 consists of revolving cash, prepaid expenditures and stores inventory.

The district’s 3% economic uncertainties reserve is currently resting at $5,186,245; their goal is to eventually achieve a 9% reserve. That number could rise to 4.3%, should the Trustees direct the district to contribute up to 20% of the unassigned ending balance. For this year, that would add another $2.2 million to the reserve, for a total balance of $7.4 million.

Meanwhile, PUSD’s cafeteria fund “continues to be self-sustaining with no contributions from the general fund,” while the deferred maintenance fund used about $800,000 in expenditures and the district bond fund had $7.3 million in expenditures. The current cost of classroom compensation for the 2018-19 school year is 63.92% of total expenditures.

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Comments

2 people like this
Posted by Targeted remediation?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 9, 2019 at 10:58 am

Did Alberto Solorzano resign from Amador and go to Sonoma Valley High because of concerns about the new system of 3 day "miracle courses" in summer school that are being foist upon the students in this District?

How does an "A" suddenly appear on a transcript after completing a course with a laboratory component in just 3 days that actually takes two semesters during the regular school year? And are these courses actually a-g approved courses?

I don't know what to make of all of those notes that appeared on Nextdoor in Pleasanton this summer during June with multiple parents saying that after one or two days or three days of summer school, their children were suddenly released from class with a great grade.

If you have a D or a failing grade in a class during the regular school year, particularly in a lab science like Biology, how in the world can you suddenly in one day and 45 minutes on the second day in summer school, somehow come out with an A?

Another parent said their son finished another course in 3 days. Yet another said a complete Biology class was over in 3 days and that the child also received an A.

How can an entire lab science (and the UCs and CSUs do require the labs for it to count) in Biology or Chemistry or Physics be done in 3 days?

Some parents were told the targeted curriculum was streamlined which resulted in children's early exit or that there was "targeted remediation." But credit recovery on-line software like Odysseyware does not work like that at all. A semester of a course means 80 units need to be completed for that one semester of work.

One parent claimed that Dublin high and Livermore high schools have proper summer schools and that Pleasanton USD parents should be very concerned.

I have an awful feeling that this could be yet another example of what we have heard about happening in Oakland that has resulted in principals leaving. According to some reports, the summer school grades were 'fixed' in order to increase graduation rates when in fact the students never actually passed the course.

I seriously doubt that principals that had integrity would want to be in a situation like this where they know the education of their students is being compromised through such sleight of hand.


2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Sep 9, 2019 at 11:06 am

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Sadly, summer school is a sham at the high school level. Students go for a few hours a day; there are no labs. They take several quizzes on a computer and then a “final”. There is no “teaching”; more like babysitting and proctoring. It’s go at your own pace and you can finish a semester in what amounts to as little as 12 hours. We should be very embarrassed. And yes, you can go from a failing grade to an A.


2 people like this
Posted by Targeted remediation?
a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Sep 9, 2019 at 12:19 pm

That is interesting that you refer to them as a "sham." When I look at the a-g course list, it looks like that PUSD has failed to disclose these digital/online courses for sciences are being given to students to the UC/CSU system. I wonder how they are able to maintain their WASC certification through this practice?

When I look at the Amador Valley course list approved by the UCs and CSUs, I see that the manager of this list at PUSD is this person:

Course List Manager
Ken Rocha
(925) 426-4330
krocha@pleasantonusd.net

When I click on the Course List button and scroll down to D which is the Laboratory Science section, I see only Classroom-based classes and absolutely NO online courses. When I search for Foothill, I see the same thing - - - Course List Manager is someone named Ken Rocha and there are NO online courses for Laboratory Science D section classes.

Here is the AV list: Web Link

and the FHS list: Web Link

So are the students being given A's for invalid courses that aren't UC/CSU approved?

Or are the students being given A's for the UC/CSU classroom-based courses so that the District is misrepresenting the grade as an A on a transcript for a class they never received a grade in (but in reality, instead received an A on a 3-day online class not listed on the a-g approved course list)?


2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Sep 9, 2019 at 2:00 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Ken Rocha works at the DO as the director of secondary education. So he oversees 6-12. A couple things that should be pointed out. Rocha’s Boss was Odie Douglas (now retired). The summer school courses were held at one of the high schools (usually Amador). There were two 2 week sessions—one for each semester (or for two different courses). The computers were at the school, in the classrooms. I doubt summer school is part of WASC accreditation process. It’s a great question.

I’m not sure if this was a collaborative idea, Douglas’s, or Haglund’s. That it continues under Haglund makes him part of the problem too.

Contacting board members with what you are pointing out will help, unless you go to the meeting to speak.


2 people like this
Posted by parent
a resident of Amador Valley High School
on Sep 9, 2019 at 3:08 pm

Complete an entire two semester course in 3 days? This sounds completely wrong.

This web description for High School Credit Recovery & Grade Replacement from the PUSD website is here Web Link and seems to state the following:

"In addition to this teacher, students will be enrolled in an A-G (when appropriate) approved online course with a credentialed teacher overseeing that portion of the class."

Also it has sentence fragments in the text; therefore, I am not sure if the description of this program was even written by an actual teacher. For example, it says this:

"Meaning that they are intended to remediate gaps in skills and understanding for students who have at least once attempted to earn credits in a course and were unable to do so."

But if you look at the UC/CSU a-g list from Ken Rocha, there is no A-G approved online course for Biology.

It seems that other districts such as Tulsa OK engage in this type of credit recovery fraud to boost statistics on graduation rates. In this article, this discusses a credit-recover program where students earn "an entire semester's worth of credit for a class in one single day..." the purpose was to game the system and get around the system. See the full article here Web Link

Would replacing a certified teacher's grade with an uncertified and unapproved on-line credit recovery program that is done in 2-3 days that is not UC/CSU approved be considered transcript fraud?

Maybe this was what the original investigation by the District should have been about....changing a D or an F to an A based upon a one to three day quick-fire course with little to no content.

Would replacing a certified teacher's grade with an unapproved on-line credit recovery program that is done in 2-3 days be considered transcript fraud?


2 people like this
Posted by Kathleen Ruegsegger
a resident of Vintage Hills
on Sep 9, 2019 at 3:43 pm

Kathleen Ruegsegger is a registered user.

Just a quick clarification, that it is two weeks. It's just a lot of the students finish in a few days and are allowed to then call the class completed (after passing a final). And it is a teacher, in a classroom. As far as I know, these are not done at home.


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