Scripps Ranch Schools Committee (SRSC)

Area Superintendent’s Report

At the November meeting Area 2 superintendent David Lorden reported on the Math Task Force established to increase proficiency in our area. The task force has developed a survey for middle and high school students to determine their thoughts about how and what they learn in math. Also, the district is evaluating a web-based professional development program for teachers.

Dr. Lorden was questioned as to why SRHS’ new math proficiency target this year is an improvement of 5% rather than the usual 3%. He explained that all schools are being asked to make more ambitious goals, even as much as 12%, since all schools in the district are well below desired levels.

Dr. Lorden introduced Diana Grijalva, who will be Jerabek Elementary School’s interim principal during Paul Gilroy’s medical leave of absence. Ms. Grijalva summarized her experience as a teacher in the district, then vice principal at Baker Elementary School, principal at North Park and Burbank elementary schools, and most recently working in the office of Dr. Nellie Meyer, assistant superintendent of academics.

Dr. Lorden shared that principal Ann Menna was an invited speaker at a recent Board of Education meeting to share practices that helped realize significant student growth at SRHS. He also outlined a new principal evaluation tool based on growth that the district is evaluating for possible purchase. The tool is very thorough, with many questions and a rubric that helps principals self-assess their effectiveness in 21 identified behaviors of effective principals.

A question was posed as to whether the funds from Prop Z, the local school bond measure that passed in November, could be used for projects that were slated to be completed with Prop S funds. Those projects have not begun due to the inability to issue more Prop S bonds because of lower than expected property values. Dr. Lorden recommended that the committee invite Lee Dulgeroff, executive director of facilities planning and construction, to our next meeting to answer questions regarding construction projects at Scripps Ranch schools and throughout the district.

Other Reports

The principals updated the committee on goings-on at their schools. Innovations Academy director Christine Kuglen spoke on behalf of her charter school. She was concerned about parents and community members relating incorrect stories and negative information about the school. She encouraged people to contact her or visit the campus.

She stressed the difference between Innovations Academy and the mainstream public schools in the community, particularly her sentiment that the latter focused needlessly on standardized test results. She indicated that currently only 84 of the 340 students are from Scripps Ranch, so Innovations Academy should be viewed as offering an alternative to–not competing with–area schools.

Tamara Hurley reported on the impacts of Prop 30. Its passage saved San Diego Unified School District (SDUSD) schools from losing 14 more instructional days this year. However, until the state economy improves, much of the up to $6 billion generated annually by Prop 30 is expected to go toward education in the form of debt reduction rather than new funding.

Since current education funding is essentially the same as in 2005-2006, it remains to be seen how SDUSD will address an anticipated $80 million deficit in 2013-2014. The SDUSD budget situation will become more clear after the governor’s budget proposal is released in January, but the district was required to submit an interim report, with possible reductions to remain solvent, in December. The SDUSD Board voted to retain nursing, counseling, school police, and Visual and Performing Arts at current levels through this budget process.

Ultimately, many factors will figure into the actual 2013-2014 funding, including the state’s economy, the governor’s budget proposal, and how it distributes the revenue from Prop 30.

Bob Cavanagh spoke on behalf of SRCA Recognition Night, which honors community volunteers. He believes that one of the most active body of volunteers is in the schools, and he would like these people to be acknowledged at the Recognition Night ceremony. He asked parents, principals, and parent group leaders to nominate adult volunteers to be recognized at this event, focusing on those who have not been recognized in the past. He also would like to recognize student volunteers at their school sites.

Next Meeting

The next SRSC meeting is on Wednesday, Jan. 16, from 4:30 to 6 pm in the Scripps Ranch Library’s seminar room. For questions, email co-chair Lorelle Mudd at [[email protected]].

Tamara Hurley, SRSC Legislative Analyst