Thursday, March 26, 2015

Another charter proposal, scheduling changes for middle schools, and more at MPUSD

If you missed Tuesday's regular meeting of the trustees for the Monterey Peninsula Unified School District, you missed a good one. A lot of changes taking place, and it's hard to keep track. I may get to write stories about these later, but in case some other stuff yanks my chain. Like parents at La Mesa or thereabouts....

Darrick Jory, a 2014 graduate of Monterey High, presented a proposal to open a charter school at the district. It's called the Keystone Academy, and it would focus on technical education, the type that Jory insists his peers can't get at Monterey High.

I'm fascinated by Jory and his efforts. The district's not been very eager to accept charter proposals, but it's too early to say whether Jory's has any merit. And even though I've seen my share of proposals, I'm hardly an expert so I don't know how solid his is. If you want to take a look and give me feedback, here it is for your pleasure.


Remember the $2 million cost over run to fix the heating system at Seaside High? Well, trustees and other interested parties remember it well. And during Tuesday's meeting, they hired a contractor to coordinate all the maintenance work that needs to get done over the summer, namely repairs on carpets, ceilings, playgrounds, windows, and any other item that needs to get done in the district's 18 schools.

CM Construction Services of Carmel will charge $230,000 to coordinate the work, which is expected to last through August 31. Who knows, if district officials find the agreement to their liking, they may continue using a contractor in the future.

Trustee Tom Jennings captured the sentiment well: "Not to cast doubt on past saff members, but we tried to do this in house and it has not worked out so well. Let's give it a shot for the summer projects, it may be the better way for our district to go forward. It may work beyond summer project."


District administrators are exploring the idea of changing the eight-period day at the middle schools to a six-period day. The idea of having more periods during the day was to give students an opportunity to have more electives, but that never materialized, district officials said. The six period day would give students the same amount of instruction but with fewer transitions from class to class.

The idea of reverting back to days with fewer periods has been floating around for a while, namely because it's supposed to be more economical -- fewer classes, fewer teachers, lesser costs.

The district is still in exploration mode, but there appears to be curiosity and some buy in from teachers so far, said Allyson Schweifler, president of the Monterey Bay Teachers Association.

"Overall, based on conversations I've heard, people are amenable to the change. They're a little worried but if done right, it should be fine," Schweifler said. "Having teachers be part of the conversation helps alleviate some of those worries."

And there's more changes coming, with the district moving away from math classes such as Algebra I, Trigonometry and the likes and shifting to "Integrated math" which brings together those pesky concepts in a more cohesive way. It was about time!

And... stay tuned...

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