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November 2, 2010 > Sunol Glen School Board meeting review

Sunol Glen School Board meeting review

By Alyson Whitaker

The October Sunol Glen School Board meeting was held on Tuesday, October 19.

The meeting kicked off with a brief presentation by Eric Nicholas, a naturalist from the City of Pleasanton. He was there to introduce himself and offer a collaboration between the City of Pleasanton and Sunol Glen for students to be able to participate in the Nature Program. Eric works primarily at Alviso Adobe Community Park and runs multiple programs to educate children and families on botany, habitats, agriculture, and land use, along with natural and cultural history. Sunol Glen has a school garden and outdoor classroom, and the hope is that a program can be developed to include both on-site outdoor education coupled with field trips to Alviso Adobe Park.

The school board has been in the process of updating the School Facilities Use policy. Board member Don Ball polled neighboring districts on their Facilities Use applications and presented the various fee schedules and policies. The Sunol Glen board is working to establish clearer guidelines and a fee structure for all groups who utilize the school facilities as a meeting place. The board plans to allow use of facilities at no charge to all Sunolians, providing they have sufficient liability insurance. California Education Code states that the insurance requirement for groups using the facilities cannot be waived. A new policy will be presented for comment and review at a future board meeting.

Sunol resident Judy Bettencourt brought up the possibility of adding an Adult Education program to the school. This would allow the school to offer exercise classes, art, or other areas of interest to residents in off-school hours, and the school insurance policy would be sufficient to cover the usage of facilities. Like many other city adult education programs, enrollment fees could be assessed on a resident/non-resident basis.

School administration and the board have been working to increase the after-school enrichment programs offered at the school. Currently, Science Club, Spanish, Young Rembrandts art program, and ASL (American Sign Language) meet on a regular basis. Other programs like a drama club, Lego club, along with others have been proposed and may be added if student interest and staff support are sufficient. Most of the after-school programs are fee-based. A question was asked about the availability of financial assistance for those students who might be interested but not have the resources to enroll. Principal/Superintendent Molleen Barnes indicated that families with that concern should contact her for information.

In an effort to meet the standards set in the "No Child Left Behind" campaign, staff members have been working to evaluate every student in grades two through eight. Using the "Read Naturally" assessment guidelines, students have been evaluated and those needing additional assistance and resources have been identified.

A representative from the Community Club (Sunol's Parent/Teacher group) updated the board on membership and fundraising efforts. Membership in the Community Club has doubled in the last two years. The membership drive brought in over $6,300, four times as much as two years ago, and almost double the amount raised last year. This year, a two-hour Volunteer Challenge was issued to parents, encouraging them to pledge two hours of volunteer time to Community Club events or activities.

The Sunol Glen Walkathon raised just over $12,000. The Community Club will be holding its budget committee meeting in the next few weeks to establish the spending priorities for this year, and will present the budget to membership at the November 9 Community Club general meeting.

Principal/Superintendent Molleen Barnes stated that school enrollment is strong. The average class size is 26:1, though all classes in grades K-3 are at 23 or less to one. The fifth and sixth grades are the largest classes, with just over 30 students in each. Support is being offered to these two teachers through a part-time educational aide.

Superintendent Barnes is a member of the Superintendents Group for Alameda County, and as a group, they are looking at ways to meet all the needs of so many different students. Intelligence comes in many forms, and with budget cuts, many schools have had to cut way back on programs aimed at broadening the education available. She will participate in a forum on November 12 focusing on this issue, and will present back at the next board meeting.

The next board meeting will be held on Tuesday, November 16.

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