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Fremont Unified School District Board meeting report
By Miriam G. Mazliach
October 23, 2012
The following are highlights from the Fremont Unified School District (FUSD) Board meeting held October 10, 2012.
FUSD Superintendent Dr. James Morris remarked that Reader’s Digest has named Fremont as the “The Third Smartest City in America,” based on the low number of smokers and the high number of creative thinkers -- one out of every hundred residents has received patents for inventions.
The Superintendent has recently launched a taped weekly cable television series “Community Conversations,” focusing on timely educational topics of interest to district students, staff and parents. The show has begun airing on Monday evenings, 7 p.m. – 7:30 p.m. on cable, Comcast channel 26. Each episode will feature two story segments, in a talk format, with the Superintendent and volunteer host KK Kaneshiro interviewing and interacting with guests.
Dr. Morris adds, “The October 29 episode will feature a team from Hopkins Junior High talking about their National Blue Ribbon award and journey to excellence as well as a second segment on what parents need to know about California Treasures (our new elementary English Language Arts program).”
Eventually, the hope is for the show to be done live, so that community members could participate by calling in their questions or comments.
The new Director of Child Nutrition Services, Elsie Szeto, was introduced by Dr. Morris who described her as “innovative and someone who works collaboratively with others.” Szeto, a Fremont resident, is a registered dietician with a proven track record of over 21 years of working with various Bay Area school districts.
Oral Communications/Public Comments:
Brannin Dorsey, a district teacher and President of FUDTA (Fremont Unified District Teachers Association), asked the Board to update its policy regarding lice. Parents need more information on how to deal with these outbreaks, such as the recent ones with students at Parkmont and Niles elementary schools.
Dorsey additionally commented that Robertson High School has a high ratio of administrators -three - although it has a much lower number of students enrolled in relation to other schools in the district. “Other schools,” she stated, “have 800 students to only one administrator.”
Later, Dorsey became emotional when talking about bullying and the importance of training teachers and staff on how to deal at a deeper level to address the issue. Pointedly, she also discussed what she felt were bullying tactics by “unnamed” principals toward teachers and challenged the Superintendent to “do something about it.”
Agenda Item -- Anti-Bullying Poster and Song Contest:
The winning students of FUSD’s Anti-Bullying contest were introduced by Director of Pupil Services, Rickey Jones. The entries were in two categories: the creation of a poster or an original song. Over 746 student posters were submitted and 47 musical works were received.
During the meeting, the winning students showcased their artwork or sang their songs to the appreciative audience in attendance. Here are the awardees:
Elementary school level -- “We Can Change the World,” by Eden Mercado, 5th grade, Mattos Elementary.
Secondary school level -- “Dreams,” by Felix Nganga, 11th grade, Robertson High.
Elementary school level -- Arezo “Tina” Ahmadi, 5th grade, Ardenwood Elementary.
There were two winning poster selections at the Secondary school level:
1.) Suraj Shah, 7th grade, Horner Jr. High.
2.) The team of Kristin Moyer and Shane Keenan, 12th graders from Mission San Jose High.
Each student received a certificate and a $100 award donated through an E-Way grant from the Silicon Valley Community Foundation.
Accordingly, the District has duplicated the posters for display, throughout the month of October (National Bullying Prevention Month), in every FUSD classroom and at the District Office. The winning songs and posters will also be posted on the FUSD website.
Agenda Item – Customer Satisfaction Survey:
Superintendent Morris reported on the preliminary results from the district-wide survey implemented this past spring to obtain the community’s suggestions on how well the school district is doing in various areas and any challenges that need to be addressed. Of the 19,000 surveys received, approximately 10,000 were from secondary school students, 6,000 from elementary school students and 1,100 respondents were teachers. The remainder included parents and community members.
The Superintendent’s staff, according to Dr. Morris, will review the information further and finalize the data, school by school. They will compile the 200 pages of comments, guide the data for more conversation, share it and plan for future implementation.