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Does the District have 45 minimum days on its calendar? If so, why?

In the 2012-2013 school year, the District has 46 days where students in the elementary grades are released early from school. There are 13 true minimum days and 33 Articulation and Collaboration for Excellence (ACE) days, which are reserved for teachers’ collaboration, professional development and instructional preparation—all focused on improving student learning. This collaborative time has been captured by restructuring minutes across the week.  Students are in school for an extra 15 minutes on 129 days.  Those extra 15 minutes are “banked” so that one day each week can be shortened for the ACE day. Banked minutes were introduced districtwide in the 2004-2005 school year. Those extra 15 minutes have started being considered part of the regular school day and the ACE days considered minimum days.

The concept works this way (using Grades 4-5 as an example): Four days a week, students receive 323 minutes of instruction. One day each week is an ACE day. On those days, students receive 248 minutes of instruction. If you add the minutes, students receive 1,540 instructional minutes each week, or an average of 308 instructional minutes each day.

The additional 13 minimum days are reserved for the first and last days of school, Back to School Night, Open House night, and nine parent conference days.

Posted by: Marcus Walton
Published: 9/14/12

What are ACE days? Can’t teachers do this outside of the regular class day?

ACE stands for Articulation and Collaboration for Excellence and it is an opportunity for teachers to work on improving instruction. All professionals need time to improve and refine their work. Teachers are no different. They need time to reflect on their work and engage with their colleagues to work out best practices and prepare for classroom instruction.

ACE time allows the District and school administrators to work closely with teachers to identify students’ strengths and weaknesses and develop strategies to focus on student needs. In addition to this professional time, teachers spend time outside of their work day preparing lessons, grading student work, and attending professional development classes.

Posted by: Marcus Walton
Published: 9/14/12

Why does the District place more preference on seniority than performance when it comes to layoffs?

This District is blessed with a cadre of teachers who are exceptional classroom instructors. Even if the District could balance its budget by identifying and laying off enough teachers who fail to meet a certain level of professional excellence, which is highly unrealistic, state law privileges seniority, an objective value, over the subjective criteria that many cite in determining teacher quality.

Posted by: Marcus Walton
Published: 7/31/12

Will the district stop posting board agendas since provisions of the Brown Act have been suspended?

No. School districts cannot suspend provisions of the Brown Act. AB 1464, signed by Gov. Jerry Brown on June 27, defers payments for state-mandated actions of school districts under the Brown Act. This means the District’s obligations under the Brown Act remain fully in effect. Secondly, even if school districts were allowed to suspend certain provisions of the Brown Act, that action would not be compatible with the philosophy of this District, its elected trustees, or the communities it serves.

Posted by: Marcus Walton
Published: 7/31/12

How long does a charter school's authorization last?

The initial charter school authorization lasts for three years in accordance with state law. After the initial three-year period, charter schools are reviewed for reauthorization. For more information on charter schools, please visit the California Department of Education website .

Posted by: Marcus Walton
Published: 7/25/11