November 21, 2011
Dear colleagues, parents and staff,
As we move into the season of reflection, celebration and thanksgiving I want to take this opportunity to express my appreciation for your ongoing support and commitment to our students. In the first trimester of school of the 2011-12 school year, we have accomplished a number of projects essential to achieving our District Goals.
21st Century Teaching and Learning: California’s recent adoption of the Common Core Standards in English Language Arts and Mathematics provided us the opportunity to support all elementary and White Hill math teachers in the transition to the Common Core Standards. Trustees, administrators and teachers attended workshops with Phil Daro, one of the lead writers of the Math Common Core Standards, to become informed and prepared to apply the Common Core to our work. All of our teachers worked with a California Math Project consultant to revisit our district’s essential standards, create assessments and begin to align our work in math to the Common Core Standards. Leadership for this major initiative was essential; the Elementary Math Transition Team and White Hill’s lead teachers are recognized for leading us through this process.
Fourteen K-3rd grade teachers and four administrators participated in Guided Language Acquisition Design (GLAD), a six day training that provided the theory and research of the instructional strategies and curricular design, along with four days of observations in demonstration classrooms. GLAD develops metacognitive use of high level, academic language and literacy. The instructional model promotes positive, effective interactions among students, and between teachers and students. We acknowledge the commitment of our teachers to take the lead on this opportunity, share best practices and support each other as the initiative expands across grade levels.
The elementary report card revision that began last year was recently finalized by all elementary teachers and principals. The pilot focused on revising the math and English language arts sections, reorganizing the format and determining how to communicate students’ progress toward meeting grade level standards. The pilot report card will be introduced at the upcoming elementary conferences. We appreciate the leadership our Report Card Committee provided, the engagement of all our teachers and the support from our technology department to implement the pilot elementary report card.
With a grant provided by the Lynx Foundation, we were able to send school teams to the No-Bully Solution Team training. School teams were comprised of the principal and two other core staff members who were trained to respond to student bullying using a non-punitive approach. Teachers and administrators learned how to structure a series of student meetings to raise awareness, develop empathy and change student behavior. All schools are in the process of creating and implementing an action plan to support a safe, respectful and bully-free learning environment. We appreciate the collaboration and support of KIND (Kindness and Inclusion Network Development), a group of parents in the Ross Valley School District working to bring a social-emotional learning curriculum to our schools.
Eight Ross Valley teachers and three administrators participated in the recent Computer Using Educators (CUE) Conference held at American Canyon High School in Napa. This two-day conference provided our educators access to workshops spanning Google Applications to iPad use in classrooms. We acknowledge our Tech Scouts and appreciate their willingness to contribute their time and expertise to revise our technology plan and provide their colleagues an afternoon workshop to share what they learned at CUE. We also thank the staff, families, trustees and community members who participated in the May 7th Human Race event that provided the funds for our teachers’ to attend CUE.
Facilities: A high level of interest from our entire community brought forth neighbors, teachers, parents and town leaders to meet and contribute to the planning and design for White Hill Middle School’s transformation. This project challenged us to shift our mindset from the present to future forward thinking to imagine and develop a plan for flexible classroom environments that would support multiple technologies and facilitate creativity, collaboration and innovation.
As we plan ahead to build additional elementary classrooms, multiple community meetings have already occurred at Wade Thomas, Manor, and at both Brookside campuses. As outlined in our Measure A Bond plan, additional classrooms will be built at all elementary campuses with the plan to accommodate approximately 410 students at each campus. District architects prepared and have presented a number of possible options for locating these additional classrooms on each campus. Comments at the community meetings are refining the options and coupled with funding considerations will determine final campus configurations.
We are very grateful for the participation of parents, staff, teachers and neighbors as we define and plan for elementary expansion.
Governance: For the first time in many years, a contested election for Board of Trustees was held to fill 3 open positions. We deeply appreciated the level of interest and support from our community as candidates sought to further their knowledge of current opportunities and challenges we face as we commit to provide a rigorous, relevant and relationship-based education for our children. As we welcome our new trustees Annelise Bauer, Anne Capron and Hadley Dettmer, we also thank Sharon Sagar and Conn Hickey for their many years of service to our students, staff, parents and community.
Generosity: Our YES Foundation’s commitment to enhance our students’ educational opportunities is only possible through your generosity. We appreciate the many hours parents and community members volunteer in classrooms, and the financial support to provide enriched programs.
We thank our teachers and staff, our parents and community for joining together to provide our children an excellent education. Have a wonderful and bountiful week.
RVSD Board Briefs
November 1, 2011
The Board had a Community meeting to hear an overview of the potential environmental impacts of its planned construction for the White Hill site. Our consultant determined that all impacts can be mitigated. Public notice of this has been posted. The district plans to adopt a mitigated negative impact declaration later this month.
George Baranoff, the district’s Bond Manager, gave the Board an update on community meetings for architectural considerations for each of the elementary school sites. Further meetings are scheduled so please check with your site
for further details. The Board is hoping to hear final recommendations and vote on schematic designs on November 29, 2011 for all elementary campuses.
The Citizen’s Oversight Committee for the Measure A Bond met for the first time in October. They met to discuss their roles and responsibilities and set their next meeting.
Plans for the Manor modular building are moving forward as planned. Staff is seeking to have state approval to move forward and will contract with a developer to get this in place at the earliest possible time in the weeks to come.
Superintendent Rohan and Board members reported out on various meetings they attended since the last Board meeting. Trustee Bauer reported that at the Round Table meeting, various campuses shared the ways in which they gave money to their teachers for various projects. It was shared that the YES Gala will be February 11, 2012 and held at the Ross Valley Tennis Club. Trustees Bauer and Weller also attended a meeting with key representatives from YES where they discussed planning for positive collaboration between the foundation and the school Board for budgeting in the coming school year.
Future Agenda Items
The Board plans to hold two upcoming special workshops: one to do a Board self-evaluation and another to welcome and orient newly elected trustees. The swearing in of the new trustees and saying thanks and good-bye to Trustees Hickey and Sagar will take place on December 13, 2011.
We welcome your comments and questions.
Your Governance Team,
Eileen Rohan, Superintendent
Annelise Bauer, Chris Carlucci, Conn Hickey, Heidi Kritscher Weller, and Sharon Sagar
May 25, 2011
Two critical board meetings took place this week, with an emphasis on our district budget. The district faces two financial challenges: (1) a “structural deficit” by continuing to spend more than we receive in revenues, and (2) a shrinking and unstable state revenue contribution. In response, the board’s draft budget for 2011-2012 addresses both of these factors. The revised draft budget will be presented on June 14 at a regularly scheduled board meeting.
Feedback from preliminary budget reductions identified in February was considered in determining which items to ultimately cut, retain, or add to the budget for next year. Items kept or added included: a full time principal at BSL (currently funded as a part-time position), two additional sections of math at White Hill, an additional Spanish section, and funding special ed aides at White Hill to support their new learning center. Class size in grades K through 2nd will not be increased this Fall.
Initial reductions that were implemented included increased 3rd grade class ratios from 20:1 to 20-25:1, reduced library services by 20%, reduced Kindergarten aide time, increased 6-8th grade class ratio from 25-27:1 to up to 29 students per class, reduced overall special ed aides, and a reduction of supplies by 5%.
Changes at White Hill
* Intervention and special education services at White Hill next Fall will have a new look, targeting individual student learning needs.
* White Hill will continue to offer French and Spanish to eligible 7th and 8th graders, and a new section of Spanish will be added to meet the current demand.
Transition plans are well under way. Families will soon be receiving placement letters for their students for Fall enrollment, and additional information on how the transition will unfold over the next three years.
Citizen Oversight Committee
Five out of seven positions on the Measure A oversight committee have been filled. The remaining slots will remain open until filled.
New Manor Principal Selected
Superintendent Rohan announced that Jason Richardson, currently Assistant Principal at White Hill, has been selected the Principal at Manor. The governance team is thrilled to welcome Mr. Richardson to his new role.
Facility Construction Plans Updated
In response to our new attendance boundaries and projected student enrollment, the board decided to slightly modify where new classrooms will be built on our elementary school campuses.
New Revenue and Parcel Tax Renewal
The board discussed the current parcel tax’s impending expiration in 2014, and the need to further discuss its renewal.
If you would like further details, please check out agenda online,
www.rvsd.csbaagendaonline.net or our school website at
We welcome your feedback.
Your Governance Team,
Eileen Rohan, Annelise Bauer, Chris Carlucci, Conn Hickey,
Heidi Kritscher Weller, and Sharon Sagar
ROSS VALLEY SCHOOL DISTRICT VOTES ON ENROLLMENT BOUNDARIES
SAN ANSELMO, Calif., May 5, 2011 – At a regular school board meeting on May 3rd, 2011, the Ross Valley School District Board of Trustees voted to adopt new enrollment boundaries for its four elementary school campuses. Trustees voted to approve “Scenario X,” completing a three month decision making process that included community outreach, facilitated discussions, and a survey of RVSD parents, teachers, administrators, and community members.
The new boundaries will apply when determining how students new to the District will be assigned to each of four elementary school sites, Manor, Wade Thomas, Brookside Upper and Brookside Lower, beginning in the 2011-2012 school year.
Ross Valley School Board Trustees recognized the need to adjust elementary school enrollment
boundaries in response to the District’s growing population and facility expansion. Specifically,
elementary school enrollment boundaries need to adjust to:
• Better allocate increased enrollment at our four elementary campuses,
• Support Brookside School’s transition into two separate schools from its existing one school, two site configuration.
Information about Ross Valley School District’s new enrollment boundaries will be available on the district website at www.rossvalleyschools.org , at the district office, and at all school sites.
About Ross Valley School District
The Ross Valley School District (RVSD) serves the towns of San Anselmo and Fairfax with three
elementary schools and one middle school. Superintendent Eileen Rohan oversees the District. RVSD is dedicated to providing the quality educational experience that all students deserve, which is grounded in best practices, reflects the highest academic standards, and is responsive to community expectations. The District maintains its focus on students and is committed to providing a program of academic excellence; cultural richness; and social, emotional and physical development to educate, support, challenge and inspire the whole child. For more information visit www.rossvalleyschools.org.
April 6, 2011
Parents, teachers, administrators and community members of the Ross Valley School District are invited to complete a short survey to indicate their preference for one of two final enrollment boundary scenarios under board consideration. The survey, which will be available from April 6th through April 22, 2011, can be found on the district website, www.rossvalleyschools.org, or at RVSD Boundary Survey www.surveymonkey.com/s/rvsdboundaries.
The Ross Valley School District Board of Trustees is in the final stages of adjusting enrollment attendance area boundaries. This change is necessitated by both growth in the number of the district’s students, and the separation of Brookside into two, independent K-5 schools.
The survey provides an opportunity for all community members to weigh in on their preference for how students new to the District will be assigned to each of four elementary school sites—Manor, Wade Thomas, Brookside Upper and Brookside Lower—beginning in the 2011-2012 school year.
March 17, 2011
Dear Ross Valley School District Staff and Parents:
As part of our continuing efforts to keep you informed, attached is Meeting Summary on the March 16 Special Board Meeting. An additional, Special Board Meeting has been scheduled for Thursday, March 24, from 7-9 pm, at the White Hill Middle School gym. At that time, the Board will further refine scenarios D, F, and G, and consider any additional options presented that reflect adopted criteria, to determine next steps including further communication and input from the community.
I invite you to attend all Board of Trustee meetings. For an agenda and complete board packet, please log onto http://rvsd.csbaagendaonline.net .
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, thank you for your continued support!
March 04, 2011
The RVSD Board has scheduled a Board of Trustees Special Meeting to further explore boundary scenarios. The meeting is scheduled for next Thursday, March 10, from 7 pm to 9 pm. The meeting will be held at the White Hill Multi Purpose Room. Once the board agrees on acceptable scenarios, they will be communicated out for feedback from the community.
For more information use the links below:
Link to CSBA Agenda Online
Questions: Contact the District Office at 415.454.2162
February 15, 2011
Ross Valley School District
Enrollment Boundaries Determination Process
Ross Valley School Board Trustees are in the process of determining changes to our district’s enrollment boundaries in order to:
- allocate increased enrollment at our four elementary campuses to support target enrollments of 360-400 per site, and
- support Brookside School’s transition into two separate schools from its existing one school, two site configuration.
During a special public board meeting on January 7, 2011, Trustees identified the following criteria. Enrollment boundaries will:
- Create and maintain four, independent “k-5” schools of similar size
- Prioritize enrollment for residents who live closest to a school site and within its boundary - taking into consideration natural geographic boundaries – to:
- enable and encourage walking and biking to school, and
- minimize the number of people travelling by car.
- Align with Safe Routes to School for students who walk or bike to school.
- Maintain accessibility to District-wide programs (e.g., MAP and the Learning Center).
- Minimize the number of current students who must change schools during the transition phase as a result of these boundary adjustments.
Update and Next Steps: Process and timeline
- Draft Scenarios Presented
February 8, 2011 – Advisors Schreder & Associates presented initial draft scenarios for the RVSD based upon the above criteria. Following detailed discussions, Trustees requested additional options and scenarios, based on refined and localized information (e.g., location of natural barriers, difficulty of crossing streets, and other neighborhood-specific data). Schreder will present revised and, as necessary, new scenarios at the February 15th board meeting.
- Select and Communicate Scenario “finalists” to RVSD Community (staff, parents, and neighbors)
February 15, 2011 – During a regular board meeting, Trustees will select scenario “finalists” from the revised information (minor modifications may be requested) and distribute these for community comment.
February 16-mid-March 2011 – The Ross Valley community will be asked to provide input, through various forums and communication options (e.g., emails to the district; Round Table; Parent Clubs; Site Councils; Principal discussions) on the scenarios presented. The Board will review all input prior to making a final decision.
- Adopt Final Enrollment Boundaries through Formal Action
Late March or early April, 2011 - The Board will formally adopt new district enrollment boundaries and associated guidelines during a regular school board meeting. Results will be available on the district’s website, and at each school campus office. Once adopted, these new enrollment boundaries will apply when placing new families in fall 2011.
Ross Valley School District
Budget Reduction Decision Process
Part I – January - February 2011
As a result of the State of California’s financial crisis, the Ross Valley School District continues to face annual, severe budget reductions.
- This year our state funding is $1.6 million less than it was three years ago.
- In response, the Trustees have reduced annual costs by over $1 million, and have spent much of our available reserve funds.
- Despite these measures, the District is currently running a $1 million annual structural deficit, and reserve funds will be quickly depleted without further cost reductions.
To address this ongoing deficit and create a balanced and sustainable budget, the Board of Trustees has decided to reduce annual expenses by $500,000, $500,000, and $400,000 over the next three years.
While the RVSD community generously supported Measure A last November, these bond funds can only be used to fund much-needed facilities; no money can be used to support the District’s operating costs.
To both inform and invite the RVSD community to learn more about the state of the RVSD budget and the District’s Sustainable Budget Plan, the Board and Superintendent developed the following process and timeline.
A. EDUCATE AND ASK
i. January 4-14: District budget presentations were delivered to all site Principals and staff; District staff; and Roundtable (Parent Club presidents; Site Council representatives; YES Foundation chairs; Teacher and Staff representatives)
ii. January 20-February 2: Parent and community informational meetings were held
1/19 @ 2:30 District Office 1/20 @ 6:00 Wade Thomas 1/24 @ 6:30 Manor
1/25 @ 6:30 White Hill 1/27 @ 6:30 Brookside Lower 2/2 @ 6:00 DELAC Manor
iii. January 24-February16: Additional presentations were added to various parent and teacher meetings and groups at the request of school site leaders and parent groups.
iv. January 14-28: All district employees (teachers, staff, & administration) as well as Round Table members were asked to complete a budget survey, identifying and prioritizing both existing and new options to reduce spending from an “inside the classroom/campus” perspective.
v. January 19: Trustees met to review and discuss all survey data, and agreed to individually complete the same budget survey for discussion on February 12.
vi. February 12, 9am-12 noon+: At this special open board meeting, the Board will review and discuss pertinent budget and survey information, and identify preliminary reductions for next year.
B. UPDATE AND REFINE SUSTAINABLE BUDGET PLAN
i. Late February 2011: The RVSD community will be able to review the resulting proposed Sustainable Budget Plan via the district website, or by visiting any school office to review a hard copy. The Board welcomes feedback (email; comments at board meetings; Round Table; parent club meetings) to ensure the plan reflects our community’s priorities, while operating within the limitations we face.
C. FORMALLY ADOPT DISTRICT BUDGET AND MULTIYEAR PROJECTIONS
i. March 2011 At the March 1st board meeting, the Trustees will adopt a proposed Sustainable Budget Plan for the academic year 2011-2012, in time to issue layoff notices if necessary. Multi-year projections will also be developed. Because there are many independent variables that change before the budget’s final adoption in June, this budget will be based on current information, and will be subject to change as new and updated information becomes available. The Board will continue to seek community feedback during the spring.