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Busy school board agenda highlights past accomplishments, future plans

The next meeting of the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education, set for Thursday, May 16 at 6:30 p.m., will be dominated by some major kudos.

First up on the open-session agenda will be the presentation of the awards for the 2013-2014 CUSD Classified Employee of the Year and Teacher of the Year and recognition of El Roble Intermediate School for having nabbed a coveted 2013 Distinguished School Award. Presented by the California Department of Education, a Distinguished School award recognizes a school that has demonstrated “innovated education programs that encourage students to learn and help close the achievement gap.

Accolades will also be delivered to participants in a March 8-March 13 exhibit ArtReach: The Art of Food. The exhibit, which, as its name suggests, centered on food-inspired art, was curated by Claremonter Lugene Whitley and hosted by the Career and Technical Education Center at the Pomona Fairplex. The show was held at Fairplex’s Millard Sheets gallery and featured student work submitted by teachers from 100 schools throughout the region, including CUSD special education teachers Ken Johnson (Danbury School) and Molly Goodreau of Claremont High School. 

Also on tap for Thursday’s meeting are updates by administrators from Sumner Elementary and San Antonio High on the schools’ progress toward their respective Single Plans for Student Achievement. (SPSA) An SPSA is a report in which a school shares the progress it has made toward academic and behavioral goals set the previous year and discusses its new areas of focus.

At the last school board meeting, members of the Graduation Committee—CUSD staff, parents and students who have gathered throughout the school year to discuss potential changes in graduation requirements—presented their conclusions. Among the 4 suggested changes, one received a particularly resounding vote of approval among committee members. Beginning last year, the state’s Ed Code gave districts permission to add another option for students who previously needed to take either a year of visual/performing arts or a year of foreign language to graduate: a year of a career technical education (CTE) course. The members of the Graduation Committee were nearly unanimous in agreeing that this would be a beneficial change. At this meeting, the committee’s recommendation will be presented to the board for a vote.

Another hot topic throughout the school year has been the relocation of the District’s Service Center (170 W. San Jose), which on February 21 was declared surplus in preparation for sale. The district is still using the Service Center. District personnel such as Rick Cota, executive director of the Service Center, however, have emphasized that a much smaller, more streamlined Service Center would be a sufficient center of operations for the district. At this Thursday’s meeting, a potential relocation plan—which will be the second such proposal presented by Mr. Cota—will be presented for informational purposes only.

All school board meetings are held in the Board Room of the Richard Kirkendall Education Center, located at 170 W. San Joe Ave.

—Sarah Torribio

storribio@claremont-courier.com 

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