The Thursday, February 7 meeting of the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education started with the swearing-in of 2 new student board members and the acceptance of a second petition by a potential Claremont charter school, the Embracing the Whole Child Arts and Technology Academy.
Claremont High School student Carolyn Bird and San Antonio High School student Aimee Orcasitas got started right away, delivering reports on the activities of local schools later in the meeting. The petition for Embracing the Whole Child Academy, proposed by Lynette Lucas, will be reviewed at a public hearing at the May 17, 2013 gathering of the school board.
Contrary to appearances, there was no time machine involved in this blast-to-the-past. Instead, it was just another night where they made an attempt for a group photo in a longstanding dance class taught by retired Claremont High School show team coach Michele Allen. The program, which is offered through the El Roble PFA and which Ms. Allen has led since the late 1980s, allows kids on the brink of their teenage years, to have fun and blow off steam while learning to engage with the opposite sex. COURIER photo/Steven Felschundneff
A busy agenda is on tap for the next meeting of the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education, set for Thursday, February 7 at 6:30 p.m.
The school board will be presented with a revised petition for a proposed charter school within the district, the Embracing the Whole Child Arts and Technology Academy. The first petition for the academy was presented, and accepted by the school board, on April 19, 2012. At a subsequent hearing, the following petition was denied.
Bonnie Bell, assistant superintendent of business services, asked the school board last meeting to approve and release the district’s School Accountability Report Cards (SARC).
Since 1998, every California school that receives public funding has been required to prepare a SARC, detailing its status in crucial areas like student demographics, academic achievement and the condition of facilities.
As noted in the most recent batch of SARCs, virtually every school in the district has made steady progress in academic achievement as measured by students’ results in STAR standardized tests.
There was a moment of tension at Thursday’s meeting of the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education when the board was called upon to approve a report by the Surplus Advisory Committee, also known as the 7-11 Committee.
In December of 2010, the school board approved the formation of the committee, which is comprised of a group of real estate-savvy volunteers, to discuss the potential sale, lease or use of surplus district property. See other school board news inside.
Claremont plays host to 5 undergraduate colleges, plus Claremont Graduate University, Keck Graduate Institute and the Claremont School of Theology. With all that higher education going on, it would be easy to mistake the Claremont Institute for another college. It is not, however, an institute of higher education, but instead a conservative think tank with a surprisingly wide national reach. The nonprofit’s organization aims are ambitious, according to their website.
Kathy D. Webster, PharmD and PhD, has been appointed founding dean of Keck Graduate Institute’s new School of BioPharmacy. The school, which is scheduled to admit its first class in fall 2014 pending accreditation, is being designed to meet future needs in the US healthcare system and to take advantage of KGI’s expertise in biotechnology education.
After a long day serving as director of the Claremont United Methodist Preschool and then traveling to Chaffey or Citrus College to teach classes in child development, you might think Jeri Bollman would be eager to get away from the subject of kids.
Instead, the bulk of her reading centers on how best to nurture children, whether it is the latest child development textbook or a best-selling title shedding light on how children learn.
“I read to keep current in my field,” she said. “I’m a lifelong learner. If I don’t continue to read, I’ll become stuck in my old ways.”
If there is any theme to the events that marked the past year in the Claremont Unified School District, it is this: people coming together to accomplish big things. A primary example of this trend is the community’s widespread support of former Sumner Elementary School Principal Frank D’Emilio in the face of his May 3, 2012 dismissal from the district by the CUSD board.
Earlier in the year, Mr. D’Emilio had failed to report inappropriate behavior between 2 children as a possible instance of child abuse to the Department of Children and Family Services, despite the urging of one of the students’ parents. He later obfuscated about his non-reporting decision, leading the parent and at least one coworker to believe he had contacted authorities.
In June, a fresh face joined Claremont Unified School District, that of new Superintendent of Schools Jim Elsasser.
Though only 6 months into his post helming Claremont schools, Mr. Elsasser (who most recently served as assistant superintendent of human resources for the Anaheim City School District) has made a good impression with school board members and district faculty and staff.
Oakmont Elementary School Principal Stacey Stewart notes that Mr. Elsasser has been very accessible and supportive of school activities.
“There seems to be, so far, a very good working relationship with the new superintendent,” CHS teacher Dave Chamberlain, president of the faculty union, noted in an interview held at the beginning of the school year.
Danbury School met each of the 3 goals staff worked toward last year, Principal Stephen Hamilton and a delegation from Claremont’s primary special education school site shared during an annual report on their Single Plan for Student Achievement (SPSA) delivered at the last meeting of the Claremont Unified School District Board of Education.
On Thursday, December 13 at 4:30 p.m. the first of 2 public hearings will be held in the boardroom of the Richard S. Kirkendall Education Center, 170 W. San Jose Ave. in Claremont, regarding the district’s future plans for 2 pieces of surplus property.
It wasn’t a signal of the start of the holiday season, but instead a hallmark of excellence as Claremont After-School Programs (CLASP) joined 58 recipients in winning the state’s leading educational honor, the Golden Bell Award.
The California School Boards Association presented the recognition—which takes the form of an actual ringing bell—to Teddie Warner, president of CLASP’s board of directors, and past president Carole Harter at a December 1 recognition ceremony.
A troubling number of local teens struggle with depression and suicidal thoughts, Assistant Superintendent of Student Services Mike Bateman shared at the last meeting of the Claremont Unified School District.
This information—culled from a California Healthy Kids Survey administered by CUSD in the spring of 2012—was presented Thursday, just hours after CHS hosted its biennial Yellow Ribbon Suicide Prevention presentation.
Twenty-four percent of 7th graders at El Roble report having felt sad or hopeless during the past 12 months. This number consistently rises as Claremont teens get older.