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Monrovia School Link ~ Number 35 ~ Jan. 16, 2002

I've been thinking about a New Year's resolution. How about this? Ahem - I do solemnly resolve to be nice to the Monrovia Board of Education. Hmmm... Nah. I don't think so. Well, maybe I can be nice for just this one issue. Let's see.
~ Brad Haugaard (brad_h@iname.com)

API ~ Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Joel Shawn said the new Academic Performance Index scores are out and he'll have a full report at the Jan. 30 meeting. But as a teaser, he said Monrovia's results are "good" and that "we're on the right track." He added, "We need to focus on the middle schools." True words. I'm looking forward to the details.

RAH, ROGER! Member Roger Graziani recalled the accidental revelation last year that 40 percent of Monrovia High students have a grade point average of below 2.0. He said he would like a report on how the school is doing now. "A formal report?" Board President Bruce Carter asked. Yes, a formal report. Further, Roger said, he thinks getting this abysmal (my word) percentage down to 20 percent should be a top board priority. Amen, Roger!

ALL GRADES ~ What I don't get, though, is why the board (or is it just Roger who's concerned?) is limiting its interest to Monrovia High. I would think board members would want to know the grade point averages of each school and every grade level. And I can't believe this is difficult. You guys *are* entering grades into a computer, aren't you? And you do have a spreadsheet program like Excel or a database program like Access, don't you? Okay then, load the data, run the calculations and print it out.

PLEASE! ~ The board passed a resolution asking the governor and legislature to pretty please don't cut money for schools, as is planned. Member Roger Graziani said California is 49th out of 50 states in school funding, and now schools' money is getting cut again. "We're a national embarassment," he said. Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Joel Shawn said "there may be some pain ahead, but we're confident we can protect what's important."

HISTORY ~ If I recall correctly, decades ago school districts collected their own money. Then a court ruled that this gave wealthier districts an unfair advantage. So then the state got the job of collecting money for schools. While I understand the court's concern, I wonder if things have turned out as it intended. I think it would be a very interesting study to see if the difference in test results between rich and poor districts has narrowed since that ruling took effect. Why do I doubt it?

NO PARTY ~ Monrovia High got $166,062 through the Governor's Performance Award Program and has now decided what to do with it. A really great party? No. There'll be $70,267 for supplies and equipment, $27,000 for banches and tables, and the rest on other sensible and very dull stuff.

50 YEARS ~ Congratulations to Eldora Polk, whom the board honored for 50 - count 'em, 50! - years of service to Monrovia, including 40 as the president of the Anna H. Jones Club, which provides student scholarships. She also helped recruit Bob Bartlett to run for the City Council, helped out with the Red Cross, at Second Baptist Church, and did a bunch of other stuff. "I always tried to do my best," she said. As Board President Bruce Carter said, "Eldora's best is very, very good indeed."

HUH? ~ Congrats also to Monrovia High English and Tennis teacher, Eric Miller, who got $1,500 as winner of the 2001-2 Seaver Award. The presenter introduced Eric, then unaccountably began talking at length about a guy beside him - Toshyo Asano (if I'm getting the spelling right) - and of the unfairness of the internment of Japanese-Americans during World War II. It turned out Asano was there to present Eric with his check. As he did so, he said, "I wondered what the hell I was doing here." Though I agreed with the speakers' views, I was kinda wondering that myself.

CONGRATS ~ Okay, let's wrap up this congratulations stuff. Congrats also to employees of the month, Monrovia High Secretary Sharon Kocaya and Monroe teacher Delma Cardenal. And also to Roger Graziani for his service as board president last year. Did you know he's been on that board since 1984. Sheesh! What stamina.

SNOW SCENE ~ Hidden away in a Personnel Assignments Report I found a curious payment authorization. The board has agreed to pay the North Hollywood Ice Company $1,190.75 to create a 10-ton snow scene on Jan. 24. I'm dying to know what this is all about.

I MADE IT! ~ Did you notice I hardly insulted anybody at all this whole issue? Well, there was that part where I asked why the board isn't interested in knowing grade point averages for the whole district, but overall, not bad, huh? My 12-step group will be so happy for me. "Hi, I'm Brad and I'm a critic."

NEXT BOARD MEETING ~ Next board meeting is on Jan. 30 at 7:30 p.m. at the administration office at 325 E. Huntington Drive.

Copyright (c) 2002, Brad Haugaard. Also on the Web at: monroviaschools.tripod.com