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Monrovia School Link ~ Number 4 ~ March 22, 2000

I'm beginning to think that one of the most important things a government can do is to measure stuff. I'll explain why I think so below. Also, lots of students for the fall, and - for the nosey among you - some administrators' salaries.
~ Brad Haugaard

SHOEHORN ~ Monrovia schools will have 173 more students in the fall, 6,820 total, or a 2.6 percent increase, according to estimates by Assistant Superintendent for Personnel Linda Harding. Responding to a comment by Board Member Bruce Carter, who said the elementary schools are flat out of space, Superintendent Louise Taylor said the district could "very well use a new school." Here are Hardings estimates (the first number is the number of students; the second is the change in the number of students):

740    +5  Bradoaks
231    --  Canyon Early Learning
           Center (new)
685   +29  Mayflower
648  -107  Monroe (some kids are
           going to Canyon Early
           Learning Center)
648   +16  Plymouth
587   -97  Wild Rose (some kids are
           going to Canyon)
717   +17  Clifton
714   +39  Santa Fe
1600  -11  Monrovia High
KINDERGARTEN ~ Harding said it is tough to estimate kindergarten enrollment. She said she's tried birth stats for 91016, and for LA County, but there doesn't seem to be any correlation. (Okay, so maybe this isn't so important, but I just thought it was interesting.)

SALARIES ~ Curious what some of the school's administrative staff make? Me too. Here are a few salary ranges, rounded-off-to-the-nearest-thousand (Sorry, the superintendent's wasn't available): high school principal, $86,000-$93,000; middle school principal, $80,000-$85,000; elementary principal, $76,000-$81,000.

MEASURING ~ There were presentations at the board meeting about the curricula at Monroe Elementary and Monrovia High. The information struck me as fairly standard stuff, but one interesting theme threaded its way through both presentations - state scores. MHS even has a "Testwiseness" (How to take tests) program. California has measured scores and will measure scores and everybody seemed very aware and quite concerned about that. And frankly, I think that's great. The state's measurements may not be perfect, but they're a stake in the ground against which schools can be compared, praised, blamed and improved.

IMMERSED ~ In it's presentation, Monroe School reported that having switched over from bilingual education to English immersion, as required by Prop 227, "kids are thriving and doing very well." Nice to hear.

SEUSS ~ The board room was decorated with 23 Dr. Seuss reading posters from Monroe School. I liked this one: Big K little k What begins with K? Kids in kindergarten Keen on reading every day.

BOOK TALKS ~ Monrovia High has an interesting program called Book Talks. A student gets a few minutes on the school's public address system to talk about a book he or she has read and enjoyed. Sounds kinda fun.

BLIPS ~ I've grumped in the past about board members not asking hard questions, so I was pleased to see a few little blips on the radar screen:
~ Board President Yolanda Gallardo said she was concerned that the district hasn't been able to increase the number of counselors at the high school. Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Linda Harding said the ratio is 400 students to one counselor, not good but better than the 600 to one average for LA County.
~ Following a presentation about curriculum at Monrovia High, Board Member Betty Sandford asked what percentage of the students need remedial reading. The answer was kinda long but was basically: It depends on what measure you use, but somewhere between 30 and 50 percent. Ouch! (The "ouch" is mine; it wasn't part of the answer.)
~ Even the student representative, high school student Nancy Alvarado, had a point to make. She said counselors don't provide seniors with enough help in applying for college. The answer: True, but we're working on it.

NO CRIME ~ Well, there was still no mention of the state's crime report, which showed some jumps in crime at Monrovia schools (see last issue). I guess the discussion last time about getting sniffer dogs for the high school is as close as we'll get to discussing it. Well, I guess doing something (like getting sniffer dogs) is better than talking. But I don't see why we can't have both.

HONORED ~ The board gave all these folks pretty blue folders in which I suspect were some nice words of commendation:
~ Grace Roldan, part-time clerical assistant at the district office, honored by the Chamber of Commerce for her "amazing" productivity and chocolate cake.
~ Monrovia High Basketball Coach Dough Schmidt and his team (Rio Hondo League champs and CIF quarter finalists.) Schmidt has been selected as San Gabriel Valley All-Star Coach.
~ The Monrovia High Boy's Soccer Team, which advanced to second round playoffs in the Rio Hondo League.

OTHER THAN FREDDY ~ I asked last time what some of your favorite books were when you were growing up. (I said I liked the Freddy the Pig books.) Here are some: Winnie the Pooh "before Disney destroyed it," My Father's Dragon, the Little House series, the Bobbsey Twins, and books by Walter Farley and Marguerite Henry. Thanks everyone who participated.

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NEXT BOARD MEETING ~ Next regular meeting is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. on Wednesday, April 12 at the administration office at 325 E. Huntington Drive. However, there's a special meeting tomorrow (March 23) with the City Council from 5-7:30 pm "at Methodist Church." I guess it's the one at 140 E. Palm, although the agenda didn't say and it's too late for me to call anybody and I'm going to bed.

Copyright (c) 2000, Brad Haugaard