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Monrovia School Link ~ Number 28 ~ July 11, 2001

I was pretty excited at tonight's board meeting. Well, okay, I wasn't *really* excited, but I was about as excited as it's possible to be at a board meeting. What did it was that the board said it wants better tracking of how the district's students are doing. Novel idea, huh? That and the on-again off-again high school lockers are on again.
~ Brad Haugaard (brad_h@iname.com)

500 to 300 ~ Board Member Betty Sandford made a request tonight that sort of cascaded in a positive way. She said she wants to know why Monrovia High starts out with about 500 freshmen and ends up with only about 300 seniors. Board President Roger Graziani agreed, saying that he thinks "we need to see about that." Then new member Monina Diaz enlarged the topic a bit, saying she'd like to track *grades*, not only at Monrovia High (as board VP Bruce Carter recently requested) but maybe in the middle schools too or "even" down to the elementary school level. Amen! Joel Shawn said he has already begun collecting this kind of data and will bring a report back to the board.

ZINGERS ~ I don't know if the high school dropping from 500 students to 300 is a high attrition rate compared with other high schools, but it certainly *sounds* high. Every once in a while these little zingers come out and I wonder, "How long has the district known about this stuff?" But I'm delighted that the board wants to look at it, and I'm also delighted that Diaz (and the rest of the board, I guess) want to track grade point averages for all grade levels. I was pretty amazed earlier to hear that the district *wasn't* tracking that.

LOCKERS APPROVED ~ The board approved getting bids to install lockers at Monrovia High School, which should mean - if everything goes smoothly - that they will be installed around December or January. I'm not sure why the locker issue came back to the board tonight since at its last meeting the board agreed to hold off on the matter until the state approves its budget, and the state hasn't approved its budget. Maybe board decisions are just suggestions. Anyway, President Roger Graziani and member Francie Cash voted against going out to bid. Graziani said he is concerned that the state is burning up its surplus on energy purchases and might cut money to schools. He wanted to wait until the budget came through. I don't agree with him (or Cash), but I was impressed that they voted their convictions.

GRANT ~ Dr. Gayle Grant, former principal of Mayflower School, took her seat up front at this meeting as Pupil Services Administrator. Beats me when the board approved her for the job. I read those personnel reports fairly carefully and didn't see it, but who knows. In any case, from all I've heard, she did an excellent job at Mayflower, so hopefully she'll do an excellent job for the district as a whole. I hope the board chooses an excellent replacement principal for Mayflower. A bad principal can totally screw up a school.

MORE CLASSROOMS ~ Plymouth Elementary and Santa Fe Middle schools must be crowded. The board decided to buy four "relocatable" classrooms for Plymouth (for $143,636) and two for Santa Fe (for $64,080). I guess the Plymouth ones must be a bit bigger or better or something, since the four Plymouth classrooms cost more than twice as much as the two Santa Fe classrooms.

FACTLET ~ About 2000 students are participating in summer school, this year. That's about half the student population, according to Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Joel Shawn.

SAT 9 ~ Short report. The numbers haven't come in yet, but they should come in any day, according to Shawn. He seemed to be saying he thinks Plymouth will do better this year because with the new schedule the test came after students had completed 80 percent of their instructional days, unlike - I take it - the previous testing.

READING WINNERS ~ Four Monrovia schools - Mayflower, Monroe, Plymouth and Wild Rose - each won $5,000 for doing a ton of reading in what I take it was a state sponsored reading contest. Superintendent Louise Taylor gave a verbal report so I didn't get the exact numbers, but if I heard correctly, Plymouth and Wild Rose students each read more than a million pages each. Okay, okay! I mean the students at each school read more than a million pages, not each student read a million pages. Gee, you people! Anyhow, congratulations!

FOUND MONEY ~ Sprint is going to lease 388 square feet at the north end of Monrovia High for a cellular phone "communication facility." Sprint will pay the district $18,000 a year for the privilege.

NEXT BOARD MEETING ~ The next regular meeting is on August 22 at 7:30 p.m. at the administration office at 325 E. Huntington Drive.

Copyright (c) 2001, Brad Haugaard. Also on the Web at: monroviaschools.tripod.com