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Monrovia School Link ~ Number 32 ~ Oct. 10, 2001

Schoolwide API scores are in and the elementary schools did just fine, thank you. And Monrovia High School didn't do badly. At least it met it's schoolwide target. And what of the middle schools? Better you don't ask.
~ Brad Haugaard (brad_h@iname.com)

NICE ~ Everybody was so nice tonight! I got handed extra sheets of information three times and a couple people on the podium even mentioned me (pleasantly) by name. I've never had such great treatement before. And certainly I've done nothing to deserve it. Hmmm. What's going on here, anyway? Is there an election coming up or something? "Oh, come on Brad! Quit being such a cynic! Can't people just be nice without your attributing all kinds of ulterior motives to them? Sheesh!" (That was my inner-Brad speaking.)

SYMPATHY ~ My condolences to Business Director Linda Dempsey, whose husband David died recently. Maybe this is a good time to say that Linda strikes me as a particularly competent financial manager. She seems to understand the arcane accounting required by the state and manages to keep the district - if not rich - then at least solvent. That's why I've spent so little time discussing the budget. It seems to be in good hands.

API BY SCHOOL ~ Assistant Superintendent of Instruction Joel Shawn said that the schoolwide API scores for the elementary schools were good. (Absolutely! It appears they all nicely exceeded their goals.) However, for the middle schools, he said, "it's a little bit different story" (The scores were rotten.) And, he added, "I'm not going to make any excuses for these scores." Good! I've berated a board member for doing exactly that, so it's nice to hear someone *not* making excuses!

DIFFERENT STORY ~ Anyway, the "different story" scores were for Clifton and Santa Fe middle schools. The state wants schools to get their scores up to at least 800 (on a 200-to-1000 scale) and wants them to improve five percent annually to reach that goal. Well, Santa Fe, far from improving, actually went DOWN 18 points. And Clifton dropped four points.

THE SCORES ~ And here are the scores themselves. On the left is the school name, followed by the 2000 API score, the 2001 API score, and a plus or minus for the mathematically challenged to indicate whether the score went up or down.

School 2000 2001 (+ -) ======================

ELEMENTARY
Bradoaks 607 661 +
Mayflower 712 747 +
Monroe 600 658 +
Plymouth 572 632 +
Wild Rose 608 623 +

SECONDARY
Clifton Middle 673 669 -
Santa Fe Middle 637 619 -
Monrovia High 602 613 +

REPORT ~ Shawn will be compiling a report to the board, which I believe I heard should be out in January, summarizing interviews with all the school principals about their schools' scores and what (if I heard right) they're going to do about any bad scores.

HONORS ~ The Chamber of Commerce and the Board honored the "always willing to listen" personnel specialist Susie Varela and film teacher Tom Reale as employees of the month. This Tom guy seems like a really great pick. He teaches students (and the district) how to make quality television productions (his students win lots of awards), he works all hours and weekends, he mentors teachers and tutors students in math and science. Sounds like a busy man.

ART ~ Twelve Monrovia students won art awards at the LA County Fair. Congratulations to Roberto Solis from Monroe School, and to John Garcia, Daniel Valdez, Andrew Pascua, James Disselhorst, Solana Feldthouse, Cynthia Hosey, Jeffrey Muneton-Martinez, Evie Meier, Brianna Moran-Morales, Valerie Ruiz and Taylor Synold, ALL from Mayflower School. I think this is wonderful, but how did Mayflower manage to win 11 of the 12 awards that the district brought home? Good art teacher?

VERBING ~ Board President Roger Graziania committed the sin of verbing a noun, which I just did myself but still dislike. A couple times he said he wants to "agendize" stuff for the board to consider next year. One of the things he wants to PUT ON THE AGENDA is a state bill that - if I caught it correctly - would reduce the number of votes necessary to pass bond issues. He said he is particularly interested in this because "we're interested in putting something on the ballot ourselves." We are? If we are interested in doing this, why haven't we discussed this in one of our public meetings?

COMITE ~ The district has been selected for something a summary sheet called "Comité de Padres," which I think is supposed to be Spanish but I didn't think Spanish had that kind of accent mark. Anyway, I thought this was an award or something. It isn't. Apparently the courts ordered the state to check several school districts each year to make sure they're doing a good job helping students learn English. It's Monrovia's turn.

LOCKERS ~ The board has now officially accepted a bid to install lockers at Monrovia High School. Only Board member Frances Cash, without comment, voted against the approval. The lockers will cost $81,850 and should be installed this coming January.

KISSES ~ The board also agreed to buy five compressed natural gas powered kisses for $125,000. (The report says that the district is buying five "busses," but I'm using the more common term since not everybody knows a buss is a kiss.) Anyway, the total cost for the kisses is $664,610, but South Coast Air Quality Management District is going to spring for the amount over $125,000. The district is paying for the kisses over seven years since it doesn't have the money to pay up front. But Linda Dempsey got a great rate: 4.48 percent. Say... you don't suppose the district's buying "buses," do you?

NEWSLETTER ~ I'm coming up on two years doing this newsletter, and I'm not sure I should continue much beyond the election. Hopefully I have given you some information mixed with my diatribes, and hopefully this newsletter has been somewhat enjoyable to read, but what I'm wondering is, Has it made a difference? I'm not sure it has, and if it hasn't, I'm not sure it's worth divertimg my attention from more pleasurable pastimes, such as trimming my toenails. In short, I am disappointed with the apparent lack of serious candidates in this election. I had hoped community leaders would put forward some really top-notch people to run for the board. I didn't see it happen. Help me make up my mind. If you think this newsletter is worth continuing, let me know why. Thanks.

NEXT BOARD MEETING ~ The next regular meeting is on Nov. 14 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