Tuesday, October 25, 2011

School Closure Information Page Posted On Danamiddle.com

A section was developed on the danamiddle.com website to educate students, parents, and community members about the issues facing the schools in the Point Loma Cluster. Please follow this link.

Monday, October 17, 2011

School Closure Meetings Scheduled For This Week

This is Principal Ryan with an important message regarding upcoming community meetings - your feedback is needed! The Point Loma Cluster Schools Foundation will conduct three meetings regarding the proposed closure of schools in Point Loma.

Please mark your calendar and try to attend one of the informational meetings scheduled for Monday, October 17th at 6:30 pm or Tuesday, October 18th at 9:15 am. Both of these meetings will be held in Dana's Jackson Theater. These are informational community meetings where participants will learn more about the proposed school closures, ask questions, and provide general input to community stakeholders.

A town hall meeting has been scheduled for Monday, October 24th at 7:00 pm at the Point Loma High School Performing Arts Center. SDUSD School Board Member Scott Barnett and other district staff will be at this meeting for the purpose of listening and collecting feedback regarding the proposed closures.

I would like to thank the parents and community members who used the Dana blog to post comments and concerns regarding the proposed closure of Dana Middle School. The PLCS Foundation has developed their own blog for the same purpose. Please go to the cluster website and take a moment to post your thoughts and opinions here: http://plcluster.blogspot.com/2011/10/sdusd-considers-closing-cluster-schools.htmlhttp://plcluster.blogspot.com/2011/10/sdusd-considers-closing-cluster-schools.html

Your feedback is important - please get involved and help us create alternative solutions. Thank you!

Diane Ryan
Dana Middle School

Thursday, October 13, 2011

Thank You For Your Comments - Public Forum Calendared

I would like to thank the parents, staff, and community members who used this blog to become informed and share opinions regarding the proposed closure of Dana Middle School. I used the information shared on this blog during the Ad-Hoc Committee meeting on Wednesday, October 12.

The Ad-Hoc Committee has calendared a community forum on Monday, October 24 as an opportunity for you to share your thoughts and opinions with representatives of the Point Loma Cluster Foundation and representatives of the San Diego Unified School District. We will post the location and time of this forum once it becomes available.

The purpose of this blog was to collect information to be shared during the October 12 meeting. We will continue to post information and news on this blog but will temporarily suspend the ability to post comments. Your thoughts and opinions are still important. Please plan on attending the Monday, October 24 community forum.

Thank you for your support!

Diane Ryan

Tuesday, October 11, 2011

Response From Scott Barnett to Questions and Concerns raised by Point Loma Community on School Closure and Consolidation Proposals

I have received many emails regarding the proposals for school closing and realignment in Point Loma and have been reading the Dana Blog.  Please know i am reading and listening to all the community input i am receiving.  Please forgive the general response below but I believe it addresses the vast majority of the issues that have been raised.

I first learned of the staff  proposals for Point Loma on the same night the community did. The details can be reviewed on www.sandi.net.

Financial Realities
As we face ever worsening finances with the guarantee of unavoidable budget cuts next year, my primary goal is for the district to avoid insolvency. Since joining the board in December 2010, I have been like a broken record in trying to warn my colleagues about the threats to our survival, but have had only limited success.  I have inherited labor contracts which significantly increase costs to our district and state budget which reduced funding by over $100 million this year and which may cut $30 million more in revenues in January 2013.

Depending a  on a number of factors mostly outside of our school board's control, our budget short-fall next year (12/13) will be from $60 million to over $100 million. I must honestly state, that I believe there is a real possibility of our district going into financial receivership within the next year, resulting in a  State-appointed superintendent taking over.  Our Board will receive a briefing on the current financial forecast and impacts Tuesday.

School Closure/Consolidations One Piece of the Puzzle
In order to address our financial challenges, school closures and consolidation must be discussed as part of both the short term budget solutions and the long-term viability of SDUSD. But it is just one piece of the puzzle. Additional reductions in transportation, review of how we deliver custodial, landscaping, administration and food services, and finding ways to generate more revenues are also key parts of the puzzle.

Specific Proposals for Closures and Consolidation of Schools in Point Loma

Barnard Mandarin Language Magnet
This nationally recognized program is an exciting part of SDUSD.  But The Barnard language magnet's future, whether it stays where it is or moves is NOT and in my view should NOT drive the decision on the future of Pt Loma's middle schools. They are separate issues.

Regarding the staff recommendation on Dana, the question is,  how can I, in these drastic budgetary circumstances, convince my school board colleagues that Point Loma should have TWO middle schools in one high school cluster?  In these awful times, academic success is unfortunately not the over-riding issue. I am aware of the impact of closing Dana would have on hundreds of families.  I am hopeful the creative minds of the cluster community will come into play. I will do everything within my power to assist Point Loma in responding to this quandary.

Cabrillo and Barnard
I must also fully understand the consequences of the proposals to close Cabrillo and move Barnard's Mandarin program to another site in our district, knowing that hundreds of additional families will be impacted.

Point Loma High School
I think this process should be viewed as an opportunity to discuss the future sustainability of PLHS which sits on a very small and compacted site.  Some have suggested there be one or more additional "satellite"  high school facilities.  Can we afford these? Do the school closure and consolidation proposals create options?

The Process
I feel I must let the (rather short) process play itself out. This means allowing parents, the community, school teachers and employees review the staff recommendations, and seek creative responses and alternatives which we can present to my Board colleagues.

A Parent's View
Lastly, as a parent of two girls who are in high school and have attended SDUSD schools since  Kindergarten, I know one of the most important decisions we make as parents is choosing where to send our kids to school.  I completely understand the apprehension and anger over even the discussion of closing a school.   But as an elected Board Trustee, I have responsibility for the education of 120,000 students, and the financial viability of SDUSD.  My ultimate decision will be one which I think is in the best interest of the District as a whole, while doing everything I can to protect what currently "works" schools in neighborhood schools in Point Loma.

Please participate in your Cluster's review of the school closure and consolidation proposals. Lets find creative responses I can present to my school board colleagues. Feel free to contact me with further input and suggestions.

Thank you

Scott Barnett,
SDUSD Board Trustee


Monday, October 10, 2011

October 10th Follow-Up Message Regarding Proposed School Closure

Dear Dana Families,

I want to thank those of you who have taken the time to blog your thoughts and ideas in response to the school closure recommendations announced last week.  This is truly an emotional issue for many people and I understand the personal impact this has on all of us.  As we move through the upcoming weeks we need to be true to our beliefs while coming together in a respectful and cooperative manner.  I need your help with making this happen. 

Today, many students came to school talking about next year and making references to decisions that have not yet been made.  Our children are feeling scared and sad.  We need to protect them by not engaging in these adult conversations in their presence at least until after final Board decisions have been made.  We need to keep our children focused on learning and building friendships. Also, today after school, an anonymous person hung a banner on the Dana fence referencing Barnard.    While I appreciate the passion and the sentiment, please refrain from posting signs on Dana campus.  I encourage you to use the blog to post your comments.

Information is powerful, accurate information is critical.  Many of you are aware of an ad hoc committee meeting that is scheduled for this Wednesday.  Here is some information to clarify some misunderstanding that I believe exist:
  • An ad hoc committee was formed to help coordinate next steps with district personnel
  •  The ad hoc committee is made up of the Point Loma Cluster Foundation representatives that were elected by parents and staff at each of the ten schools
  • While Wednesday’s meeting is not closed to the public, only ad hoc committee members will engage in dialogue
  •  The purpose of  Wednesday’s meeting is to share ideas, create a list of data/info needed from the district, and to schedule a date for a community forum

One great strategy for expressing your thoughts is by documenting them on the blog.  I am a member of the ad hoc committee and I will summarize your postings and share them with the committee members at Wednesday’s meeting.

Let’s remain focused on our children.  I appreciate your heartfelt support and encourage you to blog.

Dana Middle School Principal

Friday, October 7, 2011

October 7th Message From The Principal

Dear Dana Families,

San Diego Unified School District needs to close ten schools in order to address next year’s budget deficit.  On October 3rd the District’s School Closure Committee presented the following recommendations to the Point Loma Cluster Foundation.

  1. Close Cabrillo Elementary effective July 2012.
  2. Close Barnard campus but keep the Mandarin Magnet K-6 program by relocating it to the Dana campus effective September 2012.  Expand the magnet focus from Mandarin Chinese to a Pacific Rim Language Immersion K-8 program.
  3. Close Dana Middle School Grade 5 effective July 2012.
  4. Convert Dewey, Loma Portal, Ocean Beach, Silver Gate, Sunset View from K-4 to K-5 schools effective September 2012.
  5. Dana’s current fifth graders will return to Dana for sixth grade in September 2012. The sixth grade program will share the Dana campus with the Pacific Rim Language Immersion K-8 program for the 2012-13 school year.
  6. Completely close Dana Middle School effective July 2013.
  7. Correia’s grade level configuration remains the same for 2012-13, but will convert to a 6-8 middle school in 2013-14.  Correia will serve as the only middle school in Point Loma.
  8. Point Loma High School is not impacted by the draft recommendations.
We are receiving feedback from parents regarding the proposal to end the instructional program at Dana Middle School. We believe the collection and sharing of information is critical in working towards a consensus of ideas on this topic. We developed this blog to share information as it becomes available and collect comments/feedback.  Please click on the "comments" link at the bottom of this post and tell us what you think.

A Point Loma Cluster Foundation Ad Hoc Committee has been formed and is scheduled to meet on October 12 to generate questions and concerns for district personnel regarding the proposed school changes in our cluster.  I will attend this meeting and will share the questions/comments posted on this blog.

Some parents have expressed an interest in contacting school board member Scott Barnett and school board president Richard Barrera. Please consider posting letters to board members on this blog for the purpose of incorporating your ideas and opinions into one collective body of information.

The district has developed a very compressed timeline for this process.  Your immediate feedback is needed and appreciated. Please click the "comments" link at the bottom of this post today.

Timeline for Action:
  • October 12 - PL Ad Hoc Committee meets with district personnel
  • October/November Date TBD - Point Loma Cluster Town Hall Meeting
  • November 29 - First reading of school closure recommendations by Board of Education
  • December 13- Final reading and approval of school closure recommendations by Board of Education
  • January to August- Site and district preparations for closure, movement, and change

Ms. Diane Ryan