Pleasant Hill City Council's Meeting with MDUSD
Feb 01, 2016 04:44PM
● By Jennifer Neys
Council Meeting with MDUSD
The Pleasant Hill City Council met with MDUSD School Board and Superintendent Dr. Nellie Meyer last December. The meeting included updates on student enrollment and transfers, technology upgrades, counseling services, and future student programs.
According to Felicia Stuckey-Smith, director of Student Services, College Park has the highest enrollment of any other high school in the district, with 2,023 students. Of those, 177 are transfer students (students who do not attend their “assigned” high school based on where they live), with about 80% as siblings or the children of employees at the high school.
The large number of students at College Park has been a concern for many parents who envision ever increasing numbers. During public comment, College Park parent Kelly St. Germain suggested implementing and adhering to address verification and processes at the high school: “Even though there are 177 transfers into College Park at this time, the high school, in and of itself, through Pleasant Hill and through enrollment in our elementary schools, is impacted, so College Park cannot accept any other students from outside the district (area). There is no address verification that I’m aware of going on. I’ve never been asked to submit any evidence of where I live. I believe we need to have some kind of verification process in place. We need to consider the fact that we might need another high school or more capacity if we are going to talk about building new homes in Pleasant Hill.”
Stuckey-Smith responded by saying, “We have four attendance liaisons that go out and do address verifications for our district. They work 24/7. Whenever a registrar at a school is registering a student and is suspicious of the fact that their address does not necessarily match, we send an attendance person out to verify. If verification cannot be met after a certain period of time, they will be asked to go to the school that matches their address.” She went on to explain that the district sometimes conducts a school-wide address verification and disclosed that an address verification was done at College Park seven or eight years ago.
With respect to technology in the schools, Superintendent Dr. Nellie Meyer said, “In May, our board voted to restructure our (Measure C) Bond, so we split the bond, and it saved tax payers seven million dollars with the restructuring. The main component was that we were taking the bond money to pursue hard wiring, the infrastructure, and using it for the purpose of something that will last for many years. The consumable products, the computers, etc., were shifted then into other budgets.” The district stopped funding technological devices that do not have a long shelf life with the bond and will instead use non-bond funding. The idea is that taxpayers will not be paying interest on a computer that is no longer in service or functioning. The district added eight network tech positions primarily for tech support (that was previously funded through foundations and parent support groups at some schools). The elementary schools have less tech support time than the middle schools and high school. “It is not where we would like it to be. Ideally, we would like a full-time person at each site. We are continuing to look at bringing back future positions,” she said.
After over 20 years without school counselors and counseling services, forty school counselors have been brought back to the school district, and eleven of those are in Pleasant Hill schools with the plan to add 13 more by 2018. The school counselors provide academic advisement, college and career planning, and social and emotional counseling to all students.
There are other high school programs for students still in the works. School Board members Cheryl Hansen and Debra Mason have formed a subcommittee along with members of the Community College Board to work with Diablo Valley College in implementing the Middle College Program, where high school students can enroll at DVC and receive college credits. The program was due to start last month, with about 30 students from each of the district high schools, but the program has been postponed. The district is also looking at starting a Duel Enrollment program, which would have some of the teachers at the high schools certified to be junior college instructors and teach a college course on the high school campus and receive college credit. “We’ve had to push a little harder than we thought we would with DVC, and the Community College Board has really come to our aid,” said Hanson.