School board to receive reports on personalized learning, district facilities

Also: Honoring Marissa Ware, classified position reduction, district self-assessment

The San Ramon Valley school board is set to hear a variety of presentations and informational reports Tuesday night, including a discussion about district facilities, a recognition of the Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year and an update on the much-discussed personalized learning initiatives.

The update comes after Superintendent Rick Schmitt has spent the last few months talking with parents and staff about personalized learning options, which primarily focus on implementing ways to increase opportunities for student, family and staff choice, student wellness and reducing class size with no increase in General Fund expense.

The 10 proposals under consideration range from flexible start and end times to allowing middle school students the option of earning two years of world language credit.

According to district officials, implementation of the initiatives would begin in 2018-19, with some being phased in over multiple years. Parents can offer feedback and ask questions through an online form as well.

Also during presentations, Danville elementary school teacher Marissa Ware will be recognized for having been chosen as one of two Teachers of the Year by the Contra Costa County Office of Education.

The selection of Ware, a second-grade teacher at John Baldwin Elementary School, was announced at the end of September, and she advanced to the statewide Teacher of the Year program.

Board members will also hear presentations on Del Amigo High School, both from their student board member and from the school's principal, Amy Gillespie-Oss. Local schools rotate giving presentations to the board on their general programming and activities throughout the year.

Closing out the presentation portion of the meeting, the board will receive a staff presentation on facilities.

The meeting is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. Tuesday at the district administrative complex at 699 Old Orchard Drive in Danville.

In other business

* The board will consider adopting a resolution that would eliminate and/or reduce the number of classroom paraeducators in the district. According to a staff report, 1.4625 full time employee positions would be reduced or eliminated.

* Board members will consider approving a self-assessment on four local performance indicators to be submitted to the California Data Dashboard.

* During a closed-session meeting at 5 p.m., the school board will confer with legal counsel over multiple existing cases of litigation and one anticipated case.

Also in closed session, the board will discuss a student expulsion case. The final item in closed session includes a conference with Keith Rogenski, assistant superintendent of human resources, regarding negotiations with the teachers union.


5 people like this
Posted by Mary
a resident of Danville
on Nov 14, 2017 at 11:49 am

My level of concern over the proposed changes being suggested by Superintendent Schmitt continues to rise. He appears to be one of the highest paid superintendents this district has ever hired, but so far he has done nothing that impresses me or has appeared to improve the value of the education my two high school students are receiving. The 10 proposals all take away something from students in the name of money or his euphemism "stress reduction." He is adding stress to parents who may have to get their kids to a DVC campus for their continued education and to students who worry that their Leadership, Music or Art courses may be eliminated. Where are the benefits? They are doing a poor job of selling most parents on how this is better and how our District will improve the education and lives of students. Now they are going to eliminate the Para position? He continues to TAKE in the form of his high salary and continues to TAKE AWAY from schools, teachers, parents and his ultimate customer, our students. Please explain to us Mr. Schmitt how our kids, your students, will be better equipped for life after high school with the changes you are shoving down our throats.

5 people like this
Posted by Jason
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 14, 2017 at 1:09 pm

Just to clarify- he is the highest paid superintendent by far that the district has employed. In addition, the board recently approved a “deputy superintendent” position which has not existed before.

4 people like this
Posted by Jane
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 16, 2017 at 7:50 am

Let's all be open minded and give the poor man some credit! The Board obviously hired him to make changes to a district in need of updating. Not to mention, he has an amazing track record at his prior district after making many of these same changes.

Being married to a now (thankfully) retired Superintendent of a large district myself I can tell you they earn every penny of their salary! My husband was "on call" 24/7, he received hundreds of phone calls, emails & texts daily, and worked sometimes a bit and sometime a lot during every weekend, holiday & vacation. On days he had his monthly Board Meetings he would be out the door at 7:00am to prepare and not home until after 11pm - midnight in many instances. He did not answer to 1 boss, but rather 5 in my husband's case (Board Members), so you can only imagine the different personalities, many times in complete disagreement, that he had to deal with. But I can tell you the Board is nothing compared to today's parents. They have gone from "helicopter" to "snowplow" to "I can't even describe" how crazy. He was sued numerous times over the years by these overbearing parents, adding to the already unimaginable stress of his day to day job. I worried my husband might never make it to retirement as I watched his hair turn grey and the wrinkles in his face deepen. Had he actually been the CEO of a large company, he most likely would have been making many times the salary he received from his district. But my husband loves kids and started his career as a teacher, hoping to make a difference in the lives of his students. It was that love & passion for the job that drove him to climb the extremely difficult ladder to Superintendent, wanting to make a larger difference in education as a whole. Money has never mattered to him, as I'm sure everyone in education would tell you, because they don't make a fraction of what they are worth.

FYI-The current Superintendent oversees 3500 employees, 36 schools, & 32,000 students. Not to mention, SRVUSD is one of the top performing districts in the country! Do you carry that kind of responsibility in your current job??

And keep in mind Mary & Jason... if you live in this area, your property value is what it is because of the amazing work done by the employees of the school district!

And Jason... I recommend you do some better research... the new Deputy Superintendent position was given to a current employee and is actually saving the district about $500,000.

Web Link

Like this comment
Posted by Scott Hale
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 16, 2017 at 10:33 am

Scott Hale is a registered user.

gosh, gee, whiz he's been here a bit over a year. He accepted the 'deal' the Board offered. Can't fault him on THAT, now can we? SRVUSD is large 36 schools (actually 25 campuses if one is counting) and over 32k students. Yeah, he makes somewhat more than PUD super, but that district half the size.

I'm betting most don't know the State will fund this district less and the district needs to deal with that. Now, I think introducing so many changes was not the ideal way to go. However, I did attend one of his meetings to discuss (anybody else in thread? doubt it).

Somebody needs to do more research.

Like this comment
Posted by Scott Hale
a resident of San Ramon
on Nov 16, 2017 at 10:34 am

Scott Hale is a registered user.


Dear SRVUSD Parents/Guardians and Staff,

Over the past few months there has been a robust public discourse around the Personalized Learning ideas. Almost 1,000 parents have attended one of my fall meetings, offering ideas and asking questions. Staff have engaged through site-based and small group conversations. I have also been able to learn from our high school students through forums at each of our four comprehensive high schools about these ideas.

I am so grateful for the feedback that has helped us build upon our vision to:

Increase student, staff and family options

Improve student wellness (reduce overscheduling and student stress)

Reduce class size with no increase in general fund expense

All of these conversations are making us a better District and community as we work together to make our schools the best they can be with our limited funding. To continue to gather your feedback, today we are launching a district-wide survey for all parents, staff and 8-12 grade students.

As these ideas have evolved over time, we want to ensure that you have the most recent information available. Before you take the survey, please visit the District’s webpage where you can find more details in a PowerPoint presentation and FAQs. I encourage you to take 5 minutes to click on the following link and complete the survey.
Web Link

All responses to the survey are anonymous. The survey will close at 5 p.m. on Friday, December 1, 2017.

The results of this survey are very important. We will use this feedback to further refine our work in order to make recommendations to the Board of Education by the end of January 2018 for the 2018-2019 school year.

As we head into the Thanksgiving break, my thanks to each of you for your support of the students and staff of the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. I hope you have a great week full of family, friends and happiness.


Rick Schmitt

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