LETTER FROM KARLIN TO THE CITIZENS OF UNION CITY. THIS IS VERY IMPORTANT.

[Please reblog as text so it will be easier to read]

Dear citizens of Union City:

Reclaim your schools. Elect a new school board. Demand the resignation of your superintendent. Hold your school administrators on a short leash and demand transparency and accountability. No longer accept the collusion of the local teacher’s union and the school district in mismanaging public funds and minimizing your children’s education.

I was a pawn in a political ploy made by the New Haven Unified School District and the New Haven Teacher’s Association. In order to generate support for the most recent failed parcel tax measure I received a layoff notice in March and a final notice of layoff in May. So did four other of my fellow school band directors at the high school and middle schools. It is not hyperbole to state that the wind band program at James Logan High School has been one of the best in the country during my tenure.

After having invested 13 years into this program, I thought it unconscionable how these layoffs came to be. As I learned from a CTA lawyer, the district could have protected the specialists that created this gem of a program, but chose not to. Since I received no communication from the central administration during this process other than layoff notices, I understood my skills were regarded as dispensable, if not simply unrecognized and disregarded. I began a national job search and secured employment at an excellent band program elsewhere in the country. 

NHTA and NHUSD then promoted Measure H, with the help of parent boosters, as purportedly the only way to: restore school music, school electives, and school extra-curricular activities. The language of the measure did not state this. It in fact stated clearly that the money was to support core curriculum. I was educated by the NHTA this was because the 2011 parcel tax had failed, and research showed that people would not vote for extra funding to support school music, school electives and school extra-curricular activities. The campaign for Measure H was apparently a ruse designed to extort money to, among other things, help fund the program with which I was involved.

The day after Measure H failed, the district, arm in arm with the NHTA, unveiled a new agreement that restored the music program.

The puppet strings lodged in my back became distinctly apparent.

An NHTA representative stated recently in a mass email to teachers that the financial problem facing the school district is not an “us vs. them” situation.  The problem lies solely with state leadership. Citizens, administrators and teachers are all in this together. Nonsense. NHUSD is reaping the whirlwind which they have sown with poor financial decision after poor financial decision.  These have included: needlessly tearing down the continuation high school,  constructing 9th grade science facilities on what remains 6-8 middle school campuses, needless construction of an elementary school based on incorrect population projections (this same school not built to code for use by all grades K-5), union-district salary negotiations that chose to ignore the coming economic storm until it was too late…

Other districts (with the consent of their local union membership) in California instituted furlough days years ago on a much more modest level, and now have a surplus of funds and no furlough days and a lower student-teacher ratio due to their vision, and saved the needless parade of annual pink slips. NHUSD could have done the same, but chose not to.

Reclaim your schools. Elect a new school board. Demand the resignation of your superintendent. Hold your school’s administrators on a short leash and demand transparency and accountability. No longer accept the collusion of the local teacher’s union and the school district in mismanaging public funds and minimizing your children’s education.

Thank you for your attention.

Kenneth J. Karlin
Associate Director of Bands
James Logan High School, 1999-2012

2

THANK YOU KEN AND OTHER PEOPLE IN THE DISTRICT.

FINALLY.

I was afraid to speak up because I thought nobody gave a crap about the opposing side. Hopefully it’s not too late now.

My biggest question is, how are people willing to donate money to change the name for a school but are not willing to donate money to save extra curriculars or teachers from being cut?

NEW HAVEN BOOSTERS ASSOCIATION:

Save Co-Curriculars!!

Once again, NHBA & New Haven Schools Foundation are joining forces to supplement New Haven Unified School District’s Co-Curricular programs. We have scheduled a “volunteer recruitment meeting” at 7 p.m. Tuesday, July 10, at the District office. As you know, united with community help, the Foundation and the Boosters raised and donated $100,000 to the District last year to help fund stipends for after-school activities at James Logan High School, Alvarado Middle School and Cesar Chavez Middle school. This week they have committed to the same effort in 2012-13. AND if we exceed our $100,000 goal, we would like to help in other areas. We are currently planning a number of fund-raising events and are looking for 1) volunteers; 2) people like you, who can help recruit volunteers. Please join us, together we can accomplish anything!

NHUSD School Board Members
  • NEW HAVE UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT MAIN PHONE NUMBER 510-471-1100
  • Superintendent:Kari McVeigh (ext. 62623) kmcveigh@nhusd.k12.ca.us
  • Chief Academic Officer:Wendy Gudalewicz (ext. 62611) wgudalewicz@nhusd.k12.ca.us
  • Chief Business Officer:Akur Varadarajan (ext. 60413) avaradarajan@nhusd.k12.ca.us
  • Chief Personnel Officer:Derek McNamara (ext. 60407) dmcnamara@nhusd.k12.ca.us
  • Director Parent/Community Relations:Rick La Plante (ext. 62610) rlaplante@nhusd.k12.ca.us
  • OTHER BOARD MEMBERS:
  • Linda Canlas:lcanlas@nhusd.k12.ca.us
  • Sarabjeet Cheema:scheema@nhusd.k12.ca.us
  • Jonas Dino:jdino@nhusd.k12.ca.us
  • Michelle Matthews:mmatthews@nhusd.k12.ca.us
  • Michael Ritchie:mritchie@nhusd.k12.ca.us

The money, distributed over the next four-and-a-half years, will help the school district establish highly effective learning environments, according to a district statement.

From the New Haven Unified School District

The New Haven Unified School District was named today one of 16 nationwide winners in the U.S. Department of Education’s Race to the Top-District (RTTT-D) competition. 

New Haven’s application was ranked No. 2 in the country. The District will receive more than $29 million over the next four-and-a-half years, to personalize student learning, improve student achievement and educator effectiveness, close achievement gaps, and prepare all students to succeed in college and careers. 

“This is a tremendous validation of the work that we’ve been doing in New Haven for the past few years, and every teacher, classified employee and administrator in the District should be proud of all they’ve done to make this possible,” Superintendent Kari McVeigh said. “This grant will enable us to extend and expand services and fulfill our mission to help every child reach his or her potential.”

The RTTT-D competition attracted 372 applicants from across the country. Applications were evaluated and scored in independent peer reviews, and New Haven was notified in November that it was among 61 finalists, including only four from California.

"Districts have been hungry to drive reform at the local level, and now these winners can empower their school leaders to pursue innovative ideas where they have the greatest impact: in the classroom," U.S. Secretary of Education Arne Duncan said in a statement released by the Department of Education. "The Race to the Top-District grantees have shown tremendous leadership though developing plans that will transform the learning environment and enable students to receive a personalized, world-class education."

New Haven Unified serves nearly 13,000 students in Union City and south Hayward. The District includes James Logan High School, the largest high school in Northern California, along with seven elementary schools, two middle schools and a continuation high school as well as an adult school. The District also is the founding partner of the Union City Kids’ Zone, a consortium of agencies and organizations working together to provide comprehensive services for the District’s most vulnerable students and their families.

The District will use the RTTT-D funds to build on and expand its comprehensive K-12 reform strategies – known as the Seven Essentials for Continuous Growth and Improvement — that focus on making sure that students acquire critical literacy and mathematics skills across the entire grade spans.  The funds will help the District establish highly effective learning environments for all students, in which teachers instantly access a wide variety of educational tools, content and training aligned with the Common Core State Standards adopted by the State of California for implementation in 2014-15.

“The money will be targeted, so it won’t help us overcome all of the financial challenges that we’re facing after five years of state budget cuts, but it certainly will help us continue the good work we’ve started here,” Superintendent McVeigh said.

Predicated on the belief that quality instruction is the key to achieving District goals, while surrounding students with a network of supports and services, the grant will allow New Haven to expand educator professional development and support services for both students and their families, specifically expanding the work of the Kids’ Zone.

The grant will provide teachers, students and their families with real-time access to student assessments and learning needs while building on the work of the District’s Grading and Assessment Task Force and Teacher Evaluation Task Force. The grant will help the District zero-in on its focus on teacher learning and student supports in ways made almost impossible during the last few years of budget cuts.

The District plans to hire literacy, assessment and math coaches for all schools to provide in-classroom coaching in personalized learning for literacy, math and use of assessments.  The District will expand summer teacher institutes for reading, literacy and mathematics and would create smaller class sizes for high school English Learners. The District will purchase more K-8 library books and classroom libraries of non-fiction books and would expand online courses for high school students.

The District also plans to purchase mini-computer tablets for every 6-12 grade student and for every two K-5 students, as well as tablets, laptops and document cameras for all teachers. The District will hire additional IT technicians, a data specialist and technology trainers. All of the new technology will be phased in with strong teacher professional development to ensure usage. The District also will expand Library Media positions in every school.

“I’d like to especially thank the New Haven Teachers Association for their partnership in writing the grant application,” Superintendent McVeigh said. “In many districts across the country, teachers groups declined to sign on, wary of the evaluation component, but we’ve been working together with NHTA in this area, and their input and ultimate support was absolutely critical.”

Ms. McVeigh also thanked the Ball Foundation, which adopted New Haven four years ago and has supported the District in implementing many of its initiatives. The Foundation sponsored the District’s application, paying for the grant-writing services of Hatchuel Tabernik & Associates.

A small group of parents recently voiced their concerns that Mr. Ireland and Ms. Atlansky were too demanding of their students, stating that their grading was too harsh, which has resulted in the suspension of both teachers from teaching any Advanced Placement English course for the following year. However, this action was unwarranted, as both teachers are exemplary, and the opinions of the group are not those of the majority. We ask that they be reinstated and allowed to continue as AP English teachers.

Literally some of the biggest bullshit I’ve ever read.

I can only attest to Ireland, but…I owe a lot of my development as a writer & as a person to that man.  He challenged the FUCK out of me, yes… but I improved so much as a student.  [& hell you are reading the words of a person who PUSHED HERSELF to get an A in his class & I am one of the few & it was a struggle, but it was worth it.  The effort I gave to make myself better & earn that A was worth it & I’m grateful for the struggle.]

Yes, you probably won’t get a fucking A if you take his class… but jeezus fucking christ what you actually take away from the curriculum he gives you is so much fucking more.  The books you read are QUALITY.  The questions he gives you prepare you for college, prepare you for the shit that’s going to get thrown your way if you choose to go that route.  It’s not bullshit busy work that you can easily breeze thru.  Yes you have to actually try.

& he’s not some callous fuckwad that a lot of people make him out to be; he CARES about you.  If you need help, he will sit with you & help you.  Yes he can be intimidating, but he is actually the sweetest man.  He will drop whatever he’s doing & he will help you.  He has given me advice on my life & he has cared for me - more than any teacher had before - & he helped me in so many fucking ways.  & how we repay him is THIS fucking bullshit????

Losing fucking faith in this district.  Losing fucking everything.

IMPORTANT: Board of Education Briefs: March 6, 2012

  • Girding for a worst-case scenario prompted by a projected budget reduction of nearly $11 million, the Board of Education on Tuesday night was forced to authorize the issuing of precautionary layoff notices to more than 100 teachers, classified employees and administrators.

  • After the latest blow dealt by Sacramento lawmakers to local school districts, New Haven Unified faces a budget shortfall of an estimated $10.7 million for the 2012-13 school year, according to Chief Business Officer Akur Varadarajan. The District has made $15 million in cuts over the past four years.

  • The District has been forced to notice the equivalent of 77.2 full-time teachers, site and District-level administrators and other District-wide personnel that they might not have jobs in the fall. Those affected include 55.8 full-time equivilents (FTE) among the elementary teaching staff and 14.6 FTE among the middle school teaching staff.

  • Class-size ratios will increase to 30:1 in kindergarten through second grades and prep classes such as music and science would be in jeopardy, as would library/media services. Middle school electives such as art and music also would be in jeopardy.

  • In addition, as is standard procedure, the Board released 42 temporary and probationary teachers.

  • The District also will notice precautionary layoff notices to the equivalent of 31.98 classified employees.

  • Since 2008, the District workforce has been reduced by nearly 15 percent, from 1,252 to 1,075 FTE. The biggest reduction has been in the administrative staff, which has been reduced by 23 percent, from 84 FTE in 2008 to 65 in 2012. The teaching staff has been reduced by 14 percent, from 710.7 to 611.6 FTE, and the classified staff has been reduced by 13 percent, from 457.3 to 398.7 FTE.

  • Prior to voting, Board members urged the public to support a measure that the District has placed on the June 5 ballot that would raise approximately $3 million to help mitigate the cuts.

  • The measure would “support high-quality local elementary, middle and high school education to prepare students for college and careers with outstanding core academic programs in reading, writing, math and science and highly qualified teachers and classified staff,” according to the ballot statement, by authorizing a parcel tax of $180 per year, for four years. No funds could be used for administrators’ salaries, and exemptions would be available for senior citizens and the disabled. The measure will require a two-thirds majority to pass.

  • Students, parents, teachers, classified employees, administrators and community members interested in passing the measure are meeting at 6 p.m. Thursday, March 15, at the New Haven Teachers Association office, 32980 Alvarado-Niles Rd., Suite 812, Union City. The group is planning a rally and a march from Logan High to the Union Landing shopping center on Saturday, March 31, starting at 9 a.m.
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