La Jolla Cluster Partnership Agreement Update: Community-based education reform hits the pause button for now
From La Jolla Cluster Association
Editor’s note: The La Jolla Cluster Association represents La Jolla High, Muirlands Middle, and Bird Rock, La Jolla and Torrey Pines Elementary Schools. For more information about the group and its plans and programs, visit lajollacluster.com
More than 1,200 teachers, parents, administrators, staff and community members took our final survey, which resulted in a 98 percent passage rate in favor of our Cluster Partnership Agreement.
One item in our agreement involves each site being able to interview all qualified applicants for a teaching position as opposed to the current contractual process where only the five most senior teachers in the district are eligible for an open position.
As with any contractual item, teachers at each site would have to submit and receive a waiver from their union, the San Diego Education Association (SDEA), in order for the request to be implemented.
To submit a waiver to SDEA, 66 percent of all the certificated employees at each site must first vote in favor of the waiver content. Despite cluster teachers at each site overwhelmingly voting in support of the proposed waiver (with an average approval rate of 84 percent), the SDEA board denied their request.
“While we believe this waiver would have expanded the rights of teachers by allowing everyone to apply for an open position in our cluster, our sitting SDEA board unfortunately did not see it that way,” said Julie Latta, Muirlands teacher and co-chair of the Cluster Partnership Agreement Committee. “Despite the disappointing outcome, we’d like to thank each and every cluster teacher for their continued support and engagement during this process.”
As for the overall Partnership Agreement, cluster representatives have been asked to postpone submitting the document to the San Diego Unified School Board for approval until after our superintendent designate Cindy Marten shares her vision of Community-Based Education Reform, which should happen in early July, after she officially takes office.
The district Partnership Agreement co-chair Fran Shimp and past area superintendent Mike Price have already met with Marten to share the history of the Agreement as well as the inclusive, transparent and unifying process that was used to craft the document.
The school board’s current vision of Community-Based Education Reform is explained on the SDUSD website as: “The San Diego Unified School District is committed to a community-based school reform model to elevate all schools within the district to higher levels of student achievement. This model empowers teachers, students, and parents within a cluster community to improve student achievement.
“The premise of the community-based model is that true school reform can only be successful if built on a solid foundation across grade levels and collaboration between schools and through active parent engagement in the learning process.” (http://www.sandi.net/site/Default.aspx?PageID=54).
La Jolla educators, parents and community members embraced the school board’s vision and spent three years determining how to implement the best possible educational climate in our cluster. The final agreement is very similar to the Mira Mesa High School Agreement spearheaded by school board president John Evans, but instead of representing just one school, it embraces all K-12 learning in our cluster to ensure collaboration between schools.
“We look forward to working with Superintendent Designate Marten and are hopeful she and the Board of Trustees will continue to view this Agreement as a collaborative partnership between cluster stakeholders and the district, and as a positive example of Community-Based Education Reform,” Shimp said.
We thank our La Jolla community for its commitment to the education of our community’s children. If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Fran Shimp at firstname.lastname@example.org
Teachers may contact Julie Latta at email@example.com or Rob Tindall at firstname.lastname@example.org
(Excerpted from the district website http://www.sandi.net/site/Default.aspx?PageID=45):
• Schools will be safe, attractive neighborhood learning centers supporting learning and interaction for citizens of all ages.
• Schools will offer opportunities that increase the capacity of the communities to meet their own needs.
• Schools and clusters will have increased authority to establish instructional strategies designed to assure the success of each student, and will be accountable for the results of those decisions.
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