Alum Rock Union School District

County Has Tough Call on New Charter Middle School in Alum Rock District

Students take part in a ribbon-cutting ceremony held last year at Alpha: Blanca Alvarado Middle School.

Last week, Alpha: Blanca Alvarado Middle School, a charter authorized by Alum Rock Union School District, presented its rationale for opening a second middle school at a public hearing for the county Board of Education. The school’s founder, John Glover, filed a petition with the Santa Clara County Office of Education to begin instruction in the 2014-15 school year. The Alum Rock board denied the original charter school petition July 2 by a 4-1 vote, but the county is considering overruling that decision.

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Diverse Voices Need to Come Together

James McCarthy performs at the Panhandle Stage at the Outside Lands festival in San Francisco earlier this month

A little more than a week ago my wife and I attended Outside Lands, the three-day concert at Golden Gate Park headlined by Sir Paul McCartney. Even though we were at the upper age bracket of those assembled, we felt no discrimination. The 65,000 attendees each day were exceedingly respectful and well-behaved. Like Outside Lands does for music, I thought, Silicon Valley’s diverse voices come together on common goals relating to education.

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Making Politics Work for Public Education

Studies show that reaching kids at an early age pays big dividends in performance later in school. (Photo by j.sanna, via Flickr)

Someone asked me last week if there are underreported stories about public education in the Bay Area. Absolutely there are. People and ideas are converging in Silicon Valley, and they have the potential to alter the landscape of schools and learning.

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Flores Shelton Lands Alum Rock Board Post

A tip came in Monday afternoon that Andrea Flores Shelton, formerly a deputy chief of staff for Supervisor George Shirakawa, would get the nod as Alum Rock school district’s new trustee. In the end, that’s exactly what happened. Now the question is whether or not opponents of the process will gather signatures for a special election to challenge her appointment.

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Protest Planned for School Board Meeting

Parents of Alum Rock Union School District students, community members and Somos Mayfair plan to protest in advance of tonight’s school board meeting and the potential appointment of a new board member. The protest, which is scheduled to start 30 minutes before the 6pm board meeting, hopes to sway trustees Esau Herrera, Dolores Marquez and Andres Quintero from appointing a new board member before Karen Martinez joins the board in December. Martinez won a trustee seat in this month’s election and the county does not certify results until Dec. 4.

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Shirakawa, Campos Play Political Chess

Craig Mann vacated his county school board seat in August and filling it should be no big deal. But the appointment has set off a flurry of activity that will reverberate in other races, because that’s the way things work around here with ambitious rising politicians and established ones who want to keep their privileges in the era of term limits.

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A Pressing Middle School Matter

Two critical steps to building a public education system second to none begins with a focus on reading between birth to grade three—resulting in all students reading proficiently by the end of 3rd grade—and vastly improving middle school education. Middle schools are the key to increasing high school graduation and college enrollment rates. The seeds for dropping out often begin during the transition between elementary school and the less personalized middle school model—six teachers and instructional periods—where the content dots tragically do not connect.

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