Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Pondering on What I Learned From the Conference Call

San Pedro High School, South Region High School #15, and some problems currently found at Point Fermin Elementary school were three areas I participated in, in a conference call with representatives of LAUSD, earlier this morning.

The call was requested by Ms. Linda Del Cueto, the Superintendent of Local District Eight of the Los Angeles Unified School District to assist me in finding answers to questions and concerns I have.

Other participants in the conference call included Mr. Steve Walters, now apparently working in the Superintendent's office. Mr. Walters is a past Principal of San Pedro High School.

Also included in the conference call were two representatives of Dr. Richard Vladovic, the Local Area Number 7 member of the Los Angeles Unified School District's Board of Education.

A little background needs to be established before I write on.

Ms. Del Cueto came to her current position in July, 2007, after the South Region High School # 15 (SRHS 15) was approved for planning and studies by the LAUSD Board of Education, in May, 2007.

She also came to her current position before June 24, 2008 when the original size of the campus was scaled back from 1,215- students to 810-students.

Ms. Del Cueto admitted that she is not as informed about the areas covered in the conference call we had because she is in charge of over 100 schools, their programs, and the people who go to those schools every day.

It is not surprising to me that Ms. Del Cueto cannot know what many of us know about the three areas covered in the call as we may have more time to deal with them than she does.

Ms. Del Cueto also has a staff that does their work to help her learn what she needs to learn as situations arise.

The first set of issues we discussed revolved around the document that illustrated that 150-seats proposed to be built at SRHS 15 might go to students who would have normally attended Narbonne High School.

This is a contentious document and one I still do not have sufficient evidence to base many judgements about.

No one on the call claimed to have know much, if anything about the document.

We know it came from the Master Planning and Demographics portion of the LAUSD Facilities Services Division.

I have been promised that folks within LAUSD will find answers to the following questions that we could not have answers for during the call:

Where, exactly, did the document come from?
Who requested the information supplied on the document?
Why was the document created?
Where was the new boundary going to be created?

Now here is an absolute claim made by Ms. Del Cueto and supported by everyone else on the conference call and strongly supported by Dr. Richard Vladovic:

If SRHS 15 is built there will be NO SEATS going to relieve overcrowding at any other school other than San Pedro High School.

This belies what the document purports to suggest so that is why we need to find the answers to the questions so we can make sure that the claim is totally true and remains for all time.

I believe Dr. Vladovic and Ms. Del Cueto when they state that there will be NO seats at SRHS 15 assigned to students other than those that would help to releive overcrowding at San Pedro High School.

Even with my beliefs, I still do wonder about the document, its time of creation and discussion by someone at LAUSD and how come the issue came up in the first place.

The document states facts that could only have been retrieved during Ms. Del Cueto's time as Local Area Superintendent, but that does not mean she had anything to do with its creation and discussion.

It is still an area of consternation for me because it is yet another cloud hanging over issues that need a thorough vetting and complete openness from all representatives at LAUSD not just Ms. Del Cueto, Dr. Vladovic, and their representatives.

Ms. Del Cueto is now fully onboard with having SRHS 15 as an annex to San Pedro High School.

Many of us have very strong opinions about the proposed campus, with a number of residents wanting the new campus built as a school separate from San Pedro High School.

Ms. Del Cueto is not a 'decider' whether the new campus is built or not. Of course she supports its construction.

Another very important issue brought up dealt with the idea that San Pedro High School was what is called a "receiver school".

A receiver school is one that accepts students who would normally attend another school, but since their home school is overcrowded, the students go to a different school.

In Local District Eight, only Gardena High School is a 'receiver school' receiving students who would normally attend Banning High School.

This satisfies my answer to that question.

Mr. Steve Walters, during the call, went on to provide me with information about students who do and do not live in the San Pedro High School area who attend San Pedro High School or some other school, for various reasons.

I am now going to provide numbers supplied by Mr. Walters that I do not challenge. There may be others who may wish to challenge the information, but I don't have any problems with these numbers as supplied by Mr. Walters.

460-the number of students in Magnet programs currently at San Pedro High School from within San Pedro and other areas.

169-the number of San Pedro residents participating in Magnet programs at the high school.

291-the number of NON-San Pedro residents participating in Magnet programs at the high school.

200-the number of San Pedro residents bussed out of San Pedro to attend high schools in other areas, for varying reasons.

45-the number of students attending the high school via permits.

44-the number of San Pedro residents attending San Pedro High School via permits.

1-the number of students at the high school via permit who do NOT live in the San Pedro area.

I didn't know, until this call, that "200" residents of San Pedro are traveling OUT by bus, from the San Pedro High School area to attend other high schools.

Here is another number supplied to many of us NOT from Mr. Walters or Ms. Del Cueto.

292-the number of students bussed to San Pedro High School for any reason whether they are San Pedro residents or not.

I believe it is reasonable to supply the information supplied to me by Mr. Walters to the largest population possible.

I know that representatives of Dr. Vladovic read this blog, the posts, and the comments.

Anyone is welcome to supply not only an entire post on this blog, but also comments when they wish to, on any post on this blog.

After dealing with the document and the 'receiver school' issues, we moved on to the Point Fermin Elementary School issues.

Ms. Del Cueto, unfortunately, didn't seem to know about the current problems facing the school and while I regret that she was not more informed, I can rely on her statements dealing with the concept that being in charge of so many schools, she is not that connected with each individual school.

Ms. Del Cueto began the call with her concerns about Washington Prep, and I got the impression that the school is taking up too much of her time. It is in her Local District.

I am a concerned that the Harbor Area schools might not be receiving the attention they deserve from LAUSD and some of Ms. Del Cueto's statements at points throughout the call, very sadly, seemed to exemplify my concerns.

Ms. Del Cueto claimed to know almost nothing about the issues facing Point Fermin Elementary at this time.

One of the representatives from Dr. Vladovic's office quickly explained to her the situation.

One bright thing I felt that came from that representative of Dr. Vladovic stated some support for the 'WIN-WIN' petition that has been generated.

I have to stop again and provide more information about the petition.

Mr. James Campeau worked with at least one representative of LAUSD to provide the basis for the petition.

Mr. Campeau then sent his sample to me and asked me and others to 'wordsmith' it.

I did what Mr. Campeau requested that the current 'Win-Win' petition has my new wording on it.

But the petition has some problems that must be resolved, ASAP.

Mr. Campeau needs to provide how and why the petition was created, who produced it, and whether other parties were involved in its creation.

I also suggested to Mr. Campeau and others that this first petition should be recreated with inpur from parents, LAUSD, faculty, and the administration at Point Fermin Elementary School.

I am not going to publish the petition on this blog until it has more information provided.

Since I was the one to re-write it, I very much agree with the solutions section of the petition, but I would feel even better if it had more discussion and input from folks other than myself and Mr. Campeau.

Getting back to the call and the Point Fermin issues, I also chided everyone from LAUSD for not sending a representative from that organization to the Coastal San Pedro Neighborhood Council meeting, held last evening.

Most of the participants on the call could have claimed ignorance about the meeting, except one person who was very involved in matters concerning Coastal.

There will be plenty of followup to Dr. Vladovic's office and Ms. Del Cueto's office about this matter.

All in all, I received pretty much what I expected during the call on the 150-student document issue. Everyone is claiming ignorance, they will attempt to get to the bottom line, and that all of us agreed that there would NOT be 150-seats allocated to Narbonne area students at SRHS 15 IF it is built.

I was pleased to learn about the purported facts and numbers dealing with whether San Pedro High School was a 'receiver school' and the accounting of where students come from and go to.

The matters concerning Point Fermin Elementary School should be elevated in the offices of the Local District Superintendent, in my opinion.

There will be two classrooms without proper heating this Winter unless the problems are resolved.

The school will not be able to fully implement its Marine Magnet program until the computers have power.

The current problems have gone on since 2006 and during the time the playgrounds were dug up to allow conduit to be placed, even though no conduit for new power to the cabinet was placed underground.

There is far too much frustration on the part of all parties that LAUSD is not responding as they probably should do to get the issues resolved.

If the problems are such that Ms. Janice Hahn thoughtfully got involved, then surely there should be more emphasis on finding solutions from the Local District offices and Superintendent.

I very much appreciate all participants' willingness to participate in the conference and I thank them very much.

I have found Dr. Vladovic's office willing to respond to me and it appears that Ms. Del Cueto's office offers communication and discussion.

As I wrote this post I continue to sit exactly where I sit on the three issues:

San Pedro High School MAY be overcrowded, but is has fewer students per square of foot of campus space than when I attended the high school and the 2,953 graduates of the classes of 1972, 1973, and 1974 shared the halls with an unknown number of students who didn't graduate in June of those years.

I am still concerned about the document that has not received full disclosure due to many reasons. I was sad to learn that not only Dr. Vladovic not know about the document, but Ms. Del Cueto claimed she didn't know about it either.

I was pleased to hear that all parties stated that IF SRHS 15 is built, all the seats would go to ease overcrowding on the existing San Pedro High School Campus.

This does NOT mean I am changing my opinion concerning SRHS 15. That opinion is spread all over this blog.

We should all challenge both Dr. Vladovic and Ms. Del Cueto to assist in finding solutions to the major problem at Point Fermin Elementary School.

It is bad enough that they are not as informed as many of us hoped they would be.

It is understandable that a newer Local District Superintendent would not know all that much about many of the school she supervises. It is remarkable that Ms. Del Cueto has been on the job for over a year and still has such little information about our Harbor Area schools.





1 comment:

Hercules said...

he didn't change his mind, oh my. maybe the district administrator will learn something here.