Friday, September 29, 2023

We the Parents Coronado (WTPC) Letter to Superintendent Karl Mueller

Letters to the Editor submitted to The Coronado Times are the opinions of the author and do not necessarily reflect the opinions of the publisher, editors or writers of this publication. Submit letters to [email protected].

Submitted by We the Parents Coronado

Dear Superintendent Karl Mueller,

We the Parents Coronado want to thank and commend you and the CUSD Staff for providing an opportunity for some high-level input into the preparation of changes to the Long Range Plan on March 3, 2022. It is encouraging to note that CUSD owns this plan and that it will continue to provide opportunities for improvement in four major areas of operation. We look forward to more varied and expanded opportunities for parents and the community to engage in these discussions. We have shared the materials with others and respectfully want to share with you the many questions that arise as folks review them. We are not asking for a specific answer to each question, but rather, we hope that these questions will provide inspiration for future explanation and communication that reaches out to everyone.

Goal 1:  LEARNING: “CUSD” learners will perform in the top 5% of San Diego County students as measured by a variety of metrics and assessments.

  1. What exactly is the top 5%?  What specifically are the metrics and assessments that will reveal this goal?  Where can these comparisons within San Diego County be seen/reviewed?
  2. What is a concrete example of what a “graduate profile looks like” and who is going to decide what the CUSD “graduate profile is, students, teachers, parents, the community?”
  3. Provide the references to the research that says that “up to 3rd grade, students are learning to read and after 3rd grade, students use reading to learn other things including research that explains inconsistencies and exceptions.  What exactly does this look like in practice for students in CUSD?
  4. Which instructional practices and models are currently in use for teachers in CUSD?
  5. Who in CUSD is ensuring that students receive all their legally required instructional minutes and who has oversight at the county or state level since over half of the kids in our 4×4 schedule are getting only 810 hours instead of the required 1080 hours?
  6. What specifically are we doing to change the fact that 35-40% of our students do not meet grade level standards in math?

Goal 2:  COMMUNICATION:  “Establish an effective and efficient communication plan for CUSD ensuring consistent branding and messaging across all platforms.”

  1. What is branding?
  2. Why is there no follow-up to the concerns that are repeatedly voiced during open comments at school board meetings?
  3. How do parents and the community engage in the establishment of issues that should be agendized?
  4. Why do the board members avoid one-on-one discussions with their constituency (meaning parents, teachers, students and community members)?
  5. Why are there no unstructured forums for discussion that include administrators and board members?
  6. What are the measures used to determine if the weekly newsletters from the school are actually read and understood by parents?
  7. What are the measures used to determine the effectiveness of communications on the district’s website?
  8. What specific things are you doing to promote a sense of community around the school district?  For example, how do zoom Back to School Nights build community?
  9. How broadly was the LRP Forum advertised and for how long given that fewer than 20 non-staff participants were there?

Goal 3: SUPPORT: “Maintain safe and supportive schools where students and staff thrive.

  1. Parents are completely left out of this consideration?
  2. It is stated that the district wants to do what is best for the teachers and students but what did you do when teachers took a stand against implementation of the 4×4 scheduling in high school?
  3. What is the explanation of the difference between social emotional learning and social emotional learning programs such as Sanford Harmony?
  4. Although WestEd states, “It is important to determine how consistent are the student, staff and parent perceptions and experiences,” as gathered by the California Healthy Kids Survey, the survey was only administered to the students and staff.  Parents were left out. Why?
  5. How do you measure the effectiveness of all of the social emotional supports (VEBA programs and others) that are being implemented for the staff?  Do these supports change the attrition rate of staff?

Goal 4:  BUDGET: “Present the Governing Board with a ‘structurally-balanced budget’ that includes a ‘planned spend down of reserve funds’ and minimizes impacts to programs while ‘maximizing achievement and learning.’”  How does increasing inter-district transfers help maximize achievement and learning?

  1. The district added FTE in the category of counselors “hoping” to be “able to sustain that when basic aid is achieved.”  What else is in the plan for spending an additional $8-12 million?
  2. Are there safeguards in place to insure that planned deficit spending does not get out of control based on unforeseen changes in costs?
  3. Is there a draft plan or model being considered for the expenditures under basic aid when there is no more $8-12 million to spend?
  4. How will SB830 impact the bridge to basic aid?
  5. Is it wise to increase the inter district transfer numbers at a time when all students within the district have fallen behind in academics and the students coming in will also have deficits in academics due to the years of the pandemic?  Are going to sacrifice our students for money?

We look forward to hearing from the district and the school board on the issues raised.

Thank you,
Gerri Machin
WTPC Executive Director


Managing Editor
Managing Editor
Originally from upstate New York, Dani Schwartz has lived in Coronado since 1996. She is happy to call Coronado home and to have raised her children here. In her free time she enjoys reading, exercising, trying new restaurants, and just walking her dog around the "island." Have news to share? Send tips or story ideas to: [email protected]