The Coronado Unified School District welcomed back teachers, students and staff at the first regularly-scheduled board meeting of the 2023-2024 school year. The meeting, which took place on August 24, the first day of school, was sparsely attended. But trustees were quick to approve a continued temporary pay increase for substitutes.
The pay increase for certificated substitute teachers brings them from $135 a day to $200 on a daily basis, and from $135 to $225 long-term. For classified instructional aid substitutes, the increase is from $16.22 an hour to a range of $17.32-$18.51 an hour. For instructional assistants in behavior health, the pay goes from $17.15 an hour to $18.53-$19.88 an hour. For substitute custodial staff, pay increases from $16.39 an hour to between $18.37-$19.71 an hour. The new temporary rates will run through mid-summer 2024.
The trustees also heard several reports, including the process of creating a new document called “Portrait of a Graduate.” Anne Worrall, from the San Diego County Office of Education, was at the meeting to share more.
The “Portrait of a Graduate” is designed to be an aspirational guide in a visual form, according to Worrall. It will become the public-facing “north star” of the district, and will represent community aspirations for district children. The document will be constructed by all stakeholders; this includes communities of faith, business leaders, higher education, social services agencies, policy makers, students, teachers, families, school leaders, and district leaders/school boards.
Two examples of “Portrait of a Graduate:”
Worrall said it was crucial for all voices to be heard in the creation of this document.
“Sometimes you have community members that are very vocal about things they don’t care for in the system,” said Worrall. “We want to invite them to tell us more about what they are looking for and incorporate those voices.”
“We are very excited to engage in Portrait of a Graduate work,” said Karl Mueller, Superintendent. “This is something we put in our Long Range Plan a few years ago.”
Also in reports, Director of Learning Megan Battle shared information on work with the National Center for Urban School Transformation [NCUST]. The organization’s “Equity & Excellence” audit, which was approved by the board last year, represents an opportunity to solicit objective feedback and recommendations on research-based best practices in teaching and leadership, according to the district.
“They study schools that are generating outstanding learning outcomes for all students and all demographics … and then from those audits, they determine the quality indicators of teaching and learning that are common among those institutions,” said Battle.
Basically, NCUST looks at why some urban schools are very successful, what they do, and what are those best teaching and instructional leadership factors that make them successful, according to Maria Simon, CUSD Public Information Officer.
“Then, they go into schools like CUSD and observe where changes could be made,” said Simon.
The auditors visited every school site in Coronado gathering data. Each school site received a report card. Battle said there were many celebrations: for example, CUSD excelled in getting students into collaborative academic discussions.
Two community members expressed concern over the audit, questioning its relevance. They also said that equity-focused initiatives can be problematic.
Trustee Youngblood said the district should focus on improving outcomes for all learners.
“I think that, as a district we should continue to focus on each child where they are and focus on bringing them all up as much as possible,” said Youngblood.
Mueller said that the NCUST audit isn’t a new initiative.
“This isn’t new work. This is really focusing on sound instructional practices,” said Mueller. “And it’s important to us and to the community to understand that this NCUST report did not make any recommendations to overhaul or change curriculum.”
Later in public comments, community member Ann Sonne asked about the CUSD employee who was placed on administrative leave last spring, and who is currently being investigated by the Coronado Police Department for a number of allegations. She asked if the employee was still being paid, and if so, why. Later in an email, Simon confirmed that the employee is still on paid leave, and that the CPD investigation is ongoing. Additionally, Simon commented that Stacy Morrissey is filling in as Interim Assistant Principal of CHS as the school year begins.
Wyatt Riebe, the new Coronado High School Associated Student Body President, made his first meeting appearance to share student news, including the date of the Homecoming Dance, which is happening Saturday, October 7.
The next regularly-scheduled board meeting takes place on September 14 at 4pm at District Offices.