EDITOR’S NOTE: A consultant has recently queried focus groups made up of various constituents of the Capistrano Unified School District. Patch is reporting some of the major themes presented by the groups. Today's focus: Non-teaching employees.
Parents say they’re worried about the physical campuses, deteriorating conditions at some of them creating an inequality among students, class sizes that have gotten too large and the district’s abiity to care for students’ health needs with few nurses left off on staff.
The consultants hired to help the sprawling school district select a new superintendent now that Joseph Farley has announced his retirement conducted a number of focus groups and solicited online questionnaires to various stakeholders, including support staff.
The goal was to define the current strengths and challenges the district faces, along with the qualities the next superintendent should have.
Parents obviously had differing opinions and saw problems and positives in the same issue, such as communication, the new national Common Core standards and the district’s “Two-Way” language academies – while many saw the programs as a strength, others complained that they displace neighborhood children.
Defined as challenges in the eyes of parents are:
- Addressing cut backs in instructional days
- Bridge between technology and the classroom
- Budget constraints/challenges
- Class-size reduction
- Collaboration is non-existent among foundations
- Facilities disrepair of schools/roofs-AC
- Focus on literacy stops after 3rd grade
- Involving more Hispanic parents to the table
- Motivating teachers to do more in union environment
- School calendars and equitable funding needs to be addressed
According to a report from consultant, Hazard, Young, Attea & Associates, input came from a focus group made up of 59 parents. Another 186 – there could be some overlap, the report says – filled out online surveys. The consultant cautioned that the results are not from a scientific sampling.
Among the strengths are:
- Academic performance of students
- Administrators come to meeting and listen to us
- Choices: charter schools, academies, home schooling-online classes
- Curriculum is strong
- Diverse population
- The school board is fiscally conservative
- Open enrollment policy
- Parents are involved
- Teachers are dedicated to students