Thursday, January 24, 2013

Call to Action

Two new documents have been added to the collection:

 Blue Ribbon School Application

 Call to Action Plan

Monday, January 21, 2013

Capacity Issues Documents from Jan 15 School Board Meeting

It was requested that we put the document that was presented at the January 15 school board meeting online, so that those who were not present can read the options proposed by the Office of the Superintendent of SLCUSD.  The document includes a summary of the problem, possible causal factors, a brief history of Teach (note, no history of Bishop's Peak), Process and Options for consideration.  We have also uploaded a copy of the map of the campus provided for reference at the meeting.

Issues of Capacity and Program at Bishop's Peak/Teach Elementary School

Map of Teach/Bishop's Peak Campus

Strategic Initiatives

These documents are also located in the Google Docs folder with the other research and items presented in the previous post.

In May 2012 the District converted to an online agenda preparation and archiving system.  The District web page will contain only the simple agenda and minutes.  Please visit our partner site for full agenda materials:  click here
Staff reports from any agenda packet prior to May 2012 may be requested by contacting the Superintendent's Office at 549-1202. 

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San Luis Obispo School District

Thursday, January 17, 2013

Gifted Research Message

Hello Dear Teach Friends,

I have been trying to sort the swirl of mental meanderings in my head today, and thought I would delve into some cursory research on best educational practices for high achieving learners to help narrow the focus of my internal debate. 

As I sat in the Board meeting last night [Tuesday, January 15] and was profoundly struck by the lack of depth and consideration with regard to this topic while broad policy decisions were being considered.  As I listened to "Twenty years ago, I sent my kid to my neighborhood school and (s)he was is just fine," and "All our schools are wonderful...these kids will be just fine;" I have to admit, I was simply stunned at the seeming low level of rationale for proposed actions. While well intentioned, these comments seem to highlight a very large gap in knowledge about the specific needs of our high achieving student population.  As such, I believe that we, as well meaning parents, are now commissioned with the daunting task of advocacy for Gifted and Talented Education (GATE) in our district if we want to make a meaningful impact on the Board about Teach.

Knowledge is power right?  Perhaps we can elevate the discussion so that they might make a more informed decision based on best educational practices.  Therefore, I have been spending my evening gathering articles and research to refute this ongoing myth that the high achieving kids at Teach will be "just fine" in the regular ed classrooms with differentiated instruction.  I am hoping to continue the conversation with you all, and thought I would share some articles and research that might help you and I become better informed in this debate.  Some of the material is a bit steeped in educational research, but you can read the executive summaries to glean the basic tenets.  I assure you, if you take the time to delve into some of this reading, your passion for our cause will be ignited, and you will be equipped with a strong voice.

As I told Dan today, I have such a heart for those little folks, and believe that we need to be investing in excellence.  Read on dear friends, and see what excellence looks like.


Kate O'Shea-Poeschl

PS.  I also attached some sample letters to the editor from the website if anyone does find their strong voice!  :)

View the Bishop's Peak/Teach Facebook page here.

Meet the school board.

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Saturday, January 12, 2013


VERY IMPORTANT:  The following dates are the school board meetings in which the topic of overpopulation at Teach and Bishop's Peak will be discussed.

• January 15th: Progress status review of enrollment impact on Bishop's Peak/Teach Schools (share data and community feedback) - Superintendent's Update section.

• February 5th: Presentation to Board in Discussion/Action section (no action at this point) but sharing out of options, costs, and programmatic implications.

 • February 19th: Possible decision-point for Board regarding resolution of the enrollment issues at BP/Teach.

Stay in the know, and plan to attend and show your support for Teach.

From the SLCUSD site: School Board meetings now start earlier! Open Sessions start at 6:00 p.m. Public Comment is taken soon thereafter so you can get back home, unless you choose to stay for the rest of the meeting. Check out their site for Agenda and meeting locations. 

To comment, click on "no comments" or "comments" below. 

Sweethearts Luau Bid Board and Volunteer Info

SWEETHEARTS LUAU Fundraiser for Teach School is  on February 2nd, 2013

Our annual Winter Social Auction is on Saturday, February 2, 2013, and we hope you consider making a contribution to this worthwhile event. Now, more than ever, our fundraising efforts are needed! This year scholarship applicants are at an all time high, transportation costs and programming of events off campus rise and our student population is at a high. Now is the time to come join the fun by attending this event and contributing at an amount that you are comfortable.

If you are able to procure any items for this auction, the committee is looking towards the following categories: hotel, lodging, restaurants, winery/wine, experiences (kayak, surf, arts classes), performance venues, sports events, jewelry or if you have a personal relationship to a local business, please consider asking them for a donation.

 **NEW THIS YEAR is a Bid Board – where there will be events that you can sign up for. Each sign up is $10.-. (except for an ‘adult social event’ that is $25.-/person)

We are looking for volunteers to host these bid board events. Events may be Parent and Child focused, or parent centered. Some examples: Jewelry with kids and parents; surfing class; singing hour; margarita party, movie party; spa party; ‘get chopped’ cooking party, ice cream social, Wii party, Book Party, there are many fun ‘themed’ possibilities! A great way to contribute to our school! Please seriously consider hosting a bid board event!

DUE DATE: Please volunteer by Wednesday, January 16th! To your child’s teacher or front office.

Thank you for your help with making this a SWEET Fundraiser for the Sweethearts Luau taking place Sat., Feb. 2nd. Tickets are on sale HERE. Thank you again for your support of Teach School.

For a vendor letter, kindly email Idona Cabrinha for an electronic copy of the vendor thank you/contribution letter or look in the mail room under ‘AUCTION LETTER to vendors’.

Questions? contact: or *

Friday, January 11, 2013

Teach Booster Meeting Minutes January 2013

Meeting Minutes - January 2013
Teach Boosters Meeting
Room 27, Teach School

January 11, 2013

Attendance: Riana Baxter, Dan Block, Erin Clausen, Penni Daugherty, Amy Jacobs, Mignon Jones, Summer Kabaker, Doris Kim, Marie Neumann, Robin O'Leary, Kate Poeschl

Summer Kabaker announced that she was standing in for President Idona Cabrinha, as Idona is out of town. Summer called the meeting to order at 8:30 a.m.
I. Welcome
Summer thanked those who ordered the Teach calendar and said that the effort raised about $100 for the school.

II. Reading and Approval of Minutes of Previous Meeting
The minutes from the December 2012 meeting were distributed throughout the room, and people were given a few minutes to review them. Kate Poeschl then motioned that we approve the minutes, and Marie Neumann seconded. The minutes were approved.

III. Treasurer's Report
Marie Neumann distributed an updated Profit & Loss statement. She said that things look good and that collection efforts are going well. She said that there is now less than $16K to collect by the end of the school year.

Marie further reported that Mrs. Robson's class donated $502 to the General Fund; the money was raised through their sale of homemade goods.
The group discussed the fact that next year the Boosters won't be invoicing families as we are this year. Per AB 1575, all money has to be raised for the General Fund. In addition, all money needs to be in before trips can happen.

A question was raised regarding what will happen to the money in the CD and the balance of funds should the Teach program be eliminated by the board. No one seemed to have an answer for this question at this point.
IV. Principal's Report

Mr. Block joined the group and got right to his report. He said that the Geography Bee is being held this afternoon and that the content is quite challenging. He said that our students are grouped in the "middle school" category and that their questions are at this level. That said, he said that our students tend to do well and have fun with the event, which produces a winner who will advance to compete further.
Mr. Block reported that he talked this week with Idona Cabrinha, Booster president, regarding the 5th grade field trip and transportation issues. Originally, there was only one bus option that allowed for 54 people. (Our trip will have 56 students plus teachers and chaperones.) A bus was found that seats 6 more people, so that the bus will carry all of the kids, plus two teachers and two chaperones.

Next week is the school board meeting at which there will begin to be discussion of the BP/Teach enrollment and capacity issues. It will be held at the Lizzie Street facility (Room J2), and the open session will begin at 6:00 p.m. The agenda will be posted online prior to the meeting.

Robin O'Leary reminded the Boosters that parents can write a letter through the school board's web site; it will go to all board members and be included in the minutes. Letters should highlight Teach's value as an asset to the community.
Riana Baxter pointed out that the front page of today's Tribune included an article highlighting Gov. Brown's desire to add to K-12 funding. Mr. Block pointed out that even with help, including the recent measures passed, administrators are predicting a letdown in funding next year.

Robin highlighted that school board members really want to hear from parents and students and that letters can be a powerful tool.
Mr. Block wrapped up his report by reminding us that the Variety Show is coming up and that it is a great event that allows some kids who might not otherwise stand out to shine while sharing their special skills and talent.

V. Old Business
A. Electives: Summer reported that electives started yesterday and that they went well, with only a couple of minor hiccups. Mrs. Robson jumped in to lead the CPR class, which was slightly modified when the original parent instructor did not show. Robin O'Leary mentioned that as the poetry teacher, she was quite impressed with the students' interest and effort.

B. Variety Show: Beyond what had already been discussed, Mr. Block mentioned that Dondi Hubley is helping with the singers and that Mr. Crabb, Miss Bailey, and Mrs. Robson are also helping out. He said that they have a lot of acts and are working on quick transitions to that the show runs as smoothly and quickly as possible.
C. Communication/Blog: Sunshine Cowgill is now making updates to This is the site for all boosters-related info now.

D. Creeky Tiki Event: Riana Baxter reported that the tickets are $40/pp prior to the event and $50/pp at the door. She also read a list of donated items. Mignon Jones asked if anyone had approached Grenada hotel/restaurant and said that a donation from them would be a good addition.

Riana said that she will send out an email with an attachment that includes the form letter for soliciting donations.

Robin O'Leary recapped the idea of the bid board and the group discussed a few possible events that could be included. Robin and Mr. Block will talk to the teachers Monday morning about helping with bid board items.
Marie Neumann asked if we had physical tickets that we could sell to friends and neighbors. There will indeed be printed tickets and parents are encouraged to sell them to anyone interested in attending.

The group discussed tickets for teachers and agreed that teachers will not be asked to pay to attend. Kate Poeschl generously offered to cover the cost of one guest per teacher.
A flyer highlighting the event and including a ticket order form went home yesterday.

Mignon Jones said that she will cover the decor.
E. Scrip: Paige Wright wasn't here to report on this item. It was mentioned again that we likely won't be able to do individual student accounts after this year. Mr. Block said that until we get AB 1575 compliance issues spelled out, we will continue as we have been operating.

VI. New Business
A. Nominating Committee: Summer reported that the Boosters needs about three people to form a nominating committee to create a slate of officers to be voted on for next year. The timeline is that the committee will create the slate in March and the election will be held in April.

B. Bookkeeper: There was brief discussion regarding the fact that we may be able to reduce our reliance on the bookkeeper (and minimize her hours) once AB 1575 changes are implemented.
C. March-a-Thon: Summer reported that this event will be held in April, and that it is an easy and fun fundraiser. The students get sponsors for their running and walking, and add'l funds are raised through t-shirt sponsors. There is a joint meeting with BP PTA next week, and further details will follow. It was noted that the fact that there is some time between the Creeky Tiki event and the March-a-thon will likely help fundraising efforts.

D. Other fundraising ideas: Summer said that it is very helpful for Booster parents to continue thinking about and helping with other fundraising ideas. She mentioned Urbane Cafe and said that they would be willing to help; this would be an easy task for a parent volunteer because it basically means picking the date with Urbane Cafe and helping get the word out to parents. Marie Neumann mentioned that she had also talked to Snofari about a similar effort.
The group discussed doing something like the Applebee's fundraiser at the Elks Lodge, possibly toward the end of the year when we might make use of the pool. There may be an issue with a facility fee, so we need to determine that before moving ahead.

Riana Baxter suggested a movie night, which is done at Sinsheimer and Hawthorne. We could sell pizza and popcorn at this event. Mr. Block said that something similar has been done in the past, and it seemed that the group thought this was a good idea.
E. Class Reps

Summer read a brief recap from Mrs. Bailey. Amy Jacobs also reported that Taffy Gonzalez is working on a circus theme for the class donation to the Creeky Tiki auction (also Bailey).

VII. Announcements
Summer said that Idona is looking for a partner to attend the meetings hosted by Dr. Prater and urged anyone interested to contact Idona for details.

Summer then motioned to adjourn the meeting and Mignon Jones seconded the motion. The meeting was adjourned at 9:17 a.m.

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Sweethearts Luau at Creeky Tiki., Sat., Feb. 2, 7pm - 10pm $40.- per person if purchased by Jan. 23rd. $50.- per person if purchased at the door.
Sweetheart Luau

Monday, January 7, 2013

Teach Boosters Meeting Minutes December 2012

Meeting Minutes - December 2012
Teach Boosters Meeting
Room 27, Teach School

December 14, 2012

Attendance: Randi Barros, Dan Block, Idona Cabrinha, Nara Clark, Erin Clausen, Denise Jenkins, Grace Kim, Suzanne Mulay, Mukta Naian, Marie Neumann, Robin O'Leary, Lori Shields, Carie Stanton

The meeting was called to order at 8:33 a.m.

I. Welcome

Idona welcomed the group and thanked them for attending. She pledged to keep the meeting running so that it ends in a timely fashion.

II. Reading and Approval of Minutes of Previous Meeting

The minutes from the November 2012 meeting were distributed throughout the room, and people were given a few minutes to review them. Suzanne Mulay then motioned that we approve the minutes, and Marie Neumann seconded. The minutes were approved.

At this point, Denise Jenkins mentioned that she was going to need to leave early and that she hoped someone could cover the Lunchtime Recycling Program during the Announcements at the end of the meeting. Idona asked if Denise would mind describing the program now, and Denise agreed. She reported that Mary Kay Stratton is organizing a group of 3rd through 6th graders to monitor and help with lunchtime recycling.

III. Treasurer's Report

Marie Neumann reported that in January she will distribute invoices and communication to those families who haven't yet responded. She further reported that funds collected to date are as follows:

4th: 87% in/heard from
5th: 80% in/heard from
6th: 67% in/heard from

Marie said that $3,000 in Scrip orders were deposited yesterday. She said that the bookkeeper had questions re credits; she's not sure that it makes financial sense to give add'l credit to parents through this program. Mr. Block noted that the office's concern with Scrip involves the fact that the cards they store for parents are essentially cash; if something were to happen to one, it would wipe out any profit/benefit to the school.

Lori Shields asked how much profit has come through the Scrip program. Marie said that Paige Wright knows and would be the person to ask. Denise Jenkins asked how many families are currently involved, and Marie said that it is only 8-10. Idona said that perhaps Scrip is not lucrative unless all money earned goes into the general fund, and another parent commented that buying Scrip can take away from personal awards like credit card miles programs. Mr. Block said that the changes in rules from year to year can also complicate things. Marie also noted that we won't really know how personal balances are impacted until the end of the year.

There was some additional discussion that included the suggestion that we only offer -- for example -- Chevron cards; Mr. Block said that this isn't possible because we're not bonded to do it. Grace Kim described the Mission School model and the fact that parents are charged if they don't earn a minimum amount through Scrip; without being able to operate this way, the program may not be worth it. It was decided that the Boosters organization needs more input from Paige at this point.

IV. Principal's Report

Mr. Block described AB 1575, which passed and is a revision of a previous bill. He said that the legal ramifications may be that we no longer have the ability to raise money for specific accounts. Some parents cited examples of this playing out in other schools. As a result, we may need to shift focus to general fundraising. The schools will be sorting this out over the course of the year.

It was noted that this could impact the January distribution of invoices. Mr. Block said that we haven't yet been given specific compliance instructions from the District.
Marie Neumann noted that we have already spent $10,000 on scholarships for school trips and that we may have up to $8,000 more (this is the total for families across all grades from whom we've heard nothing).

Suzanne Mulay asked if we could have a parent make calls with a personal appeal. Mr. Block said that this has been done in the past, but that the new legislation might preclude this.

Marie noted that there is currently $33,000 in the CD, and that the bookkeeper offered to make these calls to parents.

Mr. Block offered his personal opinion that it's difficult to continue making fundraising appeals after your family has already approached relations and friends. It's also a tricky time for fundraising. It was noted that BP families have seven years to accrue funds for their trips, while Teach is on an accelerated timeline because it is a 4/5/6.

Idona asked Mr. Block about the Los Osos Middle School move, and there followed discussion on that topic. Monarch Grove, Baywood, and Del Mar 6th graders will go to junior high next year. It is based on where students currently go to school, not where they live.

There is talk of this being a model for SLCUSD. What this means is that there may be an add'l STEAM program, not necessarily moving all 6th graders to Laguna (which doesn't have capacity).

Idona highlighted dates on the agenda -- 1/5/13, 2/5/13, and 2/19/13. Mr. Block said that the School Board meeting on 1/15, which starts at 6:00 p.m., is when board members will be hearing data and community feedback. Robin O'Leary urged parents to attend and be involved in the discussion. She said that we need to stress that Teach is a valuable asset to the community (and not to focus on your individual student).
It was mentioned that parents can go to the School Board web site and submit a letter of support. Parent involvement and communication is important. Mr. Block said that now that the School Board has worked through the Los Osos Middle School issue, the BP/Teach capacity issue will now be a priority.

V. Old Business

A. Fundraising : Scrip was already discussed. The calendar has been ordered; 20 families purchased, and we ordered an add'l 5. They may be delivered after break if they don't arrive before. Thanks to those who supported through attending or helping with Applebee's.

B. Web: Sunshine Cowgill offered to manage the blog site; we should stream info through her.

C. Bylaws: We're running behind on this and need to revisit it.

VI. New Business

A. Upcoming Events

1. Elective Update: Electives will span 5 Thursdays and begin in January. There are 11 classes planned and we do need add'l parent help. Lori Shields said that we should include a list of planned classes in an appeal to parents for help. Grace Kim said that she wants to help and noted that we should make sure that we have space for everyone.

2. Variety Show Update: Parent helpers are also needed for this. The tryouts are 1/9/13. Mr. Block said that he really enjoys the process and shows and hopes that a lot of kids will be involved.

3. Sweethearts Luau and the Creeky Tiki: A new addition to this effort is the Bid Board, and Idona described this idea for everyone. Robin O'Leary described her experience with a Bid Board at Monarch Grove. Suzanne Mulay asked if Robin would send her the MG example (visual) for design efforts. Idona noted that teachers can get involved (eg, offering to lead a group hike). Suzanne asked if she could develop a Save-the-Date notice to go out before vacation and said that she'd take care of it.
Regarding donations, Idona said that she has a form letter for potential donors. She also answered a question regarding child care by saying the Central Coast Gymnastics has donated child care in the past and we hope to do this again. There will be further discussion of the Luau event after this meeting.

4. T-Shirts: Chantal Blanchard is going to manage one more t-shirt order, and then we need a new parent to take over this job. Suzanne Mulay said that she would talk to Summer Kabaker about working on this together. Erin Clausen said that she would assist them.

B. Class Reps

Mrs. Kelly is getting excited for Yosemite, and CAP projects are starting for one grade and finishing for another.

VII. Announcements

Idona said to let her know if you are interested in going to Dr. Prater's meeting in January (or any other month).

Robin O'Leary said to encourage students to keep physical projects created in school because the Mid-State Fair gives ribbons and small monetary prizes to kids for these each summer.

Lori Shields asked about the Target Red Card donations to Teach. Janet Crabb could fill us in on this; the funds can't go to the Boosters per regulations.
Randi Barros described an idea for hosting a craft fair in the spring. She said that kids and parents could make things and sell them. Idona asked Randi to spearhead this potential event.

Randi motioned to adjourn the meeting and Suzanne Mulay seconded the motion. The meeting was adjourned at 9:39 a.m.