Thursday, February 21, 2013

Spring Auction Fundraiser is coming!

Teach Elementary's annual spring auction fundraiser is April 20.

The Creeky Tiki April Social & Auction is April 20, 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. Not to mention we will need funds for any moves or changes in our future.  Now is the time to come join the fun by attending this event and contributing at an amount where you are comfortable.

The spring auction is Teach's largest and most important fundraiser, and has raised up to $20,000 for our school in the past.  Please participate and make this the best year ever!

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 purchase a ticket to attend. 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!  These events are super fun and have the potential to generate a good amount of funds for our school.  Already donated are a pizza party and a sangria party (yum!).  What the heck is a bid board?

DUE DATE: Please volunteer by Monday, March 18.  Contact your child’s teacher or front office.

Thank you for your help with making this a fun and profitable event. 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: Randi Barros or Idona Cabrinha.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

What in the heck is a bid board?

What's a bid board?  I'm so glad you asked.

A bid board is basically a sign-up sheet for an item you'd like to buy or an event you 'd like to attend.  For example:

Jenny decides to donate a margarita party to Teach Elementary school.  Great!  Thanks, Jenny!

Jenny and her friends start planning for a super fun event.  This is an exclusive party - who gets in?  People who signed up at the auction, of course!  Jenny and her friends donate their time, hostess skills and a bunch of fruit & liquor.

At the auction, a "board" or sign-up sheet will be presented which describes the margarita party.  You'd like to go, so you put your name and your husband's name and pay $20 ($10/ticket) when you check out at the auction.  (Don't forget your spouse, friends, etc!)

Time goes by and you completely forget all about it...until you notice on your calendar that YOU ARE INVITED to an exclusive, swanky, invite-only, red carpet, A-list party!  Woohoo!  You and your husband go to the margarita party, hang out with Jenny and all her friends and all your friends and have a great time!

Jenny sells 26 spots to her $10 margarita party, opens her home to all her friends, has a great time planning and holding the shindig, becomes very popular as a hostess and makes $2600 for Teach Elementary School.


Get it?  The Bid Board can be for any kind of event or party.  Surf lesson, art class, jewelry making party, movie night, cooking class, Wii competition, ice cream get the idea.  These can be fun for kids, families or adults only.  The great thing is that you get to choose - tailor it to your particular skills and talents.

We are all good at something.  What are you good at??

 Want to donate a bid board event/item?  Contact Robyn O'Leary by March 18, 2013.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Teach isn’t broken; leave it be

Published in The Tribune: February 13, 2013 

I am writing to express my desire to have the Teach program continue to exist in more or less its current form. About every decade there seems to be a commotion over the smoothly running Teach program and a drive by some to eliminate it. That happened while I was on the board in the early ’90s, as well.

• First, let’s address the emotional issue: “The program is elitist.” I found in my time on the board that the term elitist got used any time someone who wasn’t involved in the program wanted to kill it, in general or perhaps to fund their own agenda/ program. Since the participants are chosen by lottery, it’s hard to make the term elitist stick. “Self-selection” to be in the lottery is common to any human group or effort — you have to have interest in the group to apply for the lottery.

• Second, the district uses funds on gifted and talented students or on the Teach program (if you wish to continue to describe it as for the gifted and talented).

The district’s Initiative Six: Create accelerated and specialized learning opportunities states: “The district will explore the development of magnet schools or programs to provide opportunities for students to specialize in focused fields of inquiry and learning. Areas for consideration may be technology or science academies, music and arts programs, agriculture, health or digital media and broadcasting. By 2014-2015, the district will explore the creation of magnet programs at either or both the middle and high school levels and provide a summary report.”

The Teach program is exactly that: a magnet school, albeit at the elementary level where interest in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) and learning should start. Teach provides the opportunity to pursue learning at a pace that more nearly matches their needs and focuses on the areas of inquiry and learning that are relevant to the self-selected group lucky enough to be chosen by the lottery.

• Third, the capacity issue: Originally, the Teach program started in the physical building on Grand Avenue formerly called Pacheco. But due to a variety of factors it was moved to the C.E. Teach building on Ferrini, where it thrived and expanded. Then, due to district enrollment numbers falling, the Teach program was moved to cooccupy the Bishop’s Peak site, while the Pacheco dual-language program was moved to the C.E. Teach site and the original Pacheco site was closed.

Each time the Teach Program teachers, parents and students made the move and continued to thrive in spite of changing physical circumstances. By having the self-selected group, one gets the motivation, enthusiasm and critical mass required to make a program successful. In fact the Teach Program fulfills all of the four R’s that Superintendent Eric Prater spelled out in his philosophical treatise. Capacity is not a reason to kill the program.

If capacity is really the problem, then put Teach on its own campus again where it can grow, or open a second campus to accommodate the excess demand, perhaps out in the coastal area. Is the Sunnyside campus still empty?

Sharing a campus is not ideal for any school/program.

• Fourth, the amount of money spent on special needs students far exceeds the money spent on the gifted and talented students. This latter group has their own special needs, and without classes that challenge them, they often drift off and don’t perform to their highest level. This group will likely go on to be the doctors, lawyers, engineers, scientists, entrepreneurs, etc., that our country so desperately needs. We need to all that we can to encourage, not limit, them.

While I firmly believe that all students need to be placed in age-appropriate classes by subject matter, the educational system does not seem to want to do this. Nevertheless, this is no reason to eliminate a fairly good approximation of that represented by the Teach program. We don’t want to act as the equivalent of Kurt Vonnegut’s Handicapper General.

Nothing about Teach denigrates or belittles any other students, it simply provides a learning environment that some students need to thrive and achieve their highest possibilities. Let’s not handicap those students!

So, in conclusion, I feel that it is vitally important to the Teach students, to our community and to our nation to not eliminate the Teach program. Instead, we should do all that we can to expand it. Clearly, the necessity for a lottery indicates there is aneed and a demand for the Teach approach to education.

Bert Forbes is a former member of San Luis Coastal Unified School District Board of Trustees.

Sunday, February 10, 2013

Teach Fight in the News

A few more links to related news articles about the school board and future of Teach Elementary, a National Blue Ribbon School:

Opinion, The Tribune, February 9

Article about February 5 School Board Meeting, February 6

KCOY News Brief

School Accountability Report Cards show that teach spends 20% less per student than the district average.  Test scores across the district are going up, despite "losing" students to Teach.

Minutes of February 5 Board Meeting

Thursday, February 7, 2013

Forum to Discuss Future of Teach, A National Blue Ribbon School

Please come to an informal forum to discuss ideas and strategy to preserve and improve the future of Charles E. Teach Elementary School, A National Blue Ribbon School.

Thursday, February 7
6:00 p.m.
Elks Lodge, 222 Elks Ln, San Luis Obispo

Monday, February 4, 2013

School Board Agenda, Documents and Information for Feb 5 Meeting

The agenda for the February 5 school board meeting can be found here:

Feb 5 School Board Meeting Agenda

The Discussion Packet can be found here:

BP-TE Discussion Packet, Issues of Capacity and Program at Bishop's Peak/Teach Elementary School

Additional information:

Public Comment Procedure and Request
Official Correspondence Received
Issues of Capacity and Program at Teach (Jan 15)

Not all correspondence appears here.   “Official correspondence” is that addressed to the “President of the Board of Education” or to the “Board of Education.”  Correspondence addressed to individual Board members is distributed to the addressee unopened by district personnel.


Teach Elementary School earns honors from federal government (Tribune, Oct 15, 2012)
SLO magnet school, Teach Elementary, may close doors (Tribune, Feb 2, 2013)

Lois Capps in Congress
KSBY Jan 23

Please note:  THE NEXT BOARD MEETING WILL BE AT LOS OSOS MIDDLE SCHOOL.  Tuesday, February 19 at 6:00 p.m. in the library.  (District agenda says 2012, I assume this is a misprint..)  For the most current information, please contact the Superintendent's office at (805) 549-1202 or email  The agenda for this meeting will be available Friday, February 15 on the SLCUSD website.

Friday, February 1, 2013

Teach Booster Meeting Minutes, February 2013

In attendance: Summer and Russ Kabaker, Idona Cabrinha, Marie Neumann, Duane Hall, Sunshine Cowgill, Lori Shields, Helen Sipsas, Vanessa Rizzo, Deepai Kejale(not sure on spelling), Denis Jenkins, Kate Poeschl, Dan Feuerstien, Doris Kim, Riana Baxter, Mignon Jones, Nara Clark, Tetsuyo Uyeda, Dan Block, Kurt Rightmyer, and Robyn O'leary

Change to minutes from last meeting where it said Riana it should have said Randi.

Kate approved the minutes, Summer seconded.

Nothing new to report on the expense report.

Schools cannot invoice individual students anymore, no student accounts. We should look at Pacheco fundraising.

Electives are running smoothly. Volunteers will need to be found for international day.

Summer needs help with March-A-Thon

The fundraiser at Creeky Tiki is now a Luau theme. Sunshine can make correction on the booster website.

5th graders going to Yosemite moved rooms this year, they will be a dorm style. This will provide more chaperon space.

School District budget discussion: we are over budget by 5 million.

Moved into a large and lengthy discussion about Teach/Bishop Peak school problem/solution. Randi is putting together video that is taking place on Saturday from 2-6pm at Aspect Studio. Donations are appreciated. Went over action plan and social media plan. Summer moved to close and Riana seconded.