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Tentative Assessment Policy Approved by School Board

July 19, 2007|By Parimal Rohit

Following up on a workshop held last week, a board policy revision on student assessment was the main focus of Tuesday's regular meeting of the La Cañada Unified School District Governing Board.

The policy is a tool for both students and teachers to determine student progress and improve the quality of instruction.

District officials hoped to approve their revised policy next month in order to ensure that the course assessments are distributed to students and parents in September. However, Board Vice-President Jinny Dalbeck moved to table the discussion on the issue to the September meeting, when all five board members are scheduled to be in attendance, as she will be on vacation during the August meeting, and Board member Susan Boyd was on vacation this week.

"Because this is such a significant issue, we should have all five board members present before moving forward. I don't think there will be significant harm if we wait until September," Dalbeck said.

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The four members in attendance Tuesday agreed that it was important to have full attendance for this policy, as student assessment is too big an issue to discuss without the participation of all school board members. However, they also stressed that time is of the essence to approve this policy prior to the start of the school year.

Board members Cindy Wilcox and Joel Peterson urged their colleagues to go through with a first reading of the policy and make every attempt to approve revisions in time for the school year, stating that this is for the students' benefit yet has been delayed for years due to schedule conflicts.

"We have to remember we're here for the students. We keep delaying this; it's taking too long. It's frustrating," said Wilcox.

After a lengthy discussion, the Board agreed to do the first read, and then schedule a special meeting prior to the scheduled Sept. 11 board meeting to have a second read and formal approval. Specific details can be found at the school district's website, lcusd.net.

The Board also discussed other action items, including textbook adoptions for psychology, statistics, composition and 7th and 8th grade science. Also discussed was converting various bylaws to Board policies, including purchasing procedures, construction contracts, sale or lease of district-owned real property, and management of district assets and accounts. These issues were also a first read, and tabled until the next meeting for final discussion.

Board Members opened the floor to those in attendance for a public hearing on the negotiations proposals between LCUSD and California School Employees Association. While the CSEA members in attendance stated they are looking forward to negotiations, there was no discussion by either the public or board members.

There were several issues on the consent agenda, which included a disposal of textbooks; a request to enter a contract for legal services; an agreement to provide safety and security; a request to go to bid for waste disposal; and two requests to accept bids — one for 2007-2008 transportation, and another for field restrooms at La Cañada High School.

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