LACOE Staff Recommends Board of Education Deny Point Dume Charter Petition
• Report Indicates That the Proposal Meets All but Three of the 13 State-Mandated Elements
BY SUZANNE GULDIMANN
Point Dume parents and teachers once again traveled to Downey to support the Point Dume Marine Science Elementary School charter conversion plan. A small number of opponents, including Santa Monica- Malibu Unified School District Superintendent Tim Cuneo, SMMUSD boardmember Jose Escarce and several Juan Cabrillo teachers were also present at the meeting, when the Los Angeles County Board of Education received a staff presentation on the Point Dume charter school conversion petition on Tuesday.
The Board of Education will vote on the proposal at its Feb 8 meeting.
LACOE staff acknowledged that the plan meets 13 of the 16 state-mandated elements, but recommended that the County Board deny the conversion petition based on the remaining three elements
The LACOE staff report states "The school presents an unsound educational program for English Learners and students performing below or significantly above grade-level; The petitioners are unlikely to successfully implement the program due to unfamiliarity with the requirements of law and a lack of the necessary background in curriculum, instruction, assessment, and management; and "the petition lacks a reasonably comprehensive description of three of the 16 required elements."
The LACOE staff report summarizes the staff's key findings:"Proposed measurable pupil outcomes cannot be assessed by objective means that are frequent and sufficiently detailed enough to determine whether pupils are making satisfactory progress.
"This limit's [sic] the school's ability to determine the effectiveness of its educational program and authorizer's ability to monitor the school. The only outcome that is measurable relates to student attendance.
"Proposed method for measuring pupil progress fails to utilize assessment tools that are appropriate to measure the skills and knowledge assessed, including objective means of assessment consistent with the measurable pupil outcomes. The use of incorrect assessment tools, lack of measurable benchmarks, and insufficient detail to support an accountability-based performance model indicates insufficient knowledge to implement an on-going accountability-based system of assessment.
"Plan to achieve a racial and ethnic balance reflective of the district was evaluated with consideration given to the limitations of EC that conversion charters must give priority to students who reside within the attendance boundaries of the school. Given these limitations, the petitioners have stated their intention to attempt to broaden the diversity of the school so it more closely reflects the demographics of the district. The outreach plan proposed in the petition fails to support the petitioners' stated intention: it does not focus recruitment efforts in communities, venues, or languages that would support increased diversity; it contains no goals or benchmarks leading to increased diversity; the school's website is available only in English; and the recruitment plan does not extend beyond 2010-11."
Charter supporters say that they have already prepared a Spanish version of the website and that they found it ironic that the lack of such a site would be a deciding factor when the website of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is currently only available in English.
Charter advocates have also expressed frustration that the district "continues to take credit for the Point Dume programs that are special and unique.
"The district isn't responsible for any of them," one supporter told the Malibu Surfside News.
"We were encouraged that LACOE staff found [the petition] met 3 of the 16 elements," Robyn Ross, one of the lead petitioners, told The News after the meeting, explaining that her team of parents, teachers and consultants are addressing the concerns raised by LACOE staff.
The complete text of the LACOE staff report is available at www. lacoe.edu