At the last meeting before their July break, the Windsor Unified School District focused on finishing up the previous year’s business and getting ready for the coming year, alongside some program and support plans for students in the coming year.
WE Foundation update
The meeting kicked off with a presentation from the Windsor Education (WE) Foundation by Diahanna Post.
Post had two primary announcements for the board. One was that the WE Foundation awarded 31 WUSD graduates scholarships this year and that it had raised $29,000 for scholarships despite having to go virtual.
The second program announcement came about as part of their discussions on social justice over the past year. “We took a step back and said what can we do,” Post said. “Windsor has 50% Latino students, how can we support those students better, and we are grateful to those who took time to talk with us. We would like to launch a paid mentoring program for students in the district with a pilot in the fall, starting with kids at Brooks and paying mentors from the high school.”
Post says they will be working with the MentorMe program out of Petaluma to help set up the mentorships and program.
The update on the district’s Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) Action Plan, from Elizabeth Robertson, a VAPA Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA). Unsurprisingly, many of the plans for the 2020-21 school year were derailed by COVID, but Robertson discussed the things they were able to do and also a new plan for the coming school year.
To see a detailed accounting of the VAPA plan and how things were or were not able to be implemented go here.
Programs they were able to implement in 2020-21 included: a second iAspire summit in August of 2020, teachers meeting with each other and county colleagues during distance learning, 11 iAspire skill building lessons adapted for distance learning, four artists in residence done virtually for Brooks Elementary, Mattie Washburn Elementary and Cali Calmecac, Music For Schools providing instruments for all Cali 5th graders, Brooks 3rd and 4th graders received recorders and third through fifth graders from Brooks also received at-home music kits, while all primary grade students at Cali and Mattie received at -home art kits. Students also took part in digital performances and art galleries.
She announced that the district had received a $60,000 grant from the National Endowment for the Arts, and that WUSD was one of only three school districts nation-wide to receive an NEA grant.
For 2021-22 Robertson wants to continue iAspire’s music and dance skill building lessons for elementary students, use site funds for visual and arts specialist lessons, continue grade 4 and 5 music at Cali, and implement a 5th grade band elective at Brooks. She’d also like to expand her TOSA role to include arts integration coaching and training for teacher leaders, and implement quarterly meetings and vertical integrations of the process for VAPA teachers. She wants to continue utilizing digital communication tools for VAPA programs as well as continuing the partnership with Music For School to provide instruments to students. Finally, she wants to continue and expand VAPA events, including Windsor@Weil in partnership with Windsor Arts Now, and a community leadership team.
Trustee Bill Adams is a strong proponent of the VAPA plan and felt that the budget for the coming year was inadequate if the district is going to be serious about arts integration. “Frankly it’s embarrassing to be spending $5 a student,” he said.
However, this sparked a conversation about the fact that the plan currently doesn’t have a way to show or incorporate arts activities or programs already occurring or occurring at the higher grades — like say the Nueva and Arête cores at the high school — as part of the overall spending and resource allocation.
It was determined this needed to be done going forward to help make it clear exactly the level of commitment the district was putting into the program and plan.
Finishing up for 2020-21
Housekeeping items receiving unanimous approval by the board included:
- The 2021-24 LCAP and Local Performance Indicator Self-Reflection.
- The 2021-22 budget.
- An annual resolution to authorize the County Office of Education to make transfers between fund balances and expenditures at close of year.
- A renewal of the district’s legal contract with Dannis Woliver Kelley. The contract sets prices in a range of $130 to $360 an hour depending on the level of service.
- A contract with StuderEducation which “will provide leadership development, coaching and facilitation services, and aligned tools and resources to facilitate leaders’ planning and execution of strategic actions through a continuous improvement approach to achieve key pillar goals.”
- A job description for a Middle School Counselor.
- The annual Report of Education Protection Account (EPA) funding for 2020-2021. Per the 2020-2021 Fourth Quarter Schedule of Entitlements for Education Protection Account provided by the California Department of Education the funding amounts for Windsor are: Windsor Unified - $706,412 and Cali Calmecac - $225,984. These amounts have been spent solely on salaries and benefits for teachers which complies with the associated requirements.