Attendance lines, test scores occupy board

MH school trustees start planning for Ann Sobrato High
Ann Sobrato High School won’t open its doors for the first time
until fall 2004, but Morgan Hill school trustees this week began
planning how to assign students to either the new campus or
27-year-old Live Oak High School.
MH school trustees start planning for Ann Sobrato High

Ann Sobrato High School won’t open its doors for the first time until fall 2004, but Morgan Hill school trustees this week began planning how to assign students to either the new campus or 27-year-old Live Oak High School.

The way to go, they decided Monday, is to form a committee to establish attendance boundaries. Given the inherent complexity of the task, administrators said, a 30-member committee should plan to work full tilt from January to June next year.

Trustee discussions and steps for the implementation would be set in place during the ensuing year.

The 30-member committee envisioned would seat 10 faculty members, a dozen community members, three district administrators, two district transportation staff members and three representatives from the city, including the police and public works.

Bonnie Branco, deputy superintendent for business, tentatively is scheduled to chair the committee.

While the committee is at it, trustees suggested, it should realign attendance areas for elementary schools and Britton and Martin Murphy middle schools. The exercise would be done with an eye to a system in which all students at an elementary school would attend the same middle school and later either Live Oak or Ann Sobrato.

Britton is located downtown, Martin Murphy in the most northern end of the district in San Jose.

The opening of Ann Sobrato High, named for the matriarch of the Silicon Valley development family that donated the land, will put freshmen in high school classrooms for the first time since 1978. Live Oak opened as a four-year school in 1975 with 1,616 students. But schools went on double sessions three years later, forcing the district to move freshmen to the middle schools in 1979.

Only a half-dozen high schools statewide operate as three-year institutions.

In other action, trustees:

– Presented a certificate of commendation to Martin Murphy Middle School counselor Adrienne Medalie, who on Aug. 28 applied the Heimlich maneuver to dislodge a piece of food from the throat of a student who was choking.

Medalie was walking by when the student, who was eating hurriedly when the bell rang for class, began choking on a pizza crust.

– Asked for a job description to support a request by administrators for a translator to put district documents and forms in Spanish and serve as interpreter for Hispanics. Hispanics account for almost the entire 15 percent of district students whose primary language is not English.

Denise Tate, assistant superintendent for human resources, estimated that 80 percent of the work would be writing. She said that when the district needs linguists now, it turns to in-house personnel. Tate said Gilroy school district hired a translator six years ago.

Trustees want to know how much is spent for translations now, and emphasized that the position be limited to translations and not become a contact for the Hispanic community.

– Authorized the district to increase construction impact fees to $4.09 per square foot. Developers currently pay $3.93 per square foot for the houses they build.

If voters don’t approve Proposition 47 in November, districts charging $4.09 can raise impact fees to $8.18 per square foot, in accordance with SB 50 and certain Government Code sections, facilities director Martell Taylor said.

Level III fees ($8.18) can be levied only when the state has no money for construction and modernization,

– Gave the go-ahead to apply for a grant from the California Energy Commission. For about $10,000, a study would determine if a co-generation unit to heat the swimming pool at Live Oak High School is feasible.

One of the commission goals is to promote the use alternative energy sources.

The district wants to reduce the cost of heating the new pool. A co-generation unit – a natural gas-fueled generator that would produce heat for the pool and energy for associated uses – might do the trick.

The study would look at the high school’s power usage over the past two years, including an energy survey of buildings that have not been remodeled.

A co-generation unit would cost about $125,000.

– Learned from Live Oak Principal Rich Knapp that 71 percent of students who took Advanced Placement exams in 2001-02 scored 3 or better on the five-step scale of the College Board Division of Educational Testing Services. A score of 3 or better indicates college- level competence.

Only 61 percent of Live Oak students scored at that level the year before, Knapp said. Students took 184 Advanced Placement test in 2001-02, 189 the year before.

Also, Knapp said, the mean combined SAT score (math and verbal) of Live Oak students this year was 1073, compared to a 1013 average for California as a whole and a 1020 national mean score.

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