By Karen Billing
Rancho Santa Fe School District parent Lorraine Kent is hoping to get a needs assessment survey done to define areas of strength and concern, and provide the district with direction on future program decisions. Kent presented her proposed survey to the board at its Aug. 16 special meeting.
“We’re doing a lot of things well, but I’m of the opinion that we can always do things better,” Kent said.
Kent said she has had a child in the district for a continuous 15 years and has seen a lot of programs disappear or shift without reason. When her oldest child was in the school district, she said they had foreign language from second to eighth grade; her current ninth grader had it from kindergarten through second, it disappeared and then came back for fifth through eighth. Her current fifth grader had no Spanish in kindergarten but it appeared for first through third grade and disappeared in fourth grade.
She also questioned the loss of the Parent Advisory Board and spoke of the fluctuation in music offerings over the years, but said that she is very pleased with the current music program.
Kent proposed that a committee composed of parents, teachers, administration and foundation representatives could develop a survey, collect input and present the resulting data.
The survey could weigh how important people view programs, such as class size reduction, math specialists, field day, foreign language, Ocean Week and technology in the classroom. The survey could also ask questions about the school environment, the district’s vision and communication.
At last week’s meeting, Kent expressed some concern about the level of communication between parents and teachers.
She said she knows of two students who had a two-grade drop in a subject in one trimester without any meeting with the teacher or intervention from administration. She was told a “sign and return” test was her notification—but she said she wasn’t sure how that one bad test score would affect an entire grade.
Both sets of parents saw the drop in grade after school had let out for the year so they were “at a loss” in how to proceed.
“I believe we can do better with a one to twenty ratio in class,” Kent said.
Kent said she thinks a new policy could be put into place that requires a parent teacher meeting in the event of a drop of two or more grades in a student’s performance. As the item was not on the agenda the board could not respond, but will consider the request in the future.