Blogging Bayport Alameda

May 31, 2023

Testing to teach

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:13 am

The School Board is supposed to be presented with the “School Level Initiatives to Support African American Achievement at Ruby Bridges Elementary School, Wood Middle School, and Encinal Jr. & Sr. High School” at tonight’s special School Board meeting. Given that the District is being mandated by the state to address the lack of achievement and, unfortunately, these schools don’t have the luxury of changing demographics to “improve” their test scores these are new programs which, hopefully, will do the job that they’re setting out to do.

Unfortunately even though I anticipated being able to review the slides or presentation this morning because the presentations were supposed to be uploaded yesterday, they haven’t been:


May 30, 2023

Permitted fun

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:01 am

I don’t know how much these Alameda Point car shows effect people not on the West End but man oh man was it loud on the west side on Sunday.

I mean, there are forever informal car meet ups around the Hornet and any stretch of vacant asphalt on Alameda Point and most of the time it’s pretty harmless. Just a bunch of people excited to look at each others’ cars and take amazing photos of their vehicles with an unparalleled backdrop. But this weekend there seemed to just be more around AND we made the stupid decision of walking down RAMP to get home which was a mistake that our ear drums took a long time to recover from.

So, it turns out that this is what happened per APD’s Facebook page:


May 26, 2023

It only takes one person

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:00 am

to ban a poem from a Florida school district because it made some parent uncomfortable. What was all that again about both sides trying to control what happened around schools across the US? That local analysis aged like milk.

May 25, 2023

Does it advance the plot

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:16 am

Other other day #2 son was a bit later coming home from school (he’s a Freshman at Encinal) and relayed to us that he had been asked by one of the teachers who oversees the tutoring program if he would help an ELD student to understand Romeo and Juliet. I did know that he was actively engaged Romeo and Juliet because one of assignments was to memorize the opening sonnet. I told him he should just set it to the tune of Will Power from Something Rotten since it has iambic pentameter set to music (which is always easier to memorize than just straight lines). But I digress. Anyway, he mentioned that even though this student is not a native English speaker they were also enrolled in a regular English class. Romeo and Juliet is complicated enough for native English speakers and readers so it just feels as though some of our students across the district are not being set up for success.

But across the district we can see that schools with lower numbers of economically disadvantaged students have higher test scores which either means that (1) the schools are doing better at educating economically disadvantaged kids or (2) the lower number of students needing intervention means that teachers can better target struggling students. When divvying up funding folks want to believe it’s number 1 but honestly it’s almost always a factor of #2. We know where students are struggling and we know which students are struggling but when it comes budget time to distribute funds to help struggling students we still divide it equally rather than equitably across elementary school sites. We’re not setting up students at schools with the greatest need up for success.

Anyway, here are the numbers for how economically disadvantaged students doing across Alameda’s elementary schools. Unsurprisingly the schools with the lowest number of unduplicated students don’t always have enough students to show disaggregated data by grade.


May 24, 2023

It’s the same budget

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:06 am

I promised that I would share the test scores for economically disadvantaged students across the district’s elementary schools but first wanted to post these numbers that I pulled from the District’s slides from last night.

To note, these are not spreadsheets from the District, but these are their numbers. I took the numbers and rather than rolling them into one lump sum and then divvying them up by number of students I separated the unrestricted dollars including unrestricted general fund and parcel tax money from the restricted dollars. The total unrestricted is money that the district can distributed more subjectively. Restricted dollars are just that. They have to be allocated in a very specific way because of how they are allocated to the district. So when we say that we are distributing money with a lens toward equity we are, but we aren’t. We have to send Title 1 dollars (restricted) to Title 1 schools. That’s why you see only three elementary schools receiving Restricted General Fund money.

In hindsight I should probably have not rolled together LCFF Supplemental and Restricted General Fund because there is a level of subjectivity when distributing the LCFF Supplemental because even though it comes into the District based on need, it’s not strictly restricted like, well, Restricted GF. Because if you look at how, say LCFF Supplemental money is allocated to Maya Lin which has the highest unduplicated population of the non Title 1 schools, they’re only receiving $774 per unduplicated student. Compared to that Edison with 22% unduplicated students is receiving $1310 per unduplicated student.


May 23, 2023

Moving money at the problem

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:31 am

Here is the main problem with the sudden focus of the District on diverting resources from Ruby Bridges’ innovative program to the latest (unfunded?) mandate from the State. This moving of budgetary deck chairs is kinda proving the point of advocates that the “fix” for student funding in LCFF isn’t actually supporting the population of kids who need it the most. When we look at the way money is doled out across the district most schools, most elementary schools are still getting largely equal shares of money, non restricted money that is. Then we’re told that Title 1 schools are getting all this additional money, as though that is leveling out the playing field, but, you know, that money came into the district for these schools and not to spread freely amongst all schools. From CapRadio:

In 2013, California adopted the Local Control Funding Formula, or LCFF, to equitably distribute funds to schools and close the achievement gap for disadvantaged youth. 

Using the LCFF model, funding was allotted based on the number of students in classrooms. Additionally, each district could get a supplemental grant based on the number of vulnerable students in three high-needs subgroups: English learners, foster youth and a group comprised of low-income and unhoused youth. If more than 55% of a district’s students fall into these subgroups, the district qualifies for these additional monies.

After a decade, the data confirms that LCFF has not accomplished what it set out to do. 

I’m told that some of these numbers have been adjusted but I can’t imagine they’ve moved all that much, what we’re seeing here is that despite LCFF Supplemental monies being distributed to the district because of high needs students, RB received the lowest distribution per pupil of all elementary schools.

Based on the testing data which is all we seem to care about, across the district where there is enough students to measure, AUSD isn’t do great for Black students no matter where they are. Of all the schools who were able to produce data for Black students, RB is the only one which had enough kids to break down the information by grades. It also educates more than twice as many Black students as any other individual school.


May 22, 2023

STEAM rolled

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:04 am

So back to Ruby Bridges’ STEAM program. To recap, even though the District went through the process of discussing other magnet and innovative programs back in January/February, Ruby Bridges’ Innovative program was kept off the list for 2023-24 cuts, now we’re all getting. different message from the District that the intent was to “keep” the program but just not have a coordinator for the program which is, in fact, cutting the program. Both Maya Lin and Earhart are able to keep their coordinators for their innovative program through 2023-24 while they decide if they want to retain that position using other funding. It appears that RB is not getting that option unless the School Board makes a decision contrary to the staff recommendation.

The Principal’s messaging around this cut/not a cut is to frame it around what STEAM has not been able to accomplish. Now I realize that RB has had a lot of leadership change since STEAM was first founded and funded until today but I’m here to tell you that improving student achievement for Black and low-income students at RB was not the goal of STEAM. The STEAM program (with the Wellness portion) was designed to help (1) retain and attract families to RB who had been sending their students to other AUSD school because the program improvement status of RB made it very easy for families to opt out of RB and (2) give existing students additional tools to help them further engage in the regular school day curriculum. The fact that STEAM is being pitted against student achievement for specific subgroups is, frankly, insulting.

From the principal letter:

I would like to emphasize that the current STEAM instructor has a guaranteed teaching position at Ruby Bridges (i.e., she is not losing her job). Students and teachers will also continue to have access to the STEAM lab. This was the original intention of Ruby’s innovative program: to support the teaching staff in implementing New Generation Science Standards. Now that the STEAM lab has been up and running for five years and student outcomes have not improved, it’s time to release STEAM implementation back to the classroom teachers.


May 19, 2023

Good news break

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 5:59 am

I had meant to write about this but had forgotten until #2 son engaged us in a conversation about his English class and a set of poems he turned in for a project around the book The Other Wes Moore, a book which has been on book banning lists in the past. He clearly wanted us to read these poems and, well, they were good. Yes, yes, I know I am a parents so I am predisposed to enjoying the works of my children but I am not that parent who is physically unable to critique the work of her children so I was surprised at how good it was because so much poetry from teenagers is so very overwrought and bad. I know this from experience having written bad and overwrought poetry of my own as a teenager.

Anyway, his poetry was well received by his English teacher which reminded me that his English teacher at Encinal was AUSD’s Teacher of the Year this year and will be eligible to be selected as the Alameda County’s Teacher of the Year which would be a nice honor for Alameda’s scrappy little West End high school which will, apparently, not be able to offer AP French next year because not enough students will be signing up.

From the Press Release:

Colleagues who submitted recommendation letters cited Ms. Kerber’s high professional standards and ability to both engage and connect with students. “Jessica’s teaching style is both engaging and effective,” one nominator wrote. “She has a natural ability to connect with her students and make content come alive for them. One of the things that I appreciate about Ms. Kerber is her ability to hold her students to high expectations while simultaneously differentiating instruction based on their individual needs. She is masterful at this.”
Nominators also referenced Ms. Kerber’s skill as a leader (she has served as chair of the EHS English Department as well as the professional development lead) and collaborator, as well as her creation and initiation of the “Mental Health Matters” English class at the site. In that course, students read novels that focus on mental health matters and also research topics such as PTSD, depression, anxiety, and gender norms.

In addition to teaching the lowly Freshman, she also teachers AP Literature which #1 daughter will be taking in her final year at Encinal next year which serves as a reminder to me (and to those of you who have been with this blog since the beginning) that next year this blog will see its 18th year of existence since I started this a few days before I went into labor and the picked it back up after a couple of months of hanging about with a newborn.

May 18, 2023

One person can change the word

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:12 am

The other day there was a pretty epic Peeps post around a parent at, I think, an Alameda elementary school who was upset about a book that their child had brought home. The student was a 5th grader so, depending on if you’ve been around 5th graders recently your mileage may vary on how much you know about what they know right now. The parent was ranting about how the teachers and administration should “suffer” for daring to expose kids to the materials in the graphic novel. The “graphic” in graphic novel is because it’s like a comic book, not because it’s pornography or something. That they can already find on the internet.

The book? This One Summer. The student checked out this book on her own and it was contained in the section for 5th graders only which all the other kids know is where the good stuff is.

The parent has found some sympathetic ears but, in general, most are saying the book is fine and that we shouldn’t be censoring materials that some parents may find too racy for their sensitive flowers. And what is happening the Florida and other states we should be pushing back locally against these kinds of efforts. And finally, someone is pushing back against Florida:


May 17, 2023

In good RESHAP

Filed under: Alameda — Lauren Do @ 6:07 am

Last week there was a Zoom presentation to the Chamber or hosted by the Chamber or something like that about the West Midway project. When I remembered the event was happening I totally missed it but, luckily, this is going to be on the Planning Board’s agenda for Monday so it’s here. There’s nothing granular yet about individual floor plans or buildings yet but you can see, in general, the shape of the project, Remember the development and approval of this project is key to getting the RESHAP program kickstarted because the market rate developers will be funding and building the infrastructure to make RESHAP a reality.

Here’s the most important bit about the affordable housing (affordable being subsidized in this case not “affordable” meaning what people think is affordable based on their person budgets):

Affordable Housing. The Alameda Point Settlement Agreement with Renewed Hope requires that the City ensure that 25% of all new housing at Alameda Point be deed restricted for very low-, low- and moderate-income households. Per the Settlement Agreement, the 25% is comprised of 10% at or below low-income units and 15% at or below moderate-income units.  The West Midway project and the RESHAP project together will satisfy this requirement as follows: the combined projects will provide 587 total new units (478 new units at West Midway and 109 new units at RESHAP), requiring 147 affordable units (59 new units at or below low-income and 88 new units at or below moderate-income). The RESHAP project will provide 107 new units at or below low-income, leaving a need for 40 new units at or below moderate-income. The West Midway project will include 40 units that will be deed restricted for sale to moderate-income households with household income between 80% and 120% of the area wide median income (AMI).  If the number of affordable new units on the RESHAP property exceeds 107, then the number of moderate income units on the West Midway property may decrease accordingly, ensuring that together this requirement is satisfied.

The Specific Plan requires that six percent of the units in a development be deed restricted to very low-income households, 10 percent be deed restricted to low-income households, and nine percent be deed restricted to moderate-income households. For the West Midway project, this requirement would yield 29 very low-income units, 48 low-income units, and 43 moderate-income units. As noted, the West Midway project will include 40 moderate-income units, and the RESHAP project will provide 107 new units at or below low-income. Of these 107 new units, at least 29 would be very low-income units and the remaining 78 would be at or below low-income, more than satisfying the need for 48 low-income and an additional 43 moderate-income units when combined with the 40 moderate-income units in the West Midway project.

Because West Midway is attached to the RESHAP project it’s going to exceed the higher inclusionary housing requirement at Alameda Point. Here’s the breakdown of how the units will be scattered throughout the site. It’s interesting that this development is bringing back the duplex (aka duet) because it’s a throw back to the only multifamily type development that was allowed by Alameda to be built in the heyday of A/26. And even though the RESHAP project is a lot larger than the 25% of needed affordable housing for the whole of the West Midway project, remember that a fair number of the RESHAP units will be replacement units for units that currently exist already at Alameda Point so those can’t be recounted for either the RHNA or for the inclusionary housing requirements.

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