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MHFT Newsletter -- December 18

Large Turnout to Call for Resignation of Board Member David Gerard

Thank you to all teachers who came to the board meeting this Tuesday, and to all those who spoke up to support students, teachers and our district to denounce the inappropriate emails from Mr. Gerard. The evening was impressive with students, teachers, administrators, and community members all asking for his resignation. It was heartwarming to be joined at this meeting by so many highly-regarded members of the community, including Roger Knopf (Inaugural Recipient of Leadership Morgan Hill’s Excellence in Leadership Award), George Thomas (longtime Chair of the Live Oak Foundation), former MHUSD Trustees Shellé Thomas, Julie Zintsmaster, and Kathy Sullivan, and Brian Sullivan (Charter School of Morgan Hill Trustee). Many of these people took to the microphone, and the theme was clear: our district and community are better than the behavior exhibited by Mr. Gerard.

Mr. Gerard did not respond to the speeches and did not resign. The Federation will be polling our members and discussing further options in January.

No Appointment to Replace Porter-Jensen

At its Dec. 8 special meeting, the Board was unable to agree on a replacement for trustee Amy Porter-Jensen, who resigned her position at the end of October. This will force an election in June, and until then then the district will continue to have a six member board, increasing the chances of more votes resulting in a 3-3 tie.

Teachers Transfer to Britton, Murphy or San Martin/Gwinn with new Grade Level Configuration

Congratulations to the team of 6th-grade teachers moving to middle school in the 2016-17 school year. Joining Britton Middle School are Tirina Barnes, Valerie Brown, Jewel Knofler, Melissa Moralez, Kelly Parker, Kerry Richards, and Nathan Winchell. Joining Martin Murphy Middle School are Roya Gillani, Kelly Herrell, Michelle Kopari, David Martinez, and Darren McDonald. This spring, they will begin working with their new administrators and site teams. Early next year, depending on enrollment numbers, the District will fill remaining teacher spots on the 6th-grade teams to complete the process. The second group of teachers joining the teams will be in place early enough in the year to participate in the collaboration process.

TK-5 Math Adoption Update

Based on the feedback from the Math Adoption Curriculum Choice Survey, the choices have been narrowed narrowed down to (1) Houghton Mifflin Go Math, and (2) Pearson enVision with Investigations curriculum.

Interested teachers have been trained on the curriculum of their choice, and will begin a 6-week pilot program on January 4.

Check Your January Paystub

Please be sure to compare your December and January paychecks, look for discrepancies and anticipated changes, and notify the district Payroll Office if you find any problems.

Growth Mindset Workshop: SCI Organizing Project
January 18, 2016, 10 am - 4 pm (lunch and childcare provided)

Minset is a simple idea discovered by world-renowned Stanford University psychologist Carol Dweck after decades of research on achievement and success.
Using a growth mindset creates motivation and productivity in the worlds of business, education, and sports.

As part of our SCI Organizing Grant, MHFT will sponsor a workshop, “Growth Mindset,” for families and educators.

Flyer invitations have been distributed to families asking them to RSVP if they are interested. We are hoping for a diverse group of parents, teachers and community members willing to reflect on their own mindsets, learn about our students’ mindsets, and develop a growth mindset for our schools and district.

Seating is limited. Interested teachers should contact Gemma Abels at

Chromebook Issues

The District held a Digital Citizenship Meeting to discuss the increasing discipline issues with Chromebooks. The District is interested in consistent consequences for poor Chromebook decisions during class time, and online bullying at any time.

Some teachers and administrators are interested in a software monitoring system to be able to see what students are doing on their screens. Some sites are piloting this spring and the District will look into the purchase of a system for next year. Teachers are encouraged to use lessons on computer citizenship, by grade level.

MHFT Meetings with Board Members

MHFT Office Staff and Officers have met with each board member. Highlights of those meetings are as follows:

  1. Board members reported that they feel the district is moving forward despite the discord on the board.
  2. MHFT-endorsed candidates asked for more teacher presence at board meetings, including speaking on specific issues and in public comment on good things happening in the District.

At Recent Board Meetings...

Assistant Superintendent Kirsten Perez reported that MHUSD enrollment is up about 90 students this year.

The Geology course at Live Oak currently offers college credit/joint-enrollment through CSU Bakersfield. Students take a semester college course over one year, for both high school and college credit. This program will be extended to Sobrato as well.

Paradise Valley Elementary has been approved to become an Engineering Focus Academy in 2016-17.

Special County Board Meeting on Charter Schools

On December 14, the Santa Clara County Board of Education held a special meeting on charter schools it has authorized within the county.

Gemma Abels has been working with the South Bay Labor Council, local CTA presidents, and CSEA and SEIU representatives to improve oversight of charter schools at the county level. Since Claudia Rossi was elected in 2014 and Rosemary Kamei was appointed in 2015, the County Board has become more attentive to proper oversight of charter schools.

The county’s Office of Charter Schools has changed leadership and has increased staff to include two financial experts. They have begun to create Standard Operating Procedures for oversight of charter schools, but we need these procedures to become board policy. It was this office that uncovered the lack of fingerprinting, background checks, and TB tests at Spark Charter School - Sunnyvale earlier this year.

At the December 14 Special Board Meeting, the Office of Charter Schools included a formalized oversight process in their report to the board. It is important that teachers continue to voice their opinions about the 23 charter schools (over 8,000 students) that have been approved by the Santa Clara County School Board. As the elected body authorizing these schools, they have a responsibility to students attending charter schools, their parents, the districts wherein the charters reside, and the public, to make sure that children are safe, learning occurs, and taxpayer money is used appropriately.

Earlier this year, the Office of Charter Schools also released attendance data for all of their approved charter schools. This data showed an overall decrease in charter school attendance. Our hard work has paid off, but we must continue to be vigilant in protecting all students and in promoting our public schools.


Special Offer from 9 Round Fitness

1295 East Dunne, Suite 160
Normal Individual Monthly Pricing:
1st month $99; $89 a month thereafter (2 month minimum enrollment)
*MHFT Pricing: 1st month FREE, only $35 due upon enrollment; $69 a month thereafter (2 month minimum enrollment)
Other specials available. Contact Wesley @ 408-763-4701.

Contract Spotlights:

Column Reclassification
If you are considering taking classes for column reclassification, please remember to obtain prior approval from the District. Then, after you have completed your coursework, submit all verification to Caroline Bowers in H.R. by the following Dec. 1 for reclassification on the salary schedule retroactive to the beginning of the school year.

Human Resources is opening up the transfer window for January 1 - February 28. They will be sending out a google doc to all teachers to enable them to express their interest. There are still more openings at the middle schools for 6th grade positions. At the same time, all teachers will be asked to sign an Intent to Return form, which provides H.R. with a rough estimate for staffing. The Intent to Return form is not legally binding; your signature on your official Offer of Employment (which will be given to you in the spring and must be returned by June 30) will be  legally binding.

Teachers at the Mic


Thank you, Murphy, for your outstanding presentation! Students, teachers and administrators provided snapshots of activities and led a brief session on the community of students & restorative justice.

Thank you, Barrett, for an energetic student-created PowerPoint and presentation!

Thank you, El Toro, for waiving your session on Dec. 15th. We look forward to your presentation next semester.

Next up is JAMM on January 12th.

Upcoming Dates

January 5 Elementary Science Framework Review
January 6 Secondary Science Framework Review
January 11 Elementary Curriculum Council
January 12 School Board Meeting
January 13 CA School Services Governor's Budget Workshop
  (Sacramento, CA)
January 14 MHFT Executive Council
January 14 LCAP Meeting (DO)
January 18 Matin Luther King, Jr. Day - no school
January 18 Growth Mindset Workshop
January 22 Deadline for second cycle of iGrants
January 25 Secondary Curriculum Council