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Parents Rallying to Close the Book on Staggered Reading Schedule

The school district board meeting is scheduled for May 27 at 7 p.m.

Several parents in the Pleasanton School District are asking for other parents to help support them in the crusade to end the staggered start times for third graders in the district. 

Parent Nancy Rodriguez sent out the following letter asking other parents of students in the Pleasanton Unified School District to email letters members of to the school board and to attend tonight's board meeting.

Dear 2nd grade parents,

I have a huge favor to ask.  As some of you may have heard, this past Tuesday the Pleasanton School board approved the continuation of Staggered Start Times (Staggered Reading) for the 2014/2015 school year for First and Second grade, despite the reduction in class sizes back to 25 students.  We were shocked to learn that even though staggered start times were implemented as a way to address the larger class sizes back when our kids entered First Grade, they are now being treated as separate initiatives.  We had incorrectly assumed that when class sizes were reduced back to where they were two years ago, our kids would also gain back the 45 minutes per day of class instruction that they lost for the past two years.   That amounts to a loss of more than one full school day every two weeks, or 22 days of instruction per year.  This reduction came right as our children were being introduced to, and will now be required to meet the new Common Core Standards.  These new testing requirements are upon us, and we need to do everything we can to ensure our kids pass with flying colors. 

The good news is that the school board agreed to hold off on a decision for third graders since Tammy Jernigan and I tried to make it clear to the board that third graders need the additional 45 minutes of instruction each day due to their much more challenging curriculum, and because there is less of a need for the more individualized reading instruction since most of our second graders are now reading quite proficiently.  Not to mention the fact that we are now back to only having 25 students per class, thank goodness.

So here’s where we need your help.  It’s SUPER EASY, I promise!

1.       Can you please send the below email to the school board individuals listed?  You’re welcome to modify and put your own spin on it, but we wanted to make this as easy as possible so we get as many of you to send this email as we can.

2.       Can you please email me back and commit to occupying a seat at the Tuesday, May 27th school board meeting at 7 p.m. at 4665 Bernal Ave. (corner of Bernal and First Street)?  You don’t have to speak at the meeting unless you choose to, but WE NEED BODIES in those chairs to show your support, and to attest to the fact that there are more than just two parents who want this.  PLEASE consider coming because this is the meeting where the decision will be made.  This is our last chance!  Please reply back to me if you can be there to support us.

3.       Please forward this to any 2nd grade parents you know at other Pleasanton schools.

SAMPLE EMAIL BELOW

To: jeff.pusd@gmail.com ; ChrisMGrant@gmail.com ; jlaursen@pleasantonusd.net ;jhintzke@pleasantonusd.net ; valerie@arkinhome.com; pahmadi@pleasantonusd.net
Subject: Appeal to eliminate staggered reading for 3rd grade

Dear School Board Members and Superintendent,

Thank you for approving class size reduction for first through third grade for the 2014/2015 school year.  It’s my understanding that despite this welcome change,staggered school start times were not eliminated for first and second grade, and it is still under consideration for third grade.  Please accept this email as my formal request to eliminate staggered start times for third grade for the 2014/2015 school year.  I feel my child will greatly benefit from regaining those extra 45 minutes of classroom instruction each day, especially with the more challenging curriculum that is required ofthird graders and with the reduced need for individualized reading instruction.

Sincerely,

Parent of a Vintage Hills Elementary 2nd grader

"This affects all Pleasanton third graders at all schools," Rodriguez said. "If we don't change this there will be only 12 kids in the classroom for the first 45 minutes of the day, and the last 45.  Only 12!"

The school district posted has the following information about the staggered start times (staggered reading schedule) on tonight's agenda:

"A Staggered Literacy Program Report was presented at the May 13th Board of Education Meeting.  The Board of Trustees approved continuing the Staggered Literacy Program for 1st and 2nd grades during the 2014-15 school year.  Due to the mixed results received from 3rd grade teachers, the increasing 3rd grade curriculum demands with the implementation of the Common Core State Standards, and the significant loss of instructional minutes, the Board delayed making a decision on continuing Staggered Literacy for 3rd grade and requested additional information from 3rd grade teachers. 

"A representative committee of 3rd grade teachers and site/District administrators met on Monday, May 19, 2014.  Each elementary school obtained input from its 3rd Grade teachers on whether or not to continue the Staggered Literacy Program at the 3rd Grade level; similar input was received from site administrators.  The pros and cons were identified and discussed."

Watch the board meeting tonight on Tri-Valley TV by clicking here.

What do you think about the staggered reading, staggered start times schedule for PUSD students? Tell us in the comments.

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