Board Meeting Highlights 2020-2021

February 9, 2021

The February Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees featured a Third Grade Education Showcase facilitated by Grade Level Chairs Andrea Livengood and Jenna Maioriello.  Ms. Livengood and Ms. Maioriello welcomed three third grade students to present their non-fiction animal reports.  Students shared detailed facts about dolphins and starfish while displaying strong public speaking skills and a joy of research and writing.  

Site principals, Mary Ann Spitzer and Grant Althouse, provided an update from the Bacich and Kent Work Groups respectively. Ms. Spitzer shared adjustments to hybrid such as increased chorts, In-Person PE instruction and In-Person ELD cohorts.  She also shared the Bacich work group is still evaluating the best model for a full in-person instruction.  Mr. Althouse shared the Kent Work Group launched with a focus on full In-Person instruction.  The group shared the  common interest of moving away from instruction over the computer and towards a more traditional manner of in-person teaching.  There is great appreciation to the Work Groups for their commitment to this additional planning and to both Mary Ann and Grant for facilitating these teams.  

In closing, Kirsten Starsiak, KSD Chief Business Official and Superintendent Rose provided a brief update on the District’s finances.  Staff highlighted the decrease in student enrollment by 44 students and a decreased revenue of $325,000.  These two key factors will lead to budgetary reductions for the upcoming school year.  As we plan for these necessary reductions, the district is strategizing on how to preserve current programs in an effort to support a positive and rich experience for our KSD students.       

January 12, 2021

The January Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees featured a Kent Language Arts Education Showcase facilitated by its Chair, Julie Gallagher. Ms. Gallagher welcomed four seventh grade students to share their approach to the writing process from beginning to end. Students articulated their learning of the writing process and shared their work, which demonstrated evidence of their growth.

The Kentfield Teachers Association (KTA) representatives - Susan Warnick and Brad Widelock announced that KTA membership ratified the KSD-KTA Tentative Agreement. Board members noted that this resolution is a positive step forward in collaboration between the KTA and KSD administration. Superintendent Rose reported that updates on adjustments to instructional programming will be provided regularly through joint communications by KTA leadership and the KSD Superintendent.

Superintendent Rose shared that Marin County’s COVID vaccination distribution would be moving to Phase IB - Tier I, which includes all educators. This transition would provide school staff the opportunity to get vaccinated as early as the upcoming weekend to as late as the first week in February.

Lastly, the Board approved to increase the budget of the Bacich play structure by $146,000 which is a total project budget of $396,000. The bond funds will be used for this expense as well as $96,500 raised by kik through a Fund-A-Need at the Spring 2019 auction. The Board acknowledged KIK donors for their support in a new updated play structure for Bacich School.

December 8, 2020

The December 8, 2020 Kentfield School Board of Trustees meeting continued to have a robust level of community engagement. There were over 200 virtual attendees during the course of the meeting.

The meeting began with recognition of outgoing Trustee Quoc Tran and Executive Secretary Maureen Moulton. Both members of our team were highlighted and honored during the meeting. We extend our sincere appreciation for their dedication and service to the Kentfield School District community. Trustee David Reidel was sworn in for a second term and we welcomed new Trustee Annie Su. To learn more about Annie, see her bio here. The Trustees did their annual board re-organization and re-elected Heather McPhail Sridharan as President, Sarah Killingsworth as Clerk, and David Riedel as Vice-President. They also did their annual district committee assignments.

The Education Showcase was facilitated by two Bacich teachers - Barbara Libby and Thalia Milano. They presented information about the launch and implementation of the new Social Justice curriculum at Baich School which highlighted the integration of arts and social justice across the grade levels. The presentation closed with hearing from two Bacich students.

Kirsten Starsiak, KSD Chief Business Official, presented the District's First Interim Budget report which highlighted KSD’s reserves to be a bit above 6%. On Thursday, December 16th at 7pm the district will host a KSD Budget 101 webinar (Webinar Link) to provide further context to school funding and the current state of KSD’s annual budget. Everyone from our community is welcome and encouraged to attend.

Communication correction by Heather McPhail Sridharan, President of the KSD Board:

On behalf of our board, I want to sincerely apologize for the data error in our December 7th board letter to KSD teachers/staff that was read aloud during our Tuesday, Dec 8th board meeting related to the total number of students and teachers currently engaged in in-person teaching across Marin. I can assure you that there was no intention to mislead anyone. Instead, it was an honest misinterpretation of the data dashboard presented by Marin Public Health.

The letter now correctly reflects that there are approximately 81% of schools open for in-person instruction across Marin (defined by having at least 10% or greater in person). Based on this dashboard, it is difficult to ascertain the precise number of students and staff who are currently attending and working in-person right now. But Marin Public Health are basing their dashboard on an estimate of approximately 40,000 total students and 5300 total staff members across all Marin schools.

We appreciate that KSD teacher and parent, Farah Maisonneuve, brought the data error to our attention during our Tuesday board meeting. We feel particularly upset that we misrepresented this important data point since we spend so long researching and painstakingly preparing our board communications. We hope that everyone understands and accepts our sincere apology for this oversight.

November 10, 2020

On November 10, 2020 the Kentfield School Board of Trustees convened in-person for the first time since the March shelter in place order. The meeting of the Trustees began with a statement from the Board expressing appreciation and unity among our community.

We then welcomed our first Educational Showcase of the school year presented by Rebecca Jelen, Kent Middle School Librarian, and students from Kent Middle School. Ms. Jelen provided examples of activities occurring at the Kent library which cultivate the love of reading among students at Kent. Students later presented literacy based projects which ranged from the Squawk Talk Podcast to author studies.

Bacich Principal Mary Ann Spitzer and Kent Principal Grant Althouse shared their excitement to welcome students to campus on Thursday, November 12th for the launch of KSD’s Hybrid Instructional Program. The many preparations shared by the school team administrators exemplified the district’s readiness to engage in school based instruction.

October 13, 2020

The Board heard a report from Superintendent Raquel Rose, Bacich Principal Mary Ann Spitzer, and Kent Principal Grant Althouse regarding the current Distance Learning Program; the Pilot Hybrid Program; and preparations underway to launch a full Hybrid Learning Program. Members of our community offered their perspectives on various aspects of the administrators’ report, particularly about the timing of a transition to a full hybrid program and the parent/guardian survey to indicate preference for Distance Learning or Hybrid Instruction.

The Counseling Department, represented by Maia Yamasaki from Bacich and Heidi Longo from Kent, presented the Social Emotional Survey Results that was administered to all Kentfield District students in September and October. A summary of the information gathered can be reviewed in slide deck presentations for Bacich and Kent.

The Board expressed appreciation for the high level of engagement and participation from members of our community in recent board meetings. It was recognized that this board meeting had more than 200 participants, including many students from the 7th and 8th grades. The Board also expressed gratitude to Gretchen Harris, representing the Classified Employees, who made a presentation during the Employee Organization Report. Board members acknowledged that it would be beneficial if the Classified Employees continue to make a monthly report during board meetings.

September 8, 2020

At the September 8, 2020 Regular Meeting of the Board of Trustees, site administrators shared information about engagement and connection with students as well as highlighted the high level of attendance in classes. Members of our teaching staff provided insight into the planning and implementation of Distance Learning which included the benefits of teacher collaboration, leveraging home environments to extend learning, and opportunities to engage with students in a new virtual setting. In closing, a student joined the presentation and shared her learning as a Bacich Bear kindergartener.

The meeting also included a Public Hearing for the Learning Continuity and Attendance Plan, and Superintendent Rose shared the purpose of the plan as well as its key components. The board acknowledged that the Kentfield School District's Dynamic School Guide is a great reference for our community to look to for more details about instructional programming and safety protocols.

In closing, we continue to urge our community to consider contributing your time and expertise as a member of one of our Board Committees, which include: Communications, Equity, Finance, Safety, Technology, and Wellness. We encourage diverse stakeholder participation to support varied perspectives and interests in the critical work of our committees. No prior experience is necessary. If you would like to participate in any of our committees for the 2020-21 school year please complete this form by September 30, 2020. As with all of our Board Committees, meetings are always open to the public to attend anytime.

August 18, 2020

The Board heard a presentation from Superintendent Raquel Rose and staff regarding the details of opening school for the 2020-2021 school year. Staff shared details about the Distance Learning plan and provided further rationale about the design of the educational programming. The Board of Trustees considered and discussed the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) between KSD and KTA which addressed the effects and impacts of working conditions for certificated staff. Following an engaged discussion Trustees approved the MOU. The parties also confirmed they would meet regularly and discuss any necessary adjustments to the agreement as necessary.

Interim Student Services Director, Erika Salazar, updated the community on the planning of the Special Education team and expressed gratitude and excitement of starting the year fully staffed with a highly qualified group of educators.

July 21, 2020

The Board heard a presentation from Superintendent Raquel Rose regarding the status of the Return to School Plan. The plan outlined activities to date related to safety infrastructure and protocols, KSD’s framework for school operations, examples of distance learning and plans for professional development and training for staff. Raquel will continue to keep the community updated regarding the Return to School Plan through weekly office hours on Thursdays from 4:00- 5:00 p.m., recordings and resources from the office hour sessions can be found here.

The Board approved the 45-day Budget Revision capturing additional revenues from the state adopted budget. Additionally three expenditures related to COVID-19/distance learning were approved to support additional safety infrastructure and Essential Protective Equipment (EPE), professional development and planning, and teaching and learning resources to ensure continuity of student learning in a COVID-19 environment.

Lastly, the Board approved a Resolution to endorse the California Schools and Local Communities Funding Act, which promotes full and fair funding for California Schools to meet the needs of our public school students and prepare them for an increasingly competitive, complex, and technological world.