Newhall Board to discuss educational leadership, district arts programs

The Newhall School District Office. Dan Watson/The Signal
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The Newhall School District Governing Board will meet Tuesday night to discuss the district’s instructional leadership and partnership with Los Angeles County Arts Commission’s Arts for All initiative.

Governing Board members will hear from Patty Maxfield, a district coach from the Center for Educational Leadership at the University of Washington, about best practices in classrooms and high-quality instruction.

The Center for Educational Leadership supports schools districts, like NSD, in building leadership capacity and instructional expertise as well as implementing professional development.

According to the agenda item, the center uses four dimensions of instructional leadership that are based on five core beliefs to drive their work.

These beliefs include a learning-focused environment for students and adults, a team of leaders, a culture of public practice and reflective practice, an acknowledgement of cultural, socioeconomic and learning diversity in districts, and a focus on effective management of resources and people.

Board members will also review a strategic presentation and proposal for how the Newhall School District will partner with Los Angeles County Arts Commission’s Arts for All initiative.

For eight months, a committee of 10 members—including teachers, community partners, site administration, district administration and a board member—worked with an L.A. County Arts for All coach to develop a five-year plan to further implement arts throughout the district.

This strategic plan includes a vision for the district to explore excellence in arts education, collect school and district data, identify strengths and gaps in current practice, articulate a vision, determine strategic directions to achieve vision and develop budgets and calendared implementation plan, according to the agenda item.

The draft plan will be reviewed by district staff that will provide feedback to the committee.

District staff also plan on submitting an application for an Advancement Grant, which offers financial support to L.A. County school districts aimed at providing arts education for all public school students.

According to the agenda, the district will apply for a grant of matching funds of up to $25,000 for the arts programs.

Board members are also expected to review and discuss the placement of a Head Start portable classroom at Wiley Canyon Elementary School.  Currently, the Head Start program, run by Volunteers of America, operates out of a building they lease at Wiley Canyon.

However, the Head Start staff wishes to put a portable classroom facility at Wiley near the YMCA portable.

The portable can either be moved from its current site in Castaic or the district can lease a portable, called the clubhouse, to Head Start.

The Head Start staff is asking for feedback on their proposal before they obtain an architect for the move.

Also, board members are scheduled to read a letter from community member Nanette Meister about the proposed Chiquita Canyon Landfill Expansion.

In her letter, Meister expresses her concern for the health of children and community members in the valley and includes scientific information defending her argument.

With the letter, Meister is asking the district to adopt a resolution to oppose the landfill expansion for the health and safety of students throughout the valley.

Additional Agenda Items:

  • Organizing board member attendance at each school’s sixth grade promotion
  • Approving Newhall Elementary Auditorium renovations and ratification of contract changes exceeding 10 percent for increased costs of $11,358.39
  • Award contract for E-rate high speed wide area network services to Spectrum Enterprises
  • Approve proposal for three-year asbestos re-inspection with Forensic Analytical Consulting Services (FACS)
  • Approve afterschool program with California Institute of the Arts (CalArts) and Newhall Elementary School for Community Arts Partnership (CAP) program for second and third grade students
  • Ratify resolution to declare first week of May (May 7 to 13) Teacher Appreciation Week

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