Newhall district approves new language program for Old Orchard Elementary


The Newhall School District approved the purchase of new language curriculum at Old Orchard Elementary School Monday that will help support foundational reading of Spanish for primary students in the dual language immersion program. 

The Newhall district board of trustees approved a slew of items Monday night as part of its monthly meeting — including the purchase of Estrellita, the supplemental Spanish reading program, updating the 2022-23 comprehensive school safety plans for five of the district’s school sites and revising two district staff positions. 

According to the agenda, Estrellita is a supplemental Spanish reading program that provides multisensory instruction in phonemic awareness, phonics and fluency. The cost of the program is approximately $7,573, and it would be paid through Title I funds. 

Members of the board also reviewed the 2022-23 comprehensive school safety plans for Oak Hills, Valencia Valley, McGrath, Meadows and Stevenson Ranch elementary schools. These plans are required to be approved annually by school site councils and the governing board, according to the agenda. 

Plans share the same components and include three essential parts such as “assuring each student a safe physical environment, assuring each student a safe, respectful, accepting and emotionally nurturing environment and provide each student with resiliency skills.” 

The plans list an assortment of criteria schools need to conduct or assess, all related to safety, to ensure compliance under state law. Some actions that must be included in safety plans include emergency drills, child abuse prevention and reporting protocols, a safe school report and more. 

These plans are reviewed and approved by each school site council, the Santa Clarita Valley Sheriff’s Station and the board of trustees. These plans are written in compliance with state and national guidelines to best cover a wide range of emergencies and disasters, but they also retain flexibility to respond to a particular emergency that may arise, according the report. 

Lastly, Amanda Montemayor, assistant superintendent of human resources, and Sheri Staszewski, assistant superintendent of business services, discussed revisions to two positions under the business services and faculties, maintenance and operations department. 

According to the agenda item, revisions to the job description for assistant director of business services are to reflect the current needs of the business department and update practices. This position would replace the payroll supervisor, which the district has been unable to fill since July. 

The grounds and maintenance supervisor position would be revised to assistant director of facilities and the job description for this position would also be updated, according to the item. 

The difference in the total compensation including benefits is an increase of approximately $20,250 and $19,300, respectively, annually to the general fund. 

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