School Board Fine-Tunes Improvements

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The Newport-Mesa school board on Tuesday approved an agreement with its teachers to sunset some oversight panels created to implement the No Child Left Behind improvements in district schools.

The board approved the memorandum of understanding to continue current reforms at each school in need of improvement to comply with No Child Left Behind, but without the panels.

The panels were created under Article 23 of the district’s agreement with the teachers’ association, to help Newport-Mesa schools that were unable to meet their adequate yearly progress goals for three years or more.

However, plans for those schools are already underway and the panels are not needed for the 2011-2012 year, the district and teachers say. The Professional Learning Community program is working successfully and needs to continue, the agreement states.

With the ongoing school and district efforts and pending changes to the law, the provisions of Article 23 are no longer appropriate, the staff report states.

“Over the past five years, all Newport-Mesa schools have been collaborating to improve student learning,” the agenda item reads. “Principals and teachers have focused on student achievement and collaborated on targeted interventions to support student learning. At the district level, the continuous improvement of collaborative models and a focus on student learning continue to be critical goals.”

In other action, the board authorized the district to apply for free energy efficient upgrades through a Southern California Edison program during Tuesday’s regular meeting.

The Newport-Mesa Unified School District board of education authorized Chief Business Official Paul Reed to apply for the energy company’s Third Party Implemented Turnkey Program for free lighting system energy efficiency upgrades.

The application is for all the pre-schools in the district.

The lighting upgrades would include light fixture conversions, installation of occupancy sensor light switches, compact florescent light bulbs, and light emitting diode exit signs.

The changes will help the district save money on their electricity bill and lower their overall energy usage.

The upgrades will be through the SCE approved consultant, California Preschool Energy Efficiency Program.

The CPEEP program helps center-based child care and preschool facilities in the Southern California Edison and Pacific Gas & Electric service areas be healthier, greener and save money on energy bills, all for free.

“Upon learning about the CPEEP program, and understanding that it would provide free lighting systems upgrades for district pre-schools, district staff initiated the application process for this program,” the staff report states.

The district expedited the application since the program is offered on a first-come, first-serve basis, or until funds are depleted.

The program is funded by California utility ratepayers and administered by SCE Company through a contract awarded to the Low Income Investment Fund, supported by the California Public Utilities Commission.

“The district is committed to evaluating any energy saving procedures and programs which do not negatively impact the educational environment, thereby providing continuing opportunities to improve the operational efficiencies of our facilities,” the staff report states.

The school board also approved a contract between the district and General Monitoring Service for alarm monitoring services.

This is the third year the district has contracted with the company. There is no price increase for this year’s contract, which is valid until Nov. 8, 2012. Year to date expenditures for 2011-2012 were $7,518.19 and is not expected to change.

Services include emergency telephones inside eight elevators at three separate addresses, 32 intrusion alarm panels and 19 fire alarm panels, all 24 hours a day, seven days a week and 365 days per year.

The board also congratulated the district spelling bee sixth grade winners during Tuesday night’s meeting and wished them success as they moved forward onto the Orange County Department of Education contest.

Twenty-two students from all over the school district participated in the Newport-Mesa 6th Grade Spelling Bee on Oct. 12.

Bryce Hill from Eastbluff and Princess Mae Castellano from Killybrooke were the winners and will move on to the county-wide spelling bee. The top speller at the county competition will win a trip to Washington DC to participate in the Scripps National Spelling Bee.

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