Minutes News

Friends Of Hancock Park School Minutes – February 12, 2015

School Site Council Meeting – Regular Meeting 2014-2015

Thursday, February 12, 2015

2:45 p.m. – Room 36


1) Call to Order: Cherie McDermott, Chairperson, called the regular meeting to order at 2:55 p.m.

2) Attendance:

  • Present. School Site Council (“SSC“) members constituting a quorum were present: Cherie McDermott, Chair; Ashley Parker, Principal/Vice-Chair; Michael Do, Parliamentarian; Sue Zabloudil, Secretary (tardy); Beverly Glass, Member; Mark Harelik, Member; Bill Hochhaus, Member; David Rodriguez, Member (tardy); Larry Tynan, Member; Kathy Wien, Member; and Victoria Yoon, Member.
  • Not-Present. The following Members were absent: Catherine Baek, Member; Gary Blond, Member; and Mary Melendez, Member.

3) Substitute Secretary. Mr. Harelik acted as a substitute secretary for taking minutes.

4) Approval of Minutes: The revised SSC meeting minutes from December 12, 2015 were received reviewed in advance by the SSC members. A motion to approve the minutes was made, seconded and unanimously approved.

5) Principal’s Report: Ashley Parker, Principal provided the following report:

  • Open House CCSS Science Parent Education Event. As discussed in the Principal’s Report during the December 12, 2014 SSC Meeting, parent education around the new Common Core State Standards (“CCSS“) in Science is taking place by a directive from the LAUSD and will occur during Open House. The new CCSS are very rigorous and challenging to put into effect. Our students are in a transition period with an overlap between the new CCSS and the existing California State Standards from which Hancock Park Elementary School (“HPES“) is transitioning. Our teachers are working vigorously to prepare the students for the CCSS. However, as previously announced, HPES will not move forward with an all school Science Fair, but rather will proceed with the annual Fifth Grade Science Fair. To incorporate the parent education component, dual student projects, Fifth Grade CST science projects will be in their classrooms and CCSS science grade level information will be on display in the school cafeteria during Open House for all parents to view.  Although LAUSD has designated March for the CCSS Open House, Principal Parker has requested LAUSD allow Hancock Park Elementary School to schedule the CCSS Open House for Wednesday, April 22. Should the deferred date be approved, the CCSS Open House will be from 5:00 – 6:30 pm in the classrooms, and the cafeteria will be the site for the CCSS projects, also from 5:00 – 6:30 p.m. In the classrooms, the open house timings will be  5:00 – 5:45 for Grades 3, 4, & 5 and Grades K, 1, & 2 will have classroom Open House from 5:45 – 6:30. All teachers will have the option of extending their classroom times to 6:30, since the cafeteria displays will be open to parents until 6:30 pm.
  • Classroom Overcrowding. HPES currently has two overflow classes with contingent teachers, who are aware that they are hired for this year only, with no guarantee of a position for the next school year. LAUSD is reviewing options for how to address the HPES’s overcrowded situation. One option is to relocate one entire grade level. A second option would be to redraw the school area’s geographical boundaries. A third option is a review of the special day classes on the campus. In any scenario, no changes would occur for the current 2014/2015 school year, but rather would take effect the 2015/2016 school year. According to Principal Parker, HPES cannot maintain the current population level, and it should be noted for the record that any decision that is made is a LAUSD decision and not one that Principal Parker controls.
  • English Learners (“EL“) Master Plan Waiver Application. As mentioned in the SSC meeting on December 12, 2014, HPES has a waiver from the LAUSD requirement to cluster students (i.e., when ELs are grouped by EL level in a classroom rather than being fully integrated). Based on teacher and parent input, Principal Parker recommends that it is in HPES’s interest to continue to have this waiver rather than creating homogenous EL groups. As a school and as a community, it is Principal Parker’s recommendation to support the diversity and the teachers have found that our more diverse non-homogenous classroom population spectrum brings ELs farther along and faster. Principal Parker stressed that the rules for Application for Waiver must be scrupulously adhered to, with every “T” crossed and every “I” dotted. SSC must approve the application, but only after a recommendation has been made by the  EL Advisory Council (“ELAC“). The topic is presently on the EL Advisory Council’s agenda for discussion at their February meeting and SSC will review their recommendation at the March SSC Meeting. Principal Parker further reported that regarding EL Development intervention, CELDT results show that an area that needs improvement is ELD level 3’s progress in grades 3 and 4. However, at HPES’s ELD Intervention planning on the morning of February 12, 2015, a recommendation was made for additional focus and intervention being included for other EL groups. Principal Parker did not know what funding would be allocated until after the beginning of the school year, and next year we will have the same questions about what funding we will be allocated and what will continue. Part of the process of funding is in recommendations from ELAC. Hearing from them is very important. The top funding priority is hiring instructional aides to give primary language support, and as much intervention as possible. Chair McDermott indicated that possibly the LAUSD recommendation is more a result of a need for special education students and not a result of EL development. Ms. Parker indicated that the levels of advancement of our students is very high and only one percent (1%) of students do not reclassify, which is a very good outcome.
  • SBAC Testing (Scheduling and Accountability Update). Principal Parker reported that HPES has two working drafts for the testing schedule. According to Draft 1, HPES is scheduled for March 23, 2015 through May 14, 2015, which would have testing begin the Tuesday prior to Spring Break. Draft 2 is pending additional input from teachers, but is receiving positive feedback. In preparing Draft 2, Principal Parker indicated that the following factors need to be considered: (i) students are mentally fresher in the morning; (ii) there are limited technological devices that can be utilized; and (iii) the need for allocating time to giving the students instruction on the actual testing equipment between now and testing. Draft 2 pushes the testing commencement date until Friday, May 17, 2015. The use of tablets has not been completely ruled out, but as of now, testing is going to be on laptops and desktop computers only.  Fifth graders will be taking the CST science test on the old bubble-in format.
  • School Accountability Report Card.  Principal Parker reported that completed School Accountability Report Cards are issued in March 2015, and due April 2015. She reported that LAUSD wants and needs more participation from HPES’s staff, parents, and students. HPES had a particularly low report card participation. In discussing why HPES has such a low participation rate, Principal Parker suggested that low participation could be viewed positively – i.e., people with complaints are more likely to voice them, as opposed to those that are pleased with HPES and may not participate in such reporting. Mr. Hochhaus stated that he feels it reflects on the higher intelligence of our parents, not filling out every bubble sheet that comes their way. Ms. Wien stated that a possible problem might be that parents are asked to fill out the report card form online, that there could be an accessibility issue or a communication issue among the variously cultural communities that make up HPES. Principal Parker indicated that she would add the survey issue as an agenda for the Korean Coffee Catchup. Mr. Tynan stated that based on the documentation, parents may not understand that this is a report card for HPES and that it benefits HPES for parents to complete the survey. Mr. Harelik and Chair McDermott agreed. Ms. Parker pointed out that the HPES report card does not properly reflect the actual HPES conditions because we only had 220 responses to the survey. Ms. Wien and Chair McDermott voiced the need to find as many ways as possible, through e-blasts, take-home sheets, class parents, etc. to encourage more parents to participate in order to demonstrate unity as a community and remain a self-directed school. Mr. Tynan said we need to assure parents their results will show up and be seen, and have an impact on how LAUSD views HPES. Chair McDermott added that the parents must be assured that the printed results are confidential and anonymous.
  • School Photography Company. Based on the number of service issues and complaints that Ms. Parker has received, Ms. Parker is in the process of reviewing proposals from alternative photography companies, other than the current photography company, Lifetouch Photography. Chair McDermott encouraged Principal Parker to take a risk and utilize a new photography Company. Members voiced complaints and raised issues with Lifetouch Photography’s latest photo sessions, and requirements for any future photography companies, including, inter alia, Do’s concerns that the sessions were too clinical and constrained and made the children look awkward, Ms. Wien’s concerns over loss of instructional time and the need to make a choice between losing instructional time or taking time setting up careful shots, Ms. Glass’ concerns that Lifetouch Photography fails to return calls and their failure to deliver correct orders. Mr. Tynan suggested finding a company who will provide at least one free class photo for students whose families don’t buy photos. Principal Parker said that she would take these suggestions into consideration in her search and would report at the next SSC Meeting her findings/recommendations.

6) After-School Programs. Principal Parker reported that she is in the process of reviewing the current after school program offerings and evaluating/searching for alternative programs. Principal Parker made a commitment that she would continue to review such programs to ensure that HPES programming is at a quality level. For example, another school colleague encouraged Principal Parker to review the STAR After School Program operating at another school. Possibly, ARC, Got Game and all after-school programs currently at HPES should understand that they are always under consideration and are not guaranteed a spot with HPES.

7) Safety.

  • Officer Gonzalez was requested to come to report, but was unable to attend. However, in his absence, Principal Parker praised his efforts and reported that Officer Gonzalez has been enforcing traffic safety firmly, but without harassment. Officer Gonzalez has been speaking with cross guards and parents and making his presence known, issuing warnings and tickets where warranted.
  • Principal Parker met the area Captain who sent a patrol car on February 12, 2015 to the school. area to help discourage unsafe driving behavior. Additionally, the West Traffic Division has HPES on their radar. Even though HPES has ongoing traffic and related safety issues, HPES is geographically situated in the midst of a larger commercial development problem, with burgeoning local businesses and high density traffic area. Unsafe practices are always subject to a ticket, and individuals (parents especially) shouldn’t expect constant temporary waivers, or law enforcement looking the other way (e.g., “I’m just out of the car for a second, why should I be getting a ticket?”).
  • Principal Parker has contacted LAUSD again to advise of the traffic concerns and to raise the school’s size and structural concerns.
  • Principal Parker advised that HPES will be doing a traffic safety assembly on April 9, 2015, with the possibility of a second assembly on March 26, 2015. Chair McDermott encouraged opening these assemblies to parents.
  • Ms. Glass raised concerns about people continuing to park in the staff lot who are not authorized to do so. Staff and teachers are encouraged to properly display their parking tag so that the violators can be distinguished.
  • Questions. Vice-Chair Parker inquired as to whether anyone had any further questions regarding the Principal’s Report. Seeing none, the SSC moved to the next agenda item.

8) UTLA Update: Larry Tynan, Teacher and UTLA Representative reported the following:

  1. Handout.   On February 12, 2015, before school, parents and students may have received a handout with information regarding the goals of ULTA’s The Schools Students Deserve campaign, which is part of the current negotiations between UTLA and LAUSD.   Mr. Tynan recapped the information on the flyer and also advised as to the following:
  • Other districts do not have the same problems as LAUSD and the students deserve better.
  • Teacher’s healthcare coverage was reduced and is more expensive, but this is part of a collective bargaining agreement with all eight employee groups in the district and outside of the ULTA negotiations with LAUSD at this time. Teachers wore stickers to raise awareness of the healthcare issues a few days ago.
  • ULTA is seeking an 8.5% raise with a classroom supply stipend of $1,000 per year, and an hourly rate of pay for all voluntary professional development and or training. The last offer from LAUSD was a 5% increase rather than the prior proposal of a 2% raise and two, one-time lump payments of 2% increases by the end of the school year.
  • LAUSD is advocating for additional support staff at the schools – e.g.,, full time nurses, a librarian, custodial staff and additional school counselors. HPES only has a part time nurse who comes once a week. Secondary school counselors have an average ratio of 800 students to each counselor.
  • Major cuts were made during the recession in response to dire economic circumstances, and since the recovery, nothing has been restored for teachers.
  • LAUSD is the 70th lowest out of 75 school districts in terms of teacher pay.
  • 2) Stages. As mentioned in the last SSC meeting, there are a number of stages before reaching a strike. Mr. Tynan stressed UTLA is still in stage two, negotiations, and still far away from strike circumstances.
  • 3) Rally. ULTA is having a City-wide rally at 4:30 P.M. on February 26, 2015 to support the teachers at Grand Park. Parents and students are encouraged to attend.
  • 4) Elections.   Mr. Tynan reminded everyone that the LAUSD school board elections are on March 3, 2015. A complicating factor is the odd configuration of the HPES school boundary area and should be raised with the appropriate officials. HPES’ is in District 4, represented by Steve Zimmer. However, 90% of HPES’ attendees reside in District 1, which is south of 3rd street. Those families, represented by Dr. George McKenna who is running unopposed in the upcoming election, are disenfranchised. Chair McDermott suggested that the local papers be notified of the odd districting and that it be further investigated.
  • 5) Questions: Larry Tynan inquired as to whether anyone had any further questions regarding the ULTA Report. Seeing none, the SSC moved to the next agenda item.

9) Friends of Hancock Park Elementary School Report. No representative of Friends of Hancock Park Elementary School were in attendance, but Chair McDermott reported that:

Walk-A-Thon. The students’ walk-a-thon raised $27,000.

  • Fundraising. With the end of the walk-a-thon, there is no further HPES fundraising for the 2014/2015 School Year. However, Principal Parker noted that LAUSD fundraising efforts are ongoing, including the annual LAUSD charitable contribution campaign.
  • HPES will be participating in a fundraiser for the American Heart Association.
  • HPES will be having a Ned Show Assembly, which will be presented at HPES on March 5, 2015. The assembly will focus on behavior education through the use of entertainment (including yo-yos) and parents/students will have the opportunity to purchase Ned products for the pay it forward program (i.e., the funds raised are used to continue fund the non-profit Ned Show Assembly in the schools). According to the School Report Card (see Section 5(d) above), LAUSD wants HPES to do more regarding positive behavior support. *
  • Park LaBrea. Mr. Rodriguez inquired as to whether HPES would be receiving funds from Park La Brea for the 2014/2015 school year, rather than just the 2015/2016 school year. Chair McDermott advised that she needed to confirm, but that she believed that Park LaBrea would be making some contributions for the 2014/2015 school year.
  • Officer Positions. Chair McDermott encouraged everyone to recommend parents for upcoming vacant Friends of Hancock Park Elementary School board positions, including, a position for a co-treasurer. Please spread the word among parents and encourage individuals interested in participating to step forward.

10) Call to the Public for Questions and Comments.

  1. 5th Grade Culmination. Mr. Rodriguez announced a parent meeting to discuss 5th grade culmination to take place on Tuesday, February 17, 2015 at at 6:30 p.m.

11) Adjournment. The meeting was adjourned at 4: 23 P.M.


Minutes respectfully submitted by Sue Zabloudil, Secretary, as supplemented by Mark Harelik.