Parents protest proposed changes to bilingual program
For the second consecutive week, parents of children in the programs taught in Spanish and English argued against combining third- and fourth-grade classes, or fourth- and fifth-grade classes to cut costs.
Parents said the move would threaten the integrity of a program that works.
“I understand you’re in this time of budget crisis,” Esfandiar Imani said at the school board meeting last week. “We need to focus on programs that have been successful and this is one.”
The program exists at Rosa Parks, Cragmont and LeConte elementary schools.
Superintendent Michele Lawrence said that no final decision has been made about the class combinations, but that the district is leaning toward third-fourth and fourth-fifth grade classes at Rosa Parks and Cragmont. There would be no class combinations at LeConte, she said.
Officials are weighing the move. They say the bilingual classes are less cost efficient because the fourth and fifth grades have fewer students than regular education classes.
Program supporters lamented the move but said it may be necessary. Board member Terry Doran said that he had failed in the early years of the program to foresee the budgetary dilemma emerged and the disruption that resulted.
- David Scharfenberg
Teachers gain time for planning
at Willard Middle School
The board endorsed a plan to lengthen class time at Willard Middle School on four days of the week next year while ending the school day early one day – Wednesday, so teachers can spend time on collaborative planning and staff development.
“For me, it warms my heart, because staff has been trying to do this for 10 years, unsuccessfully,” said Doran, praising Willard principal Michele Patterson and the district administration for pulling the plan together.
Lawrence said Willard will serve as a model for other schools in the district, particularly Berkeley High School, as it makes the transition to small schools in the fall of 2003. Collaborative teacher planning is a hallmark of the small schools model.
- David Scharfenberg
Oakland skipper dies after
falling overboard in Sydney
SYDNEY, Australia — The American skipper of a small yacht died of an apparent heart attack after falling into Sydney Harbor during a race, the sailing club in charge of the event said Monday.
Peter Campbell of the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia said Gary McPike, a 55-year-old from Oakland, Calif., who lived with his wife in Sydney, died Sunday after falling from his yacht, Joyride.
Two crew members from another yacht dived into the harbor and hauled McPike, an experienced yachtsman, out of the water but they were unable to revive him.
He was transferred to a water police boat and taken to shore, where an ambulance was waiting. He was pronounced dead a short time later.
McPike was an authority on yachting rules and had been a national judge and umpire in the United States before moving to Sydney, Campbell said.
McPike recently umpired at the Congressional Cup, one of the biggest yachting events in the United States, and had applied for status as an international judge and umpire.