School District Notes: FSD Board meeting October 17

VivienFullerton School District Board meets at 6pm, 2nd & 4th Tues of each month at district headquarters, 1401 W Valencia Dr, Fullerton. For agenda, go to: or call (714) 447-7400

Trustee Updates

• Trustees Bev Berryman and Leonel Talavera spotlighted Nicolas Jr High’s Tiny House Project, which teaches building and design skills while allowing students to serve the shelter needs of local community members.

• Trustee Ruthi Hanchett worked with Fullerton Councilman Ahmad Zahra, school administration, Maple Elementary’s parents, city engineers, and the Fullerton Police Department to make the Valencia Dr and Lemon St crossing area outside Maple Elementary safer for children and parents walking to and from school by moving visual impairments, fixing sidewalks, and studying safety features.

Art Funds Allocation

Assistant Superintendent of Education Services, Dr. Adaina Brown, and Director of Education Services, Philip Ling, reported the district plan to expand FSD’s current arts program. The district‘s goal is to incorporate art into every subject at every school through additional art teachers and new art opportunities.

Funds come from FSD’s share of Prop 28 Arts and Education Funding, the Arts and Instructional Materials Block Grant, and additional unrestricted general fund money for both instructors and supplies. Arts education stimulates different brain areas, enabling students to think in new ways and retain information better and longer.

The districtwide plan includes hiring two Lead Art Instructors, providing FSD teachers training to incorporate art into all subjects, including science and mathematics, and offering art stipends to help coordinate art into the curriculum over the next three years. After surveying families and administration, the district also plans to update Ladera Vista Jr High’s sound system, upgrade all school stages for ADA compliance, and replace over 100 student-loaned instruments.

All schools will expand art programs and museum field trips and increase student exposure to career avenues utilizing advanced art education. Expanded music programs include choir in kindergarten and instruments as early as 5th grade. The wildly popular Clay Lab, where students from kindergarten to sixth grade learn about and create pottery pieces, will be expanded to double capacity.

Superintendent Dr. Bob Pletka emphasized the plan maintains existing art programs, including All the Arts and art-based schools like Ladera Vista Jr High and Golden Hill Elementary. The expansion goal ultimately places an arts coordinator at each site but has inadequate funds. Trustee Talavera questioned art resource equity and requested a school site project breakdown.

Board President Aaruni Thakur agreed, wanting to see that the district received the “best bang for the buck,” and Trustee Hilda Sugarman said the entire board unequivocally supports arts programs districtwide.

Facilities Update

Assistant Superintendent of Business Services, Dr. Rob Coghlan, requested consultant funding to align FSD Master Facilities Plan (MFP) facilities projects with matching state money. FSD requires numerous facilities updates, and without a new elementary school facilities bond, the district cannot accomplish the expensive infrastructure projects.

State facility bonds act as superconductors for districts with local facilities money, making a local bond go much farther for a community. With over 1000 California school districts, state bond money is allocated quickly, and by being prepared with projects ready to go, Dr. Coghlan believes FSD has a better chance at matching district/state money.

After public discussion, the board approved the $28,000 payment.

Dual Language Presentation

Dr. Brown announced that FSD’s first dual immersion 56-student cohort will graduate from 8th grade going into high school in June 2024. Recent state testing revealed that dual immersion students (including dual immersion English Learner students) met or exceeded last year’s literacy growth goals and recovered faster from pandemic isolation compared to mainstream students.

The growing 7th/8th-grade dual immersion program needs additional qualified instructors. Assistant Superintendent of Personnel Services, Dr. Chad Hammett, requested any current FSD teacher who wishes to complete their BCLAD (Bilingual Cross-Cultural Language and Academic Development Accreditation) or BCLAD teacher looking to gain a single subject accreditation to please contact his office. Dr. Brown reported that La Habra Elementary District’s first dual immersion cohort of 43 students enrolled in the high school district in August 2023.

Fullerton Joint Union High School District (FJUHSD) only offers a dual immersion program at Sonora High School, where the program registered 7 out of the 43 students. Dr. Brown explained that 22 of the 43 chose to attend La Habra High School, which offers AP Spanish but no dual immersion program. The high school program prevented participants from the full high school experience with no room for sports, arts, and a stifled AP pathway.

Additional communication with feeder districts may support the high school district to create a more appealing program. Parents of incoming students to the high school district can contact Dr. Sylvia Kaufman, FJUHSD Assistant Superintendent of Education Services, at 714-­870-­2840 to get additional information.

The next regularly scheduled meeting is November 14 at 6pm.

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