ORANGE HIGH SCHOOL FARM FEST returns this Saturday
For the most part OrangeCounty’sagriculture daysare long gone. One notable exception in the Metro Area of Orange County is right here in Orange at OrangeHigh School.One of Orange High’s many unique programs is its Future Farmers of America and the farm they operate right on campus in the middle of Orange.
This Saturday OrangeHigh School’s Future Farmers of America will open up their farm to the public in the annual Orange High School Farm Fest.
Fun for the whole family, you can get your fill of farm fun with a petting zoo, food, games, prizes and lots of farm animals. Orange High students have been raising sheep, pigs, and cattle and more on their own farm and every year invite the public to come and have a look.
This year, in addition to the cows, sheep, lamas, and mini-horses, there is Norman.Norman is the farm’s new mini-steer. Norman was purchased with funds donated by the Orange Home Grown Farmer’s Market. Orange Home Grown operates the Orange Home Grown Farmers and Artisans Market every Saturday from 9 am-1 pm. at ChapmanUniversity’s Historic Villa Park Orchards Packinghouse lot at the corner of Cypress Ave. and Palm Ave. in Old Towne Orange.
This year’s Farm Fest is Saturday May 11, 2013 from 12 noon-4:00 p.m.
The Orange High School Farm is located at the corners of Walnut, Shaffer and Harwood at Orange High. Cost is only $3.00 or $5.00 for admission and lunch, with funds going directly to support the OHS Future Farmers of America.
For more information call 714-997-6299.
For More information about Orange Home Grown CLICK ON:
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Canyon and El Modena H.S. Principals to be named at May 9th OUSD Board Meeting
The Orange Unified School Trustees will vote to fill several open positions during the Closed Session of their May 9, 2013 OUSD School Board. Two high school principal positions, CanyonHigh School and El Modena High School, will be filled as well as the Executive Director of Special Education. Two Special Education coordinators and the Assistant Principal position at McPhersonMagnet School will also be filled.OUSD Superintendent Michael Christensen is expected to announce the Board’s hiring decisions at the beginning of the Open Session meeting at 7:00 pm.
OUSD found itself in the unusual position of hiring two high school principals after Canyon High School Principal Dr. Gregg Bowden resigned and El Modena Principal Rebecca Martinez retired. Bowden’s resignation came on the heels of a reported medical leave and Martinez’s retirement came after being appointed to the position just last year. However, both principal’s found themselves at the center of odd controversies
Martinez’s appointment came under attack from inside the school’s community that accused an OUSD district administrator of influencing the selection process in favor of Martinez.Bowden resigned after an extended leave that was reportedly medical in nature that occurred after a school controversy that received national attention.
Bowden’s leave came on the heels of an investigation into a sanctioned school activity where students of the upper-middle class campus dressed-up as Hispanic stereotypical characters in a day called “Senores and Senoritas” day.After complaints, the OUSD Administration investigated the event and required cultural sensitivity training for all OUSD Administrators.The story was picked up by national news services.OUSD reported to news agencies that Bowden’s leave was not related to the controversy and that no administrator was formally disciplined over the student dress-up day.
CanyonHigh School is in the Anaheim Hills section of Anaheim, which is part of the OrangeUnifiedSchool District. While the City of Anaheim is 53% Hispanic and 28% white, the Anaheim Hills section of Anaheim does not reflect those demographics. The CanyonHigh School demographics are 55% white and 16% Latino.
Young Turks YouTube video on Canyon HS controversy with over 33,000 views
Peralta Site negotiations focus on “price and terms of payment for potential lease”
Six months after voting to approve an Exclusive Negotiation Agreement (ENA) for Fairfield Properties LLC, the OUSD Board at its May 9th meeting will be discussing in Closed Session the “price and terms of payment” for the “potential lease” of the controversial Peralta Property Lease.
The plan for a 99 year lease of the property to Fairfield would be for the company to build high density apartment buildings.While the lease with OUSD appears to be a done deal, numerous hurtles with the City of Orange still must be overcome as a very organized and energized neighborhood association opposition continues to mobilize against the high density apartment project.
The public portion of the Closed Session starts at 5:00 pm. The Board convenes in public and hears any Public Comments on Closed Session items before adjourning to Closed Session.Any Closed Session decisions must be reported out at the beginning of the Regular Session at 7:00 pm.
INSIDE the OUSD May 9th Agenda
Agenda Item 9 E- Proclamation of Classified School Employee’s Week May 19-25
Agenda Item 9 F- HonoringOUSD’s 2013 Distinguished Schools: Cerro Villa M.S.; El Rancho Charter M.S.; and Villa Park H.S.
Agenda Item 13 A- Update on the OUSD Strategic Plan 2009-2014
In November of 2011, OUSD Superintendent Michael Christensen explained to the OUSD Board that the then OUSD 3 year Strategic Plan was good but “We need more time”, OUSD Superintendent Christensen extended the timeline to accomplish the goals to 2014. Honestly explaining to the OUSD Board that “The timelines [to accomplish the goals] are moving back because they cannot be met”, Christensen used the example of technology as how the economy has impacted meeting the goals. Citing the lack of funds to upgrade technology, the elimination of teacher in-service days to train on new technology and the shear stress and workload on the district’s human resources, the forthright Christensen explained “We are not finished with what is in place” and therefore needed to extend the timelines assuring the Board that “We are moving ahead”.
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OUSD Trustee Ledesma lays out the
why vs. what-“Ledesma Rule”
At the March 14, 2013 Orange Unified Board of Education meeting, OUSD’s longest serving trustee, Rick Ledesma, addressed the growing community discontent with the numerous initiatives the OUSD Board has undertaken under the leadership of second term Board President Timothy Surridge.
While not naming Surridge by name, Ledesma (who in January seconded John Ortega’s nomination of Surridge to a second term as OUSD President) referenced recent OUSD Agenda item’s as not “winning friends and influencing people”.Naming the well -organized community and growing influential political opposition to the Peralta Site Apartment Plan, the disastrous dead-on arrival and ill-conceived Surridge Plan to reduce the number of OUSD Trustees from 7 trustees to 5 trustees and the unprepared march toward a third attempt at an OUSD facilities bond measure, Ledesma's carefully prepared remarks were like a warning shot across the bow of an increasingly isolated OUSD Board majority.
The veteran conservative trustee took recent Agenda items (and in doing so Surridge) to task in comments on Agenda Item 13 A, an information item on school bonds. Equating bonds to property tax increases, Ledesma said the community has lately seen the OUSD Agenda as saying here’s “what we are going to do to you”.
In his prepared comments, Ledesma spelled out what a community-wide email after the meeting from the Greater Orange Community Organization would dub the “Ledesma Rule”. In his remarks, Ledesma spelled out that the OUSD Board has emphasized the “what” it was doing without telling the community “why” it was doing it. Ledesma used Agenda Item 13 A as an example noting that it was pre-mature to begin talking about a possible OUSD facilities bond measure without first doing a needs assessment of what the community’s schools needed.He stated that the taxpaying voters are sitting at home seeing that OUSD wants to increase property taxes and then wants to cut the communities representatives on the school board from 7 to 5, all without the Board telling them “why”.
Clearly stated, Ledesma in his doctrine admonished the board that they must “focus on the why before the what”. Then Ledesma again showed his famous independent streak by moving to table the information item on bonds until after a need’s assessment of the district’s facilities was completed.
Ledesma was immediately supported by Trustees Diana Singer and Dr. Alexia Deligianni. Trustee Kathy Moffat, who has often been at odds with Ledesma, was also quick to praise him, noting that Ledesma appeared to now support the position of a “complete district” needs assessment. Moffat however stated that Agenda Item 13 A was not an action item, but just “informational”. In the vote on Ledesma’s motion to table the bond information, Ledesma, Singer and Deligianni voted to table it, while Moffat joined Surridge, Ortega and Wayland to hear the information.
Earlier in the meeting during Public Comments before the Board’s discussion and split vote to approve Surridge’s plan to change the OUSD Board By-laws to deposit lease money into a special facilities fund, a Save Peralta Property group spokesperson presented a forceful verbal presentation aimed squarely at Surridge as “this Board’s president”.
Calling into question the motives and the “doom and gloom” espousals by “this Board’s president” the spokesperson continued the group's focus on the increasingly isolated Surridge and tied opposition to the Peralta Site Apartment Plan to a bond attempt. At the end of the meeting, Moffat asked that the OUSD Superintendent send the OUSD Board answers to the questions that the Save Peralta Property spokes person had brought forward.
Foothills Sentry photo of March 18 Protest ( J.Callanhan)
As a sign of the growing organizational might of the Save Peralta Property group, they staged a last minute protest two weeks later at the March 28, 2013 OUSD Special Closed Session meeting on the Peralta Property site.
Silverado site sale to Orange County Parks on April 18th Agenda
Action Item 12 A and B on the April 18, 2013 OUSD Agenda (Agenda page 9) will officially sell the OUSD Silverado School site to the County of Orange Parks Division for $2.1 million. Per state law, the funds will go into the Special Reserve for Capital Projects.
In addition, 5 other Action Items are on the April 18th Agenda:
Item C-Prioritizing the spending of funds from the Education Protection Act
Reportedly out on a medical leave of absence, Canyon H.S. Principal Dr. Greg Bowden’s resignation appears on page 53 of the April 18, 2013 Consent Agenda. The resignation (not retirement) is effective on June 28, 2013. On page 52, Canyon H.S. Assistant Principal Mary Ellen Oves is listed as assuming the position of Acting Principal from March 25, 2013 through June 24, 2013.
Bowden went on leave last year after a compliant about a cultural insensitivity incident prompted an investigation by the Orange Unified School District Administration. The OUSD investigation found that the school’s administration should not have allowed a yearly event the past three school years that led to “hurtful and demeaning messages” about Latino students. The episode made national headlines.
The result was Bowden and all OUSD administrators were ordered to undergo “diversity and sensitivity training”. Bowden, who went on leave prior to the mandated trainings, did not receive the scheduled “diversity and sensitivity training” with the other OUSD administrators.
Three OUSD Schools selected as Distinguished Schools
Three OUSD Schools selected as California Distinguished Schools
Orange Unified’s CerroVillaMiddle School, El Rancho Charter Middle School and Villa ParkHigh School were among the 218 secondary schools named last week by the California Department of Education as California Distinguished Schools.
Schools wishing to apply for the honor must meet a variety of eligibility requirements that include scores on state accountability tests. Those schools that meet the eligibility requirements may then apply for the recognition. The application includes two “signature practices”. The schools county office of education validates the signature practices. Schools earning the “distinguished Schools” title must agree to mentor other schools in their signature practice.
( To see and example of last year’s OUSD Signature Practices CLICK on SERRANO)
Elementary and Secondary schools are recognized in alternating years. This year’s secondary schools will be honored in regional award next month. Each school will receive a 2013 DistinguishedSchool plague and flag.
# posted by /OCS/ Orange Communication System @ 7:40 PM
a news service ofOrange Net News/O/N/N/ Independent insight into OUSD
As a working group begins to lay plans to fight his proposal…
Surridge backs down on reasons –but not his plans…
for the “Surridge Plan” as he opens a can of worms
After laying out a “vision” at the January 17, 2013 Orange Unified School Board Meeting to cut two OUSD trustees from the seven member board, OUSD Board President TimothySurridge wasted little time in adding the item for discussion as Item 13 D on the February 21, 2013 OUSD Agenda.
At the February meeting, Surridge glossed over the original reasoning he had stated was the purpose in his introducing the item -to keep superintendents longer. That theory had been widely and thoroughly debunked following the January meeting and leading up to the February meeting. In fact one of the reputable academic studies circulting throughout Greater Orange reports that five member school boards are more unstable for superintendents because one election can completely change a board majority that supports a district's superintendent.
While Surridge tried to change his “vision” approach to the “just starting a discussion”, approach, Trustee Kathy Moffat quickly pointed out that Surridge had offered no concrete reasons for the radical board change-except to just do it.
Trustee Diane Singer brought up the fact that there could be possible Voter’s Rights Act problems in changing the trustee numbers. While she did not specify, diluting the minority vote, (which is concentrated in specific neighborhoods, in specific Trustee Areas) a change could prove to be an expensive problem for the cash strapped district if a deep pocket organization like the ACLU (which took on the district in Colin vs. OUSD-and won a precedent setting case) challenged a trustee change.
Meanwhile, emails forwarded to Orange Net News tell of a “working group” meeting being organized by politically connected local activists to lay ground work for a potential political fight over what is being called the “Surridge Plan”. The emails promised to keep all options on the table to fight what they called the “Surridge Plan” including coupling any attempt to take away voting representatives for any community to “current pet projects of Mr. Surridge including the Peralta site and a potential school bond measure.”
Meanwhile in another flurry of emails, the Greater Orange Community Organization (which forwarded the “working groups” info) blasted OUSD Mark Wayland for his call of doing away with district-wide votes in favor of “election by Trustee Area only” votes to elect trustees. GOCO stated that an area like the Peralta community would have no electoral recourse if the other 6 Trustees voted to build apartment buildings- but its "local" Trustee could “safely” oppose the project. Under such a scenario, the Peralta voters could not influence other trustees with election upsets- just their trustee- who would have political cover.
Nor could any other group have any political clout with trustee area only elections. GOCO offered this scenario to the community. While Trustees could vote on items affecting the whole district, only voters in their area could elect or un-elect them. So if the Trustees decide to close Villa ParkElementary School as punishment toward that community's tustee-Kathy Moffat, Moffat votes no- but all the other Trustees have nothing to fear from Villa Park voters and can vote yes to close the school.
Another focus of attention in Surridge’s Item D was term-limits. Originally brought forward as a campaign promise by OUSD Trustee Dr. Alexia Deligianni when she ran five years ago for her first term, Deligianni –who took no action about term limits since then, also said nothing on the subject during the discussion at the February meeting. Ironically, speaking in favor of term limits was OUSD Trustee John Ortega. Saying he has "always favored term limits", Ortega failed to point out that after being originally elected in 2001, he has filed to run for office each successive time he has been eligible, thereby negating any personally imposed term limits he believes in.
The only one to speak against the idea of term limits was Kathy Moffat who pointed to the effect of term limits on the state Legislature. Unlike Ortega who since first being elected has never faced another candidate, Moffat has faced formidable candidates in all of her re-elections.
FLASHBACK ALERT: Surridge looks to hire PR help
After highlighting an elementary teacher using grant money purchased iPadsto have his student’s self-publish an iBook on science, in his President’s report, OUSD Board President Surridge said he’d like to see at least an hourly person hired to do public relations work for the district to showcase the good news ( we know that is what those OUSD Email alerts you get already do!)
FLASHBACK ALERT!!!Yes another increasingly embattled OUSD President-not too long ago- also had the idea to hire a PR person – the recalled Marty Jacobson.
Hiring Judy Frutig as the fulltime PR person seemed like a good idea that quickly became another OUSD nightmare. Hired to boost areputation of a district in a tailspin, Frutig dealt with one self-imposed district crisis after another. However President Jacobson and his majority became increasingly upset over the press releases and the out organizing of the community in response to Frutig’s work. As Frutig began dealing with the courtroom drama fallout from the now famous Colin vs. OUSD lawsuit and the recall petition drive against four Trustees, the trustees tried to interfere and manage Frutig and her messages. Unable to do that, and unable to fire her, they simply abruptly eliminated her position. Frutig then joined a lawsuit against the district for unlawful firing and joined the recall forces providing a wealth of insight and expertise.
A tribute to Frutig still adorns the OUSD Board Room. The large OUSD Logo that hangs over the board dais and looks down on all the trustee meetings was Frutig’s doing and is a fitting memorial to her lawsuit payout and her contribution to recalling her former handlers.Frutig is now a professor at Long BeachState.
“Curse of the Vanguard”?
El Modena Principal Martinez set to retire August 1
El Modena Principal Rebecca Martinez has given the district notice that she will retire as of August 1, 2013. Martinez was El Modena Vice Principal before being hired by the OUSD Board last August as principal – on recommendation of an interview panel.Martinez began her career at El Modena High School in 1987 as an Instructional Aide and rose through the ranks, surviving and witnessing numerous El Modena public scandals.
True to what some have called the legendary “Curse of the Vanguard”, all has not been smooth for Martinez either. Popular among staff and students, Martinez recent prinicpal hiring came into question by some parents at the high school, a school that has never shied away from controversy. In letters mailed to staff and handed out to community members and parents, were allegations that Martinez did not make the initial cut of the interviewing panel, but her hiring was allegedly pushed and pursued by a senior OUSD administrator in an odd twist of the notorious former OUSD “good-old-boy” network that lasted by all accounts right up into the Dreier years. Numerous other allegations and innuendos in the complaints coupled with the now rather sudden retirement of Martinez before her year anniversary have reignited the story of the “Curse of the Vanguard”.
INSIDE the March 14 Meeting Peralta Lease Agreement Board Policy Change
At the first reading of the proposed changes to the Board Bylaws making leased property (i.e. Peralta ) go into a designated facilities fund instead ofthe general fund brought dueling parliamentary procedures back as the dueling majority and minority sides fought over precedent and procedure. In a small victory, the 2nd reading of the Board Policy change was not waived and the proposal is being brought back for a rehashing of the issues at the March 14 meeting.
Kathy Moffat again took center stage in opposing the Surridge plan that centers on the Peralta property high density lease development.Surridge and his allies wanting to assure the ability to “leverage” the lease property income for facilities and bring that to voters as an example of good fiscal stewardship in a much talked about high school bond attempt want that money set aside in a special account. Moffat and her thinking was that in uncertain fiscal times, that money should not be locked away for basic needs. In between were various supporters and detractors.
In addition, Moffat took Surridge to task for all but promising a bond attempt when that had not been decided. Surridge replied that many of Moffat’s characterizations were “disingenuous”. Meanwhile Ortega, in his typical mangled style, took on Moffat for contributing to the negative image of the district. In the end, no vote and round two on this Surridge slam dunk on March 14th is Agenda Item 12 E.
Item 12 E- 2nd Interim Budget Report
Item 13 A- General Obligation Bonds- a tutorial on School Bond financing and new legislation that affect the types of local bonds in light of recent studies that have shown interest rates on capital appreciation bonds. (Measure A Yorba Linda Placentia UnifiedSchool Bond story: