While there has been much discussion on campus and in the community about the immediate and remarkable improvement of Clayton Valley when it converted to Charter, it seems that one person has been given full credit for this. This has misled the community to believe that he is the most important element that made up the charter improvement. This person walked into a community that was already united and taking its high school to new heights. The element of who stepped in was not what matters the most– the school community had already set the course for CVCHS to go from “Good to Great.”
The CVCHS CHARTER
- Increased graduation credits from 200-230 (students are no longer allowed to fail 6 coursed and still graduate) Restored Rigor.
- Implemented a high school calendar so 1st semester finals were taken before winter break. Rigor and Relevance.
- Set the goals for API and CAHSEE testing. Sets the bar high for all students – Rigor
- Four committees were set up by the charter: Curriculum; Human Resources; Operations and Student Services. The Charter was approved 6 months before the administrators tenure began and every aspect of CVCHS was up and running before then.
- Discontinued involuntary transfers of under performing teachers from MDUSD and almost the entire math and science department retired or returned to MDUSD. This alone could have improved test scores by double figures – Rigor.
- HR committee and Chairperson moved up the staff hiring calendar and grabbed top teacher candidates before other districts even knew about them. It is well documented that teachers have the highest impact on student scores.
- Student Services and the Chairperson set up the Student Handbook. This set up a high standard of behavior never seen pre-charter.
- Student Services established the new CV dress code. Again setting a higher standard of behavior.
- Operations committee (by following the intent of the Charter) set up custodial, maintenance, landscape, and food service vendors – Saving the school a million dollars the first year.
- Operations set up the communication network at the school including the website and Power School.
- The Charter Committee chose to cut ties to the MDUSD SELPA (special education management) and join the El Dorado SELPA – another triple figure saving for the school.
- Established the Summer Transition graduation requirement. This insured a positive change of culture for the school before the doors were open.
- Eliminated all extra costs associated with overhead to MDUSD with the exception of rent, HVAC and fire alarms. Another significant savings to the school.
CVCHS STAFF MEMBERS
- The vast majority of extra duty teaches stayed with the charter: Leadership, Band, Choir, Athletic Director, PSA Academy Leaders, Engineering Academy Leaders, Renaissance, Link Crew, “Do the Right Thing Chair, and Senior Women. The backbone of the school already in place.
- Teachers completed all paperwork for Charter Start Up Grant. Awarded $400,000
- Teachers and Community members- Established the “Do the Right Thing” charter initiative at CV the year before going charter. Set up a positive school climate as CVCHS opened its doors.
- Teachers and Community Members Established “Club 800” one year before going charter to raise tests scores. Significant contribution to raising those tests scores.
- Teachers implemented the Link Crew character club for all incoming freshman using upper classman as facilitators. Set up a high standard of behavior before the Charter opened the following year.
- Teachers developed and implemented the Summer Transition Program for CVCHS with little input from administration. Immediate change in campus culture for the positive.
- Operations set up the security program, recycling program, and vending program. Large revenue and cost savings to the school.
- Operations set up two Community Beatification events, working with all stakeholders who jump started the clean and safe campus image before opening the charter doors. This happened again with Comcast Cares Days that first year. Relationships/ Cost Savings
- Staff hired all CVCHS special education contractors, transportation and support staff. Again at a huge savings to the school.
- Staff initiated donations close to a half million dollars the first year and a half of the charter.
The parents, the staff, and the community worked tirelessly to make the first Charter year the best! The Governor’s Budget, extra Charter grants and awards, Measure C, and community donations put the school on the right financial path. The charter and the staff pushed it even further down that path.
- Reference: Good to Great by Jim Collins – Look further to How the Mighty Fall by Jim Collins.