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June 3, 2020

JUNE 3, 2020


Redwood City, California


June 3, 2020


  1. Call to Order

President Janet Lawson called the special board meeting to order at 6:00 p.m. via Zoom Teleconference Meeting.

  1. Welcome

President Janet Lawson welcomed those present. The Pledge of Allegiance was recited by a group of RCSD students. 

Present at the Special Board Meeting via Zoom: President Janet Lawson, Vice-President Alisa MacAvoy, Trustees María Díaz-Slocum, Dennis McBride and Superintendent John Baker.

Others Present: Wendy Kelly, Linda Montes, Jorge Quintana, Antonio Pérez and many others present.

  1. Changes to the Agenda

No changes to the agenda.

  1. Approval of Agenda

The board approved the agenda as submitted, (Díaz-Slocum/MacAvoy; 4-0).

Trustee Márquez logged in to the meeting at 6:15pm. 

  1. Oral Communication


  1. Discussion Items
  • Discussion on the Safe Reopening of RCSD School Campuses this Fall of 2020-21

Superintendent Baker welcomed Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Liz Wolfe and commented Ms. Wolfe would be spearheading the Educational Services Department with Dr. Linda Montes. 

Ms. Wolfe provided the School Board and the Redwood City School District community with a presentation regarding the plan for reopening the School District.

Ms. Wolfe commented there would be three different phases:

Phase I: Most restrictive (minimum of two weeks)

  • No on-campus visitors including volunteers;
  • No extracurricular activities;
  • All meetings need to be done remotely;
  • No gatherings;
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times, including during class.

Phase II: Moderate restrictive

  • Instructionally impactful volunteers and visitors only;
  • Instructionally-based extracurricular activities;
  • Most meetings held remotely;
  • Gatherings of no more than 10 people;
  • Face coverings must be worn at all times, including during class.

Phase III: Least restrictive

  • Volunteers and visitors allowed;
  • Instructional and interest-based extracurricular activities;
  • Gatherings of no more than 50;
  • Face coverings must be worn while transiting the campus and in all common areas.

Assistant Superintendent Wolfe commented that based on the current guidance and current input from the District staff, there were three proposed program models for returning to school in August: Full distance learning, full stable cohort (hybrid) model, and the combination of the two first models.

Assistant Superintendent Wolfe added that approximately a 15% of the surveyed parents expressed they would not send their children back to school until there is a vaccine available. Furthermore, there is not enough space for all students to return to school with a 6-foot distance expectation. 

Superintendent Baker stated that at the June 24th board meeting, there would be an additional draft of the Plan for Reopening in August. 

Public Comments:

Sarah Costello-Yarther, submitted a speaker’s card, but not present when she was called.

Erin Allred, submitted a speaker’s card, but not present when she was called.

Kristy Herrera, commented that teachers are in the frontline to deliver academic education, but social, emotional and mental education were also essential for students. Ms. Herrera expressed that Option II could not exist because a lot of families would not send their kids to school until a vaccine is made available. Furthermore, Ms. Herrera stated that distance learning would be particularly challenging for the youngest student populations and for those students that depend on reading lips for phonetic sounds.

In response to Ms. Herrera’s comments, Superintendent Baker asked Ms. Herrera to address the same points during the subcommittee meetings. 

Sarah Yarter, RCSD parent, addressed the School Board by stating she is an essential worker and cannot stay at home. Ms. Yarter asked the School Board and Superintendent Baker when would childcare be made available to essential workers.

In response to Ms. Yarter’s comment, Superintendent Baker replied that Ms. Yarter’s question is a question made frequently. 

Sandie Hoover, TK teacher at Clifford School, advocated for students, teachers, and staff. Ms. Hoover reiterated the importance of keeping students and staff safe and deliver a comprehensive curriculum. Ms. Hoover added that offering a distance learning model would be the perfect way to offer a safe education, away from Covid-19. 

Sarah LaTorra, parent at Clifford School, addressed the School Board by thanking all teachers for their hard work and dedication. Ms. LaTorra stated that children with auditory, sensory, and visual challenges will be struggling. Ms. LaTorra expressed her support for distance learning.

Jacqueline Rodríguez, thanked the School Board and Superintendent Baker for providing a space for parents to express their opinions. Ms. Rodríguez personally thanked Trustee Márquez and Vice-President MacAvoy for their support. Ms. Rodríguez commented that she would like to create a committee for the reopening of schools. 

Alexandra Sowiski, addressed the School Board by stating a few of her concerns as an essential worker. Ms. Sowiski expressed her concern for families that are non-Spanish speaking families and have children that are enrolled in a Spanish Immersion Program. Ms. Sowiski asked the School Board and Superintendent Baker for a summary of what the plan for reopening will look like. 

President Lawson commented that the School Board and Superintendent Baker have been communicating with the City of Redwood City and the County of San Mateo to find options on how to support the Redwood City School District with childcare.

María Elena Arteaga, parent leader with Innovate Public School, stated that she would like for a parent committee to be organized in order to come up with a plan for returning to school. 

Jeni Overbey, thanked the School Board and Superintendent Baker for providing teachers with a week of Professional Development. Ms. Overbey expressed that Professional Development would allow for teachers to provide their students with a fresh start to the school year. Ms. Overbey thanked the custodians and Child Nutrition Services for their hard work and making the students’ and staff’s health a priority.

Avid Kemal, RCSD parent, asked the School Board and Superintendent Baker if there is a model of actual teachers teaching an online class?

Michelle Smith, RCSD parent, asked if all the learning models would have Fridays off and if Wednesdays could be possibly used for cleaning and disinfecting. Ms. Smith asked Superintendent Baker when could parents expect for the learning models to be finalized. 

In response to Ms. Smith’s comment, Superintendent Baker commented that administration is considering all the possibilities for learning models. Superintendent Baker commented that as of now, the ideas presented are a draft, but the final one would be presented to the School Board for final approval in July.

Dana Sutherland, submitted a speaker’s card, but not present when she was called.

Mercedes Northen, parent at Adelante/Selby, addressed the School Board by expressing that there are teachers that are struggling with technology. Ms. Northen asked the School Board and Superintendent Baker what were the learning expectations for students. Ms. Northen commented that there needs to be ways at improving interactivity for students in order to avoid confusion.

Rosemarie Campos, addressed the School Board and Superintendent Baker by asking if there could be further clarification as to why there cannot be morning and afternoon programs? Ms. Campos expressed concern about the learning models which could potentially affect the merging programs.

Jen Cook, RCSD parent, stated that she hopes the Redwood City School District provides parents and staff with communication to better prepare for the upcoming school year.

Christopher Rozon, expressed concern about the kindergarten students. Ms. Rozon commented that it’ll be challenging for kindergarten students to catch up. 

Michelle Beutler, addressed the School Board by stating that it would be difficult to keep the distance learning model or to have students return to school and have them wear their masks. Ms. Beutler stated that older students could perhaps navigate with distance learning a bit easier; however, it would be more challenging for younger students. Ms. Beutler commented that it would be great if the subcommittee could explore additional ideas. 

Ceri Phillips, RCSD parent, stated that safety needs to be a priority; however, Ms. Phillips opined that the loss of learning is going to be significant. 

Alli Gilmore, RCSD parent, addressed the School Board by asking what is the plan in place for the Special Education Department. Ms. Gillmore stated that remote learning is not a personalized program for students that require special education services and further expressed her concern that the plan will not meet the needs of those students that require special services. Ms. Gillmore asked if the School District was considering support from outside providers?

Vanessa Carbajal, submitted a speaker’s card, but not present when she was called.

Heather Mori, PE+ instructor, thanked the School Board and Superintendent Baker for their support. Ms. Mori stated that PE+ instructors are doing their best to provide physical education support to students and the School District.

Patricia Tellez, addressed the School Board by asking how are parents that do not speak English being supported? Furthermore, Ms. Tellez asked how are students and their families in the North Fair Oaks’ neighborhood being supported with food distribution?

In response to Ms. Tellez’ comment, Superintendent Baker commented that the School District has continued with the meal distribution. Superintendent Baker added that dinners would also be offered to students.

Victor Hernández, Executive Director of PCC, expressed that he and his team wanted to lend their support to the Redwood City School District with childcare services. 

In response to Mr. Hernández’s comment, Superintendent Baker asked Mr. Hernández to contact Patricia Ortiz to further discuss childcare services. 

Karina Pérez, Garfield Community School parent, stated that she would like for the School District to offer Option I. Ms. Pérez opined that Option III would be a lot of additional work for teachers. 

Rebecca Hecht, Adelante/Selby parent, expressed that some of the plans presented were not enticing. Ms. Hecht stated that she is further looking at either home schooling or private schooling. 

In response to Ms. Hecht’s comment, Superintendent Baker expressed that as of yet, no parents had shown desire to pull their students out of school.

María Elena Gaona, Special Education teacher, addressed the School Board by expressing her concerns about having students return to school. Ms. Gaona commented that it will be challenging for teachers to

Kerry Schmidt, commented that teachers and administrators should keep a close eye on students during their virtual classes. Ms. Schmidt expressed her concern about those students that have an unsafe home environment. Ms. Schmidt encouraged the Redwood City School District to work collaboratively as a community. 

Nora Aguirre, submitted a speaker’s card, but not present when she was called.

Vice-President MacAvoy commented that Nora Aguirre had questions pertaining to the Special Education Department. Vice-President MacAvoy asked Director of Special Education, Patricia Pelino to contact Ms. Aguirre.

The School Board thanked teachers, staff, and administrators for all of their hard work. Furthermore, the School Board thanked parents for their patience and expressed they are confident the School District will work diligently to provide a high-quality education for their children. 

Superintendent Baker explained that the next step would be to send out a parent survey to all families. Superintendent Baker added that subcommittees have been comprised to further work on the planning for reopening of schools. Superintendent Baker stated that the Facilities, Wellness, and Human Resources Departments have been working collaboratively to offer additional support. Superintendent commented that a finalized plan would be presented at the July 15th special board meeting for School Board approval. 

  1. Consent Items


  1. Action Items
  • Recommendation re: Approval of Updated RCTA Contract Language and RCTA/RCSD Tentative Agreements

The School Board approved the updated RCTA contract language and RCTA/RCSD tentative agreements (McBride, Díaz-Slocum; 5-0).

President Lawson (Ayes)

Vice-President MacAvoy (Ayes)

Trustee Díaz-Slocum (Ayes)

Trustee Márquez (Ayes)

Trustee McBride (Ayes)

9. Adjournment (Action Required) Trustee McBride requested to adjourn the board meeting in honor of all the RCSD retirees. 

The board adjourned the meeting at 8:56 p.m. (McBride, MacAvoy; 5-0).

María Díaz-Slocum, Clerk