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April 20, 2022


Redwood City, California


April 20, 2022


1.         Call to Order  


President Díaz-Slocum called the special board meeting to order at 6:16 p.m. via Zoom Teleconference Meeting. 


Present at the Special Board Meeting: President Díaz-Slocum, Vice-President Cecilia I. Márquez; Trustees Janet Lawson, Mike Wells, Alisa MacAvoy; and Superintendent Baker. 


2.         Welcome


2.1     Welcome


President Díaz-Slocum welcomed those present.  The School Board dispensed with the Pledge of Allegiance.    


Others Present During the Special Board Meeting:  Kyle Brumbaugh, Jorge Quintana, Sara Shackel, Eliana García, Gonzálo Córdova and many others.


3.         Changes to the Agenda


No changes were made to the agenda. 


4.         Approval of Agenda


The board approved the agenda as submitted, (MacAvoy, Márquez; 5-0).


5.         Oral Communication




6.         Discussion Items


6.1     Recommendation re:  Review of Preliminary Ideas Generated by North Star Forward Committee


Superintendent Baker thanked the North Star Forward Committee!  Superintendent Baker said it was great to see people at the meetings, collaborating and giving ideas. 


There are currently three challenges that need to be addressed at North Star Academy:

1. Exodus of students from other schools in third grade;

2. Admissions testing that leads to a sense of elitism;

3. Lack of access from students attending Bayside schools. 


Sara Shackel, Principal of North Star Academy, commented that NSA offers an accelerated program model for students.  Additionally, Ms. Shackel expressed that North Star Academy is dedicated to providing a challenging learning environment that promotes excellence and motivates highly capable students to develop to their fullest potential and become successful and productive citizens. 


Speaker’s Cards:


Gloria Irlanda, submitted a speaker’s card, but was not present during the board meeting.


David Weekly, RCSD parent, addressed the School Board and Superintendent Baker by expressing that if North Star Academy is not serving its students well, then it needs to change.  Mr. Weekly reiterated that the focus should be unlocking each and every student’s greatest potential. 


Owen Weibell, RCSD student, commented that it was hard to engage during class and expressed that it was a bit challenging to make friends.  Owen stated that once he moved to North Star Academy, he was able to make friends fast. 


Jessica Notte, RCSD parent, addressed the School Board and Superintendent Baker by thanking them for having courageous conversations about education.  Ms. Notte expressed that relationship building is very important for students and commented that it is a great idea to start North Star at kindergarten. 


Vas Ratnathicam, submitted a speaker’s card, but was not present during the board meeting.


Katie Morello, RCSD parent, commented that her daughter is devasted about losing friends, as she has built a strong community of friends.  Ms. Morello recommended that the School Board look into creating an accelerated program for middle school students, rather than pulling students out of 3rd grade.


Cameron Hoffman, RCSD parent, commented that families in the Bayside that are interested in North Star Academy, are definitely accessing it.  Ms. Hoffman added that there is no additional funding for North Star Academy. 


Keeley Vega, RCSD parent, expressed that she loves her neighborhood and is happy with her choice, after touring several private schools.  Ms. Vega stated that North Star Academy is not the issue, but rather, the School District should make changes to the schools that are underperforming. 


Loan Hinh, RCSD parent, commented that their neighborhood school no longer meets their child’s academic needs; therefore, they are looking at other options outside the school district.  Ms. Hinh believes that a magnet program like North Star Academy would be best for families. 


Elle Koleckar, RCSD parent, encouraged the School Board to consider pouring more resources to the schools on the Bayside in order to provide opportunity to all students to programs like North Star Academy.


Alice Harkey, RCSD parent, commented that North Star Academy has been transformational for her son.  Ms. Harkey explained that her son was not thriving at his neighborhood school and since he moved to North Star Academy, his growth has been significant.  Ms. Harkey spoke in favor of having students from the Bayside participate in the North Star Academy program. 


John Kinsel, RCSD parent, addressed the School Board and Superintendent Baker by commenting that he is a great supporter of North Star Academy. 


Chanda Stewart, RCSD parent, commented that North Star Academy parents offer additional resources via fundraising, whereas schools in the Bayside do very little fundraising.  Ms. Stewart added that


Katie Goetz, RCSD parent, stated that North Star Academy should be made available to all Redwood City School District students. 


Nichole Kohake, RCSD parent, addressed the School Board and Superintendent Baker by reading a letter that she had distributed to them before the board meeting.


Daryl Norcott, RCSD parent, opined that North Star Academy pulls academic achieving students from other schools.  Mr. Norcott expressed that the North Star Academy model should be brought to students at all school sites. 


Lilli Milton, RCSD parent, commented that she is happy to be part of the North Star Forward Committee.  Ms. Milton commented that it would be great if the School Board implements a grade configuration for North Star Academy.


Heidi von Briel, RCSD parent, commented that the culture of musical chairs is affecting the School District.  Ms. von Briel encouraged parents to consider their neighborhood schools, as they too, provide a great education for students.   


Mike Beebe, RCSD parent, commented that it has been great to see his 3rd grade son at North Star Academy flourish.  Mr. Beebe expressed that he wished that the program was available to all students.  


Ann Hynecek, RCSD parent and participant of the North Star Forward Committee, encouraged the School Board and Superintendent Baker to bring in more Spanish teachers and Spanish speaking administration to North Star. 


The School Board and Superintendent Baker thanked all the parents that offered comments.  Superintendent Baker commented that he would continue discussions with the North Star Forward Committee to look into various options of revamping the North Star Academy program. 


7.         Adjournment (Action Required)


The board adjourned the meeting at 8:26 p.m. (MacAvoy, Lawson; 5-0).


Janet Lawson, Clerk