Hundreds of Morgan Hill Unified School District employees
cheered wildly, some yelling
as they gathered in the Sobrato High School gym Friday morning
to kick off the 2007-08 school year.
Morgan Hill – Hundreds of Morgan Hill Unified School District employees cheered wildly, some yelling “Amen” or “Hallelujah,” as they gathered in the Sobrato High School gym Friday morning to kick off the 2007-08 school year.
The enthusiasm came during motivational speaker Edwin Javius’ interactive presentation, reminding district employees that their attitude will have a tremendous influence on the attitudes of their students.
Javius, with Ed Equity, Inc., was part of the morning program that included State Superintendent of Instruction Jack O’Connell, visiting the district for the third time in three years.
O’Connell told employees they should be proud of their district’s scores on the California High School Exit Exam, spilling the beans about results that won’t be officially announced until later this week.
“Last year, the Class of ’06, 92.5 percent passed the high school exit exam, and I just want to thank you for the 1.5 increase in that percentage,” he said, sparking applause from the staff filling the bleachers.
After praising the district for improvements in Academic Performance Index (API) scores and for increasing the number of students taking higher level math classes at an earlier age, he touched on the federal No Child Left Behind requirements, calling for elimination of “this bogus AYP,” or adequate yearly progress mandate.
He told the gathering that his focus, besides setting the tone for a new school year, is on closing the achievement gap, the difference in academic achievements of struggling students and those students who excel.
“We have not only a moral and social imperative to close the gap, today we have an economic imperative to close it,” he said. “That has to be our focus.”
The stands were filled with blue-shirted teachers who earlier in the morning gathered with Marty Hittelman, president of the California Federation of Teachers, in a show of solidarity before entering the gym. They and many other employees donned blue to show their support for teachers, who are in the midst of contract negotiations and working through numerous grievances with the district. Teacher have complained about being locked out of discussions on class size, curriculum and staff development.