Westin offers proposals for future of West Sac schools
FROM THE NEWS-LEDGER
By Steve Marschke
West Sacramento’s school board on Thursday re-elected businessman David Westin as board president and chose Teresa Blackmer as vice president for the coming year. In other board changes, former trustee Matt Stegman has finished his school board service after deciding not to run for re-election this year, and new board member Adam Menke has taken his seat as a trustee.
Westin outlined an “activist” agenda for his next one-year tenure as board president. He talked about those plans this week with the News-Ledger.
First, he noted his belief that Washington Unified School District is on the right track, as evidenced by its 2010 student test score results.
“We had a 20-point incremental gain in the API, while the state had a statewide gain of only 13 points,” said Westin. “All socioeconomic groups improved in the district. Southport Elementary School hit 800 points, joining Bridgeway Island.”
WUSD tied for the second highest district API gain in the region, he said, beating 12 regional neighbors.
Westin last week announced the creation of school board subcommittees to cover four different initiatives.
“The first is the ‘Whole Child Initiative,’ to look at bringing social services into economically challenged areas as well as to underprivileged children, to level the playing field for them,” said Westin.
Which social services?
“Mental, emotional, physical – the full gamut,” he answered. Westin assigned board members Mary Leland and Teresa Blackmer to that subcommittee.
Next is a “Parent’s Bill of Rights,” assigned to Sandra Vargas and Adam Menke to work on.
“It will cover the rights a parent has as they manage their children’s education,” he said.
Third is his “A Better West Sacramento Initiative.” This effort will focus on getting the district to work better with outside partners to add their resources to WUSD.
“This includes anything from ‘can we leverage grants that other agencies can bring to the table’ to money that other agencies can go apply for, and more joint use agreements,” explained Westin.
He put himself and Vargas on the “Better West Sacramento” initiative.
Finally, he offered a “Community Networking – Social Networking and Community Outreach” subcommittee of Leland and Blackmer.
“It’s a combination of social networks and community outreach,” said Westin.
“My youngest daughter, Annika, who is two, will graduate in 2029,” he said in written comments explaining his proposals. “Facebook did not exist six years ago. The world as we know it has changed and will continue to change. . . the essential question I ask myself every day is, ‘what needs to change in regards to our leadership to prepare students for the 21st century and beyond?’”
Westin said there will be a combination “town hall meeting” and strategic planning session on Saturday, Jan. 8, most likely from 8 a.m. to noon at River City High School. Final details will be confirmed later.
He hopes to bring an outline of the “Parent’s Bill of Rights” in front of the school board on Jan. 13.
Westin also promises the first “State of the District” address at Washington Unified, during the first week in October, 2011. Although the local chamber of commerce has hosted a “State of the City” address by the mayor for a number of years, the school district has not yet had a similar tradition.
UPDATE from our Dec. 29 calendar section: The school district has scheduled its ‘Town Hall Meeting’ for Sat., Jan. 8, 2011, at 8 a.m. at River City High School, 1 Raider Lane, West Sacramento. On the agenda is discussion of district goals and Westin’s initiatives.
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