District Looks at Expanding Yurok Magnet School into Higher Grades

Interim KTJUSD Superintendant Dione Beilby, second from left, gave a presentation on new state funding procedures during the Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday, February 11. /Photo by Kristan Korns, Two Rivers Tribune

By KRISTAN KORNS, Two Rivers Tribune

The Klamath-Trinity Joint Unified School District (KTJUSD) Board of Trustees designated Hoopa High as a seal of biliteracy school during their public meeting on Tuesday, February 11.

Margo Robbins, the District’s Indian Education Director, said the new designation would give students an opportunity to receive seals of biliteracy on their transcripts and diplomas if they could demonstrate proficiency in a language other than English.

Hoopa Valley High School has classes in three non-English world languages; Hoopa, Yurok, and Spanish.

“We have three students who are eligible this year,” Robbins said.

One of the District’s language programs – the Weitchpec Elementary Yurok Magnet school – might expand into higher grades. First through third grade students in the program spend half of each day immersed in the Yurok language.

“Right now we’re still in the exploration phase to see if it’s feasible,” Robbins said. “The only way it would be possible is if enough kids transfer in to justify hiring another teacher.”

The Board also approved the class trip for Jack Norton Elementary School’s eighth grade students.

Patty Gibbens, who teaches fifth through eight grade at Jack Norton, said, “They’re going to SeaWorld and the Natural History Museum in San Diego over Easter Break.”

The Board approved requests from the California School Employees Association (CSEA) and the Klamath-Trinity Teacher’s Association (KTTA) to reopen contract negotiations.

The District is also getting ready for new Common Core state standards and a switch over to the new Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) – part of changes to the education code sponsored by Governor Jerry Brown.

KTJUSD Interim Superintendant Dione Beilby said, “In the past, funding was based on student attendance – except in 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011, and 2012 where they deferred payments and we didn’t get all of the funding.”

Beilby said the new funding formula was tied to student improvements. “Our goal is to get our students to excel and this new funding model gives us the opportunity to target our funds to do that.”

Another new program, the District’s Positive Attendance Program, is off to a great start.

Ray Woodbeck said they were surprised by the response from students. “We budgeted $2,000 per semester to give monthly prizes based on attendance.”

Students in kindergarten through eighth grade were given backpacks of school supplies as prizes, and high school students received gift certificates to Joe’s Deli.

“We didn’t budget enough because we actually had 277 students in the month of January with 100 percent attendance,” Woodbeck said.

Robbins announced the Parent Partner in Education Program will start Wednesday, February 26, and meet for six weeks every Wednesday at 5pm just off of the cafeteria at Hoopa Valley High School.

“It’s a six week series of workshops for parents on how to help their students do well in school,” Robbins said.

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