Since the beginning of the year, teachers, parents, students and community members have collaborated on what Glendale Unified's priorities should be for the next three years, and the results are in.
Nearly 100 people participated, the majority of them parents. They met regularly and discussed the needs and improvement areas across Glendale schools.
Their goal — to create a financial road map for Glendale schools — is part of what's called the Local Control Accountability Plan.
As part of a new funding method adopted by all California districts this year, state officials have mandated that districts engage their stakeholders to create locally tailored plans to keep schools accountable when it comes to spending state dollars in coming years that are expected to be higher than in past recent years.
The local proposed plan has nine goals.
The first goal calls for overall student achievement. As part of that goal, the committee recommends that the district lower class sizes by adding at least 10 full-time teachers in first through third grades and adding another 12 across the secondary grades.
The second goal calls for a focus on students' college and career readiness.
The third aims to prioritize the social and emotional needs of students, partly by increasing the number of days that psychologists spend at various schools, teaching students social skills and increasing their connectedness to their school environment.
"Our elementary school, our middle school and our high school students are all just kids and as their bodies get bigger, their problems have a potential to get bigger… so we want them to feel connected," said Theresa Cortes, a Dunsmore Elementary teacher who is on the committee.
The fourth goal would increase the interventions educators make by providing extended learning programs or tutoring opportunities before, during or after school.
The fifth priority seeks to expand on enrichment programs, such as advanced-placement classes or robotics.
The sixth goal focuses on greater communication with parents beyond the fliers students take home in their folders, newsletters or social-media accounts parents can access to learn more about what's happening in their child's school. The goal also aims to foster community involvement.
The last priority would add additional maintenance staff to work across the district.
Richard Carroll, a maintenance employee with Glendale Unified, said there is a growing need for additional staff to maintain the districts' buildings efficiently.
He added that while, at one time, there were about 80 maintenance workers, there are now about 40, following years of budget cuts.
In the coming weeks, the Glendale school board is expected to adopt the plan and back it up with the additional funding the district is expected to receive for the 2014-15 school year.
Follow Kelly Corrigan on Twitter: @kellymcorrigan.
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