August 23 Meeting - Don Day Neighborhood Center
Chief Communications and Community Engagement Officer Peter Daniels welcomed attendees and introduced Superintendent Inbody, members of Cabinet, and district staff. He then shared the purpose of “Coffee with the Community” as an informal way to engage in two-way dialogue with educational partners and to build relationships. Chief Daniels also provided a framework for the meeting:
- Welcome, Introductions, and Purpose – 5 minutes
- Welcome from Superintendent Inbody as well as information on the opening of school and the four areas of focus for the district – 10 to 15 minutes
- Educational Partners dialogue, concerns, questions & answers – 40 to 45 minutes
- Closing and Next Steps – 5 minutes
Superintendent Inbody introduced Board President Mars Serna who was in the audience. She shared that the opening of school went very well overall. There were some minor issues, but staff quickly addressed them. Enrollment was higher than anticipated at 33,000 students, so that was a very positive sign. Superintendent Inbody then explained the four focus areas for the 2023-24 school year which included:
- Powerful Academic Outcomes for Students
- Persistent Focus on Safety and Wellbeing for Students and Staff
- Proactive Communications and Community Engagement
- Purposeful Use of Public Resources.
Superintendent Inbody also gave a shout out to the schools in the region by highlighting outstanding programs at Citrus High, Fontana Adult School, Jurupa Hills, Kaiser High, Southridge Middle, Canyon Crest, Chaparral, and Oak Park.
Chief Daniels than facilitated the question & answer period. The comments and questions have been organized by theme or subject matter.
A Parent with students at Canyon Crest, Southridge, and Kaiser – very concerned about safety and crossing guards to make sure the kids can safely walk to school. Traffic has tripled in that part of town and we need more support. Response was that we will work with the city regarding crosswalk safety, and school police does also support traffic safety around our schools. Chief of Police will contact the City as they are responsible for crossing guards and cross walks.
Traffic engineering staff will conduct a crossing guard warrant study at the intersection of Live Oak Avenue and Cloverdale Drive. The City reviewed this location back in 2019 and the count then indicated that in terms of pedestrian volumes, the crossing guard warrant was not met. The City will let us know as soon as they receive the results.
The City is in the process of receiving grant funding for the installation of pedestrian activated flashers throughout the City. Live Oak and Cloverdale is on this list for improvements. The City doesn’t know yet when they’ll begin the construction but will inform the District as soon as they find out.
When reviewing signalized intersections for the crossing guard warrant, the City documents the number of vehicles making right turns through the school crosswalk. Because this signal has an all-way pedestrian phase, the warrant doesn’t apply.
Citrus Elementary Parent – There needs to be a cross walk and crossing guard at Fontana and Randall because it is very dangerous. Also, the same issue is true for DHIA near Merrill and Laurel. Chief of Police will bring these traffic concerns to his meetings with the city.
Redwood Elementary Parent – need a bigger cafeteria because all students don’t fit during hot, rainy, or windy days. We need to find ways to raise the money to expand the cafeteria/MPR room. Associate Superintendent of Business responded that we have a lot of facilities improvements we are looking at throughout the district on for aging schools.
Jonathon, the field rep for Eloise Reyes Office - Interested to know if we use school sites for evacuation sites for emergency purposes. Do we have a surplus of emergency supply packets for our students, should they need them. Do we work with City/County/State to ensure we are prepared for emergencies? Superintendent confirmed south end schools often are used for emergency disaster locations. Chief of Police confirmed we have disaster bins with supplies. Associate Superintendent of Business confirmed, they are ordering replacement supplies for those that are expired.
Fontana HS parent – 4 questions. First was related to safety in our schools was grateful for the closing of schools due to Tropical Storm Hilary, second concern centered on homeless in our community, particularly around the library. Third, reinforcing dress code in MS/HS settings to reduce distractions. Fourth, reducing cell phone access in classrooms to remove the academic distraction. Superintendent confirmed working with city regarding homeless. Executive Director of Middle Schools addressed further conversation with parents regarding dress code and cell phone policies.
Comment Card – As part of our emergency/disaster planning, please consider a plan to activate “grab and go” food meals for our students when schools need to be closed during an emergency. Superintendent shared that was on of the biggest concerns in closing due to Tropical Storm Hilary. District will work with Food Services to provide some type of food or snack during these types of situations. Superintendent also mentioned working with teachers to have some online lessons/resources available during these closures.
Employee/Parent from Canyon Crest Elementary – campus is small and there is a big patch of dirt with no grass. There is a park next door, couldn’t we work with the city to use their facilities? Superintendent would explore a partnership with the city with the caveat that part of the park could be secured. Associate Superintendent of Business mentioned that we are working on a grant to utilize recycled water to improve the green areas on our campuses.
Parent from Redwood Elementary – need a bigger cafeteria because all students don’t fit during hot, rainy, or windy days. We need to find ways to raise the money to expand the cafeteria/MPR room. Associate Superintendent of Business responded that we have a lot of facilities improvements we are looking at throughout the district on for aging schools.
SouthridgeTech MS Parent – need more space in their cafeteria too. Concerned about impact on schools and traffic because of the new condo build nearby. Superintendent said that we would need to study the impact and confirm the new condo building is part of our district.
Comment Card – New schools on the north end. Asking for an update on those schools. Superintendent mentioned that the district has identified a property for a middle school at Citrus and Casa Grande. The Board will be considering a site for an elementary school very shortly.
Comment Card – How do students apply for scholarships. Senior Director of Family and Community Engagement answered about Fontana Public Schools Foundation scholarship, plus that we have other scholarships from the community partners. Students can get information from their academic counselors.
Comment Card – Please allow students to take AR tests after hours (not only during school hours). Limited space and waiting lists for after school programs, daughter waited almost two years before getting in. What type of financial literacy and seed money for college is offered. Superintendent was open to looking at after hours testing as well as testing overall to ensure it is manageable. Associate Superintendent of Student Services mentioned that the district is expanding capacity for after school programs. Board President mentioned CalKIDS (calkids.org) is a great resource for financial literacy and also provides seed money for college.
Comment Card – How can I go over a few concerns that involve the health and welfare of a child? Executive Director of Elementary and Associate Superintendent of Student Services met directly with parent and will conduct follow up meetings to address concerns.
Parent (unsure of school) - Reviewing hiring process to reduce the time needed to higher replacement teachers and long-term subs. Her student had a STEAM substitute for several months. Superintendent will ask Human Resources to look for ways to expedite our hiring process.
Comment Card – I would like the district to look into extending the hours for Community Aides, Bilingual Aides, and School Site Aides. Bilingual office staff is very important and we are not able to support the schools and students with less hours. This is a negotiated item and Human Resources staff will examine this request.
Chief Daniels shared with the group that the notes from today’s “Coffee with the Community” would be available early next week on the district’s website. Superintendent Inbody reiterated the themes that were shared this morning and the district’s commitment to follow up on these items.