Letter from State Superintendent of Public Instruction explaining the case:
Date: February 2, 2016
Subject: Official Message from the State Superintendent of Public Instruction
In April 2012, two organizations, the Morgan Hill Concerned Parents Association and the Concerned Parent Association (the plaintiffs), filed a lawsuit against the California Department of Education (CDE) alleging widespread, systemic non-compliance by local educational agencies with the Individuals with Disabilities Education Act (IDEA) and Section 504. The suit also alleges that the CDE fails to monitor, investigate, and correct such non-compliance in accordance with the law. The CDE denies these allegations and is actively defending the litigation.
As part of the litigation discovery process, the plaintiffs have requested numerous documents as well as student data collected and stored by the CDE. Many of the requested documents and data stored in the CDE databases contain personally identifiable information (PII) of children, including children with disabilities, children who requested an assessment or who were assessed for special education eligibility, and children who are attending or who have attended a California school at any time since January 1, 2008. Although the CDE has contested the production of such information, the court at this juncture has ordered the CDE to produce to plaintiffs’ legal counsel documents and data that contain student PII. Included in the court’s order to produce documents and data is a Protective Order prohibiting the plaintiffs and their legal counsel from disclosing confidential information acquired in the course of the lawsuit, including PII, to anyone other than the parties, their attorneys and consultants, and the court. None of this information may be used outside the context of this lawsuit; no student’s identifying records will be disclosed to the public.
As you know, the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (FERPA) sets out the requirements for the protection of privacy of parents and students, including privacy of student records. Generally, parents and/or students must provide written consent before an educational agency may disclose PII. However, there are exceptions to this general rule. Specifically, an educational agency must provide PII when ordered by a court, which the CDE has been ordered to do in this litigation. The CDE is obligated to inform the parent or student that the court has ordered it to produce documents and/or data that includes those individuals’ PII and that such persons may object directly to the court regarding this disclosure. To that end, and to comply with FERPA, the CDE is requesting LEAs and SELPAs post the following link to CDE’s Web site, http://www.cde.ca.gov/morganhillcase, from February 1, 2016, through April 1, 2016. The link provides the Notice and Objection Form required by FERPA.
CHS, EMS and BPS WILL BE COMPLETELY OFF LIMITS 24/7 THIS SUMMER.
Colusa Unified Schools Closed During Construction
Months of planning and preparation are about to be translated into action. The Measure A Bond construction projects will begin on June 6 and continue until August 12. Blacktop replacement, restroom remodels, HVAC upgrades, fire alarms, safety systems, network cabling, and ADA access improvements are all slated for summer installation.
During construction, all three school buildings, CHS, BPS and EMS will be closed to the public. Playgrounds and fields will also be closed. (Some fields will be used by sports teams with special permission and under tightly controlled conditions.)
Parents, please make it very clear to your children that nobody is allowed to go on school grounds; even after hours. Construction sites are very dangerous places. Trenches, exposed wires and pipes, sharp tools, and heavy equipment create hazards in a work zone. Our goal is to keep everyone safe.
The only school facility open will be the District Office. If you need to contact a school, call the regular number and your call will be routed to the DO. School Office staff will be working out of rooms in the DO this summer.
For the safety of everyone, please stay off school property this summer. We appreciate your understanding and cooperation. If you have any questions call Superintendent Dwayne Newman or MOT Director Terry Biladeau at (530) 458-7791.
Construction of New Barn Begins
Parent Notice of Potential Release of Student Information
February 18, 2016
The California Department of Education (“CDE”) is currently engaged in litigation with two non-profit associations comprised of parents and guardians of children with disabilities. The plaintiffs in that litigation have requested numerous documents, as well as student data collected and stored by CDE, which may include personally identifiable student information.
To comply with the Family Educational Rights and Privacy Act (“FERPA”), CDE has been ordered, among other things, to inform parents and students of the disclosure of such information. CDE has requested that school districts and SELPAs post the following link to CDE’s website. The link provides a Notice and Objection to Release of Information form to allow parents to object, by April 1, 2016, to the disclosure of personally identifiable information related to their children.
Please understand that Colusa Unified is not a party to the litigation and is not required to disclose any student information, nor does it intend to do so.
Parents must still file the Objection form it they do not want to have their student's information released. The plaintiffs will access the informtion from CDE databases, not CUSD's. Therefore the objection form must be on record at CDE to prevent the release of information. A letter further explaining the situation and a copy of the Objection to Release of Information form will be sent home with students this coming week (Feb 29 - Mar 4).
For more information, please contact CDE directly at (916) 319-0800.
State Test Results Indicate Positive Growth for CUSD Students.
The results from the Spring 2015 administration of the State Tests are discussed in the attached file. 2015 Assessment Data Results.ppt
The District's goal was to close the gap between State scores and CUSD scores by 5% overall and by 10% for students from minority families or families living in poverty. Readers are cautioned that this is only a single year's data, and any conclusions are therefore preliminary. However, all indicators are that the district made significant progress since the last round of State testing.
In the English Language Arts tests given at grades 3-8 and 11, the district met its goal of 5% gap closure in 5 of the 7 grade levels. In the two other levels the tests showed gap closure, but not 5% or better. None of the tested grades showed a gap increase, which again indicates positive growth. At grade 11, CUSD students actually exceeded the State averages by 7%! The average gap closure for CUSD students was 7.7% on the ELA tests.
In the Math (tests also given at grades 3-8 and 11), the district met its goal of 5% gap closure in 5 of 5 grade levels. In grades 8 and 11 the historical State data was unavailable, so gap closure could not be calculated. At grade 8, CUSD math students outperformed the State averages by 12%! The average gap closure for CUSD students was 11.2% on the Math tests.
The District made its 10% goal for 8 of the 14 ELA tests, but again saw positive gap closure in all areas. Math tests for minority and poverty students saw achievement above the 10% goal in 6 out of the 10 tests - also with positive results even when the goal was not met. The average gap closure for these student groups in ELA was 11%, and for Math 13.6%. Students in these groups actually outperformed their State peers in 6 grade levels!
Part of our Vision for the students of CUSD is to provide an excellent education. Ultimately we are working to create a system where the gap will see our students outperform the state in every test, and for all students. While we are not there yet, these results are an early indicator that student achievement in CUSD is improving. The hard work of the staff, students, administration, parents and Board is showing results. Exciting things are happening at CUSD!
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Email from Website Issue
There was recently an issue in which emails generated through the school websites were not reaching their intended recipient so it appeared as if staff wasn't responding to inquiries. This issue has been resolved and should not resurface, you may continue to use the Contact Us page to correspond with instructors. We apologize for any inconvenience or confusion this may have caused. If you have any questions, comments or concerns, please email the IT Director at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Governing Board is committed to equal opportunity for all individuals in education. District programs, activities, and practices shall be free from discrimination based on race, color, ancestry, national origin, ethnic group identification, age, religion, marital or parental status, physical or mental disability, sex, sexual orientation, gender, gender identity or expression, or genetic information; the perception of one or more of such characteristics; or association with a person or group with one or more of these actual or perceived characteristics.