Hayward Finds Sobering Stats Signalling Trouble For Federal School Grant

HAYWARD CITY COUNCIL//EDUCATION | In Hayward’s impoverished Jackson Triangle
neighborhood, just 16 percent of ninth graders attended class on a daily basis and just 34 percent of seniors at Tennyson High School graduated last year, according to a report this week.

The Hayward City Council held a hearing on a one year update on the Promise Neighborhood Initiative that focuses on education and safety in the Jackson Triangle which aims to increase school attendance, test scores and parent interaction with children’s education. The first-year report by Library Commissioner Sean Reinhardt noted low school attendance and graduation rates the counsel drew grave concern over.

The Promise Neighborhood Initiative is part of a federal grant from the Department of Education. The California State University East Bay, was one of the five recipients in the nation to be awarded a multi-year, multi-million dollar grant that aims to provide a continuous pathway from kindergarten to college that has guiding principles to help assist this goal. It also aims to make a healthier, more active and safer community. The partners in the implementation include, the Hayward Unified School District, including the adult school, Eden Area Regional Occupational Program, Chabot College and the Child Care Coordinating Council of Alameda County.

A couple major themes stuck out from Tuesday night’s discussion, attendance, graduation rates and education reform. Mayor Michael Sweeney began the questioning drilling home his concern over the poor attendance. “A couple of stats here are of a great concern. We are going beyond API [Academic Performance Index] scores here which we already know are horrible. This average daily attendance for 2012 is 75 percent for 6th grade, 22 percent for 7th, 29 percent for 8th and 16 percent for 9th grade. How do you explain that?” questioned Sweeney. Reinhardt said the school district’s wide attendance is at 90 percent but the data given was just the Jackson Triangle and was pulled from the Department of Education and needed to be confirmed. Sweeney was not amused, “That is not a very good excuse for not explaining this data,” said Sweeney, “Unless these numbers go up, this is going to fail, this whole thing is going to go up in flames.”

Sweeney also noted the level of graduates in 2012 with 75 percent from Hayward High School compared to a low of 34 percent to Tennyson High School. “These are just a couple of the areas that we need some breakthroughs and if not then you can forget about the rest of it. If kids are not coming to school and we can’t get them to graduate then they will not be successful in college,” said Sweeney.

Melinda Hall, Hayward Promise Neighborhood project manager, further elaborated on Reinhardt’s defense on the lack of confirmation on low attendance scores. “There are two ways of looking at attendance. There is the chronic absentee and the average daily attendance and I think there is an error between those,” said Hall who promised to have a more specific answer on that soon.

Despite that, other council members agreed with the Mayor over the dismal attendance, graduation rates and low API scores. Although, despite low API scores Reinhardt did say there was a small increase in scores for some schools over the years but overall ranged mostly in low 600 to the 700 when proficiency is expected to be at 800, a B grade level.

Other council members, like Greg Jones, Mark Salinas and Marvin Peixoto, focused on a second theme on Tuesday’s night’s meeting, education reform. Salinas called for radical reform, “I understand the Mayor’s point on students needing to be present and that’s important but also I think this is an opportunity to really think about radically changing the school structure. Here is an opportunity to really start something new,” said Salinas. Peixoto agreed, “There has not been much change structurally when it comes to education. We are still operating the same old way like we did 40 or 50 years ago when we were an agrarian society. When kids went home for the summer and picked fruit and that’s why they got three months off. This old model is not the best structure for education,” said Peixoto.

“That’s a pretty heavy duty question,” said Hall, “but from my perspective there is some things happening around this particular grant on how instruction is changing.” Hall noted that they are moving away from students opening text books and answering questions at the end of the chapter and doing packets. Peixoto also noted the importance of technical training for those who do not want to go to college. Hall further agreed in pursuing that road as well and added that technical college is thriving in California.

Representatives of the program also said a current assembly bill aims to partner different California promise neighborhood programs from Los Angeles, Chula Vista and San Francisco.

Although some change has happened, such as a small uptick in academic scores, the program takes some time to have a significant impact, said Hall. The program is based off of the Harlem Children’s Zone project that Hall said evolved on its own and did not start as a grant. But based off of that project it takes a “long time to make the systemic change but they weren’t as fortunate to have schools as partners,” said Hall.

Shane Bond is an East Bay Citizen contributor.

Categories: education, Hayward, Hayward City Council, hayward school district, Jackson Triangle., Marvin Peixoto, Michael Sweeney, Promise Neighborhood Initiative, Tennyson High School

15 replies

  1. First thing to do is fire Mark Salinas wife as she is probably the most incompetent director collecting way over six figures at HUSD. The school district needs to do away with all the lousy over paid staff they that does not do anything. I have been watching the school board meetings for a while and I can feel for the board complaining that the staff is not doing their job but instead hires more consultants.


  2. I know many fine students who have attended and graduated from Tennyson. Probably would help if the community rallied around the school more.


  3. Sweeney is an educated man, why doesn't he help out a government class at Tennyson, especially a chapter on ethics?


  4. I find the figure in this report near impossible to believe.
    Here is what is written.

    “This average daily attendance for 2012 is 75 percent for 6th grade, 22 percent for 7th, 29 percent for 8th and 16 percent for 9th grade.”

    Are you saying that in the “Jackson Triangle” that a 9th grade class has 30 students and only 5 show up? That is 1 out of 6, which is 16.6%.

    If that is the case I can't believe that every major media outlet isn't covering that story.
    Or to put it another way, why are we paying a teacher to teach 5 kids in a near empty class?

    Which Jr. High and/or high school has its 9th grade classes consisting of 5 students in each room on a regular ongoing basis.
    Seems like the governor, the local legislator, the district attny, KTVU, CBS5, KNTV11, KGO7, would all be calling this a crime.

    Has this story made it into the Daily Review?


  5. That data is B.S. Sounds like the project manager and the library commissioner are incompetent. CSEB was awarded 5 million dollars a year for this program, we need to find out where this money is being spent.


  6. The data is real. The poster who commented on the administrative staff is correct, they need to be replaced. They have had many years to fix the problem. Instead they freely admit they don't know how and that is why we need to hire so many consultants to tell us how to do it. Both Ms. Salinas and Ms. Woo-Fernandez have been under the leadership of several superintendents and several boards of education. No matter who directs them they seem to not get the message!


  7. I believe it. There are a lot of reasons why students are absent.


  8. Again, a city council full of questions but offering no new ideas or solutions. Why rehash what we already know. Sweeney, Salinas and Zermeno, all educators are disasters. Must be something positive happening with education in this neighborhood, must be something to build on. But these elected officials seem to thrive on trashing our city. What a shame.


  9. State of California report shows misappropriation of funds and falsifying documents. Chien Wu-Fernandez was over all of the programs. She still has a job. Ms Fernandez will block every qualified candidate who applies for jobs under her direct supervision. When she is questioned she blames the newly hired staff instead of admitting she is clueless. The Board asked her to bring back documents to support her falsified report on student discipline. At the next Board meeting none of the board members asked Fernandez for an update.


  10. Federal Money = pay my friends, I mean consultants, $60,000 to do my work.


  11. In case anyone is thinking of asking the Grand Jury to investigate HUSD forget it. Many attempts to get them to take a look at what has been happening at the District office level have been ignored. I guess HUSD is connected in high places.


  12. I have to admit that I enjoy watching Dr. Reynoso take up the good fight to save every dollar for the Hayward School District but he is heavily outnumbered by the rest of his board. He is always telling us about the money waste. Well good luck I just think until his other weak board helps him the schools will never change.


  13. What attempts?


  14. Sure not much action/posting on this article. It's really hard to understand how HUSD can continue to just roll along their merry way and never have to answer for the failures they have created. Students in all areas of the city, are not attending school, not gaining knowledge, not graduating, yet no one seems to really care.


  15. The city of mayor Sweeney and council (Zermeno, Salinas, Jones, Mendal, Halliday, Peixoto) of do-nothings always blame but never contribute to the school problem–what ever happened to all the campaign promises. Sweeney you have been harping about this school problem for over 20 years with the same style but yet up to now nothing to contribute. Sweeney the F- mayor of Hayward.


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