Friday, March 05, 2010

BIG Changes Coming In Costa Mesa School Leadership

This morning Katrina Foley announced on her Facebook page that big changes are coming in Costa Mesa educations circles. According to Katrina, Phil D'Agostino, currently the principal at Estancia High School, will move to Costa Mesa High School upon the retirement of Dr. Wong. Kirk Bauermeister will move from TeWinkle to Estancia and Rich Rodriquez will move from Newport Coast Elementary to TeWinkle.

According to Katrina, D'Agostino has done an amazing job at Estancia, bringing new ideas and enthusiasm to the school and created much more parent involvement.

Bauermeister has worked similar miracles at TeWinkle so he should slip right into D'Agostino's slot easily and provide more positive leadership in this new, big job.

Rodriquez has an excellent reputation at Newport Coast and it's anticipated that he will jump right into TeWinkle and perpetuate the progress made at that school over the past couple years.

This news is terrific on many levels. Of course, these moves each will surely result in the on-going improvement at the various schools. We expect D'Agostino's arrival at Costa Mesa High School to be the biggest positive change among all the schools. CMHS has been much maligned lately by certain members of the community. Expect positive changes in the near future.

I find myself wondering about the reaction by one particularly virulent resident of this city to this news. It's going to defuse many of his perpetual complaints about the differences between the schools on the Costa Mesa side of the district when compared to the Newport Beach side. Quite honestly, I find myself wanting to give him the finger right about now. Sorry...

Costa Mesa will probably never be as wealthy as Corona del Mar, but improvements can be made in the schools in our city and these changes will demonstrate that fact. It may take a couple years for those positive changes to be reflected in the test scores, but watch for them, nonetheless. So, whether you're a TeWinkle Trojan, an Estancia Eagle or a Costa Mesa Mustang, good things are on the way.

During my conversation with Katrina about these changes I asked her about her plans to run for the school board seat next fall. She continues to be considering her options in that regard, although she's certainly leaning that direction. The possibility of her being on the school board must have the district staff squirming in their chairs. Katrina Foley is a change-maker, and an impatient one, at that. This summer's races should be very interesting, indeed.

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Anonymous Eastsider said...

Terrific changes! Katrina's presence on the School Board will disrupt the status quo which is sorely needed. Don't be surprised if some of the existing trustees campaign against her just to keep things the way they are. I hope she does it.

3/05/2010 02:37:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

Wow, Eastsider, you're quick on the draw! I just hit the "publish" button on this one! :-) You may be right about Katrina's presence on the board... One can only smile at the prospects. :-)

3/05/2010 02:41:00 PM  
Anonymous The finger? said...

Great news on the NMUSD changes! I did an analysis of the SARCs for all NMUSD schools, and there are great success stories and much need for improvement as well - hopefully this will be a great start. As for Millard - you may hate the messenger, but his message about the schools is not wrong. Abyssmal scores on standardized tests are not acceptable, and NMUSD needs to step it up. Every single bad test score is a kid who desperately needs help. Where there is a high percentage of English learners and low scores, the correlation is irrefutable. They struggle with English, often no English is spoken at home, and they have little or no support for studying at home. They need help, and a consistent message that they and their parents must make learning English a priority NOW, and their parents must be more involved.

Unless you assert that these kids are less intelligent than those at Corona del Mar, the lack of English proficiency and learning environment both at school and at home is failing them. They aren't failing, their schools and families are failing them. What they don't need is people reacting defensively to harsh criticism, and thus maintaining the status quo.

If Millard's incessant banging of the negative drum promotes change, he is actually helping kids, unlike those who defend the system reflexively.

You want Millard to stop bitching about bad schools? Improve the schools. Don't waste time giving him the finger, just start a real dialogue about why some schools fail and fix what needs to be fixed. A failing school didn't get that way because of dumb kids, it got that way because of dumb educators and dumb parents.

3/05/2010 04:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Jim Carr said...

Foley needs to do her homework. Estancia's academic performance has suffered under D'Agostino. See for yourself on the school report card on the Estancia website. If she's just going to continue with the usual school board spin, she should pass. We need leadership, not smiley faces.

3/05/2010 04:53:00 PM  
Blogger The Pot Stirrer said...

The finger?, no argument here about the underlying causes for poor academic performance in schools with large numbers of English learners. Not so much a problem in the lower grades, where children enter at K-2 or 3. The big problem, as I understand it, is where they enter at higher grades and never catch up. No question that lack of English being spoken at home contributes to this shortfall, which now will only be exacerbated by the elimination of the ESL programs in the Adult Education curriculum. I don't for a second believe the Westside kids are less intelligent than the CdM kids, but they have much higher hurdles to get past because of the language issue.

You're correct that the failing schools need to improve... the kids need to do well as measured by the tests. Progress is being made and will continue, but I'm not sure how long it will take for CMHS to match CdM, if ever. It's going to take LEADERSHIP to improve these schools and the changes mentioned in this post should go a long way to providing that essential element.

About the messenger... his message is correct, but his motives are far from it. If you've read his body of work, not just listened to his rants before the council, you'd know that his goal is not to educate those eager, young Latino kids. His goal is to expunge them from our city, period. When he talks about Costa Mesa being like Santa Ana, he's talking about the skin color and heritage of the dominant demographic across our northern border. To deny that would only demonstrate ignorance of that particular issue. Do you REALLY want the guy who David Duke considers one of the great writers of our time to be dictating the educational philosophy of our school district? If he's REALLY concerned and REALLY wants a role in improving the schools, let him shut his yap and run for the School Board. Man, would I love to see that race!

Thanks for participating here. I do appreciate your contribution.

3/05/2010 08:42:00 PM  
Blogger Bruce Krochman said...

Foley running for school board is an interesting wrinkle, though I would have been more impressed if she set her sights on Moorlach's seat at the BOS. I hear repeatedly that she would never win because she is a Dem. I don't buy it. I think she would invigorate the debate during the campaign and quite likely impress a lot of people. It would also give Millard something new to screech about daily.

I love that D'Agostino is coming to CMHS. I would have been happier if Bauermeister had been given the job when Wong was placed there, but who listens to an involved parent anyway? Certainly not the suits on Bear Street. Just ask them what kind of Congressional Act it takes just to get a light fixed on campus. Here is a hint: it is a multi-year process.

CMHS is heading into year 1 of program improvement. That is sad to have happen. It means we missed our goals too many years in a row. Why does that happen? There is no one answer. Like dealing with gangs, it requires a war on multiple fronts. Yes Millard is correct. Getting rid of all of the ESL students and replacing them with students that have parents with high incomes and college educations would fix the problem overnight. Of course that is the most reprehensible plan you could imagine, well almost. I think the Nazi's still hold the record for the MOST reprehensible plan.

My kids are now out of school. I look forward to taking a less personal interest in the district and a more service/philanthropic interest. Phil is the kind of guy that can foster that type of activity. Can he turn around academic performance? No, only the students can do that. Will he give them the best chance for doing that? Probably.

3/08/2010 06:10:00 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


get the old fossils out of there some have been there far far too long.

3/16/2010 11:33:00 AM  

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