January 12, 2014

Plans for Davis, Johansen to be unveiled

Modesto City Schools will consider new offerings for Davis and Johansen to raise enrollment at its two smallest high school campuses when the board meets tonight.

Ideas to draw more students to Davis and Johansen high schools will be discussed by the Modesto City Schools board tonight, as will priorities for money set aside for the shift to Common Core curriculum.

The board also will vote on naming the Beyer High varsity baseball field for Paul Cornwell, 38-year teacher and coach at the school. He retired in 2009 but remains active as a coach and volunteer on campus.

Modesto’s seven large campuses ranged in attendance last year from about 2,500 at Enochs and Modesto high schools to about 1,400 at Davis and 1,800 at Johansen. Both smaller schools still dwarf high schools in Riverbank (712), Hughson (750) and Denair (342).

But Davis’ and Johansen’s lower numbers make it more difficult to provide as many Advanced Placement and elective offerings. Sports overseers also want to see the 1,000-student spread shrink to make play more competitive and safer.

Both schools have some special programs already in place. Davis has fire, law enforcement and health career academies, an ag technology pathway that wraps in core courses, and dance production. Johansen has academies in industrial technology and engineering, and a human development program, which includes education and psychology career paths.

The agenda item says plans are moving forward to add more offerings and programs, but gives no specifics.

The board will be asked to approve high school switches for a record-high number of students, most opting to go to Downey. All 301 requests were honored, beating last year’s 287 high point. Of those, 202 were for Downey, 83 for Beyer, 11 for Davis and five for Johansen, according to the agenda report. The open-enrollment option was available Aug. 8 through Nov. 27. No elementary or junior high students asked to transfer.

Modesto City Schools will receive $6 million to implement Common Core this year and next. Plans being presented would upgrade technology infrastructure to handle the beefier requirements of online testing that are getting a trial run this spring. Additional computers and software for classrooms, training for teachers and support staff and new teaching materials round out the list of spending priorities.

The Common Core discussion will be a public hearing, with a vote slated for Feb. 3. The board will get reports on final numbers for 2012-13 and an audit report, as well as a budget update.

In other business, the board will vote on putting out a bid to build a barn for the ROP Joint Ag Facility on Church Street near Milnes Road. Projected cost for the project is $440,000.

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