AVUHSD

LANCASTER — An­tel­ope Valley Union High School District’s new Board ma­jor­ity of President Rob­ert “Bob” Davis, Vice Pres­i­dent Victoria Ruffin, and Clerk Amanda Parrell ap­proved a $75,000 con­sult­ing contract Thursday night with child behavior spe­cialist Kathleen Van Ant­werp, an associate of Davis who made two pres­en­tations before the Board last year.

Board members Jill Mc­Gra­dy and John Rush voted no.

The district will pay up to $75,000 to implement Valencia-based Full Circle Consulting Systems Inc.’s S.T.O.P. educational model over the next four months.

S.T.O.P. stands for stu­dents, teachers, officers and parents.

Van Antwerp described the program during a pres­en­tation at the Board’s Dec. 12 meeting as “a ho­lis­tic educational model based on the science of child and adolescent de­vel­op­ment” that “focuses on the social-emotional well-being of the children within your district as well as the teachers, officers and parents.”

Van Antwerp previously ad­dressed the Board at Davis’ invitation last Feb­ru­ary. Davis also invited Ruf­fin, who was elected to the Board on Nov. 6, to make a presentation at the same meeting.

Full Circle Consulting’s will begin in February and continue through June with a focus on the dis­trict’s alternative school sites Phoenix, R. Rex Par­ris, and Desert Winds high schools. The last day of school is June 7.

Shandelyn Williams, the district’s assistant su­per­int­endent of Student Ser­vices, described the pro­gram briefly at Thurs­day’s meeting.

Williams and Student Ser­vices staff met with Van Ant­werp and Full Circle found­er Senta Greene about the proposal during the district’s winter break.

One of the questions that came up during a discussion with the school site principals was im­ple­mentation of the program in the remaining four months of the school year.

“As part of those further conversations we became aware that one of the schools will have mid-cycle WASC (accreditation) and so we will need to determine how bringing in a new program at this point in time of the year may also impact that process,” Williams said.

Williams said they would like to review the impact reports in more detail. In addition, she said they also need clarification of certain aspects of the program in a school setting.

“There were discussions regarding positive aspects of the program. However there is time needed to vet how it aligns with the schools’ current focus areas. In addition to that there are a number of questions with the fee sched­ule that was pre­sent­ed as well that we need to clarify,” Williams said.

Davis asked Williams to explain what the program would provide.

“It basically would pro­vide training for our stu­dents, teachers, re­source of­fic­ers, campus su­per­vi­sors, and also for par­ents,” Wil­liams said.

Davis pressed Williams.

“What do they bring to our district? Can you just tell me that they’re all about socio-emotional needs, that’s what her back­ground is,” Davis said.

Davis referenced a pres­en­tation on the dis­trict’s var­i­ous systems of support that Matthew Case, Dir­ect­or III Behavior In­ter­ven­tions gave earlier the meeting.

“I believe that this pro­gram would benefit what we’re doing in this district,” Davis said.

Davis, who worked for the California Department of Corrections, said his back­ground is in safety and socio-emotional needs of stu­dents.

Davis then accused Wil­liams of bias in vetting the S.T.O.P. program as com­pared to the Parent In­sti­tute for Quality Edu­ca­tion, a program previously in place at Knight High School that Davis, Ruffin and Parrell rejected to renew at the same meeting.

“I would have liked to have the person asking for the $75,000 here to answer a couple of questions as well,” Rush said. “And so I’ll ask anybody who knows about it — has she ever taught this to students on a campus. Has this pro­gram ever been on a school campus or are we a pilot program?”

Ruffin said Van Ant­werp’s Dec. 12 presentation was thorough, and said she has extensive experience with Los Angeles Unified School District and Ven­tura County.

The Full Circle Con­sulting website indicates the firm’s programs have been implemented in school districts and county offices of education but does not offer any specific examples nor does it include any information about the S.T.O.P. program.

“The impact packet that she gave us last time talked about a workshop from a Thursday to a Tuesday with 220 students at one time,” Mc­Grady said. “It’s a totally different pro­gram than going into a high school once a week like she’s talking about. I want to know how many high schools she’s trained and what high schools is she cur­rently working with? How many high school cli­ents does she have?”

Ruffin said those ques­tions should be have asked when Van Antwerp was at the Dec. 12 meeting.

“We have a duplication of services,” Rush began. “I think that the services that we provide include the ser­vices that she provides and it overlaps the services. I think we can be better off spending the $75,000.”

“Can you elaborate?” Ruffin interrupted him.

“No, I can’t,” he said.

McGrady noted the $75,000 is for three months of training and one month of collecting data.

“In the contract it says five months of work for the $75,000. I would ask her if she was here, ‘How could we fix that?’ ” she said.

McGrady also asked about the education back­ground of the trainers.

According to the contract after training sessions begin Van Antwerp and Greene will meet with ad­min­istrators via con­fer­ence calls, or face-to-face.

“Then I would also ask, ‘Why now?’ ” Mc­Grady said. “We’re at the midd­le of the year; we al­ready have programs going on. Our pro­fes­sional de­vel­op­ment cal­endar is al­ready ap­proved and in place. This is an additional thing.”

She also asked about the potential impact on the district’s staff.

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