To the Editor:
Your In Perspective piece on the progress being made in the Kings Canyon Unified and Exeter Union Elementary districts in California pleased me, but I was also dumbfounded by its incompleteness (“Districts Make Strides With Common Vision,” Jan. 31, 2007).
The opening statement, “With the help of outside partners, two rural school systems in California’s Central Valley have improved their instruction and raised scores,” encompasses what has happened in these districts. But the rest of the article omits any mention of one of the two crucial “partners.”
The Central Valley Educational Leadership Institute, or CVELI, at the Kremen School of Education and Human Development at California State University-Fresno is the host and partner linking Springboard Schools, the group on which your article focuses, and the 12 districts in the Central Valley that currently have contracted for coaching and other services. CVELI’s director, faculty member Walt Buster, is the coordinator of all of Springboard’s Central Valley work. Faculty members also make up a large percentage of the coaches.
The “best practices” institutes mentioned in the article are held on our campus, and superintendent training takes place in the CVELI room of the Kremen building. This past fall, the entire Kremen School faculty rode buses 60 miles to hold its fall retreat in Orange Cove, pictured in the article, where we conversed with the superintendent, principals, teachers, and parents on the best teacher-preparation practices to assist the student population there.
Ours is a somewhat unusual symbiotic relationship between three partners, and it demonstrates that higher education, public schools, and nonprofits can work together to make a difference for children in one of the most challenging educational environments in the nation. It could serve as a positive model for other higher education and K-12 partnerships. An article that could have celebrated this collaboration was instead a serious disappointment to the higher education partner.
Kremen School of Education and
California State University-Fresno
The writer is a member of the governing board of Springboard Schools, based in San Francisco.
A version of this article appeared in the February 21, 2007 edition of Education Week as Was Higher Ed. Partner Slighted in Feature Story?