Denair Trustees Cut Ties With 4 Certificated Employees

An emotional meeting of the Denair Unified School District board that lasted well past midnight ended with the announcement that four certificated employees will not return for the 2017-18 school year.

Two of the employees submitted resignations that were accepted. Two others still on probation were told their contracts would not be renewed. Certificated employees can be teachers or administrators.

Under the California Education Code and union agreement, teachers with less than two years’ experience in a district must be notified by March 15 each year whether they will be released.

With that in mind, more than 100 students, parents, teachers and community members gathered beginning at 6 p.m. Thursday in the board meeting room. Over the next 90 minutes, the five DUSD trustees listened to expressions of support for individual teachers.

Because personnel issues were involved, trustees and district officials could not respond.

The board took a short break at 7:45 p.m., then returned and heard from a few more audience members. Then, trustees spent the next 2½ hours dealing with their regular agenda, including accepting a financial report that shows the district continues to improve its position thanks to enrollment growth.

About 10:12 p.m., the board went into closed session. Trustees emerged about 12:07 a.m. and announced the personnel decisions to the 30 or so people who had waited.

The vote was 4-1, according to board President Kathi Dunham-Filson. She joined Trustees Ray Prock Jr., John Plett and Sandi Dirkse to support the motion related to the four certificated employees. Trustee Robert Hodges voted against it.

Denair has about 70 teachers and eight administrators in the district. Continue reading “Denair Trustees Cut Ties With 4 Certificated Employees” »

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Huge Improvements Under Way for Denair Sports Fields

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

For the past couple of seasons, the gophers making the football field their home outnumbered the players on the Denair sideline. And it wasn’t even close.

Concerns about sunken gopher holes and their potential danger to players often forced Denair High athletic director Darrin Allen and a handful of volunteers to scurry around with buckets of sand before referees would start the game.

More than once, people on the sidelines and in the stands spotted rodents during games. “They were brazen little suckers,” said school board Trustee Ray Prock Jr.

Since the first of the year, more than 50 gophers have been trapped and exterminated on the football field. And Monday, a Livingston company that has provided turf and field maintenance for the Giants, 49ers and most other professional and college stadiums on the West Coast arrived to work on the surface at Jack Lytton Stadium.

Very soon, it will be a little easier for Allen, Prock and Denair’s athletes to laugh about those gopher stories.

“Knowing the problem has been recognized and we are finally moving forward with a solution is enough for me,” said Allen, who has more than three decades of experience on the field, going back to his days as a Denair athlete.

Facilities director Brian Holloway realized not long after arriving last year that there was a gopher problem at the football field. A pest control company tried to use bait to kill the rodents, but Holloway said it was ineffective. It wasn’t until the football and soccer seasons were completed that a more aggressive eradication program could be coupled with field restoration.

“There are only a few active gophers left,” said Holloway, promising their days are numbered, too.

Gopher tunnels often are only a foot or two below the surface. One of the benefits of a rainy winter has been to soften the ground and collapse the tunnels. Holloway, his staff and even some Denair High athletes have made patchwork progress filling in the holes. Between storms last week, the football field also was aerated. Continue reading “Huge Improvements Under Way for Denair Sports Fields” »

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March MAC Meeting Posted

Submitted by Denair Municipal Advisory Council

The Denair Municipal Advisory Council has posted the MAC Agenda for their March meeting, scheduled for March 7, 2017. The meeting starts at 7:00 pm. The meeting will be held in the DUSD Board Room.

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Class Act! 10 Questions for Melissa Oei

Melissa Oei

Submitted by Denair Middle School

Name:  Melissa Oei

Family: Husband, Bob; sons, Paul and Jonathan

School: Denair Middle School

Position: Campus Supervisor

Experience/education: This will be my 11th year with Denair Unified School District.  I was raised in England and went to Windsor and Maidenhead College of further education followed by Reading University.  Although my background is in banking and accounting, I love my job here as the campus supervisor.  I am able to be out and about around our campus. Although my primary duties are safety and discipline, I am lucky enough to be able to see some of the great things going on in the classrooms.

What most inspires you about working at Denair Middle School? These are the transition grades/years for students. The students are no longer the “little kids” in elementary school and they are not yet the “big kids” at high school.  These are the introductory years to more intense studies, new school sports and sometimes changes within their social groups. I love being a part of this transition period where I can be a part of a staff /team who are helping students to grow, become more confident and be ready for their next adventure!

What are your biggest challenges as a classified staff member? I think that sometimes the classified staff is somewhat overlooked. Although they are often behind the scenes, they are an integral part of our school’s success.

What is your favorite activity/event at DMS ? I love all of the sporting events we have here, where our students and parents come together and have a fun time!

What do you want your students to remember? That there are always two sides to a story, never listen to gossip, and always have compassion and respect for others.

How can parents support what you do? Everyday ask your child “how was your day?” Communicate with the office any worries or concerns that they may have about their child’s day.  Be especially aware of the ever-changing social media sites and check what their child is doing on those social media sites.  Remind their child/children to please follow the outside safety rules by using the crosswalks and only using the drop off/pick up zones for getting in and out of vehicles.  Safety first! Continue reading “Class Act! 10 Questions for Melissa Oei” »

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Denair Students on the Move – Trips Set This Year to Fresno, Magic Mountain and Disneyland

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

Students at Denair High School and Denair Charter Academy soon will be logging some miles traveling up and down Highway 99 to Fresno and Southern California.

School board trustees approved three upcoming trips at their meeting Thursday night.

The first is April 22-25 when as many as 19 FFA students from Denair High are expected to attend the state FFA convention in Fresno. The conference is one of the high points of the FFA calendar each year, anticipated almost as much as county fairs where animals are shown and projects are judged.

The convention provides leadership training, networking and growth opportunities for students. An estimated 5,000 teens from across the state attend each year. Denair’s attendees are selected based on their participation in FFA events, their grade-point averages and the effort they put forth in classes.

“There are sessions with speakers and other breakouts on different topics. It’s very popular and important for students,” Denair High ag teacher Molly Hanson told the board. She, fellow teacher Matthew Marshall and at least one other adult will chaperone the Denair contingent.

Trustee Ray Prock Jr. went to the convention with his son three years ago and said it was a terrific experience. “This is something to see. The only thing that rivals it is the national convention in Indianapolis.”

A second trip involves soon-to-be graduates at DCA, an independent study program separate from the traditional high school. For the first time, there will be a senior trip for graduates to a Southern California theme park. Only instead of going to Disneyland, as many schools do (Denair High grads will go May 10-11), DCA students will enjoy the roller coasters and other thrills at Magic Mountain in Valencia. Continue reading “Denair Students on the Move – Trips Set This Year to Fresno, Magic Mountain and Disneyland” »

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