Aaron Rosander to Leave at End of School Year; Denair Begins Search for New Superintendent

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

An emotional Aaron Rosander announced Thursday night that he will not return as the Denair Unified School District superintendent after his contract expires at the end of June. School board President Ray Prock Jr. said a search for Rosander’s replacement will begin immediately.

Rosander, 61, came to the district in February 2014 from Mariposa, where he was the county schools superintendent. In Denair, he took over a district in severe financial distress that barely had avoided state takeover by layoffs and salary cuts.

Within two years, the district no longer required budget oversight from state and county schools officials. Under Rosander, Denair opened a popular new elementary charter school, expanded programs at all four campuses, partially restored salaries, worked to restore community trust and successfully repelled an effort by Turlock Unified to take over some of Denair’s territory.

Rosander read a letter at Thursday’s monthly Board of Trustees that he sent Friday morning to all district employees. In it, he acknowledged the difficult choices he initially confronted as well as the pivotal decisions that lie ahead.

“As I look back on our past four years, I am reminded of the many chapters of our bold work to overcome the formidable challenges that threatened the very existence of our schools,” he said. “And, while the work that we ventured into is not entirely complete, we can declare that we now stand on solid ground and be proud of the powerful platform we have set for our schools in future years.”

Without unveiling specifics, Rosander intimated that major changes could be coming to the district, which still faces chronic enrollment issues. Even as it has added youngsters at Denair Elementary Charter Academy thanks to the dual immersion language program, the number of students at Denair High School and Denair Middle School continues to decline. Continue reading “Aaron Rosander to Leave at End of School Year; Denair Begins Search for New Superintendent” »

Denair Enrollment Slightly Declines, 
Despite Continued Gains at Elementary Charter Campus

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

Enrollment in the Denair Unified School District is down 38 students from last spring’s projections, trustees were told Thursday night. The losses primarily are at the high school and middle school, but have been partially offset by continued growth at the district’s elementary charter school.

The decline has implications for the district’s future budgets, Chief Business Officer Linda Covello told trustees. Public districts are largely funded by the state on Average Daily Attendance, or ADA. Covello projects this year’s ADA to be 1,225, which reflects an increase of 20 ADA at the elementary level, a decrease of 34 ADA at the middle school level and a decrease of 24 ADA between the two high schools.

Four years ago, when Denair confronted steeper enrollment declines, all staff took pay cuts while others were laid off. That’s not the case today.

The district’s finances have dramatically improved thanks to the strategic cost cutting as well as the introduction of programs that generated enrollment growth.

In particular, the dual immersion English/Spanish program at Denair Elementary Charter Academy has proven to be a magnet for new students. There now are classes in kindergarten, first grade and second grade, with another grade level introduced each year.

The district also has applied for additional grant funding to increase opportunities for students. Most recently, Denair applied for a CTE Facilities Grant to potentially bring in $1.15 million to expand career technical education programs.

“We currently are examining targeted grants and initiatives, along with program enhancements that will stimulate new growth, particularly at the high school and middle school,” said Superintendent Aaron Rosander. “Continued prudent stewardship of our budget, in tandem with innovative program development, will be important linchpins in DUSD’s future growth and financial health.”

The district anticipates having positive monthly cash balances throughout the 2017-18 school year and an ending fund balance of more than $2.4 million, Covello said. Continue reading “Denair Enrollment Slightly Declines, 
Despite Continued Gains at Elementary Charter Campus” »

Denair Boys Ready to Host Basketball Tournament

Submitted by Denair High School

Seven games into the season and on the eve of hosting their own holiday tournament, Denair High School boys basketball coach R.J. Henderson is beginning to understand his team.

The Coyotes are exceedingly young, they are more athletic than they have been in years and they’re still figuring out how to play together.

An opening night victory over Turlock Christian was followed by four losses in a row – three of them at the Riverbank Tournament two weeks ago. Then came blowout victories last week over Millennium and Stone Ridge Christian.

“I think we’ve definitely turned the corner,” said Henderson, now in his sixth season as head coach. “We really struggled to shoot it in Riverbank. The effort was there, but it was very disconnected.”

Part of the early season growing pains could have something to do with youth and unfamiliarity. The Coyotes only have nine varsity players – two seniors, four juniors and three sophomores. Henderson expects them all to “play and contribute.”

What little depth Denair has already is being tested. Senior center Dylan Mann – the tallest player at 6-foot-5 – rolled his ankle in Riverbank and may not play until the Southern League schedule begins in January. The other senior, forward Justin Short, suffered a broken nose last week against Stone Ridge. He’s out at least a couple of weeks.

That means the Coyotes will have seven healthy players when they take on Waterford on Thursday at 8 p.m. in the first round of the Denair Holiday Classic. Denair’s other games in the round-robin tournament are Friday at 8 p.m. against Turlock Christian and Saturday at 2 p.m. against Hughson.

Still, Henderson is confident the players who are available will continue to work together – even if rest will be at a premium this week. Continue reading “Denair Boys Ready to Host Basketball Tournament” »

Tonight is Opening Night for “A Christmas Story” at the Gaslight Theater

Submitted by Denair Gaslight Community Conservatory

Tonight is opening night for A Christmas Story, at the Gaslight Theater. Don’t miss out on this Christmas Tradition! It will be holiday fun for the entire family.

Show Times are December 8,9 15 and 16, 2017, at 7:00 pm, and December 10, 2017 at 2:00 pm. Tickets are available online at www.showtix4u.com and at the door. General admission is $10, seniors and students are $8.

For questions, please call (209) 664-9514.

Denair FFA Hosting Drive Thru BBQ on December 15

Submitted by Denair High School

Denair FFA is having a Drive Thru BBQ from 5:00-8:00 pm, on December 15, 2017. Tickets are available from any FFA member for $15, or you can stop by Denair High SchoolPlease make checks payable to Denair FFA.

All donations will go to Denair FFA members so they can attend the National FFA Convention, State FFA Convention, and many state and local leadership conferences.

Thank you for supporting Denair High School’s FFA students!