World Champion Drum and Bugle Corps Returns to Denair for Weeklong Camp

It’s about to get loud again at the Denair High School stadium and middle school facilities.

The Vanguard Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps of Santa Clara are back for the eighth year in a row. The 150-member organization of musicians and color guard participants traditionally begins each summer competition season with a weeklong camp in Denair.

“The relationship between Denair and Vanguard has been positive and has generated interest to the degree that folks will stop by to watch,” said Aaron Rosander, superintendent of the Denair Unified School District.

Twice in the past four years, the camp provided a springboard to the Drum Corps International Open Class Championship, which the Bay Area group has won four times (2000, 2008, 2013 and 2015). Santa Clara finished second last summer.

“We make a lot of noise, so it’s easy to become a distraction. The people here are really nice; very welcoming,” said Steve Barnhill, the corps’ director. “The facilities are great. We’re right next to the cafeteria. We’re right next to the quad. We have access to football field. And it’s quiet and safe at night.”

Vanguard’s group includes about 70 musicians in the brass section playing trumpets, mellophones, trombones and tubas; about 40 in the color guard waving flags, twirling rifles and dancing; about 35 in percussion playing snares, quads, xylophones and marimbas; three drum majors; and about 20 adult instructors. The caravan of three buses, a semi-trailer full of instruments, flags, uniforms and equipment, and a mobile kitchen will arrive on Thursday.

The cadets bunk in the middle school gym while the adults use various classrooms. “We all have air mattresses,” Barnhill said. “This gets our kids and our parental volunteers used to the idea of living out of a suitcase and sleeping on air mattresses. We couldn’t afford it otherwise. It’s not practical. Plus, we need the space a school provides to rehearse. We’re very self-sufficient.” Continue reading “World Champion Drum and Bugle Corps Returns to Denair for Weeklong Camp” »

DUSD’s Proposed 2017-18 Budget Includes $1 Million to DECA Expansion, New Textbooks

Fast-growing Denair Elementary Charter Academy will add classrooms for its expanding dual-immersion program and students across the district will benefit from new textbooks under a proposed 2017-18 budget discussed Thursday night by school officials.

The $15.7 million spending plan projects the use of more than $1 million in so-called “one-time funds” received from the state over the past few years.

Linda Covello, chief business officer for the Denair Unified School District, said about $415,000 will go toward purchase and installation of up to 10 portable classrooms at DECA in time for the 2018-19 school year.

The elementary campus must add two classes each year for students in the dual-immersion program, which teaches children in Spanish and English. It started at the kindergarten level in 2015-16 and expands to each grade level as the first students advance.

Another $430,000 in the proposed budget will be directed toward the purchase of new textbooks in Spanish, English language arts and math across the district, Covello said. About $120,000 will be used to replace two computer labs at DECA and $100,000 will buy eight to 10 Chromebook carts (portable computers used across the district).

“We really want to expand our programs to entice students to come to the district,” Covello said.

The one-time funds have accumulated the past three years, she said. By law, they cannot be spent on ongoing expenses such as employee salaries.

Superintendent Aaron Rosander said rather than increasing overall funding for education, Gov. Jerry Brown has preferred to give districts one-time funds if the state has “extra” money at the end of its fiscal year.

Denair’s proposed 2017-18 budget anticipates an Average Daily Attendance of 1,279 students, an increase of 16 students from this year. ADA is the basis for state funding. Projections are for 2% attendance growth in 2018-19 and 3% in 2019-20. Continue reading “DUSD’s Proposed 2017-18 Budget Includes $1 Million to DECA Expansion, New Textbooks” »

Denair Retirees Honored for Combined 171 Years of Service

Denair retirees May 2017

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

Five accomplished and influential teachers and a popular maintenance man have announced their retirements from the Denair Unified School District at the end of this month. Combined, they have 171 years of service in schools.

Those retiring are:

  • Patti Greer, second grade teacher, Denair Elementary Charter Academy
  • Carol Hammond, reading intervention specialist, Denair Elementary Charter Academy
  • Mary Worman, preschool teacher, Denair Elementary Charter Academy
  • Colleen Vickery, eighth grade language arts teacher, Denair Middle School
  • Johanna Hoyt, seventh grade language arts, Denair Middle School
  • Charlie Asbill, maintenance man, Denair Middle School and Denair High School

All were honored and presented with inscribed clocks Thursday night at an emotional Board of Trustees meeting. There were smiles, hugs and more than a few tears – of gratitude and happy memories, and from close friends who won’t be seen quite as frequently.

Superintendent Aaron Rosander referred to teaching as “a lifelong calling” as part of his tribute to the retirees. “I couldn’t be more proud to be associated with you. Thank you for all that you’ve done.”

The Pulse reached out to all six employees; four of them responded.

Patti Greer, 29½ years in the district (40 overall): Greer expects that she will miss her colleagues as well as the eager faces of her students.

“When you teach in a district as long as I have, you develop friendships that last a lifetime,” she said. “I might have a visit once in a while to get a kid fix.” Continue reading “Denair Retirees Honored for Combined 171 Years of Service” »

Denair Unified Employees Granted Additional One-Time 3% Salary Payments

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

All employees of the Denair Unified School District were granted an additional one-time salary payment of 3% by trustees Thursday night, the latest sign of the district’s improved financial health. Combined with previous raises totaling 5%, the money brings employees’ compensation this year to what they were in 2013.

“I know it’s only a one-time (payment), but it’s movement toward full salary restoration,” said board President Kathi Dunham-Filson.

The vote was 4-0, with Trustee Robert Hodges absent. Both unions already had approved the agreements. The payments for members of the Denair Unified Teachers Association and California State Employees Association will cost the district $215,650.

It is the second time this school year that trustees have approved one-time payments for Denair employees. Last October, all teachers who were on staff in 2015-16 received payments representing 2.37% of their salaries, matching those given classified staff members earlier in the year.

The payments are part of the plan to gradually restore wages that were slashed four years ago, when the district faced a financial crisis based largely on declining enrollment, overstaffing and reduced state funding.

Salaries for classified staff were reduced 12%; pay for teachers and administrators was cut 8%. Some employees were laid off.

Superintendent Aaron Rosander and Chief Business Officer Linda Covello – who both arrived in 2014 — initiated a financial recovery program that maximized the use of so-called “restricted” funds to pay for people, programs and equipment while reducing the burden on the general fund. Continue reading “Denair Unified Employees Granted Additional One-Time 3% Salary Payments” »

Denair Unified Campuses to Host Open Houses on Thursday

Submitted by Denair Unified School District

Thursday is Open House night across the Denair Unified School District — a chance for parents and community members to discover first-hand all the educational achievement occurring in Denair classrooms.

Here is the schedule:

Denair Elementary Charter Academy: 5 to 7:30 p.m. The event begins with a book fair, where parents can buy books for their sons and daughters. The Open House begins at 6 p.m.

Denair Middle School: 5:30 to 6:30 p.m. Teachers will be on hand to talk about what’s going on in their classrooms.

Denair High School: 6 to 9 p.m. Open House will be the first hour, followed by the annual awards ceremony starting at 7 p.m. in the Coyote Center. Dozens of students will be recognized for their academic performance and earning scholarships.

Denair Charter Academy: 6 to 7 p.m. Open House for the independent study program.