News


Ravenswood teachers, superintendent face breakdown in trust

Superintendent calls union's 'no confidence' vote a 'stunt'

Festering teacher concerns in the Ravenswood City School District came to a head last week when the teachers union announced it had taken a vote of "no confidence" in Superintendent Gloria Hernandez-Goff, ignited most recently by a fracas over a new middle school the district is opening this fall.

A letter signed by 143 of the district's approximate 184 teachers calls for Hernandez-Goff's immediate resignation, alleging her lack of communication, transparency and accessibility has created a "hostile and draining" work environment.

"The systemic change we long for that will positively impact student achievement must be led by someone whose communication skills and decision-making process inspires, empowers and supports all those involved to work together and work to his/her fullest potential," the letter reads.

In a statement, Hernandez-Goff called the letter a "publicity stunt." The district is "not in a position where we can afford to play politics at the expense of our children's education and future," she said, declining to comment further.

Board of Education President Sharifa Wilson told the Weekly she "wholeheartedly disagrees" with the teachers union and is confident in Hernandez-Goff's ability as a leader. She credited the superintendent, who joined the district four years ago, with increased use of data, more professional development, more elective offerings and progress on compliance with a longtime federal court order to improve special-education services.

The union's letter details several grievances about the superintendent, starting with what they describe as a flawed process to develop a comprehensive middle school. Teacher involvement in the planning for the school was "minimal at best," the union alleges, despite the fact that five teachers served on a districtwide committee tasked with developing the school.

Nicole Sullivan, an eighth-grade teacher at Ronald McNair Academy, said she and one other teacher were "hand selected" by district administrators to serve on the middle-school committee. The district added more teacher-members in response to their request for more teacher representation, but when the larger committee broke into smaller groups in the fall to plan for specific programs at the new school, communication and involvement fizzled, Sullivan said.

"There was never an invitation for more/other teachers to join. No emails sent to the educators in the district. No newsletters were distributed asking for more teacher input. There was no communication to the rest of the district," Sullivan wrote in an email to the Weekly.

Teachers do not oppose the middle school, but believe its success will depend on transparency and open communication with teachers, Sullivan said.

"As an original participant in the CMS Task Force, all I want is for this transition process to run smoothly, and for our students to get the education they deserve," Sullivan said. "With the district office secrets and lack of communication, many teachers are nervous about the transition — but not against it."

The superintendent's promise to bring a final plan for the comprehensive middle school back to union leadership for their consideration before presenting it publicly was not kept, Ravenswood Teachers Association President Ronda White told the Weekly. Teachers found out about the final details at a school board meeting last Thursday, she said. Teachers are being asked to volunteer to move to the new school, but as it expands, other campuses will be consolidated and moved, affecting teachers, White said.

"When you make a move of this magnitude, you allow for some time," she said.

The union's letter also describes missteps in communication around teacher reassignments and collecting feedback about high teacher turnover. While external factors like cost of living or higher salaries in other districts have contributed to teachers leaving the district, White said one of the primary reasons exiting teachers give is the district's culture.

Teachers cite "the dysfunction of the superintendent, her disrespect for teachers, her unprofessionalism and her inability to communicate," White said.

White said the union has raised their concerns with Hernandez-Goff previously over the last two years.

Board of Education member Marielena Gaona-Mendoza, who was elected last fall, said she believes Hernandez-Goff should resign. She agreed with the union's concerns about inaccessibility and transparency — two issues Gaona-Mendoza ran on last November.

Wilson said board members will meet with union leadership to "start bridging some of those distrust things."

The district is also on the verge of starting negotiations with the union for next year's contract.

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Comments

16 people like this
Posted by Board Member
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 5, 2017 at 6:28 am

I applaud Ravenswood teachers for speaking up and bringing this issue to the board, and sorry that our Superintendent said that it is a "Publicity Stunt"
Here is a quote from tweet to that statement from Kids Matter, organization that among other things brings volunteers into the classrom and tutors our Ravenswood kids:

"publicity stunt," interesting. We wonder what teachers would be trying to publicize? Certainly not themselves, what is in it for them? (tweet taken from the article published by Penninsula Press).
Here is the link to it:
Web Link


I only hope that the other school board members do the right thing and ask Ms. Hernandez to leave. Our school District cannot improve when we do not have the kind of leadership it takes. If I was Ms. Hernandez I will resign and leave with dignity.

This my personal opinion and I am not talking on behalf of the other board members.
Marielena Gaona-Mendoza
Ravenswood School Board Member


8 people like this
Posted by Board Member
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 5, 2017 at 6:46 am

Here is a copy of an e-mail that Ms. Hernandez sent to the board recently about the article written on the Penninsula Press. Read it and make your own conclusions.


Ravenswood Trustees,

Attached is the link to a story regarding the letter RTA submitted to the board last Thursday.

Thank you for standing strong in support of what is best for students, and much appreciation to Board President Sharifa Wilson for standing up to the push back against much needed change.

Regards,

Dr. Gloria M. Hernandez-Goff
Superintendent
Ravenswood City School District


11 people like this
Posted by No Wonder
a resident of Gunn High School
on May 5, 2017 at 7:48 am

I have to go to other district to get my education because this district is so as. I am waiting for improvement so my future kids can attend Ravenswood, but with a board member like WIlson and a superintendent like Hernandez things will never improve even if they bring a new middle schoo because they are doing what they want without involving all parties. Sorry for the teachers who have to work there. Ms Wilson shall be ask to leave her seat for someone else who does a better job and respects the community. Time to leave ms. Hernandez.TaqE


16 people like this
Posted by Kids Come First
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 5, 2017 at 10:52 am

It is unfortunate that the Superintendent would claim the teacher union was playing politics, when so many can see that she has been doing that herself since day one.

After all, it's the favors granted to board members that have led to the strong support they have for her.

Doubt that? Come attend the board meetings and review who the district has been contracting with and hiring.


9 people like this
Posted by Caring Grandmother
a resident of Palo Verde School
on May 5, 2017 at 2:46 pm

Teachers are working without a math or phonics curriculum - how can this be possible, much less acceptable, in America today?

Thanks to "Kids Come First" for their comments.


8 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 5, 2017 at 2:56 pm

The district culture has been whacked long before Dr. Hernandez boarded the Titanic. If anything this is a fine example.


17 people like this
Posted by CONCERNED COMMUNITY MEMBER
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 5, 2017 at 3:23 pm

I have had the opportunity to attend a few board meetings including the last one on 04/27/2017 I believe?. I was appalled to see the rude, condescending and disrespectful manner in which trustee Shariffa Wilson talks to the members of the public when something negative is being said of Mrs. Hernandez, it seems as if she takes it very personally, also not sure if it is just me or if anybody else has noticed how rude Ms. Wilson shuts off trustee Ms. Gaona-Mendoza every time Ms. Gaona-Mendoza attempts to make a comment on a issue being discussed. Very respectfully, perhaps the next vote of no confidence and request for immediate resignation should be for Mrs. Wilson. Thank You


19 people like this
Posted by Enough is Enough
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 5, 2017 at 4:43 pm

It is not only you. My son and I have attended board meetings, and we also feel bad when Ms. Wilson, and sometimes Ms. Pulido puta down down Ms. Gaona, especiallly if she is asking questions before voting on something, or if she uknowleges the speakers who express their concerns on the open forum. As soon as she does this Ms. Wilson's face gets distorted. There was a time when Ms. Gaona wanted to asked a question to the superintendent and Ms. Willson would not let her ask the question claiming that it was not on the agenda (at this point, no one knew what she was going to ask), but Ms. Gaona did not give up and finally she allowed her to ask the question to the superintendent. My son told me at the end of the meeting, "I feel really bad for the way trustee Gaona is treated, it should not be like that. It seems to us that the other trustees and the superintended have not accepted the fact that Ms. Gaona won the seat,got the most votes, and she is there to stay.
There are also rumors that Ms. Hernandez gave her son a job at the district office, when he could not do the job. There should be an investigation to find out if other applicants were interviewed for this position, and if in fact he is qualified to do the job. Employees are afraind to speak up because of retaliation. Ms. Hernandez is not as professional and honest as she seems to be.


17 people like this
Posted by Staff
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 5, 2017 at 6:06 pm

It's frustrating that both the superintendent and various Board members blame the teacher's inability to change as the reason for their grievance. If you read the letter in full, posted on another news site, you can see that the process for starting the new middle school is just a small part of the huge concern and issue they have. It's about the superintendent's lack of leadership, transparency, respect for teachers and information sharing that are the biggest concerns.


16 people like this
Posted by EPA Kids Matter
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 5, 2017 at 8:20 pm

People are correct about Wilson's behavior! You can see it first hand on the video we posted! twitter.com/epakidsmatter.

"She credited the superintendent, who joined the district four years ago, with increased use of data, more professional development, more elective offerings and progress on compliance with a longtime federal court order to improve special-education services."

How would she know? She never goes to the schools to see. She takes the Supers word for it and the super lies! There is no staff-wide professional development, data is just collected but is not used in a meaningful way, and compliance...talk about a can of worms!

The time is now people, we need to keep pressure on the board. Based on the the email the board member above posted, Dr. Hernandez-Goff seems a little too friendly with the people who are supposed to oversee her. The board seems to have forgotten their charge is to manage the super, not be her friend.


22 people like this
Posted by Ravenswood Teacher
a resident of another community
on May 5, 2017 at 8:45 pm

Just to add to the mistakes coming from Dr. Gloria Hernandez, those "five teachers" who attended a meeting about the comprehensive middle school are no longer with the district. The other names of teachers who were on the list of attending the middle school meetings had only attended a meeting which was three years ago. The teachers want a middle school, but the district's message is not clear. They are painting the teacher union as uncooperative. The Ravenswood Teacher Association clearly advocates and wants a middle school, but we are asking for clear timeline, a clear plan on how to transition students, parents, and teachers. That has not been made. Teachers care and only wants what is best for the kids, but we are asking for a well planned and organized transition that will properly benefit all stakeholders. This plan is rushed, not carefully thought out, and it will blow up in Dr. Herndandez-Goff's and the school board's face!


19 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 5, 2017 at 9:09 pm

Hernandez-Goff and her husband, who's also a finger pointer, seem to be two peas in a pod. And what's with Sharifa Wilson? I guess avoiding trouble with the FBI some years ago wasn't enough to get her to change her ways. Note to local activists who've been mentored by Wilson: Watch out!! She might have some highly localized clout, but wiser eyes are upon you and are not impressed by her influence.

Unfortunately, Hernandez-Goff and Wilson are reminscent of former city manager Magda Gonzalez and former mayor Laura Martinez - connected in the sort of banana republic way that never ends well. It makes me sick, as a taxpayer who cares about education, that this district has never had its act together. Blow these two officials out of the water with an investigation and the necessary resignations! The teachers, the staff, the taxpayers and most certainly the students deserve better.


11 people like this
Posted by Get over yourselves
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 5, 2017 at 9:38 pm

The middle school is moving forward. The school board already made this decision. Time to let go of the fact that you didn't get your way, and support the plan. This public bickering only distracts us from the real goal of serving the kids. Move on, and start working together.


20 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 5, 2017 at 9:43 pm

Wow, the above comment is obviously an attempt to shut people up and shut down any concerns raised by teachers. Too late! The bullying tactic won't work.


11 people like this
Posted by ugh
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 5, 2017 at 11:25 pm

Has anybody else been to the school board meetings lately? Sharifa does all of the talking, and on the rare occasion when other board members try to speak and have a different opinion that her she talks over them to shut them up or bangs her gavel until they do. It's the Sharifa Wilson show and it's absolutely ridiculous. She also appears to make important decisions out of spite. If she feels disrespected ("feels" being the operative word) she will just act against you regardless of whether or not you are presenting something valid. We have a superintendent and a board president who are out for themselves rather than the best interest of the children in this district and that is absolutely disgraceful. She can go ahead and leave with Gloria.


14 people like this
Posted by Resident
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 6, 2017 at 8:25 am

The Superintendent favors Sharifa and Ana. Sharifa and Ana are very close to McNair Knox. Ana actually works for McNair Knox. See how much the district gives One EPA....hmmmm Sharifa and Ana both have to go. They are rude and don't belong in politics. The Superintendents husband ran for city council and lost! Can you imagine how that would be a conflict of interest? Her son works at the district office. Hmmm. Time to resign! Respect the people!


11 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 6, 2017 at 11:30 am

You raised some thoughtful points, Resident. Ana Pulido's youthful arrogance is well-known, and her self-important ambitions aren't exactly subtle. Given the closeness Sharifa Wilson has had with McNair-Knox, One East Palo Alto and Pulido (her closeness predates Pulido's tenure at OEPA), what can be done when the closeness of Pulido and Wilson at the very least appear to result in bullying and unbalanced decisions? Do they give money to OEPA?

Another question: Why does this board so regularly attract people of questionable character?? Remember Chester Palesoo's criminal conviction for assault? Remember when the board was suspected of misusing their district credit cards? And all the problems during Knight's reign?


23 people like this
Posted by Insider and Community Voice
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 6, 2017 at 12:28 pm

All of the highest paid employees are friends of the superintendent. She brought them with her from a school district in Sacramento and now they all make 6-figure salaries a year. One of the "Sacramentos" filed more than a few claims that she fell while on the job in the past few years. Her son does, in fact, work for her too. And somehow, all of the employees who are from the community, as well as hardworking teachers, keep losing their jobs. At the end, only the kids suffer. From personal experience, I worked there for 2 years and my supervisor was making $80,000 a year without a college degree- on top of that, he failed horribly at the job. It turns out they were... friends. I filed a complaint about being advised to break federal and state code. They did not follow up or investigate and in return demanded I not report back to work while paying me for the remainder of the school year. Keep your eyes open because the kids of our community are the ones who suffer the most. The school district is corrupt and we're letting them handle million dollar donations from Facebook etc. but what are our kids actually gaining? Let's keep our eyes on the scoresheet, the numbers and quality levels of education that our kids are receiving. It would be great if employees could actually speak on this issue without fear of losing their job. We need to take control and demand that our kids receive the best education possible. It CAN happen- but not with distasteful leadership.

Feel free to revisit the "1999 Final Report: Ravenswood City School District Business Practices." This was from the investigation of former indicted Superintendent Charlie Mae Knight, current School Board Trustee, who was acquitted of 19 charges of mishandling of monies. Harvey Rose Associates, LLC was hired by the San Mateo Grand Jury to investigate improprieties in the school district. Might be helpful to look through and see what recommendations have been implemented or if some of the problems are still present today.

Link: Web Link


5 people like this
Posted by Board Member
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 6, 2017 at 1:30 pm

Be the judge. I e-mailed Ms. Hernandez this: marielena gaona <marielena4schoolboard1@gmail.com>
Apr 30 (6 days ago)

to Gloria
Ms. Hernandez,
I am very concerned about the many issues that were brought out at our last board meeting. There were so many, but through this e-mail I am only going to address the two of them because I consider them urgent:
1. There was a teacher from the pre-school who express her frustration about not having the legal ratio of adults per students that the state requires because one of her aides does not longer work there and she has not been replaced, and then other aides are absent and she does not get a sub. I ignore the reason why an aide has not been assigned to this classroom, but I imagine that it is because you are short on aides, and if that is so, my question to you, is why did you laid off so many aides when in fact you do not have enough aides to support teachers and students?

Here is a reminder of the CDC Mission Statement: taken from Ravenswood Website:
"As staff and families of the Ravenswood Child Development Center, we are committed to providing a supportive and enriched environment where our children are happy, safe, healthy, and competent. We will work collaboratively to promote the growth of the whole child and meet the social emotional, physical and cognitive needs of students."

I believe that when you do not have the appropriate ratio of adults to students we are not providing a safe or healthy environment for our students and as a result they are not happy. How can a child with a dirty diaper be happy?

2. The other issue was about the father who came to say that his son comes home from school on dirty diapers. This is call negligence How can this still be happening in our school district. If parents do not change their children diapers, they can be accused of neglecting their parents and their children can be removed. Now this happens in our own school district and nothing happens.
I am directing you to please make sure that you do meet with this father and try to make amends so things do no escalate. We are so close to get out of the suit that was brought years ago; we are not out yet and we are already lacking of services for our students. Not having someone responsible to change a student diaper is not providing him the services


The board should have directect you to fix the problem, and I am aking you to please take care of these two issues inmetiately; please make sure that a permanent aide (not a sub) gets assigned to the state pre-school so this teacher can do her job with the support she is entitled to have.
To Please investigate if the parent what school does the student with the dirty diapers goes too and take care of it inmediately tool. Let me know if you need help taking care of these issues or this is out of your responsibilities and I shall address someone else.
Please report on those two issues at our next school board meeting, hopefully they will be fix by then.
Also, a while ago I asked you for a copy of your job description and contract and till this day I have not gotten it. Please provide me with a copy as soon as possible.
Regards,
Marielena Gaona
Ravenswood School District Trustee

Aparently she complained with Ms. Wilson, and Ms. Wilson scolded me for addressing the couple of issues that were brought up to the Public Forum through this -mail:
sharifa wilson
Apr 30 (6 days ago)

to me, Gloria
Ms. Gaona- Mendoza,

These issues were raised from the floor, in this past Thursday meeting WILL BE addressed by the Superintendent. ALL issues raised from the floor are directed to the superintendent for follow up.This statement is included in the description of the agenda item: From the Floor. Please refer to any agenda, as it appears on every meeting agenda.

Have you had a chance to receive any "Board training" yet? I think it will help you be a more productive board member is you have an understanding of our role as board members are. It will also make you aware of the potential "conflicts of interest" when you refer to your past experience as a teacher in the district.

sharifa wilson
Apr 30 (6 days ago)

to me, Gloria
Ms. Gaona- Mendoza,

These issues were raised from the floor, in this past Thursday meeting WILL BE addressed by the Superintendent. ALL issues raised from the floor are directed to the superintendent for follow up.This statement is included in the description of the agenda item: From the Floor. Please refer to any agenda, as it appears on every meeting agenda.

Have you had a chance to receive any "Board training" yet? I think it will help you be a more productive board member is you have an understanding of our role as board members are. It will also make you aware of the potential "conflicts of interest" when you refer to your past experience as a teacher in the district.

Question for the community:
Is Ms. Wilson doing her job as a board member or is she protecting the superintende. Is her job to protect the superintendent or direct when conflict comes up?

Please attend this week board meeting and support our students, and teachers so our school district improves and our students have better outcome?


18 people like this
Posted by Community Member
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 6, 2017 at 4:04 pm

No, Wilson is not doing her job! SHE is the one who needs to go to board training. She CONSTANTLY violates the Brown Act and Robert's Rules. She addresses the crowd when she is not supposed to and most of the time is rude and unrully.

Now, of COURSE she is protecting the Super and is very defensive of of the CDC, because who runs the CDC? One of her very public supporters! Talk about conflict of interest!

Web Link


2 people like this
Posted by Teacher union tactic
a resident of Juana Briones School
on May 6, 2017 at 5:45 pm

I have come to respect Mariaelena's efforts in past years, especially as she single-handedly battled Kevin Skelly and the board, especially Barbara Mitchell, the class act who yelled out, "cut the mike" so Mariaelena could not express a few meager words. I also saw how shabbily Juana Briones treat Mariaelena while her daughters were there. It had a lot to do with race. Still, I am not quite sure about her blind support for the teachers' union in EPA. The PAUSD teacher's union always did their unseemly work behind closed doors and only engaged us when they needed some political clout at 25 Churchill. It is unusual that the EPA teachers voted no confidence, but less so when you consider that any group might respond negatively to changes.


11 people like this
Posted by Community Member
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 6, 2017 at 10:51 pm

Wait, wait, wait. So, it seemed really odd to me that Trustee Wilson was getting so upset over Trustee Gaona-Mendoza asking about the CDC. If a parent has a complaint, the board should look into it right? So why get so sour over it. Well, some BASIC internet search (just type their names into Web Link) shows that not only is the director of the CDC a big supporter of Wilson, they live together!

THEY LIVE TOGETHER! How is that NOT a conflict of interest? I would hope that trustee Wilson would actually have nothing to do with CDC business in any way. And I certainly hope she was not on the board when Glenda Savage was confirmed as the Lead Coordinator of the CDC! And she is lecturing Gaona-Mendoza on conflicts of interest? What a mess!


8 people like this
Posted by MEMBER OF THE COMMUNITY
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 6, 2017 at 11:14 pm

That's right, I almost forgot, many credited Ms. Gaona-Mendoza's relentless uphill battles against injustices for the ousting of affluent PAUSED Superintendent Kevin Skelly. Marielena persistently fought among other things against inequities, discrimination and bullying in that School District while being an employee and a parent of the Palo Alto School District, we are hopeful that with her experience and persistence she will help lead our dysfunctional School District on the right track for the benefit of the children of this community.

Kept up the great work trustee Gaona-Mendoza.


18 people like this
Posted by RCSD teacher
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 7, 2017 at 11:23 am

I have been a teacher at Costano for twelve years. The district is horrible and completely disconnected from what is actually happening in schools. I only stay because the kids I teach are amazing and so bright. Dr. Hernandez-Goff recently told us we are in a 'budget crisis' and laid off several important team members due to this. Yet, she is planning on starting a new middle school that will cost millions. Where is that money coming from? She hired a consultant to help with the new middle school but decided not to listen to him. His advice was to not open it this upcoming year because NOTHING is ready. It is now early May and teachers, parents, and students were just told about this. Our community is in crisis due to housing costs and immigration laws and for many of our kids our school is the only place that feels safe so, of course, Dr. Hernandez-Goff wants to take this from them. She says one thing to newspapers or other officials to look good but she had done absolutely nothing good for these kids. We deserve better.


20 people like this
Posted by Community Member
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 8, 2017 at 7:57 am

Thank you "Insider and Community Voice", for illuminating the favoritism and nepotism under the current leadership. It would be great for some investigative journalism into the Superintendent hiring family and unqualified friends, as well as the conflict of interest with Trustee Wilson and the CDC Director.

After reading the letter from the union, it'd be interesting to know how often district-level employees are evaluated. A Freedom of Information Act request to see internal communications about these items would be quite the read-through, it seems.


7 people like this
Posted by Enough is Enough
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 8, 2017 at 10:06 am

The superintendent and Ms. Wilson have to many skeletons in the closet and they are coming out. Now it is up to us the families, teachers, board, and community members o do something about it. We cannot let this keep happening. We need to take our school district back and improve it for the benefit of our students. Their future depends on it.


2 people like this
Posted by A Teacher at Cesar Chavez
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 8, 2017 at 1:11 pm

[Post removed.]


8 people like this
Posted by Community Member
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 8, 2017 at 2:45 pm

In case you're just joining the conversation, here is a summary of the running list of things people have issues with besides the middle school:

1. Her son was hired as a district employee and has committed questionable actions.
2. She appears far too friendly with the board president who is supposed to be the one who oversees her.
3. Some Teachers are working without a curriculum and there is no solution.
4. There is a lack of transparency
5. There is a severe lack of leadership.
6. There is no respect for teachers.
7. She does not visit the schools.
8. She does not tell the truth (i.e. data is collected, but not used in anyway, the list of teachers who helped with the school are no longer there)
9. When someone blew the whistle, they were dismissed form their position and were paid to sit the year out.
10.. There are questions around the fact that RCSD has laid off 43 employees lately yet plans on launching a new school that will cost millions. IF they can't pay vital employees, how can they launching a multi-million dollar school.

This seems like a long list. And this list isn't isn't just about change or the middle school. These seem like things that are crucial to being able to run a school district successfully!


4 people like this
Posted by Enough is Enough
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 8, 2017 at 3:00 pm

Like I said y my former post the skeletons keep coming out. We now have a better picutre of our super, her son, and Ms. Wilson. What is next!


2 people like this
Posted by A Teacher
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 8, 2017 at 6:45 pm

This is NOT about the middle school. The middle school was one of THREE points made in the letter that served as a vote of no confidence. The points are all valid and verifiable and that's why Hernandez and Wilson are trying to change the narrative.

Investigate them both! The children of East Palo Alto deserve better than self serving administrators and politicians.


2 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 8, 2017 at 8:15 pm

What is the CDC some commenters keep referencing?

Wilson and Savage have lived together for quite some time.

I'd like to know what questionable things Hernandez-Goff's son has done at work.


2 people like this
Posted by Hmmm
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 8, 2017 at 8:21 pm

Never mind - I found what what the CDC is. Does Wilson recuse herself from CDC decisions being made by the board?

I agree that an investigative journalist could put together an interesting news story based on the facts. Are we in a Charlie Mae Knight-era type of scandal?
Whatever happened to the FBI's interest in Wilson when she was mayor?


5 people like this
Posted by Community Member
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 8, 2017 at 10:43 pm

She recused herself from confirming her employment but who knows if she stays out of all CDC business. She should never be involved with it which is why it would be appropriate for another board member to advocate for follow-up and Wilson should not.


4 people like this
Posted by Board Member
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 8, 2017 at 11:55 pm

To Insider and Community Voice:

I want to apologize for the way you have been treated. I believe that people who become teachers because they want to make a difference in the children’s lives are saints. Teachers work very hard, stay in the classroom after kids are dismissed, sometimes for hours on their own time, don’t make a lot of money and they do not deserve to be treated they way you are being treated.

I can relate to you very well, because when I worked at Ravenswood as a special education teacher, the same thing happened to me. I too blew the whistle by reporting to Administration some disturbing issues that I encountered and I was also sent home on a Administrative leave getting full paid and benefits for the remainder of the school year. Incidents such as:

1.- Aide who continued giving big thermos of coffee to a special education student who has emotional needs, after the Aide had been directed not to do so.

2.-Special Education Aides refusing to do their jobs and not helping students when they needed help.

3.- A female Aide said she wants me dead.

4.- A male Aide roughing up students leaving visible marks on their bodies, two different students / two different occasions.

5.- Male Aide and Special Ed (Down Syndrome) student touching each others buttocks in an ongoing basis, same Aide inappropriately caressing the ear lobe to a female student.

6. Another Aide faked a parent’s signature on a consent form to a field trip to force this student to go on a field trip, after the student’s mother had explicitly inform us that she would not allow his son to that Field trip.
7. Special Education Students not getting the complete number of services and minutes outlined on their IPE’s yet the IEP’s reflected such services were being provided.
8. A hearing impaired student did not had access to the special FM Radio system due to the device being broken and not being sent out to be repaired for more than three months because the Special Education Coordinator was too busy to do it.
9. A student in a wheel chair not being put on the stand two times per day as it was stated in the IEP. In addition to that, this students was put on diapers on field trips because the administrators could not arrange for an Aide to go on the a field trip to help this student with her toileting needs.
Since I worked for Bell Haven and Willow Oaks, I first reported the issues to the School Principals of both schools but the principals did nothing.
My next step was to meet with Ms. Hernandez to let her know what was going on, in multiple occasions I requested to meet with her but she refused to meet with me.

Since my concerns where not being addressed and Administrators refused to meet with me, as a last resort I filed a uniform complain, but two days later I was given a letter where I was being placed on a administrative leave and I was ordered to stay home for the remainder of the School year with full salary and benefits, needless to say I was found non-reelected for the following school year.

I addressed the board on multiple occasions but neither the board members nor the superintendent responded to my complaints.

The District spent a lot of money from our students education funds hiring lawyers to defend themselves even though they claimed that they were doing an independent investigation of my case. However the Law Firm that they supposedly hired to do the “independent” investigation of the Uniform Complain that I had filed, was the same Law Firm that defends the Districts law suits.

At the end the teacher aide who left marks on students bodies’ had a promotion and not he is not a teacher aide, but a campus coordinator.

Since I could not make changes as a parent, teacher or community member I decided to become a board member to improve the way things work in this district and to ask for more transparency and accountability.

Thanks again Insider.. for sharing you awful experience working at Ravenswood, I just want to say that you are not alone.


7 people like this
Posted by RCSD Member
a resident of another community
on May 9, 2017 at 12:44 pm

To the above comment from the RCSD Board Member, your accusations are extremely serious and are unfounded. The school principals DO THEIR JOBS!They are here for the safety of the school. This article is to show the lack of communication between teachers and Dr. Hernandez-Goff. I suggest you work with the caring teachers and principals of the district instead of destroying the hard work teachers and principals have done within the schools.


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Posted by RCSD Homie
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 9, 2017 at 1:21 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]




4 people like this
Posted by Community Member
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 9, 2017 at 1:29 pm

RCSD Member: - It doesn't sound like the accusations are unfounded at all. The board member is simply sharing her FIRST HAND experience. She experienced those things so you can't tell her they are unfounded. It's easy to say they're "unfounded" because it isn't like you can call HR and confirm her story because they can't release the info.

The comments above are on point for this article. The teachers are expressing their frustration with how the superintendant doesn't manage the district properly, these are prime examples. In fact, these accusations are part of working in RCSD. They regularly "re-assign" and put teachers on administrative leave all the time. There are currently teachers being tutors, district subs, file clerks, you name it, all because they can't handle a classroom and no one wants to get them the help they need or because they've committed some act that doesn't allow them to be in the classroom anymore. So, they get paid their salary and schools just go without teachers because it isn't in the budget to replace them and RCSD ends up with Subs all year.

The speciel ed concerns are real too. Did you know that staff is coached before every audit. They get told what language to use, schools are told to not "overshare" and they are also told to "make sure you present your stars" when it comes to the interviews by the auditors.

These are not unfounded accusations, they are real, and no one is trying to destroy the hard work of anyone, all they are doing is looking out for kids. Kids from EPA experience enough trauma without things like this happening to them.


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Posted by Another Community Member
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 9, 2017 at 1:38 pm

[Post removed due to same poster using multiple names]


2 people like this
Posted by RCSD Homie
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 9, 2017 at 2:17 pm

A red herring?! OK, grasshoper. Please elaborate how my opinion above is misleading or distracting from the main issue. It is definitely part of it.

On the other hand, utilizing ad hominem is a fine art of discussion? You have no evidence, but you blatantly attack the Superintendant and her son on a personal level. Great job grasshoper!


9 people like this
Posted by Concerned Citizen
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 9, 2017 at 2:30 pm

Let's not forget that 143 teachers signed a letter of no confidence in Ms. Hernandez-Goff's leadership. These were not just middle school teachers. The comprehensive middle school is not the only issue (as many have stated) and the vote of no confidence was not a "publicity stunt," nor was it motivated by politics. It was an out and out cry for help! The Ravenswood City School District is being lead by someone who does not have the skill set to lead the teachers that are shaping the youth of this community for the future. Parents of the Ravenswood City School District need to stand up with the teachers and start vocalizing their concerns about District leadership immediately!


1 person likes this
Posted by Community Member
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 9, 2017 at 3:05 pm

RCSD Homie: If the argument is valid, and part of the discussion, please elaborate. Here is the claims you presented:

1. The Board Members claims are unfounded.
2. Principals do their job (I actually would not refute that for most of them)
3. Bringing up valid concerns will destroy the hard work of people in the district.
4. Teachers and Hernandez-Goff need to work together.

All provided with no examples, nothing to back them up, just presented. You are trying to refer to two different posts within this one, but the more abrasive one that was deleted you suggested that teachers were publicizing this this process.

First, proof has been given; have you not read the letter teachers produced? I think outlining the whole letter again would be a waste of time for readers, there is plenty of evidence in there. Not only is there evidence provided but it is rooted in the standards for excellence for an administrator and how those were specifically violated.

Things happen in RCSD that are a disservice to students all the time (lack of planning, no curriculum, the district not adhering to the court order, etc…). These things are not unfounded but they do not get discussed because people fear for their jobs and a large majority of the teachers are not tenured due to incredibly high turn-over so they have no protection again retaliation. MANY good teachers have been driven from RCSD by unresponsive administrations.

The ad hominem technique in this case is VERY valid. In addition to being upset with the management of the district, there are very serious concerns of transparency, accessibility, and honesty. The argument about her son working for the district is valid because 43 people have been laid off yet her son continues to work for the district. He was brought here long after any of the people who were fired so his seniority should be much lower. Nepotism is a very serious thing because there are many hard working people from the community that want to stay and work in their community.

You can’t call a witnesses claims unfounded. It sounds like they were highly documented, first hand experiences, so unless you have proof otherwise then you can’t call them unfounded.


4 people like this
Posted by Get over yourselves
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 9, 2017 at 3:44 pm

The board already reviewed the letter and decided they weren't going to fire the superintendent. What more do you propose to do besides hide behind your computer and complain?


2 people like this
Posted by RCSD Homie
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 9, 2017 at 3:48 pm

Fair enough.

Yes, I have read the letter, and letter offers no evidence. Can we all agree on what real evidence means? Opinions are not facts.

Can I also please see evidence on 43 staff that were let go? I would appreciate it very much. According to Board agendas the number of staff being "fired" is not matching what has been presented here.


6 people like this
Posted by Community Member
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 9, 2017 at 4:00 pm

From the 4-5-17 Meeting: Superintendent to give the appropriate layoff notices 11 FTE Health and Wellness Provider, 7 FTE Child Nutrition and Education Worker, 11 FTE Paraeducator, and 5 FTE After School Program Site Coordinator.

From 4-27-17 Meeting: Superintendent to give the appropriate layoff notices: 9 FTE Custodian

11 + 7 + 11 + 5 + 9 = 43


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Posted by Community Member
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 9, 2017 at 8:55 pm

Fact: a thing that is indisputably the case.

Facts Enclosed in the letter from the teachers:

1. There were 5 teachers on the middle school committee. 5 out of 180 is 2.7% - this qualifies as “limited teacher involvement.”
2. Parents were told about the middle school plan on April 20 (see the twee to verify the date: (Web Link). Parents were informed of the grade levels that would be being moved from campuses. Teachers were shown the plan until 5/3. No meeting was held with teachers who be moved campuses due to this change (I know them personally and this is a fact). Which means that teachers learned about their re-assignment from parents and kids, not administration.
3. It took 24 days to send out a power point that was already made and a list of questions that were captured real time at a meeting. This email literally could have gone out that night of the meeting, but it took 24 days.
4. Teachers have been reassigned to roles such as tutor, substitute, etc instead of being in the classroom leaving students with long term subs or no teacher.
5. There has been extremely limited communication to the greater staff about the development of the new school is being developed, this is a fact because hardly any emails went out and no meetings happened. People can attest to this and the district can produce no meeting notes and hardly any emails.

Other BIG general facts.

1. The lay-off numbers are above. Dr. Hernandez-Goff says publicly all the time that our enrollment is declining and the district is broke.
2. Even though 43 people have been laid off and the super says RCSD is broke, she is suggesting that millions of dollars in infrastructure will be added to the current Chavez campus but has provided no solid information on where that money will come from.
3. The district has laid out the plan and this plan includes tracking kids into honors and non-honors classes. Research shows that tracking is not beneficial to students, especially those in lower socio-economic areas.
4. While a course list has been provided which includes “Honors” courses, there is no honors curriculum and there is currently no plan to address remediation, which in the RCSD community is a larger need.

None of these things are opinions. These are cold hard facts that can be backed-up by numbers, presentations, emails, etc.


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Posted by Witness
a resident of East Palo Alto
on May 11, 2017 at 1:43 pm

For all interested, here is the info for the remaining board meetings, taken from ravenswoodschools.org

The Ravenswood City School District Board of Trustees holds its regular board meetings on the 2nd and 4th Thursday of the month at 7:30 PM in the District Office Board Room.

La Mesa Directiva del Distrito Escolar Ravenswood se reúne el segundo y cuarto Jueves del mes a las 7:30 PM en la Sala de Juntas Oficina del Distrito.

May 11 & 25
June 8 & 22


3 people like this
Posted by What a Cluster
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Jul 20, 2017 at 4:52 pm

Simply cannot believe some of the comments on this page regarding the activities of the Board and Superintendent. Unethical behavior lead Charlie Mae Knight to spend over two million to defend herself against allegations (I only say allegations because she was not convicted). Lesson should have been learned to take back our community. East Palo Alto deserves more! The children deserve more! Out with the crooks and Board Members who are questionable. Lastly, Board Members and Superintendent, stop airing your dirty laundry on social media, it makes you look bad and quite frankly, both of you do a good job on your own accord. East Palo Alto deserves educators who care. Superintendent, get off the cross girl, Jesus needs the wood!


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Posted by Concerned Citizen
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 30, 2017 at 11:31 am

The best way to fight this is by using the following:
Web Link

Staff, parents and concerned community members should speak up, even if anonymously.

That being said here's a small rant, take it as you will.

Everyone involved in any school district has a responsibility to the students, this super and board have failed them morally and quite possibly criminally. Someone should execute a freedom of information act request against the district for its financial records over the last 3 years, good luck finding the last two.

If anyone has the time volunteering as a janitor on most school sites would likely be very welcome, but don't ask the board where the janitorial staff went. Please do not ask them about where the paras are.

Read, things are worse, not better. This district will be a dumpster fire until the current leadership is removed.

I am fairly certain the DO's limit on resources is greatly affect special needs.

I would suggest going to the meetings however if you open your mouth prepare to be treated quite poorly.


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Posted by Williams act
a resident of East Palo Alto
on Aug 30, 2017 at 11:41 am

This district is in massive violation of settlement from the Williams case.

Web Link

Every year the Board and Super force the employees to lie, under threat of employment, about how they shift materials between sites to fool the inspectors.

Parents, if you love your children and care for their future please speak up, even anonymously. If you rent a property owned by a board member and have experienced pressure to vote in a certain manner, speak up via the link in the post above. You can speak via that form without fear even if your citizenship is in question. The laws and protections of this country are for all people not just citizens.

Think I am making this up? Quietly ask around, or just watch quietly. This is happening and people like me can only do some much without your help.


Sorry, but further commenting on this topic has been closed.

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