The Lodi Unified School District board of trustees conducted its final meeting of the year Tuesday with new leadership. Ron Heberle was appointed president of the board, with Joe Nava serving as vice president and Michael Abdallah as clerk. Trustee Bonnie Cassel was nominated for the president spot, but was outvoted 4-2, with only herself and Ruth Davis voting against Heberle. Cassel was also nominated for vice president, but declined the office.
The new officers' first major move was to approve a new reading and language arts curriculum for kindergarten through sixth grade. A group of eight teachers piloted a program called California Treasures starting on Oct. 16 and were convinced of its merits by Nov. 9 when they decided to bring it forward to district officials.
The program will replace Houghton Mifflin, the reading and language arts program currently in place that teachers say leaves a lot to be desired. Houghton Mifflin does not address California Common Core Standards, which the district will have to test on by the 2014-15 school year. It also does not offer an English language development program, something the district is lacking and will be incorporated into the California Treasures program.
Teachers were enthusiastic about the intervention and several levels of reading and spelling lessons offered in each grade level, as well as weekly assessments.
The cost of the program for a six-year adoption is over $2 million paid out over a three-year period if the program is purchased by the end of this year. The transition would require two days of teacher training.
Teachers union president Jeff Johnston expressed his dismay that Houghton Mifflin was costing $435,000 a year to maintain, including purchasing new workbooks.
"(California Treasures) is well worth the investment just for the improvements it will offer our classrooms," he said.
The board approved the program unanimously.
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