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Loomis Town Talks

Local leaders in education talk college preparedness and Measure D
By: Brody Fernandez Of Gold Country Media
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“Not a unified district but a unified community” was the sentiment by the two guest speakers Tuesday night during the October Loomis Town Talks meeting hosted by the Loomis Library and Community Learning Center.

Loomis Unified School District Superintendent Gordon Medd (the head of local elementary schools) and Del Oro High School Principal Dan Gayaldo were the guests, speaking and answering questions to more than a dozen community members.

 

Preparing students for college

College preparedness from the ground level up was discussed.

“We for the first time ever adopted the same math curriculum. So every single elementary student that feeds into a Placer Union high school comes through the same curriculum,” Medd said.

Having the same math curriculum will result in more students becoming more successful with a streamlined, more effective math curriculum, according to district officials.

“We need to tell students even at a junior high school level that college is not easy,” Medd said. “We need to prepare them.”

Gayaldo highlighted some college credit courses offered at Del Oro.

“Our students can take 11th-grade English and get 1A credit, which is first-year college credit for Sierra College. As a senior, they can take 1B and cover their sophomore level of English in college,” Gayaldo said. “Again, these are college transferable credits.”

More than 50 percent of Del Oro graduates attend Sierra College after graduating, according to Gayaldo.

“The sad thing is that about 30 or 40 percent of those kids drop out after their first term,” Gayaldo said. “This is why we are working so closely with Sierra College to make sure our students are not only interested in college but successful when they get there.”

Students passing the college-level classes offered at Del Oro will now be more prepared, according to Gayaldo.  

The longtime principal spoke about a culture present at the high school about Sierra College. “One of the worst things I see is when I look into a senior’s eyes and ask them where they are going to college, they say Sierra College and their eyes go straight down,” Gayaldo said. “This is really a pet peeve of mine.”

Gayaldo, who attended Sierra College, said that “We are lucky to have the number one junior college in the state right down the road from us.”  

Medd agreed with Gayaldo as he weighed in about junior college.

“We can’t have a culture where junior college isn't good enough,” Medd said. “San Diego State alone had 120,000 applicants for 12,000 freshman. So we have got to change the mentality that Sierra College is not good enough and it starts with our seventh- and eighth-graders.”

 

Measure D   

Both educators discussed Del Oro’s Measure D. This is the first bond measure that Del Oro has out since 1999.

Measure D is a $40-million bond measure on the Nov. 6 ballot. This bond measure would go toward investing in education as Del Oro would receive much needed repairs and upgrades, according to Gayaldo.

“In 1999, it was clear what the community wanted. Just for rallies and guest speakers, we couldn't even fit the entire student body in Yakote Gym,” Gayaldo said. “This is information for voters to have and decisions need to be made here. This school is 60 years old. The main part of the campus has not been remodeled. We have 56 portables; these are not permanent structures and these just start to wear out.”

Portables need to be replaced and classrooms in the main hall need some “facelifts,” according to Gayaldo.

The welding room, woodshop room and main hall needs to be retrofitted and repaired, according to the principal.

Of the 1,725 students currently enrolled at Del Oro, 1,331 live within the Del Oro boundaries (Loomis and other parts of surrounding Placer County). The students’ families from outside the district, according to Gayaldo, will not be affected by the bond measure.  

Medd then fielded questions regarding the district boundaries that will affect taxpayers if the measure passes.

“School boundaries have been here long before the town boundaries. We have addresses in Auburn, Rocklin, Granite Bay, Ophir, Penryn, Loomis and Newcastle. One of my biggest challenges each summer is finding out who is falsifying documents in order to get into our district,” Medd said. “Changing boundaries is not in the interest for a lot of these schools. Our number one job is educating kids in our boundary.”  

 

The Village at Loomis and Its impacts on Del Oro High School

Gayaldo mentioned the proposed VIllage at Loomis after questions arose about district boundary and student population changes if it is built. The Village at Loomis is a proposed 66-acre project located behind Raley’s Supermarket and adjacent to I-80. It includes 294 single-family homes, a 117-unit apartment complex and a commercial element.

“If some building takes place in Loomis, then what we would do is start to reduce the number of kids coming from Rocklin and Roseville,” Gayaldo said. “As a result, the kids from within our boundaries would increase (due to the development in Loomis).”

Having that many students is not something the Principal envisions.

“If we choose to keep those transfer students and the kids who we’ll get from the development, then Del Oro could approach 2,000 kids,” Gayaldo said. “That’s a decision of your school board to make. In my opinion, 1,700 students is an optimum-size high school.”