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Conejo Valley Unified School District October Meeting Summary

A summary of board of education meetings held on Wednesday, October 4 and 18, 2023.


SETTLEMENT approved for existing litigation, case OAH 2023050607.

SETTLEMENT approved for existing litigation, case OAH 2023061013.

LABOR NEGOTIATIONS between Shauna Ashmore, Assistant Superintendent, Human Resources and Unified Association of Conejo Teachers (UACT).


Twenty-two high school students were recognized as National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalists: 1 from Century Academy, 1 from TOHS, 9 from NPHS, and 11 from WHS.


  • Native American Heritage Month in November was approved 5-0.
  • Red Ribbon Week, October 23-31, 2023, approved 5-0, to draw attention to the need to eliminate the demand for illegal drugs.
  • National School Psychology Week, November 6-10, 2023, approved 5-0.


  • Brian Ferral, CSEA representative, said on 9/20, the district was sent an email regarding pesticides on campuses.
  • Kevin Doohan, board secretary for Carden Conejo School. District has refused to negotiate a new lease in good faith with Carden.
  • Colleen Mendez, Carden Conejo School parent and board member, asks if the district intends to sell Carden Conejo property.
  • Bob Fleming, Carden Conejo director, reminded the district Carden has leased the campus for 35 years, and the lease should be renewed. He is even willing to delay retirement to keep the school open through 2025 under the current lease end.
  • Brenda Olshever, executive director of MATES charter school, offered highlights of the 15-year charter school. Expect to enroll 22 new TK students next year. Requests permission to add modular buildings to accommodate growth at MATES’ expense.
  • Caitlyn Shrum, MATES parent. Her youngest child would enroll in TK next year. Supports modular buildings request.
  • Melanie Herrera, MATES parent. Supports modular buildings request.


  • Powell celebrated the district’s first history month dedicated to sexuality.
  • Gorbach referenced “conflict in the Middle East ” and hoped it would end soon.
  • Goldberg attended the Wildwood rally. Also referenced the Middle East and war’s impact on students. Suggested mental health helps.
  • Sylvester acknowledged October Downs Syndrome Awareness Month. Also acknowledged violence in the Middle East. Concerned about antisemitism.
  • Gill addressed Hamas terrorism against Israel. Said crossing guard was missing from Banyan Elementary.
  • McLaughlin, Niche ranking top A+ district. Top 25 in southern CA. Top 40 of districts in the state.


INDEPENDENT STUDY BOARD POLICY and Administrative Regulation 6158 amended to include 6th-grade students.

  • Lauren Kuai. Parent that spoke at Parent DAC earlier this year. Advocating for student-athletes. Independent PE for 6th graders. Son is an outstanding tennis player. 4th grader. Daughter is a pre-professional dancer. It is hard to keep our kids in traditional school while keeping up their athletic pursuits.
  • Motion was approved 4-1, with Powell dissenting.

INTRADISTRICT OPEN ENROLLMENT Administrative Regulation 5116.1. School of Choice timelines for 2024-2025, adjusted class sizes at the elementary level, processes for parents/guardians requesting to return back to neighborhood schools, and the date on which wait lists are canceled each year.

TRANSITIONAL KINDERGARTEN. Administrative Regulation 6170.1 notes birth dates, those turning 5 years old in July and August who will be eligible to enroll in either Transitional Kindergarten or Kindergarten beginning the 2024-2025 school year.

EDUCATION FOR ENGLISH LANGUAGE LEARNERS permits a district to enter into an instruction collaboration agreement with another school district, county office of education, or charter school to offer the same or similar courses and coursework to students who have been impacted by teacher shortages, disruptions, or cancellations to science, technology, engineering, and mathematics classes, or dual language immersion programs.

SURVEILLANCE CAMERAS USE Regulation 3515.1 amended. Victor Hayek, deputy superintendent of business services, said, “We don’t have a policy on the use of those cameras and what to do with the recordings and such.” The proposed change was vetted through the unions and the Ventura County Schools Self-Funding Authority.

SHELTER AGREEMENT for Disaster Relief Activities with the County of Ventura renewed through 2026. Permits use of the following school facilities during an emergency: TOHS, NPHS, Los Cerritos, and Colina Middle Schools.

MEETINGS AND NOTICES Board Bylaw 9320 amended for accessibility procedures and teleconferencing during a “Personal Emergency” and “Just Cause.”

CLOSED SESSION AND NEW EXHIBITS 9321E(1) and E(2). Each meeting must contain a general description of each item to be discussed in closed session pursuant to Government Code 54954.2 and following the closed session to report on its actions, either orally or in writing, as required by Government Code 54957.1.

NONDISCRIMINATION IN EMPLOYMENT Board Policy and Administrative Regulation 4030. District “shall not inquire into any employee’s immigration status,” said Shauna Ashmore, assistant superintendent of human resources.


  •  $500,000 Aspiranet, new MOU for Special Education Mental Health Services to provide collaborative educational services that address the social, emotional, and behavioral needs for identified CVUSD Special Education students and their parents or guardians.
  • $450,000 3-year MOU with Ventura County Office of Education for new middle school wellness centers.
  • $241,480 renewal contract with Camp Ramah in California, Inc., for 2023-2024 Outdoor School for 6th grade students
  • $154,500 renewal contract with Fulcrum Learning Systems, Inc.
  • $150,000 ATX Learning for temporary special education staff to fill vacancies.
  • $83,556 renewal contract with Frontline Education, software proactively manages absences for employees and substitutes.
  • $80,000 STAR Education, Inc. for after-school services to Westlake Hills Elementary for more than 50 students enrolled in their ELOP
  • $75,000 HopSkipDrive, Inc., to provide transportation services to students and families in need.
  • $47,500 Imagine Learning, Inc. for English learners in grades 3-5.
  • $20,696 new contract – Malibu Mountain Events, Inc. – NPHS
  • $19,900 renewal contract – Mindful Strategies, Inc.
  • $10,900 Educational Policy Improvement Center, d/b/a Inflexion, for Dual Language Immersion (DLI) and Newcomer Academy Program consultation, and district-wide English Learner professional development program.
  • $8,000 Craig Newton to perform music at Sycamore Canyon.
  • $7,500 Zoom Video Communications for Adult Education.
  • $7,200 Ventura County Arts Council to teach dance and drama at Ladera.
  • $6,325 Contract Amendment – Graphix – WHS
  • $5,400 Island Packers boat trip to Anacapa Island for EARThS fourth graders.
  • $5,400 Island Packers boat trip to Anacapa Island for EARThS fourth graders and $2,185 bus transportation for EARThS trip to Anacapa Island.


  • $4,000 Omega Labs Inc. d/b/a Boom Learning cloud-based lessons.
  • $3,500 Uncle Chris’ Italian Ice at Redwood.
  • $3,439 Nearpod Inc software at EARTHs.
  • $3,000 Premier Martial Arts Westlake class at Conejo.
  • $1,800 Phyllis Fagell, LCPC, for a virtual BreakThrough parent presentation on strategies for parents and guardians to support their children in managing anxiety.
  • $1,400 Hittman Mobile Music dances at Sycamore Canyon.
  • $1,350 TNT Dunk Squad assembly at Aspen.
  • $1,046 Jolly Jumps inflatables at Sycamore Canyon.
  • $1,000 Cody Michael Jones anti-bullying assembly at Westlake Hills.
  • $978 Mr. Softee ice cream at Sequoia.
  • $865 Jolly Jumps inflatables at Cypress.
  • $749 Healthy Roster Inc. software at Westlake High School.
  • $627 ACCO Brands USA LLC for laminator maintenance at Horizon Hills.
  • $495 Notable Inc (KAMI) digital app for Acacia.

Non-Public School Special Education Placements Approved for 7/1/2023-6/30/2024.

Contract #Placement Cost
1-23/24 $       57,179.28
2-23/24 $       44,630.52
3-23/24 $     102,311.36
5-23/24 $       32,862.46
6-23/24 $     311,102.42
7-23/24 $       60,312.72
8-23/24 $       50,676.00
9-23/24 $       56,265.36
10-23/24 $       50,930.02
13-23/24 $       60,312.72

Residential Treatment Center Special Education Placements Approved for 7/1/2023-6/30/2024.

Contract #Placement Cost
10A-23/24 $     225,811.02
11-23/24 $     217,693.48
12-23/24 $     219,533.57


ELEMENTARY PHYSICAL EDUCATION AND MUSIC. Presentation by CVUSD teachers: Kim Hargrave, Brett Lane, Brian Peter and Karine Szakos. Grades 1-5 have 30 minutes of music and PE each week with a credentialed music and PE teacher, over 218 classes led by 6 music teachers. ESSER funds made possible a $10,000 instrument investment at each of the 17 schools. One-time grant funding is provided through 25-26.

As the board faces an end to the one-time funds, McLaughlin said of the PE and Music time, “As our students are working with these teachers, it allows the student’s teachers to plan, get ahead on other work in the classroom. That’s a key piece for our board to consider as well.”

SECONDARY WELLNESS CENTERS. Presentation by Dr. Heather Chamberlin-Scholle, director of Mental Health and Wellness Services. The staff includes 39 interns and 15 mental health associates. So far this year, at middle schools, 33 students have received individual counseling and 28 students have participated in group counseling. Anxiety is the top reason students receive counseling, followed by depression and friendship skills.

At high schools this school year, 166 students have received individual counseling, 35 students have participated in group counseling, and 509 students have had drop-in visits. Mental health counselors have made classroom presentations to 2,065 students. Stress, anxiety and depression are the top three reasons students seek counseling.

Current challenges include staffing counselors at elementary schools for the coming year. Current focus has been on Newcomer students and students experiencing gender confusion. The team is concerned their outreach needs to broaden to reach a wider student audience.

ARTIFICIAL INTELLIGENCE (AI) in Schools by Dr. Jayna Suter, assistant director of Educational Technology and Student Performance. AI incorporates gamification in the classroom, chatbots for student support (even providing predictive mental health support and bullying detection), assessments, and personalized learning paths. AI plagiarism detection is still in the early stages of development. Privacy and legal considerations are important regarding AI vendor usage of student data.

Teachers use AI for lesson planning. Administrators use AI for writing parent/teacher emails.


STUDENT TEACHER PLACEMENT Agreement with United States University approved.

SCHOOL COUNSELING AGREEMENT with California State University Northridge approved.

OVERNIGHT TRIP approved for Josh Budde, Girls’ Basketball Coach at Westlake High School, to take 25 students to San Diego for the Bonita Vista Holiday Basketball Tournament, Dec. 27-30, 2023. $10,000 to be paid for by WHS Girls Basketball Boosters.

2023/2024 SCHOOL PLANS FOR STUDENT ACHIEVEMENT (SPSA) approved and posted on each school’s website for public review at http://www.conejousd.org/SARC-SPSA

STUDENT RATES FOR 6TH GRADE OUTDOOR EDUCATION PROGRAM. The rate of $250 per student for the 6th Grade Outdoor Education Program will remain the same for the 2023-2024 school year. The rate has not increased since 2017. An increase is likely for 2024-25.


September Payroll

  • $13,754,214 Certificated Teachers
  • $5,795,909 Classified Staff

$253,908 September Donations/Gifts

$869,871 Purchase Orders approved exceeding $5,000.

$555,721 Purchase Orders approved under $5,000.

Current Board topic requests with anticipated date(s) to bring information back to the Board:

DEI Plan Presentation/Anti-Bias Training (November 1, 2023)
TK Presentation (potential November 1, 2023)
Software Use: Formative Practices (November 15, 2023/possible Board report only)
Middle School Professional Development – CAPS Training (January 17, 2024)
Secondary Grading Policy (March 6, 2024)

Adult Education (date not set)


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