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Three elementary schools named California Distinguished Schools

Development fees increase; Feuerbach named assistant VP
By: Margaret Snider, Placer Herald Correspondent
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Three Rocklin Unified School District elementary schools have been designated 2012 California Distinguished Schools, it was announced at the April 18 district board of trustees meeting. The California Department of Education recognized Cobblestone, Parker Whitney, and Rock Creek Elementary Schools for demonstrating significant gains in narrowing the achievement gap. “Kudos to (principals) Denny Rush, Dorothy Sutter and Kathy Goddard, and to their staff,” said Rocklin Unified School District Superintendent Kevin Brown. “And, obviously to their parent-teacher group, the site councils and, most importantly, to the excellent work that their students accomplished.” Schools receiving this distinction have demonstrated educational excellence for students and have shown progress toward closing achievement gaps among all their students. Each of these schools met a variety of eligibility criteria, including federal and state accountability measures as well as their strong performance on the Academic Performance Index (API). Brown also acknowledge Rush, who was named California’s Administrator of the Year by the Association of California School Administrators. Board members also approved the selection of Jason Feuerbach as assistant principal/athletic director of Whitney High School. “Jason is just a stellar educator,” said Brown. “He’s enthusiastic, passionate, committed and caring about the well-being and welfare of our students and our athletes.” Feuerbach, who said Whitney High School has become a second home to him, told the trustees that he looks forward to the challenges that will come with the new position. “The athletic program at Whitney has been established on strong values and beliefs, and now it is time to build upon that foundation,” Feuerbach said. Originally from Galt, Feuerbach began teaching Agricultural Mechanics and Science at Woodland High School. He was selected to teach biological sciences and small engines at Whitney High in 2005. Two years later, he took on the additional role of director of Student Activities and has also served as the assistant varsity football coach. “He is an innovative thinker, a people person,” said Mike Garrison, Rocklin Unified School District’s assistant superintendent of Human Resources. “He has great moral ethics.” I think he fits the mold of what we look for in an administrator.” Feuerbach presented Whitney High School’s Associated Student Body officers, who were recognized for the school’s outstanding activities program by the California Association of Student Leaders. “Only 2 percent of the 800 schools who were initially nominated for this award were chosen,” Feuerbach said. “. . . With a fierce dedication and commitment to a vision, the leadership students have been able to build an activities program that is now recognized throughout the state.” In addition, the Whitney High School Science Olympiad Team, led by team advisor Amanda Vrudny, was honored for wins at a regional competition. For the second year, the team participated in the annual Regional Competition at Sac State. The team claimed second place honors in Technical Problem Solving, third place in Optics and fourth place in Anatomy and Physiology, Protein Modeling. Finally, the board approved a fee increase on residential and commercial developments starting on June 18. The new residential fee will go from $2.97 to $3.20 per square foot. Commercial development will increase from 47 cents to 51 cents per square foot. The new fee structure will go into effect on June 18. “The fees are determined by the state and not by us,” explained Larry Stark, district assistant superintendent of facilities and operations. “It’s happening all over the state.” Since 2002, Stark continued, the state has raised development fees in every even-numbered year, except for 2010. The board has the option of either accepting or rejecting the increase, but cannot change the amount, he explained. “We average a student and a half out of each home that’s built,” Brown said. “Therefore, as so many homes are built, we need to either add additional classrooms to our existing schools or, at some point, build a new school. So the fees that we collect from the development go toward the building or addition of new facilities.”