Refer to this page to stay updated on the status of Denali schools.
Dear Summit families, students, and faculty, At 4pm on Thursday, February 16th, Summit Public Schools announced that they are sending a “recommendation to the Summit Public Schools Board that they take action on Denali’s closure at their meeting on March 2nd”. We are shocked by this news and deeply disappointed in Summit’s decision to recommend Denali’s closure. Since the announcement to families on January 11th, we have analyzed Summit’s finances, and found inconsistencies with their accounting and business practices (including closing a school they only recently opened after making large investments in the Sunnyvale property, as well telling the board that…Keep reading
February 6th, 2023 Newsletter
On February 1st, the Santa Clara County Office of Education (SCCOE) had an agenda item on the closing of Denali schools. A presentation was made by the county’s Charter team that explored the reasons SPS is giving for the abrupt closure news. Denali Parents were out in full force to make statements about how important Denali teachers and schools are to their students, and to ask SCCOE to hold SPS accountable for their lack of transparency and accessibility with regard to finances. Denali teachers were represented by the dedicated Kim Nicholson who gave a great statement . Our concerns were echoed by the board who wanted to know more about why the decision to stop funding Denali was being made now.
They referenced a Summit board resolution from 2012 that Summit Public Schools Home Office “will provide all necessary funds to any of the schools for which it holds a charter.” SCCOE board members voiced deep concerns that SPS is deviating from their own stated policy and commitments. Board members also expressed concern that SPS is not negotiating or meeting with Unite Summit over the proposed closures.
SCCOE are going to keep the Denali Closures issue on the agenda for the foreseeable future. Our outreach to Board members yielded some of the tough questions asked in the meeting and we are going to follow up with a meeting with the President and VP of the SCCOE Board on 2/13. We are excited to see this momentum with both the parents AND the board asking tough questions and putting pressure on SPS. SCCOE is asking SPS Board members to be at the next meeting 2/15.What can we do next? If you are in the South Bay or Peninsula, please sign up to attend the SCCOE meeting with us on the 15th. We will have buttons, signs, snacks and support for folks who want to speak. Let’s figure out some carpools. It is important we meet the enthusiasm of the parents and the SCCOE members to put the pressure on SPS to SAVE DENALI, be more transparent, and respect Summit Teachers!
DENALI CLOSURE FAQ (last updated: 01/18/2023)
What is happening to Denali schools?
It was announced the week of January 9th, 2023 that Denali Middle and Denali High are scheduled to close at the end of the 2022-23 school year. Summit gave no warning or opportunities for teachers and parents to get involved to help save the schools, explore other options, or give input on the possibility of school closures and their effects on school communities. The rationale given to close schools has primarily been financial. Unite Summit is gathering information and will report our findings.
Who made this decision?
Summit Public Schools has proposed that the schools close. The School Board still has to vote on it, and that will not happen until June 8th. Teachers and community had no say in the proposal to close schools.
Has Unite Summit been involved?
Unite Summit was informed after teachers at school sites were informed on January 9th. We were not communicated to in the process of decision making. We are demanding to bargain the effects of the proposed closures.
What are our rights as union members?
We have the right to negotiate the effects the proposed closures have on our working conditions. We have layoff language in our contract in the event schools do close and not all teachers find space at schools. We have the right to organize to fight the closures and for our rights to be honored in the process.
What is happening to teachers?
The information coming from Summit to teachers has been minimal. Dianne Tavenner sent an initial plan to parents that contained information about teachers transferring, but that process has not been negotiated by the union. We are in the process of meeting with Denali teachers to find out what their needs are so that we may continue to advocate for them, and so that Summit can retain all our excellent colleagues.
What is happening to students?
Information to parents regarding their students has also been minimal. At the parent meeting, it was explained to parents that their students would need to apply to the lottery at other Summit schools. We know for some middle school parents, it is not an option to send their students to the east bay to attend middle school. We know the effects on high school students are high as well. This is why we are advocating that Denali remain!
What can I do?
We need all hands on deck! Please be on the lookout for more information from Unite Summit. We will be sending action steps on a regular basis.