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Mission, Philosophy, Numbers
Richard Sugerman April 2012
This prospectus for The School on the Hill is the work of Richard Sugerman.
To provide a high quality early childhood education program for preschool age children of varied socioeconomic backgrounds that will prepare them for school and life success.
Young children need background knowledge before they can participate fully in the public education system and reap the benefits that wonderful yet underfunded system provides. Young children build background knowledge by engaging with caring, interested, knowledgeable adults and other children in an environment that values discovery, curiosity, independence, differences, cooperation, problem solving and responsibility. Young children are drawn to nature and it is The School on the Hill’s belief that providing a “farm school” atmosphere for children who are mostly sequestered from nature by virtue of the city they live in is the best way to provide rich learning opportunities that matter to young children. Early childhood education studies and literature support this (Dewey, Piaget, Vygostsky, Meier, Ravitch, Krashen, Pink, and Sokol, among others). Learning by growing and then harvesting vegetables, raising and caring for small animals, playing in an idyllic natural setting and following ones’ bliss in a rich atmosphere filled with opportunities to engage by touching, manipulating, listening and seeing is what comes naturally, and The School on the Hill is able, ready and committed to providing that. The School on the Hill will provide an environment that is conducive to these ends by offering a program that is: Child centered: The curriculum will be student/child centered as described by Dewey, Vygotsky, Meier and Piaget. Activities and opportunities for discovery will be provided and teachers will guide and facilitate the natural learning process present in all human beings. Nature centered learning: The School on the Hill will offer opportunities to grow food and eat it. There will be animals to engage with and care for (bunnies, chickens, ??) as well as opportunities for discovering the nature that surrounds The School on the Hill. Myriad activities: Along with nature and animals there will be art, music, drama, movement, puppets, games, toys, books, cooking, baking, singing, sleeping as well as outside specialists who will come in to offer unique opportunities. Diverse student population: Children come in all shapes and sizes and with all kinds of interests, skills, needs and desires. Learning to live together and work together is paramount to a happy life and The School on the Hill will honor that by providing subsidized tuition for families who need it via higher tuition for those who can afford it as well as grants from local businesses and philanthropists. Diversity is the spice of life. Every culture will be honored. Location: The School on the Hill is located in Richmond Heights, just a stone’s throw from central Richmond. There is Wildcat Creek, giant oak trees, lush gardens, fruit trees, vegetable gardens and lovely neighbors. There is ample space for running, playing, picking berries, and digging in the sandbox. Tucked among the trees and away from the quiet street, The School on the Hill is safe and quiet and like being in a cabin in the woods. Children will love it.
Partner with the community: The School on the Hill intends to collaborate with as many local businesses/professionals as can be arranged. Chevron is one that has a program in place, and The School on the Hill fits Chevron’s mission and will apply for a grant. There are many opportunities to partner with other smaller businesses, too. The School on the Hill anticipates positive feedback from local pediatricians, pediatric dentists, R & Rs, photographers, tech companies and private individuals.
Richard Sugerman, BA (Humanities)/MA (Developmental Psychology) holds a California Multiple Subject Teaching Credential and an Elementary Teaching Credential in New Jersey. Richard taught k-2 in the Berkeley Unified School District for 13 years where he was the also the disaster preparedness coordinator, math leader and tech specialist. Richard was the director of Camp Kee Tov in Berkeley, and taught preschool and ran after school programs for many years in Los Angeles, San Francisco, Berkeley and Oakland. As an educator, Richard is highly regarded. Students were excited to come to school because Richard’s classroom was a welcoming place that respected each child and provided opportunities for children to satisfy their curiosity -- a basic pedagogical tenet Richard firmly believes should be in every classroom. As a 2nd grade teacher in California, Richard was required to administer the STAR test –the standardized test all 2nd-12th grade students take near the end of the year, commonly known as “high-stakes” testing. Richard’s students outperformed the school, district, and state averages 3 years in a row. Richard is an early childhood education expert, both academically and practically with over 30 years of experience working with children, leading programs as well as teams of educators.
The School on the Hill will be in East Richmond Heights, Contra Costa County, California, a stone’s throw from Richmond proper; a mile from San Pablo and McBryde and just off The Arlington, near the Wildcat Canyon Alvarado Staging Area of the East Bay Regional Parks system. During WWII Richmond was home to one of the largest shipbuilding endeavors of the war. Many workers –mainly African Americans— moved to Richmond for the many great jobs, and Richmond boomed. After the war the shipyards were empty and eventually abandoned. The area has struggled ever since. Richmond is now home to many immigrants from El Salvador, making it a rich and vibrant community filled with many specialty markets and restaurants. The School on the Hill will serve the community by subsidizing tuition for local residents who need it. We intend to have a mixed student body of affluent and financially challenged students that has its efficacy rooted in research like that from the Coleman Report and subsequent research that has shown for decades that a mixed student body is good for everyone developmentally. Spanish is widely spoken in Richmond and The School on the Hill will hire bilingual teachers. There are ten local small preschools (preschools and family home daycares) within 3 miles and all but three have waiting lists. None provides the kind of wooded seclusion available at The School on the Hill and a credentialed
teacher runs only one. It is clear that The School on the Hill offers a level of ability and knowledge that far exceed what is currently available in the area. Similar full-day programs in the area range from $900/month up to $2000/month. Some programs begin at 7am, others at 8am. Most go until 6pm. The School on the Hill will operate from 7am to 6pm M-F and charge $1500/month for a full day program. With an enrollment of 10 students, The School on the Hill will need five full-time students at full price to be able to subsidize five full-time students at half-price. This seems eminently doable and does not figure in any grants that may be available and does not assume full capacity (14). The following Contra Costa County demographic information can be found at Census.gov (http://quickfacts.census.gov/qfd/states/06000.html). Population, 2010 Persons under 5 years Hispanic/Latino Population White Population Black Population % Change from 2010-2011 Children 2 years Children 3 years Children 4 years Children 5 years +4% +8% +4% +6% 103,701 7.4% 39.5% 17.1% 26.6%
The percent change figures above indicate that Richmond’s young child population has grown. The same populations statewide have shrunk. This indicates a definite need for childcare programs in Richmond. Chevron, one of the largest businesses in Richmond, provides grant opportunities to local businesses that meet their philanthropic mission, and assisting low-income families with day care is part of their mission. The School on the Hill plans to apply for grants once open for business.
The School on the Hill will be a Large Family Home Daycare, as defined by the California Department of Social Services, the licensing agency. The license is in part contingent upon approval of the structure by the agency, one major impetus for the purchase of the property. The Large Family Home Daycare designation requires that the school be located in the home providing for a home-like atmosphere. This means that there is a kitchen, bathrooms, couches, and other things you would consider that make a “home.” The designation requires the rooms used be part of the house structure. The School on the Hill has dedicated space for students to have ongoing projects that won’t be disturbed, a place to call their own and opportunities to make it their own.
The house is located on 2/3 of an acre of terraced land (see plot map below). Adjacent to the house is an additional lot (included in the 2/3 of an acre figure) where the undeveloped outside space will provide room to run, a large sand box, a climbing structure (tree house?), lush vegetation and raised garden beds. It will also be where the bunnies and chickens will be housed. A small deck can be used as a stage for outside performances. The house is tucked behind another house—the driveway crosses an easement meaning there is no street bordering the house, making it quiet, safe, and secluded.
The top arrow points to the lot where the house is located. The middle arrow points to the adjacent lot. (The map is from Zillow and those are Zillow’s estimates of the values of the properties seen in the picture.) The bottom arrow shows the driveway from Park Avenue passes by the house ($316K) on the right of the driveway. There is no vehicle access to the smaller lot. There is a gate just to the left of the The School on the Hill (blue triangle) to gain access to the lot, and that is how children will get there. You can also see how lush the grounds are. They need to be cut back on the vacant lot, and that is the $3000 yard cleanup figure in the startup costs matrix below.
The property (both lots) was most recently on the market for $299K and did not sell. The plumbing issue may have been a determining factor. These figures assume a $300K thirty year mortgage. It may be possible to get a better rate and/or negotiate a lower purchase price.
Down payment Plumbing Furniture Yard Cleanup Advertising Gross Motor Inc. Fees Fine Motor Easels, wood, sand, paper/rack License fee Phone hookup Misc. TOTAL $30,000 $6000 $3000 $3000 $2000 $1000 $1000 $700 $1800 $200 $100 $1200 $50,000
Mortgage Insurance Supplies Utilities Director Aid x 3 Bookkeeper $1800 $400 $400 $1000 $3900 $2400 $200
TOTAL Monthly Revenue
# Students 5 5
Days/Week 3 5
Fee $750 $1400 Monthly Revenue
$3750 $7000 $10750
The maximum capacity is 14, and these numbers assume the minimum capacity required for the highest student/teacher ratio possible. In fact, as numbers of students increase to full capacity, the number of teachers will not need to increase, rather, it may become possible to hire better qualified teachers and/or increase worker benefits.
TEACHER, SECOND GRADE Berkeley Unified School District 1997 to 2009 Berkeley, California
Taught kindergarten, first, and second grades. I was the disaster preparedness leader and technology leader. I am CLAD certified. DIRECTOR, CAMP VALLEY CHAI North Valley Jewish Community Center 1996 TO 1997 Granada Hills, California
Revamped and improved quality of camp program with 300K budget. Attained ACA accreditation. Introduced new policies and method of staff training. Computerized registration process, improving clarity and tracking capability. YOUTH SERVICES COORDINATOR North Valley Jewish Community Center 1996 TO 1997 Granada Hills, California
Made application and obtained Child Day Care Facility permit, made capital improvements to the site, increased enrollment, streamlined and enforced records procedures, developed and implemented staff training procedures. DIRECTOR, AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAMS Bentley School 1992 - 1996 Oakland, California
Responsible for hiring, training and supervision of 10 day care staff. Duties include hiring specialists to enhance program, all administrative duties including budget management for Child Care Dept. serving 50 children daily ages 5-13 yrs. PROGRAM DIRECTOR/DIRECTOR, CAMP KEE TOV Congregation Beth El 1988 - 1995 Berkeley, California
Responsible for hiring, training and supervision of 89 staff. Responsible for 315K budget, all administrative duties associated with Camp serving 700 children/summer, ages 4-13 yrs. DIRECTOR, AFTER SCHOOL PROGRAM Black Pine Circle School 1988 – 1991 Berkeley, California
Responsible for hiring, training and supervision of 1 staff member. Duties include hiring specialists to enhance program, all administrative duties including budget management for Child Care Dept. serving 25 children daily ages 5-13 yrs.