Winter Benchmark Assessments and high school’s seven-period schedule were also addressed

ATASCADERO — Atascadero Unified School District (AUSD) met for their regularly scheduled board meeting on Tuesday, Apr. 5, at 7 p.m. following their 6 p.m. Closed Session.

Charlene Ables, a member of Assistance League of SLO County, reported to the board on Operation School Bell. 

“Our primary philanthropic program, Operation School Bell, provides new school-appropriate clothing to kindergarten thru 12th-grade students in need, living and attending school in all 10 school districts in our county,” she said. “I can’t emphasize this enough: we could not do what we do without the support of district personnel. From the superintendent to my hero, the school secretary.”


Operation School Bell clothed 1,636 students county-wide last school year. 

“All North County students are met by our volunteers at Kohl’s in Paso Robles,” Ables said. “With our tax-exempt status and Kohl’s discounts, each kindergarten thru fifth-grade referred student receives $150 in clothing and shoes, and each sixth- thru 12th-grade referred student receives $185 in clothing and shoes. 

“Students choose the clothing they prefer, which includes many brand names which are currency on school campuses. Last year, Assistance League clothed 198 of your students in your district. The cost of clothing those students was $26,610.”

The Assistance League is an all-volunteer agency with no paid staff. It has three sources of income: grant writing, donations, and its Thrift Store in San Luis Obispo. 

The Trustee Board expressed its thanks to Operation School Bell and The Assistance League.

During Oral Communication from the Public, three teachers from Atascadero High School — Mary Corey, Angie McQuitty, and Marie Pink — addressed the board on the switch from the school’s block schedule to the new seven-period day. The teachers stressed that they don’t have enough time with the students while in class and that the teachers are exhausted. 

A chronically ill student at the high school also commented on the new schedule and how it’s detrimental to his learning environment.

“The current seven-period day is not beneficial to my school experience,” he said. “The passing periods in between classes are barely enough to get myself from class to class, let alone use the bathroom.”

Tom Butler gave his Superintendent Report, in which he addressed social media use. The AUSD is making a partnership with a company called Smart Social, which will be a tool for the parents in the district to use. 

“It teaches them [parents] how they can set reasonable and appropriate controls on their devices, for their own children,” Butler said. “This empowers parents to decide how their children will use devices, whether it’s an in-home device or a telephone.”

The AUSD will provide an 18-month subscription to Smart Social for the district’s parents free of charge.

The Minutes and Consent Agenda passed unanimously.

Butler returned to address the board on a Late Start Exemption for the AUSD. On Jan. 18, the board passed a resolution to pursue a Rural Designation, which would allow the district to consider a future change in start times earlier than 8:30 a.m. 

“Should the board approve this, and what we’re asking you to approve is to provide the district with the flexibility to look at an 8 a.m. to 8:30 a.m. start time for our secondary schools,” he said. 

The motion passed unanimously.

Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services E.J. Rossi gave an information-only presentation to the board on the Winter AUSD Benchmark Assessments. The students in the entire district have improved since the spring of 2020.

The Atascadero Unified School District’s next regularly scheduled meeting will be held on Tuesday, Apr. 19, at 7 p.m.