Mar 15 2017

H1 Bond Construction, Prop 51 State Funding, Healthy Kids Survey, Healthy Relationships

The School Board meeting held on March 8, 2017 addressed a variety of issues, including the nomination of a contractor to oversee the H1 Bond measure, a recap of the past and upcoming events at the high school, and a presentation regarding the newly proposed specifications of a healthy relationship and healthy student curriculum in the middle and high schools.

    Chris Delong presented to the School Board recapping the state requirements and allocation specifications for schools to receive state funding. Mr. DeLong noted how the newly passed proposition (Prop 51) has three avenues for schools to receive state funding: new construction  ($3 billion in state budget), modernization ($3 billion), and career, technology, and charter schools ($500 million). Mr. deLong also mentioned that in the H1 Bond measure, the state will grant no more than 60% of the proposed renovations, leaving the school responsible for raising the other 40%.

    The recap of high school related events included the recent plays of “Sense and Sensibility” and “The Clearing,” performed on March 9-12 by Piedmont’s advanced acting class. There was also mention of the school’s March Madness 3v3 Basketball Tournament, PHS’ first ever night rally, and a summary of recent sporting events and accomplishments.

    Finally, Mr. Brady, head of the Wellness Center, gave an informative recap of a proposed curriculum the wellness center is trying to initiate at the High School. The curriculum involves a survey called The Healthy Kids Survey, which is given to all high school students every other year. This survey asks students about their drug and alcohol use, as well as their feelings about the safety and security on campus. Using this information, the Wellness Center was able to craft a customized and modern code for its wishes on the well-being of PHS students.

     Another area of concern for the Wellness Center was addressing healthy relationships at both the High School and Middle School. Seeing the term “relationships” as an ambiguous phrase, the Wellness Center is doing its best to come up with a curriculum that best addressed the ever-changing expectations and norms with teenage “relationships.”

How did you end up working at the wellness center?

    Mr. Brady was kind enough to answer some questions following his presentation, and reflected on his desire to pursue a leadership role in the Wellness Center. “l’ve been in the District since 2003, when l was hired as the Millennium High School principal.  Since then, l have held a number of positions in the District, including the Assistant Superintendent for Business Services until 2014.  I have also been in charge of Adult Education Programs in PUSD for as long as I have been here, and since 2014, my “official” title is Director of Alternative/Adult Education (which includes serving as the Director of the Wellness Center).”

   Brady further stated,  “l have also been recently appointed by the Board of Education to serve as the program coordinator for the measure H1 Bond program.  So, in essence, l will be overseeing all of the newly planned renovations for the Piedmont High School campus.  That is why you saw me introduce our state funding consultant and answer questions about the selection of the District’s architect last night.”

Additionally Brady noted, “When l was the Assistant Superintendent, l coordinated the rebuilding of Havens Elementary, seismic strengthening at Beach, Wildwood, and PHS, and the modernization of our technology infrastructure.  I have always been in contact with the Wellness Center (since its inception in 2006), but it was in my role as the District’s Business Manager.  l worked to secure funding for the Wellness Center through grants and through the amazing support of parents who raise funds each year to sustain our program.  In my early days in education, l was a classroom teacher (high school english), high school counselor, and high school administrator.  I believe in the mission of the Wellness Center, and when former director Ting Hsu Engleman resigned, l was happy to step into the role.”

    Mr. Brady’s role in creating a platform for healthy relationships at the High School was noted by audience member Danny DeBarre, who noted that another great tool for the education of healthy relationships is the consent assembly. As a member of the acting class, Danny has had the privilege of performing in the assembly on numerous occasions, and has seen adaptations annually to address the changes in our society on the matter. Danny noted that these adaptations to the assembly are what makes it powerful each and every year, and sets a wonderful precedent for students to know exactly what it means to be in a happy and consensual relationship.

Sarah Pearson, School Board President, mentioned how much she appreciates student input on matters that the School Board may not have known without that student sacrificing his or her own time for the good of the community.

    In terms of healthy relationships, I totally agree that Piedmont must establish a curriculum to address this issue. With the ubiquitous storyline of rapes and title IX violations across college campuses, Piedmont must stop the issue before it infects the students at our very school. One way we can learn ways to implement a curriculum is through a summit called “That’s not cool” in the Presidio each year. In attendance, there were many great ideas presented illustrating the variety of means schools have used to create healthy relationship awareness in their districts.

    The School Board is responsible for collecting community input on the District, managing the budget, and overseeing all academic related events in the dDistrict. The School Board meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month at 7 pm in the Council Chambers at City Hall.

by Jordan Marcus, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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