Oct 20 2017

School Bond Program, Math, Textbooks

Readers will be interested to note the differences in the student reports of the October 11 Piedmont School Board meeting.

On October 11, I went to a School Board meeting.  This meeting was very informative as it covered a variety of topics. Topics discussed were the Giving Campaign, Piedmont High and Millennium High School updates, fire relief programs, textbook sufficiency, Integrated Math, building plans for Piedmont and Millennium High schools, and CAPS bonds.

    Yearly, Piedmont engages in the Giving Campaign which holds the purpose of raising money for the Piedmont schools.  A representative from the Giving Campaign spoke to the “Big Check” or large sums of money donated to the school on September 19th. This year the Giving Campaign has set a goal of 4.4 million dollars. So far the Giving Campaign has 2.2 million dollars and are nowhere near done with the campaign. Currently, the Giving Campaign is asking each family to donate one-thousand six hundred and thirty three dollars per student enrolled. This number does seem high, but it all goes to rebuilding the Piedmont schools. In addition, if a family can not pay but wants to help, the Giving Campaign offers many opportunities for people to participate and lend a helping hand. Time is just as valuable as money!

Josh Miller, the Millennium High School ASB [Associated Student Body] Vice President, spoke to the happenings of both Piedmont and Millennium High Schools. He mentioned the end of the first quarter as well as the new college counselor that is helping both Piedmont and Millennium students launch beyond high school. An important topic Josh brought up was that Piedmont and Millennium ASB are now working together more than ever before. Piedmont High has its first ever Millennium representative as a full time member of the Piedmont ASB class. Homecoming week was the week of the meeting, so Josh also spoke to how ASB celebrations were cancelled due to the toxic amount of smoke in the air.

I made a statement on the fires due to my role as Piedmont ASB President. I spoke to how ASB is now hoping to help fire relief victims by collecting donations from the students and community members.

I also discussed that the basketball team is inviting Cardinal Newman High School, which was destroyed by the fire, to a tournament for free and donating all of the tournament’s proceeds to Cardinal Newman as they rise from the ashes. This pulled at Superintendent Mr. Booker’s heart strings as he attended Cardinal Newman as a student and it meant a lot to him that the Piedmont community was lending a helping hand to people in need. Mr. Booker also announced to us that the Homecoming football game would be postponed from Friday the 13th to Monday the 16th because of smoky air.

Dr. Wozniak, the Director of Curriculum at Piedmont Unified School District, addressed both the sufficiency of textbooks and the Integrated Math program. She told the board members that every student does have a sufficient textbook to use. Piedmont also now offers many online textbooks. One of the educational codes states the schools must have sufficient textbooks or instructional material. Therefore when many teachers do not use the textbook, they turn to other teaching resources making our school sufficient. Right now, the issue with textbooks is that many are outdated but new ones have not been written yet, so outside resources can often be more useful than the textbook would be.

Student Cameron Addis spoke to the issue of textbooks stating that for many of his classes he has never touched the textbook. Doug Ireland made a comical statement after that by asking what his grade was in that class. The room filled with laughter. Charlotte Altieri and Jacob Prager discussed about how in AP Environmental Science students are using outdated lab material and Dr. Wozniak took careful note of that.

Integrated Math has been a hot topic for many members of the Piedmont community.  Dr. Wozniak spoke to this by stating that she was going to approach getting feedback on how the first few years of Integrated Math has been going. She is planning on sending out a survey to students, parents and teachers with specific questions for them to answer. There is also a committee that meets monthly to assess this new Common Core process.

Student Drew Sacay being just a year ahead of the common core process spoke to his experience in the math program. Student Ben Barrett talked about what he has seen with his sister and her experience with the new common core standards.

I interviewed Dr. Wozniak and was able to get a little more intel on these topics. When I asked about the issue she was presenting, she told me that the first issue she was talking about was “required by law,” a simple check in on textbooks. The second was Piedmont and Dr. Wozniak going above and beyond by using a “proactive initiative.”

I also was curious as to what steps she was taking to get feedback about Common Core. She said that she was also hosting a Parents Night to talk about Common Core and how their child can benefit from what we have to offer. In addition, Piedmont High and Middle Schools Site Council will be assessing Integrated Math.

My last question for Dr. Wozniak was about what made her interested in the meeting beyond her role in them. She stated that she loved learning what other people are working on as well as what the students who attend have to say.

Continuing through the agenda Mr. Brady, Administrator, came to the podium to discuss measure H1 and the process of rebuilding the High Schools. The new schools started to feel very real when he discussed how the District will be hiring a contractor. They approach this issue in a very diligent three step process. Another topic he brought up was naming facilities. Although we did not come to a conclusion for naming facilities, the conversation sure got rolling.

Lastly, a man came in and gave us all a very thorough economics lesson. He talked primarily on the CAPS bonds and how we want to refinance those. There were two main ways to do this that had different pros and cons. Although I am not sure which option the School Board chose because the meeting went past 9 p.m. (the designated end time for all school activities on weekdays),  I do have full faith that the School Board will make an educated decision.

The Piedmont School Board meets on the second and fourth Wednesday of every month unless stated otherwise.

by HannaMarie Hohener, Piedmont High School Senior


The Piedmont Unified School District School Board meeting on October 11, 2017 took place at City Hall and began at 7:00 p.m. The board meeting opened up with the board members taking turns saying opening statements then Joshua Miller, the student representative on the board, updated the board on what’s going on around both Piedmont High School and Millennium High School. He focused on the events for the week at both schools as well as the current homecoming theme, which is actually the first time that both Piedmont and Millennium ASBs collaborated together on a project.

Board members updated the community on recent decisions. Notably Mr. Randall Booker, PUSD Superintendent, talked about the current fire situation from North Bay and how that affects us. Booker said that while there have been requests to take school off for the remaining days of the week due to the fires affecting the air quality, school is still in session. A decision was made affecting grades K-12 in areas such as PE and outdoor activities during brunch/lunch so that the school hallways and library would be open to those wanting to eat indoors. The Homecoming game is yet to be decided to be postponed but was decided later to be moved to the following Monday, October 17.

Following the statements made by Mr. Booker, speakers wanting to bring attention to the board topics that weren’t on the intended schedule were allowed to speak. Hanna Marie Hohener, our Senior Class President, brought up the newly established food drive helping those affected by the fires and the board took a vote to make this an annual food drive.

After those who wanted to speak on topics not listed in the agenda, the focus was shifted to H1 school planning presented by the H1 Program Coordinator, Michael Brady. This bond program is discussed at every school board meeting. The H1 program addresses gaps in Piedmont’s education system, from insufficient facilities to opportunities to modernize Piedmont’s curriculum. Additional funding was also discussed at the meeting including private fundraisers held by parents clubs and school clubs with the possibility for  the selling of naming rights of certain buildings or campuses. Also discussed was the four step plan on selecting applicants who would be chosen to be a contractor on certain projects. This plan included the initial questionnaire, his/her financial capability, legal ability, and finally a series of interviews conducted by board members, staff, and others associated with the project.

Following the H1 project discussion, the board heard a presentation on the resolution of sufficiency of textbooks and instructional materials, presented by Dr. Wozniak, Director of Curriculum and Instruction. The main point she made was clear, all school sites have sufficient textbook materials in all subjects. This is a routine check for the school board.

At this time Piedmont High School senior Cameron Addis brought up his experience with school textbook, stating that he rarely uses his physical textbook, as online textbooks are more convenient. The push for online textbooks should definitely be considered especially if textbooks can easily be brought up on chromebooks and if the text books are putting a dent in school budget. Other students shared similar views on the current textbook situation.

Next was the evaluation of the secondary math pathway also presented by Dr. Wozniak. The integration of Common Core Standards for Mathematics during the 2014-2015 school year resulted in the secondary math pathway. The secondary math pathway was proposed by the math task force which is comprised of teachers, administrators, parents, and students. The purpose of the evaluation to see the effectiveness of the program and to see if there is anything to improve by looking at the success and challenges, to revise any of the current policies or procedures, and to propose any recommendations to the school board. Future surveys and reviews are also planned for the future to continue to evaluation of the program.

My graduating class, the class of 2018, is actually the last class to not be apart of common core, but it’s interesting to see how this is going to affect the future graduating classes.

The School Board meets bimonthly, excluding special meetings, and hears issues regarding schools apart of the Piedmont district. The board specifically looks out for students and education while also making sure that taxpayers dollars are being used efficiently.

By Drew Sacay, Piedmont High School Senior


On Wednesday, October 11, I attended a Piedmont School board meeting. The board consisted of 5 people that meet every other week to discuss issues in the Piedmont Unified School District and figure out how they should be addressed.

The topics that the board focussed on were the required report on textbooks in the Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD), the evaluation of the integrated math program (CPM), and an H1 update.

The meeting began with Sarah Pearson, President of Board, asking the audience if there were any concerns that were not stated on the agenda. A man got up and began to talk about Earthquake insurance. He actually talked about the lack of earthquake insurance and said only 10% of households owned it. At this point, the Board of Education and the audience were confused on the relevancy to the PUSD. Board member Doug Ireland spoke up and asked, “How does this pertain to the school district?” The man explained that the earthquake is imminent and everyone will be affected.

The second to speak was Randall Booker, Superintendent, who showed his gratitude to the Piedmont basketball team for hosting a fundraiser for his past high school, Cardinal Newman, which burnt down in the recent fires.

Cheryl Wozniak, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, talked about 2 of the main focussed from the meeting. The first being the required report on school materials like textbooks and lab equipment.

I took the podium to discuss my experiences with textbooks in my last few years at Piedmont. I said that I rarely use textbooks and when I do need them, they can easily be accessed online. Wozniak responded by highlighting the fact that technology is often a barrier in learning. Jacob and Charlotte, fellow classmates, added their experiences and pointed out how the lab equipment is very out of date.

Michael Brady of the District was next to give the Board an H1 update. He talked about the 4 step process in order to pick a suitable developer for the construction on the Piedmont High School campus. The 4 step process includes a questionnaire and multiple background checks.

As the second subject, Cheryl Wozniak spoke to the evaluation on the new Secondary math program that has been put into place these last two years. Her goal was to evaluate the strengths and weaknesses through surveys that will go out to teachers, students and parents. She hopes to get plenty of recommendations and suggestions to improve the integrated math program. This discussion on the program is very interactive with additional meetings that can be attended by anyone in the community.

Ben, a fellow classmate, while not being a part of the new math program, has two siblings who are taking the course at the moment. He said the units are taught too fast and most of the time, they don’t fully understand the material.

Wozniak spoke to 6 students, including myself, when we asked her for an interview. She was there to report on school materials and how she will evaluate the new integrated math program. We asked about her reaction to the meeting and what her favorite parts of the meeting were. She said the meeting was and is always very informative. She really enjoys when community members, but especially students, participate in the discussion. In addition, she got an opportunity to directly ask high school students their opinion.

By Cameron Addis, Piedmont High School Senior


    On October 11, 2017, I attended the Piedmont Unified School District Board meeting at City Hall. This particular meeting was called to discuss H-1 plans [bonding program for improvements to Piedmont High School], evaluate the secondary math pathway program, and to pass the resolution of sufficiency of textbooks at Piedmont High School.

    During the meeting, Dr. Wozniak persuaded the Board to pass the resolution of sufficiency of textbooks. The resolution was passed, however a few students at the meeting addressed their concerns about textbooks being widely unused in many classes.

Cameron Addis, a senior at Piedmont High School, spoke in favor of a switch to online textbooks, because of their easy accessibility. Dr. Wozniak also informed the board of the progress of secondary math pathways, a program put into place one year ago at Piedmont High School. Dr. Wozniak assured the board that progress was sufficient, however there were still aspects of the program that could be altered and adjusted.

Later, Mr. Brady updated the board on the progress of H-1, a plan to renovate Piedmont High School. Brady informed the board that they were in the process of finding developers for the project. Additionally, Brady stated that he and his team were currently calculating both the cost and timetable of H-1, and collecting donations for the cause. Lastly, Jake Boehm presented an overview of the potential 2017 CABS refunding.

    At the meeting, Dr. Wozniak was kind enough to allow me and other students to interview her. She informed us that she was attending the meeting both to pass the resolution of sufficiency of textbooks, and to update the board on the effectiveness of the secondary math pathways. Dr. Wozniak mentioned that she loved learning about the progress of the H-1 plan, and also enjoyed hearing the opinions of the community members at the meeting. Lastly, in order to get her particular issues addressed, Dr. Wozniak informed us that she would seek student committee feedback to better understand the flaws of the secondary math pathways program.

The School Board meets at least twice a month to address new issues and evaluate the progress of the Piedmont Unified School District.

by Ben Barrett, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.

Leave a Comment