Nov 19 2017

Praise for New PHS Principal, Longer Thanksgiving Break, Finals Before Winter Break at School Board Meeting

On the night of November 8th, I attended the School Board meeting in the City Council Chambers. The School Board met to talk about several topics such as: possible refinancing of Capital Appreciation Bonds; the new instructional calendar; contract openers between the District and Piedmont teachers; and policy concerning the naming of new buildings.

Before addressing the main topics, members from the Board made a few announcements. Sarah Pearson, Board of Education President, spoke about the work that has been done for last years’ issues in the Middle School. She was very proud about the progress that has been made through a history project for all students.

Hillary Cooper, as Co-president of the Piedmont High School Parent Club, shared her appreciation for an article in the student newspaper The Piedmont Highlander <Click to read] about PHS’s new principal Adam Littlefield. The article emphasized the honor and commitment that Mr. Littlefield has expressed in his few months here in Piedmont.

Millenium High School students representative, Joshua Miller, also had some good news, sharing his appreciation for all the money that has been donated to the fire victims through ASB. He also made a few weekly announcements regarding the assemblies and plays.

A few Piedmont High School students also had a chance to speak during the meeting. Senior Kai Zimmer said he was really happy with the schedule, but also shared some concern he heard from other students for the way the schedule is organized during finals. Gigi Gleghorn shared her appreciation towards PHS’s teachers for being helpful towards students working on college applications.

I then spoke to the Board about some concerns I had been hearing from several students about all the textbooks that are required for all students, and questioned when we can find versions of those textbooks online.

Next up, was the refinancing for the Capital Appreciation Bonds (CAB). A presentation about the plan was presented to the Board and kept all the Board Members busy thinking of when it would be better to renew some of the District bonds. The Board finally agreed to continue the recommendation during the next meeting to talk further about the plan.

Once the CAB plan had been considered, the Board addressed the 2018-19 and 2019-20 Instructional Calendar. PUSD Superintendent Randall Booker presented the new calendar, announcing that next year the school year will begin on the third week of August and the Thanksgiving break will go back to lasting one full week. During Thanksgiving week, attendance problems had been noticed. Finals will also be moved from the end of December to before Winter Break.

I was personally really happy to hear about the new calendar that the Board was proposing: I noticed a lot of controversy for Finals scheduled at the end of December. In addition, I have seen how many families in Piedmont take week long vacations during Thanksgiving break which makes them miss two “A” schedule days during that week, increasing the workload once they get back to school.

The next topic was the policy concerning the naming of buildings and other facilities. Michael Brady took the podium, presenting his project to the Board.

As I was heading out of the City Hall, I had a chance to talk to Mr. Brady and ask him a few questions.  First, I wanted to learn what his role was in these meetings. He told me about the school’s project to rebuild some of the building adding new classrooms. Mr. Brady is the bond coordinator for this project and they have already passed a bond to renovate the school. His purpose in this meeting was to notify the School Board on how things are going which he thinks is very helpful since they need to know the policy. The next step, he will take for the next meeting, is to talk about which construction company will help build this project. Mr. Brady was happy to answer my questions and he really helped me understand what his role was in this project.

by Alexander Parisi, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.

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