Dec 6 2017

High School Principal Littlefield Receives Praise

    I went to the Piedmont School Board meeting of November 8, 2017. There were a total of 5 Board Members including a high school student.  During this meeting, the Board discussed new tax reforms for the upcoming year, as well as the proposed Piedmont school schedule modifications and fire relief donations for Sonoma. In the beginning of the meeting, the Board addressed the topic of the resignation of teacher Mr. Cowherd. They stated that their first priority is for the students to feel safe at all times, but also added that they would not be able to fire a teacher off of the first complaint.

    The next topic the Board talked about how to react to the new tax reform. The tax reform debate was an in-depth analysis on two different plans. The first plan the Board was considering would not allow them to switch plans until 2035 and they would stay on the current plan. If the Board chooses this option, there is a chance they would lose money depending on the new tax reform bill President Trump is evaluating. There were two men from the community who spoke in support of  this plan and both worked in the financial industry. The second option could force them to make a decision as to whether to switch to a new tax plan in the next month.

    There was another resident, who also worked in finance, that promoted this plan and he came prepared with a long slide show of how the taxes could change in upcoming years.  In the end, the Board concluded that they would schedule an emergency meeting in the upcoming weeks to decide which plan they would choose.

    I think that the Board should push for the second option which is switching the plans now. It seemed that Piedmont would save more money if they chose the second plan because they don’t know what changes Trump’s proposed taxes will have on the community and it may lose a lot of money on the current plan.

    The next topic the Board discussed was related to the Piedmont school schedule. They decided to permanently change the yearly schedule which continues to allow finals to be given before Winter Break. A positive factor for this new schedule is that students get a full week off during Thanksgiving since the school was losing money when kids took the whole week off while school was in session.

    I was torn between which schedule I liked best, because I really like the current schedule, but I also enjoy having a week off for Thanksgiving. I spoke on the topic of the schedule and pushed for the schools to stay on the same schedule they are on currently. Though after hearing what the Board had to say, I definitely do not mind switching because finals are still before Winter Break and students get a whole week off for Thanksgiving. I also really like how the Board chose to keep block scheduling because it allows students to have more time to work on their homework. Kids have so many other activities going on besides school that it can be hard to complete all the homework and with this schedule, it allows kids to get their homework done and have extracurriculars.

    Another topic discussed was the fire in Sonoma. Piedmont has been raising money for the past month to help the fire victims and ended up raising a lot of money. The representative speaking for this topic was Heather Frank and she stated that they have raised 1.8 million dollars. She said that only a small portion of the population had donated and Piedmont could do a lot better if everyone participated.

    The last topic that citizens spoke about was in regards to Mr.Littlefield, the new Piedmont High School principal. It was very challenging for Mr. Littlefield in his first year as principal at Piedmont to manage the recent issues around charges of Mr.Cowherd’s harassment of students. A community member, Ms. Cooper, talked about a recent article written by the journalism class at Piedmont where students spoke about how great Mr. Littlefield is and how well they believed he handled the situation. I agree with the student who wrote this statement. I think Mr. Littlefield did a great job handling the Cowherd situation and I also believe he is a really good principal in general. He shows a lot of school spirit and always talks during school wide assemblies which shows that he cares about the students’ learning environment.

    I interviewed Ms.Cooper in reference to her comments about Mr. Littlefield and how well he handled the sexual harassment situation. She was there to give credit to the students who wrote the article and to compliment Mr. Littlefield as well. She enjoyed the meeting and was glad to get her opinion heard. In the situation Mr. Littlefield was put in, there are a lot of ways to slip up and make a big mistake and it was nice to hear someone complimenting him.

    As a high school senior, I have never been to a School Board meeting and I actually really enjoyed it. I learned how decisions are made in the community and how easy it is to make an impact on our community. Attending this meeting will have an impact in regards to my involvement in the communities in which I live down the road.

by Kai Zimmer, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.

One Response to “High School Principal Littlefield Receives Praise”

  1. Kai:

    As a resident who no longer has school-aged children, I’m especially appreciative of your interesting and informative article. Thank you for taking the time to attend the school board meeting–and for sharing your views and observations.

    Karen Mead

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