Apr 19 2018

Wellbeing of Students and Adult Education Graduation Requirements

Let’s Talk About Our Future Towards Equity

While the School Board meeting on March 28th only lasted 56 minutes, students along with faculty primarily discussed the wellbeing of our District’s campuses.

Anna Goldberg, Piedmont High School’s ASB Vice President, updated the School Board on the current activities that recently took place at the High School. These topics included the Lie-In, college admittance, spring break and the Mexico trip, “Lets Talk Too!”, along with career day.

During the Open Forum, Anders and I talked briefly about the Piedmont mountain biking team. We have both been participating in the sport for all four years of high school and have seen the team grow from two people to more than eleven students at the High School. Before we head off to college, we are trying to grow awareness about the sport, along with starting the conversation of gaining more support from the School District. Eva Hunter followed our statements and discussed Piedmont’s emphasis on male-sports, and how having a female Athletic Director could help shift the focus.

Ms. Muñoz, Piedmont High School’s Assistant Principal, introduced the subject of the “Lets Talk Too!,” diversity, equity, and social justice assembly. According to Muñoz, the event that occurred on March 27th at the High School allowed space for “student voice and student dialog, and was designed in response to feedback from students that they wanted the opportunity to engage and hear from each other.” Noah, a student at Millennium High School, along with Piedmont High School students, Casey and Laura, discussed their personal takeaways from the event. Shannon Overturf, Millennium High School’s principal, followed the student opinions with a conversation about the impact of the event.

Michael Brady discussed a first reading for a revised Board policy on Adult Education graduation requirements, BP 6200. The independent program started in 2006 allowing adults to receive a diploma, and since then has served 1,300 adults from in and around Piedmont. The Adult School currently requires 150.5 credits to graduate, which “vastly exceeds State ED code” according to Brady. Unfortunately, sometimes life gets in the way of finishing the credits required, such as an illness, loss of job or relative, etc. The proposed amendment would allow someone in a rare case to be exempt from finishing the credits if within 10 credits from graduating.

No action took place at this meeting, yet further discussion was added to the consent calendar. I believe this is very important to approve since many of the students in the program already have had a difficult life either coming from backgrounds of being homeless, or having previously been incarcerated, according to Brady. Although this would only be used in rare circumstances, it allows students a piece of mind in an unforeseen event, especially when they have met or exceeded State ED code.

Randy Booker, Superintendent,  then discussed the yearly approval for the Declaration of Need for Fully Qualified Educators which allows the District the flexibility to issue emergency credentials. This is only used if the District can’t find a replacement, but a teacher has a Masters Degree for a certain field, however are lacking a teachers credential. This allows the District to issue an emergency credential for short terms. This was passed by Board Members Cory Smegal, Sarah Pearson, and Andrea Swenson.

Before the School Board meeting started, I interviewed Heather Frank, the Executive Director of the Piedmont Educational Foundation. Her primary job is to raise money for the District. Although she arrived with no specific concerns, she had a particular interest in hearing the Art Hecht Award Recipient, however, this was removed from the agenda for this meeting, and postponed to May 9th. She did speak during the meeting by updating the School Board on what’s been happening at the Piedmont Educational Foundation with the upcoming Spring Fling fundraiser. Lastly, she stated that she “appreciates hearing from the students who get up and talk about some of their concerns, and learning about the various policy changes and updates.”

The School Board meets on the second and fourth Wednesdays of every month at 7:00 p.m. in the City Hall Council Chambers. The focus of each meeting changes based on current events and proposed policy changes, but the purpose of every meeting is to allow a space where the Board and community can communicate with each other about the city and schools. The number of people in attendance also depends on whether there is a hot topic, according to Frank.

by Nathan Horst, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.

Leave a Comment