May 17 2018

Impressive School Board Awards Holly Hanke and Considers Changes to Chemistry and Math Curriculum

On a warm evening in the beginning of May, many students, teachers, and other community members shuffled into Piedmont City Hall. Many community members had to sit on the floor of the Chamber as the seats were filled in a matter of seconds. Everyone there had a different reason for coming, but shared one common goal, to improve the Piedmont Unified School District.

At the May 9th School Board meeting in City Hall, the School Board discussed topics and legislation that should be passed or changed regarding Piedmont schools.

According to the Piedmont Unified School District’s website, the School Board meets about twice a month. The meeting began when the members of the School Board asked everyone to join them in the Pledge of Allegiance.

Many important topics were discussed, but the topics that seemed to rule the evening regarded the Volunteer of the Year Award, and the new proposed structuring of the Honors Chemistry, Regular Chemistry, and Math classes.

The volunteer of the year award was presented to Holly Hanke. Superintendent Randall Booker and the School Board presented her with this award for her outstanding work in the school system volunteering at the various schools throughout this year.

Saatvik Dube, a senior at Piedmont High School, was also celebrated as he presented his art piece to Ms Hanke. The piece depicted how technology has affected our lives.

Later, Cheryl Wozniak, introduced a slide show presented by Mr. Savage, Mr. Huffaker, and herself explaining the proposed new structure of the chemistry classes. The presentation ultimately proposed a more hands on approach in both Chemistry and Honors Chemistry, allowing the students to think for themselves with more labs and problem solving situations. Regular Chemistry stays somewhat the same, while Honors Chemistry has a couple of new units added to the class such as ocean acidification.

The Board Members seemed to like their presentations, as Sarah Pearson, the President of the Board, voiced her approval of their presentation.

Mr. Hayden then presented the new proposed structures for the integrated Math classes. One topic of discussion that Senior Kate Broening brought up was how the Math Department could tell if students take AP Math classes just for the grade bump. Mr Hayden responded by saying there is really no way they can stop that, but he hopes that students who take harder classes enjoy the material more.

I have come across this dilemma many times. Usually, a student that takes an AP or honors class tends to enjoy the information a bit more, but also is mainly taking the class for the GPA boost.

I later spoke with Mr. Savage about his experience at the meeting presenting a new proposed curriculum for the Honors Chemistry class with the help of his associate Mr. Huffaker. Mr. Savage told me that he loved how the meeting began with an Open Forum. He was also happy that students got up and spoke about various issues at the beginning of the meeting and he is curious to see whether or not the Board will act upon the questions that were raised by the students.

Mr. Savage brought up how incredibly impressed he is with the School Board itself. He noted that they do many things behind the scenes such as budgeting, ensuring safety, and overall education goals. Mr. Savage plans to go back to another meeting to field questions about his new proposed curriculum and see whether or not the School Board will in fact adopt the new outline for the class. The next scheduled School Board meeting will take place on May 23rd.

by Patrick Aebi, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors Note: Opinions expressed are those of the author.

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