Nov 5 2017

Resident Comments Requested

Piedmont’s School Board is considering options to refinance outstanding Capital Appreciation Bonds (CABS). Public input on the CAB Refinancing Options is requested as the School Board continues its discussion.

Three options to consider:
1. Status​ ​Quo​: Do not refinance at this time, but continue to monitor interest rates.
2. CAB​ ​to​ ​CAB​: This would save Piedmont taxpayers $11.3M over the life of the bonds. Tax rates would stay the same until 2027, but then would decrease until 2043.
3. CAB​ ​to​ ​CIB​ (Current Interest Rate Bonds): This would save Piedmont taxpayers $19.5M over the life of the bonds. Tax rates would stay the same until 2024, would then decrease from 2024-2034, and then would sharply decrease from 2035-2043.

Read more about the CAB Refinancing Options here.

Board of Education Members

Sarah Pearson
President
spearson@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Amal Smith
Vice President
amalsmith@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Doug Ireland
direland@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Cory Smegal
csmegal@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Andrea Swenson
aswenson@piedmont.k12.ca.us

Oct 23 2017

Anti-hate signs are being made available to interested Piedmonters.

If you want to obtain a sign, contact Conna McCarthy at > 

mccarthycraigie@gmail.com.  

Also, a limited number of signs are available at the City Clerk’s office in City Hall and at the Piedmont Unified School District Office.

Oct 23 2017

The Board of Education at their October 25 meeting will discuss and consider a policy on the naming rights of School facilities and buildings.  The meeting begins at 7:oo p.m. in City Hall, 120 Vista Avenue.   For more information click on the agenda ITEM VII B  link HERE.

Oct 23 2017

At the October 25 School Board meeting, consideration will be given to refinancing the Piedmont School Bonds.  The link to the information is HERE.

Read the agenda ITEM VII C  information HERE.

Oct 20 2017

Students find areas to improve District and praise community involvement and educators.

The Piedmont Unified School District Board of Education convened on the evening of October 11th in a bi-monthly meeting to discuss the evolution of the Middle School and High School math programs along with the substantiality of textbooks and lab materials for classes. The Board also received an update on the Measure H1 facilities bond program and heard Blake Boehm on possible refunding of Capital Appreciation Bonds. During each of these presentations, the Board was briefed on the schedule for each program and came to a resolution on the sufficiency of the District’s learning materials.

Beginning with announcements from those in attendance, the Board was informed of the Piedmont Education Foundation’s plan, through the recently kicked off Giving Campaign, to reach 4.4 million dollars. The campaign is well on its way and has already reached 2.2 million dollars.

Announcements continued with an update from Josh Miller, the Piedmont High School and Millennium ASB (Associated Students Board) representative.  This year is the first year PHS and Millennium ASB worked together to decorate, plan and execute homecoming for the two schools.

Furthermore, all practices were canceled due to the poor air quality resulting from the California Wildfires. Those in attendance were then notified of the Board Workshop in the District office on October 12th to evaluate the budget before the Board moved on with the rest of the meeting.

Dr. Cheryl​ ​Wozniak, Director of Curriculum and Instruction, then began her presentation, beginning by informing the Board of the timeline to evaluate the newly implemented Secondary Math Program. The timeline begins with an evaluation of the successes and challenges of the program before revising any policies or procedures and creating recommendations for the School Board to hear. In response to questions from student audience members, Wozniak then explained that while the new program teaches the same information as previous math programs, it teaches it in a much more compressed timeline.

Following her slide presentation on the integrated math program, Wozniak addressed the the sufficiency of schools’ instructional materials, a motion that the Board found true and resolved.

During an interview before the meeting began, Wozniak explained that the “common core math standards cover every math level, but materials end at integrated math courses,” and she later informed the Board that all materials were sufficient for each student and were up to date.

Wozniak, a regular attendee of School Board Meetings, explained that when she attends, “she gets to hear major presentations and initiatives,” encouraging me and my peers to discuss our own experiences with the math program at Piedmont High School.

Taking Dr. Wozniak’s advice, I addressed the board, first expanding on conversations over the lack of use of Calculus textbooks, explaining that despite similar trends of past years, I had used the textbook more than ever before in AP Calculus BC.

I then brought up an issue I had seen in many science classes, but most recently in Ap Environmental Sciences. Many STEM classes do not have enough lab materials to find accurate results or any results at all, prohibiting students from getting a complete and well rounded education Although this experience was nerve wracking, with the encouragement of Dr. Wozniak and the importance of the matter at hand, I felt it was an extremely rewarding to speak out.

As the clock neared nine p.m., Michael​ ​Brady,​ ​Facilities​ ​Bond​ ​Program​ ​Coordinator for the H1 Facilities Bonds Program, stepped up to the podium to address the board. Brady explained that the program would begin in a four step process to select contractors for projects like the new theatre at Piedmont High School. Transitioning to discuss a new citizens oversight committee for the project, Brady brought up the issue of whether or not naming rights to portions of the new projects should be sold for donations.

While I think this is a very interesting take on donations, I do think it should be considered that many families donating large amounts of funds may prefer not to have their name displayed publicly or may wish to display someone else’s name. If this option is given to citizens, I believe this could be a brilliant and extremely creative way to encourage donations to the project.

The Board meeting was then concluded with a presentation on the extension of Bonds issued in 2006. This portion of the meeting extended past nine o’clock so I was unable to report on the conclusion of the Board. Overall, this meeting provided an excellent example of the day to day runnings of the Board of Education and showed how involved both private citizens and public figures are in the well being and progress of students in the Piedmont Unified School District.

by Charlotte Altieri, Piedmont High School Senior

~~~~~~~~~

A few other students and I attended a PUSD Regular Board of Education Meeting on October 11, 2017. The purpose of the meeting was to review the year in progress so far, institute necessary classroom changes, and to listen to information and opinions provided by Piedmont residents or staff at the meeting. The Board meets every second and fourth Wednesdays of every month and has repeating speakers along with new ones. The meetings are held at City Hall at 7:00 p.m.

Despite a small number in attendance, a lot was said during the course of the meeting. One of the directors of the Piedmont Education Foundation spoke about The Giving Campaign. She explained that their goal is to have a total of 4.4 million dollars donated, and people that can’t give the mean amount of money should at least contribute in some smaller way. They are already halfway to their goal, raising 2.2 million dollars so far. The main message put across was that all families should participate to some extent.

Another issue brought up by the Board of Education President, Sarah Pearson, was the Common Core math curriculum. Ben Barrett, a high school senior from the audience, spoke out on this topic explaining that both of his siblings are taking part in Common Core currently. He made it clear that the Common Core curriculum moves at a much higher pace than any math class that he took himself, but at the same time it has taught his siblings more than they would have learned taking the same courses as him. For me, it seems like a trade off where some students could really excel and grasp the material quickly, while their peers may only stay afloat with a tutor since the course moves so quickly.

Randall Booker, PUSD superintendent, brought up the topic of the NorCal fires and how they’re affecting the school district. Sports practices had been cancelled or moved indoors all week and there was talk about moving the Homecoming Dance indoors. Hanna Hohener, a high school senior and ASB president, spoke from the audience explaining that ASB will be holding a drive for donations the following week for fire victims. I definitely agree with ASB’s idea to do this as the fires have killed tens of people and have destroyed so many homes.

I got the chance to interview Dr. Cheryl Wozniak, Director of Curriculum and Instruction for Piedmont Unified School District. She attended the meeting to make sure that all materials that students use sufficient and up to date. In regards to why she attended this meeting in particular, she said they “believe it’s a good time to stop and assess how things are going.” She also was looking forward to receiving outside information on how the new Common Core math curriculum impacts students. A big thing Dr. Wozniak preaches is community involvement, and that she encourages everyone with relation to the School District to come and attend meetings to voice their opinions. Throughout the course of the night, guest speakers and board members shared ideas on how Piedmont Unified School District could become a better, smarter and more efficient community.

by Jacob Prager, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors’ Note: Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
Oct 20 2017

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.
Oct 10 2017

   On Wednesday, September 27th, I attended the school board meeting. It is a five member board of education that oversees Piedmont Unified School District (PUSD). The members are elected and can serve a maximum of two four-year terms. The board meets every other week.

    Following the meeting, I interviewed Cory Smegal, one of the five board members. She goes to every meeting. The board members are not paid so it is obvious how much Smegal cares about the district. Smegal did not have a particular issue she wanted addressed at the September 27th meeting, but she was interested in all the work on the facilities program. I was only allowed to attend the meeting for the first two hours, so Smegal filled me in on what happened afterward. She said, “we talked about the delivery method for the facilities program and approved a lease – leaseback arrangement so a general contractor can be brought on in the next few months to help with the program.”

   Smegal explained the facilities program is making sure all the PUSD facilities are functioning well and accessible. She gave the example of how the board “approved engineering studies so we can have plans created which will fix the drainage at the field, plus fix accessibility issues.” Piedmont is so fortunate to have such nice facilities, but it is imperative that we maintain these well.

   The main topics at the September 27th meeting were fundraising updates from the Piedmont Educational Foundation (PEF), California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) scores, and designs for the new Alan Harvey Theater and STEAM building.

   The first presenter was Heather Frank, the executive director of the PEF. She came to present the annual big check. The big check is the total of all the fundraising that the PEF has done over an entire year. It is all of their fundraising combined. This includes the Giving Campaign, Spring Fling, March Mingle, and many more fundraisers. This year the big check was for $2.4 million. This is 8% of the school’s total budget.

    The next presenter was Stephanie Griffin, Piedmont’s technology coordinator. She came to present the results for the 2017 CAASPP testing. In 2016, PUSD was #3 in ELA and #1 in math of all K-12 school districts in the state. In 2017, Piedmont was #2 in ELA and #2 in math. Griffin also went over the new accountability system that ranks schools more holistically. For example in addition to CAASPP scores they also rate schools’ climates. Some of the measures that indicate this are dropout and suspension rates. It will be interesting to see how Piedmont will rank with these new measures.

    The main presenter of the evening was Jeff Evans, the head architect of the new theater and STEAM building. He presented the designs he and his team have made so far. One big discussion about the new buildings was the energy efficiency. There will be lots of the solar panels on the new buildings. The architects have thought of creative ways to incorporate these in the designs. For example, in addition to having solar panels on the roof, there will be some solar panels on the windows and sun shades. They plan to have these buildings be around for the next fifty years so it is important that they be “future proof.” There is expected to have a rise in temperatures over the next fifty years so the architectures are working hard to have good cooling systems.

   The new buildings will include a more energy efficient alternative to air conditioning (metal pipes that carry liquid has air blow across them to cool the classrooms). They are also making sure there is room to add an AC unit if it is necessary later. Another way to keep the rooms cool is by opening them at night. They want to have at least one or two windows in each classroom that have motorized opening and closing so that cooling the rooms at night will be easy.

    I was really interested in the discussions about the new STEAM buildings. Everyone in the room seemed excited about this building. The engineering lab and art classrooms will open up to patios. Because of the new building, the school will be able to offer new classes such as engineering, digital art, digital media, and more computer classes.

   I think it is great that the school is changing the classes they offer to be more relevant with the 21st century. The new classes are going to let students be creative with medias that may apply to their future jobs. I wish I would be at Piedmont for the new STEAM building because it would give my fellow classmates and me a chance to explore subjects that could be our potential major in college.

    My other peers that came to the meeting and I all asked questions about the new building. My question was, “Has the cost of new teachers for the new classes to be offered been factored into the budget yet?” Mr. Booker answered my question. He explained that even though we are offering more classes, does not necessarily mean we need more teachers. Although my peers and I took a good amount of time asking our questions, I think the board was excited to see students curious about the new buildings.

    Not only did I go to the meeting because of Civics, but I was also there as the student representative. Because I am the ASB Vice President, I go to every other school board meeting and sit with the school board with a fancy plaque placed in front of me on the diaz and everything. In addition to asking questions about the new buildings at meeting, I also gave an update on what is happening at PHS and MHS.

Here are the updates I shared about PHS:

  • The quarter is going to be over soon (10/13), some midterms are coming up.

  • We started having birthdays and home games on the school announcements to encourage school spirit.

  • We had home football games the past three Fridays and this upcoming Friday (9/29) is the team’s bye week.

  • Clubs are starting to hold their first events (Voco had their first speaker today, Stay Woke met last week and the first Caring for Cambodia is meeting next week.)

  • Last Tuesday (9/19), the Giving Campaign tried to have the school have a purple spirit day for the launch, but no one really dressed up except ASB.

  • ASB is very busy planning Homecoming.

  • TPH (The Piedmont Highlander) handed out their first newspapers of the year last tuesday (9/19).

Here are the updates I shared about MHS:

  • Had there second advisory

  • Started a fundraiser for Kaiser

    Although the school board meetings are often long, it is always interesting to see what the parents in Piedmont are working on. I think all the adults at the meetings love having students at the meeting as a reminder of why they do all the work they do for the schools. As a student, it is great to go because we can never get enough reminders of how much effort the adults in our community put into giving us the best education possible.

By Anna Goldberg, Piedmont High School Senior

~~~~~~~~~~~

    On September 27th, I attended the Piedmont School Board meeting at the City Council Chambers.  This board typically meets on the second and fourth Wednesdays of each month.  In the meeting that I attended, there were announcements and then reports concerning CAASPP results and developments in the new Alan Harvey Theater and STEAM building.  Starting a few minutes after 7 PM, PEF [Piedmont Education Foundation] presented the board with a big check from fundraisers throughout the year.  Following that announcement, the board went around sharing what they had done and events they had attended in the time since their last meeting.  Then the first topic was brought up.

    Ms. Stephanie Griffin was introduced to present the CAASPP testing results.  She mentioned that while our scores have decreased a bit, so did the best district’s.  Piedmont Unified School District is the best K-12 district in Northern California.

  Ms. Griffin continued to explain the shift from using the academic performance index, a single number, to using a new system that judges schools on multiple performance indicators.  In her presentation, she had many comparisons and charts about where our school district lies relative to other districts as well as how sub-groups in Piedmont High School perform differently.  At the end of Ms. Griffin’s presentation, the board had some clarification questions, such as whether everyone is being held to the same standards no matter what sub-group it is, which Ms. Griffin responded yes to.  Ms. Griffin stated that the overall take-away is that even top-ranked schools can continue to improve.

    The next topic had to do with a long term project – the new Alan Harvey Theater and STEAM building.  The architect that the district has hired presented to the board the current plan for the new buildings.  His presentation included multiple angles of the buildings, which he talked about in more detail.  Most of what he discussed concerned how he plans on achieving zero net energy buildings, since it was a guiding principle.  As a current high school student, it was amazing to see these models of what my current school may look like in a few years.  It will be completely foreign to me, yet I wish we had some of those new spaces now.  I look forward to seeing the new buildings but am also curious as to how they will look with the older buildings remaining relatively the same.  I had a lot of questions concerning the whole plan in general as well as details in the designs, and my two friends did too.  So when the board asked for comments and questions from the audience, my two fellow classmates and I asked both the board and the architect some questions, which mostly concerned how would the construction of the buildings and having the new buildings affect the school system and classes.  The project seems to be progressing very well.

    After the meeting, I got to ask Heather, the Executive Director of PEF, about her thoughts.  She was primarily there to present the check from PEF, but was also concerned about the district’s budget, because she wants to “make sure to learn all [she] can about the district’s budget and spending so [she] can help raise the money the schools need to continue providing excellent education.”

    In addition to her work there as part of PEF, she found that the CAASPP results showed that Piedmont students are doing well and are motivated.  She also said that she learned more about the plans for the new buildings.  Overall, Heather said that “This meeting was very positive. [She is] delighted that PEF was able to help fund some of the great work being done by the School Board, Superintendent Booker, the administration and the teachers.”

    The general meeting was more informative rather than a discussion, since it was filled with presentations and clarifications.  Both topics brought up in the meeting showed the growth in Piedmont schools, especially the high school.  Testing results reflected well on the district, and the new buildings are coming together.  The future for Piedmont schools is looking positive with the constant growth and the help of the School Board.

by Meryl Shi, Piedmont High School Senior

Editors’ Note:  Opinions expressed are those of the authors.
Oct 2 2017

School District Presents Designs for New High School STEAM Building and New Alan Harvey Theater  

Click below to view the design and read the PUSD press release.

Press Release PUSD Presents Designs for PHS and AHT 092917

Sep 29 2017

 Statewide CAASPP Results

Press release from Piedmont Unified School District…..

September 27, 2017 –

On September 27, 2017, the California Department of Education released the 2017 CAASPP Results for districts across the State. The public can access these results at http://caaspp.cde.ca.gov.

The CAASPP — the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress – are computer-based assessments in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics. The CAASPP replaced the paper-based Standardized Testing and Reporting (STAR) program three years ago. Last spring, Piedmont Students in grades 3–8 and 11 participated in the 2017 CAASPP.

The assessments are “adaptive” in that they take into account the student’s correct or incorrect answers to generate succeeding questions. These assessments move beyond multiple choice, and include performance tasks that require complex written responses. For these reasons, the CAASPP are designed to provide a more complete understanding of student knowledge and critical thinking skills for college and career readiness.

Piedmont students performed superbly. Superintendent Randall Booker commented, “Piedmont’s students perennially demonstrate a remarkable level of academic excellence. I am extremely proud of their efforts, as well as the extraordinary teaching and support found across the District.”

The following charts provide overall CAASPP results for Piedmont Unified as well as other unified school districts that are historically comparable to Piedmont Unified. The values indicate the percentage of test-takers (grades 3-8, 11) who either “met” or “exceeded” the Common Core Standards in English Language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics.

Like class assignments and report cards, the new assessments are one gauge of student progress, providing information to schools, teachers, and parents about how students perform relative to California’s goals for both learning and college and career readiness. These results will be used as one of several means to determine and meet student needs, and guide discussions among parents and teachers. Also, the scores will be used as a baseline for the progress teachers expect students to make over time.

Unified (K-12) School Districts – English Language Arts & Mathematics

Piedmont Unified ranks #2 in the state of California in the percentage of students who either met or exceeded the standards in English language Arts/Literacy and Mathematics.

Unified School Districts

English Language Arts/Literacy:

Standard Exceeded/Met

Mathematics:

Standard Exceeded/Met

Piedmont Unified

86.02% #1 in Northern California (#2 in State)

83.63% #1 in Northern California (#2 in State)

Albany Unified

79.34%

73.89%

Arcadia Unified

79.44%

75.69%

Berkeley Unified

61.1%

57.26%

Dublin Unified

76.48%

72.94%

Fremont Unified

75.13%

71.49%

Irvine Unified

77.46%

74.28%

La Cañada Unified

85.86%

83.53%

Laguna Beach Unified

82.01%

71.96%

Los Alamitos Unified

81.57%

73.1%

Manhattan Beach Unified

84.08%

74.78%

Oak Park Unified

79.39%

71.78%

Palo Alto Unified

81.85%

81.45%

Palos Verdes Unified

78.32%

72.41%

Pleasanton Unified

80.83%

76.91%

San Marino Unified

90.05%

85.81%

San Ramon Unified

81.67%

77.08%

South Pasadena Unified

83.34%

78.66%

Alameda County

54.68%

47.37%

California

48.56%

37.56%

Aug 19 2017
The School Board will consider the appointment of a Piedmont High School Athletic Director at 7:40 p.m. Wednesday, August 23 in the City Council Chamber at 120 Vista Avenue.  The meeting will be broadcast live on Channel 27 and from the City website.

Controversy has surrounded the position.  The previous Athletic Director recently resigned and a recruitment for a replacement drew over 20 applicants.

There is no staff report on the proposed appointee or the process.

The agenda for the August 23rd meeting states:

 VIII.A. Approve the Appointment of the Piedmont High School Director of Athletics 

Time Certain:  7:40 PM