School board meeting recap: reopening school in the fall


Nina Moothedath, Staff Writer

During the school board meeting last tuesday, the board members discussed the potential reopening of schools in the fall. An important thing to consider is putting in more effort in being informed and understanding how things are going to be this fall. 

“As I speak for the rest of the board I know, get involved so we can move forward in a positive manner, and put out the best program possible as we reopen schools in some form or manner,” said board president Steve Maher. 

The board used a sliding scale as a diagram for their policy. As the guidance from the public health department becomes more restrictive, so will the school  board’s plans, and when it becomes less restrictive, the school board will shift to that direction.

This decision making process is hard and tedious, but the board is making an effort to find a good medium in which students could be held both accountable, yet harmless. 

“So, one of the things that we learned from going through the decision making process for how we will hold students harmless, yet give grades during this time is the importance of having tools that are comprehensive- that help us to identify what our stakeholders are thinking and feeling,” said assistant superintendent of teaching and learning Dr. Janelle Woodward. 

In conclusion, the school board is still deciding what to do next school year in the fall, but the main idea to take away is being adaptable to the changes made. 

Middle School Skills: 

During the meeting last tuesday, the board also approved a new wheel course called “middle school skills”. It’s meant to help incoming sixth graders as they transition from elementary to middle school by giving them the academic and social skills they’ll need.

“We are looking at our sixth graders and wanted to try to provide them not only some academic support in the wheel class, but also some social and emotional learning,” said Hart Middle School principal Caroline Fields

According to the course outline, students in the course will learn techniques like mindfulness to help deal with anxiety and stress. They’ll also work on their communication, listening, and cooperation with others.

“Having a class like that, my hope is that it can help ease some of the challenges that those sensitive age groups go through,” said board member Mark Miller.

The course also aims to help students in their academic careers. It includes skills such as note taking, time management, short and long term planning, and organization.

“We are very excited about this class and…helping [students] to be successful, feel good about themselves and develop good relationships with their peers,” said Ms. Fields.

Pay Raise? 

During the meeting, there was discussion of, but no motion to approve, raising the monthly stipend of the board of trustees. California Education Code 35120, Article 2 (e) allows the board to raise the stipend by 5 percent on an annual basis.

The impact to the budget is pretty insignificant, but in light of the looming budget cuts we’re facing it’s more a matter of principle. It’s not to say we don’t deserve it and don’t do the work because we do,”said board member Valerie Arkin. 

The board’s stipend has remained at $441 per month since July,2018 according to the meeting’s agenda. Amidst the current pandemic, the board didn’t see now a fit time to change that.

“I think in this time of unemployment we need every cent we can get as we move forward,” said Steve Maher.