Hart Union School District Board Meeting – February 1, 2023

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To navigate to a specific part of the video, simply click on the timestamp links below. Each timestamp corresponds to a different section of the video, allowing you to jump to the parts that interest you the most easily.

00:00:00 can turn to for guidance and support is essential, and in this section of the video from the WSHUHSD Regular Governing Board Meeting on February 1, 2023, the board reports on their closed session activity, including approving a settlement agreement for a case involving reimbursing parents for up to 118 hours of one-on-one services and paying a maximum of $8,500 in attorney fees. The board also ratified a student expulsion report and approved the agenda and minutes of previous meetings before moving on to recognizing members of the community who exemplify their newly adopted core values. Two One Heart awards were presented to individuals who display courage, caring, creativity, and community.

00:05:00 In this section of the video, two individuals are honored for their contributions to the district and its students. The first is Kathy Hunter, who is praised for her dedication to helping students in various capacities such as drug rehab and interventions, threat assessments, and security issues. She is also recognized for her positive relationships with agencies within the district and beyond, as well as her willingness to work with families and students to prevent expulsions. The second individual, Jim Ventress, is commended for his commitment to supporting students through the Boys and Girls Club, as well as helping them make good decisions, stay safe, and develop respect for themselves and others.

00:10:00 In this section, board members provided updates on recent events and initiatives. Mrs. Storley reported on the recent SCV trustee association meeting where they discussed improving articulation from 6th to 7th grade. She also expressed optimism about nearing a deal with teachers and classified employees. Mr. Webb talked about attending Saugus High School’s kindness assembly and praised the dynamic and energetic speaker. He also congratulated the district on receiving a $240,000 grant for a classified teacher program. Dr. Moore thanked the district’s social workers for their impactful work and shared updates on several upcoming events.

00:15:00 In this section of the meeting, Dr. Moore expresses gratitude to the social workers who helped a student and her family during a hardship, and acknowledges the increasing number of homeless students in the district. She also reminds parents of the upcoming Parent Forum in Spanish and highlights the art show for Black History Month on February 28th. Dr. Moore announces the installation of the third Z Club at West Ranch High School and thanks the advisors for their commitment. Additionally, she informs the board about the budget study session on February 9th and the family resource fair at Golden Valley High School on February 25th, in partnership with Sulfur Springs School District.

00:20:00 In this section of the transcript, the governing board meeting discusses the importance of recognizing and commemorating significant historical events such as International Holocaust Remembrance Day and Black History Month. The board member shares a story about a Black Patriot named James Armistead, who was an enslaved man turned spy for the Americans during the Revolutionary War. Despite his crucial role in the war, Armistead was denied a pension due to his status as a spy, but eventually received it and his freedom after a testimonial from General Lafayette. The student board member also reminds everyone of the upcoming Black History Month art show and counselor appreciation week.

00:25:00 In this section of the transcript, updates on various schools and programs within the WSHUHSD district are discussed. For instance, Castaic High School is developing a new leadership program outside of ASB, where 150 students will be nominated to meet monthly to discuss better ways of improving campus culture. On the other hand, some schools in the district are experimenting with digital IDs on a five-star app for students to easily carry their IDs via the app. Furthermore, updates on winter formals, college admissions, parades, and workshops were also discussed. Lastly, videos created by students highlighting the dangers of fentanyl on campuses will be shown during the next three meetings, with the first video being “One pill kills” by students from Canyon High School.

00:30:00 In this section of the transcript, two speakers address the board’s attention. Diane Zimmerman urges teachers to read Rebecca Friedrich’s book, “Standing Up to Goliath,” about government teacher unions infusing the critical race theory (CRT) into children’s education since their inception. Meanwhile, Carrie expresses concern over illegal narcotics and fentanyl exposure in and around the school system, the increasing number of homelessness, and the ongoing harassment that students have to endure walking to and from school. John Minkus, president of hdta, congratulates the bargaining team for working well together and reaching a tentative agreement, thanks Dr. Nielsen for his presentation on wellness services available to employees, and highlights the positive achievements of the district’s students and staff.

00:35:00 In this section of the meeting, various individuals congratulate Max Homa, a professional golfer and alumnus of Valencia High School, on his recent success in the PGA Tour event at Torrey Pines, where he won 1.6 million dollars. While the district takes no credit for Homa’s success, they celebrate the multitude of high-quality opportunities they provide students, from sports programs to academic and extracurricular activities, all of which are made possible by the dedicated teachers within the district. Additionally, the CSEA continues negotiations with the district to add a step six to their salary chart, which they believe will help the district remain competitive with neighboring schools and businesses.

00:40:00 In this section of the meeting, the board discusses employee retention rates and a negotiation with the CSEA. The school site report for Bowman High School is also presented, outlining the demographics of the student population and highlighting the school’s intervention program and credit earning initiatives. During the public comment section, a speaker addresses the topic of credit earner intervention and encourages the district to prioritize positive interventions and parental involvement. The principal of Bowman High School also presents data on the student population and emphasizes the importance of intervention programs for junior high school non-promotes.

00:45:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the success of the Bowman program, which focuses on building relationships with students to create a safety net and provide support for each student’s success. The school meets regularly with students and involves all stakeholders in the process to help students meet their credits and educational goals, with a credit-based system that focuses on data tracking and creating a safety net. The speaker emphasizes that the school is the last step in helping students graduate and is working diligently to tailor grading and instruction, with a multi-tiered system of academic support for all students. Overall, the data suggests that Bowmen is excelling in meeting student needs and providing them equitable access to success.

00:50:00 represent the section where the Principal of Bowman High School discusses the school’s data and initiatives. The Principal reports a significant decrease in no marks and an increase in student credit earning over the last five years. She also shares that they have an inclusive environment that focuses on respect, equity, kindness, and integrity, and that they utilize trauma-informed practices for the social-emotional component. Additionally, the school’s mission statement has been rewritten to emphasize perseverance and opportunities for success, and their motto is “you matter.” The Principal thanks the Board for reducing elective credits by 10, which will help 70 more Bowman students graduate this school year. Furthermore, two students give speeches about how Bowman has impacted their success in school through the support and encouragement of the staff and teachers.

00:55:00 In this section, two students from Bowman campus express their positive experiences at school in terms of inclusivity and safety. They note that they have never felt excluded in any activities or classrooms and feel like the school is one big family. The board members acknowledge the students’ perspectives and commend the school for its mission statement of every student being successful. The presentation of data also earned praise from the board members. Finally, the students’ decision to join the army was discussed, with the board members expressing their support and gratitude for the students’ early service.

01:00:00 In this section of the transcript, a board member expresses gratitude for the presentation given by representatives from Bowman, a model school in California. The student representatives share advice for improving campus morale and explain the inclusive atmosphere of the school’s ASB group. The board member thanks the representatives for their service to the country and to the school district. After the presentation, the board opens up the public comments section, and the first speaker remembers a beloved member of the district who passed away.

01:05:00 In this section, two speakers addressed the governing board. The first speaker shared a heartfelt tribute to Rich Ortiz, a beloved teacher who dedicated his life to working with youth. She thanked the board for their support and urged them to remember the importance of teachers in shaping young lives. The second speaker, a special education teacher, expressed her gratitude for the board’s appreciation of their work but also highlighted concerns about the structure of special education and the need for overhaul. Additionally, another speaker expressed their concerns about the use and exposure of narcotics in the school district and the impact of peer pressure, home environment, and neighborhood on teens.

01:10:00 In this section of the meeting, concerns were raised about the increase of homeless individuals in the community, and their potential contact with students who may be walking home from school. The issue of drug use, particularly fentanyl, among the homeless population was also highlighted, with one speaker expressing concern regarding what would happen if a student were to accidentally consume these substances. Another speaker addressed the concerns of special education teachers, stressing the importance of support in managing their caseloads, which involve a significant number of responsibilities outside of classroom instruction. Finally, one speaker emphasized the vulnerability of children and expressed the need for the board to ensure their safety while at school.

01:15:00 In this section of the video, various individuals speak during a public session of the WSHUHSD Regular Governing Board Meeting. One speaker suggests considering smaller campuses to create a more close-knit environment in classrooms. Another speaker expresses concern over the school board’s implementation of rules related to student health and safety, and suggests that more effort should be made to speak with and check on students. Another speaker discusses the issue of drug addiction and suggests that the provision of Narcan sends the wrong message to young people. Finally, a special education teacher speaks about the burden on teachers in providing adequate instruction to students while also fulfilling administrative responsibilities related to individualized education plans (IEPs).

01:20:00 In this section of the video, several teachers in the West Sonoma County Union High School District raise concerns about the challenges faced by special education teachers, including insufficient time to do their job properly. One participant explains that the time challenge is a practical implication of their dissertation research, and another says that special educators are being pulled in too many directions. They urge the board to consider the 411 model to provide for students who are often most vulnerable and to help mitigate the ongoing challenges facing the field of special education. Several teachers express their love for teaching and for their students, but the time demands make it difficult to be both a good teacher and a good parent.

01:25:00 In this section, two members of the public addressed the board. Nancy Lynn Yale raised concerns about potential conflicts of interest in the board being endorsed by the teacher’s union and reminded them of their responsibilities to the local community and advocating for children. The following speaker, Carrie, spoke about the recent shootings at the Valencia Mall and the need to address issues of violence, homelessness, and drug use in the community to ensure the safety of students and families. Another speaker, Dr. Akash, addressed the board on the need for teachers to have time to properly service their students with special needs to avoid compliance issues.

01:30:00 In this section, a board-certified psychiatrist, Dr. Akash Ahuja, raised concerns about the ill effects of social media platforms such as TikTok, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, Twitter, and others on children’s mental health, highlighting the release of dopamine when a child gets more likes and the negative impact on their self-esteem when they receive negative feedback. He urged the board members to discuss this critical topic and make policies to reduce the use of social media significantly while educating children about it. Later, a speaker raised concerns about the schools’ focus on race division and pronouns instead of real education, and urged parents to get involved, view the books their children are reading in schools and libraries, and protect their children from the demonic ideologies in education by teaching them The Bible.

01:35:00 In this section of the board meeting, one speaker expressed concerns about the sexualization and gender transitioning of children, citing parents being threatened with child protective services and jail time. Another speaker suggested providing a free, confidential mental health survey to students, backed by psychology professionals at Harvard and Stanford University. Lastly, a registered behavior technician working in special education expressed her support for the CSEA negotiations team, highlighting the importance of staff mental capacity and the need for progress tracking through data collection.

01:40:00 In this section of the transcript, a member who works in special education advocates for a step six to ensure that quality and committed candidates are attracted to the district for the success and happiness of the students. Classified staff members who were polled believed that the recent CSEA negotiations proposal benefited both parties and were diverse in their years of working for the district. The strategic plan update consists of five focus areas. The first focus area is student learning and instruction, and Dr. Veerer shares an overview of what they are accomplishing in this area, while members of his team share examples and highlights. The governing board and the community can explore the details of their work on the document attached to the agenda.

01:45:00 In this section, the speaker discusses the definition of equity and how it pertains to the district’s goal of ensuring that every student has the necessary resources and support to succeed. They emphasize that equity does not involve lowering standards, but instead recognizing that some students require additional support. To illustrate this point, they share a personal story about a counselor who went above and beyond to help a student from an immigrant family apply and get accepted to Stanford University. The speaker emphasizes that not all children start from the same place and that the district needs to fill the gaps to ensure every student has an opportunity to succeed. This presentation sets the stage for upcoming presentations on key themes from each initiative in the district’s strategic plan.

01:50:00 In this section, the director of curriculum instruction presents the first education initiative, which is to provide common curriculum and assessments to all students in the district to monitor student achievement and improve instructional practices. The initiative’s goal is to identify essential standards, which are the knowledge, skill sets, and understanding that students need to learn in a class. The district aims to create curriculum guides for all content areas and develop common assessments that can assess the students’ performance across the district. By doing so, the district can monitor student achievement and improve instructional practices in a cycle of continuous improvement. The curriculum guide is currently in place for several classes, and they plan to develop it for all content areas.

01:55:00 In this section of the video, the curriculum guide for the 10th grade English course is discussed, with a focus on a novel and required assessments for each quarter. The director of special programs then presents the district-wide initiative of establishing equitable grading practices based on student learning and ensuring each student has equal access to high-quality education, regardless of which teacher they are assigned. This includes developing common rubrics to provide clear grading targets, providing timely and effective feedback throughout the learning process, and measuring student progress in equal grading increments. One example of this work is a book study on grading for equity, which involves voluntary meetings among teachers and instructional coaches.

02:00:00 In this section of the meeting, the focus is on two main areas: equitable grading and building a multi-tiered system of support for students. Jan and Matt both discuss different aspects of equitable grading, with Jan promoting a comprehensive book on grading and Matt discussing the development of interventions that give students the support they need to succeed. Matt explains how the comprehensive Intervention Program will provide multi-level supports to students, and this includes training staff in the Response to Intervention approach or RTI. Additionally, Matt describes the summer opportunity session, which is a coordinating project, giving all summer programs one single umbrella. Lastly, John Carino, the director of technology, discusses Initiative 1.4, which will utilize technology effectively to engage students and support learning. John showcases a video that demonstrates a user-friendly program for administrators and staff to access and download data specific to monitor student progress such as attendance, behavior, and grades.

02:05:00 In this section of the video, the speakers discuss how the district is working to align their work with a district frame while still allowing for school site flexibility. This includes developing individual school plans related to the Strategic Plan and Title One and LCAP, as well as having cabinet members visit school principals quarterly to review progress and make adjustments. The district is also implementing a new program to provide needed support for all students, while still allowing for teacher creativity. Additionally, there is discussion about communicating equitable grading practices to families and front-loading communication to ensure understanding.

02:10:00 In this section of the meeting, educators discuss the need for a change in academic vocabulary and a shift towards standards-based instruction and grading. They emphasize the importance of front-loading and starting the transition in seventh grade since many students are already familiar with standards-based instruction from elementary school. The educators also discuss the progress made in implementing a grading for equity book study with administrators and teacher leaders on every campus, although it has not been mandatory. Finally, they express the desire for the strategic plan to be a roadmap that drives them forward towards their goals.

02:15:00 In this section, the school board discussed various initiatives and updates, such as the progress on implementing professional learning communities (PLCs) throughout schools, the development of curriculum guides for each core subject area, and the Response to Intervention (RTI) model. The board members expressed their interest in tangible progress points and updates on new curricula and student support, such as building in more intensive help during school hours and orientations for transitioning students. The board also discussed funding for summer school and the Summer Institute and expressed a desire for more comprehensive resources for students.

02:20:00 In this section of the meeting, the board discusses programs designed to assist students with their transition between grade levels. Specifically, the Math Academy aims to provide extra support for incoming seventh graders, either through identifying those who need extra help or those who might excel and benefit from an accelerated curriculum. Additionally, the district’s ELD program specialist gives an update on the English learner program, which supports students who speak one of roughly 49 languages in the district. Parents have limited access to specific data within the software, but the state holds all of the data and parents can utilize the DataQuest website to access it. The board expresses appreciation for the presentations and looks forward to future updates.

02:25:00 In this section of the transcript from the WSHUHSD Regular Governing Board Meeting, it is shown that there are over 4,000 students who speak Spanish in the district, with an additional 103 students who speak other non-English languages. Despite this, not all bilingual students listed are identified as English learners, with the district having 1,206 English learners. Particularly, Golden Valley and Heart exhibit high numbers of newcomer English learners, who are students who have been enrolled in public school for less than two years. The district provides an integrated and designated ELD program with a general program offering integrated ELD in all courses and a newcomer program targeting students with foundational English skills. The new California 2022 dashboard data reveals that 54 percent of English learner students made progress in English language proficiency, with 49 percent increasing their LPAC score from the previous year, and 6 percent retaining level four scores. The district experienced an impact in EL reclassification due to campus closures in 2020-21, but 190 students were reclassified the following year, and 188 students have requested reclassification as of January 23rd.

02:30:00 In this section of the meeting, the district’s English learner program is presented by the director, who outlines the goals of the program and expresses appreciation for the teachers and administrators who support these students. The topic of reclassification is discussed, with the director explaining that students are monitored for four years following reclassification, during which time teachers receive monitoring forms twice a year to report on possible struggles with language skills. The monitoring is not invasive and seeks to offer support to students who may need additional intervention from the English learner team or teachers at the school site. Additionally, the district’s criteria for reclassification focus on language courses, with grades in English and either history or science being used to determine when a student is ready.

02:35:00 In this section of the meeting, the board discusses the addition of designated English Language Development (ELD) classes for students learning English as a second language. It was noted that teaching younger children a new language is easier and can lead to them learning multiple languages, while high school and junior high students may require more support. The designated ELD classes give students a space to connect with a teacher and focus on attaining the language skills needed to move on to other courses. The achievement teacher for these classes does not need a specific credential, but must have a clear, professional, or ELA one credential. The board also discusses the need for more staff to support English learners and the proposed updates to board policies and administrative regulations.

02:40:00 In this section, the board discusses proposed revisions to policies related to copyright laws and student use of technology. Some policies and regulations are recommended for deletion as they are already included in other board policies. The board also discusses a resolution recognizing February as Black History Month and hears from two speakers. One speaker shares a brief statement about the importance of acknowledging African history and culture, highlighting their achievements in building and maintaining civilizations and empires. The board addresses questions and concerns regarding training for teachers on the use of copyrighted materials and the lack of a current technology plan.

02:45:00 In this section of the meeting, several individuals spoke about Black History Month and the importance of acknowledging the contributions and struggles of black Americans. Sandra Rivera shared quotes from Rosa Parks and Martin Luther King Jr. about standing up for what is right, and emphasized the importance of remembering the past to avoid making the same mistakes. Dr. Vieira recommended that the board adopt resolution number 22-23-32 recognizing February as Black History Month, which was approved by the board. The meeting then moved on to the public disclosure of a proposed compensation increase for the Heart District Teachers Association. It was disclosed that the cost of the proposed compensation settlement over a three-year span was over 11 million dollars.

02:50:00 In this section, the board approves a 10% salary increase for unit members and a 4% off-schedule payment for the academic year 2022-23 for the HDTA. They also approved compensation adjustments for unrepresented employees, which include a 10% increase to the salary schedule effective from January 1st, 2023, and a 4% one-time off-schedule payment for the 22-23 school year. Additionally, the board accepts the public disclosure of the financial impact of a proposed compensation increase for unrepresented employees. Finally, a landowner reached out to the district staff regarding the development of the Tesoro de Vail community, and it was planned to be developed by Leaner Homes and Toll Brothers. In 1997, the prior property owner entered into a mitigation agreement with the district that established mitigation payments for the development above statutory school fees, and with the board’s approval, The District will enter into a new mitigation agreement with the current landowner.

02:55:00 In this section, the board discusses the creation of a Community Facilities District (CFD) to fund mitigation payments for a new landowner. The district has come to an agreement on an amended mitigation agreement that will be updated to meet current needs. Preliminary steps have begun, and additional actions will be taken to complete the CFD formation process. California Financial Services vice president Jesse Landry is present to answer any questions regarding the development or proposed CFD. The old agreement from 1997 had a similar mitigation amount, while the new agreement would allow the district to receive funding for facilities in excess of the fair share amount it has in other areas of the district. The CFD is expected to generate six or seven million dollars in funding, which could exceed 15 million if a bond is issued.

03:00:00 In this section, the governing board discusses various resolutions related to funding and establishing Community Facilities Districts. One of the items is a contract with Technical Business Solutions to provide inspection of the district’s solar array inverters and underlying equipment. The board also discusses the buyout of a public purchase agreement with Somas and the savings realized by the district. The board approves all of the resolutions with no additional comments or questions.

03:05:00 In this section of the transcript, the board discusses the need for an energy manager and the current state of the district’s solar arrays. The director of maintenance and operation has been leading the analysis of the solar arrays and has found damage to the equipment that needs to be replaced within the warranty window. The board has hired professionals to monitor and record data and facilitate warranty claims to ensure the district can get its equipment replaced before its warranty expires. While the board has not yet determined the exact savings of using solar, it insulates the district from the price spikes faced by the general public, and the unused electricity during the summer is sold back to Southern California Edison.

03:10:00 In this section, the governing board discusses negotiations with the manufacturers of solar panels and inverters regarding warranty claims. They emphasize the importance of ensuring that replacement panels and inverters are compatible with their current systems. They also mention the possibility of adding storage options for excess power and request data on what it would look like based on their daily consumption rates. The consent calendar is approved without any questions or withdrawals, and the meeting is adjourned.

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