Community Update Bulletin
By Barry Brucker
- Board of Education Jan Mar 2000
The Board of Education has been busy this first quarter addressing many
issues including modernization, curriculum, budget, policy, employee contracts, state
funding, school safety and much more. Superintendent, Dr. Ken Moffett, has established a
very comprehensive schedule of study sessions on the above topics, which has been quite
helpful. This is my 9th quarterly newsletter
I hope you find them
informative and thought provoking. Please note the following:
- Superintendent Search: In February, the Board selected Leadership Associates to
conduct a Superintendent search. Leadership Associates is the premier search firm in
California specializing in school Superintendents. They have spent hours with the board,
and most recently with community members, surveying the wishes and hopes for our new
Superintendent. We are especially lucky that current Interim Supt., Dr. Kenneth Moffett,
will play a significant role in assisting the board with this decision.
- Tools for Schools: Last Summer the Board established an Environmental Safety
Committee (ESC) comprised of parents, staff, students and board members to evaluate our
facilities conditions with respect to indoor air quality (I.A.Q.) and other environmental
concerns. The committee recommended, and the Board adopted, the EPAs Tools For
Schools accountability program. This program addresses potential I.A.Q. challenges with a
pro-active preventative maintenance program. Heading our Tools For Schools effort is
Facilities Director Larry Patrick.
- Curriculum proposal: In early March, an English learning proposal was recommended to
the board for adoption. This proposal if adopted would have eliminated the middle school
foreign language program, middle school strings program, nutrition, the first recess for
first through third grade, and would have had an effect on the High School AP (advanced
placement) offerings. An overflow crowd of 300+ students, parents and teachers expressed
their concern with this proposal at the March 14th Board of Education meeting. Beverly
Hills should be proud of those that attended the meeting and communicated their concerns
to board members. It is this unique passion for quality education that makes our district
truly remarkable. Kudos to Student Board Member Gabe Halimi for making the motion to
table the recommendation for further study. If a proposal has concerns, which is inherent
in any complex curriculum revision, it is critical that the staff, parents and students
have a chance to work collectively for a positive resolution. Furthermore, I believe that
looking "out of the box" at what other "like" districts may be doing
to address these complex issues is helpful. Information is knowledge, and knowledge is
- Students Against Gun Violence: In light of the anniversary of the Columbine tragedy,
the Board of Education, BH School District, Temple Emanuel, All Saints Episcopal Church,
Maple Counseling Center and Woman Against Gun Violence have joined together to bring
community awareness to the perils of gun violence. Through student assisted speakers
bureaus, a website and other awareness opportunities, our goal is to forever support the
ongoing safety and security of our children and community.
- Renovation/modernization: Our High School is in the midst of a 20+ million dollar
renovation project. The facilities are taking shape and we are finally starting to see
some of the fruits of our bond monies. I think it is important to recognize and thank the
students and staff for being so flexible and tolerant during these construction
- Beverly Vista, Hawthorne, Horace Mann & El Rodeo construction/modernization: The
steel has been purchased for the new educational center at BV. Bravo to Asst. Supt. Wes
Stewart for securing the steel at below market prices by piggy backing onto a State bid.
The decision to demo BV last summer was a good one, it will save our district over $500K
and shave one year off the completion schedule. Our four K-8 schools should be on the fast
track beginning July 1st with a scheduled completion date of Sept. 2001.
- Blue Ribbon Bound: Beverly Hills High School is a finalist for the prestigious
National Blue Ribbon award. This is the "Oscar" for public school achievement.
Only a handful of California schools have made it to the finals, and we are optimistic
that we will bring home the "Blue" for our school and community. Special thanks
goes to BHHS Principal Ben Bushman, teachers Susan Curtis, Dan Stepenowski and Bonnie
Miller, the entire H.S. staff & our students. This is their victory! WE ARE SO PROUD!
- Permit Policy: The Board adopted a policy that will ensure if permits are to be
issued, the process will be done in a fair and equitable manner. This new policy is a
district check and balance system established to avoid abuses of the past, including Board
- Auditorium and Lecture Hall A: The board has authorized the Administration to
proceed with bids for the modernization of Beverly Highs K.L Peters Auditorium and
Lecture Hall A (aka Theater 40). Plans call for a state of the art 1500 seat auditorium to
be completed by December of this year, and for Lecture Hall A to be renovated to enable
multi-uses. Lecture Hall A would be used primarily for School/Student related needs during
the days. The Board is scheduled to discuss the uses for evening activities in this space.
Hopefully Theater 40 will become an integral part of our commitment to expand theater arts
appreciation- for both students and the community at large.
- Track & Field: Our state of the art track is the talk amongst the running
community. Teams from around the county look at BHHS Nichol Field Track as the premier
running turf. Our coaching staff has also indicated that track injuries are down, yet
speed times have increased. Bravo to "doing it right!"
- Micro-management: The "M" word seems to be on the tongues of quite a few
people this past year in reference to certain board members. This word has clearly been
misused for political spin. I believe an example of micro-managing would be board
involvement in minutia type decisions such as choosing between green pencils versus blue
pencils, or the color of carpeting. On the other hand, is asking tough questions about our
district finances, contracts, curriculum recommendations and accountability
micro-management? I dont think so. Without asking questions, we would just be
rubber-stamping all recommendations that come before us. Did you elect Board Members to be
"rubber stamps", or, to be "trustees" of our childrens
educational dollars, carefully watching where those dollars go?
- Tolerance & Respect: A lot of community members called me and emailed me
after they viewed the Wednesday, March 15th continuation school board meeting.
People suggested that I must respond back to the slanderous statements that were made. I
feel it is in the best interest of this school district that we move forward. The public
has spoken, and they are tired of publicly witnessing "dirty laundry" being
aired. We were elected to focus our energy on setting policy in the field of education,
including modernization, scheduling, the budget, curriculum, school safety, and much more.
Now, more than ever, we must focus our positive energy, effectively enhance the
communication on our school board, and utilize the many talents our district has to offer.
- E-Mail: In the spirit of saving trees and protecting our environment, I can
communicate my quarterly Community Update Bulletin "CUB" reports by email for
those of you who prefer e-mail communication. This will save on postage, printing, trees
and efficiency. E-mail your address to me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Your constructive comments and suggestions via
phone, fax or e-mail are always welcomed, valued and appreciated. Feedback/information and
constructive communication is the mechanism that allows for growth and positive
change, which helps define excellence
Barry Brucker- Member, Board of Education
Beverly Hills Unified School District
Phone: 310-523-4657 (office), 310-550-1114 (home) e-mail: email@example.com or
Fax: 310-329-0943 (office), 310- 275-7739 (home) firstname.lastname@example.org
Please note: No expense relating this mailing was borne
by the BHUSD.
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