Th 16ThCOMMUNITYUPDATE BULLETIN
By Barry Brucker – Member B.H. Board of Education Oct.-Dec. 2001
“My Personal Perspective”
I hope your holiday season was pleasant and the New Year brings you joy, prosperity and good health. Budget issues, employee negotiations, modernization & construction, curriculum restructuring & safety concerns have kept the BHUSD very busy this past quarter. This is my 16h quarterly Community Update Bulletin. This newsletter is a vehicle for me to share with you my perspective of the highlights and challenges facing our school district. As always, the views expressed in my CUB newsletters detail my views only and may not reflect the opinion of some of my colleagues.
As I begin my second term on the Board of Education I reflect back on the past four years, which were a potpourri of unexpected challenges and rewarding accomplishments. Most importantly, we landed a Superintendent who is a rare gem. After a year on the job, Dr. Gwen Gross has demonstrated true leadership. Her high academic expectations, commitment to fiscal responsibility and accountability, and long-term vision is forming the blueprint for excellence in education here in Beverly Hills. Please note some of the highlights of the past four years and how they lead to our vision for the future:
Construction/Modernization: Our High School, El Rodeo, Hawthorne and Horace Mann Schools are nearing completion of phase one of our master plan. We have accomplished most of the modernization infrastructure including seismic reinforcement, ADA handicap access, asbestos remediation, pendant lighting, HVAC, a new track and field, a beautifully remodeled High School Auditorium and much more. Drive by Beverly Vista School and see the progress of the new Education Center, Science/Library building and Multi-purpose building. Our new construction management firm estimates completion by September of this year. Historic building (B) is still under evaluation.
Academics/Curriculum: The District has made excellent progress in fine-tuning our curriculum offerings. Adding 9th grade science, middle school honors classes, standardizing our curriculum between all four K-8 schools, fine tuning our visual and practical arts requirements, restructuring our math curriculum and eliminating obsolete graduation courses are a fine beginning to enhancing our educational offerings to ALL students. These district-wide curriculum changes demonstrate a commitment to flexibility and vision on the part of our administration, teaching staff, parents, students and board. Hurray!
Fiscal Responsibility/Balanced Budget: It has been the goal of the Board of Education and Dr. Gross to establish fiscal accountability standards and purchasing guidelines to insure a balanced budget. Establishing a zero-based budgeting model will ensure yearly balanced budgets.
Safety & Security: School Safety is a very high priority for the BHUSD. ALL five of our schools now have full time uniformed BHPD officers on campus. These highly trained officers are a visual deterrent for outside conflicts and also serve the students as role models and safety educators. In addition, all employees and school visitors must now wear a school issued ID badge to be on campus. Our school modernization program has also incorporated numerous high tech security features. The district established bus safety policies insuring mandatory seat belts on all field trip and sports team buses. Safety cutouts (drop off zones) at two schools have insured a safer student drop off and pick up environment. Expansion of Drop off safety cutouts is being evaluated for all K-8 campuses. The safety of our students and staff is our mandate!
All district schools have been designated California Distinguished Schools and our High School under the leadership of Principal Ben Bushman has recently achieved the pinnacle of distinction and recognition being named a National Blue Ribbon School and New American High School by the US Dept. of Education. This distinction was bestowed to only 10 High Schools Nationwide. Numerous awards from our K-8 Math Counts, Science Olympiad, County Art Fair, writing competitions along with our High School Madrigal Singers, Athletics, journalism, media and academic decathlon teams to name a few are a credit to our fine teaching staff, parental commitment, community involvement and student commitment to excellence in education.
Goodbye and Thank You! : Gerald Lunn an expert in budget analysis, contracts and negotiations retires after four years of dedicated service to our Board of Education. His commitment to fiscal responsibility, accountability, academic excellence and safety and security has been invaluable.
Leadership: As we say farewell and thank you to Gerald, we welcome Myra Demeter as our new Board Member. Congratulations to Alissa Roston for a job well done as our immediate past president and to Virginia Maas who was recently elected Board of Education President. I am proud to serve this year as Board Vice President. Willie Brien rounds out our leadership team continuing to offer valuable input.
YES on Bond Measure K: Did you know that according to an independent study commissioned by our BH Chamber of Commerce, one of the most valuable assets amongst our BH residents is our public schools? Alexandra Stoddard once said “What we do today, right now, will have an accumulated effect on all our tomorrows.” It is in that spirit that the Beverly Hills Unified School District Board of Education has placed Measure K on the March 5th ballot. Measure K is a facility improvement bond measure to repair and renovate aging school facilities, to construct additional classrooms which will replace portables, to build a science and technology complex at Beverly Hills High School, and to complete construction at Beverly Vista School. Top rate facilities will allow our students the same competitive advantages held by students throughout the state who have greater access to modern technology. All five campuses will greatly benefit by these educational opportunities. Our neighborhood schools will not only compliment the beautiful community in which we live, but will also reflect the quality and commitment that makes Beverly Hills so unique. We are fortunate to have Susan Wiener Berk and Julie Steinberg chairing our community bond effort.
Fund Raising: AJ Wilmer and Michael Karlin are busy utilizing their computer data expertise, which will allow for immediate and more effective school/community communications. In addition, this database resource will greatly advance our ability to fundraise to alumni and the Beverly Hills Community. Please help support this District sponsored effort by visiting the website: http://join.bhusd.net In other news Kurt Rothner, is once again hard at work as BHEF event Chair of the 9th annual Mercedes Benz Car Classic. This fundraiser will be held March 17th to benefit our BHUSD schools. The annual BHEF Apple Ball is scheduled for April 9th…save the date!
Communications: Highlighting her commitment to communication, Dr. Gross recently sent out her First Annual Report to the Community. This report details the successes of the BHUSD and provides a glimpse of the dynamic curricular offerings available to our students. A special thank you goes to Marcia Smith for volunteering to oversee the entire production of this report. And thank you to our BH PTA Council for helping to underwrite its publication. Just another example of the incredible talent and generosity we have in our city.
Curriculum – a work in progress: Progress is being made to fine-tune our graduation requirements to best serve the diverse needs of all BHUSD students. With the elimination of outdated classes and more flexibility in course offerings, we will be able to address required summer school courses for university bound students, health education requirements, a dedicated middle school, period 1 classes (6:55am), homework requirements and personalized scheduling (block scheduling) and elective offerings.
High School Lights: Thanks again to Michael Karlin and AJ Wilmer for spearheading our “Lights, Fields, Action” fundraising drive which enabled us to place lights on our Nichol Athletic Stadium at BHHS. Now, night football, soccer, baseball and track can be played in a safe and community friendly environment. Come and cheer on your BHHS Normans!
My focus for this my second four year term is to pass our much needed community bond for schools - Measure K and finish our school modernization and new construction, implement zero based budgeting guidelines thus guaranteeing balanced budgets, commit to a dedicated middle school, re-evaluate the needs for summer school or period 1 (6:55am) classes, increase safety and security in and around our campuses and complete a thorough analysis of our K-12 curriculum offerings. Analyzing these macro issues along with more specific core subject and elective course offerings will assure continuation of our districts stellar academic reputation.
On a final note: Thank you to my re-election campaign team who went above and beyond the call of duty for me. I am so grateful for your confidence and support AND thank you to the community for re-electing me. You will get the best four years I have to offer.
"There are precious few Einstein’s among us. Most brilliance arises from ordinary people working together in extraordinary ways." by Roger von Oech As we seek powerful solutions, I will continue to ask for your comments and suggestions. Your constructive comments via phone, fax or e-mail are always welcomed, valued and appreciated. Feedback/information and communication is the mechanism that allows for focused growth and positive change, which helps define excellence in education!
With warm regards,
Barry Brucker – Board of Education Member
phone: 310-523-4657 (office) 310-550-1114 (home)
fax: 310-329-0943 (office) 310-275-7739 (home)
e-mail: email@example.com or firstname.lastname@example.org Please note: No expenses relating to this mailing were borne by the BHUSD