News from Piedmont Unified School District
Welcome to Piedmont Ahead
PUSD Reaches Agreement with APT to Expand Hours for Secondary Students
Superintendent Booker noted in his opening remarks at the board meeting that the district is continuing to negotiate with APT to expand in-person hours for elementary students.
Secondary Schedule: Effective April 26 for all middle and high school students
Temporary Middle School Schedule: Effective April 19-23
Letter from the Superintendent Regarding Verdict in Chauvin Trial
Dear Piedmont Staff and Families,
This past year has been one of extreme uncertainty for our staff, students, and families and across the Bay Area and Nation. As we all deal with the trauma of the pandemic, we cannot ignore the anxiety felt by many as it relates to the Derek Chauvin trial for the death of George Floyd. Unfortunately, this trial does not represent an isolated issue. Each day seems to bring another tragic event that impacts the lives of our students, staff and families.
The release of yesterday’s verdict signals, for many, a turning point in our judicial system — one that can begin to move our nation toward a more just judicial system that holds accountable those who abuse that system to oppress people of color.
Over the coming days, we anticipate an array of emotions, some that may result in demonstrations and celebrations, while others may manifest in conversation and deep reflection. As we all process this verdict, we want to ensure the safety of our staff and students, cultivating brave and safe spaces where individuals can reflect, share, and move to action in a way that is powerful and productive.
I encourage everyone to take the time you need to process. While there may be differences of opinion on the particulars of this case, our commitment as a school district, as outlined in the Board of Education’s Resolution 01-2020-21 Condemning Institutional And Systemic Racism And Affirming A Commitment To Educational Equity For Black Students, Families, And Staff and Board Policy 0415.1 Racial Equity, remains central to how we will operate and respond as an organization. We believe strongly in allowing our school leaders and teachers to provide safe spaces for students to express their feelings and engage in important issues, including peacefully and respectfully making their voices heard.
I want to acknowledge and thank our educators for having conversations with students regularly about race, what it means to live as an anti-racist, how to stand up against Asian hate and Anti-Semitism, and how to take action in fighting against all types of hate and in support of all forms of social justice. They have immersed themselves in reading about anti-racist education, designing units that integrate the social justice standards with their content, talking with colleagues about how to support students of color, and learning ways to be a stronger ally. I want to sincerely thank them for taking action in such tumultuous times.
I wanted to share this article specific to the Chauvin trial, which might help families if you plan to discuss the trial with your children. We know that with the Chauvin verdict there will be many questions and emotions. We rely heavily on the Learning for Justice Resources when working with students on racial equity and justice topics. You may find this and some of the following resources beneficial as well. Here are a few ideas for both talking to your child, and supporting yourself and the community:
Talk to your children about race. They do not have the context to make sense of what they may hear on the playground or in the news. Give your child the insight and guidance they need to better understand what is going on in the world.
Be curious and ask questions about racism, social justice and restorative practices. For more information:
Reactions you might see and how you can help in, Helping Youth after Community Trauma: Tips for Educators, a guide from the National Child Traumatic Stress Network
A quick guide to Talking Race with Young Children from National Public Radio (NPR)
Thank you for all that you do to support our students and educational community.
Randall Booker, Superintendent
Piedmont Supports the AAPI Community
The survey was recommended, drafted and conducted by a communications consultant, Naomi Hunter, who was hired on a temporary contract in January to support the superintendent and the board in communicating with parents, teachers, staff and the community.*
The intent of the survey is to evaluate the effectiveness of our communication during the pandemic, and to use that information to create a plan to improve the quantity, content and channels used for future communication.
The anonymous survey was created and implemented on the consultant's professional Survey Monkey account, and the data includes no personal identifying information. Neither the consultant nor the district knows the identity of individuals who submitted responses.
This week the consultant provided a summary report to Superintendent Booker, including data, an analysis of results and recommendations for future actions. A summary of survey results will be presented at the April 28 board meeting.
*Piedmont Ahead was also created by Naomi Hunter as a first step in improving communication. She works with PUSD staff to create and contribute content for each edition. Future content will reflect survey findings.
Support Resources During the Pandemic
Everyone lost something over the past year. This article by Tara Parker-Pope, the founding editor of Well, the New York Times’s consumer health site, offers tips for dealing with "disenfranchised grief", grief over small losses such as a vacation, a visit with grandparents, or the many routines we all gave up that might go unacknowledged, or that we might not give ourselves permission to grieve. "In the hierarchy of human suffering during the pandemic, a canceled prom, a lost vacation or missing out on seeing a child’s first steps may not sound like much, but mental health experts say that all loss needs to be acknowledged and grieved."
Other helpful resources:
How to Start Healing During a Season of Grief: New York Times
How to Help Children (and Yourself) During the Covid-19 Outbreak (Center for the Developing Child, Harvard University)
Please note we are not endorsing any of the specific strategies within the articles and podcasts above, but offer these as resources that may offer you support and ideas during this time of discomfort for so many children and adults.
PUSD will offer full in-person onsite learning for the entire 2021-22 school year
Piedmont public school district leaders, educators and staff are committed to a safe and productive learning and working environment. We believe that a full-time in-person program on school campuses is key to an optimal learning environment. We understand that an in-person learning environment will promote the physical health of students, as well as the social and emotional well-being of the entire school community.
Given the current understanding, relevant data, guidance from the county and state, and existing circumstances regarding COVID-19, PUSD fully desires and expects to have full in-person onsite learning for the entire 2021-22 school year, absent extraordinary changes to public health and safety that would prevent this from occurring.
We acknowledge that PUSD families have similarly expressed overwhelming support for a return to a full in-person onsite learning environment for the 2021-22 school year.
We pledge to work together as a district and with our families to take all necessary steps and precautions, address contingencies, and plan for reopening scenarios needed to ensure a safe and healthy return to full-time, in-person learning for the 2021-22 school year.
PUSD Board of Education
Randall Booker, Superintendent
Gabe Kessler, APT President
Nicole Straley, CSEA President
Michael Corritone, APSA Representative
Sylvia Flores Eggert, APSA Representative