Letter to the Editor | Piedmont Behind: Can we move ahead?

We now know the elementary school day schedule will remain unchanged through June. Our youngest learners will see their teachers in-person for only 9 hours a week, instead of the 30 in-person hours a week offered by comparable Bay Area school districts.

In a letter to elementary school families, Superintendent Booker wrote that not adding more in-person instructional minutes “… may be a disappointment to some community members.” Let’s consider that “some” is actually “most” and “community members” are the “students we strive to serve,” especially since at this point, there is no scientific or safety restriction preventing every student from being in-person at school full-time. Our inability to move past these logistics is reflective of the results of the recent communication survey that demonstrated that both teachers and families alike don’t trust our leadership to hold our interests at heart.

On May 5, 2021, the school board held a special closed door session to review Superintendent Booker’s performance and to discuss the upcoming teacher negotiations. Despite many pleas for greater transparency from families, the board returned after the closed session to announce “no action was taken.” No further details were provided. 

Where do we go from here? After the challenges of this year, each group of stakeholders needs to ask themselves a series of questions: 

The community should be asking itself…

  • Do you respect and look toward our superintendent, assistant superintendent and school board for honest leadership and expertise?
  • Would new leadership at all levels be the most efficient way forward? 

The school board should be asking themselves…

  • Can you effectively and objectively evaluate our superintendent and assistant superintendent?
  • Have you provided clear and consistent direction for the district with the wellbeing of the students at the center, guiding your decisions? 
  • How have you engaged the community resources to broaden the board’s own diversity and perspectives through committees or other means? 

The PUSD admin/Booker/Wozniak should be asking themselves…

  • Looking back at the clash of parent and PUSD leadership that faced our schools faced in 2017, what did you learn from that experience? Did you utilize those skills in this pandemic? 
  • Can you effectively repair this school community? 
  • Is this position and environment one in which you can thrive in your role? 

Teachers should be asking themselves…

  • Has APT represented your needs and ensured you were supported this past year? 
  • How has APTs process and role impact relationships with the community? 

Without a broad change in leadership, can we truly achieve “Piedmont Ahead?”

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