School District Responds to Parents' Concerns
Last updated 6/16/2022 at 10:01am
Following two school board meetings where parents aired their concerns ranging from school meals, to school safety protocols and communication challenges with school administrators, the school district has responded and progress is being made to ameliorate these situations.
Questions concerning the freshness and quality of cafeteria food were swiftly handled by Food Service Director Cathy Paredes and her staff. Gathering the few uneaten chicken strips (allegedly spoiled) she could salvage from the trash, she quickly froze them for future investigation and discussions with the vendor. Before this could happen, the Health Inspector arrived unannounced (s/he always does) and after a thorough exam of the kitchen and all aspects of food preparation from cleanliness to food storage, he also examined the salvaged chicken tenders. No violations were sited and no evidence was found of spoiled food. The Health Inspector notified concerned parents.
The discussion of school safety protocols is being addressed with renewed energy by school administration and the Board of Education. The focus will be on staff training for all kinds of school safety issues and emergencies. School Safety Plans will be updated and reviewed by the Board of Education as well as discipline procedures for safety violations. Parents will be included in the updating of the Plan and all will be kept informed of protocols and procedures.
A meeting with about 20 parents was held on May 19 and in addition to the issues discussed above, Superintendent Dr. Mark Stevens addressed ways in which parents and the school can work together for shared decision making. Moving forward, the various parent/school groups which are normally active in a larger school district will be consolidated into one Parent Advisory Group. This group will work with school staff to improve programs for students and help make decisions on how federal money will be spent. The first Parent Advisory Group meeting will be on June 21, 2022.
Dr. Stevens felt this first meeting with parents was positive and he looks forward to future conversations around how we can all (staff, administration and parents) support our children and keep them safe while they receive the best education possible.
Parent Esmeralda Lopez-Garcia shared that for the most part the meeting went well with Dr. Stevens explaining how schools are scored by the state and how parent involvement is vital for a school district. He discussed the formation of the Parent Advisory Group and challenged the group to continue to be active in the future. Esmeralda pushed back on that issue stating that parents want to be a part of school decisions and they will continue to do so. Other specific topics will be discussed at future meetings.
Esmeralda also shared that Food Service Director, Cathy Paredes, has been “amazing working and communicating with us to make things better” and has responded immediately to parents’ questions and concerns.
This quote by Henry Ford just might sum up this situation and point to a positive working relationship in the future for parents and BSUSD:
“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.”
– Martha Deichler,
BSUSD School-Community Liaison