The Healdsburg Unified School District (HUSD) Board of Trustees has a busy agenda on tap for its next meeting on Wednesday, Nov. 17. The school board will swear in its new student trustee, Annie Petersen, and it will receive reports on the possibility of implementing ethnic studies throughout the HUSD and at Healdsburg High School.

Budget wise, the board will consider approving the revised classified and certificated salary schedule for 2021-22 and the district’s director of business services will provide an update on COVID-19 related funds.

The meeting starts at 6 p.m. and will be held in person at Healdsburg City Hall and online via Zoom.


Opening presentations and trustee swearing in

The school board meeting will kick off with a “celebrating our success” presentation regarding the Healdsburg High School visual arts program.

The president of the board of trustees will then issue the oath of office to Annie Petersen, the new Healdsburg High School student trustee.


Considering ethnic studies

Erin Fender, the district’s director of curriculum and instruction, will provide an update to the board on the work the district has done to explore the possibility of implementing a district-wide ethnic studies program.

“In an effort to continue the journey to create a more equitable and socially just school system in Healdsburg we are continuing efforts to include more inclusive curricula and practices in our schools,” reads the agenda item report. “Historically K-12 curriculum has remained largely Eurocentric, outdated and disconnected from the growing population of students of color in the United States and the need to create more understanding, awareness and collaborative space in our schools and wider community.”

In 2020, the district partnered with the Acosta Education Partnership, an organization that provides guidance on implementing ethnic studies programs for K-12 and provides staff professional development on unconscious bias and equity.

According to Fender’s update, the district’s three-year plan for 2022, 2023 and beyond includes the goal of beginning to require ethnic studies for all ninth graders.

The goal also in part follows AB 101, which was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom in October and stipulates that all California students will be required to complete a semester-long ethnic studies course in order to earn their diploma.

The new mandate will take effect with the graduating class of 2029-30, although high schools will have to start offering ethnic studies courses by the 2025-26 school year.

As part of their three-year plan the district would also like to expand ethnic studies professional development for all HUSD and consider developing a co-teaching model between students, community members and teachers.

Healdsburg High School Principal Amy Jones-Kerr will also provide a report to the board about a proposal for launching a high school level ethnic studies course.

A one-semester ethnic studies course is being proposed for the 2022-23 school year.

“The proposed ethnic studies course is being designed to promote equity by centering the histories of underrepresented people in the classroom,” according to the agenda item report.


Salary approvals

In June of 2021, the school board approved the 2021-22 classified salary schedules reflecting a 7.50% total salary over the 2021-22 salary schedule.

Now the school board must vote on a proposed revised salary schedule that reflects an additional 1.0% increase for a total increase over the 2020-21 salary schedule of 8.5%.

In June of 2021 the school board also approved the 2021-22 certificated salary schedule reflecting an increase of 7.50% over the 2020-21 salary schedules.

Now the school board must also vote on another proposed revised salary schedule. The revision reflects an additional 1.0% increase retroactive to July 1, 2021 for a total increase of 8.5%.


COVID funds

Debbie Odetto, the district’s director of business services, will provide a quick update on the district’s COVID emergency relief related funds.

Overall, the district has been awarded over $5.2 million in COVID-19 relief funding, which includes both state and federal funds.

In part, these funds include an in-person instruction grant, an expanded learning opportunity grant, Elementary and Secondary School Emergency Relief (ESSER) III funds, learning loss education funds, and special education and learning recovery support funds.

Of the $5 million in funds, $2.5 million have been expended or encumbered to date and funds are available to use up until Sept. 20, 2024. Currently over $1.4 million is being spent on staffing. All COVID funds are one-time funds.

To view the allocation amounts in detail or to view the rest of the agenda packet, visit the district’s website and click on “11-17-2021 board packet”

Staff Writer

Katherine Minkiewicz-Martine has been a staff writer with The Healdsburg Tribune and SoCoNews for over two years. She graduated from San Francisco State University with a degree in journalism.

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