Chris Vanden Heuvel, Superintendent of the Healdsburg Unified School District gave a presentation on the state of the schools in the District.
Chris Vanden Heuvel, Superintendent of the Healdsburg Unified School District gave a presentation on the state of the schools in the District. Chris formerly was a member of our sunrise Club. He has been the Principal at Cali Calmecech in Windsor, Vice Principal at Windsor High School, Principal at Healdsburg High School, and most recently Superintendent of the district.
He wanted to call members attention to two events that are occurring in the next month:
March 8, 2017 will be the Academic Internship Exhibition Night at the high school. Juniors will present a summary of their 35 hour internship to a panel of three community members for review. The district has up to 28 positions available for people to serve as reviewers to learn about the interesting things that our junior class is doing.
On Saturday, April 29, 2017, the high school will be hosting its annual Street fair, carnival and car show at the high school.
The Healdsburg unified school district is in good shape. Chris gave a quick review of the construction projects that have been ongoing at the schools over the past several years. Each of the campuses has had significant modernization projects completed, underway, or in the wings for starting soon.
He spoke first about the elementary schools where we have both a charter school which has been very successful as well as a standard school. In the standard school he spoke a great deal about the blending learning program currently in three classrooms. Classrooms are divided into four stations with a teacher in charge of one, a highly trained aid in charge of another with the remaining two tables as learning centers for the students using adaptive technology allowing them to proceed at their own pace, with some assistance, using chrome books and other technologic materials.
In this program, each student has a chrome book for lesson plans, learning exercises, and exploration. In addition, there is also an Accelerated English Program at the school, aimed at increasing English proficiency for primarily Spanish-speaking students. Currently over 25% of those who start the program have been reclassified out of the program. On statewide assessment testing (CAASSP) third grade students who have completed this program are scoring slightly higher than their English speaking classmates. A very successful program.
The Charter School is based on project-based learning, a hands-on instructional technique involving critical thinking, learning to define problems, learning how to search for answers to questions, and putting things together in a meaningful way. Their most successful project was a mock election held in a third grade class where Froggy and Anna (Frozen) ran competing campaigns. Students had rallies, debates, and research positions on the multitude of issues that the students thought would be important to understand prior to voting for either of the candidates. Froggy won. This was all documented in an eight minute video that was entertaining and illuminating. It was so successful, that the author of the Froggy books will be coming to Healdsburg Elementary School in May to read from his new, book inspired by this project, Froggy Wins The Election.
At the Junior High School, construction has been completed and they have gone to a seven period class day. This allows more opportunity for enrichment classes as well as for more opportunities for intervention with those students who need extra help. Some of the enrichment courses include plant science, recycled art, robotic engineering, a mouse squad (students learn computer technology and help with connectivity and other issues around the school) and participation in an enrichment wheel that allow students to partake in different enrichment courses on a six week cycle.
The High School is undergoing extensive remodeling and is now much more presentable with a clearly identified entrance. A new agricultural arts center is being developed, there are improvements in the girls gymnasium and other athletic facilities. Outdoor seating and classroom areas have been created. They have a thriving culinary arts program, automotive and construction skills training and computer science technology classes. Regarding the academic cycle, one additional year of math, one year of science and one year of foreign language have been added to graduation requirements which were already quite extensive. Additionally, there is a freshman seminar program, required of all freshmen, that helps them formulate questions and make decisions about college or education beyond high school. There is also a junior seminar, again required of all students, part of that program is taking the pre-SAT test. Each senior has a senior project that must be presented.
The school district is very thankful to the measure D implementation funds that are available that help with all of the construction projects and also some of the classroom enhancements with equipment and instructional assistive technologies. They are also very thankful to the HEF for the funding and support that they have given.