LBUSD Board of Education Meeting – January 8th, 2019

LBUSD Board of Education Meeting – January 8th, 2019


Good evening, good evening and welcome. We will have KeShawn Afford lead us in a flag salute, Pledge of Allegiance. Please stand. Place your right hand over your heart. Ready, begin. I pledge allegiance to the flag of the United States of America and to the Republic for which it stands one nation, under God, indivisible, with liberty and justice for all. Thank you. Thank you, KeShawn. We welcome those who are here for purposes of addressing the board at the proper time and in the order their request. For those who have not already submitted a request, we have provided forms in the back of the room and have additional copies here in the front at the assistant secretary’s position. If you wish to speak during the meeting, please fill out a form indicating your name, and the agenda item you wish to address. You may also make a request to give testimony on an item not listed for discussion today. However, full discussion on any items not listed on the agenda, will have to be delayed until such time as the item can be publicly posted in advance as a regular agenda item. If you wish to ask questions, please address them to the chair, and not to individual members of the board or to the staff. The board has been meeting in closed session regarding matters listed on today’s closed session agenda, wishes to report that the board voted to approve a settlement and release agreement in case number 19lbCV00103, terms of which provide consideration and a release of all claims. The vote was unanimous with all five members participating in the vote. Public hearing, there’s none. Call for agenda items for separate action adoption of the agenda is posted. Yes, I’d like for us to remove item 25 as an action item and just make it an information item. That’s the selection of new superintendent of schools. Second. Discussion. All in favor. Aye. Opposed. Abstain. The motion is approved unanimously. Now do I need to– I move approval of the agenda as amended. Second. Discussion. All in favor. Aye. Opposed. Abstentions. The motion is approved unanimously. Approval of minutes. Move approval. Second.
Discussion. All in favor. Aye. Opposed. Abstentions. The motion is approved unanimously. Communication, there is none. Public testimony on items listed on the agenda. I have one request. And Chris, did you want to– Yeah, sure, excuse me. Good evening School Board, my name is Chris Callopy, I’m the Executive Director of the Teachers’ Association of Long Beach, and I’m also a parent of two children in our system. I apologize, I finally got what everyone has been fighting, and it hit me today, so please bear with my voice. I want to thank the superintendent for his nearly 20 years of being a part of our district. The way you displayed yourself last month really demonstrated how much you love this district and how much you were committed to it, and I want to give you kudos for that. I do think you need to let people process your absence and we should throw a party for you. You can choose not to attend. My name’s Chris, I’ll just show up, and then it will say it was for me. But I do think that’s a part of it a large system processing and maybe someone else here can throw it for you, but we just won’t tell you about it. Moving on to the next superintendent. You’ve got big shoes to fill, board members. You have a superintendent who’s been here for two decades, who is beloved, and is very familiar with the system. I know you do do somewhat of an Emeritus program now with calling back some of your retired folks to help out. You might want to consider coming into some type of agreement with Chris to have his expertise not just vanish into night. I know he’s promised to stick around, but it would not be a bad idea to have him work in the district for some capacity. We’ve got a few of our veterans, Brian Cowley who has been on our negotiations team for quite a long time, would be an example of how we can still use the experience and the institutional memory at the bargaining table it would not hurt us have the same situation with the superintendent. I would encourage the board to have deliberately open process, that yes, I’ve worked with just about every one of your executive staff, and we do have plenty of talent here locally, but that we not be obtuse to looking outside, and just seeing what’s going on out there. The district that Chris took over 20 years ago is not the same district we have today, and we shouldn’t be afraid to see what else is out there, that new blood into the system is not such a bad idea. I know the Long Beach way makes us sometimes a little bit too insular, and that we always look inside instead of trying to look outside. That being said, the next superintendent is gonna need a mandate, and we need to have that mandate come from our stakeholders which includes our parents, our students, and our labor that are in this district working to provide those services. And giving that next superintendent a mandate will make this transition that much more easy. You’re not gonna get a new Chris Steinhauser, you’re gonna get a new superintendent. And that new was superintendent is gonna need the most support that we can give them, and that’s enough out of me, thank you. Thank you, Chris, for those are words of wisdom. In reference to a party for our superintendent, will TALB be willing to pick up the tab for that? (everyone laughs) Thank you very much. Staff reports, there’s none. Public testimony on items not listed on the agenda, I have no request. Get right to business items, personnel, Mr. Meyer. Thank you, Dr. Williams. I present the following proposed actions prepared by the assistant superintendent of Human Resource Services, approved and recommended by the superintendent. Appointments, 112, leaves of absence, eight, resignations, 14, retirements, three, amendments, one. Certificate and personnel appointments, 105, leave of absence, four, resignations, one, retirements, two, rescissions, one, and I move approval. Second. Discussion. All in favor. Aye. Opposed. Abstentions. The motion is approved unanimously. Instruction.
Move approval. Second.
Discussion. Yes, I would like to mention the RuMBa Foundation has donated over $85,000 for different art expenses and that’s for different programs at schools, from the elementary level to the high school level. And they have been very generous with our students, so I just wanted to point that out that their support continues. Thank you, Diana. Further discussion.
Yes, I just like the add Board Member, Craighead, to be breadth of things that they’ve funded, give to give folks a sense. I mean everything from speakers and microphones to trips to the LA Philharmonic, to funding for storytelling performances, so it’s a wide range of activities and educational areas that they have funded, so thanks. And I just wanted to add on, for those who didn’t know, RuMBa Foundation of Long Beach has been sponsoring the grant programs for a while, and their mission is to expand access to art experiences to children attending LBUSD specifically. The foundation is headed by local funders Josephine Molina and Heather Rudy, and we are so, so grateful for their continued support. I know whenever I see them at functions around the community, they’re always reminding us to ask and ask and ask because they are passionate about make sure that our LBUSD kids have the most experiences in art possible. So to Josephine and Heather, thank you for your continued support. Thank you.
If I may, I’d like to add my thanks as well, for example, $13,300 went to Wilson High School which helped transport the kids to Carnegie Hall the entire Orchestra to perform, so, and if I can editorialize just for a moment, I don’t wear all caught up with science, technology, all that kind of stuff, but it’s heartening to see the thrust for arts, and I just hope that if a student in the Long Beach Unified wishes to take music or an art program that he or she is not discouraged because of a rigorous pathway that would make them take a choice to drop an arts program. Thank you all for your comments, further discussion. All in favor. Aye. Opposed, abstentions. The motion is approved unanimously. Finance report A. We have approval.
Second. Discussion. All in favor. Aye. Opposed. Abstain. The motion is approved unanimously. Finance report B. Move approval. Second. Discussion.
Yes, Mr. Chair, I recuse myself from participation in finance report B on the consent calender of a potential financial interest under government code 109-1 and 87-100. My husband works for a subcontractor who has done work for the payees. Thank you. All in favor.
Aye. Opposed. Abstain, the motion is approved four to zero with one recusal. Business department report. Move approval. Second. Discussion. All in favor. Aye. Opposed. Abstentions. The motion is approved unanimously. Purchasing and contract report. Move to approve. Second. Discussion. All in favor. Aye. Opposed. Abstentions. The motion is approved unanimously. Other items, superintendent student discipline. Yes, board members, I have a two students for expulsion, we’ll take one of them at a time. The first student is student 313. This student would be expelled under education codes 48900M and 48900J, and would not be eligible to apply for readmission until after June, 11th 2020. So we need a vote. Oh, move approval. Second. Discussion. All in favor. Aye. Opposed. Abstain. The motion is approved unanimously. Next we have a student for expulsion, student 705. This student would be expelled under education codes 48900M and would not be eligible to apply for admission until after June 11th, 2020. However, student placement services has made the recommendation that this student be expelled with a consideration for suspended expulsion with an opportunity to attend our GOC program. Move to approve.
Second. Discussion. All in favor. Aye. Opposed. Abstentions. The motion is approved unanimously. On a happier note, we have nine students to readmit to the district who were formerly expelled. I’m gonna take them in two groups, the first group is a middle school group, and there are three students, and the next group that we’ll take a vote on would be the high school, where there are six students. So the first group is student 928, student 702, and student 997. Staff is recommending these students be readmitted to attend a school within this district. Move approval. Second. Discussion. Yes, may I add that this is a happy story. Very happy.
When students are readmitted to the district, and it’s really heartening to read the letters they write, to see the programs they’re engaged with. This are young, young kids that we’re trying to turn their life around, so for them to be readmitted is really uplifting. I conquer, Board Member Meyer. And this is a tribute to their efforts, but also to the support that our staff, their families, other community organizations and members play to really address issues like are schools to prison pipeline and this isn’t about giving folks a second chance, it’s about advancing our values as an educational institution. So the other thing I would ask, and I’ll hold for this, superintendent, is after you do the second group, I think it would be important to take folks through the process that we have, right? The support mechanisms that we have, so that we can have happy stories to tell, like today. But I’ll let you continue with the second group. Further discussion. All in favor. Aye. Opposed. Abstain. The motion is approved unanimously. So our next group have six students, so the first student is student 963, then student 434, student 711, student 810, student 946, and student 392. So all these are high school students that we are recommending to be readmitted to schools within the district. Move approval.
Second. Discussion. All in favor. Aye. Opposed. Abstain. The motion is approved unanimously. And for the members of the public who will be watching this at home, and so when a student is expelled, students are expelled under certain the required codes and it could be for a semester, it could be for a year. All students are required to have counseling related to their expulsion offense. There is obviously educational support and as the board members have said, it’s not that we kick these young people out, it is to support them both academically, socioemotional learning, as well as our families. And so unfortunately, we cannot go into detail about certain cases here, but it warms your heart because of the challenges that are young people have. Many of our kids are being raised by grandparents, other relatives, guardians and so on. And families have all kinds of struggles, but these nine young people and their families all have huge success stories, and so it would be wonderful if we could, you know, publicly share with you the success stories, but our staff does a beautiful job because it’s not, the students are gonna be held accountable for their actions and it’s obviously a learning opportunity, but it’s a family learning opportunity so we can get everybody on the right track so they can choose whatever they choose to do in their college and career paths, so it’s a very good, exciting time. I think it’s important to note that those services that they receive are with community partners that we have long-standing relationships with, so it isn’t that we see you in nine months, or talk to you in nine months. It’s we have ongoing contact with those agencies who are updating us on how they’re doing, more supports that might be needed, new interventions that we hadn’t looked at before based on new information that comes out, and that this really is about staying in relationship with the students and families so that we can welcome them back to us ’cause that can be a difficult transition, but there’s a real intentional work around how we do that, and I’m grateful for all of our staff that work so hard on that. Yeah, and that’s precisely why I thought it was important to share that because many times, this can be perceived as just normal operating procedure for us. I mean community members hear about recommendations for suspensions, explosions, and in this case, readmissions, but may not have the full context of the breadth of what we try to do as a district, so my appreciation to everyone involved in supporting these students’ success. Thank you, thank you so much. We move onto unfinished business, there is none. And we get into new business, selection the new superintendent of schools, and I want to call up Brent North to give us an overview, and this is an information item now and not an information and action item. Thank you very much Mr. President, and I’d like to address the members of the board, the administration and the staff. Thank you for asking me to come up. You know I was thinking about this you’re 18 years out of practice for selecting the superintendent, but you’re not 18 years out of practice for making good decisions, and you’re not 18 years out of practice for making open decisions, and you’re not 18 years out of practice for selecting good people. This is the largest employer in Long Beach, and the Department of Human Resource Services has been guiding that effort for a very long time, and it makes me proud to be a part of that. Chris Callopy used a great metaphor before when he said that you have big shoes to fill, and Chris you inspired another metaphor that many of you are familiar with, of course the the legendary coach John Wooden who also knew a thing or two about having big shoes to fill. When you came to play for Coach John Wooden, you’d think that now that you were at the height of your career, that you’re gonna be taught something awesome about the mental toughness that it’s going to take, maybe you’re gonna be taught about new drills, maybe you’re gonna to be taught about new patterns or how to read the enemy. But no, the first thing that John Wooden taught was how to put on your socks, and he told them which end goes in where and that you smooth it out, you make sure that it fits snugly over the heel, and he was he was asked later these are accomplished athletes, why did you spend that time teaching them how to put on their socks? And he explained, I did not want them to be hurting or flagging at the end of the game because of blisters. I wanted them to know exactly heading to the basics and if we turn on the basics, we can build anything from there, and boy, did he. So thank you for the metaphor. I’m going to cover some how to put on your socks basics of the Brown Act. This is a momentous decision, and its important to remember the Brown Act basics of how to approach that decision. So the first basic element to the Brown Act is that you are doing the people’s business, and the people have a right to know what the business is that you’re doing. And so all decisions about how to appoint, and all decisions about who to appoint need to take place in Brown Act meetings with an agenda going out 72 hours in advance stating what is going to be happening on that agenda. So I’ll talk tonight about the Brown Act approach of the how, what’s the process, and then I’ll talk about the separate Brown Act approach of who to appoint. So first we’ll talk about how. The public has a right to observe policy being made, and the decision of how you’re gonna go about this is policy so I applaud you for having this on your open session agenda so that everybody gets to hear your thoughts about how to go about the process. So this part needs to be an open session. We’ll talk later about some of the different provisions which the legislature has given us for when things can and should be done in closed session, but not the process of how to appoint. So how to appoint, let’s talk about different options which you have which, which other districts have explored. Options that you might consider tonight might be how are you going to receive the public input? Is that going to be done in these meetings having additional time or just designating the time for the members of the public to address you? We are going to have this as an agenda item from now until you appoint. So there will be something on the agenda related to the appointment of the superintendent so that members of the public will always be able to address you on that topic. You might also decide or talk tonight about whether or not you want to have an advisory committee. Some school districts, some city councils, some others, will have it advisory committee made up of members of the public, made up of students, sometimes that might include a minority of board members, what have you, but you could talk tonight about whether or not to have an advisory committee. In the spirit, though, of how to put on your socks basically is to remind you that if this board creates an advisory committee, that advisory committee is also bound by the Brown Act, and so that committee also, therefore, needs to make certain that everything that it does, it does on having given out an agenda beforehand, stating exactly what needs to be done. And I’ll state that it is easier said than done to make certain that no non-Brown Act meetings take place. What do I mean by that? A meeting takes place under the Brown Act whenever a majority, and you have five permanent members, we have one student member, but whenever three are receiving information about a subject matter that’s within the subject matter of the jurisdiction, or sharing information, a Brown Act meeting has just taken place. And you might say or that committee might say ah, easy, then I’ll make certain that I only go to my meetings, and I don’t have any conversations with any of my fellow board members outside of that. That isn’t a bad rule. But a Brown Act violation can happen even outside of that. We refer to daisy chain and we refer to hub and wheel violations. So a daisy chain could happen if member one whispers into member two’s ear, and then member two whispers in the member three’s ear, I want this, I want this, and now three members have that information. That’s daisy chain, that one is fairly easy to avoid, right? If you’re open and honest you know how to avoid that. Hub and wheel is a little bit more difficult to fair it out when it might be happening. So if member one speaks with we’re going to call him person A shares member one’s information, and then person A is now a hub, if you can imagine the spokes on a wheel, that person A then speaks with member two who then shares member two’s information, and then member A, I’m sorry, person A with member three hey, by the way member one and member two are thinking yadi yadi yada. And now member three has the information, and member one and two, which is why you always need to be careful with respect to how you get your information, and if you do decide to create an advisory committee, the advisory committee needs to be careful about how they get and share their information. The best and the safest way is always to get and share information in Brown Act meetings such as we’re having right now. Other potential ways that you might decide to seek formalized input, some districts will use electronic surveys, and those electronic surveys as well as other open public fora typically don’t ask the question who do you want but what do you want? What is it that you look for? What is it that you want to see that would help you with respect to your interest in the district? And so whether it’s an electronic survey or whether it’s some other form of an open forum, typically you’re looking for what the members are looking for. You could decide to hold extra board meetings in addition to what you’re holding. In addition to that, even if the board decides not to have any additional meetings, there’s nothing wrong with it any individual member holding their own individual town halls to receive, but again, be very careful about that daisy chain, not been to share with other board members here is what I learned it at my meeting, right? So you need to be the receptacle, and not the conduit of the information. So those are some of the different ideas that you might consider in terms of soliciting public input. Other ideas that you might talk about tonight might be who will be the point person for the recruiting process. Different options is you could use in internal resource such as the Department of Human Resources, there are recruiting firms you could hire. Recruiting firms of course would be at an additional cost and at additional time, but they have frequently a footprint that would permit them to be able to recruit both inside and outside of the district. Sometimes boards might decide to bring on a former employee to conduct that, or they’ll turn to a current employee. Another topic that you might discuss tonight might be, and Chris Callopy alluded to it earlier, whether you’re going to look solely internally or whether you’re going to look externally as well. So just at people who are working at Long Beach Unified or are you going to look at people who are not currently working for the school district? So those are the general topics with respect to how. I can go on now to talk about the Brown Act implications of who. Once you start talking about who it is that any one of you wants to see as the next superintendent. Before I go into the Brown Act implications of who, are there questions that you have for me about the how? Or if you like, I can go on about the who, and then you can bring all your questions at the end. Can I ask a couple of questions about the– Sure. You know they were coming, Brent. I would be so disappointed if they didn’t. (everyone laughs) So let’s, I’ll make it easy, I’ll work backwards from the last points that you made regarding the role that our HR department or an individual within our HR department could play in terms of being a point person. That role isn’t necessarily mutually exclusive of still considering a firm, right? Because that person or team in HR could still work directly with a firm, right? So it’s not an either/or with the how. Correct and it’s been done before here in this district. Okay, okay. Second is with regards to the possibility of a community advisory committee that again, would have to operate under Brown Act, the Brown Act that you described, is there a difference in terms of, let’s say in consideration of constituting a committee with having that be during the regular scheduled board meetings and/or agendizing additional meetings outside of the board to have those discussions? So would those conversations have to occur during the regularly scheduled board meetings or could we schedule additional meetings just to do the process for the how? Let me see if I understand the question. Are you asking would an advisory committee have to hold all of their meetings in an agendized meeting? I guess I’m asking two questions now. I’m asking that question too, Brent, but do our conversations about the how have to occur during our board meeting or could there be additionally scheduled meetings outside of our regular scheduled board meeting to have those conversations? Okay, let me take this second question. If I’ve lost track, you’ll get me back on track. I don’t know if I’m clear with myself, Brent, so take them as you’d like. So the question of how it should happen in a Brown Act meeting, you have a meeting tonight, you have another meeting, I forget the date, coming up in January 22nd or whatever it is, so it could take place now, it could take place then. to hold additional meetings to discuss the how. My position is that each of the how meetings need to take place in open sessions. And that would, of course, then apply to any potential, if we went that route, community advisory meetings. Correct. Okay, let’s war game a little bit. So you could have an advisory committee who would advise you as to the process. They can say we’re gonna form a committee to say we think that you ought to take the following steps. Not who you ought to pick, but how you ought to do that, yes, those meeting should take place in open session– Correct.
Of that advisory committee. So following along your war game analogy, if that committee decided that it wanted to take community member input to help develop that process, that could be a separate meeting as well. Yes, and at each of their meetings, they must take community input, just like you do. Correct.
They would would need to open it up so that they could have the members of the public address them about the public’s business because this is the public’s business. Okay, but it could be specifically about the process, not necessarily like all the other agenda items that we’re covering here during the regular scheduled board meeting. Correct.
Okay, I’m good. Okay, any other questions, Brown Act questions about the how? You’ve heard me then allude to the who before. So let me go and just begin back from the general premise. The presumption is that all California legislative meetings need to be in open meeting unless there is a specific exception. And you’ve heard different exceptions referred to tonight. Students have the right to hear their mistakes be heard in private and not out here in public. There are personnel exemptions, there are a number of exemptions which are important which the legislature has given under certain circumstances. One of those circumstances deals with employee discipline as well as with employee appointment. And so the decision about whether to appoint and who to appoint is specifically a carved-out Brown Act exception which can be held in closed session. I would argue that there’s good wisdom for why that would be so, and I’ll just give a few examples. Let’s say that the board decides that the board wants to look at outside candidates, and the leading candidate from Anonymous Unified School District doesn’t want their present employer to know that they’re looking for another position. If you’re gonna be interviewing in public, that person is probably not gonna throw their hat in the ring. I would also hope that in the who portion as you’re trying to decide who, that there will be a hard-hitting questions, you know, exploring potential weaknesses, and in the board should feel free during those discussion to explore potential weaknesses. Whomever is chosen is gonna have strengths, they’re gonna have weaknesses, and if that is done in an open session, all their subordinates have now heard what your doubts are with respect to that person. So for a number of reasons, the legislature has determined that whom to appoint can be done in closed session. And so for example, whether it’s an advisory committee or whether it’s this board, the whom portion? I’m gonna go with whom. The whom portion should be, can be discussed in the closed session, and I think for good policy reasons, should be discussed in closed session. In addition to that, salary discussions under the Brown Act may be discussed in closed session but the final compensation package has to be discussed in open session with special disclosure requirements that have to be given orally at that meeting. In summary, whether it’s the advisory committee or whether it’s the board, each of these discussions need to take place with public notice, needs to be done with public notice of the agenda and you need to stick to the agenda, and respect those closed and open session formalities. Other question? So with regard to the who or whom, Brent. I was an English major, I really ought to know. (everyone laughs) I wasn’t so, take your pick on either. Whom to choose.
Whom to choose. Whom to choose.
That would be right. So I know that you gave a couple of examples of potentially some rationale to have the decision be a closed session on the who, is there a scenario, however though, you know, given that the importance of the public input and community input where either an advisory committee or HR or whatever process we end up where the initial pool of candidates, obviously there would be closed session discussions, but that, as a scenario, right, that if a finalist, a group of three or five finalists, that then there would be open public meetings where we could have input on finalists, so that you wouldn’t have discussions on the who to get to the finalists, but then once we have finalists, that those could be open. That’s entirely within the purview of this board, and that would be appropriate. Okay. One of the hazards of that is if we get down to three finalists, and we publicly announce who they are, and they know that going in in advance, then we discouraged them from even applying perhaps. Seems to me that the application process and the selection down to the finalists, whoever they might be, should be confidential. So here’s where I think clarification, Board Member Meyer on if potentially any applicants would be a matter of public record that we would need to confirm whether at some point, we would need to disclose anyone that applied, anyways, right? So it would defeat the whole purpose, potentially, of having closed discussions if ultimately, someone could request, as a matter of public records, who the applicants were to our position. So I think we need confirmation on that, right Brent, whether– And I don’t know the answer to your question off the top of my head. There is certainly personnel file exemptions within the public records act. I haven’t researched whether not that would apply to a mere applicant, I don’t know.
Yeah, yeah. And I would just, I’d like for us to consider, taking Mr. Myers comments into account, then what avenues would we have to get public input on candidates other than input prior to the selection taking place, right? So you know, I think one thing for us to consider is what possibilities are there to both seek public input, but to take that input into account in the decision-making. From my understanding, we want to gather the public’s input as far as what they want in a superintendent, not necessarily a particular person they want for a superintendent, but just what qualities, or what’s important to them as stakeholders, and that’s the way I understand it. I don’t know if I’m understanding that correctly. But, that would be the main purpose of– Typically what happens, but what Member Benitez said would also be appropriate once you’ve narrowed it down to a field. This board could decide that it wanted to publicly vet who its finalists were. Whether or not that’s good policy is up to this board to decide. You could do that. Thank you, Brent. You brought up another point earlier too that I think it’s important for the board to consider. Whether we would keep the application, whether we want to look to our talented number of people already in the district, or whether we want to open it up. I think these are now questions which you have for each other and not for me, unless there are further questions for me. So could we then, because we made this into an info item, make a motion to make this an action item to the begin the process at an upcoming board meeting? You can. What process? The discussion of developing the process that we’re gonna use– So you are free to discuss the process tonight, and I think that what you’re suggesting is that if you hear from each other a consensus tonight about what sounds do a majority of you to be a good process, then you would make a motion that that would be reviewed at the next meeting. But tonight, you’re free to discuss away what the process might be. You’ve removed the action element of it, so tonight you’re gonna be discussing, you’re gonna be brainstorming, you won’t be acting tonight. Very good. Thanks, Brent.
Okay thank you, Brent. Okay, well, let’s open it up and talk about what we want to see in terms of a process. That’s where we’re at. Well, let me begin, if I may. 41 years as a teacher and administrator, 16 years as a board member. I’ve known every superintendent since 1959 personally. I like every single one of them and supported them thoroughly except one. That individual happened to come from the outside. I have a strong bias for the strong bench that superintendent Chris Steinhauser has built in the Long Beach Unified School District. We have talent, in my view, right here at our district who can sustain the wonderful, steady progress and growth that this district has made. So, I for one want to throw out the question of whether we indeed even want to open this up to outside applicants. All right, are we taking turns? All right. I prepared some remarks just so I can keep them straight. I think one of the greatest gifts of this board is that we have a diverse experience with Long Beach Unified. None of us have the same story as to how we’re sitting where we’re sitting today. And that’s a benefit because it spans deep involvement like Board Member Meyer, to higher education to early childhood to parenting, and I think it gives us an opportunity to have a really robust conversation, and bring in various viewpoints. I know when people ask for the school board members do, I always say we develop and improve policy, we approve the budget, we hire and supervise the superintendent, and while we’ve done lots of the first two, that third one has been theoretical until now. And there’s a gravity with that and a seriousness with that work that we are entrusted with, that we know going into the gig that we may have the opportunity to do. I take this work really, speak for myself for a moment, you know, take my work very seriously, I prepare and over prepare and research and over research, and because of those experiences that we have, again, we bring a different lens. I am a proud born and raised Long Beach resident. I represent this district on the California School Boards Association, so I get to interact with school districts across the state. I’m a parent in the district for almost all the superintendent Steinhauser’s tenure as superintendent, minus that first year when he was deputy, when my oldest was in kindergarten, and I think that our involvement respectively in our communities helps us bring to bear the work that’s in front of us. So Mr. Meyer, I agree with you that we have an incredibly talented bench. And I think one of the things that we say about Long Beach, not just in education, but around the city and in our communities is that Long Beach is Long Beach. We are different than LA, we are very different than Orange County, that we are our own entity, and part of that is the big town that we are, but that small town feeling, this collection of neighborhoods that we know ourselves to be, and feel responsible to. And when we talk about educating out kids, it is a collective our kids of Long Beach, Lakewood, Signal Hill, Avalon and it matters, so what happens here has a region impact, and we know that. One of the biggest things that we talk about for the last several years is the impact of relationships on student achievement. And so when we’re looking at who was going to be that person at the top, that linchpin of the rest of the relationships within this district, I believe that there is no one better to do that work than someone who is invested in our system already. And while there may be incredibly talented people around the country doing great work, we know that our students learn best when we’re in relationship and we know we all function better within relationships, so I very much believe that the work that happens in this district, we are able to manifest leadership, and we have done it for a long time, so I concur with you, Board Member Meyer, that keeping this focus and this search internally is the best way to continue the great work that has been started in a relationship and moving forward with student success, so that those are my thoughts on that particular piece of it. So I have some slightly different thoughts on it, but I want to provide a framework for my thoughts, precisely because of what has been mentioned here by Board Member Meyer and Board Member Kerr. If we have the best in the district, and arguably, in the eyes of many, we currently have the best in the district here, then let’s go out and get the best, right? And the only way you know that, the only way you can test whether your bench is the strongest is let’s put them out against the national best, and then proved that we got the best because again, we have big shoes to fill out here, so again, the only way that I know of, and whether that’s a sports analogy or a life analogy to affirm that you’re the best or that you’ve got the best is that you go up against the best. And I think that upholds what our district is trying to do. I think given the big shoes that this person will fill, given the size of our district, given the profile of our district, given the reputation of our district, it behooves us to make sure that we get the best, and again, if we have the best here, then the best will be selected from our bench. So here’s the framework that I’d like for us to consider for process, I think one of the ways to make sure that we’re representing the interests of all of our stakeholders, starting with students, is that we make our processes as open as possible to community input, and so I’m gonna list a few of these, I think Brent mentioned some of these that we make sure that we are in compliance obviously with Brown Act, but at the end of the day, that we create additional spaces and additional processes for that community input so that we can align community needs, community interests, community perspectives with our decision-making, so that we’re beholding to, we’re elected by, we represent our constituents so that we make sure that we hold ourselves accountable to that, and the only way that happens is by having additional meetings, utilizing all the technology, so there was mentions of survey, right? To seek that input. Considering the establishment, I would favor the establishment of an advisory committee so again, additional eyes, additional ears, additional perspectives are good in this time in my opinion. Again, in addition to the survey, the meetings, and all that stuff. So that’s why I was asking questions about the potential for additional meetings. I think this deserves attention, it deserves time, it may need resources so let’s consider a firm, right? So that we can make sure that if we’re looking for the best that we vet the best from the professionals that would, again, consider both internal and if you will, outside candidates. So on the one hand, I think process and assuring that there’s deliberate, explicit, concrete opportunities for input, not just on the process, but ultimately what I referred to in my question to Brent, our attorney, in the selection of a superintendent. So I totally understand the challenge of securing, again, folks to apply to this position, but it’s a high-profile position, and quite frankly, even though we won’t get another Chris Steinhauser, as one of the public comments alluded to, we have a different district than when Chris Steinhauser became superintendent. So we have a much different demographic district, we have a different geography that we’re covering, we have different stakeholder groups that are just as vested as we are in the success of our children, so I think process dictates that they feel like they are vested in who we select as a superintendent. Ultimately, we select, but we have to provide opportunities for input, recommendations, so I would, you know, I’d like to see at some point whether it’s finalists, however the mechanism work, that we provide an opportunity for community members to see what our options and to be able to provide input. And I’m not suggesting that that begin at the beginning, but that if we can narrow it down to three or five, there are many, many searches that occur nationally that at the end of the day, hey, if you want to consider the best, then they’ll know going into this that at some point if they’re finalists that they are gonna be vetted by the most important people, and that’s our community members, right? And then we’ll take those considerations as part of our process. So let me move to kind of the second area here of importance to us. I think right now is a moment where we can uphold this value that we have that I’ve now been a part of for a year and a half, our transparency, right, in our district. So the all means all, this moniker, this tag line that we use is about inclusion, right? And we’ve talked about this, that that’s just not respect to some students, it’s to all students. And so with respect to our parent engagement, to our community engagement, I think we do a good job of upholding and reflecting that when it comes to very important processes like our local control, our LCAP process, our DELAC meetings, our DECAT meetings, our shool site counsel meetings, we uphold the commitment to involving folks, whether it’s a school site decision on funding on a school plan, a policy here at the board, so I think it behooves us to, again, use this opportunity to reflect the best about our district. And one of the things that’s the best of our district is our commitment to make sure to engage those that are most impacted by the decisions that this board makes. So I want to make sure that our process at all levels and I know we have a commitment to this because this is our everyday commitment that not just seeks stakeholder input, but that creates explicit spaces and processes to assure community input. It’s one thing to say to folks you had an opportunity to come to the school board meeting and give an input, it’s another thing to be explicit, right? And policy in this case reflects that. So my encouragement to my colleagues here to consider in our process is that that we just not involve community members on the front end or during the process, but that we take their input, their comments also when we narrow it down to, again, not making a decision today, but whether that’s a list of three or five or how many ever members that we consider, candidates that we consider for this position, so I think those are the two areas that I’d like the frame at least my interest in assuring that we uphold this commitment to transparency and to inclusion, so that we can make sure that when we talk about equity, that our candidates reflect, when we talk about diversity, that are candidates reflect that, when we talk about closing the opportunity gaps and achievement gaps, that our candidates reflect that, when we talked about our EL initiatives, our expansion of DI programs that we put our best up against the national best and that community members know that they were vested in that process and had concrete spaces to provide input in decision for us than make an ultimate decision and I agree with the scenario of that being in a closed session, but that folks can be assured that even though we’re meeting in closed session to make the ultimate decision for this district, that it very concretely and explicitly and deliberately included input from all of our stakeholders and they feel vested and that we have a mandate for the biggest shoes that we have to fill here in our district. And I have more on that, I didn’t go into that, I was addressing Jon’s point specifically. I envision and I think we need talk about, you know, the mechanism of how we get to those places, but I envision a town hall in every school board district, electronic input, personally, I would do an individual town hall and meet with constituents specific to my areas. I think those are the given, and that the mandate that we give to whomever is doing the searching with us that those very intentional spaces are created throughout the district, and moving that process around so that we’re getting to all of those places. So I think for me I hadn’t spoken to that item yet, but certainly I think that for me is equally important to doing specific engagement and outreach in every community often within, you know, the timeframe that we set forth. And that there would be robust opportunity for that kind of input on multiple platforms. I agree with that you know, point of view that we need to do that. We need to hold town hall meetings. I’ve been listening to the, you know, different opinions on where we stand as far as if we’re gonna be looking only within our own community, or if we’re gonna be opening up this search to outside our own community. I see the benefits of staying within our own Long Beach community. I see the benefit of having a superintendent who was raised in Long Beach, attended Long Beach Schools, taught in Long Beach, was a principal in Long Beach. We have a treasure in Mr. Meyer as third, fourth generation Long Beach resident, attended Wilson, did you attend Wilson? I did.
Okay got that right. I don’t want the job, Diana. No, no, I know. (everyone laughs) But I’m saying I, I value the fact that we have such invested people in our district. We love our kids, Mrs. Kerr, myself, we are Long Beach Unified moms. We have kids the same age, and I have older kids, but I’m older, we’re invested, we have been in, you know, different volunteer groups, different community action groups, you know, that type of thing. We’re invested in our students, we’re invested in our kids. I also see the value of looking outside. I would put any of our, any of our people up against anybody nationally, no problem, and so I want to keep an open mind as far as do we hold a national search or whatever. I want to be able to prove to people we have looked and we have found the best person because we do have these big shoes to fill, so I want to keep an open mind on that part of the process and still, at the same time, believe that we have the best people. And then also the transparency part of it, the involving the community, involving the stakeholders, we absolutely have to do that. As you were saying that, I was thinking, you know, I have three high schools in my district, it’s the fifth district, there are three high schools, I would have a town hall meeting at each and every one of those high schools and hear from the different communities, we have different cities that we represent, Lakewood, Signal Hill, Avalon. We absolutely have to involve everybody that goes to the whole, you know, all means all, and I believe we’ve been given a gift of time that we have the time to do everything at our disposal whether it’s the electronic survey, you know, town halls, everything, because he’s agreed to stay with us for another year and a half. And–
No. I’m sorry? (everyone laughs) I’m sorry what was that? It’s on the public record, Steinhauser. No?
Six months. See? It’s the truth. Where’d that year and a half come from? (everyone laughs) I didn’t think anybody would notice. (everyone laughs) I thought I’d make him stay for an even 20 years. No.
No? Okay. Well, we can discuss it at your party, so– (everyone laughs) So I believe we have you know a huge job ahead of us, but I think we’re on the right track. I don’t know if we have to make all those decisions tonight, I don’t know if we have to come to any kind of consensus tonight. I think absolutely we need to establish an advisory committee. I think only two board members can serve on that, so that we don’t have a Brown Act violation and as far as I understand, we have to make sure that any of these committees that are established operate under Brown Act rules, so agenda goes out 72 hours before the meeting, that we don’t discuss anything amongst, you know, any of the five of us. We’re gonna have to be real careful, and we are, and we are very careful about protecting the Brown Act, protecting ourselves, protecting this district. We do have a huge job in front of us, as it’s been said. We knew we signed on for this, we knew that was gonna be a part of the job, but up until now it’s been theoretical. So you’re witnessing us getting our feet wet, you’re witnessing, nobody on this diocese has undertaken this part of the job before in this school district because he started before any of us, so we’re just taking baby steps and we’re at the very beginning of this process. So it’s interesting to see how it’s all unfolding. Just listening to the discussion, I’ve sat on a, actually, I’ve chaired the number of search committees during my tenure in higher ed replacing just about all my faculty at Long Beach City College, served on search committees at Cal State Dominguez Hills and I think which helps me understand this process is the work that I’ve done in the Council of the Great City Schools, where the council actually has a committee that works with urban school districts in the search process so I’ve been, we talk about that that process a lot during the 16 years that I’ve been part of the Council of the Great City Schools, understanding some of the ups and downs that go along with those searches at that level with in this environment, but again, this is really the first time for me in actually being involved in the search at this level. But and a lot of discussion has already taken place. I realize that we have some extremely strong people in the district who can step right in and I think do a hell of a job in moving this district forward, but I also would like to make sure that the public knows and understands that we engage in a process in a way that allows us to look at candidates nationally, and as Dr. Benitez said our cream will rise to the top, but with respect to the public, I think it’s important to show that, that we actually have opened this up nationally, and vetted some of the candidates that are out there who might be interested in applying for this position. So, you know, as we move forward, I realize there may be some differences of opinion with respect, and that’s good. I’ve seen that on just about all the search committees that I’ve ever served on, that really helps you get to where you need to go by having those differences. But at the end of the day, in all those searches, we all came to the conclusion as about to who the best person was going forward, so I think that’s what we’re gonna wind up, for sure, as part of this group because there’s not a person up here that does not appreciate what this district is all about. And I’m open to having that conversation around do we do this locally, do we do this nationally. I will suggest then, if we’re gonna talk about opening this up to a wider pool of candidates, then I think it would be important for our HRS to run point on the recruitment and the interview process. I believe Miss Ashley has been doing this work for our district, I know she recruits across the country for various positions. She has not expressed interest in the position to my knowledge. I’m glad you confirmed that. Okay, thanks, she confirmed, she is not interested in the position. And I would trust her judgment, whether needing an external recruiting firm to assist with that, or resources from Council of Great City Schools, but again, going back to that idea of who we are as Long Beach, who we have collectively been. And again, Dr. Williams, you’ve been outside of us on a national level, I’ve been outside of us on a state level, I think it’s important that were rooted in who Long Beach is in this process, so again, I’m open to the conversation of if it’s a wider pool, but I really think then if that is the case, and maybe just in general, that really being rooted in knowing who we are, connecting with our community to see what it is that is important to us and to our communities, needs to be headed up by us in some context, so I will throw that out there as a consideration of the process moving forward to consider that our HR Ruth Ashley– I agree with that. Yeah, I would concur with that as well. She’s been through this process before. If she feels that we need to bring it a search firm, of course that can be a recommendation– And I think Brent said
Coming from her. That’s been done in the past. So, and, you know, I’ve seen that work in other places across the nation. so I think she’s perfectly situated, our HR people, to kind of help kick this thing off, move this thing along. Again, if she can come back with the recommendations if it’s, you know, if it’s a national search that we want to do, or if we want to have a local search, but I think she’s in a unique position to help. And I go along with that. Dr. Williams, you mentioned is it a committee or a part of the Council of Great City schools that already has something in place, is there a cost involved with that? Not to the member districts, and we’re a member district of the Council. Okay, so they they would provide that service without a cost. I’d have to double check to see if that in fact is still true because they’re having some budget problems as well. (everyone laughs) But I think to Board Member Kerr’s suggestion that if we designate one of our HR folks here, namely Ruth. That’s the kind of information that she– Can give.
Can give. Provide for us and then based on that kind of information, then we can explore, you know, whether a firm and/or the Council and/or a combination of those things would best suit our– I was curious now and I thought it would be better if I ask a question now while we’re talking about it, and just kind of have that information out there. Well, we know resources will be expended in the process. We know that. And it’s just another part of that. I think in listening to Chris Callopy saying how this district has changed, all organizations change, they all do. And it’s not the district when Chris first hired in. As part of what we would ask anyone to do and you know, one of the perennial thoughts on my mind in that process is collectively we would do a SWOT analysis to see what the changes are, and be able to frame our interview questions based on responses to that SWOT analysis. Let me, add if I may, that if we have these, and I agree, going to the school sites, listening to our community, getting all the input we can, but it really is a referendum on how the district is done when you do that. And I think we have ample documentation on what the public thinks about how this district is done. But let me emphasize a point that is obvious to you all. Carl Kon was our superintendent for 10 years, Chris Steinhauser, for 17 years. That makes us most unique in the nation in terms of an urban district with the challenges we faced with that kind of longevity in the leadership. What is it about Long Beach that sustains that kind of steady, steady progress, yes, even though we’ve changed dramatically in the last 20 years, but what is it about our district that has sustained that? Is an outsider going to come in and alter that? And say oh, Long Beach has a fat job, they’ve got a good district. Come in here for five years and say adios after throwing all kinds of changes at us. So I think we need to keep in mind the stability and the virtue of the long progress we’ve made over the last 20 years. Yeah, I would concur with that, Jon, but again, I think the thing that would help us better understand that has to do a SWOT analysis and look at what are the strengths of this district? What are the weaknesses, opportunities and threats? And be able to use it as a foundation and basis to understand where we’ve been and where we’re going. We know where we’ve been with Chris, but given the stumbling blocks that are out there now, declining student enrollment, changing housing patterns in the city, so forth and so on, we need to better understand some of those issues too ’cause they affect the way we will be operating five years and 10 years from now. Fair enough.
I would use Mr. Meyer’s rationale to reach a different conclusion, though. Because Long Beach has been so stable and consistent, and we have a fine team, executive staff, all the way down, and because the board is fully vested in this, and I have a kid in the district right now, that our board nor our team nor our exec staff nor any school sites, I think, would allow, one, through the process for the selection of someone to come in and change all the things we’re doing well, nor I think could someone come in just out of their own volition because then that would speak to really a weak district, if one person could come in and change all the things that we’re doing well, change the direction that we’re going in, and I would do the same rationale for an internal candidate, right? That one person, internally, that’s homegrown, that’s been here, maybe not as long as you, Mr. Meyer, or our superintendent, I think takes away everything that our superintendent had spoken of, that it’s not just about him, that it’s not just about one person. It is, fundamentally, but that is also about the culture and the team around that person, both to hold that person accountable, us as a board, right, ultimately, but also to provide those avenues for the staff, and I see this all the time, to make recommendations, to not necessarily always agree, to be innovative and creative. So again, I go back to the point that I start off. If we truly have the best here in this district, they will rise through this process. And if for whatever reason, the selection ends up with someone not from the district, that the best here will not allow that someone to change everything that this great district has done. And maybe there are areas that through the process we get different perspectives on stuff and we acknowledge maybe some of the talents and gifts that we have here, and resources that we have here, if we look at other perspectives. So just because you’re looking at other candidates, doesn’t necessarily mean you’re gonna select that, but this is a crossroads for this district, precisely because we’ve had 27 years of stability. So again, I think using your same rationale, I would just reach a different conclusion, Mr. Meyer. Okay (laughs). (everyone laughs) Having said all the things that we’ve said so far, where are we? So I think we need to make a motion to take action at an upcoming– Yeah, go ahead. So I’d like to move for us to agendize this as part of our next meeting, so that we can take action on the process that we’ll use moving forward with the search for a new superintendent. Okay.
Second. Okay, we have a motion and a second to agendize at the next meeting this process going forward. All in favor. You forgot–
I’m sorry, discussion. Discussion. All right, let’s get into the discussion now. (everyone laugh) Just playing.
Open it up. I’m just playing. I have a suggestion, can this process include maybe a framework for our town hall discussions so that we’ll have some sort of uniform look to the hall town meetings as we go out into our communities? Some kind of framework so that we’re all on the same page and that we’re all working somewhat in alignment. I agree, and I think in the spirit of our conversation that would take the elements from our conversation to start off with, right? So this was sort of the starting point that we would then take action on the things that we talked about here today. Right. But yes, I agree. Shouldn’t we perhaps prioritize those this evening? Like it’s gonna be a nationwide search? Will the applications be confidential? Are we going to carry on with the local town hall meetings? I mean all these points that we’ve, seems like we should prioritize maybe the top five as a beginning point, rather than coming to the next meeting, and wandering a bit, though intelligently, we hope, on all these topics? I’m wondering, Ruth, since you’ve gone through this before based on all the discussion that we’ve had up here among us, can you pull together, let’s say a checklist or something similar to that that reflects what we’re talking about here and have that available for us prior to our next meeting, board meeting, as a way for us to move forward? Yes, absolutely, we could do that. We can pull some options for you to choose from. Okay, how do you folks–
And recommendations. If I may, this has been a great discussion, and to our student board member, you’re seeing civics in action. This is really very exciting. I think the discussion’s been robust, and I think we can take all those big ideas that you’ve talked about internal versus external, you know, the town hall, all, and we can present that to you back, Ruth can present that back to you, and then you can, within the frame, take item by item and then go and make your decision, and so I think we can do that because you’ve given great discussions, great points, you know, and then you would just go A, B, C and D, and then you would wrap it up, and then obviously, you’re gonna make modifications as you go through the process. So I think we could put together for you based on what you’ve said so far, a beginning frame that you would modify if you chose to, so you get a starting point. So exactly that, you would have discussion on specific issues to go for. Good, very good. So if that sounds fine, then you can, you know, you’ve made a motion and a second, and then we, as a staff, would lead this, we would go forth from there. Is everyone comfortable with that? I like that and I think that also gives us a starting point not just for our conversation, but for public input beginning at our next meeting in all those areas as well. Right ’cause what we might hear from community members are ways that they think would be an effective form of outreach that perhaps we haven’t thought of yet. So it gives the public who is watching and/or listening or watching later an opportunity to approach us either individually or to approach Ruth’s office to say as you present information to the board, here’s something I’d like you to consider, and then we can be in conversation with you potentially if we get information that we think would be helpful in that process for whatever it is that you’ll put forward next week– Yeah.
Or next meeting. And if, again, I believe it, we got here, it gives the best the home court advantage to also be privy to these conversations and to the community input. Absolutely. Further discussion. All in favor of the motion. We do have a motion, all in favor. We do, I thought you were gonna repeat it. Why don’t you clarify the motion, if you please, Dr. Williams? The motion is to agendize this for the next board meeting. We had a motion and a second, we had discussion. With Ruth providing us a starting point based on today’s items that were prioritized. Right.
Right, yeah. Again, further discussion. Clarification. Let’s say we come up with a list of 10 things on the agenda, are we gonna vote on each one individually? I think we’re gonna use it as the foundation to discuss the process. Okay.
Those items, correct. Very good, so there probably will not be a final vote on– At the next meeting? At the next week.
No, we’ll see where we’re at.
Okay, all right, okay. I mean we got pretty far tonight, so we did pretty good tonight. I ask again, further discussion. Okay, all in favor. Aye. Any opposition. Abstain, the motion is approved unanimously. Thank you all very much for that spirited discussion. (Jon laughs) We are now at the report of board members. We will go first to our student board member, KeShawn Afford, KeShawn. How do you like that, KeShawn? (everyone laughs) Learned a lot. He’s probably in his first year of college by now. (everyone laughs) Good evening–
See, you can take this back to your civics class and talk about what happened, right? (laughs) Indeed, indeed. Good evening all, my superintendent Steinhauser, board members and staff. My name is KeShawn Afford. I am here representing Jordan High School’s ASB and Leadership. I’m currently serving as 2019-2020 senior class president. There many great things going on at Jordan this year. We began this year with a very successful homecoming themed All Things 2000, we had 36 clubs participate in our homecoming fair, raising over $5,000 in club funds. 11 of these clubs are newly charted, so we are excited about the rising student participation. Next, our leadership group has been working with Long Beach City College and our College and Career Center to raise the numbers of college applications from our seniors. Reps from Long Beach City came and did classroom workshops and met with students like me, who individually helped them through the process. We currently have 484 of our 530 graduating seniors with one or more college applications submitted. That is 91%. (applause) On January 25th we are partnering with an Assemblyman, Anthony Rendon, to host a cash for college event to help our students with scholarships and financial aid options for further education. In our leadership class this year, we have been focusing on building not only leadership skills but also life skills. We had the opportunity before winter break for our ASB students to attend a Renaissance conference at Irvine Valley College. The presenters talked about the need for students to learn how to balance our academics, family obligations, and social lives. With the resources provided, we want to create many lessons for our advisory classes to reinforce these school skills and school life. A few other club events we’d like to highlight are Jordan’s ASB is hosting the Black College Tour on January 31st, it is from 1:00 to 4:00 p.m. at Jordan and it is open for all LBUSD students. Our Arch program had an amazing winter showcase. This show featured our choir, band, orchestra and dance team. They had a great turnout and will have their spring show in May. Our Peace Club is hosting Unity March on January 17th in honor of Dr. King, and to promote collaborative work at our school. Lastly, as many of you know, our shool is under massive construction, but I am pleased to report that as of January 6th, our newly remodeled front office has reopened. Also, two our to our new classroom buildings featuring our brand new labs have opened. We will still be in the thick of things, but these new openings have put 3/4 of our teachers in their permanent classrooms, so you can say it’s nothing quite like the North. That’s right. (KeShawn laughs) Thank you, KeShawn, for that wonderful presentation. We always ask our student board members a few questions. One of those, you’re a senior, you’re getting ready to graduate. Yes. You talked about the opportunities for students who are preparing for college. Yes. Have you decided on a particular college that you plan to attend?
Yes, I have. And would you mind telling us about– Oh, yes, I will be going with Long Beach City for my two free years. I think that’s an amazing opportunity that the district has given us. I do want to be a teacher here in the district, it’s amazing. (applause) I already connected them. Wonderful.
Yes. So I’m gonna do that, and maintain my grades, so that I can go to Cal State and become a teacher in the district. Absolutely wonderful, thank you so much for that. Thank you.
Thank you very– Can I ask KeShawn a question? Sure. What were your thoughts on tonight’s discussion on– (everyone laughs) And do you have any recommendations– (everyone laughs) From my experience, all the schools that I went to, I went Los Cerritos, and Hughes, and now I’m here at Jordan, a lot of my teachers that I’ve had or staff, they all have actually been students here in the district and they have a great bond, so I think that’s amazing, that’s another reason why I want to be a teacher, to stay here, love the district, it’s great. Yeah, it was a lot tonight. What pathway are you in? IB.
Nice. All right, IB?
IB, yeah. I was an IB student too. Thank you, KeShawn, thank you very much. Mrs. Kerr. I always gotta follow the students. I’m telling ya, I’m switching seats next year. (everyone laughs) I actually don’t have a report, I just want to thank you for a great report that highlighted all of the things that we care so deeply about. So you talked about academics, you talk about involvement and feeling like you belong, and more people being engaged and involved in construction, college promise, you kind of hit every great thing, so I appreciate that you did that, and I am grateful for your hard work and just your reflections on the work that we do. So thanks for being here tonight. Thank you so much. Dr. Benitez. Good job, board member, good job tonight. No report, other than to urge our community members that are watching, that are listening, and folks that are here today, to get involved in this process where the selection of the new superintendent, and we got six months, Callopy, to throw Mr. Steinhauser here a party, basically is what I (laughs) heard. But I’m looking forward to meeting with community members whatever our format ends up being for the stakeholder input and meetings, look forward to that. And I was also mentioning to the superintendent, it’s really weird for me to come back after the holiday break or winter break I should say, with a second grader that can’t wait to get back to school ’cause I remember, and I still, I was like ah, I wish I had a couple more days. My second grader, like Sunday was so excited to get back to school. So just wishing everyone a very happy start to their 2020, and it’s that constant reminder of the wonderful experiences that are had in our schools and in our district. So always good for your second grader to can’t wait to get back to school on Monday. Absolutely. Diana. Yes, I have one thing to report on. I attended a Kwanzaa celebration at the Expo Arts Center and that was a wonderful celebration. To me it’s all about family unity and cultural tradition and it was really nice, it was my first time at a Kwanzaa celebration and I love how respect is kind of the order of the day, and it’s about teaching the kids, you know, culture, and to take pride in that culture. And then also, I’m excited to report on the fact that it was the first time the African American Cultural Center of Long Beach was involved, and that’s a new nonprofit organization and it was actually a project brought forward by Al Austin and D. Andrews for an actual cultural center for the African American culture and everything that means to our community as far as the history, the art, all the contributions. They are raising money to have an actual physical cultural center or museum. I’m picturing that, me, (laughs) I’ll just let them know, I’m picturing that to be somewhere downtown with maybe not too far from the, help me out here, the other museum– MOLAA. That’s the one. And I’m picturing a place where when people come to Long Beach, and they come visit, it’s more than just our restaurants, it’s more than just the shopping at the outlet centers or whatever, it’s having things within walking distance that show our pride as a community and having MOLAA, and then hopefully having an African American cultural center and having our beautiful library and having the aquarium and all these things is just one more thing to add to our community and then also because I’m selfish about our kids, another place for our kids to visit to further their education. So I’m picturing field trip and everything. So that was a wonderful event, and I was very happy to be included in that. Thank you, Diana. Mr. Meyer. No report, wish everyone a great 2020. Yeah, Diana, just to add to that, I’m on the board for that organization and been involved with the planning from pretty much day one and things are moving along and we are still, we did get the visioning done for us by an organization trying to think of the name of the organization, but the organization that the city hired to do the visioning for the African American Cultural Museum was actually involved in building museums across the United States, in a number of cities across the United States, and they also worked on the the facility in Washington DC. So Lourdes was the organization that did the visioning and put together a, pretty much a kind of detail script for us moving forward. So we’re following that script right now, and pulling things together and I did ask Chris to work with me on that committee and he will be working along with me and Dr. Conley and Dr. Reagan Romali, Steve Goodlain, a number folks in the city that will be working with me as we pull this project together. I just only named just a few, and I just add Jon Meyer, and I’ll get to the other members up of this DS pretty soon before this is all said and done. But that project is moving forward, and thank you Diana for that. I also want to report just a noticed that our deputy superintendent Dr. Jill Baker will be honored by the Mayor’s Fund for Education for her work in education on February 27th at Keesal, Young & Logan, so Jill, congratulations. (applause) Are we invited to that, Felton? You are invited. You are invited to that. Matter of fact, invitations coming out. You’ll see those soon, quickly. The Council of the Great City Schools will be in town on the 24th. 24th?
24th. And the Council will be holding its executive committee meeting here over that two-day period. And it’ll give a chance for the Council to bring that whole organization here to Long Beach. It’s a fabulous event that they have for the folks that are part of the school district, our governing body, so that’ll be on the 24th. Superintendent’s report. Yes, just things. One, first KeShawn, I’m a fellow Viking, I went to Long Beach City for two years and became a teacher and Mr. Zade over there will be in constant contact with you because he is chairing a committee with Cal State Long Beach that we belong to, called The Urban Teacher Initiative that you will hear a lot about because you have a place here at home– You’re here for life pretty much. You’re here for life which is a great– There’s scholarship money involved with that. There’s scholarship money and it’s great. I’ve been here since I’m five years old, so for the last 56 years I’ve been part of the school system so it is a wonderful place to be. And I want to thank the board. Mr. Meyer, you talked about the last almost three decades of consistent leadership we’ve had here. Well, I’ll tell you one reason why is because of the board, because the reason you have turn over, the average stay of a superintendent in an urban district is roughly 3 1/2 years is because boards do not know how, with all due respect, to govern, and it’s governance and it’s a governance team that does the work. ‘Cause the work is not easy by any means, but the work is easier when you have a governance team that focus on the KeShawn’s of the world. So we just thank you because that’s why, you and your 70,000 colleagues are why we come to work every single day, so, and I just also want to, under the announcements, we have some really important things coming up. We have kindergarten festival starting this weekend, we have the Martin Luther King Parade, please everybody, come to that. Plus there’s a whole host of other activities, there’s a robotics event at McBride, if you haven’t been there, you got to go there. Last time they were 30 plus teams and 1/3 of them were represented by Long Beach Unified, competing against places like Chadwick which is a very expensive private school and doing quite well, so thank you. Thank you, Chris. And those calender items posted somewhere online, so that people can–
Yes. Okay. Other announcements. Okay, I’m going to request a motion for an adjournment, but I want everybody to hang around for photos, so do I have a motion? So moved.
Okay, we are adjourned. Thank you.

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