Increase Health and Wellness
As a school health advocate for nearly 20 years, I was and will continue to be a strong advocate for student health and wellness. Going forward, I believe PUSD needs to reimagine and re-think the health and wellness models to include online support groups and ensure all wellness services are accessible to all students and families. It will be necessary to engage with community-based organizations to expand partnerships and identify funding sources for these added services and programs.
Because of my advocacy, PUSD is fortunate to have a small but mighty nursing team to provide their medical expertise. The nurses are integral to the planning of re-opening school as safely as possible.
Over the years, I advocated for additions or changes in PUSD’s school health services:
- Advocated for increasing the credentialed school nursing staff and additional hours for site health clerks.
- Started the school Automatic External Defibrillator (AED) program at our school sites and athletic programs.
- Advocated for Child Nutrition Services to purchase and serve organic produce and salad bars.
- Advocated for and started the sun safety program and more shade around our school sites to lessen the risk of skin cancer.
- Collaborated on the first Food Allergy and Food From Home board policies.
- Lead the in-classroom Food Allergy Awareness program.
- Major contributor to the original Wellness policy.
- Participated on one of the original Go Green school site committees.
- And much more.
After a string of student suicides, I was very involved in looking into and starting the conversations about depression, drug addiction, and other risky behaviors. Those conversations and advocacy efforts led to training for counselors, the addition of the anonymous tip line, increasing mental health services, and, more recently, social workers.
Several years ago, I introduced Stanford’s Challenge Success program to PUSD to start addressing student stress. It resulted in some interesting and telling data that began to open our eyes as to what was contributing to student stress. This conversation led to the revamping of the homework policy. Student stress is an area that needs constant focus as well as student academic integrity.
I brought The California State PTA’s School Smarts program to PUSD and this program is integral for parents to help them understand and how a school district works. In turn, the knowledge will enable the parents to support their child and navigate their child’s learning.
The topic of bullying is an on-going concern and continually needs to be raised. PUSD embarked on a district-wide Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports ( PBIS), a multi-tiered framework to assist schools in establishing a social culture and behavior supports needed to improve social, emotional, behavioral, and academic outcomes for all students. PBIS is a program that should continue to be supported and monitored for its effectiveness and outcomes.
I led many of the school health conversations at the board table to create change and increase PUSD’s services. I advocated for an executive team addition by creating the Assistant Superintendent of Student Services position. The Special Education department now is overseen by Student Services. The new role has proven to be effective and has provided a level of leadership that was missing.
Thanks to the generosity of our community by passing Measure I1. These funds are allowing PUSD to enhance the security, which includes bell, phone, announcement, key, and alarm systems. Many of the school site fencing projects are complete. The improvements to pick-up and drop-off areas will also improve the safety of our students and staff. PUSD needs to continue to look and listen for potential issues and address them expeditiously. Another facility bond measure and parcel tax is greatly needed to continually improve safety and create and maintain the type of educational, performing arts, and athletic programing the community expects and that the students deserve.