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    By Michael Hernandez 

    THOUSAND OAKS—Conejo Valley Unified School District (CVUSD) board trustees were given a chance to review the 9th grade sex ed curriculum in a presentation made by Luis Lichtl, Assistant Superintendent of Instructional Services.  The curriculum which still needs to be reviewed by the public and officially adopted at the March 17 school board meeting was made state compliant by a team of health teachers who designed supplemental units to go with the existing Glencoe Health textbook (2005 adoption) currently used for the one semester health class in the ninth grade.

    District staff met with six high school health teachers (with more than 100 years teaching experience) on Nov. 13, Dec. 17 and Jan. 27 to conduct an audit of California Healthy Youth Act (AB 329) enacted Jan.1, 2016 and the currently adopted high school health materials.  They also reviewed four curriculum:  Be Real, Be Ready; HEART; Positive Prevention Plus; and Rights, Respect, Responsibility to create the supplemental Grade 9 health materials.

    The public will now have a chance to review all Grade 9 materials at the Board Room located in Conejo Valley High School (1402 E. Janss Road, Thousand Oaks, CA 91362) on Wednesday, Feb. 26 and Thursday, March 5 from 6-8 p.m. as well as prior to the next School Board meeting on Tuesday, March 3rd and the actual School Board meeting adopting the curriculum on Tuesday, March 17th. The newly developed 9th grade curriculum is posted online as well as Frequently Asked Questions.

    The supplemental 9th grade curriculum was aligned to Article 1 (General Provisions); Article 2 (Required Comprehensive Sexual Health and HIV Prevention Education);  Article 3 (In-Service Training); and Article 4 (Notice and Parental Excusal) of the California Healthy Youth Act.  The seven new supplemental units include:

    • Unit 1: Contraception
    • Unit 2: Gender Expression & Sexual Orientation
    • Unit 3: HIV & AIDS
    • Unit 4: Relationships
    • Unit 5: Reproduction
    • Unit 6: Risk of Teen Sexuality
    • Unit 7: Teen Dating Violence & Human  Trafficking

    (Unit 7 will be presented to students using Interface as the outside speakers with positive parent permission required.)

    Home assignments have been created for each supplemental unit to promote discussion between students and parents.  “I am excited by the work we have done,” said Lichtl.   “Our teaching and instructional staff wanted to develop material that fit our community and our schools so we created our own lessons based on the Education Code.  We did not want to adopt a canned curriculum.”

    Public comments from four speakers ranged from thanking district staff for including the HEART sex-ed curriculum as one of the curriculums reviewed to several questions raised concerning the overall sex-ed curriculum adoption process and a plea to make all curriculum age-appropriate.

    Board member Sandee Everett asked several questions of Lichtl to ensure the medical accuracy of the teacher developed materials.  The revised 9th grade sex ed curriculum will go into effect in fall 2020.

    Board adopts Bond Measure I Financial Audit Report; changes auditor; approves resolution supporting Proposition 13 state bond measure

    The CVUSD adopted the Bond Measure I Financial Audit in a 4-1 vote with Board Member Sandee Everett dissenting.  Public comments were made by former bond oversight committee member Silas Nesheiwat who has charged the district with misuse of bond money—an allegation vigorously denied by Assistant Superintendent Victor Hayek, Deputy Superintendent, Business Services who made a presentation explaining how bond money has been spent in 2019.

    Some $62 million from the $197 million bond measure passed in 2014 has been spent said Dr. Hayek.  This includes $50 million of the $146 million approved for construction projects and $12.5 million of the $51 million approved for classroom technology.

    Harshwal & Company, LLP of San Diego, has won a three-year bid to become the new auditors for CVUSD with a low bid of $101,382—some $70,000 lower than the other four bids for auditing both the district’s General Fund and Bond Measure I for three years.  Approximately $88,400 will be the cost for General Fund auditing and $12,982 for the cost of Measure I Bond auditing for three years.

    The CVUSD adopted a Resolution supporting Proposition 13 on the March 3 state ballot in a 4-1 vote with Board Member Sandee Everett dissenting.  Proposition 13, not to be confused with a property tax cut proposition of 42 years ago sponsored by Howard Jarvis, is the College Health and Safety Bond Act of 2020 created by Assembly Bill 48 state legislators Patrick O’Donnell (D-70, Harbor and Long Beach) and State Senator Steve Glazer (D-7th, Contra Costa).  New tax revenue generated from Prop. 13 if passed by voters is estimated to be at least $7 billion a year with proponents saying it will make California public schools safer and healthier. 

    In other Board news:

    –Approved supporting a four-person delegate slate of Board Trustee Jenny Fitzgerald (CVUSD); Darlene Bruno (Hueneme Elementary School District); Efrain Cazares (Ocean View School District); and Debra Cordes (Oxnard School District) as delegates for two-year terms for the California School Boards Association Delegate Assembly Ballot Subregion 11-B (Ventura County).   (Note: All school districts in Ventura County are voting on their delegate slate by mid-March with only one ballot per board.)

    Approved a Board Resolution in Support of National Black History Month.

    Heard a presentation and viewed a powerpoint made by Thousand Oaks High School seniors of the ETHOS entrepreneurial program—which is one of only six academies that has been distinguished by the California Department of Education in the past 35 years.

    –Viewed a demonstration made by students of Walnut Elementary transitional kindergarten teacher Mindy Champion on the Sanford Harmony socio-emotional learning program; by fifth grade teacher Jenelle Hogue and by Principal Aileen Wall.  The program features a morning community circle that uses a talking stick to generate conversations between “buddies” and collaborative activities.

    Walnut Elementary transitional kindergarten teacher Mindy Champion demonstrates community circle (socio-emotional learning program).

    –Heard a complaint made by Carrie Wagner, Founder and Executive Director of GALS (Girls Athletic Leadership Schools) of Los Angeles against Westlake High students who trashed her house during a large party.

    –Jose Luis Pino announced the formation of a LULAC (League of United Latin American Citizens) Conejo Valley chapter.

    Michael Hernandez, Co-Founder of the Citizens Journal—Ventura County’s online news service; editor of the History Makers Report and founder of History Makers International—a community nonprofit serving youth and families in Ventura County, is a former Southern California daily newspaper journalist and religion and news editor. He has worked 25 years as a middle school teacher in Monrovia and Los Angeles Unified School Districts. Mr. Hernandez can be contacted by email at [email protected].


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