Milpitas Adult School Open House Citizenship Interview 6


Would you like to introduce yourself? My name is Chris Norwood. I’m the vice-president of the Milpitas Unified School District School Board. Can you talk about a little bit what does a School Board do? The School Board is responsible (for the school district). The school board has only one employee and that’s the superintendent. And our role is to oversee the operation of the school district. It’s fiduciary responsibility to make sure that our children are safe; that they’re being educated; that our teachers have the opportunity to grow as professionals; as well as work with our parents. And also have the opportunity to engage them in a number of different ways as volunteers, as students, and as adult learners and also be active parts member of the community. So our children do community service– they do a number of things like that. So what the School Board does is that it overseas or governs the district through the lens of the Superintendent. We have the opportunity to visit classrooms, talk to teachers, participate in different types of events. So for example tonight there’s a PTA Council in the district and so a lot of our members were there. There’s a Parent University and Adult Education had open house tonight. Yes and several of the school board members come here to tonight. So we do a number of things like that But the biggest thing, our biggest responsibility is fiduciary responsibility–overseeing the budget. We also help support when the school needs to raise funds so we go parcel taxes or we help to support school bond measure so that we can build those build new schools, repair roofs, and the total wear and tear in school district. There’s so many questions I want to ask you . . . I want to ask you about two: the PARENT UNIVERSITY and the second one I want to ask you about Do we have any School Bond Measures or anything like that that’s coming up in the upcoming election? Okay. Can you tell me a little bit more about the PARENT UNIVERSITY? We hold several. I think we hold a PARENT UNIVERSITY– at least one the PARENT UNIVERSITY every year. and the coordinator the PARENT UNIVERSITY solicits feedback from the district staff –and I mean the entire school district staff– to talk about what do we want our parents to be aware of when it comes to education. So they come together. It’s almost like a college night where there’s a number of different classes / workshops that parents get a chance to go to for an hour and a half to hear about particular topics. So for example if you have a 5th grader and next year they’re going to talk about Sex Ed. So they (the parents) can go PARENT UNIVERSITY and
learn about that. There’s also school safety. There’s also how to be engaged as a parent. So there’s a number of different things
that the school district really puts on so that the parents can feel welcome. Our PARENT UNIVERSITY nights multilingual. Yes Spanish, Vietnamese, English, Mandarin, and I believe we are starting to give in the Hindu and Telugu as well. I think that the PARENT UNIVERSITY is very important. It’s been very important for our adult students (whose children are MUSD K-12 students) because it addresses head-on, in a very non-confrontational yet honest way, things that could be very culturally sensitive. Say for instance Sex Education: It’s going to be handled differently in different cultures. So for that (Sex Ed) to be addressed–it’s very, very important. I really appreciate that. Is there anything more that you would like to say about that? Or would you like to move on? Well one of the things that we need to start or possibly consider with the PARENT UNIVERSITY is our ability to promote our Adult Education services. We can talk about everyone there at the PARENT UNIVERSITY should walk away with information about “Here is what our Adult Ed is doing.” “Here the classes that you can take during the day or even in the evening time.” Because we are a COMMUNITY OF LEARNERS. We want to all the way from K (Kindergarten) through Lifelong Learners. So our adults need the opportunities to learn as well. That’s great! Do we have any upcoming BOND MEASURES that we need to be aware of? Or how can we support Milpitas Adult School through our BALLOT BOX? So you know all of our citizens have the ability to VOTE. But not only of the students that have the
ability to vote, having an understanding what our school district needs are and being willing to go out and evangelize– share that with your neighbors. Because although you may not be able to VOTE, you’re a legal resident, but not a U.S. citizen yet, your voice is heard. You have relationships with your neighbors and being willing to . . . knock on doors, we campaign, we fund raise, we do a ton of things like that on behalf of the school district to make sure the needs are met. We’re really excited about some of the ideas that are going on. Milpitas High School is bursting at the seams with the number of students. So we’re looking at a second high school
campus here. Really? Where would we put that in Milpitas? It would be here at this site. We would have an Adult Education Center. And within that Adult Education Center– everybody gets a face lift! Adult Ed gets a face lift. Cal Hills(High School) gets a face lift. And we get to create this different type of community of learners, where we have high school students; of course, they’re segmented as necessary but we just have this opportunity to One: help reinvent this campus. This is the–if not the oldest–but, the second oldest facility that we have in the school district. My family came to San Jose area in 1964 for my father who was teaching at Piedmont Hills High School –it was not ready yet– so he had to teach at Ayer High School. He actually taught in this building and he says wow it has not changed in 50 years. We’re well aware of that. And now we have the opportunity so it’s going to have to get modernized– brought up to code and a number of different things. But what we can do in this campus site on this for our adults with technology, with classroom design, and with the leadership that we have at the site now. We’re really very excited because we’re an international community now with a lot of different needs and we look at how we can incorporate some career technical type of things not only for our students, but for our adults as well. This is a community that works hard with a lot of diverse skill sets and a lot of international flavor. So this facility, this Education Center, would definitely represent that. So we would alleviate a lot of the traffic over at the high school by having students over here. We also have needs in terms of repair of our older schools and just maintenance is constant. And as you know, the cost of living is continually going up. But that also means the cost of repair, the cost of equipment, the cost of it (all) just continues to rise. And so luckily, we had a really good architect and a number of things that we’ve done and as you know this building is over 50 years old but it’s still standing. And it’s maintained! I’ve seen real improvements because I’ve been teaching here over 15 years. Real improvements of this building–it’s well planned. It’s not crazy with people jumping over things. No. So I really appreciate the love and care of the planning that happens in this district. Our Department is top-notch. So that are going on is discussed. There still discussion going on around “The Barn.” We are looking at federal dollars. Because there are a lot of aging infrastructure in the state of older schools and in the past, the state has helped to contribute to those changes instead of putting a burden on taxpayer dollars but because of a lot of the residents that we’re going to have in the city and they’re going to need these facilities, we need to start preparing for some of them now, because it takes a while for things to happen. So the goal is to find as many sources as possible to help fund what we need to deal with in our school district for our families. That makes this I’m very excited about what you’re saying. So is there any parting words that you have for our students? WE’RE ALL LIFELONG LEARNERS I’m excited for adult learners and of all the diverse backgrounds that we have here. And you know one of the things about America that even in the midst of all the noise and chaos and those types of things, you really have an opportunity to work hard, to make good life choices, and to contribute to community. And if you’re not a naturalized citizen yet, continue to work toward becoming a citizen in America. Thank you so much, Chris Norwood! Milpitas Unified School District: musd.org
US Citizenship Podcast: uscitizenpod.com

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