As previously reported in the Community Voice, Superintendent Toni Beal of the West Sonoma County Union High School District is sending out Community Updates. She’s doing this as requested by the school board. This article is based on her update of May 5. It was received too late to include in last week’s edition.
The purpose of these updates is to keep the West County community informed about the progress of consolidating Analy and El Molino High Schools into a new, single comprehensive high school. This consolidation was the result of declining enrollments and ongoing structural deficits. The school board felt this was the only way to address those problems once the March tax measures failed to pass. A group of parents in the Forestville and El Molino community disagree. There is an ongoing lawsuit in progress to stop or slow down this consolidation process. Unless derailed by the lawsuit or other actions this group is taking, the consolidation is planned to occur in the 2021-2022 school year starting this fall.
In the meantime, Beal and the school board are moving forward. In Beal’s update, she addresses the progress of the Unity Committee, the Bell Schedule Committee, and the status of the Athletic Director position. Pertaining to the Athletic staffing, Beal announced “that Joe Elwood, current Analy Athletic Director, and Mike Roan, current El Molino Athletic Director, will be sharing the position of Athletic Director for next school year.” Roan, who will also be the Leadership Teacher and Activities Director, said, “I feel a responsibility as a community member and leader at El Molino High School to help our students through this transition as best I can.” Referring to the new Consolidated School, yet unnamed, he also said, “I feel I am well suited to help these school communities come together and move forward in a positive direction.”
The Unity Committee is comprised of three sub-groups. They are Student, Staff and Community Focus groups. The student group met and selected “options for a mascot for the new school.” At their next meeting they “will be discussing potential colors and then a school name.” Once those selections have been made, they’ll survey students, staff, and the community on the options. Then they’ll present the results to the School Board at their May 26 meeting. The staff group discussed the staff survey results and plan to hold in person meetings at both school sites for the next step. The community group completed “site visits to identify and catalog important artifacts at each school.” They too will develop a survey, this one on traditions. Their goal is to identify “what traditions are important to preserve and what additional traditions might be important for our students.”
The Bell Schedule Committee has collected feedback from both students and staff. Based on that feedback they developed two options. They too will survey students, parents and staff on these two options. They will present their findings and make a recommendation to the board at the May 12 meeting. They had two “goals in developing the schedule options.” The first was to “develop a schedule that complied with Senate Bill 328 that was signed into law in October, 2019.” That bill mandates that high school start no earlier than 8:30 a.m. It also requires that it be implemented no later than the beginning of the 2022-23 school year. The second goal “was to allow use of classrooms and facilities at the El Molino campus for specific advanced elective classes.” Examples given were agriculture, culinary, woodshop and dance. According to Beal, “These classes will be offered at the end of the school day, with transportation options available to students.”
The Community Voice will continue to follow the school board meetings and community updates. The May 12 meeting videos and agenda can be accessed online at: https://www.wscuhsd.org/.