AVUHSD logo 2019

LANCASTER — Knight High School’s Parent In­sti­tute for Quality Education will not return for a third year, after Antelope Val­ley Union High School Dis­trict Board President Rob­ert “Bob” Davis, Vice Pres­ident Jill McGrady, and Clerk Amanda Parrell voted against it last week.

Trustee Jill McGrady and trustee John Rush voted in favor of the pro­gram.

The program was sup­posed to begin Jan. 10. The PIQE agreement was on the Board’s Dec. 12 agen­da. But Davis, Ruffin, and Parrell voted to table the item, ostensibly to wait for more data.

The nonprofit Parent In­sti­tute for Quality Ed­u­ca­tion, or PIQE, seeks to enhance educational ach­ieve­ment and reduce the drop­out rate of mi­nor­ity chil­dren by buil­ding strong par­ental in­volve­ment in their children’s ed­uca­tion proc­ess at home and by forging a workshop part­ner­ship with the school, according to a staff re­port.

PIQE offers a nine-week course to parents of low-income, ethnically di­verse backgrounds of elementary, middle, and high school-age chil­dren. The high school cur­ric­u­lum includes under­stan­ding the high school sys­tem; identifying the clas­ses that form part of the A-G requirements; rec­og­ni­zing the importance of the grade-point aver­age; discussing higher edu­ca­tion options; pre­par­ing stu­dents for high­er ed­u­cation; benefits of at­tend­ing colleges; ex­plor­ing career options; and de­vel­op­ment of emotional in­tel­li­gence.

The agreement with PIQE was on Thursday’s agen­da with attached data, and a parent tes­tim­onial.

PIQE first started in Oc­to­ber of 1987 in the San Diego Unified School Dis­trict. The program is now offered in 550 of the 977 school districts in the state.

The implementation of the program at Knight High was for up to 75 par­ents in Level I in Spanish and English and Level II Span­ish. The cost includes a $9,000 flat fee that would be paid from targeted funds, which means they are restricted in how they can be used. In addition, there is a $120 fee accrued for each parent graduate (those who attended four or more classes during the nine-week course) ex­ceed­ing the 75 parent max­im­um for a total not-to-ex­ceed $10,800. The total cost of the program was not-to-exceed $19,800.

“This is a program that was successful, it is suc­cess­ful to Knight High School,” McGrady said.

McGrady added the pro­gram was in place for two years and school ad­min­istrators asked that it continue for a third year.

“It is a program that is not exclusive to one group of people; it’s open to all parents. If we have more than 75 we can open it to more,” McGrady said.

In addition, McGrady said each school site is al­lowed to bring forward pro­grams that they are in­ter­ested in and that could work for their particular site.

“This is what Knight has brought to us that they would like to have.” Mc­Grady said. “Mr. Davis, I be­lieve you voted yes the last two years on it.”

“I would have to look back at the records to ver­ify that,” Davis said.

McGrady said she did so but did not have the in­for­mation available at Thurs­day’s meeting.

Board records show that Davis voted twice in favor of the Parent Institute for Quality Education: on Sept. 7, 2016, and on Oct. 18, 2017. Both items were on the Board’s consent agen­­da under Educational Ser­vices.

The program was first im­ple­mented at Knight High in 2016 from August to December, and again in 2017 from September to De­cember.

Ruffin, whose trustee area includes Knight High, said the Parent Institute for Quality Education does not offer anything beyond what the district’s counselors already do. She noted the district invested more than $10 million in 64 counselors.

“It’s all throughout our (Local Control and Ac­count­ability Plan) how we vetted for the increase and the monies to be allocated to our counselors,” Ruffin said. “We’ve done an ex­cel­lent job of that. This pro­gram does not show any dif­fer­ence or a need of what we already allocated for, and this program is specific for 35 to 75 EL (English Lan­guage) parents that we are already paying for. This is a duplication of funds.”

Ruffin added the data provided to the Board as part of the agenda looked contrived.

“I’m not buying it, so it’s not a program that’s ben­e­fiting all of our kids and it’s not a program that’s ac­ross all schools within our district,” Ruffin said.

Davis asked Assistant Su­perintendent Shandelyn Wil­liams whether the Par­ent Institute for Quality Ed­ucation has mandated re­porting.

A mandated reporter is some­one who, because of their profession, such as a teacher, is legally required to report any suspicion of child abuse or neglect to the relevant authorities.

“Who vetted this program?” Davis said.

‘The program was re­quested by the school site, Greg Nehen, assistant superintendent of Edu­ca­tional Services said.

“The site vetted it with­out a mandated reporting in­clusion on the contract, that concerns me,” Davis said.

Mandated reporting de­pends on the level of ser­vice and individuals who work directly with stu­dents, Williams said.

“Do you know that there’s outside individuals coming in to our school to work with these students?” Davis said.

Nehen explained there will be two to three support pro­vi­ders who work pri­mar­ily with parents, but also with students.

Davis asked whether the support providers have been fingerprinted and passed a background check.

Nehen said he does not believe they have been cleared as volunteers, but noted they are working under supervision.

“I don’t know how we can let anyone at our schools without being fin­ger­printed around our stu­dents. That concerns me,” Davis said.

Student trustee Noah Svei­ven said his high school has visits from Army recruiters and many others folks including pastors and political activists visiting different clubs.

“Those folks aren’t cleared to be volunteers but they’re cleared to be on campus because there’s an adult in the room who’s legit,” Sveiven said.

Davis countered any adult who is around stu­dents should be fin­ger­printed.

To share your opinion on this article or any other article, write a letter to the editor and email it to editor@avpress.com or mail it to Letters to Editor, PO Box 4050, Palmdale CA 93590-4050.

(0) comments

Welcome to the discussion.

Keep it Clean. Please avoid obscene, vulgar, lewd, racist or sexually-oriented language.
Don't Threaten. Threats of harming another person will not be tolerated.
Be Truthful. Don't knowingly lie about anyone or anything.
Be Nice. No racism, sexism or any sort of -ism that is degrading to another person.
Be Proactive. Use the 'Report' link on each comment to let us know of abusive posts.
Share with Us. We'd love to hear eyewitness accounts, the history behind an article.