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School district reviews new policies suggested by the state

POSTED October 6, 2009 11:18 p.m.
Among the new and revised policies the California Department of Education sent to the Turlock Unified School District for review and possible adoption was an environmentally friendly district plan.
“We want to move toward green,” TUSD Superintendent Sonny Da Marto said. “We have already started recycling in the district office and there is some recycling at some schools.”
Four new policies and 15 revised policies were up for discussion during Tuesday’s board meeting. The new and revised policies will be voted on for adoption next month.

New policies
Green School Operations
The state suggests the district take on the responsibility to take care of the environment and integrate environmental accountability into all district operations. By adopting this program, the district will promote green school practices to conserve resources, reduce district operations that impact the environment and protect the health of their students, staff and community.  
Some strategies for this policy are reducing energy and water consumption, establishing recycling programs in district facilities, reducing the consumption of disposable materials, purchasing environmentally preferable products and services, using non-toxic cleaning products, educating staff in environmentally safe procedures, focusing on green building standards, reducing vehicle traffic, and provide organic food through food services programs.  
 
Safe Routes to School Program
This policy looks to continue promoting physical activity in students with walking and bicycling to school to help reduce vehicle traffic and air pollution in the areas around schools. The state suggests developing strategies to establish and promote safe routes to school program activities for the students.  
Surveys would be taken to record levels of participation in educational activities, results of parent/guardians attitudes about allowing their child to walk or bicycle to school, the number of students using various modes of transportation to and from school and injury data within the school attendance boundaries.  
The state suggests promoting safety and awareness to students about the benefits of walking to school as well as awareness of their surroundings, organizing special events to promote walking to school such as “Walk or Bike to School Day,” enforcing safety with a crossing guard or student safety patrol and working with the local police department to ensure safety of students.  

Response to Instruction and Intervention
To help close the education gap between students, the state has created this policy to provide a data-driven educational program to meet the learning and behavioral needs of each individual student to reduce the achievement gap among subgroups of students.  
The policy includes strategies that are aligned with the districts curriculum.  Strategies are research-based, standards-based, instruction for students in the general education program, classroom monitoring to find students’ needs and to identify students who are not making progress, criteria for interventions for students and monitoring of students’ progress.  

History-Social Science Instruction
California Department of Education suggests adopting academic standards for history-social science that are compliant with state and district standards.  The state has created a comprehensive curriculum for history-social science for the students, hoping districts throughout the state will adopt this curriculum.  
The suggested curriculum includes knowledge and cultural understanding including historical, ethical, geographic, economic and sociopolitical literacy.  It also includes democratic understanding and vice values which includes and understanding of national identity, constitutional heritage and an individual’s civic values, rights and responsibilities. Lastly, the curriculum will teach students what they need to help them succeed in the future with basic study skills, critical thinking and participation skills.  
“The curriculum shall include a multicultural education component which is designed to teach students to respect and appreciate cultural diversity and different points of view while also developing their understanding of commonalties and collective experiences,” according to the History-Social Science Instruction information provided to the board of trustees.   

The following is the list of revised policies up for review by the TUSD Board of Trustees: Transfer of Funds, Inventories, Recovery for Property Loss or Damage, Professional Standards, Health and Welfare Benefits, Non-custodial Parents, Grades/Evaluation of Student Achievement, Vandalism and Graffiti, Tobacco, Suicide Prevention, Hate-motivated Behavior, Academic Standards, Classroom Interruptions, Migrant Education Program and Alternative Schools/Programs of Choice.
To contact Maegan Martens, e-mail mmartens@turlockjournal.com or call 634-9141 ext. 2015. 
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