Thursday’s meeting of the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) will formally adopt and approve previously-discussed policies and plans in topics such as environmental education, physical education and safety in schools.
In alignment with a prior Board-approved Districtwide Sustainability Plan related to climate change awareness, the board will be adopting official policy on environmental education. The policy recognizes the threat of “global climate change” to California students and schools as “one of the most pressing crises of our generation.” Highlighting the promotion of environmental literacy, the district’s policy will prepare students “to be stewards of natural resources” and “living an environmentally sustainable lifestyle.”
The district’s environmental education program may be taught across a wide spectrum of subjects, including science, history and social science, English language arts, health and mathematics when practicable. The program will also provide for “active student participation” in resource conservation and management programs at school sites, with room for district officials to collaborate with other local educational agencies or community-based organizations to enhance curriculum.
Similar board policies have been passed by surrounding school districts since the turn of the century, including Culver City USD in 2006. The SMMUSD push to pass a board policy was aided by Santa Monica High School’s Team Marine, who provided the board with its Climate Literacy Resolution passed at a Nov. 2 meeting. Team Marine students will help oversee implementation of the board policy along with several SMMUSD staff members, including Coordinator of Mathematics and Science Rosa Serratore, Samohi instructor of Life and Environmental Sciences Benjamin Kay and Samohi librarian Dana Bart-Bell.
Another board policy set to be adopted concerns physical education and activity, after a recent federal program monitoring audit determined the district did not have such a policy. To remedy the finding, the district is set to adopt a California School Boards Association sample policy and regulation, modified to align with district practices. The policy lays out the district’s physical education program that “shall engage students in age-appropriate moderate to vigorous physical activity” including “aerobic, muscle-strengthening, and bone-strengthening” activities. For high school students, the policy states that overall physical activity courses should include “the effects of physical activity upon dynamic health,” “the mechanics of body movement” and a host of activities like aquatics, gymnastics, individual and team sports.
The board is also recommended to approve the Comprehensive School Safety Plan for John Adams Middle School (JAMS) on Thursday. The safety plans for all other SMMUSD school sites were approved on Oct. 19, but the plan for JAMS was not ready at that time. After the approval of the JAMS plan, all schools will have emergency response plans, procedures, routines and structures consistent with the California Standardized Emergency Management System and the National Incident Management System. Each site plan includes the roles and responsibilities of faculty and staff members during an emergency, emergency procedures, evacuation locations and school maps.
School board will meet at 6 p.m. on Nov. 16 at the District Office (1717 Fourth St.) Meetings are also available via zoom. Visit www.smmusd.org/ for more information.