PASO ROBLES — Paso Robles Joint Unified School District board members received an update on Paso Robles Task Force and Diversity Panel during Tuesday’s meeting via Zoom.

The first day of school for PRJUSD was Thursday, Aug. 20, with distance learning and trustees learned of some initial challenges, specifically with special education.

Dan Sharon, Principal of Alternative Education, and Niya Williams, a representative of the Paso Robles Task Force and Diversity Panel, recapped the task force’s progress and why it was formed. 

Williams, a Paso Robles graduate studying Political Science at California State University, San Jose, spoke on why she became involved with the task force.

“I experienced some pretty harsh hate speech while I was there (PRHS) and racism as well when I was a student,” she said. “I hope to eliminate that experience for others as best that I can.”

In 2018, Williams helped found the Black Students Union at Paso Robles High School.

“Our goal is to promote inclusion and healing, where hate and exclusion may have existed. Our focus in the schools will fall primarily in education and restorative justice. Educating students and staff on what racism looks like in the school setting, how to identify hate speech, and how to properly report it,” explained Williams.

She continued, “Restorative justice is really important because students are still learning. They may not realize that their behaviors and actions are disrespectful to others, and they deserve the chance to rectify their behaviors and the opportunity to grow.”

The District will be collaborating with the education and training subcommittee, now under the diversity panel.

More information on the panel is available on the Facebook page, Paso Diversity, or at pasodiversity.com. 

Donations from the community were appreciated and dispersed to various departments in the District.

A donation of $500 was given to Bauer Speck Elementary for materials and classroom use from Justin Winery and Wonderful Giving. Terri Lee donated $2,000 to the Student Services Department for school supplies. And SRY Coaches LLC. Donated $500 to Liberty High Associated Student Body. 

The Learning Loss Mitigation Funds (LLMF) allowed for additional distance learning programs to be approved for students. Students will now have access to Image Learning Language and Literacy subscriptions and Image Espanol subscriptions. 

For English-language learner students, the District purchased 70 Image Learning Language and Literacy licenses as part of its ELD curriculum. The LLMF allows the District to buy enough support for all of its K-5 ELL students.

Georgia Brown Elementary continues distance learning in dual immersion instruction. Image Espanol offers personalized learning to accelerate grade-level reading and language and provides math skills in Spanish for grades TK-2. The subscription cost is $50,000 for three years and covered by LLMF.

District trustees unanimously approved the CIF Multi-School Agreement. This one-year agreement allows Independence High School students to compete on Paso Robles High School athletic teams. 

In-person services are being looked at for special education students. Board members approved, 6-0, a memorandum of understanding with Paso Robles Public Educators for special education.

It was made clear that distance learning was not working for PRJUSD’s special education students. A team is being put together to develop a plan for these students where parents can provide feedback.

Moving forward, live public comment will be available during PRJUSD school board meetings. To provide a statement, people may call 805-608-4230 during the meeting. Comments are limited to three minutes long.

Getting through this together, Paso Robles