School Board Considers Hebrew Language Classes for Middle School

Students at Beverly Vista Middle School may soon have the option to study Hebrew as a second language following the Feb. 14 Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) Board of Education meeting. Currently, foreign language classes are offered as an elective at the middle school level, with French and Spanish to choose from. With dozens of electives to pick from, staff must gauge interest from students, and determine how many of those would sign up.

With four levels of Hebrew already offered at the high school level, “we are one of the few public educational institutions across the United States that actually offers a robust Hebrew program,” said Dustin Seemann, Assistant Superintendent of Education Services.

“We have had a challenge in finding instructors for this program,” said Board Member Judy Manouchehri. “So, I just want the community to be aware that should we vote for it tonight, it’s something that would be developed.” While the item was placed on the agenda for discussion not approval, the board was unanimously in support of the program, directing staff to return with more information. “This would be something we’d really want to get on immediately,” Board President Noah Margo said. “If not, obviously, we would look at the following year.”

While the search for a new Beverly Hills High School (BHHS) principal remains ongoing, the pool of applicants has narrowed. In his superintendent report, Dr. Michael Bregy shared that seven applicants were interviewed in the first round, and three proceeded to the next round.

“It’s a very comprehensive interview process,” Bregy said. “The three candidates will be spending three hours each with us, with various groups and stakeholders and students involved.” On Feb. 15, each candidate was taken on a student-led tour, followed by a Cabinet interview. Applicants were asked to review a short-form case study ahead of the interview and prepare for a cabinet discussion. The interview process also included meeting with BHUSD elementary and middle school principals. The final round of interviews will be conducted by Bregy this week, and he’s expected to make a recommendation to the school board for the position at its next meeting.

The board also unanimously approved a resolution titled “Protecting our Children from Preventable Gun Violence,” which was spearheaded by Dr. Amanda Stern. “To be clear, words and papers certainly don’t keep our children and our staff safe from gunshots,” Stern said. “…but it does keep our minds focused on the fact that there are some preventable things we can do. We will live with guns for a long time, but there are unique dangers among young people and their access to firearms.”