BHUSD Board Hears Updates on Array of Topics

The regular Board of Education Meeting of the Beverly Hills Unified School District (BHUSD) on Nov. 14 touched on an array of topics. The “Teacher Spotlight,” focused on Department Chair of BHHS Visual Arts, Michael Federman, who was introduced by Co-Principal Drew Stewart.

“He’s constantly innovating, and his new program is opening doors and opening the eyes of his students in the arts, AP Drawing, animation and graphic design,” Stewart said. “For many of our students, he’s the most important instructor they’ve had in sparking their interests.”

Federman explained that BHHS is probably only the second high school in the United States to offer its students the opportunity to obtain a professional certificate in animation, allowing them to continue on a career path in that field. He adopted the Toon Boom Harmony and Storyboard Pro programs, which allow him to teach advanced animation with 16 on-screen drawing tablets, and licenses for students to do both in-class and in-home work.

The board also took up the issue of relocation of district offices.

On Sept. 6 the Facilities and Construction Department, along with bond program manager Fonder-Salari, issued a Request for Proposal (RFP) to three architectural firms in the district’s established pool for “Study, Assessment, & Design Options” services for the district’s office relocation to the current Hawthorne Elementary School site.

The scope of work will include the remodel/reconfiguring of existing building interiors to house district administrative offices and board room, conversion of a playground to a parking lot, and providing a compliant ADA path to the area of alteration, including parking, building entrances, signage, restrooms, and drinking fountains.

All three firms responded, and interviews of each firm were conducted by a panel consisting of four BHUSD representatives and a Fonder-Salari representative. PBWS Architects was selected, and the board on Nov. 14 voted to enter into an agreement with them for up to $135,000 for time and materials, subject to legal review and paid from the general fund.

During the meeting BHUSD Superintendent Dr. Michael Bregy reported that much of his focus for the past month has been on finishing the “Strategic Plan” for the district, an assignment directed by the board.

In other news he noted that, “It was heartwarming to see the number of people that took part in [the BHHS] Unity Vigil on October 30,” in honor of the Israeli victims of the Hamas terror attack.

As reported in the Courier’s Nov. 10 issue, the BulldogAid Wellness Center for Beverly Vista Middle School students is now open.

“To have this now for our middle school students—and I don’t know any other school that has comprehensive services for middle school—means that grades 6-12 now have the opportunity for these services, and we’re very proud of this. It was a spectacular ribbon-cutting ceremony,” Bregy said.

He also reported that an “Early Childhood Center” study session was held in partnership with the city.

“We are dreaming what this center should be like upon the reopening of El Rodeo Elementary,” Bregy added. He said they will be meeting further with the city to determine what the community wants and obtain more cost information.

“We’re excited to be having this conversation because we want to attract young families to Beverly Hills with children from TK through 12,” he said.

There was also discussion at the meeting about how to approach the “Ethics Studies” requirement the state is imposing on districts by the 2025-26 school year.

Finally, a reminder was given that the BHHS fall play “She Kills Monsters” will run Nov.15-18 at 7 p.m. and Nov.18 at 2p.m. at the Horace Mann Auditorium.