Earlier last month, it came to my attention that the California Healthy Kids Survey is directly tied to the funding for the Tobacco Use Prevention Education (TUPE) program, as well as the anti-drug and alcohol programs, Project ALERT and TND. For reasons not completely clear, WCCUSD has chosen to no longer use the CHKS this year and if they don’t use it next year then the entire district will risk losing these invaluable programs.
I’ve spoken/am speaking with district administrators in the Community Engagement office and I’ve sent information to the Board of Education. I’ve also contacted Hercules Middle School’s newly elected president of the Parent Teacher Organization, Ron Colvin. Here is that letter:
I’ve sent out the following email to the Board and I’ve spoken with the Community Engagement Office downtown, but I’ll continue to contact admin in Richmond to fight for this. The issue is the district choosing to no longer use the Healthy Kids Survey, which was free and included important programs that were completely funded, to instead use a survey that we have to pay for and would not include these programs. Here’s the email [sent to the Board] below:
Thank you for taking a few moments to discuss some programs that are very important to me and are extremely important for WCCUSD to maintain. The Tobacco Use Prevention Education program, along with Project ALERT and TND, are essential programs in fighting against the high level marketing of the tobacco industry and keeping students away from tobacco, alcohol, and drugs. The CA Healthy Kids Survey is directly tied to the funding for these programs, as you know. I understand that you’re aware of the funding that will be lost after next year, and that there’s a further loss of revenue from choosing to use another survey. My concern, which I think needs further attention, is the loss of student services and the evidence that clearly shows that these program have greatly reduced the number of students that begin smoking, helps students stop smoking if they’ve already started, and much more.
A new statewide research study out of UC San Diego shows success of TUPE programs! https://journals.plos.org/
As to the contract between WCCUSD and Contra Costa County regarding the use of the California Healthy Kids Survey (CHKS), the CHKS requirement is that the core student survey is given in grades 7, 9, 11, and with all non-traditional school students at a minimum of every other year. Additional surveys (staff, parent), modules, the “mini” core, etc. are all optional and up to the discretion of each district.The TUPE consortium that WCCUSD is part of is funded through June 2020. If the district decides to no longer conduct the CHKS at a minimum of every other year, this would potentially impact the 2020-2021 school year and beyond. CHKS administration is a requirement for all TUPE-funded districts. This does not prevent a district from administering other surveys, of course.
The important issue here is that there is ZERO reason for the district to not administer the survey. The only reason I’ve gotten so far was that people were complaining that the survey took too long, that they were getting “survey fatigue”. Though it may be true, I’m confused as to why that would dictate fiscal and program policy for the district. Would teachers stop assigned classwork because students are fatigued?
Thank you for spreading the word, I’ll be pushing throughout next year. I may visit the board and if necessary I may contact local media to see if they’d be interested in a story about WCCUSD fiscal irresponsibility.
I’m sharing this with the community, with parents, so that we can get the word out, start contacting district administrators and ask them why we’re choosing to no longer use a FREE survey and risk losing these invaluable programs.
Again, so it’s very clear.
TUPE, Project Alert, and TND is 100% funded through the county and all we have to do is use their FREE survey California Healthy Kids Survey. They aren’t concerned if we also use another one. The district is choosing to pay for the Youth Truth Survey and restricting the use of the CHKS, jeopardizing these programs and our students.