PTA: March 2013


Andrea Martinez

At the Downey High School Theater, handed out the agenda to all members in order for them to follow along with what was being discussed on March 11 during their meeting. Principal, Tom Houts reported on the construction for the new buildings.

Sara Cabrera, Writer/ Copy Editor

The monthly PTA meeting was held in the B-building Theater at 6:00 p.m. on March 3 as various topics were discussed concerning improvements that could be made as far as involvement and diversity in this PTA, which was addressed by PTA president Patty Northcott. Principal Tom Houts also introduced a couple events taking place this month and ideas he has for the future.


To begin the meeting, Northcott announced that since the PTA has been in good standing with the state for 80 years, California state awarded Downey High School with the Legacy Award.


After congratulating the PTA, Northcott shared her experience at last month’s Inclusion Diversity conference and acknowledged what PTA was lacking.


“We were under re-presented as far as our Downey council,” Northcott said. “San Diego actually had more people that participated than we did here in our own city, so we are lacking a little bit of involvement, and the most diverse out spoken were definitely the men. It was so nice to see.”


According to Northcott, the meaning of diversity and inclusion is not discriminating against or defining members of PTA. It was discussed that there is much emphasis on ethnicity despite the fact there are many other types of discrimination such as age, sexual orientation, physical ability, mental ability, vague social status, etc. Diversity is valued in this association.


“As of now, the national PTA consist of 89% female and 61% Caucasian,” Northcott said. “The national PTA goal is to make the members reflected of the youth population that we represent.


She noted that the conference itself was diverse. There was talk about language barriers as far as people not wanting to learn Spanish and Spanish speakers not wanting to learn English. The questions that came up were based on the problem of getting people involved. As a group, they decided the ultimate solution was to overcome the language barrier in any way possible.


“We will provide interpreters if people could come,” Northcott said. “We can supply them, but we really need to understand that we have more in common then not in common as people.”


Aside from improvements in the PTA, Principal Tom Houts discussed his goals for the California High School Exit Exam. He described how it is 25% of the Academic Performance Index (API) for the state and how the school is graded. Houts went on to explain that this is the test the federal government looks at to see about program improvement.


“We are right at 87% passage rate for English and Math,” Houts said. “I would like to get us at 88%. That would put us over the 800 mark for the API for next year, so it’s a big deal.”


Principal Houts also proceeded to inform the group about the annual tomato and pepper sale taking place in the south parking lot for the next three Saturdays, beginning on March 16 from 8:00 a.m. – 1:00 p.m. There will be thousands of tomatoes ready to sell for $2.50 each or 5 for $10; a variety of peppers are being sold as well, from sweet bells to ghost peppers and hot camaros. All the money raised will go to fund the school’s botany program.


Houts also updated the group on the construction that is being done to the school, which is about a month behind because of the school firing workers due to not being documented and having confirmation of being union members. Fortunately, the school has more carpenters back on the job, so the project is to still set to be open for business in September.


“Currently I am applying an automotive position,” Houts said. “I’d like to hire that person in the next month or two. We are also adding a physics program out in the automotive. Projections are to stay the same enrollment for next year, so were not losing any teachers. We’re already starting to plan for next year. Things are going well.”


Overall, this association is hoping to become more diverse as more fellow teachers, parents, faculty, and even students join PTA to help successfully carry out the plans and ideas principal Tom Houts has in store for the school.