PPG Newsletter Issue No. 27

PPG Community Events Update

By Dr. Jessica Xu

Happy MoonFestival to all parents and community members who celebrate this Asian cultural holiday!

PPG’s 2nd Annual Meeting will be on Saturday, October 7, 2017 at Lake Poway.  It will be a fun family orientated potluck picnic.  Also it is time to elect three PPG board members for the 2018-2019 year term.  All PPG members and their families are welcome.  No RSVP required.  Simply bring a yummy dish to share!

PPG’s 3rd Annual Student Mandarin Initiative Poster Competition has concluded.  Visit poster gala at Gallery

Also, PPG parent representatives spoke at the past four PUSD Board of Education meetings, urging the district to provide paper-based curriculums and change the usage of educational technology in classroom to optional to ensure every child has a safe and healthy learning environment in our schools. Hugh thanks to the parent representatives who did extensive research on the subject.  For photos of PPG team public comments on August 10 and September 14 BOE meetings, visit PPG Facebook https://www.facebook.com/PUSDParentsGroup/ . For videos of PPG team public comments at May 30, June 29, August 10 and September 14 BOE meetings, visit PUSD BOE meeting videos: https://www.powayusd.com/en-US/Board/Meeting-Agendas-Minutes.aspx .

All these events would not be possible without the selfless service of our parent volunteers.  PPG relies 100% on parent volunteers.  The vast majority of PPG volunteers are working parents with extremely hectic schedules.  The more volunteers, the easier it would be for everyone. Please volunteer.  We appreciate everyone’s contribution.  To become a PPG volunteer, email info@pusdparents.org .

Safe and Creative Personalized Education (XV)


By Mr. Richard Mason

“May I have this dance?” the fifth- grade boy asks his partner as the music begins a foxtrot, and he prepares to lead the box step.  “Slow, quick, quick” intones the lead teacher in Seniors Helping Our Kids (SHOK) 12th year of teaching ballroom dancing in 20 PUSD elementary schools.  There are four SHOK volunteer teams teaching the foxtrot, waltz, rumba, swing, and merengue in four forty-minute lessons.

Boys and girls in the beginning are not accustomed to touching each other.  Girls initially sometimes pull down sweaters over their hands.  The teaching emphasis on mutual caring and respect takes over, and by the last lesson, boys and girls seem comfortable with body contact and are enjoying their new activity.  Many classes write notes to the team expressing their enjoyment of dancing and sharing which their favorite dances.   Classroom teachers often participate in the teaching and are most helpful in ensuring that all students have partners.  Special needs students benefit from the classes and are treated courteously by other students.

The program was started by innovative volunteer Lucille Rabinowitz and carried forward by SHOK Director Jane Radatz, who year after year has meticulously organized the schedule for each school and recruits volunteers.  Proficiency in dancing is not required; training takes place during the dance lessons.  Volunteers need only to commit 3 to 4 hours one time per week.  Anyone interested should phone Jane Radatz at 858-485-5449 or e-mail her at jradatz@ att.net to obtain more information or volunteer.

The program has changed little from its inception, though teaching techniques have improved greatly. The waltz was danced flat-footed.  Now there is glide and rise and fall.  Swing with a single turn has been replaced by the double turn.  Underarm turns in the waltz and foxtrot have crept into the instruction.  The program has taught more than 20,000 students the fundamentals of ballroom dancing and is considered an outstanding success.

Former dance teachers criticize the curriculum for lack of movement around the ballroom, which stems from teaching the students in rows.  Teaching in circles, or having the students move around the ballroom counterclockwise (or line of dance) is considered by the volunteers as too difficult to control. The foxtrot, in particular, needs the forward basic to be added to the box step.

There is a great need for an advanced class in the sixth or seventh grade to reinforce what the students have learned, as they are not likely to dance again until high school.  The advanced class could teach students some new steps in the five dances and maybe new dances like cha-cha or tango.  SHOK does not now have the capacity for this and would need additional help to carry it out.

An expanded ballroom program could lead to it becoming a school sport, as the UCSD dance team which consistently ranks in the top ten teams in the nation’s collegiate dance teams.  Some elementary and secondary schools in Utah have ballroom programs and dance teams that compete—one school against another.  Each couple on the team competes in one dance against a similar couple from another school.  One or more judges mark the couples, and at the end of the competition, the school with the most marks is the winner.  It would take a few years, however, to reach this stage.

About the authors:

Mr. Richard Mason is a prominent community volunteer.  Among his many community services, he founded Rancho Bernardo HighSchool Friends of the Library in 2004.  He was inducted to Rancho Bernardo Hall of Fame in 2014 for his contributions to the community.

Upcoming Event

A Big Thank You

Next issue:

Next issue: Safe and Creative Personalized Education (XVI) School Library in Education


PUSD Parents Group (PPG) is a fast emerging nonprofit organization that seriously loves our Poway Unified School District (PUSD) and our community. We welcome all PUSD stakeholders within our community. Our mission is to strengthen the voice of our community. Our efforts are aimed at those who make change happen: PUSD parents, students, teachers and taxpayers. We highly value fiscal responsibility, accountability, transparency and all things that will demonstrate PUSD honesty and reliable communication with the community.