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January 31, 2023

Letters to the Editor, Feb. 25

Thank you, John Laird

The Democratic Women’s Club (DWC) of Santa Cruz County thanks State Senator John Laird for his swift action on introducing legislation to save the Watsonville Community Hospital, recently purchased by the Pajaro Valley Healthcare District Project, a consortium of government agencies and nonprofit organizations. 

Senator Laird’s bill was signed by Gov. Gavin Newsom on Feb. 4. DWC thanks Senator Laird for his leadership in shepherding this bill through the legislative process, and we congratulate all parties involved—funders and partners—who worked to ensure that for the first time in 20 years Watsonville Community Hospital is publically owned and operated. 

DWC of Santa Cruz County

PVUSD must raise the bar 

Pajaro Valley Unified School District has increased student performance significantly since 2014, so much so that they are close to the state averages, up from being in the bottom eighth statewide. However, there are predominantly Latinx Districts (80-88%) that do much better. To provide our local students a better education we can learn from these other high-performing districts.

From the interviews that I have made, there are some common traits for all of them. In the first three weeks of the school year, they identify at-risk, struggling students. Then they devise an intervention approach, tutoring, for them. This is done either/or before school, during school, or after school. Students are also identified during the school year when they fall behind. Secondly, they insist on the students transitioning to English. The best district does this in 1-2 years. As part of this, only English is spoken on campus. 

The Dropout Committee at PVUSD identified that close to 50% of our students who are English Language Learners and do not transition will drop out of school. I was struck by the statement last week from one superintendent, that they treat all of their students the same regardless of ethnicity, socio-economic level or disabilities. It shows in the performance of these subgroups beating the state averages.

PVUSD has roughly 5,000 students in the after-school program. There should be a heavy emphasis on intervention or tutoring for those students who are struggling. Parents should insist on a major effort in this after-school program. It works elsewhere, it should work here.

Bill Beecher, Aptos


The Pajaronian welcomes letters. Letters and columns may be dropped off or mailed to The Pajaronian, 21 Brennan St., Suite 18, Watsonville, CA 95076. Letters and columns may also be sent via email to [email protected] Letters should be less than 300 words, and columns are no more than 700 words. All letters and columns must be signed and have an address and phone number for confirmation purposes. We reserve the right to edit and condense all submissions.

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