2010 Healthy Schools Hero Marc Tafolla
The Healthy Schools Hero Award is an annual opportunity to tell the forgotten story of the worst school disaster in American history, to raise awareness of the urgent need to break the silence about serious hazards and unhealthy conditions in today’s schools, and to celebrate the kind of leadership that can save lives.
2010 Healthy Schools Hero: Marc Tafolla
Julie Harris, Former PTA president at the Clairmont School wrote,
"The Williams Complaint gave us the forcing mechanism we needed to get repairs done at our school after years of minimal responses from the district. With extensive help from the EOP -- including many site visits and phone conversations--we filed a complaint listing more than 150 health and safety hazards -- and began to see a response right away. Exposed wires were covered, water-damaged ceiling panels replaced, and dust-clogged vents cleaned out. We even had our leaking gym roof retarred, and the board has just approved work on our HVAC system and bathrooms. We are so grateful to Marc Tafolla and the EOP for showing us how to use the Williams Complaint and for walking us through every step of the process." April, 2009
“Marc Tafolla is amazing. Marc has created an effective process to resolve problems that doesn’t polarize people. The result of his work is that the people become involved in a solution that impacts not only students, but also staff and a community. Imagine a process that results in improving accessibility to running water in bathrooms, pipes that aren’t exposed and presenting a safety hazard, comfortable environments that are conducive to learning, mildew free classrooms and offices, teachers who have materials to offer all children in all classrooms. His passion to offer collaborative opportunities to improve the health and safety for both students and staff is a gift to California. In fact, the process he promotes offers a model that could be shared in other states to improve the overall school conditions improving academic outcomes.”
United Teachers of Richmond use of the Better Schools Manual: After distributing at least one manual to each school site, the EOP intake line started receiving calls for assistance from teachers and parent who used the Better Schools, Brighter Futures manual to identify complaints. The United Teachers of Richmond requested a large number of manuals for use by teachers and staff. The manual was also translated into Spanish by a dedicated group of volunteer translators to ensure that we can properly conduct outreach to the Spanish speaking community.
Civic Engagement/Youth Development: The EOP has also been working with the Civic Engagement and Youth Development initiative including groups and schools such as the Richmond High School Law Academy, SF Youth Commission, Coro Fellows, and a Social Justice Academy to lay the groundwork for increased student engagement in Williams work.
The Social Justice Academy: The staff of the EOP worked with the lead teacher of a Social Justice Academy to integrate Williams directly into Academy curricula.
The Richmond High School Law Academy: The EOP and volunteer attorneys helped the students in the Richmond High School Academy conduct a walk-through of their school to check for compliance with the minimum standards established by Williams. When Richmond High School was awarded a $3.8 million grant to make emergency repairs under the Williams Settlement Legislation, the EOP worked with the students of the Richmond High School Law Academy to file a Public Records Act request to ensure transparency and accountability in the disbursement of grant funds. EOP helped students analyze the results of their Public Records Act request and draft a response; and helped students testify before their district’s Board of Education facilities sub-committee.