Kern High School, KHSD, Trustee, Martha Miller, Bakersfield

Devoted to Targeting Limited Resources to Directly Benefit Students

A budget is a document of competing priorities that demands tough choices. As a former teacher, I believe the classroom comes first. The Kern High School District derives the majority of its revenues from the State of California. The state economy has suffered through the worst recession in state history and the KHSD has seen its revenues from the state reduced by more than $30 million over the past two years. Allocation of funds for programs that facilitate student learning and support extracurricular activities is the priority. As a Trustee, I will look for ways to eliminate waste and direct every dollar possible to the classroom.

Clearly, the best investment in improved student achievement is more and more highly qualified teachers providing students more classes that provide for more opportunities for a successful high school experience. A large number of teachers reports their graduate and professional school training is inadequate in preparing them for their teaching duties. That makes on-going professional development a must! Fortunately, the high school district has a strong commitment to staff development. Currently the district is in the process of training its staff to work as Professional Learning Communities (PLC). Teachers participating in this model work collaboratively to design lessons and to analyze student work for mastery of concepts and skills taught. When mastery is not achieved, redesigns of lessons occur and students are re-taught. This collegial approach shows great promise for raising student scores. Teachers are learning from each other and developing strategies that enhance student learning. Researched based staff development like PLC, when done well, provides a great return on investment.

Learning power can be maximized with technology. Faster, more accurate and more detailed information about which students are struggling in which areas and why facilitates more effective remediation. The Kern High School District has been very aggressive, a state leader in fact, in advancing the use of technology to increase student achievement. Unfortunately, budget cuts have slowed District progress in this area in recent years. As a Trustee, my budget priorities would be more and better teachers first followed by maximum optimizing of technology in the classroom including more on-line offerings for students who are struggling to graduate and for students seeking to get a head start on college.

Laptop Repair Guide

Many things can go wrong with a laptop. In this laptop repair guide, I want to share with you a few pointers that will hopefully save you a lot of hassle and money when it comes to maintaining and repairing your laptop.


The most important stage is before you perform any actual repairs. When a laptop goes wrong, you may see a brief error message, a blank screen or simply get no response from the laptop itself.

Experience will teach you where to look but otherwise the best approach is a logical one. Via a process of elimination, you can discover what is wrong with your laptop.

If you can still get access to the operating system then use the built-in tools to try to locate the fault. It is also a good idea to carry a utilities CD with you that contains a few basic diagnostic tools.

One of the best is the free “Ultimate Boot CD”. It contains over one hundred useful hardware diagnostic tools and you can boot the laptop using it so even if there is no working version of Windows then you will not be prevented from attempting to make an accurate diagnosis.

Hard Drive

This is one of the most common components to fail. Because a hard drive is a high speed, delicate, mechanical device, it is destined to eventually fail regardless of how well you care for your laptop.

If you are lucky, you can temporarily scan or reformat the disk and you may be able to slightly extend the life of the drive. Most of the time, however, you should just replace the drive.


This is another common component to fail. The only thing that you can really try is to remove the keyboard and use a vacuum cleaner to get rid of all neighboring pieces of dust and debris.

Power Supply

If you suspect a power supply failure then the first thing you should check is the “kettle lead” i.e. the cord that connects the power pack to the wall socket. The fuses in these leads often fail and I like to carry several spare leads with me to quickly swap them out.

Also, check the LED on the power supply. Most power supplies feature such an LED. When the power is cut off, the LED remains lit for around ten seconds due to a built-in capacitor. If your power supply does not behave in this way then you should replace it. It is not recommended to open up a power supply and try to fix it yourself due to the presence of transformers and, therefore, high voltages.