While many of our students are ready to leap into summer vacation, there is still a lot of powerful teaching and learning that will be taking place between now and June 11! I want to take this opportunity to thank all of you who work so hard, with caring, commitment and a powerful sense of urgency to ensure students graduate from high school prepared for success in college and career!
For the past five months, we have been deeply engaged in our Local Control Accountability Planning process. For those of you who have participated in our engagement meetings and completed our District Survey, we deeply value your involvement. On May 19, the San Lorenzo Governing Board approved additional strategic investments (aligned to our District Goals) that are targeted to increase or improve the services for our students.
Investments include: maintaining summer school, adding bilingual services, increasing after school enrichment, funding college and career centers, reducing class size (with a focus on kindergarten), expanding the Sobrato Early Academic Language program, increasing administrative support, adding two nurses, one additional librarian, several para-educators, maintaining funding for small learning communities at the high schools, and increasing custodial, maintenance and grounds staffing. These initiatives will support the learning of all students and improve the conditions for students, staff and families! We will be considering additional investments at our June 2 Board meeting.
So what else is happening in the San Lorenzo Unified School District? The following are some of the highlights that reflect the positive changes that are emerging across the District:
- SLZUSD recognized the following exceptional Employees of the Quarter:
Adriel Briscoe Fall 2014 Laura Low & Susan Ma
Lynn Dillon Winter 2015 Matt Chelucci
Rachel Ahrens Spring 2015 Gabriela McVay
- SLEA recognized the following recipients for Outstanding Educator Awards: Laura Bucedi, Carmen Canchola, Suzanne Evans, Julia Fernandez, Kim Fischer-Hayes, Recep Iscan, Cathy Lee, Gary Lo, Lance McVay, Alberto Nodal, Heidi Noga, Lya Pires, Susan Preece, Liz Vind, Latsamy Vongsy, Wendy Warda, Julie Wolfe.
- Susan Mahoney was the recipient of the California Association of Supervisors of Child, Welfare, and Attendance (CASCWA) Outstanding Services Award.
- I love my Lunch Lady Recognition: Child Nutrition acknowledged the hard work and dedication of Ms. Kim Hermsen at Hillside (she has served over 3 million meals to San Lorenzo students!) and Ms. Mabel Lopez at Corvallis Elementary (she is a brand new hire this year).
- SLZUSD has provided comprehensive professional development opportunities for certificated and classified staff to support employees on their path of continual improvement, including:
- Balanced Literacy/Guided Reading (205 teachers trained in Guided Reading).
- SEAL (154 TK-2 teachers received 9 full days of training and collaboration).
- Math (75 secondary math teachers).
- Science (26 middle school teachers, 21 high school teachers, 40 elementary).
- Technology: Using Google Apps for Education (265 certificated staff).
- Restorative Practice (550 participants).
- Para Educators (15 bilingual para educators received 9 hours of training).
- Special Education Training in behavioral supports and principles in the classroom, Universal Design for Learning, Collaborative Teaching, Accessing common core standards for students with disabilities (60 teachers/support staff and 90 para educators).
- Thirty-seven Project LEAN In teachers, reaching approximately 3,500 students, have been integrating technology consistently using their dedicated carts of Chromebooks and tablets since February. We look forward to funding many more teachers in Cohort 2 in 2015-16.
- We have increased the opportunities for Adult/Parent Education:
- 100 adults attending classes (177 to 277).
- 55 more students are working toward their high school diploma (55 to 110).
- ESL and conversation classes were added in the evenings at Hillside and Colonial Acres.
- A Paraeducator preparation class was added to assist aspiring paraeducators pass the examination (10 students in the first cohort at the Adult School).
- 157 parents participated in the Common Core Parent Information Workshops sponsored by AAREA.
- Loving Solutions program served 8 parents of students with disabilities.
- We have deepened our work in restorative practices with a focus on student social, emotional and ethical development. Suspension rates from Fall 2013 to Fall 2014 decreased from 461 to 295, while expulsions decreased from 22 referrals to 6 referrals.
- Our District attendance rates have shown improvement this year, from 94.85% to 95.09% with Royal Sunset Improving by 12%!
- Our adult transition program helped to place 18 adult students with disabilities into volunteer job settings or Workability programs.
- Our English language learner reclassification rates increased significantly from 2013-14 by 45.9% at the elementary level, 30.9% District overall. The reclassification counts for 2014-15 are similar to 2013-14 indicating that we are sustaining a higher level of reclassification.
- 79 seniors will be receiving the California Golden State Merit Seal on their diplomas.
- 45 seniors will be receiving the California Sate Seal of Biliteracy on their diplomas.
- Bus Services received a grant that provided three brand-new, energy efficient school buses with higher safety standards than the 27 year old busses they are replacing.
- The San Lorenzo Scholarship Committee provided 43 awards, totaling $25,000 to some very worthy students.
- The African American Regional Educational Alliances honored 96 students from our school District for academic achievement and improvement, cultural consciousness, the arts and civic involvement.
- Student sports teams and athletes shined in different venues throughout the Bay Area.
- The REACH Center supported 136 students in credit recovery and 24 students in SAT Test Preparation.
- Brydie Kiuchi, third grade teacher at Grant Elementary School was nominated to represent the District as the County Teacher of the Year.
- The Association of California School Administrators honored Tovi Scruggs for the Administrator of the Year award, and she was nominated for the Marcus Foster Memorial Award for Administrative Excellence. Sharita Williams, Assistant Principal of East Bay Arts/Royal Sunset, will also be honored as Administrator of the Year for the San Lorenzo ACSA Chapter.
There is so much to be proud of here in San Lorenzo. I am honored and humbled to work along-side a committed group of students, parents, teachers and support staff. Please take the time to acknowledge these heroes who go above and beyond each and every day.
I wish you all a positive and productive end-of-the school year.
Fred Brill, Ed.D.