On behalf of the Board of Trustees and the SVUSD staff, I want to extend a warm welcome to the 2016-17 school year! We look forward to continuing our work to provide quality educational program for all Sonoma Valley Unified School District (SVUSD) students.
We are excited to build on a number of notable achievements from the 2015-16 school year. These achievements include the addition of a preschool at Prestwood, the implementation of uniform descriptions of the material to be learned at every grade and ever subject, and the completion of a Graduate Profile, a Student Data Dashboard and a District Technology Plan (found on the SVUSD website at www.svusdca.org).
Our theme for this year is “It Takes a Valley!” In order to achieve our goals this school year we are once again going to need the tremendous ongoing support we receive from parents and the Sonoma Valley Community-at-large. In addition to the exciting teaching and learning taking place at all school sites, the SVUSD Board of Trustees recently voted to put a resolution on the November 2016 ballot asking the community to support a school improvement initiative. We look forward to sharing more information about our this initiative with our community in the weeks ahead!
As many of you are aware, our district vision includes a focus on all students being College and Career Ready upon graduation from high school. Our critical benchmarks along the way include:
- Completing a 1-2 year quality pre-school experience
- Reading at or above grade level by the end of third grade
- Meeting and exceeding English and math standards by the beginning of sixth grade
- Readiness to successfully complete college prep course work by ninth grade
Knowing that all students come with individual learning goals, we continue to reflect on and improve our teaching practices to bring the very best learning opportunities to each and every student.
This summer provided close to 1,200 students the opportunity to attend summer learning classes – that’s a lot of students! We hosted a new TK-2 Jump into Reading Program for students who need a boost in reading skills. With 75 students participating, this pilot program proved very successful both in student enthusiasm and student outcomes. We also offered our popular Summer Reading and Writing Academy to nearly 300 students who are on their way to reading but needing additional support. Students in Grades 4-7 participated in our Accelerated Language and Technology Academy. In keeping with “It Takes a Valley,” all programs were made possible thanks in large part to generous donations from the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation. Through the continuing support of local donors, we offered numerous support and enrichment classes for our students in Grades 8-12 including our Bridge to Algebra program as well as a number of original credit courses, which were very well received by students and families!
As always, educators participated in numerous professional learning opportunities during the summer. Over 125 teachers and administrators participated in Science, Technology, Engineering and Math workshops, Advanced Placement trainings, Reading and Writing Institutes, Leadership classes and much, much more. Summer months do provide an opportunity for everyone to actually have thinking time to reflect on best practices for their classrooms and that’s a wonderful gift for educators. We thank all of our educators who were able to participate in these professional development opportunities!
Summer is also a time for the school district to take on complex construction and maintenance projects which would be challenging to complete during the school year. Maintenance, Operations, and Custodial Staffs as well our summer student workers (successfully completing Year 4 of this program!) have prepped our campuses with schools looking fresh and clean. The Information Technology Staff has been tackling multiple projects and we are excited to see our technology systems getting much needed upgrades for the start of school. As part of our Technology Plan we will also be rolling out 1 to 1 chromebooks to all of our students in Grades 10 and 11 as a pilot program for districtwide distribution of these devices in future years.
The beginning of the school year provides a fresh start for each of us: a new year of optimism, high expectations, and commitment. We have dedicated staff, talented administrators, and a special community that supports our schools. Please remember that your individual and collective involvement in your school makes an enormous difference, and we thank you in advance for your participation! Please remember that “It Takes a Valley” for our students to achieve at the highest levels, and I look forward to our continued collaboration with families and all our community partners.