Superintendent Letter October 2015:
The 2015-16 school year is off to a great start – due to the shared goals and collaborative efforts of staff, students, families and community partners!
Deeper, Stronger, Better: Our three district focus areas remain unchanged: Student Success, Resourceful and Responsible and Family Engagement/Community Partnerships. These focus areas emphasize the “why” of our work, our purpose and the “business of our business:” Student Success. Additionally, these focus areas highlight “how” we can attain our purpose: First, by being Resourceful and Responsible and ensuring every investment made is dedicated to teaching and learning and addresses an existing student need. Second, success for all does take us all, and ensuring all students learn at high levels is only possible through active Family Engagement and deeply enlisted Community Partners who provide services to meet the needs of the whole child. We believe our values are reflected by our actions –where do we spend our time, attention and resources? Rather than shifting focus each year on a new initiative or a trendy idea, our goal is to remain deeply committed to our current work and strive each day to go deeper, get stronger, be better. For more information about our goals, operating norms and guiding principles, please check out the Board Link at ccusd.org.
Calling All Treasure Hunters Many of you attended our “Evening of Hope” event last spring with guest speaker Rick Miller, Founder and Chief Treasure Hunter of Kids at Hope. Additionally, you may recall my back to school recorded message that once again referenced Rick’s work and stressed how children are the by-product of the beliefs, words and actions of the adults in their lives. If you haven’t heard the keynote message shared with all staff this August, I encourage you to check it out on our website. The speech was delivered by one of our very own 5th grade students and his message was truly inspirational. While Rick’s work is grounded in years of research, we should not overcomplicate the core message: Kids who succeed, who identify themselves as hopeful and thriving, do so because:
• They have people in their lives who believe they can succeed.
• They have meaningful relationships with caring adults.
• They are nurtured by a culture that is focused on their successes and strengths.
• They have “Treasure Hunters” in their lives who have and hold them to high expectations.
An important goal for all of us, for all Treasure Hunters, is to remember the power of every interaction we have with a child, our child, any child. And, as Treasure Hunters, let’s be intentional about what we communicate (not what we say, but what does the child actually hear):
· This is important.
· I believe in you.
· I won’t give up on you.
One final thought about Kids at Hope – this is not “a program.” This is simply a framework for our belief system - affirming, nurturing, promoting and celebrating where Success for All Takes Us All – No Exceptions!
Student Gallup Poll: In our research, evidence based world, there is often one critical piece of data that is missing from our decision making process: Student Voice. What are our students saying, feeling about what they are learning, who they are learning it from, who and what motivates them and gets them excited about the future? The national Student Gallup Poll is a great resource that gathers this vital information and all CCUSD schools will be participating in this survey this year (grades 5 and up). For additional information about the survey, the questions, past findings, etc. please check out our website and click on the Student Gallup Poll link. The survey invites students to share their perceptions about their engagement with school, hope for the future and understanding about their readiness to participate in the national and global economy one day. This information provides invaluable insight as we seek to measure the impact of our actions/investments – and prepares us to better answer the following question: According to our students, what are the underlying factors of their performance, their level of emotional engagement in their learning? With so many measurements focused solely on what our students learned, it is critical that we explore and better understand why they learned (or why they did not).
Measure CC on the Move: A few highlights worth noting:
· By the time this article goes to print, we will have added several key members to our Measure CC team. This will include a number of talented and experienced architect firms who will begin work immediately on several priorities:
o Developing district wide standards for the work ahead.
o Transitioning from a general, vision-oriented Master Facility Plan to a tangible and technical implementation plan (timelines, project sequencing, master scheduling, etc.).
o Developing Education Specifications for all district wide teaching and learning spaces.
o Begin immediate work on current Phase I and future projects to be addressed during school time, weekends, upcoming winter and spring breaks as well as Summer 2016.
o Plan and coordinate future school and community focus groups to learn about the process and to contribute ideas and interests as we shift from general areas of focus to more detailed discussions of what a highly effective teaching and learning environment will look like, sound like and feel like.
· The final walkthrough for our Athletic Complex will take place before the end of this month. The completion of this project puts us in position for more than 7 million dollars in State Match Funds in the event the future School Facility Bond is approved by the voters.
· District Wide AC Audit: While our immediate attention and investments have focused on short term strategies to address the extreme heat, we are enlisting a professional agency to conduct a district-wide assessment of all facilities – where do we have/not have AC? Which systems are in place? Other environmental factors (classroom size, air circulation, windows, etc.) compounding the heat? Possible solutions? Projected costs? Projected timelines and impact on classrooms? We expect that each school and spaces within each school will be unique and the response plans will need to be considered accordingly.
· For brief, regular updates about our work and progress please see (website) for plans, presentations, visuals and engagement opportunities.