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Superintendents’ hopes for the school year
September 6, 2011
Education Editor’s Note: As the new school year swings into gear, TCV asked each of the School Superintendents in our readership area of Fremont, Hayward, Milpitas, Newark, Union City, and Sunol, to comment on their district’s challenges and in light of budget cuts, to state what their focus would be on. The following are their statements:
Fremont Unified School District:
By Superintendent Dr. James Morris
In reflecting on the past year and beginning the 2011-2012 school year, parents, teachers, and staff in the Fremont Unified School District have many accomplishments to be proud of. Student achievement scores, attendance rates, and graduation rates are all increasing. Our community is unique in the strength and commitment of the parents, teachers, and staff to educational excellence. We share a belief in the power of the community to improve student learning and this has helped schools focus on what is really important – building a strong academic foundation to prepare students for the world of today and tomorrow!
The good news for Fremont families is that we are beginning the 2011-2012 school year with a restoration of science, physical education, and computer specialty teachers. The passage of a local parcel tax in November 2010 helped provide some stability in our budget. We remain mindful of the precarious State budget and the possibility of mid-year budget cuts in January 2012.
Our Board of Education and administration are committed to supporting a college-going culture understanding that the leaders of tomorrow need more that basic skills. We remain focused on core academics and also recognize the importance of providing targeted support for our English learners, students with disabilities, and our many gifted and talented students. The children who enter our classrooms each day come to us full of promise and hope. There is much work to be done beginning in elementary schools all the way up to our high schools as we work together to provide all students with educational experiences that will prepare them for success in life.
The Fremont Unified School District is committed to families and schools working together to improve achievement for all students.
Hayward Unified School District:
By Superintendent Janis Duran
In lieu of the current economic conditions of the State, the District will continue to focus on the areas of the budget that provide optimal services to students—programs that promote accelerated student academic achievement, child nutrition, and safety.
The District’s commitment to provide 21st century facilities was highlighted as we moved into the state of the art new Multi Purpose Room at Martin Luther King Middle School. We are finalizing all five schools financed by Measure I Funds as a result of our successful Bond Measure. All schools are on-time and on-budget.
The Business office will continue to focus on operational services that generate revenues and reduce District expenses. During the 2011-2012 school year, HUSD will aggressively strive to pursue more efficient processes and procedures that are responsive to the needs of students and the community.
Hayward Unified School District’s Board recently approved the Board Adopted District Goals. Goal #1 is to prepare all students, beginning with Kindergarten, to be college-ready by meeting CSU/UC A-G requirements.
Milpitas Unified School District:
By Superintendent Cary Matsuoka
Milpitas Unified is prepared to deal with the budget uncertainties with no plans for furlough days this school year. We are committed to keeping the instructional calendar intact, regardless of potential mid-year trigger cuts. Our students have only one 2011-12 school year to experience and we want to make this year count.
Newark Unified School District:
By Superintendent Dr. Dave Marken
We are excited to open the 2011-12 school year in Newark!
Although the challenges are daunting, the opportunities abound!
The immediate challenges in Newark are:
Hiring the best people for all/any open positions in Newark Unified School District. Budget constraints have created some delays in filling key positions.
Passage of Measure G Bond in November. It is imperative that the $63 million Measure G pass in November which will improve all schools in Newark.
Finally, Newark will have a single focus: Student Learning. We will work together to insure all students learn!
New Haven Unified School District (Union City, S. Hayward):
By Superintendent Kari McVeigh
Even though the budget situation is forcing us into a shorter school year in 2011-12 and forcing us into larger classes at some grades, our focus continues to be on teaching and learning. We are continuing to direct every dollar possible to what happens in the classroom in our efforts to improve student performance and close the achievement gap. At the same time, we are working on equity issues, trying to be open and honest with ourselves about often-difficult issues such as race, culture and gender, and we are partnering with others in the community on our Kids’ Zone initiative to provide cradle-to-career services for our most vulnerable students and their families.
Sunol Glen Unified School District:
By Superintendent Molleen Barnes
The Sunol Glen School District is greeting the 2011-2012 school year with eager anticipation. As the District has created multiple partnerships with the Sunol Community, Sunol Business Guild, surrounding Districts and the Alameda County Office of Education, as well as multiple parent partnerships, we are continuing to strive to be as unscathed as possible from the Economic Catastrophe that has befallen our nation and state. We feel fortunate that we have successfully navigated through the budgetary treacherous waters and have had minimal cuts to personnel, programs and learning opportunities for our students. For this school year, it is critical that we continue to be mindful of economic uncertainty and put our collective intelligences and creative mindsets on ensuring that the Sunol Glen students receive optimal education and the extracurricular activities that they (and all students!) deserve.
Our focus this year is to continue to improve on the Common Core Standards as outlined by the State of California and to provide 21st century skills for our students including critical and creative thinking, communication and collaboration. The Sunol Glen staff embraces the value of remaining positive, determined and goal-oriented; our motto for this year conveys this to our students and community as follows: “Toward Excellence We Shall Delve, Eagles ROCK in Twenty-Twelve!”