It seems like just yesterday it was May 25 and students were rushing out school doors ready for a fun-filled summer break.
Now it’s August 15 and school starts tomorrow.
So much work has been done since May 25 to ensure things are ready. Buildings and classrooms have been cleaned by our skilled maintenance staff to put our best foot forward in welcoming our students.
Trainings for teachers and principals have been conducted to help keep our staff current and skilled in the best practices, and very importantly, 24 new teachers have been hired to ensure we are fully staffed and every classroom has an effective and highly prepared teacher.
Yes, all campuses are ready and excited to kick off this 2018-19 school year. I fully believe it will be one of the best ever!
As a district, we will have three main focuses this year:
First, safety for students, staff, and visitors to our schools will be a top priority.
Recent events have caused all school districts to revisit and refocus safety measures. This is very true for the San Juan School District (SJSD).
In trying to be as effective as possible, SJSD has purchased the modern software program called Navigate Prepared.
Navigate Prepared will provide to schools a simple software system for developing, accessing, and implementing a school based emergency response plan.
These plans will be accessible to district staff, school staff, and first responders.
The district will work very closely with local police and fire agencies to ensure the highest level of safety possible.
However, even with recent improvements in technology, research is very clear that the most effective safety measures start with every shareholder taking responsibility to be alert to anything suspicious and to be active in reporting it.
I encourage all parents, students, and staff to be active and responsible in helping us maintain safe and positive schools.
Secondly implementing the San Juan QUEST model in each school and classroom will continue to be a top focus.
QUEST stands for QUality Education System Tools.
In all schools we are relentlessly striving to implement research-based tools of support that are consistently found in highly successful schools.
These systems of support for our schools take into account the needs for all students.
Those research based tools include elements such as:
• Positive behavior support systems to provide safe and inviting schools.
• Professional Learning Communities (PLCs) to provide specific and focused teacher collaboration.
• Comprehensive curriculum alignment to support effective delivery and timely and focused interventions/extensions.
• Meaningful heritage, language, and culture experiences to help our students feel connected.
• Blended learning opportunities to help our students be prepared for the 21st century and jobs of tomorrow.
• Successful recruiting and retention strategies to ensure a healthy talent pool.
Thirdly, we will focus on attendance.
Research illustrates how critical school attendance is for our students.
All the best improvements in schools are worth nothing to the child who is not in attendance to benefit from them.
I encourage each parent/guardian to limit your child to no more than eight days absent this coming year.
To do this, one must be very proactive to schedule things within one’s control outside the regular school day.
I realize there are extreme and extenuating circumstances outside one’s control, and those cases certainly do not apply here.
Still, any and all help in this area by parents will be greatly appreciated not only by me, but also your child’s classroom teacher.
I am so excited for this new school year. Truly it is a great privilege to get to work daily with the youth of this county.
As Superintendent, I will continue to foster a growth mindset culture to ensure staff in every capacity throughout the district are striving on a daily basis to be current in practice to best meet the needs of each student.
High levels of student learning start with high levels of adult learning.
Also, I invite parents to be highly involved in their child’s education.
Take opportunities to visit your child’s school and teacher often.
Find ways to reinforce at home those concepts being taught at school. So much more can be accomplished when working together.
Thank you so much for choosing the San Juan School District as your child’s educational partner.
It is a great honor to work with you in this great work, and thank you for your support in making this the best year ever!