Skip to main content

Message from the Superintendent

Rick Schmitt Superintendent Letterhead

August 2018

 

Dear SRVUSD Staff and Parents,

Welcome back to another new year! This is my favorite time of year as I have an opportunity to welcome back students, staff and parents from summer. We have much to celebrate and build upon from last year and great things to look forward to in 2018-2019. None of our success takes place without the tremendous support of our employee groups, parents and community. We begin a new year celebrating you!

One measure of our success arrives in August as our students return to class. This is the month when parents receive their student’s annual CAASPP (California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress) test results for students in grades 3-8 and 11. If your child’s report has not yet arrived, know that it should be in your mailbox any day. The final districtwide CAASPP numbers have not yet been released, but will also arrive soon. Early indicators demonstrate progress in all areas for our students. While these tests represent just one measure of success, they offer the District an opportunity to assess whether we are making continuous improvement in support of each student’s academic and personal growth, and act as a measure of our instructional programs and professional development strategies. We use the CAASPP numbers as an entry point into robust conversations about student academic achievement and overall well-being. I encourage our families to do the same. These test results present an opportunity for a conversation with your child, and possibly their teachers, and should be regarded as just one indicator of growth.

Student growth can be observed through many other indicators, including simple signs of happiness and well-being. This brings me to one of our priorities for this school year -- safety and mental wellness. We combine these topics in recognition that poor mental health can lead to unsafe situations. We also know that students must feel safe in order to learn. Over the summer, we worked on a number of areas to address student and campus safety. This work is being led by our district’s new Safety & Wellness Coordinator, James Corral. At a board workshop in July, we updated the Board of Education with our recommendations. The recommendations cover five key areas, including: mental wellness, personnel, training, communications and facilities.

Top among these categories is mental wellness. According to a recent national poll, over 76 percent of parents acknowledge and support the funding of mental health programs over other safety measures at schools. This emphasis reflects a recognition by schools, mental health professionals and law enforcement agencies that the best results come from parents supporting students’ mental wellness. Some of the mental health supports that SRVUSD is implementing for 2018-2019 include mandatory staff trainings that address violence prevention, the addition of two districtwide mental health social workers, the creation of school-based intervention teams, a mental wellness task force, and the addition of new social emotional learning curriculum. These are valuable enhancements to our current programs, such as Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning, which address positive school culture and climate.

Our approach aligns with many of the findings of the recent Secret Service report on school violence prevention. This same report reiterates the importance of our message “if you see something, or know something, say something.” In the coming weeks, we hope to release a new student-friendly, reporting system to allow students and our community to anonymously report information. We have also calendared a number of required staff trainings to address safety and will be working with students and our PTA partners to identify supports for parents. Finally, we are continuing our commitment to a multi-tiered effort to install fencing and gating at our schools and security cameras. These efforts include our Board of Education’s $2 million commitment to safety improvements. We will update staff and our parents as we refine both our approach and the budgets for these programs.

One of our approaches to safety is improved communication and includes a renewed commitment to sharing information quickly through our various communication channels, including social media. If you are not already, please follow me on Twitter (@SRVUSD_Supt) and the District’s Facebook page (facebook.com/SRVUSD). Post your questions to us. We will respond and you might help other parents access the information they need to navigate the school year.

We recently completed our fantastic 2018 summer school program here at SRVUSD! We utilized our Personalized Learning Initiatives (PLIs) to guide the expansion of learning opportunities for our students. Over 4,950 SRVUSD students took courses on our campuses this summer for a variety of purposes, including: to advance to the next level in certain areas of study, to complete graduation requirements, and to free up a period in their 2018-2019 academic schedule. These courses, some taught through SRVUSD and others by DVC, offered students a range of options including Visual Studio (Vs.net), Physical Education, Algebra 2 and Sign Language. Instructors taught using a variety of formats including the innovative hybrid model which integrates online learning with classroom instruction. The feedback has been very positive and participants were pleased with their experiences.

We are excited to continue our efforts in 2018-2019 to personalize learning for each and every one of our students. New initiatives being offered this school year include the ability for students to earn credit from off-campus, online and traditional courses, Independent Study PE, flexible start and end times, credit for Heritage language school courses, and expansion of the number and types of credits that can be added to the SRVUSD transcript.  We look forward to learning more about how these initiatives impact students and families and how we can continue to improve our curriculum to better meet the needs of all our students.

Please continue to ask us questions and share your children’s successes with us through our Communications & Community Relations office at communications@srvusd.net. We want to celebrate you and our community together.

Have a great start of the school year!

 

Warm Regards.

 

Rick Schmitt
Superintendent

UA-122323164-1