South San Francisco, CA August 2, 2016 from SSFUSD Website
Superintendent Letter to Staff and Community
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, welcome to the 2016-2017 school year. I trust that each of you had a wonderful summer, spent time with loved ones, traveled, read, rested, exercised and thoroughly enjoyed your time off. It is such an exciting time as we embark upon another remarkable journey with the amazing students and staff in SSFUSD.
I remain humbled and thankful that I am blessed and privileged to be able to serve and lead a district keenly dedicated to providing an enriching learning environment for all of our students’ success. Whether it’s in the classroom, in the community or on the athletic field, I can’t wait to see what our students will accomplish this year. Across the district, our community’s efforts help our students achieve educational excellence.
We started the summer strong with professional development offerings; we focused on the following areas to assist in preparing our staff to deliver high quality curricula and engaging instruction in the following areas: English Language Arts/English Language Development, Math adoption support, Next Generation Science Standards, Professional Learning Community (DuFours) training, and Beginning Teacher support. In August/September, we will offer an engaging and transformational training on Cultural Competence and Equity.We hope all of you will sign up!
In late July, we presented our first New Administrator Academy to help our new team members get acclimated to the District and their new roles! In early August, we kicked off the year with an Administrative Retreat for all administrators and managers in the District where we focused on the goals, expectations, and values for the new year.
Renewed Commitments and Priorities
Our commitment to our students, their learning, achievement, and safety continues to remain a top priority for us this year. I am excited and confident of our renewed commitment to maintain a focus on building a more cohesive, communicative organization where we work collaboratively to engage our parents, community, and one another in order to provide a welcoming and inclusive District culture. It remains a high priority that we seek new and creative ways to work together to ensure our students can demonstrate their learning at high levels; to ensure equity and equal access to educational opportunity for all students; to ensure we focus on student work, student results, and student well-being; to ensure a focus on building strong, lasting, professional relationships with a foundation of trust and sincerity; to ensure we communicate in ways that will uplift our community, publicize District news, and applaud and celebrate together when we reach accomplishments. We shall continue to build strong administrative leadership teams and I am very transparent in my confidence and belief in the staff of the South San Francisco Unified School District. We have an amazing team comprised of capable, talented, and experienced educators and support staff that I know will hold high expectations for all of our children and will get to know them, develop positive relationships with them, and support them in meeting and exceeding our goals.
It’s such a pleasure to have new educators and staff members to our district who are thrilled to meet you and your children. We have a few new administrators this year also that I am thrilled to have on board. Dorothy Coito- Assistant Superintendent, Educational Services; Jason Brockmeyer – Director of Innovation, Community Outreach, and Special Projects; April Holland – Principal at Westborough Middle School; Shelby Biddy –Principal at Sunshine Gardens Elementary School, Jonathon Covacha- Principal at Martin Elementary School; and we also have new assistant principals who’ve joined our team. As we add these new leaders and certificated and classified staff to our team, it will only strengthen our District.
New Programs/Professional Development
We begin this year with a new biotechnology class at each comprehensive high school. The new Biotechnology 1/2 course, supported by Genentech, is designed to give students a rich, hands-on opportunity to explore the cutting-edge scientific concepts and laboratory research techniques currently being used in the exciting and expanding field of biotechnology. Students will learn about record-keeping, communication skills, safety, and proper use of high-tech equipment. They will work with live cells, DNA, and learn to isolate proteins. Through extensive research and laboratory experience, students will also evaluate career opportunities in the field, particularly ones right in their own back yard.
We also sent teams of teachers to the Professional Learning Community (PLC) Conference here in the bay area where they continue in their quest to be lifelong learners by learning more about the art of collaboration, how to utilize collaboration time, how to become a high performing team of educators. The 4 PLC questions we will continue to use when our staff collaborates will be the following: What do we want students to learn (the Common Core State Standards)? How will we know when they have learned it (Common Assessments)? How will we respond when they haven’t learned it yet (Intervention support)? How will we respond when students have learned it already (Enrichment support)?
Measure J update –
After the Board gave direction to dissolve the relationship with our previous contractor, SSFUSD has been very busy in moving our bond program forward:
*A new consulting Program Manager was hired and started in February, 2016 to move program forward
*Project budgets from remaining funds have been developed to complete priority projects
*13.5 million for projects
*Priority criteria was adopted by the Board to complete projects that are already underway (Buri Buri and Parkway Heights)
*Projects at two other sites that were not started have been suspended at this time
*New Project Delivery Method was approved by the Board
*Construction Management, multiple primer packages, rather than use of a single contractor
*Smaller contracts, bid packages to expedite priority work to ensure student safety and site access
*The Project Frog Modular System, to be utilized for completion of Buri Buri
*Contracts for Architectural, Engineering services have been awarded for completion of priority projects
*A new in-house District Construction Manager has been hired to coordinate the remaining construction
As stated earlier, we will continue to keep student and staff safety and security at the top of our priority list. The District began installing external speakers at the end of the school year and will continue to implement until all the newly renovated schools have been completed. Additionally, we are very excited to report that the Board of Trustees approved the plan to start the camera installation at our schools also! We will, however, need to develop solid procedures and policies before full implementation of the cameras at the sites. We will begin with a middle school, assess the implementation and then move forward in other schools.
Together with teachers, parents, students and staff, we will keep our students safe and continue our tradition of excellence this school year. It is my pleasure to serve as Superintendent of South San Francisco Unified School District where the quality of education is unmatched and where we work towards continuous improvement and high standards. We have the power to make a positive impact on the lives of our students every day. It is up to us to use this influence to remove barriers, support students in their challenges, and give them access to the knowledge and information that will prepare them to be competitive in the global 21st century economy. I look forward to working with you in achieving what we collectively want for students – success beyond their years here at SSFUSD.
Dr. Shawnterra Moore, Superintendent