While our teaching staff members were enjoying a much-deserved summer break, our NUSD custodial and maintenance employees were busy cleaning, polishing, mowing, trimming, and repairing. MOT Director Susan Condon gave me a tour of Kennedy School’s sprucing up efforts. The custodians were busy scrubbing and polishing floors, while a contractor was trimming three trees that hadn’t been touched since the school opened over 50 year ago! We also checked out one of the new play structures. Thanks to the community’s generosity in passing our Measure G bond, last year all elementary schools received new play structures to replace those that were broken or beyond repair.
Supervisors and Managers Return
NUSD’s annual Management Retreat on August 9 & 10 began with teambuilding with new staff, then dove deep into professional learning communities and the work site leaders will do with their staff around our PLCs. The district’s continuous improvement model applies to all district employees and concerns the ongoing evaluation efforts with clear steps toward improvement.
Our Teachers Return
Our teaching staff began their first day on Monday, August 20th with a light breakfast in the high school commons and welcoming remarks in the small gym by high school principal Paul Bretz and superintendent Pat Sanchez. I had the honor of addressing the group on behalf of the Board. My message was one of gratitude, acknowledging the skill, patience and dedication of our staff as they work to meet diverse needs of our students. There was something for everyone for the rest of the day – workshop on the new Big Ideas Math curriculum, grade/department planning time, and rugby training for our PE teachers.
As one of two CSBA representatives to the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Federated Council, I get to see firsthand the good work this organization does to keep our students safe and to provide districts with guidelines to ensure equity in our school sports. Recent news from Oakland shows how districts can run afoul of ensuring our girls are equally represented in sports. Please check out the following two CSBA briefs that are written in partnership with CIF: Heat illness and Title IX Requirements.
Our graduation ceremonies were an uplifting capstone to a difficult but productive school year. We are emerging strong with new hope for the future. I am so appreciative of the hard work of our teachers, classified employees, management staff and the community. We have set the stage for a new year filled with new energy. New housing development is bringing more students and much needed increased funding. Our budget is balanced. We have a new strategic planning framework that focuses on improving the academic success of each student. And, we have hired an architectural firm to take us through a collaborative process to identify our facilities needs into the next decade.
In my first newsletter issue I described how the governor’s January message provided additional funds that helped us dial back several onerous budget reduction measures we had contemplated, including K-3 class size increases to 29 and the elimination of three counselor positions. Thankfully, we were able to plan for a balanced budget with a limited K-3 class size increase to an average of 26 and no loss of teacher jobs. The governor’s “May Revise” added a small amount additional ongoing and one-time funds. We’re not out of the woods yet, as annual increases in STRS and PERS pension costs, as well as escalating special education costs will require careful budget monitoring by the board.
Click here for an interesting EdSource article about a new assembly bill that strives to redefine “full funding” of our California schools.
The school hosted its annual Fine Arts Fair on Sunday, May 6. The students’ work was beautiful and displayed with great care. Kudos to the teachers, administrators and students who put so much time into making this event happen.
The multi-purpose room was filled with families and community members checking out the offerings from about 30 vendors and resource providers, including Tri-City Health, the NUSD Parent Partners, and the Silliman Center.
The fair was held Friday, April 30th at Musick School.
Great news! NUSD secondary students will be eligible for FREE AC Transit and BART service in 2018-19! Associate Superintendent of Educational Services Lety Salinas and Coordinator of Pupil Services Bill Whitton met with a team of school leaders and representatives from the Alameda County Transportation Commission this week to coordinate NUSD’s participation in the pilot Student Transit Pass Program (STPP) in Alameda County funded by Measure BB.
The Commission-adopted goals of the STPP are: reduce barriers to transportation access to and from schools, improve transportation options for Alameda County’s middle and high school students, build support for transit in Alameda County, and create a basis for a countywide student transit pass program.