Superintendent’s Message

Board Meeting – October 28, 2019

  • Welcome to our Board Meeting. We are glad for those of you who are here in person and to many of you watching our live streaming.Dr. Jannery
  • We’ve only been back from Fall break for just little over two weeks, yet I have lots of positive news about students and staff:
  • There was a really nice feature article in the UT recently on ELH student athlete, Lauren Clifton, who is a senior on their VB team. This year ELH was moved to the Open Division in CIF where all of the County’s top teams compete. She has already accepted a full-ride beach VB scholarship to attend Concordia University. Congratulations Lauren and Coach Erwin Macalaguim!
  • BVH teacher Vince Gervais shared some great news about a few BVH Alums. Congratulations to:
  • 2008 Alum Clara Martin published her first novel – Kingdom of the Northern Sun – The Revolution Series.
  • 2010 Alum Oscar Sanay is a 2nd time Mexican Professional Baseball Champion
  • 2013 Alum Hannah Flippen was named to the 2020 USA Olympic Softball Team.
  • Speaking of alumni, the Union Tribune created a subsidiary publication called “Pacific” magazine a few years ago. The new Editor-in-Chief is BVH Alum Nina Garin and CVH Alum Pamela Razo is Campaign Coordinator. Best of luck to the new team of Pacific magazine.
  • In mid-October, Dr. Tom Glover organized a reception for newly tenured teachers and counselors. It is an event he hosted in collaboration with SEA President Julie Walker and SCGA President Alfredo Cendejas. We’ve held this event for the past three years. It truly is a milestone event in a certificated educator’s career and we applaud the effort to recognize our educators new to the profession. This year 86 teachers and counselors crossed the threshold of meeting tenure on their first day of work this year. Congratulations and best to all as you progress and grow in one of the most satisfying professions that impact the lives of our youth!
  • RDR teacher Kim Lepre and BVH teacher Gina Vatuonne were both featured in a UT article on October 21st around grading practices. Thank you both for your words of wisdom and expertise around grading for learning and mastery!
  • Ethan Collier is in the running for the State Student Board Member position for the 2019-20 school year. He made it to the top 12 finalists and will be interviewing with students and other panels the first week of November. We wish him the best in his pursuit to empower student voice up and down the state.
  • Speaking of empowering students and student voice. Kudos to TitanBot, the robotics team, under the coaching of ELH teacher Joel Foust, organized and hosted the 5th Annual G.I.R.L.S Conference. The acronym stands for Girls Inspiring Real Leadership in STEM. Thank you for continuing this fabulous opportunity to students in Sweetwater. A few of the TitanBot students were featured on a KUSI segment this past week.
  • Many of you know Dr. Amy Illingworth, who was our Director of Professional Growth for 4 years until she was appointed Asst. Superintendent of Educational Services in another district in our county. While she was here, she inspired many teachers and administrators in a variety of areas like creating an Aspiring Administrators Academy, a Teacher Leader Academy, Book Studies, and Learning/Equity Walks, to name a few. In August, her book The Coaching ADVenture: Building Powerful Instructional Leadership Skills that Impact Learning was published. ADV stands for Appreciation – Design – Value. This is an excellent read for all educators, because we are all coaches and we all want to positively impact learning. In fact, there are several Sweetwater staff who wrote endorsements in the book: Liz Wong – AP MoM, Dr. Rick Cooke –  Principal ELH, Alex Salazar – AP SUHI, Dr. Dianna Carberry. Congratulations Dr. Illingworth! #CoachADV
  • As of tonight, we have not heard officially whether SDCOE has approved our revised 2019-20 budget that our Board approved on Oct. 8. Remember, this revision only applies to the current year’s budget and does not have to address the budget for 2020-21 or the 2021-22 school years. However, even though we haven’t heard from officially, that doesn’t mean we stop and become paralyzed. We continue to keep working and moving forward, just like we did all of last year during the fiscal crisis. We have come a long way from the fiscal crisis of 2018-19. We mentioned before that we were able to overcome a huge deficit for the 2018-19 school year by offering the SERP; therefore there were no permanent staff lay-offs. The question is..How are we doing now? And what does the future look like? Over the next three Board Meetings, I plan to share three areas that impact our budget.
  • Tonight, I want talk about state revenue that relates to student enrollment. Over the past three to four years we, and many districts across San Diego County and the state, have been in a declining enrollment mode. Specific to Sweetwater, our enrollment has dropped; we have 854 fewer students between the end of the 2015-16 school year (refer to slide attached to this email) through the end of the 2018-19 school. To put this in context, every 100 students equals approximately $1M in revenue for our budget. With our projections for the next two years, we expect to lose an additional (580) students, that gives us a total of 1434 fewer students over a 5-year period. We are finalizing October CALPADS data right now, so we’ll know the 2019-20 actual enrollment numbers by the 1st Interim Budget report in December.
  • The loss of that many students is equivalent to a large middle school; and the loss of revenue of over $10,000 per student ends up totaling tens of millions of dollars over the past few years. Please understand, losing students and revenue has many impacts and has a compounding effect over time. This, unfortunately, is our reality and many other districts across the county and state. Our Board is supportive of the Full and Fair Funding legislation that we are hoping will be placed on the 2020 November ballot. We will keep everyone posted as we learn more about this ballot measure. But, we and other districts cannot wait until 2020 or later. We continue to work at the local and state level to bring attention to the funding needs of school districts throughout the state and sharing our message of no layoffs, if at all possible. What is so wrong or bad with that? With declining enrollment, it’s obvious that means districts have to right-size, but we are proud of the position our Board has taken and we will continue to work with labor partners and the community to collaboratively find solutions to these challenges.
  • I want to end with a quote from the Dalai Lama: “Optimism does not mean being blind to the actual reality of a situation. It means maintaining a positive spirit to continue to seek a solution to any given problem. And it means recognizing that any given situation has many different aspects—positive as well as problematic.” Being optimistic doesn’t mean it will be easy, it means believing we can solve the problem…and solving it together is always the best way.
  • One last reminder: I continue to sign Sweetwater Stars certificates for capturing our best in Sweetwater. Here is the link where you can nominate an employee for a job well done or a recognition or appreciation.
  • Enrollment 2015_2019.pdf
  • LCAP Update Goal 2_Oct 2019.pdf
  • Thank you for your support and collaboration!

Thank you for the opportunity to serve you!
Click here to read the message archive.