September 11, 2017
- Welcome to our board meeting! No matter how much time has passed, it is critically important to remember all the lives that were lost and those who continue to be impacted by the tragedy of September 11th. Let’s also please take a moment in our own way to honor our first responders – then and today – and to remember how grateful we are for each day with our loved ones!
- I’m proud to say we had both staff and students who were presenters at SDCOE’s 2nd Annual Equity Symposium last week. Kudos to the following SUHSD community of learners – I’ve included their session title: Dr. Rick Cooke (Principal ELM) / Aaron Magnan (AP @ SoH) – Innovationships: The 5 C’s of Profound and Systemic Relationships in the 21st Century; Heather Bolles (TOSA)/Dr. Amy Illingworth (Director Prof. Growth)/Manny Rubio (Director of Grants & Communications) / Xavier Serrena (SOH Senior)/Shaylee Clark (OLH Senior) – Changing Community Mindsets through Student Voice; Alicia Johal (Teacher MVA) – Technology Equity: Students as Video Producers to Improve Science Comprehension and Literacy; Michelle Sturm-Gonzalez (Program Manager SpecEd – TED TALK: The Influence of the Student Panel. Do you hear the common themes? Student Voice and the impact of Relationships to teaching, learning, and equity.
- Even though we are in the early stages of addressing equity across our system, we have been recognized by the County Office and other districts as being ahead of the curve in regards to where we are headed on our equity journey.
- As Dr. Fulcher stated to teachers at this year’s Welcome Back, Year 1 of our Equity Plan concentrated on “Bringing Equity into Focus.” It began with self-reflection around beliefs that are often formed by experiences of where we live, socialize, work, and/or attend school. Equity and culturally responsive education requires knowledge of specific cultures, student groups, and families in our school community.
- Our focus for Year 2 is “Leading and Working toward Equity.” This year we are adopting a framework to facilitate an understanding of how we experience the complex interconnections of various groups within which we all live – a framework for understanding equity in school climate. Our ultimate goal in this work is Educational Equity! This happens when educators provide EACH student with the individual support they need to reach and exceed a common standard. At our second meeting in September, Dr. Fulcher will be sharing more of our work in Year 2 of Sweetwater’s Equity Plan.
- I hope you have had a chance to read the letter we sent to families regarding the White House’s announcement calling an end to the Deferred Action of Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program. We want to reaffirm our district’s commitment to defend the right of our students to attend school without fear of detention and/or deportation. Once again, we want to be very clear about our values of safety, inclusion, and equity and our commitment to provide a safe, welcoming, and inclusive learning environment for each student, including our immigrant students, staff and their families. We thank our Board of Trustees for their vision and leadership and for supporting the values we embrace as a district.
- I also want to mention that soon every employee will be receiving our second “Joint Message from District Management and Labor Associations.” The first message(Joint Message from District Management And Labor Associations 09-12-17 – 1st version – PDF) was communicated in January 2016; now, 21 months later, we want to update everyone on our progress of deliberate and purposeful collaboration. After the letter, we will also be sending a video describing a graphic called the Sweetwater Collaboration Model. This model shows how we are all connected through collaboration. The best way Sweetwater can accomplish our LCAP Goal of each student’s success in college and career is by combining our collective knowledge, experience, and creativity in purposeful collaboration. The letter and video will expand on those ideas.
- In addition, through our School Leadership Teams (SLT) this year, our overarching SUHSD Collaboration goal for 2017-18 is that EACH educator will engage and understand their role as an active and positive member of a dynamic Professional Learning Community (PLC) in service of designing and implementing effective first instruction through the lens of equity. We believe when we actualize that goal, we will see significant increases in academic and socio-emotional learning for each student in the Sweetwater Union High School District.
- Finally, we want to thank each teacher, each counselor, each administrator, and each classified employee for your efforts with our students these first nine weeks of 2017-18 school year. Our work as educators is complicated. It’s also the most satisfying work there is. And, because of you, there are so many opportunities for our students to excel in addition to the classroom, like the 2nd Annual Solar Sprint Competition this past weekend – applause to AP Jose Vargas who coordinated the event with over 200 students, staff, and administrators who participated and supported by STEAM Coordinator Leo Ulloa; like the first Unified Sports event of the year with CVM, EHA, and OHS – applause to TOSA Valerie Ruiz & AP Sasha Scott; like middle and high school sports – applause MS Coordinator Alex Estrada, Athletics Coordinator Joe Heinz & all our high school fall sports coaches; like all of the curricular, co-curricular, and extra-curricular activities that our staff sponsor in service of supporting each student finding their passion and purpose.
- We wish you a relaxing fall break – you definitely deserve it!
Thank you for the opportunity to serve and support each of you!
Click here to read the message archive.