With another school year filled with powerful teaching and learning coming to a close, I suspect it is not only our students who are ready for summer vacation! I appreciate our parents for sending us students who take full advantage of the thoughtful learning opportunities our teachers provide 180 days each year.
This year, we have focused a great deal of our efforts on implementing the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) (http://gov.ca.gov/news.php?id=18040). Teachers are to be applauded for their on-going commitment to professional development in support of the New York Writing Project, math coaching focused on conceptual understanding and complex problem solving, and the on-going emphasis on Thinking Strategies in all subject areas.
In order to support this important work, the Lafayette School District Governing Board made the decision to spend down our reserves and invest in initiatives to support our Strategic Plan.
Specifically, in the 2013-14 school year we will be:
- Doubling the science teachers time at the elementary level;
- Adding three teachers District-wide to reduce class size;
- Providing additional instructional aides for classes that exceed the soft cap in grades K-5;
- Maintaining the additional instructional coach that was added this year;
- Piloting a zero period option at Stanley, which would enable some of our students to participate in an additional elective;
- Increasing the number of students served during summer program; and
- At our June 20th Board meeting, the Board will consider investing in additional instructional technology equipment and coaching services to support teaching and learning.
Because we are currently deficit spending, we will need to secure additional revenues from the State of California, or locally, in the coming years to maintain the high standards and exceptional instructional program that we are currently providing for our students. The passage of Proposition 30 was not a panacea; we let out a collective sigh of relief . . . not because additional revenues would be flowing into our classrooms, but because we would not be enduring additional cuts in revenues. The Lafayette School District continues to face much uncertainty about State revenues given the Governor's commitment to the Local Control Funding Formula where districts with high populations of English language learners and students in poverty would receive the lion's share of new revenues.
I want to take this opportunity to thank the individuals and organizations working together on behalf of our students. LPIE (Lafayette Partners in Education) continues to work collaboratively with parent organizations (PTAs, PFCs, and parent clubs) to raise additional revenues to provide direct support and enrichment for all students in our schools.
Before we ease into summer, please take the time to let your child's teachers know how they have made a positive difference. Have a relaxing, fun-filled summer vacation with family and friends! We look forward to your continued support and involvement in the 2013-2014 school year!
Fred Brill, Ed.D.