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Superintendent's Message

Dear Lafayette Families, Staff, and Community Members,

 

A short letter cannot adequately express how often you inspire me. Whether you are a reading this as a teacher or staff member, a parent or community member, a police officer or City official, you tirelessly work to do more than your duty. You continually give to life…give to our children…give to our schools…give to our City…with the care and commitment not witnessed in very many places in our world. You are exceptional in both your support and your actions, and I am deeply grateful.

At the risk of mixing business with holiday wishes, I do want to take the opportunity to provide you with important pieces of information and some highlights:

 

Congratulations and Thank you

We say a fond goodbye and thank you to Rob Davies, Operations Manager, who will be retiring on January 28th. Rob has provided outstanding, tireless service to our entire District for 45 years. He carries with him the history of the Lafayette School District so we will be continually tapping his brain for information long after his retirement! We also say a special thank you and farewell to John Swerdan, the District's Device Architect. John is retiring at the end of this week after 18 years of dedicated service to our District.

A special congratulations to 5th grade Springhill teacher, Deborah Hungerford, who received the Teacher of the Year Award from the Veterans of Foreign Wars. Deborah was honored at a dinner this week where we learned that she will be moving on to the state finals. We are so proud of Deborah for the exemplary work she does for children, her school, and our District.

 

Feasibility Study Update

We are continuing to look at effective ways to enhance revenues in order to ensure the highest quality education for our students for years to come. As you may be aware, our District and our locally elected Governing Board have worked hard to deal with inconsistent and sorely inadequate State funding, including making difficult decisions to balance our budget--all without compromising the quality of education we expect. Even so, our current projections show a budget shortfall of over a $1,000,000 looking out over the next three years.

To try to be as proactive as possible, we are continuing to seek input from you on our Budget Feasibility Study and local funding solutions, including the possibility of running a parcel tax measure in 2018. Two Community Engagement Meetings will be held on Monday, January 8th in the Stanley Middle School Library—one at 9:00 a.m. and the second at 6:30 p.m. The same information will be provided at both meetings. At these meetings there will be opportunities to learn about our budget, ask questions, and provide input. We hope you will plan to attend.

Another component of our Feasibility Study includes formal polling of approximately 500 residents in our community. Poll results will be shared at our next Governing Board Meeting on January 17th at 7:00 p.m. We encourage you to attend.

 

Bond Project Updates

Your Measure C bond dollars are hard at work. 2016-17 brought improvements to all sites including new play equipment, roof repairs, network equipment, walkways and walkway covers.  It also brought a large number of “behind the scenes” work in the form of state approvals for modernization and design of classroom buildings. 2018 will bring a huge amount of “bricks and mortar” progress to the District bond program.  In addition to the originally scheduled 2018 projects, some of the projects that did not receive State approval in 2017 are now ready to go.  Some, but not all, of the 2018 projects are listed below:

  • Burton Valley:  Summer 2018 will see the replacement of the aging heating and air conditioning systems throughout the Burton Valley classrooms.  This will be in addition to the modernization of all classrooms which includes new flooring, furniture and other finishes, new classroom audio visual equipment and renovation of restrooms. 
  • Happy Valley:  Just before the end of the school year, a new custom modular building for science and music will be placed adjacent to the existing kindergarten classrooms near the field.  The site preparation was done and utilities for this building were installed over the summer of 2017, so the setting of the building can take place while school is in session.  This summer will see modernization of classrooms and the beginning of construction of the new kindergarten yard and buildings near kindergarten rooms 1 and 2.  The new kindergarten rooms are scheduled for completion in time for the school year 2019-20.
  • Lafayette:  Final design is being completed for the parking lot and classrooms expanding into the Old Lafayette Library property.  Construction is scheduled to begin during the spring of 2018.  Lafayette classrooms will undergo modernization in the coming year.
  • Springhill: Because of shifts in enrollment at Springhill, we were able to accelerate the creation of the new science classroom by renovating an extra classroom in lieu of purchasing a new modular building.  The new science classroom was renovated over the summer of 2017 and completed in time for the start of school.  In 2018, Springhill will also modernized classrooms.
  • Stanley:  Stanley Middle School’s classroom building project consists of two classroom buildings, one near the current tennis courts at the front of the school and a second to replace the portable classrooms near the back field.  The project is a combination of pre-fabricated construction and on-site standard construction and will begin during the spring of 2018.  Construction of the two buildings will continue through the 2018-19 school year. During construction, temporary classrooms will be provided in the vicinity of the Stanley office.  The project is scheduled to be completed in time for the 2019-20 school year.

2019-2020 School Year Calendar Meeting

In conjunction with the Acalanes Union High School District (AUHSD), the Lafayette School District will host a Town Hall Meeting on Friday, January 5th at 9:00 a.m. in the Lafayette Elementary School Multi-use Room to discuss and receive input regarding proposed changes to the 2019-2020 school calendar. Changes to the calendar will affect all members of the community, so we hope you will plan to attend this meeting to hear AUHSD Superintendent, John Nickerson, share information about the calendar and the work of the Calendar Task Force. All members of the Lamorinda community are welcome.

 

Parcel Tax Update

I am deeply appreciative of your support as we have dealt with the situation with our parcel tax. All property owners should be receiving a letter within the next few days with a refund check enclosed. I know there have been a number of questions about the process for donating the check to the district, if property owners should choose to do so. More information about the refund process can also be found in this letter. 

 

With all that is going on in our District, please know that we strive to provide you with pertinent, up to date information. If you should ever have any questions about the work we are doing, I hope you won’t hesitate to contact me at rzinn@lafsd.org.

 

As we move into this holiday season, I wish you much joy and many magical moments with family and friends. In a time of uncertainty and change throughout our world, please know how truly appreciative I am of your kindness, your support, and your wonderful spirit.  

 

Very respectfully,

Rachel Zinn, Superintendent

Lafayette School District’s 2017 CAASPP Scores Among Top in the State

The California Department of Education (CDE) released test score results from the 2017 Smarter Balanced assessments of math and English language arts on September  27th. This was the third year of testing based on the Common Core State Standards, using assessments created with input from several states in the Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium (SBAC). These tests form part of the state's California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress, or CAASPP.   Student scores are categorized into four achievement levels that indicate whether a student has exceeded, met, nearly met, or did not meet the standard in grades 3-8 and 11.

 

We are pleased that students in the Lafayette School District tested far above the state and county average. Of the third through eighth grade students tested, 83.47% of our students met or exceeded standards in English Language Arts (ELA), and 81.37% met that same benchmark in mathematics. Our scores place us amongst the top of all California school districts in both ELA and math.

 

According to the publication, EdSource, the Lafayette School District is ranked 22nd in the state out of 1,000 school districts in ELA and 18th in the state in the area of mathematics.  This places the Lafayette School District among the top 2% in the state.  We have many reasons to celebrate and honor the outstanding work being done by teachers, administrators, and support staff throughout our district. Continued high test scores do not happen by accident. They reflect the commitment, hard work, and dedication to classroom instruction that is of the very highest quality.

 

Mary Maddux, Assistant Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction, presented an overview of the District’s CAASPP results to the Governing Board at the October 18th regular Board meeting. For a comprehensive overview of statewide CAASPP scores click here.

 

Announcements

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Education Forum on February 8th

Lamorinda Education Forum, February 8, 6:30 pm to 7:30 pm, Stanley Middle School Multi-Use Room,3455 School Street, Lafayette, CA. Get the latest on education funding and Governor Brown’s proposed 2018-19 Education budget and its impact on our local schools. Speakers include Gerry Shelton, a respected school finance expert, and our State representatives, Senator Steve Glazer and Assemblywoman Catharine Baker. Don't miss this opportunity to get the facts and ask questions. This event is hosted by the Lafayette School District. For more information, contact (925) 927-3502.

If you missed the Roadmap to Kindergarten/Transitional Kindergarten Event on 1/11/18, click here to view the Power Point Presentation. 

Congratulations to Linda Mara, LAFSD Teacher of the Year for 2017-2018


"When I started middle school, math was the least of my concerns. I busied myself with friends and sports. It wasn't until 7th grade when I was a student in Ms. Mara's class that I started paying attention to mathematics.  Ms. Mara's enthusiasm for her job is evident and she has bountiful energy towards her students. Her classes are not only engaging and fun, but also educational and effective. She adapts and modifies her teaching style for every student. Whether math is or isn't your thing, Ms. Mara is dedicated to making sure you enjoy learning in her class. I remember many times where she made an effort to talk to me outside of class when she saw that I was struggling and offered her help and support. Ms. Mara makes school enjoyable and her classes are captivating. I am now inspired to work in a STEM field, and I am currently taking multiple STEM classes in high school. Thanks to Ms. Mara, not only has my career path changed, but my attitude towards school has soared."  Madeline Wilson, former student, Stanley Middle School

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Today: 1/20/18