Fall 2014 Message from Superintendent Zinn
Dear Lafayette Families and Community Members,
As the Thanksgiving season approaches, I want you to know how deeply grateful I am to you, the Lafayette community, for the on-going support you provide our District and for your exceptional spirit of involvement and volunteerism. When I reflect upon the incredible work done by our Governing Board, LPIE, Parent Organizations, and countless parents and members of our community, I am so proud to serve in a District where supporting our students is such a significant part of our collective culture.
As I reflect upon those in our community who tirelessly give to others, I would also like to extend a sincere thank- you to our exemplary teachers, staff members, and administrators who dedicate their lives to supporting and inspiring our students. They, too, are such an exceptional part of our school community and are well deserving of our deepest appreciation.
As the holidays approach and the year continues to speed by, I want to be sure that you are kept apprised of important information. To that end, I do want to share the following updates with you:
Extended-Day Kindergarten—Our kindergarten teachers have been researching and discussing the benefits of extended day kindergarten for over seven years. I am pleased to share that the Governing Board voted to move forward with an extended day for our kindergarten students for the 2015-2016 school year. An extended day kindergarten experience for our students will allow for more in-depth curriculum work and will provide more time for students to engage in developmentally appropriate activities. Details of the extended-day schedule are currently being finalized and will be shared with you in early December.
Traffic—While I know that traffic congestion continues to be an issue at all of our schools, please know that we are working very closely with Chief Eric Christensen, Officer Larry Seliga, principals, parent representatives, and representatives from the City to develop and implement specific steps to ease traffic congestion. While we will eventually work with all school sites, we have most recently focused our efforts on Happy Valley and Springhill. While we have a ways to go, we do think that progress is being made. If you have input that you would like to share related to the traffic situation at your school, please feel free to contact me.
Facilities Master Plan—In an effort to be proactive about the potential growth in our community and its impact on our schools, the firm Total School Solutions has created a comprehensive Facilities Master Plan for our District. This plan includes a Demographic Study, a Capacity and Utilization Study, and a Needs Assessment for each school site. A Facilities Master Plan Committee representative of members of our District and our community has been formed to further analyze this plan and make recommendations to the Governing Board. The plan is available on our website for your review.
Common Core Standards--I know you are aware that we are experiencing a transformational time in education the likes of which we have never seen. Assessments, school funding formulas, and the curriculum are all shifting in major ways. It is an exciting yet challenging journey that we, along with all Districts in our state (and most throughout the nation), are taking. We are energized by the work that is taking place, and we look forward to continuing to share our progress along the way.
As you know, a part of this journey involves the deep and authentic implementation of the Common Core Standards. I am grateful that long before the Common Core Standards were even a reality, our District has been on the cutting edge of implementation of research-based best practices that are in direct alignment with the Common Core Standards. This deep and thoughtful implementation would not be possible were it not for our exemplary teachers, the outstanding leadership of our administrators, the ‘on the ground’ work that is done by our math and literacy coaches, and the support from all of you, our incredible parents.
As we move along on this journey, we acknowledge that there are significant shifts taking place in all subject areas--shifts that are not only changing the content of instruction itself but the way instruction is delivered in the classroom. Teachers at every grade level have been involved in extensive professional development, collaboration time with grade-level and department-level teams, and on-going collegial discussions with researchers and outside content experts in the field to insure that the strategies that we are implementing provide the very best curriculum for our students. While this is a continuing journey for all of us, we are absolutely convinced that we are on the right path—doing the right work.
We do acknowledge that authentic implementation of this work takes a great deal of time and can take teachers away from the classroom for training and coaching. Please know that we try to be extremely thoughtful and strategic about the use of time when teachers are away from their students. We work to insure that only the most expert trainers and coaches work with our teachers so that any time spent away from the classroom is extremely productive and worthwhile. Based on information from teachers and the results we are seeing with students, we are confident that the collaboration, professional development, and coaching is making a difference, and we appreciate that teachers are so dedicated to working together to implement strategies that they have learned.
If at any time there is input that you would like to provide, please don’t hesitate to contact me. I continue to feel extremely fortunately to work (and live) in this community. I wish you a restful and joyful Thanksgiving holiday.