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Superintendent's Message

Lafayette School District

“Our students are creative thinkers and problem-solvers and are prepared to become responsible, ethical and productive citizens.”

 

September 2017

 

Dear Lafayette Families, Staff, and Community Members,

 

With all that is currently going on in our world, one has to look at our Lafayette District and community and feel extremely grateful. The level of professionalism and expertise shown by our teachers and staff, the incredible number of volunteer hours put in by our parents, community members, and Governing Board, and the overall spirit and caring at schools and in our City does so much to make our little corner of the world extremely special. I don’t take it for granted for a minute. In addition, I also want to shine a spotlight on you, the parents, for sending children who come to us full of wonder, curiosity, and enthusiasm. As we navigate the swirl of events taking place in our world, we will continue to work, like never before, to insure that your children feel safe, supported, and confident.

 

As we begin this year, I also want to shine a light on the District’s dedicated Governing Board, and in particular the Board’s commitment to prudent, responsible, proactive budget planning. As I talk with parents and community members about our schools, we are constantly being complimented for the work that we do. When we discuss the issues facing schools today, I appreciate that you understand that maintaining world-class schools does cost money. While we, as school leaders, work diligently to make sure that every single dollar is well spent, we also know that the State funding we do receive is sorely inadequate and woefully inconsistent. Recognizing the need for stable and sufficient funding, in August, the Board authorized a Feasibility Study to proactively identify budget issues on the horizon and consider possible solutions, which could include seeking community support for a potential new parcel tax that will protect our schools from further cuts and help us close a projected budget gap.

 

As we enter the new school year, there will be a number of opportunities to learn more about the District’s budget and participate in open, candid discussions. Throughout this study process, there will be multiple avenues available to give input that will guide us in the months to come. Please note that on Monday, October 2nd, at 5:00 p.m. in the Stanley Library a Governing Board Study Session, which will be open to the public, will be held to discuss the timeline and the components of the Feasibility Study. Other opportunities for public dialogue in the coming months will be posted on our website and on the NextDoor website as well.

 

Just a reminder, I will be convening a small group of interested staff, parents, and community members who can be thinking partners with me to explore possible ways to enhance revenues, consider effective methods of communication, and discuss the needs and challenges our District faces. This Superintendent’s ‘Think Tank’ will be facilitated by me and is designed to be solely advisory in nature. If you are interested in participating, please contact my Executive Assistant, Sharon Carman, at scarman@lafsd.org so that she can provide you with an application. Applications are due no later than September 29th.

 

Additional highlights as we begin the year…


• Donations to LPIE and Parent Orgs…We deeply appreciate the support we receive from Lafayette Partners in Education (LPIE) and our Parent Orgs. Your donations to both of these organizations are critical. Without this funding, many of the incredible LPIE supported programs that are so valued in our District would disappear. LPIE has raised $1.6 million to date but needs the support from every family to reach its $3.2 million dollar goal for this year.


• District Parent Survey…Many, many thanks to the over 600 parents who took time to complete our District Parent Survey this past spring. Your input was invaluable in helping us learn more about what is working in our schools, what is not working, and what we should consider implementing as we work to make our schools the very best that they can be. Please click on the following link to access the results and synopsis of the data that was collected. Survey Results


• Year End Results…District Staff and our administrators at each site are excited to share our first-ever Year End Results flip book with you. As you peruse this document you will find highlights of our work along with important information about each of our District departments and our schools. Please click here to view our new publication.


• 2017-2018 Teacher of the Year…Congratulations to 8th grade math teacher extraordinaire, Linda Mara. Linda is our 2017-2018 District nominee for the Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Award. Linda has taught in our District for fifteen years and is an inspiration to all who know her. We will be honoring her at a Teacher of the Year celebration next week.


• Traffic…Please know that the District is committed to working jointly with the City and the Lafayette Police Department to focus on student safety, deal with increasing traffic issues, and find effective ways to improve circulation at and around our schools. To that end the District will be meeting jointly with the City in October to discuss all of these high priority issues. We have recently received information that the traffic around the Relieze Valley Road area is particularly challenging. Please know that as we talk with the City, this will be a priority for discussion. The date is in the process of being determined, but if you have input you would like to provide about this important issue, please don’t hesitate to contact me.


• Parent Education Opportunities…We are proud of the outstanding parent education sessions that we offer each year, and we pay special tribute to our District Parent Education Committee (DPEC) for all the work they do to organize these impactful events. Please note three important, upcoming opportunities:


•     Help! My Child is Struggling in School! An Overview of Educational Support Systems by Todd Gary will be held in the Stanley Middle School Library on Tuesday, September 26th from 5:30 to 8:00. Sponsored by SEED, this workshop will cover the fundamentals of the Student Study Team (SST) process, Section 504 Plans, and a number of aspects of Special Education, including the Individual Education Program (IEP).
•     Dimensions of Gender: Creating Safe and Inclusive Schools for All Students on Thursday, October 5th at 6:30 in the Stanley Middle School Library. This presentation will provide a useful framework for understanding the components of gender and the importance of creating gender inclusive environments.
•     The Science and Practice of Cultivating Compassion by Dacher Keltner on Tuesday, October 17th at 6:30 in the Stanley Middle School Multi-Use Room. UC Berkeley Professor of Psychology, Dr. Dacher Keltner, will focus on what we have learned about gratitude, mindfulness, touch, and awe and how this stimulates creativity and curiosity.


• Measure C Bond Work…Your Measure C dollars are hard at work! We remain extremely grateful to you for your support of this bond. We are excited to share that your dollars allowed us to purchase the Old Lafayette Library parcel adjacent to Lafayette Elementary School. Late this coming spring, the library will be completely removed and classrooms will be built in its place. Construction that will add classrooms on the Stanley campus will also begin late this spring and into the summer. If you have any questions about the work taking place, please don’t hesitate to contact our Director of Facilities and Construction, Rich Lowell.


• Enrollment Update…Despite the amount of building that you might see taking place in our City, enrollment in our District is almost completely flat. While enrollment numbers can fluctuate daily, District enrollment has not increased this year at all and is actually slightly lower at both the elementary and middle school levels.


As we begin the year, please know that we strive to provide your child with an exceptional school experience. We are incredibly proud to be a part of all that makes a positive difference in the life of your child. If I can ever be of assistance as we move through this year, I hope you won’t ever hesitate to contact me.


Very respectfully,


Rachel Zinn, Superintendent

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