From the Superintendent
Welcome to the 2016-2017 school year in the Los Gatos – Saratoga Union High School District. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, myself, and staff, we are excited about the opportunities the new year brings as we partner with each of you to create the best possible educational environment and experience for everyone.
This commitment to excellence goes beyond academic rigor. Building connections with students and with each other, supporting student social/emotional well-being, and offering a rich extra-curricular program are all part of what we do as we strive to create a well-rounded student and community citizen. This integrated approach was at the forefront of our recent district Strategic Planning process, during which parents, students and staff came together to identify focus areas for the coming years.
As you know, in the spring of 2015, we conducted a survey of parents, students and staff, gathering your feedback about how we’re doing. From the over 4,000 responses received, we learned that, overall, students and parents are very satisfied with our schools. And, we also learned that our work to support students, socially and emotionally, will continue to be an area of focus. The district’s new Strategic Vision* “SUPPORT ALL STUDENTS to develop the skills, passions, confidence, and resiliency to pursue college and/or career pathways that are right for them” is supported by the following Strategic Focus Areas:
- Relevant & Engaging Learning Experiences Emphasizing the 4C’s (Critical Thinking, Creativity, Communication, Collaboration)
- Student Wellness, Balance & Belonging
- Culture of Collaboration & Innovation
These strategic guidelines are the foundation for district Strategic Initiatives, school plans and other planning documents.
*The Strategic Plan document can be found at http://www.lgsuhsd.org/file/1238131167764/1238131251731/6763394563216248020.pdf
Thanks to the hard work of the Schedule Advisory Committee (SAC), we have a new bell schedule for this year – a full rolling block at both schools, with a slightly later start time that we know, from research, supports student well-being. We have also integrated district-wide and site-based collaboration and professional development days for staff, ensuring that our teachers are positioned to bring our students quality education and a learning environment that fosters the growth of ALL students.
We continue to look for ways to communicate with you, our stakeholders. The use of Canvas, a Learning Management System (LMS), is providing a standard communication and content delivery system to support quality instruction and provide students and parents with feedback to support learning. You’ll see a new look on our site and district websites – reorganized and aligned to facilitate your access to key information. And, we are happy to report that, in the second year of administration of the new standardized assessment, SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium), our students continued to achieve impressive results.
I want to express my appreciation for the support you showed by approving the May 2016 parcel tax renewal, Measure A. This locally controlled funding will, at a cost to residents of $49/parcel, provide approximately $970K per year, through 2025 and will be used to fund science, math, technology and engineering courses, provide support for excellent core academic programs and maintain class sizes.
Of course, the big news (the visible news) is the Measure E construction going on. Thanks to you, our campuses will see $99 million in modernization and new construction. Last year, we completed various field projects at both sites. This summer and fall, we’re breaking ground at SHS on the new Music Building and modernize the Cafeteria/ Theater space and moving forward with plans for a Music Building/Classroom wing at LGHS. Throughout the coming school year, there will be some disruption to our campuses, especially in terms of traffic flow and parking. However, safety is our priority and we appreciate your patience as we safeguard students, staff and visitors during the construction and renovation. To learn more about Measure E projects, please follow us at @LGHSMeasureE and @SHSMeasureE.
Thank you for the opportunity to again be part of this district and community. Thank you for your support, involvement and input. At all times, it’s about “what’s best for our kids!”