Superintendent's July 2014 Update
To the Greater San Rafael City Schools Community:
San Rafael City Schools is facing historic levels of change as we implement the Common Core State Standards (CCCS) and the Local Control Accountability Plans. Each requires the district to rethink how we deliver instruction to children and how this impacts teaching, learning, leading and how we measure student achievement.
To build capacity at all levels of the district, we must redesign how the district supports school site implementation of Common Core; ensuring that every principal and teacher has information, support, and on-going professional development to effectively teach to the new standards.
A New View
The revolutionary change required means that we must create new systems. We must critically review our existing systems, structures and talent. For the past six months, we have assessed how best to reimagine how we do what we do, while also capturing the strengths of existing leaders.
We are fortunate to have a number of talented leaders, skillful in affecting change dedicated to our students, and able to efficiently and effectively lead students, staff, families and the greater school community. Over the past several months, we have tapped several leaders to consider a change in assignment to support all schools and all students.
We believe that it will be most effective and efficient to identify known leaders for new roles and responsibilities within our system. We know our leaders. We know where their strengths lie, and each has an established track record of what they have accomplished regardless of their positions or titles. These leaders know SRCS and we know them.
Redesigning While Progressing
SRCS seeks to strengthen all levels of the school system, from the boardroom to the classroom. We have a laser focus on increasing student achievement and increasing the number of high school graduates, while ensuring, they are prepared for college or career. Here’s what we are doing so students have the best-possible education in SRCS:
- Redesigning our Curriculum & Instruction Division
- Transitioning to a District infrastructure that supports the work at our schools, with our principals, our teachers & support staff
- Designing and delivering professional development in ways that model 21st century teaching and learning
- Following the instructional practice recommended by Common Core so that teachers and students are successful
- Proving all students with a rigorous and challenging instructional program that prepares students for college, career, and community.
- Providing targeted support services for historically underserved students as outlined by the Local Control Accountability Plan
- Supporting school site implementation of both Common Core and LCAP.
- Ensuring the tools used to teach are aligned and appropriate for the curriculum
- Engaging parents, students, staff and community members
- Replacing the district’s Data & Information Management System from Aeries to Infinite Campus so teachers and administrators have the data they need to plan success
Common Core State Standards provide us an opportunity to renew our focus on teaching and learning, while also targeting the instructional core of student, teacher and curriculum and, especially the kinds of tasks that students are asked to do. In the process, CCSS also has the great potential to re-energize teachers by connecting them with the creativity and challenge of teaching.
SRCS is finally emerging from one of the worst financial crises in our state’s history. While we are seeing some increases in revenues, we still face structural deficits due to long-term health care and pension costs that outpace revenue increases. There are expenses connected to these implementations and we will act strategically and proactively to design how best to manage the transition to CCSS - one that engages site administrators and teacher leaders
The levels of accountability outlined for LCFF and LCAP are unprecedented. The need to change is not a question; it is just a matter of when. To support these changes, we are in the process of making some leadership changes. We will keep you updated as these changes are announced.
We understand that changes in school leadership are difficult. These assignments allow our leaders to grow in their careers and make impacts in other areas of the school district. We’d much rather provide them with opportunities here, rather than see them leave our district to grow in their professions.
As a district, we are standing behind these leaders and providing them with the support they need to be successful. We are also hoping our teachers, staff and community stand with these leaders as they maneuver through changes, get to know great new people in new locations and work to make SRCS as strong as it can be. We are all here to serve the children of our community. Our students drive us to be the best that we can be. They deserve nothing less.
Thank you for your support and understanding of all of the changes facing SRCS as it progresses into new territory. We are committed to communicating regularly with you, both directly and through your school site.
If you have any questions in the meantime, please contact the Superintendent’s Office, 415-492-3233.
Michael Watenpaugh, Ed.D., Superintendent Natu Tuatagaloa, Board President
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