March 2010

From the Superintendent

 



Upon the education of the people the fate of this country depends.

Benjamin Disraeli

March 2, 2010 

Dear Parents and Community Members, Hello and welcome to a new month.  With the trees starting to bloom and the surrounding hills covered with a lush carpet of new growth, it is clear that March has arrived, providing a sneak preview to the spring that awaits us all. It is always a hopeful time as we emerge from winter and head into the new season. 

Despite the worries and the tension surrounding the budget situation, our schools continue to be hopeful places where children are provided wonderful opportunities to learn skills needed to be successful in later life. These learned skills certainly reflect rigorous, core academic content while also recognizing the importance of students acquiring the ability to think and question critically, to problem solve thoughtfully and creatively, and to care about other people and the world at large. The work that we are engaged in creates the foundation for our society and builds the scaffolding for the future health of our nation. It is not something that should be taken lightly or taken for granted by our legislative leaders or by the citizenry they serve.   

The schools of the SRVUSD are full of wonderful stories of positive energy and excitement, ranging from students raising funds for Haiti, winning academic competitions, celebrating championship sports teams, creating stellar performing arts presentations, to receiving state and national recognition for excellence. While these examples are incredibly noteworthy, equally significant are the miracles that occur without fanfare day in and day out as students, working with teachers and support staff, suddenly experience success with a skill they have been struggling with, gain enough confidence to try something new, or discover the true joy of learning as they investigate a complex problem with technology tools in a way that honors their preferred learning style.  

These are the stories we should be focused on, but instead we are forced to deal with the seemingly never-ending budget crisis in California public education. To say this is disappointing is a huge understatement. 

Because of this reality we find ourselves having to balance the budget through reduction in services and increased class size. At the last meeting of the Board of Education the Board considered, but took no formal action, on a proposal that included significant administrative reductions, reductions in other support positions, class size increases, reduction in counseling services, reduction in custodial support, as well as other possible measures including a possible future school conversion from a K-5 school to a parent paid early learning center. Taken together more than 150 employees could receive a layoff notice this year, which is heartbreaking.  

Because of deadlines for giving preliminary notices to teachers, counselors, and administrators, the Board will most likely have to take preliminary action at their next meeting on March 9th. I am still hopeful that we will be able to minimize these layoffs and reductions as we factor in retirements and other attrition factors. We are also continuing conversations with our employee unions and associations as we explore contract modifications which could financially help the district on a short-term basis. 

There is no doubt that the San Ramon Valley USD is an exceptional place for children to learn. Because of our commitment to students we will always do our very best to serve them, but we really can’t pretend that the loss of revenue (more than $800 per student) will have no impact on the schools and on the students. This is the reality that the people of California must contemplate as they weigh the importance of public education within the reality of this very serious economic recession. 

Thank you for reading and thank you for your support of our schools. 

Steven Enoch

Superintendent of Schools   

2010-11 Enrollment Now Open for Grades K-8

Enrollment for the 2010 school year for new families is now open for grades Kindergarten through 8. Families are asked to enroll their children at their resident school. Enrollment for new students entering grades 9-12 opens April 1st. Parents can download enrollment forms before going to their resident school. To download the forms, go to the district website or paste the following link into your browser:

http://www.srvusd.net/apps/pages/index.jsp?uREC_ID=42574&type=d&rn=1867042.

Community Invited to Student Recognition Project OPEN HOUSE

See amazing projects, live entertainment and refreshments on March 18th!

WHAT: High School Student Work and Entertainment on Display at Student Recognition Project OPEN HOUSE

WHEN: Thursday, March 18, 2010, 4:00 – 7:00 p.m.

WHERE: Bishop Ranch 1, 6111 Bollinger Canyon Road, Suite 175

WHO: All community members are welcome and encouraged to attend the annual Student Recognition Project Open House and Project Display. The event is an opportunity to view and acknowledge hundreds of projects created by high school students in the San Ramon Valley Unified School District. There will also be entertainment by local high school choral and instrumental groups.

Students who participate in the Project compete in any of 26 categories that showcase their skills both within and outside the curriculum. Project judging is done by professional business people with extensive expertise in the various categories.

Student winners are announced at the Open House and honored at a gala breakfast on April 1st.

The program is coordinated by the San Ramon Valley Business and Education Roundtable and sponsored, in part, by Chevron. The purpose of the program is to create collaboration among students, educators and the business community in the San Ramon Valley, to promote educational excellence, and to prepare students for the business world of the 21st century.

Categories include: Acting, Applied Design, Architecture, Automotive, Computer Aided Drafting, Community Service, Creative Writing, Culinary Arts, Dance, Digital Art (*new category), Early Childhood Education, Entrepreneur, Fashion Design, Financial Planning/Investment, Instrumental Music, Journalism, Photography-Digital, Photography-Film, Poetry (*new category), Robotics, Science, Video Production, Visual Arts (Black&White), Visual Arts (Color), Vocal Music, Web Design

No cost to attend. Refreshments will be provided.

For more information, contact: Terry Koehne, Chair, Student Recognition Project, 925-552-2942/tkoehne@srvusd.net

Lights! Camera! Action! Call for Middle School Filmmakers!

Is your middle school student interested in videos, filmmaking, digital media, or acting? Middle school students in the San Ramon Valley are invited to participate in the 5th Annual Street Smarts “Be Reel!” Video Contest this Spring.  For the valley-wide competition, students may work individually or in teams of up to four students to produce creative 60-second public service announcement (PSA) videos on the topic of “Safety on Wheels”- middle school students using their bicycle, skateboard or scooter safely.

All participants will receive great prizes!  For the first prize winners, each member of the winning team will receive an iPod Nano with digital docking station.  For the second prize winners, each member of the video production team will receive an iPod shuffle.  Each student participant will receive a $5 gift card for entering a video.  Advisors will receive a $20 gift card for assisting a student or team, and contest finalists will each receive a $25 gift card.

All videos will be judged based on content, creativity and clarity.  Finalist videos from the contest will be screened at the Danville International Children’s Film Festival. Videos will be accepted through April 5, 2010.  Complete rules and additional information about the contest is available online at www.streetsmarts-srv.com.

Local 5th graders put on “Thinking Caps”

Golden View Elementary School team wins regional academic competition

San Ramon – The fifth grade team of students from Golden View Elementary School in San Ramon recently won 1st place in the 5th grade division of the Southwest Thinking Cap Quiz Bowl, topping 22 other teams for the honor. They will receive a team trophy and 1st place ribbons for each team member. Their team of 6 students scored 1148 points out of a possible 1500 in the computer contest which consists of 100 multiple-choice questions over a wide variety of subjects. The test is timed and points are earned for speed of answer as well as correctness. Thinking Cap Quiz Bowl has sponsored computer quiz bowls for 5th and 6th grades since 1989 and is based in Iowa. 

The contest is open to 5th & 6th grade students but in two different pools. With the grade levels, Golden View finished 7th in the Southwest region. Overall, 51 teams signed up for the contest. For more information, visit http://thinkingcapquizbowl.com.

8th Annual San Ramon Valley Community Fair

Wednesday, March 31, 2010

6-8 PM

Iron Horse Middle School, San Ramon

Hundreds of summer and fall programs for youth ages 0-18 and their families!

Sometimes it is hard to know what programs and services are available in your own community. The purpose of the Community Fair is to provide families with a “one-stop-shop” where they can meet face-to-face with various groups that provide summer and fall programs and activities. The idea for this fair came from community members who wanted “options” for their kids, instead of the kids sitting at home all summer…watching TV or playing on the computer. Come and join us!

For more information, click here to download a flyer.

 

Sticks to Schools at Rancho

 

Rancho Romero Elementary School students participate in a lacrosse clinic with the Sticks to Schools program instructors.  Sticks-to-Schools is a nonprofit organization aiming to reduce the epidemic of childhood obesity by making exercise fun and introducing lacrosse into the physical education curriculum or after school programs.  In January, Rancho was chosen as a participant.  They received 40 beginner equipment sets, curriculum guides and an on-site orientation by professional lacrosse instructors.

Important Dates

  • June 7-10: Final Exam Week
  • June 8: Board of Education Meeting, 7PM, SRVUSD Education Center
  • June 10: Last Day of School (Minimum Day)
  • June 11: High School Graduation/Teacher Work Day
  • June 18: First Day of Summer School (check district website)
  • June 29: Board of Education Meeting, 7PM, SRVUSD Education Center
  • August 23: First Day of School for 2010-11
  • For more information, visit www.srvusd.net