May 2010

 

 

 

From the Superintendent

 

An optimist is the human personification of spring.

Susan J. Bissonette

 

Dear Parents,

If April showers are a precursor to May flowers it should indeed be a beautiful month ahead. I hope everyone enjoyed the nice weekend and feels good about entering into the last full month of the school year.

I make these comments fully aware that despite the bright sunshine a dark cloud of concern hangs over us because of the state budget. Instead of dwelling on this obvious deep worry, I will simply say that I continue to be hopeful that we can work out bargaining issues internally and that the state begins to experience an economic upswing. We were quite hopeful about this upswing as revenue for the state came in strong the first three months of the year, but unfortunately the gains were basically offset by weak income tax revenue in April.

Instead of writing about the budget, I would like to resurface the discussion we had earlier this year regarding the question of what the "next level" might look like in such an outstanding school district as ours. We had, in my opinion, great conversations and some debate around this question before the discussion got hijacked by the budget crisis.

While fully acknowledging the difficulty in maintaining such a conversation during this economic crisis, it would be wrong not to respond or share back recommendations that came out of this process. We also have an obligation, even in difficult times, to think carefully about priorities and direction, as no organization can afford to just drift, especially in such turbulent times.

To this end we have posted a document, The Next Level----After the Conversation, on the district homepage at www.srvusd.net (in the News/Announcement section). The document includes a brief summary of each proposal, staff and community responses, and some specific recommendations that I have generated that hopefully reflect an appropriate balance between caution about change in this environment, while still keeping forward energy in place.

I would greatly appreciate it if you have an opportunity to read over the document and to share back with me your comments and feedback.

As always, thank you for reading my letter and for caring about public education in our community.

 

Steven Enoch
Superintendent of Schools  

 

Gale Ranch Middle School Team Finishes Second in National Science Bowl

The five-person team was quizzed by First Lady Michelle Obama

Congratulations Gale Ranch Middle School in San Ramon, the 2nd Place Winner of the National Science Bowl (middle school level) at the National Building Museum in Washington DC. The five-student team of 7th graders from Gale Ranch faced off against Albuquerque Academy (Albuquerque, NM) Monday morning in the finals of the competition. Gale Ranch finished as the runner-up in the national event

The Gale Ranch team members are: Rishi Krishnan, Ayush Rath, Saran Prembabu, Sijung-Jason Kim, Agustine Chemparathy, and coach George Chemparathy.

First Lady Michelle Obama asked the bonus questions in the championship middle school match. The First Lady also spoke to the more than 500 students and 100 teacher/coaches about the importance of science education to the Nation’s economic and technological future.

For the past 19 years students have descended on Washington, D.C., every May to compete in the National Science Bowl® sponsored by the U.S. Department of Energy’s Office of Science. This academic competition began in 1991 to encourage middle and high school-aged students to take a more active role in science.

During the competition, each team is quizzed during a fast-paced question-and-answer format similar to that of the TV game show “Jeopardy.” The students then earn extra points by tackling more in-depth short-answer questions that are solved by the entire team.

One hundred five teams from 42 states, the District of Columbia, Puerto Rico, and the U.S. Virgin Islands competed in this weekend’s national finals of the 20th annual DOE National Science Bowl. Earlier this spring, more than 20,000 students from across the country participated in regional Science Bowls. Sixty-eight high school and 37 middle school regional Science Bowl champions received all-expense paid trips to compete in the National Finals in Washington, DC.

DOE created the National Science Bowl in 1991 to encourage students to excel in mathematics and science and to pursue careers in these fields. DOE supports mathematics and science education to help provide a technically trained and diverse workforce for the nation. More than 200,000 students have participated in the National Science Bowl throughout its 20 year history.

Six More San Ramon Valley Schools Labeled “Distinguished”

6 of 13 "Distinguished Schools" in Contra Costa belong to SRVUSD

State Superintendent of Public Instruction Jack O'Connell announced that 484 California elementary schools have been selected as 2010 California Distinguished Schools, an annual award that recognizes some of the state's most exemplary public schools. Of the 13 selected in Contra Costa County, six belong to the San Ramon Valley Unified School District:

  • Coyote Creek Elementary School, San Ramon
  • Hidden Hills Elementary School, San Ramon
  • Live Oak Elementary School, San Ramon
  • Rancho Romero Elementary School, Alamo
  • Sycamore Valley Elementary School, Danville
  • Vista Grande Elementary School, Danville

“This is an incredible honor for our entire community,” said Hanna Ma, Principal at Hidden Hills Elementary School. “It is a reward for the hard work of our staff and student body, and the incredible support we receive from our parents and community.”

Since the program’s inception, schools in the SRVUSD have received Distinguished School honors 66 times, more than any other school district in northern California.

“This is another nice feather in our cap,” said Superintendent Steven Enoch. “While many of the criteria for the Distinguished Schools Award have changed, accolades like this one symbolize why so many people choose to raise their children and purchase a home in the San Ramon Valley.”

The prestigious award is considered the state's predominant recognition of a school's total educational program, including academic achievement and narrowing achievement gaps.

“These schools have persevered despite state budget cutbacks that have cut deeply into the budgets of local school districts,” said O’Connell. “I encourage educators throughout our state to review the signature practices that Distinguished Schools are using to improve student achievement."

Elementary schools and secondary schools are selected in alternate years. Schools were identified for eligibility on the basis of their Academic Performance Index and Adequate Yearly Progress results, which are the state and federal accountability models, respectively. The applicants were also identified by their success in narrowing the achievement gap that exists between higher-performing and lower-performing students. All applicants underwent a stringent selection process conducted by the California Department of Education with the help of many educators from across the state. Each applicant was required to describe two signature practices that have led to an increase in student achievement and a narrowing of the achievement gap. Applicants were then selected to receive a thorough site visit to validate the signature practices.

The 2010 California Distinguished Schools will be honored during an awards ceremony and dinner at the Disneyland Hotel in Anaheim on June 4, 2010. For more information about the California Distinguished Schools program, please visit California School Recognition Program.

 

John Korzick is District’s “Teacher of the Year”

Teacher at California High School in San Ramon, announced as one of five semi-finalists in County competition

California High School Teacher, John Korzick, has been named the San Ramon Valley Unified School District 2010-11 Teacher of the Year. Korzick, who represents San Ramon Valley in the Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year Program, was recently announced as one of five semi-finalists in the County competition. He will be recognized by the SRVUSD Board of Education at its meeting on Tuesday, May 11th.

“John is one of those educators who is always thinking ‘out of the box’,” said Superintendent Steven Enoch. “His fearless approach to new ideas and innovation has led to amazing opportunities for both students and faculty members on the Cal High campus.”

Korzick has been a teacher for six years, five years at California High School teaching Algebra, Engineering and Robotics. He also spent time as the head freshman football coach and started the men’s lacrosse program at Cal High in 2002. Prior to a new career as a teacher, he started a sales engineering business which he owned for 25 years.

“The excitement and challenges of running a business made way for new challenges,” said Korzick. “But through coaching I found a passion in working with students and decided to become not only a coach but also a classroom teacher. I anticipated that teaching would be a challenging and fun career, but I just didn’t realize how much fun.”

Korzick coordinates California High School’s innovative new Engineering and Design Academy, and became involved in a partnership with Chevron that led to funding for equipment and software as well as Chevron employee mentors who provide teacher training in the area of engineering.

Korzick received his teaching credential from Saint Mary’s College in 2004. He and his wife recently spent two summers volunteering for “Teach Through Friendship,” where they instructed college students in Conversational English at Huazhong University of Science and Technology in Wuhan, China.

Each year all of the public school districts in the county select Teachers of the Year. An expert committee, with representatives from education and the community, then chooses one of these candidates to represent Contra Costa County in the State Teacher of the Year Program. Last year, Joell Marchese, science teacher Pine Valley Middle School in San Ramon, was chosen as the Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year.

 

SRVEF Awards $90,000 in grants

 

Congratulations to more than 100 educators who received grants recently from the
San Ramon Valley Education Foundation. SRVEF awarded nearly $90,000
in educator grants for the 2010-11 school year.

 

 

San Ramon Arts Foundation donates $5,600 for middle school art supplies

The San Ramon Arts Foundation recently donated $5,600 to the SRVUSD to be distributed equally among the 7 middle schools for art supplies and other arts education activities. The Foundation raised this money from their 2009 fundraising cycle including the San Ramon Art and Wind Festival, Concerts in the Park, and and from their new Harvest Moon Gala fall event in October.

The Foundation is currently seeking more parental involvement on its board of directors and for volunteers in upcoming events which will help maintain fundraising effots. The Foundation's newest fundraising event, entitled "Bike for the Arts," will be held July 17 in San Ramon’s Central Park. The event is a 95, 65, and 20 mile bike ride meant for all levels of cyclists.

For more information about the San Ramon Arts Foundation, contact Steve Filson at steve_filson@yahoo.com.

 

Community Bike Rodeo

Wednesday, May 12, 2010
4-6PM
Iron Horse Middle School, 12701 Alcosta Blvd., San Ramon

Open to all students!  Admission is Free!

Highlights include: Obstacle Course, Bicycle Games and Prizes, Bike Helmet Safety Check, Bike Inspection and Safety Check, Bike Crime Prevention, Basic First Aid Demonstrations, Register Your Bike with Local Police Department.

Don’t miss prizes and drawings for all attendees. Raffle for helmets and two bicycles courtesy of Dublin Cyclery and Valley Spokesman.

Sponsored by the City of San Ramon, Town of Danville, San Ramon Valley Unified School District, Street Smarts, Boy Scouts of America, Dublin Cyclery and Valley Spokesman.

For more information, call 925-973-2700 or visit www.sanramon.ca.gov

 

CPR Saturday – Free Community CPR/AED Event

Saturday, June 5, 2010

Reserve your space for the San Ramon Valley Mass CPR/AED training event. Community members are invited to participate with local Firefighters, Nurses and CPR/AED instructors to learn life saving skills.

Choose your location:

  • Monte Vista High School, Danville or
  • Iron Horse Middle School, San Ramon

Choose your session:

  • 9:00 a.m. – 11:00 a.m. or
  • 12:00 p.m. – 2:00 p.m.

Space is limited! Sign-up today!

For more information and to register, visit www.firedepartment.org/cprsaturday or call 838-5133.
Registration is required. Students must be at least 12 years of age. This course does not qualify for a CPR certification card.

 

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