October 2009

From the Superintendent

October Greetings to All, 

With summer finally letting go and giving way to cooler weather and with close to 28,000 students now settled into their studies, it is clear we are into the wonderful fall season. As we enter into this new season I am very pleased to report that the San Ramon Valley Unified School District has had an excellent start to the school year.

Our enrollment is up approximately 900 students from this time last year. With this growth we were able to hire back all of our teachers who faced layoffs because of the budget, plus hire another 70 new teachers and other staff members. We have also employed some wonderful principals, new in their positions, but experienced and proven in their careers. One of the ironies of the state budget crisis is the opportunity it has created for a growing school district such as ours to have many candidates applying for jobs, allowing us to hire only the very best.  

Even our budget situation is slightly better, although still very tenuous. Because of our enrollment growth, the slight increase in K-3 class size, combined with the passage of Measure “C” and our restriction last year on all spending except for what was most essential, our bottom line has improved slightly, although we are still spending down reserves. Because of the deficit spending I will be recommending to the Board we increase K-3 / 9th grade class size to 24 for the next two years, something that most other school districts have already been forced to implement.    

Despite the many challenges of last year, we can and should be extremely pleased by our academic performance. Our district's state testing results (API) improved 13 points, to a score of 914, the highest average of any large school district in the state! These results are a tribute to our teachers and staff, of course the students, and to this community which clearly values and understands the importance of a quality education.  

This level of academic performance, combined with a slight stabilization of the budget, provides us with an excellent opportunity to think creatively about ways to make this outstanding school district even better. To this end we are scheduling community and staff forums in the month of November, much like we did last year (Forum discussions should not just be held when we are facing an election.).  While the exact content is still being worked out, I would anticipate a discussion on how best to prepare students for success in a changing competitive, global environment, and what this means for teaching and learning. We need your feedback on ideas related to technology and expansion of world language education. We would also like to discuss a possible restructuring of the senior year experience, allowing these students more time off campus in order to have a job, engage in community service or political advocacy, and/or take college classes. We might also want to discuss when and how to best meet all of our facilities needs in terms of growth, modernization of older facilities and energy conservation. Basically, this is a good time to revisit the values, mission and priorities of our school district and your involvement is needed. 

Like last year, the forums will be scheduled at each high school. Parents, staff, students and other community members may attend any forum that works best with their schedule. The staff forums will be at 4:00 p.m. and the community forums at 6:30 p.m.  The dates and locations of the forums are as follows: 

  • Wednesday, November 4, San Ramon Valley High School
  • Monday, November 9, Dougherty Valley High School
  • Thursday, November 12, Monte Vista High School
  • Monday November 16, California High School 

Thank you for taking time to read my letter and for your support of the students, staff and district. Let’s have a good month of October and I look forward to seeing you at one of our November forums, if not sooner.

 

Sincerely,


Steven Enoch
Superintendent of Schools 

 

Joell Marchese Named County Teacher of the Year!

Pine Valley Middle School Science Teacher, Joell Marchese was recently selected as the 2009 Contra Costa County Teacher of the Year. Marchese (shown here with Pine Valley principal, Jason Law) was one of three finalists selected from 20 educators countywide who were designated as Teachers of the Year in their districts. All 20 top educators were honored during a Teacher of the Year banquet. Marchese will represent the county in the state's Teacher of the Year competition that begins next month.

SRVUSD teachers have claimed the honor of County Teacher of the Year six of the last 12 years.

Marchese was chosen for the honor based on classroom observations, interviews and an inspirational speech about what she has learned from her students. "Devoting your life to education brings many personal rewards," Marchese said. "One of the greatest is witnessing a student's joy of learning and discovery, knowing you created the excitement." Congratulations Joell!

SRVUSD Sees 13-point API Increase 

District API scores best of any large unified school district in the state

San Ramon Valley schools once again showed significant improvement in the Academic Performance Index Growth Report according to data recently released by the California Department of Education, with all scores averaging well above the state target. The API measures and compares the academic performance and growth of schools on a variety of academic measures.

 

The overall 2009 API growth score for the district was 914, up 13 points from the 2008 API Base score of 901. The state goal for all schools is 800 on the API. These results place SRVUSD as the 6th highest unified school district in the state and the highest among unified districts with more than 9,000 students.

 

All but four schools in the district saw improvement. Country Club and Sycamore Valley Elementary Schools showed the greatest gains at the elementary level, 31 points over the previous year. At the middle school level, Pine Valley increased by 19 points for the second straight year. San Ramon Valley High School showed the largest increase among high schools, 17 points. Both of the district’s alternative schools also improved significantly. Venture Independent Study School’s results increased 19 points, with Del Amigo Continuation High School seeing an amazing 79-point gain.

 

In addition, scores for every ethnic subgroup in the district also improved significantly, and those students classified as “English Learners” (as a group) posted a base score of 889, 21 points higher than the 2008 Base. “Students with Disabilities” improved by 18 points.

 

“What are perhaps the most rewarding data are the results related to our subgroups. While we still have an achievement gap, I am very pleased to see that gap continue to narrow” said Superintendent Steven Enoch. “Once again, this shows that what we set out to do as a district is working.”

 

Statewide, forty-two percent of all California schools are now at or above the overall statewide target API of 800, up six percentage points from the year before.

 

The API is the cornerstone of the state’s academic accountability requirements. The API is a numerical index (or scale) ranging from a low score of 200 to a high score of 1000. It reflects a school’s or district’s academic performance based on annual results of statewide testing at grades two through eleven. Each year, schools receive two API reports, the API Base (reported in March) and the API Growth. 
 

Primo's Run Is Almost Here!


Don't miss out on the San Ramon Valley Education Foundation's largest and one of the community's biggest events!
 
The 2009 Primo's Run for Education is Sunday, OCTOBER 11th. There is still time to register the entire family to walk, run or crawl in one of the community's largest events of the year.
 
For more information and to register, visit www.primosrun.com.
Also, the San Ramon Rotary Club will once again be holding its annual Carboload pasta feed the night before the Primo's Run. For more information or to order tickets, visit http://www.sanramonrotary.org/.

College Night 2009 

When:  Thursday, October 15, 2009
Where: Monte Vista High School, Danville
What:  College Night is designed to educate high school students and parents on the many higher education opportunities available to students. Representatives from over 125 colleges, universities, vocational schools and military academies will be on hand to answer questions and distribute literature. This year there will be two special parent presentations:

  • Financial Aid Basics - 6:45, MVHS Theatre
  • Advice for Student Athletes - 7:30, MVHS Commons

No RSVP required. For more information, contact the Career Center at your high school.

Street Smarts Video Contest for Middle School Students

Middle school students in the San Ramon Valley are encouraged to participate in the 4th Annual Street Smarts “Be Reel!” Video Contest this Fall on the topic of dangerous bicycling distractions.  For the valley-wide competition, students may work individually or in teams of up to four students to produce 60-second public service announcement (PSA) videos on the topic of walking safely to school. 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 in May 2010. Videos will be accepted through November 2, 2009. All student entrants and advisors will receive a prize.  Each member of the winning team will receive an iPod nano with digital docking station. 

Complete rules and additional information about the contest is available online at www.streetsmarts-srv.com or by contacting Nat Rojanasathira, Street Smarts Coordinator at 314-3382 or nrojanasathira@ci.danville.ca.us

Elementary Students - Want to Ride to School on a Fire Truck?

October is Fire Prevention Month and the San Ramon Valley Fire Protection District, the San Ramon Valley Unified School District and the Danville Weekly want kids to be "Fire Smart!" Show us what it means to you to be Fire Smart and you could win a ride to school in a Fire Truck.

Simply download the coloring sheet and directions, print them out and start drawing! Once you have completed your drawing make sure you fill out the contact information box on the second page, cut it out and tape it to the back of your coloring sheet.

Return your completed coloring sheet to your school’s office or to any San Ramon Valley Fire Station. All coloring sheets must be received by October 19th.  One winner will be selected from each grade level (K-5th). Winners will be notified by October 30th. For more information call (925) 838-6600.

Click here to download the coloring sheet.


Frantic Families Conference 

On Wednesday October 7, in the commons at San Ramon Valley High School, a fantastic family and community building opportunity entitled, Frantic Families Conference 2009, will be held.  This conference is designed for the "on the go family" that wants to get some “handles” on how to balance the frantic pace of raising a family without sacrificing family priorities. 

The whole family is encouraged to attend for a working dinner, breakout sessions, and a keynote presentation There will be workshops designed for children ten years of age and older and child care provided for children under the age of ten (no infants please). Suggested donation is $30 per family, pre-conference registarion is strongly encouraged.

The event is presented by the Discovery Counseling Center with support from the San Ramon Valley School District, the San Ramon Valley YMCA and the San Ramon Valley Council of PTAs.

For more information or to register, visit http://www.discoveryctr.net/ or call 925-837-0505.
 


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