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Family Communication - September 8, 2023

Dr. Eric Prater, Superintendent

While presenting school highlights at the Board meeting on Tuesday, San Luis Obispo High School Principal Rollin Dickinson, shared a quote that he’d discussed with his staff at the start of the school year as part of a bigger conversation around school culture.

“There are things you might want to be more of. More open. More honest. More true. More authentic. More free. More connected. More intentional. More purposeful. Those are all expressions of your enough-ness. They aren’t about changing yourself, they’re about being yourself. You were enough before, you are enough now, and you will continue to be enough as you become more. And believing that, when the world keeps whispering otherwise, is brave.” - Melissa Camara Wilkins

This quote resonated with me. We can all benefit from hearing this message many times and in different ways. Recognizing your “enough-ness” in the mirror, with your friends and loved ones, with your children, your parents, and neighbors - makes us more humane, more authentic and real. Ms. Wilkins added another layer to this idea: bravery. Suggesting that we are brave to be our authentic selves in the face of the whispering world of negativity and “not enough-ness” reinforces my belief that we have something at stake as parents and educators: to model for others that we are continuously working to become the best versions of ourselves each day - and it’s perfectly acceptable to be who we are. Additionally, it’s a reminder to meet people where they are and accept that they too are enough.

As I walk through our campuses at the start of this school year, I can’t help but be impressed with what I see. Students are surrounded by adults that care for them and have taken the extra-steps to ensure each child feels connected and valued. High expectations for our students and ourselves, coupled with a deepening sense that what we do matters beyond the classroom walls is what gets us up in the morning. I am proud of our teachers, support staff, administrators, and family partners who have committed themselves to our school community. We see you. We appreciate you. And, you’re enough.

On another note, I want to make sure you are aware of a new parent tool in San Luis Coastal: Family Guides. This is a wonderful and concise way to better understand what your child is expected to “know and be able to do” by the end of any grade level throughout the K-12 continuum. Please take some time and check it out. I think you’ll find it helpful as you support your child’s learning and partner with our teachers. 

Coming Soon! San Luis Coastal is trying something new this year to help parents and staff learn more about particular programs and celebrating our students. It is a podcast called, In Your Schools. We hope to offer one podcast per month that we believe you will find interesting. Expect the inaugural episode this month.

Have a great weekend.


Lisa Yamashita, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services


9/11 Ceremony 2023
Each year SLCUSD collaborates with the City of SLO to plan a 9/11 Memorial Ceremony.  This year, the event theme is “strength”.  At the elementary level, 5th graders from SLO city sites collaborate to complete a commemorative 9/11 art project. The completed project will be displayed during the 9/11 Remembrance Ceremony at the San Luis Obispo Fire Station #1 on Santa Barbara Avenue.  In addition to the elementary art project, Laguna Middle School conducts a yearly poetry contest with 8th grade students. The winner of this year’s contest will read their winning poem at the event. A performance by the SLO High School choir will round out the ceremony.   

This year, the 9/11 Memorial will be held from 8:00-9:30 am on Monday, September 11.  Due to the district's Late Start Monday, we invite students to attend with their families, but the schools will not organize student attendance or transportation. 

Family Guides
Over 50 years of research links the various roles that families play in a child’s education—as supporters of learning, encouragers of grit and determination, models of lifelong learning, and advocates of proper programming and placements for their child. We want to partner with you to ensure success for your children in school.  We have developed Family Guides for each grade level which outlines the most important learning outcomes for the year. They also contain follow up questions and activities you can do with your child. Please take a moment to review the Family Guides on our website here. If you have any questions, ask your child’s teacher or principal for more information. 

Back to School Events
Over the past three weeks, every elementary school has held a “Back to School” evening event.  Principals led a welcome and family overview prior to families having time to visit their child’s classroom, meet teachers and staff, and ask any questions they might have. Through these events, families were able to gain a sense of the community their child is a part of every day and connect with those who care for their child.

California Assessment of Student Performance and Assessment (CAASPP)
The preliminary results of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress were shared at the Board of Trustees meeting on Tuesday evening. These computer adaptive assessments are given each Spring to 3-8 grade students in our elementary and middle schools along with our 11th grade students in our 3 comprehensive high schools. Elementary and Secondary Directors Stephanie Shepherd and Leslie O’Connor, celebrated the work of our staff, students and parents as we transitioned out of the COVID pandemic. 

Highlights included:

  • Overall District made statistically significant growth (5% +) in ELA, Math, and Science
  • Districtwide socio-economically disadvantaged (SED), English Learners (EL), and Reclassified Fluent English Proficient (RFEP) students made statistically more growth compared to Non-SED students in English Language Arts.
  • Districtwide Socio Economically Disadvantaged students statistically outgrew Non-Socio Economically Disadvantaged students in math
  • Growth over majority of school sites 
    • 13/15 in ELA
    • 13/15 in Math
    • 10/15 in Science
  • Significant growth (5%+) by school site
    • 9/15 in ELA
    • 9/15 in Math
    • 10/15 in Science

Areas for Focus centered around:

  • Instructional coherence between curriculum programs and state assessment system: K-5 Language Arts Adoption.
  • Accelerate student learning to reach pre-COVID performance levels at all school sites with a focus on first best instruction.
  • Support continued interventions at elementary, middle, and high schools.
  • Address achievement gaps between Non-SED and other subgroup populations

Once the final CAASPP results are officially released by the California Department of Education (CDE) we will present them to our Board of Trustees.

Adult School: Parent Participation, Preschool, and New Classes
Two weeks ago, Parent Participation teachers were busy at our SLO and MB sites getting the classrooms and playground ready to welcome a new generation of families. Former Adult School director Sally Ames joined teachers to lend a hand, and we had help from Joe Sanchez and his SLOHS Woodshop class who spent two days sanding, staining and painting. It takes a village! 

Classes officially began on Monday, 8/28, and we are delighted to have full enrollment in over 90% of our course offerings. Close to 300 families with kids from 0-5 will be enjoying a parenting class with their little ones this semester, including four full classes from 4-6 PM designed for working parents. With the support of credentialed teachers, adults learn tools for their parenting toolbox, build vital social connections, strengthen their knowledge of child development, and join their kids in the positive power of play. What a lovely introduction to SLCUSD!

Our two Co-op Preschool classes (3 Year Olds in SLO and 3 & 4 Year Olds in Morro Bay) enjoyed their first day on Tuesday, September 5th. Teachers, students, and caregivers alike are excited to begin another fantastic school year with our wonderful teachers Lisa Lafaille and Liz Wilson.

Adult School is excited to bring back an assortment of Bread Baking classes offered by Sheila McMann of House of Bread during the month of September.  These classes range from Sourdough, Artisan Breads, Flatbreads, and other great choices.  Each class is three hours long and includes mixing, kneading, baking, take home recipes, and breads made by your own two hands! House of Bread is offering these classes for nine students in the new location on Farmhouse Lane, near the SLO Airport.  If you are interested in registering click here.  

Our Computer Basics class formerly known as Digital Literacy is starting on September 13th and will be held on Wednesdays weekly from 6-8 PM.  This class is offered free to the public to teach basic computer and internet skills.  Computer Basics offers two teachers and student aides to help one on one with students.

Elementary Athletics for Achievement
San Luis Coastal's Elementary Athletics for Achievement program is once again offering free athletic opportunities for all 5th and 6th grade students at all ten elementary school sites. Over 300 students have signed up to compete in the Fall sports programs which include coed Cross Country, Boys Soccer and Girls Volleyball . The Fall season will begin with the first practice on Tuesday, September 19 and the first competition will be on Friday September 29th . Schedule information will be available soon on the district website by clicking HERE

If you would like to sign up your student for the Winter and Spring season sports, please visit the "Athletics" tab on your school's website for sign up and schedule information! 

San Luis Coastal Education Foundation
The Education Foundation shared an update at the school board’s Tuesday night meeting celebrating 5 years of partnership with the district and community. Some highlights included a review of the programs that were developed and launched since 2019, including the iINNOVATE Initiative, NextGen Scholars, Athletics for Achievement, Equity in Outdoor Science Camp, K12 Teacher Grants and the donation of six new pianos (including grand and baby grand pianos!) to our middle and high schools. The Foundation is also celebrating hitting the $3 million mark in donations raised and pledged. What an amazing community we have supporting our schools!

Ryan Pinkerton, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services

Safety Fencing
The Board of Education approved a bid for the completion of safety fencing at our remaining unfinished sites. You will see this work begin soon.

The schools include:

Elementary Schools

  • C.L. Smith - playground/fields area
  • Los Ranchos - side and back of campus 
  • Sinsheimer - field area and side of campus
  • Teach - perimeter of campus

Middle Schools

  • Laguna - entire perimeter of campus
  • Los Osos - entire perimeter of campus

There is still some replacement fencing to be completed, such as the front of Del Mar Elementary School, that will occur with the campus modernization. These areas have ADA accessibility issues that will be corrected with construction.

Without the support of our community with Measure C, we would not have been able to make these safety improvements. Thank you!