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October 20, 2023 Family Communication

 

SUPERINTENDENT’S MESSAGE
Dr. Eric Prater, Superintendent

While in college, one of the most influential books I read was called, “The Road Less Traveled” by M. Scott Peck. It began with three words, “Life is difficult.” He was right.

The recent events in Israel and Gaza are horrific and have forced us all to be challenged by the world’s inhumanity. During this time of uncertainty and challenge, it's crucial that we now come together as a community, striving to do hard things well. We recognize that this issue is deeply impactful, and as a public education institution, we are committed to addressing it with care, respect, and sensitivity. 

As parents and guardians, you may find yourselves having conversations with your children about the events unfolding in the Middle East. These discussions can be difficult but are essential for fostering understanding and empathy. As you have done so often in the past, we encourage you to engage with your children, guiding them through these complex issues, and providing a safe space for them to share their thoughts and feelings. Even within my own household, the conversations are difficult, but I know they’re important.

Within our schools, we are dedicated to creating safe spaces for students who may be directly or indirectly impacted by these events. Our classrooms should be environments where every student feels valued, respected, seen, and supported. In San Luis Coastal, we have zero tolerance for students or staff being threatened, discriminated against, or harassed. If your child is experiencing harassment, we ask that you notify your school site immediately or use the Report a Concern button

We are here to listen and validate the experiences and emotions of our students, offering resources and support to those in need. Our counseling services are always available to provide emotional support to students. Please do not hesitate to reach out to our counseling staff if your child would benefit from this support. Seeking help is a sign of strength and resilience, and we are here to help our students on their journey toward healing and understanding. 

Our school community, at its core, is a place where we can learn, grow, and come together, regardless of our backgrounds or beliefs. Fostering empathy and understanding within our community is a shared responsibility. We must embrace our differences, engage in thoughtful discussions, and set an example for the broader world. It's through these civil dialogues that we can build bridges of understanding that transcend borders and divisions.

Warmest regards,

Eric


EDUCATIONAL SERVICES
Lisa Yamashita, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services

State Testing SLCUSD Comparison Data
We are so proud of the hard work and dedication of our students and staff.  While state assessments such as the SBAC are only one piece of the puzzle, we are excited to share our students are learning a great deal.  SLCUSD has made significant strides in student achievement as compared to the State of California as whole as well as compared to other schools in our region.  We are also closing the achievement gap for our socioeconomically disadvantaged students and other subgroups. While we feel good about this data, it also shows how much work remains to ensure all of our students reach proficiency. You can see more details here.

Career Technical Education: Field Trip to Local Industry Partner
students looking at a jetSLOHS Auto instructor Jeff Lehmkuhl organized a recent field trip for the advanced automotive students to local industry partner ACI Jet. Students learned about the partnership between Cuesta College and ACI Jet, which provides them with training that leads to an AMP (Aviation Maintenance Professional) certification. Gaining this certification would qualify students for job opportunities in the field of aviation maintenance.

Morro Bay High School placed on College Board’s AP Honor Roll
MBHS earned a place on the College Board's AP School Honor Roll for the 2022- 23 school year! The AP School Honor Roll recognizes schools that have done outstanding work to welcome more students into AP courses and support them on the path to college success. Also they were recognized with the AP Access Award, which honors schools that encourage more low-income and underrepresented minority students to take AP courses. Read more here.

K-5 Elementary English Language Arts Adoption Update
On October 17, the Board of Trustees were provided with an update on the K-5 elementary English Language Arts (ELA) adoption process. The presentation covered a brief history of the Reading Committee’s work during last school year and also provided visual outlines of the process and adoption timeline. The pilot team has completed their trial period of the first curriculum, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt’s Into Reading. On October 10, the ELA pilot team came together to reflect on this first pilot and set of materials, using the rubric evaluation tool that was developed by the Reading Committee last school year. The pilot team voted for Benchmark Advance next. The training for the second pilot is scheduled to occur on November 28.  

Family Guide to Supporting Young People’s Mental Health and Well-Being
We encourage families to explore this family guide to supporting young people’s mental health and well-being,  produced by Project Cal-Well, a mental health initiative led by the California Department of Education in partnership with districts across the state of California. This guide has been designed for parents and other caregivers to guide the support of our young people. The guide is long and comprehensive but is easy to use and offers lots of ways to find what you are looking for. 

Read through the page titled “How to Use this Guide” to see how to best utilize the many resources.

Topics that might be of particular interest can be found here:

  • 5 Tips for Families to Help Support Mental Health in Children/Teens (Page 16)
  • Bullying - How to handle and great tips for parents (Page 25)
  • Adolescents and how to help nurture their mental health (Page 24)
  • LGBTQ+ How parents can support their children and teens (Page 28)
  • Safe Use of Technology Tips for Parents (Page 33)

This guide was developed to provide general mental health information only. This guide is not intended as psychological intervention or as a substitute for any form of treatment. If you or someone you know is struggling, please reach out to the 988 Lifeline at 988 or text HOME to 741741 at the Crisis Text Line; or refer to the Resources for Families section of this document for mental health resources for families. Call your School Counselors for more support.

SLCUSD Adult School
The Adult School is excited to report that six students earned their high school diplomas, and one student passed their High School Equivalency Test over the past two weeks. Four of the six students finished just this week! 

Enrollment in our evening bilingual Computer Skills class is continuing to grow this year. Students may bring a device or access one on site. Bilingual high school students are working alongside the instructors to support the learners. The class takes place on Wednesdays from 6-8 pm in H-4. Please feel free to come out and observe the class.

The Adult School is focusing efforts on using social media to help market our program offerings. We are also exploring possible partnerships with local media to advertise the Adult School program offerings to a wider audience in our community.   

Elementary Athletics
students walking across campus
Athletics for Achievement hosted the first district tournament of the year on Friday, October 13th. CL Smith was the host site for Cross Country, Laguna Middle School hosted Boys Soccer, and San Luis Obispo High School hosted Girls Volleyball. Over 300 student athletes competed in the three sports. SLCUSD staff coach teams and SLCUSD high school students serve as referees. Through the College Corps program, Cal Poly Fellows also serve as coaches and referees. We will complete our Fall Season with the final districtwide tournament on October 27th, which will be hosted at Laguna Middle School, with games beginning at 3:45 PM. We invite you to attend the closing tournament for Fall Season 1.

Parent Participation
It’s apple season! Over 225 families will visit See Canyon Fruit Ranch inmom holding son who is taking a bite of an apple the next week as part of the Parent Participation Program fall field trip.  Children picked and tasted apples, learned about the role of the honeybee, and enjoyed a picnic and parachute play with their parents and teachers. Parent Participation is delighted to sponsor this opportunity for so many families.   

Parent Class with Dr. Erica Ruvalcaba-Heredia
On the evening of October 19, Dr. Erica Ruvalcaba-Heredia held a parent class designed to help parents provide emotional support for their children. The objective of the class was to introduce parents to ways to approach their children in difficult emotional moments. She also touched on how to identify and name feelings. The next parent meeting will be via Zoom on October 26, from 6:00pm - 7:00pm (Meeting ID: 974 3437 6780, Passcode: 883248). For more information, text Erica Ruvalcaba-Heredia at 805.720.6091 or email Leilani Greene at lgreene@slcusd.org. Note - lessons are held in Spanish.

SLOHS Theater Company Presents
SLOHS Theatre Company opens Noises Off next week! Often called “the funniest farce ever written,” this comedic production shows the audience all of the backstage drama and chaos that takes place as a dysfunctional cast and crew attempt to produce a poorly-written flop called "Nothing On". The play-within-the-play heavily relies on an intricate set that our students have built almost entirely on their own. Buy tickets now! Performances are October 26, 27, 28 and November 2, 3, 4 at 7 PM in the SLO High Theatre. On October 28 there will be an Understudy Matinee at 2:00.


BUSINESS SERVICES
Ryan Pinkerton, Assistant Superintendent of Business Services

Food & Nutrition Services News
We are excited to share that Episode 2 of “Inside Your Schools” features Erin Primer, Director of Food & Nutrition Services, as she talks about San Luis Coastal’s program and the future of school lunches. 

October 9-13 was National School Lunch Week. We celebrated in several ways: tasty lunch entrees like Pork Pozole with local Taco Works Chips, house-made mac & cheese with local Etto pasta noodles for everyone last Friday, delicious local farm produce, and more! It was a great week to recognize all the great work that goes into our incredible school meal program.

SLCUSD Food is proud to be featured in the online Food Service Director magazine with five ideas to steal from our program.

Director of Food & Nutrition Services, Erin Primer, was named a School Food Renegade by the Chef Ann Foundation. This prestigious recognition was given to ten school food advocates and champions, including Senator Nancy Skinner, and the First Partner of California, Jennifer Siebel Newsom. 

Measure C Field Renovations
The grounds department has created a list of worst-to-best fields in the school district to undergo renovations with Measure C funds. While all of our schools are in need of renovation, we are creating a systematic approach to begin the work. The first two schools (with the worst fields) are Sinsheimer Elementary and C.L. Smith Elementary

The field renovations include: new irrigation, sod, baseball/softball backstops, dugouts, and decomposed granite. The contractor will be working on half of the field at a time so there is still a play area during the renovation. We will see how the work progresses on these first two sites and move down the list accordingly. 

Thank you to our community for supporting Measure C and allowing this work to happen.