Dr. Eric Prater, Superintendent
Halloween is quickly approaching. After two years of reduced or canceled Halloween activities, I am certain this year will be busier than ever. Our younger children, dressed as superheroes and monsters, will knock on doors, hoping for the elusive full-size candy bar. Tweens and teens, perhaps feeling too old to trick-or-treat, will gather with their friends at haunted houses and parties. More frightening than any jump scare they might encounter is the very real threat that is currently infiltrating our communities and public schools: Fentanyl.
Fentanyl is a synthetic opioid that is 50-100 times stronger than morphine. Across America, illegal manufacturers are putting it into pill or liquid form and adding it to other drugs because of its extreme potency. This makes the drugs cheaper, more powerful, and more dangerous.
In a letter to the LA Times, Paul Thornton said, “Fentanyl feels like a real monster hiding on the playground, one that poses a deadly risk not to humanity, but to your child.” Accidental overdoses and death among school-aged students are happening more frequently. In recent weeks, nine students in southern California alone have overdosed after ingesting fentanyl. In virtually every case, the students thought it was something else, like Percocet or Adderall.
Affluent areas tend to have higher rates of alcohol and drug use among youth, according to the California Healthy Kids Survey. In San Luis Coastal, all seventh and eighth graders get lessons on drug and alcohol prevention. In ninth grade, they learn more during their required health class. Even with this education, we know teenagers often experiment with drugs and alcohol. With fentanyl, this can have deadly consequences.
In response to these circumstances, I directed my staff to place Narcan in all of our schools effective immediately. Our school nurses will train staff and critical personnel on how to recognize potential overdoses and utilize this life-saving intervention if necessary. We also created a fact sheet (English/Spanish) for parents which includes ways to proactively intervene with their children.
I strongly urge you to have ongoing conversations with your children about drug use - but especially fentanyl. We can keep our children safe and healthy as long as we work together. Thank you for taking the time to read this information.
Diane M. Frost, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services
Advanced Placement Program Highlights
We want to celebrate our Advanced Placement programs this week! Our high schools offer an impressive number of AP courses across many academic areas, with MBHS offering 11 AP courses and SLOHS offering 20 AP courses. We want to specifically highlight MBHS increasing the number of students taking AP exams and a 27% gain from last year in the AP exam passage rate overall. SLOHS also experienced an 11% gain and broke above an incredible 90% passage rate for students taking AP exams. Please view the Secondary AP Results Board Presentation for more details. Congratulations to teachers of AP courses and students who took AP courses and exams last year!
We are excited to continue with our work with the staff at both Morro Bay and San Luis Obispo High Schools in our Advanced Placement offerings. We are equally excited about the increase in enrollment in our accelerated course offerings at both middle schools. Our secondary schools are also focused on building awareness around the 6-year plan that begins in middle school and the importance of preparing students for rigorous and engaging academic requirements both in middle and high school.
Elementary Athletics for Achievement
The Fall season of Elementary Athletics For Achievement is well underway with over 500 students participating in flag football, volleyball, and cross country. Flag football and volleyball teams have played each other in two competitions, hosted by CL Smith, Sinsheimer, and Bishop’s Peak Elementary Schools. Our first cross country meet will take place at CL Smith on Friday, October 7th with over 100 runners taking part in the race. 5th and 6th grade student athletes are developing their leadership and collaboration skills and having lots of fun playing sports.
The Winter 1 (Boys Soccer & Girls Basketball) and Winter 2 (Girls Soccer & Boys Basketball) Seasons will be coming up soon. Please contact your elementary school principal if your 5th or 6th grader is interested in signing up for the program. Thank you to all families who have come out to support the students at games and to the San Luis Coastal Education Foundation for their support of Elementary Athletics for Achievement.
Suicide Prevention 101 for Parents: October 13 from 6-7 PM
We care deeply about the wellbeing of our students and want to share with you a free webinar and Facebook Live event that is being hosted by the California Department of Education. Please see the information below on the prevention programming around suicide intervention and awareness. While we never want to think about these types of scenarios with our children, knowing the signs and knowing how to support your student can make all of the difference when they are contemplating suicide or self harm. Please know that our sites have staff trained and prepared to support your family should you need it. Do not hesitate to reach out to your school office and they will put in contact with the right personnel.
Suicide Prevention 101 for Parents: Recognizing Signs and What to Do
October 13, 2022: 6 p.m. - 7 p.m.
Register for the webinar by clicking here.
Join the Facebook Live event here.
This free webinar will provide information about suicide prevention for parents, including warning signs for suicide, how to have a conversation with their teen, actions to take if their teen is having a suicidal thoughts, and resources. The webinar is provided in partnership with the California Department of Education, the Directing Change Program, and Teen Line.
· Suicide Prevention: A Resource for Parents Brochure
Dual Language Immersion Update
At the Tuesday, October 4th board meeting, a presentation on our district Dual Language Immersion (DLI) programs was given to the board. New DLI principals Marcelo Huizar at Pacheco, and Kirstin May at Baywood, were participants. The Board met bilingual education consultant Rosa Molina who will assist the district in developing a 5-year plan to implement Baywood and develop more comprehensive bilingual pathways through middle school to high school. Highlights included the benefits of bilingual education, the professional development being conducted and the work with Rosa Molina from the Association of Two Way and Dual Language Immersion (ATDLE).
Adult School Update
Parent Participation Program
We are delighted to offer a Parent Participation Program in SLCUSD. The talented and dedicated staff led by Denise Indvik, offers a program where a parent or caregiver can attend class once a week with their child for a 14-week semester. During this time, parents/caregiver and students learn about the development stages associated with being an infant, toddler, and preschooler while also building community with other parents and caregivers. One of our newer classes we would like to highlight involves our community garden here at the adult school. 266 students are currently attending the PPP and 15 are on the waitlist.
Cooperative Preschool Program
The Co-op Preschool is for children ages three and four who are ready for preschool with and without a parent present. We offer 3 Co-Op preschool classes to 48 students in total. In mid October, teachers and families will take a field trip to San Luis Obispo Pumpkin Patch. This field trip will also include a visit to a nearby park to play in the playground and have a snack picnic!
English as a Second Language
Under the leadership and guidance of Greg Kraemer and Mercedes Pacal, we are excited to build on our partnership with Cuesta College. We are currently offering multiple courses to our adult community English Learners throughout the local elementary schools. We are currently serving over 50 adult students through these course offerings. As with our high school diploma program, new students are signing up weekly to join us.
High School Diploma (HSD)
Three classes are currently being offered this fall to assist our adult students working towards their high school diploma. Our High School Diploma Preparation class, High School Equivalency Preparation for Spanish Speakers, and Jail High School Diploma program are currently serving 29 students in total. Several new students consistently sign up each week to enroll in course offerings. We are delighted to share that five students graduated from our courses with their diplomas in hand since the beginning of September. Congratulations to the staff and students on this major milestone in their educational journey.