The new school year is well under way, and I would like to share with you an update about our key goals for the year that will ensure our students are successful in a competitive world. Lucia Mar Unified School District has been on the forefront of innovation, and our School Board has adopted our Vision 2020 Framework to provide direction and guidance as we work to ensure our students not only have the foundational core skills, but also the necessary 21st Century skills that are essential in today's workforce. This is a turbulent yet exciting time for education, and our ability to adapt and change is more important than ever.
Two years ago our School Board charged me as superintendent with the task of helping to craft a new mission, values and vision for our district. We gathered input from our staff, parents, administrators, and students, and sought to develop a compelling vision to answer the question "What skills do our students need to be successful in the 21st Century?" Over the course of that year, we held community forums, visited successful districts and schools, conducted surveys and asked our Vision 2020 committee to draft our framework, which is attached to this letter. I am very proud of the process and the final product that was developed, and that we now have a clear focus and direction for our district. To
engage, challenge and inspire
is a powerful mission statement; our core values ensure we have a strong foundation; our vision sets high expectations for success, and our seven 21st Century skills make it clear exactly what our students need to know to be competitive in today's ever-changing world.
We are now in the process of working very hard to achieve our mission and vision, and I have also included our goals for this year and our three top board priorities. Now that we know where we are going, these priorities and goals are essential to help us to achieve our vision. Our top three priorities are to promote 21st Century learning, to implement the Teacher Advancement Program (TAP), and to develop more Career Pathways for students. Let me explain how each of these priorities will impact student achievement and directly benefit our students and teachers.
21st Century Learning
We have prioritized seven specific skills, and believe all of our students need to be proficient in each of the skills of communication, critical thinking, teamwork, technology, self-direction, innovation and global awareness. So far, we have convened a 21st Century Skills group of principals and teachers, and they have prioritized teamwork and critical thinking as the two skills we will initially focus on. We have developed rubrics to assess these skills and are now preparing how to teach these skills. This group will also help the district to prioritize strategies and develop an action plan to ensure all students and teachers have resources necessary to ensure our students develop these skills.
One area we are working on this year is to prepare for the fall 2012 opening of Central Coast New Technology High School which will be located on the southeast portion of Nipomo High campus. Another, is the continuing development of the International Baccalaureate Primary Years program at Grover Beach Elementary School. These two programs are models of 21st Century learning, and will serve as "incubators of innovation" to spread effective teaching practices throughout our district. Both of these new initiatives are very exciting, and we invite you to learn more about them. We are using special funding sources as well as our new Lucia Mar Foundation for Innovation (LMFI) to help us pay for initial planning costs. For additional budget details, please visit the Central Coast New Tech website at
. The LMFI has set a goal to raise $150,000 this year to pay for IB and New Tech costs. Their website is
, In addition to our website,
, you can also get our latest district news through our Facebook page
, and our YouTube channel
The System for Teacher and Student Advancement
You may know that Lucia Mar received a $7.2 million Teacher Incentive Fund (TIF) grant from the federal government last year to implement TAP over the next five years. The seven schools implementing TAP are Nipomo, Lange, Fairgrove, Oceano and Grover Heights Elementary Schools, and Mesa and Judkins Middle Schools. TAP uses Master and Mentor teachers to provide weekly staff development for our teachers, using a scoring guide on 19 key elements of effective teaching. In addition, the TAP system provides feedback, coaching, modeling and support through our administrators and Master/Mentor teachers. Finally, TAP includes a performance-based compensation component based on the scoring guide and student growth. So far, all indications from our TAP schools show that the system is providing wonderful support and assistance to our teachers.
Our final goal is for our two comprehensive high schools to develop more fully articulated pathways so that our students have a better idea of possible career choices. In addition, we are working to include a middle school curriculum to revamp our ninth grade "Skills for Success" class, and are considering asking the Board to approve a pathway graduation requirement. Statistics show that a fairly small percentage of students actually make it through four years of college, and we must make sure they are prepared both for the college and the world of work with 21st Century skills.
Please read through each of our nine goals in the areas of student success, staff success, and stewardship of resources. I am very excited about the direction of our district and am constantly amazed at the high quality of our teachers, support staff, and administrators. Equally important is our community support; specifically, from our parents and guardians of our children. Your continued input, volunteerism, and financial support is critical for our students. The challenge of our times is to move forward towards innovation even during these difficult budget times, and I believe we are doing so in a thoughtful and deliberate manner. With your help, and with the support of our community in general, we can achieve our vision. As the late Steve Jobs said,
"Innovation is the ability to see change as an opportunity - not a threat."
If you have any suggestions, questions or ideas, please contact me at
; I would love to hear from you!