As I near my retirement this month, I am taking a moment to reflect upon the wonderful journey I have enjoyed during the past forty years in public education.
I have been very fortunate to work with exceptional educators, terrific students, inspiriting community leaders and outstanding parents. Having the opportunity to work in six excellent school districts I was able to observe some of the finest programs that exist in public education. Students having opportunities to explore cutting edge technology and engaged education beyond the classroom is essential in preparing all students in either a pathway for a job skills or college. It is exciting to be part of an innovative movement that is transforming our public education today.
Mr. Scott Turnbull, who will exceed me, as Superintendent will have the golden opportunity to continue to elevate Soquel Union Elementary School District. I am confident that Superintendent Scott Turnbull will expand upon the exciting programs that exist today and elevate student achievement for all students.
Today, we have established district wide programs that will enable our students to gain the necessary knowledge to be successful in a very competitive world. Within the past three years we have transformed our curriculum programs and significantly increased student and teacher access to modern technology. In many of our classes, students are exploring various topics of interest far beyond the typical classroom curriculum. The major difference that is occurring with this exploration is in the area of access to technology and teacher training.
A special thank you goes out to our Board of Trustees, present and former, the numerous joint partnerships that we have built throughout our county, and the tremendous support we have received from Superintendent Michael Watkins and Assistant Superintendent Mary Anne James from our County Office of Education. These entities have enabled us to transform our District and to address very complex educational issues for the past five years. We are also fortunate in Soquel Union Elementary School District to have opportunities to work with exceptional individuals in our surrounding communities.
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Soquel Union Elementary School District is very fortunate to have a long standing tradition where our community works together to create exciting programs for all students. During the past few years we have strengthened our academic programs in the areas of Art, Music, Project-Based Learning and 21st Century Instruction. We are passionate about providing every child with the opportunity to reach his or her highest learning potential. Here is a brief overview of our terrific schools.
Main Street School
One of the strengths of Main Street School is their staff's ability to seek different levels of instruction to benefit the educational program for all students. Main Street School is leading the way in creating opportunities for teachers to specialize in areas like Math, Language Arts and Science. It takes a tremendous amount of collaboration and a willingness to invest a significant amount of time to be able to specialize as a Science teacher for all fifth grade students. It is exciting to observe the unique learning environment that occurs when teachers are able to specialize.
New Brighton Middle School
Our middle school is dynamic because the staff has been able to balance academic rigor in an environment that is rich in nurturing the adolescent child. When you visit New Brighton you will quickly become aware of the wonderful interactions that takes place between student to student, adult to adult and student to adult. The school flows with positive energy and the excellent educators are able to provide a very demanding academic program for all students.
Opal Cliffs School
Our Transitional Kindergarten (TK) program begins its 3rd year at Opal Cliffs School. It is without question that the TK program at Opal Cliffs School is fantastic. We created a school design that embraces early education at so many levels. The key to our wonderful TK program lies in the staff who are experts in the area of early childhood education. They have developed a program that centers on engagement and exploration for all students. The happiness that surrounds this program is a joy to observe.
Santa Cruz Gardens Elementary School
The rich interaction that is shared between all staff members at Santa Cruz Gardens has enabled this school to create a wonderful inclusion program that is highly supported throughout the community. It is absolutely terrific to support various teaching models that are tailored for the students at Santa Cruz Gardens. The strong sense of a united philosophy in educating all students is to be commended.
Soquel Elementary School
The excellent staff at Soquel Elementary School has committed itself to receiving some of the highest professional training offered to educators today. It is most impressive to be a member of a staff where decisions regarding curriculum and instruction are embraced and aligned (K-5) with every educator at the school. The transformation of the instructional program has been led by this highly talented and trained staff. The collaboration to improve the instructional program among staff members is exceptional.