Friday, December 20, 2013

Holiday Message from Superintendent Cindy Marten

Central Students Make a Peace Sign Peace on Earth. Photo credit: Central Elementary PrimeTime
Dear Colleagues, Families, and Friends,

The holiday season is here, a time of celebration, reflection, and gratitude. Days with little daylight remind us of how important light is in our life. We see the light in the faces of our students during holiday programs and in our parents we see the hope and promise of a new year to come. Similarly, our staff can reflect on our relentless focus on our students as we gather together to build upon what has been working. As I met many of you during the year, I was reminded of our role in delivering on the hope and promise of quality schools throughout our city.

Our school system has been built by generations of people who care. Vision 2020 inspires us to join together to ensure that our students become actively literate, contributing, participating members of society. This vision both honors the work of those who came before us and challenges us to be innovative and deliver excellence in an intentional and purposeful manner to teach our future generations.

I would like to take a moment to highlight a few of our accomplishments. In July, upon becoming superintendent, our district was reorganized to ensure that our students are always at the heart of the educational experience. We are focused on the instructional shifts necessary to implement the Common Core State Standards which bring a renewed rigor and align with our approach to deliver a broad and challenging curriculum. With equity at the center, our approach is designed to close the achievement gap and prepare all students for college and career opportunities.

Accomplishments also include the development of monthly Principal Institutes, as well as principal teams that support ongoing peer-to-peer learning. I have had the great opportunity to visit 65 schools and am proud to say that our staff is working thoughtfully to engage our students in critical thinking across the curriculum.

Thanks to the voter-approved Prop S and Z construction bonds, many students are learning in new state-of-the-art classrooms, including new two-story classroom buildings at Encanto, Euclid and Zamorano elementary schools to name a few. We have also delivered nearly 100,000 tablets and laptops to students throughout our schools.

We have been proactive in communicating with our parents, staff, and community about the new Local Control Funding Formula and its implications to education. San Diego Unified continues to be a leading voice advocating in Sacramento and in Washington for a funding level that reflects the priority that our state and nation needs to give to education, to deliver on the promise of the ideals of public education that is at the center of our democracy.

Looking forward, we can say goodbye to a productive 2013 and hello to a successful 2014. After all I've seen firsthand in our schools, I am encouraged by what I see and proudly share our work wherever I go. I invite you to do the same and share with at least one person something that works well at your school and to engage in a dialogue that reflects on the excellence of our schools.

I want to extend my warmest wishes for a joyful, peaceful, and delightful winter break. May your holidays bring good health, the pleasure of spending special time with family and friends, and a New Year filled with hope and optimism.

Cindy Marten