It is with a sense of pride that I share some of the many accomplishments from the 2014-15 school year.
Thanks to an improving economy and the successful passage of the temporary taxes included in Proposition 30, TUSD received nearly $1 million in additional funding. This replaced approximately 25% of the funding cuts from the last five years; therefore, we still have a long road ahead to full recovery. We primarily used these funds to lower class sizes across the entire district. Our kindergarten through grade three classrooms average 24 students to one teacher. Class sizes in grades 4-12 vary but are kept below 30 students, especially in core content areas like English, math and science.
The Trustees adopted a spending plan for Measure H-12 that will positively affect all of our campuses. The majority of the money will be invested in our two oldest campuses: Templeton Elementary and Templeton High School. Templeton High will enjoy significant changes as a result of a three-phase project totaling $19.75 million. When it is finished, the current outdated and undersized science and engineering classrooms will be replaced with brand new buildings. The existing administration and permanent classrooms will be completely remodeled and reorganized to better fit our present and future instructional program. Nearly twenty of the existing portable classrooms will be replaced and the remaining portables will be renovated top to bottom, adding significantly to their shelf life. A new “front door” to the campus and improved traffic flow will improve campus security and increase convenience. Finally, physical education and athletic facilities, which are over thirty years old, will be substantially renovated including becoming fully compliant with the Americans with Disabilities Act. Please note that due to the drought and heavy equipment operations, much of the grass near the front of the school will not be watered during the construction period. A small patch of sod plus expanded use of drought resistant vegetation will eventually replace the existing landscape. We appreciate your patience in the interim period.
The staff, students and parents are embracing the instructional practices which are the foundational elements of the new California Common Core Standards (CCCS). While the basic components of reading, writing and arithmetic remain unchanged, the new standards focus more heavily on creative thinking, problem solving, collaboration and oral communication. Not coincidentally, these are the same elements that business leaders are seeking in future workers if America is going to remain the world’s leading economy.
In order to fully prepare our students for the future and to implement the new computer based assessment system required by the CCCS, TUSD upgraded its technological infrastructure and equipment. We installed wireless access at all sites in the district. The speed with which our students can access the Internet was improved by switching to fiber optic lines. Students in kindergarten through second grade are quickly moving toward our goal of one iPad for every two students. We purchased nearly 1000 new computers and Chromebooks for students in grades 3-12. It is amazing to visit our classrooms and observe how responsibly and effectively students utilize these vital electronic instructional tools.
Finally, arts, music, drama, the agriculture program and athletics, remain successful stalwarts of TUSD’s comprehensive educational program. The Eagle football and girls volleyball teams won league titles last year. The girls cross country team performed incredibly well, achieving state level recognition. Our local FFA chapter is currently ranked #2 in the state, while our welding team won the state championship last year. The THS mock trial team finished second in the county. This marks the 16th consecutive year that the team has finished either first or second in the county.
The arts are enjoying a resurgence across our entire system. Vineyard Elementary School (VES) has a heavy focus in the arts, enabling our students to develop a strong foundation which they are able to build upon as they select electives in the middle and high school. VES offers programs in instrumental music, percussion, choir and musical theater. The VES art docent teaches students the fundamentals of classical art while introducing them to major artists throughout history. The TMS and THS bands are highly successful as well, sending dozens of students to the county honor band competition annually. The THS drama teacher, Catherine Kingsbury, received a prestigious international award that will allow our drama students to accompany her to a festival in Scotland.
I hope you can excuse the sense of pride I feel. The students, faculty and staff at TUSD are truly amazing and the 2015-16 school year is shaping up to be equally successful. When I started with the district four years ago, I stated, “I want the district’s tomorrows to be better than its yesterdays.” I said this knowing full well that Templeton’s yesterdays were remarkable. I truly believe that there exists plenty of evidence to suggest that the Eagle family is achieving that audacious goal.
Joe Koski, Ed.D
Statement: Institute instructional practices, rigorous content and data systems to measure student achievement leading college and career readiness and the development of 21st Century skills.
- Increase implementation of common core in ELA and research-supported teaching practices in mathematics
- Increase 21st century learning experiences using performance assessments, internships and presentations of learning
- Increase opportunities for students pursuing certification and career goals following graduation using online courses, new application based courses and increasing enrollment at community college or in certification programs
- Using highly effective teachers at every site to align management evaluation practices and pilot collegial instructional rounds
Statement: Create systems to recruit, hire, empower, develop and promote high performing staff members while minimizing the negative impact of underperforming staff members.
- Improve Human Resource recruitment, interview and recognition practices
- Articulate district versus site responsibility for curriculum delivery
- Provide baseline equipment and instructional materials for the transition to CCSS and SBAC
Statement: Involve stakeholders in developing and adopting a balanced budget that implements the reinvestment plan creating the greatest organizational outcomes for dollars which will be returning to our system.
- Maintain a balanced budget minus strategic spend down of excessive reserves with involvement of stakeholders
- Develop methodology for measuring return on investment for new programs and initiatives
- Establish baseline allocations for district versus site classroom expenditures
Statement: Implement the capital improvement plan and complete projects stemming from Measure H-12 revenue that improves classroom environments, sustainable energy and enhanced educational offerings.
- Design and seek DSA approval for VES Annex and THS projects
- Complete existing projects on time and within budget
- Guide final decision on Solar Project
- Integrate new employees into cohesive maintenance plan
Statement: Create and implement systems which provide regular two way communication between stakeholders and guide the decision-making and evaluation of organizational systems.
- Stakeholder engagement and LCAP development
- Common Core ramifications
- VES Annex, THS construction and solar project
- 360 communication and evaluation