Belmont-Redwood Shores is an outstanding community and school district. We have excellent schools thanks to a professional staff that is committed to improvement, an incredibly supportive community, and a Board of Trustees that focuses on the success of all students. Looking ahead to the 2014-15 school year, we have many exciting initiatives taking place. Specifically, we are working on strategic planning, facilities expansion, the continued enhancement of our educational program, and parent engagement.
In the fall of 2014, we are engaged in a strategic planning process that will set our District’s course for the next several years. The process began in June, with the Board’s selection of an outside facilitator, Pivot Learning Partners, to lead our District through a strategic planning process. In September and October, a Strategic Planning Committee comprised of 26 District stakeholders is using staff and community input to recommend student-focused strategic planning goals to the Board at its October 23 meeting. Afterwards, the District’s administrative team will draft an outline of actions aligned to those goals for Board and community review. Please use the link on the right hand side of this page to learn more about our strategic planning efforts.
Facilities Expansion/Bond Measure
We are planning actively the expansion of our facilities to meet the demands of our continued enrollment growth. Over the last 9 years, our district has grown dramatically, from 2,400 students in 2005 to 3,940 students this year. We are projected to continue growing. Last year, from October 2013 to May 2014, a representative Enrollment and Facilities Task Force met to research our enrollment growth and recommend a course of action. To maintain the quality of our educational program and address our enrollment growth, the task force recommended the addition of 30 classrooms. On August 5, 2014, our Board of Trustees took action to place a bond measure on the November 4 ballot to fund facilities expansion. Again, there is a link to the right to learn more about the committee work, research, Board Meetings, and thinking that went into the bond measure.
In 43 states and the District of Columbia, public schools are transitioning to internationally benchmarked standards known as the Common Core State Standards (CCSS). These are superior standards compared to the prior California state standards. As part of this shift, nearly all of our elementary teachers participated in local week-long literacy training provided by experts from Teachers College Columbia University this past summer. These balanced literacy strategies are known as Reading Workshop and Writing Workshop (see http://readingandwritingproject.org/). They enable differentiated instruction in small groups that allows us to meet the needs of a wide range of student abilities within the same classroom. Starting this fall, we will report student progress in grades TK-5 using new CCSS-aligned report cards, and the state will be administering new computer-based tests in grades 3-8 and 11 in spring 2015. We are incorporating new CCSS-aligned curricular materials as they become available online and via traditional publishers. We are also investing in classroom technology to improve our students’ learning, ready our students for the state’s computer-based test, and prepare them for the technology-rich high school curriculum.
Parent engagement is critical to our success as a District. We are continuing to build on our communication with parents via improvements to our website, email updates, and in-person meetings. For the first half of the school year, we are planning education events for parents around the new report cards, the Common Core State Standards, and the role of technology in our schools. We rely heavily on our District’s foundation School-Force (see http://schoolforce.org/) to fund curriculum enrichment and our school site Parent Teacher Associations (PTA) for school-specific events, volunteer support, and the cultivation of a welcoming school community. I strongly encourage parents to donate money to School-Force and volunteer via their school’s PTA. These donations help us to provide the quality education that our students deserve and that they need to be competitive in high school, college, and beyond.
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Michael Milliken, Ph.D.