By Tamra Taylor, Superintendent Live Oak School District
To begin, I would like to congratulate the entire Live Oak School District community for passing Measure R (the parcel tax renewal) with 78.9% approval. Thank you to all District staff, Home and School Clubs, labor groups, and community members who contributed through campaign donations, precinct walking, phone banks, and working at farmer’s market tables. The passage of Measure R means that programming such as art, music, life lab, and after school services will be secure for another 12 years. The high percentage of voters approving the parcel renewal is a victory for our students.
Family Learning Nights
Congratulations to our parent and teacher communities on hosting their first Family Learning Nights. The Nights were planned by a team including parent and teacher liaisons and the principal, who worked in coordination with site teachers. Each night started with a free dinner for all families before launching to a series of hands-on games and activities designed to engage students in learning with their families on particular topics (math, science, literacy, etc.). Families then received instructions and materials for each game that they could take home. Over 400 people attended each school’s night and the feedback received has been incredibly positive and we look forward to the schools hosting two of these nights next year.
This year teachers offered more opportunities for students to engage in “STEAM” lessons which focus on science, technology, engineering, art, and mathematics. In elementary, we continued to expand our pilot of the FOSS science curriculum, which engages students in actual scientific inquiry. It is a program rich with academic vocabulary and designed to foster collaboration amongst the learners. In third grade, the LEGO Simple Machine unit was piloted. Students in this program learn simple engineering concepts through their own building and design efforts. Another example of a powerful STEAM experience occurred at Shoreline Middle School, where the 7th grade math department and the STEAM elective incorporated the use of a 3D modeling software program with a new 3D printer to enhance students’ mathematical reasoning, with all students designing and making a three dimensional object. This pilot will continue next year. We are excited to be extending our students’ use of technology next year by checking out one Chromebook to every 8th grade student for a “one-to-one initiative.”
School Awards and Honors
Our elementary schools received an incredible honor this year that bears repeating. I am incredibly proud that Del Mar, Green Acres, and Live Oak received the Gold Ribbon Award designation from the California Department of Education. The Gold Ribbon Award is one way the State celebrates outstanding educational programs and practices through its California School Recognition Program. In order to compete for this award, each school was required to submit a lengthy application that described their model program or practice that specifically meets the academic needs of their specific student population. We know that the kids of Live Oak are benefitting from the innovative programs put in place at these schools.
Free Summer Reading Program
Finally, as you read this we’ll be into the heart of summer. Please keep in mind that children experience learning loss when they do not engage in educational activities during the summer, so I encourage you to sign your child(ren) up for the library’s free Summer Reading Program. They are hosting special events at each branch, and your child can earn “Book Bucks” to spend at local stores based on how many minutes they read (or you read to them). For more information, please visit their webpage: http://www.santacruzpl.org/srp/kids/
We look forward to sharing with you the exciting things we have planned for the 2016-17 school year in August! Enjoy your summer!