Dr. Newman

    Welcome Back Letter - August 18, 2018

    Dear AUSD Families and Students:

    It is with great anticipation and excitement that I welcome you to the 2018-19 school year.  I am delighted to once again begin a new school year. I hope your summer was restful and filled with many fun family opportunities. The purpose of this letter is to update you on the great work our teaching staff and administrators have been tackling during the summer recess.

    Continuous Improvement will be our focus throughout the school year. Our world is ever-changing, and providing an excellent education is the result of carefully crafted planning and the attention to every detail that impacts teaching and learning.  Alpine Union is continuing our movement forward with aspirations to be an even stronger school district for our students. This includes increasing the rigor of teaching in our classrooms, adding personalized learning pathways for our students, and supporting the social and emotional well being of every student.

    The entire leadership team has been at work on planning for improvements. There are a lot of exciting changes to inform you about as we start the school year, Here are some of these changes:

    • We are implementing a mathematics professional learning plan for all TK-8 grade teachers. Teachers will work with experienced math coaches throughout the year to receive math content and pedagogy workshops, grade level math content and classroom application workshops, including classroom coaching. 

    • We are increasing STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art, and Music) options in all elementary schools through the expansion of our Wheel of Experts program supported through the Alpine Education Foundation.

    • We are continuing to expand our award-winning engineering and coding program at JMMS while providing more students the opportunity to participate in the program.

    • We are expanding our Dual Language Spanish program to JMMS beginning this school year. Our first group of dual immersion sixth graders will begin next week.

    • We are continuing our second year of implementing our new English Language Arts curriculum.

    • We are implementing Collaborative Teacher Planning Time. These will be minimum days to support our vision of improving learning outcomes for students by providing opportunities for teacher collaboration and professional learning. Please click here to access the student calendar, which includes the minimum days for the year.

    • Several of our schools will be offering one to one technology (one Chromebook for one student) this year in an effort to enhance learning opportunities.

    • We are increasing efforts to enhance the social and emotional support for our students. This includes partnering with the Sandy Hook Promise Foundation to educate our middle school students about the Say Something Anonymous Reporting System, which teaches students how to look for warning signs, signals and threats, especially in social media, and to say something to a trusted adult or use the Anonymous Reporting System to get help. We will be holding a parent education evening in the coming months to introduce you to the program in advance of rolling it out to our students.

    • We added a full-time Teacher on special assignment at JMMS to specifically support the social and emotional needs of our students. 

    • We received a grant to implement and develop a Multi-Tiered System of Support to develop consistent district-wide systems of support to enhance the academic, social and emotional well being of our students, including intervention efforts for all students. We will be working throughout the year with the San Diego County Office of Education to train staff and implement new ways to support our students.

    • We will be identifying ways to enhance security on our campuses. Specifically, we are working on securing the JMMS campus including adding cameras. The proposed plans include enclosing the school with fencing. The first stage of fencing enclosing the basketball courts has been completed and we are awaiting final architectural plans for perimeter fencing.  

    • We have added bus stops and changed some of our routes this year to ensure home to school transportation is safe and responsive to the requests we have received from parents.

    • We have resurfaced the cracks in the Creekside Early Learning Center playground to improve safety for our students. In the next few weeks, we will be seal coating and restriping the playground for our students.

    • We have replaced roofs on several rooms at SHES.

    • We have replaced, repaired or upgraded air conditioning systems at JMMS and BOES.

    • We will be installing a new public announcement and bell system at BOES.

    • At our Professional Growth Day on August 15, each school identified behavioral expectations and recommendations to develop district-wide behavioral norms.

    • All classified staff were trained in restorative and trauma-informed practices to support students at our schools.

    • We have hired a new Extended School Services Coordinator to oversee and build our before and after school program to ensure that it is an extension of the learning day at our schools.

    • All school services can now be paid for online, including using School Cafe to pay for your child’s lunches. The program allows you to monitor your child's activity on their meal account, make automatic payments, and receive low balance notices.

    • Finally, a Superintendent’s Task Force committee will be forming to analyze and recommend potentially reconfiguring our schools around the vision of creating personalized learning pathways for our students that are rigorous, focused on fully integrating STEAM experiences and technology into the curriculum, and effectively utilizing our school facilities. The Task Force will be comprised of a wide array of stakeholders, including parents, representatives from classified, certificated and management staff, and community members to capture a range of thinking. If you are interested in being part of the Task Force please submit your name to rnewman@alpineschools.net by Wednesday, August 29.

    In closing, as I enter my third year as your Superintendent, I am honored to serve this community and continue to work to provide the finest educational system for the students of Alpine. As you can see, we are hard at work improving all aspects of our District. I believe with your support, thinking and engagement the best days of Alpine Union lie ahead of us.

    Rich Newman, Ed.D.
    Proud Superintendent 
    Alpine Union School District
    The Destination District of East County