Today is Thursday, August 27, 2015.
Each of our comprehensive high schools hosted their fall Back to School Night this week. Attendance was off the charts, with thousands of parents walking in their child’s footsteps, meeting the teachers and getting a sense of what life is like as a student every day in our district.
Counselor’s had standing room only for presentations to 9th grade parents who are new to the schools and for parents of seniors who have started the odyssey to college acceptance. Although I seldom identify favorites, Antelope High School set a new standard this year. Their boosters had hamburgers and hot dogs on the grill as you approached the front gates! It was the perfect way to start the evening!
Oakmont High School initiated a new feature, hosting a bilingual pre-Back to School night for parents the night before their official event. The school had a great turnout where parents could learn about the programs and get answers to their questions in their native languages. Very cool!
A concern that is sometimes shared by community members with our Board is the belief that high schools in America have abandoned teaching students about the Declaration of Independence, the Articles of Confederation and the development of the Constitution. There has been concern expressed that the roots of our democracy have been given short shrift in the schools. So, this week, Board President Linda Park, member Rene Aguilera and I visited a range of government classes across the district to see what was really going on. What we saw was amazing. Passionate teachers like John Johnson at Woodcreek, Jarrod Westberg at Granite Bay and Dana Dooley at Roseville, demonstrated the rich, robust, detailed approaches they take to ensure that our culture and our heritage are understood and appreciated by the next generation of Americans. Totally awesome lessons!
We have some reality television celebrities amongst us! The Home Improvement show Yard Crashers identifies random shoppers at a Lowes or Home Depot who have back yards that need help, and then a crew does a total yard transformation with the family. Not one, not two, but three different Antelope High staff members have made the show in the last year! Teachers Sonora Mello and Elizabeth Julienne and Counselor Erica Joseph Bradley are all sporting new back yards! Erica’s husband, Jason Bradley, is a counselor at Roseville High School, so the good fortune has spread around the district. What are the odds?
Woodcreek High School has a new frosh mentoring program called Wolf Pack Tracks. Students sign up to join a mentoring/support group that is led by a staff member and a couple of upperclassmen. Meeting mostly after school, the groups do team building, and also introduce the skills that are important for academic success. Students learn how to work in a group, prepare for exams, advocate for themselves with their teachers, and manage their time. The energy is positive and palpable. Almost 80 % of the frosh have voluntarily signed on. The goal is to make sure every student feels connected to school and has the tools to succeed.
We are very excited about our new hires this year. They come to us with experience, passion and great skills. They will make our district even greater. Check out the slide show to meet our new folks!