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Update from the Superintendent - September 4th
Posted 9/4/20


Hello Scotts Valley Community,

Through thick and thin, we have almost arrived – the official start of the 2020-21 school year begins Tuesday, September 8th.

We are living in an extraordinary time and are keenly aware of the concerns being discussed and addressed at the local, state, national, and global levels.  Our most recent experiences with the fires in our local area and our state were compounded on top of the existing feelings of frustration and concern related to the global pandemic, the Black Lives Matter movement, economic uncertainty, and school closures.  The level of uncertainty and unrest in our world is high right now.

Adding to the anxiety of opening schools remotely was the additional concern of safety for our employees, families, and our communities.  On the first teacher workday, August 19th, several of our employees had to pack up and evacuate their homes in the San Lorenzo Valley.  As you know, Scotts Valley residents were evacuated on August 20th.  As a result of these events, we suspended the start of the school year.  Due to families returning to Scotts Valley from all over the state or even returning from out-of-state, and also to support our impacted teachers who were not available to start the school year, we decided to postpone the start of the school year until next week.  We are applying for a waiver from the State and they will determine how many days are allowed to be “waived” and how many instructional days will need to be “made up”.  As we learn more from the State of California, we will certainly be sharing the decision with you.

So, TAKE 2!  We held a second District Professional Development Day  Wednesday, September 2, via Zoom.  Teachers and staff were again offered a variety of trainings throughout the day that focused on using technology for remote learning, with additional sessions that offered teachers tips to support students socially, emotionally, and academically. Teachers are preparing to greet their students and spend the first few weeks onboarding them to this new educational platform, reviewing Zoom and Google Classroom protocols and expectations, and getting to know them.  We have created a webpage with Distance Instruction Resources and information that can be accessed here: Distance Instruction Resources  Please continue to visit this page, as we will be updating our resources regularly.

Thank you to those that attended our Town Hall on August 12th (That seems so long ago ).  We tried to cover several topics and answer questions about the reopening of schools.  If you were not able to attend, the recording is on the District website.  I was asked what to do if there were PG&E scheduled outages, and I was hoping we could get a pass.  Two days later the rolling blackouts started prior to the fires.  County Superintendents were in communication with PG&E and requested that these scheduled outages occur for only short durations and after 3:00 pm, and they have initially agreed to comply.  

As I mentioned in a prior communication, we will be surveying staff and parents in approximately one month to garner your feedback on how things are going.  We will review the results and determine if adjustments and changes need to or can be made.

Similar to last spring, our district is offering meals to students.  Scotts Valley Unified School District is committed to serving our students’ nutritious meals to support their academic growth and promote healthy lifestyles.  To that end, if you plan on picking up a meal, please remember to complete the attached request form. This will help inform our food service department of the approximate number of meals they will need to prepare.  Families in need of assistance, anytime during the school year, can complete a free and reduced lunch meal application attached here, also available on school websites.  If you plan on completing a paper application, please return it to your school site front office staff and it will be routed to our food service department.  All applications will be kept confidential.

While our immediate focus has been on planning for the reopening of schools, we have also been preparing to address cultural responsiveness in our District.  A culturally responsive approach recognizes the value of each person’s culture and helps us all relate respectfully with people of other cultures.  

Concerns have been expressed to me by students, staff, and parents regarding experiences related to racism and harassment.   SVUSD does not support hateful or hurtful commentary to anyone for any reason.  I wanted to make certain that I communicated this at the beginning of the school year.  We need to reinforce this with our students and staff so that actions are taken in response to unacceptable behaviors.  Initially, the District will begin with cultural awareness training at the Leadership level, followed by the formation of a District Committee with teachers to create systemic change.  Our focus will be on examining our own cultural biases and institutional practices to acknowledge where improvements need to be made. Additionally, the District’s Curriculum Council will examine our standards-based texts and work to expand supplementary materials to be more current, relevant, including being culturally and linguistically responsive. The goal of these efforts is to ensure that the District’s policies and practices help to disrupt the structures of racism, contributing to the District’s ability to realize our Vision: “Our students will be socially responsible, pursuing their full potential in intellectual, social, and physical development, and be engaged, ethical and effective citizens”. 

There is so much going on in our world, our nation, our state, and here in our local community.  I acknowledge there is increased stress and anxiety, anger, and hurt.  It is so important that we take care of and be kind to one another.  We will continue to provide that type of support to our students through our Positive Behavior, Intervention, and Support systems.  We encourage you to join us in that endeavor. 

Thank you for continuing to work together with us. We are looking forward to a successful year.

Most sincerely,

Tanya Krause