Just get in the water
This summer I took on a challenge, something I’ve literally thought about for the last 20 or so years. I wanted to swim across a cove at a lake that I have visited ever since my children were babies. The problem was, for the past 19 years I didn’t know how to swim. I spent this last year learning how to swim and putting those skills to the test in the open water.
Once arriving at the lake, I realized just what a challenge this would be and found reason after reason why I couldn’t swim across the cove. Finally, at the prodding of my daughter and repeatedly hearing the words, “Just get in the water!” I literally took the plunge. I felt exhilarated when I completed the swim – thrilled that I accomplished a goal that seemed nearly impossible.
I thought about how this related to our work in the Sonoma Valley Unified School District, and I could clearly see the relationship. We have set very high goals and expectations for our students and for ourselves – goals that at times may seem insurmountable. But the absolute reality is that we can achieve these goals – we can do this with the support of our community in this breathtakingly important work. We need to all be a part of the success of our students and the success of our community.
As many people are aware, our district vision includes a focus on all students being college and career ready upon graduation from high school. We know that in order for students to reach this goal, we must start with our youngest learners. Our interim goals along the way include:
• Completing a one-to-two year quality pre-school experience.
• Reading at grade level by the end of third grade.
• Mastering English proficiency by the end of fifth grade.
• Readiness to successfully complete college prep course work by ninth grade.
We know that we face significant challenges in meeting these goals and no one ever said this would be easy work. We are currently in the process of developing an updated strategic plan that, in part, addresses each of these interim goals for the district.
While many programs to support these goals are funded through the district, other goals, such as preschool, need financial support from the community. We are simply in a period of “cut and invest.”
Cuts from the state seem to be continuous from year to year, and new programs will continue to need financial investment from our community.
As we begin this new school year, we know we face unprecedented fiscal challenges, as do nearly all districts in the state of California, but this isn’t going to stop us from bringing absolutely quality education to the youth in Sonoma Valley. We have incredibly talented educators and will continue to offer excellent educational programs and activities.
Please join us in the work ahead. We have dedicated staff, talented administrators and a special community that supports our schools. If you are interested in volunteering your time or contributing financially, please visit our website at svusdca.org for more details, or contact us by calling 935-4246. Please remember that your individual and collective contributions to our schools make an enormous difference and we thank you in advance for your participation.
Don’t be afraid to “Just get in the water!”
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Louann Carlomagno is superintendent of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District.