Looking back on a great year
As this school year comes to a close, the Sonoma Valley Unified School District has a great deal to celebrate, on so many levels.
We first want to celebrate our retiring teachers and administrators and thank them for their dedicated service: They include Betsy Adams (SVHS), Pam Adams (SVHS), Kevin Coates (El Verano), Marcia Ford (SVHS), Melissa Gossett (Dunbar), Patty Griffith (El Verano), Lora Grimes (Adele), Sandy Lane (Dunbar), Sivani Lloyd (El Verano), Diane Lopez (Flowery), Shawn Martin (SVHS), Glenn Moll (Altimira and Adele), Barbara Naslund (Altimira), Gary Neville (SVHS), Maurine Solomonson (Prestwood), Linda Steinberg (Dunbar), Kathy Summers (SVHS) and Mary Taylor (Altimira).
Next we want to recognize our retiring classified staff: Rita Andrieux (SVHS), Maggie Cunningham (SVHS), Rita Hensic (transportation), Chris Hunt (El Verano) and Chris Stovall (Prestwood). We must also take a moment to remember the dear friends we lost this year: Peggy Feuer and Kathy Krempely.
Throughout the school year, we, as a district, celebrated a number of successes and the partial list below will remind all stakeholders of the incredible work that has been accomplished. We celebrate these accomplishments as a team – students, educators, families, trustees, and community members – each and every one of us contributes. For a more complete listing, please visit svusdca.org/.
Summer and fall 2011:
• SVUSD receives a $150,000 grant from the James Irvine Foundation and $150,000 from the Vadasz Family Foundation for work on College and Career Pathways at Sonoma Valley High School.
• More than 40 elementary teachers, from all five sites, participate as the first cohort of the Federal Investing in Innovations Exploratorium grant.
• Altimira successfully transitions to a block schedule.
• Sonoma Kiwanis deliver dictionaries to all third-grade students in the district.
• More than 20 SVHS teachers, along with district and site administration and community members, visit school sites throughout the state of California, focused on college and career readiness for all students.
• Plein Air generously donates more than $66,500 to school sites focused on art programs.
• The Sonoma Valley Chapter of Realtors donates $10,000 to every school site.
• El Verano hosts a second pre-school classroom thanks to the Ernest Bates and Vadasz Family Foundations.
• Transportation successfully implements our student tracking and GPS system.
• Rotary Club of Sonoma Valley donates more than $6,000 to SVUSD programs.
• Dunbar third-through-fifth-grade teachers attend an English Learner Professional Development course at the county office.
• SVHS successfully implements the Freshman Teams model, serving 360 freshmen, including innovations such as the Freshmen Seminar that allows for rapid resorting of students for “just in time” interventions.
• Sassarini, along with El Verano, Dunbar and Flowery schools, provides JumpStart Kindergarten for pre-school students focusing on kindergarten readiness.
• Districtwide garden programs are flourishing at every school site.
• Prestwood receives a Safe Routes to Schools grant.
• New, more robust, wireless points throughout the district are added for more efficient Internet access.
• Creekside High School students create a new school logo, mural and spiritwear.
• Barn sales grants, through the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, are awarded to nine SVUSD educators.
• Food Service provides fresh fruit and vegetable bars to our elementary sites, as well as salad bars to our secondary sites.
• The Information Technology Department rolls out LCD projector/document camera carts to all interested teachers.
• The Todd Trust donates $25,000 as a matching grant to community donations (also $25,000) toward our summer and after-school programs.
• Flowery receives a $5,000 grant from Walsh Vineyard Management to support garden instruction in grades K-5.
• Sassarini School completes year one as a partner in the Student Teacher Program with Sonoma State University.
• Woodland Star receives a $15,000 gardening grant from Lowe’s for its middle school garden program, which is in full swing.
• Classified Employees of the Year – Andrea Deely, Richard Piskulic, Jennifer Maldonado, JoAnn Merritt and Joyce Miller – receive local and countywide recognition.
• Dunbar celebrates its third “Read Across America” year, inviting community into the school to stop, drop and read with the Cat in the Hat.
• Adele Harrison receives the honor of being a “California School to Watch in 2012” from the California State Department of Education.
• Transportation receives a state-of-the-art new school bus via a California State Grant.
• Creekside teachers attend a workshop at the Buck Institute and begin implementation of Project Based Learning across the curriculum.
• Elementary sites across the district host successful after school intervention programs with fantastic results in student participation and achievement.
• SVUSD embarks on a strategic planning process. More than 960 surveys are completed by parents, staff and community as part of our work.
• The Fairmont Sonoma Mission Inn & Spa donates $10,000 to the SVHS ag program.
• With support from the Sonoma Valley Education Foundation, SVUSD receives a First 5 Sonoma County $310,000 grant to open an AVANCE program that will offer parent-child education classes to 125 families over the next three years.
• El Verano School receives a $15,000 grant from UC Davis to focus on professional development and teacher practice.
• Nineteen focus group meetings are held as part of our Strategic Planning Process including more than 200 participants.
• A third-grade reading academy is started this summer for all district third grade students who need additional learning time – completely funded by community donations.
• Adele Harrison hosts College Tour Days – sixth-grade to SRJC, seventh-and eighth-grades to SSU – with 90 percent student participation.
• More than $400,000 in scholarships from our local community are awarded to graduating seniors.
• Sassarini School is selected to participate in the competitive, 21st Century Summer Leadership Institute at Sonoma County Office of Education this summer.
• “Save our Sports” raises more than $30,000 for middle school sports
• El Verano School increases the number of incoming kinder students with preschool experience. In 2007, 30 percent of students had preschool experience. So far, for 2012, 82 percent have preschool experience.
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Louann Carlomagno is superintendent of the Sonoma Valley Unified School District.