Greetings AUSD Community:
It’s hard to believe that November is here and that the midpoint of the school year
will soon be here as well. Staff and families alike deserve consistent acknowledgment for the often rewarding but consistently pressure-packed responsibilities that come along with supporting students in their daily growth and development. Acknowledging our shared responsibilities, better still understanding them, helps further the pursuit of a genuine partnership between home and school, one that hopefully continues to improve and evolve with increasing benefits for kids.
Just as we encourage students to be unconstrained in their visions for what is possible, so must we, as adults, parents, and educators alike, be unconstrained in how we envision or imagine ways to serve students in even better, more supportive, and ultimately more effective ways.
With our broader strategic goals in place, we are in various stages of planning and implementation on some key structural changes that we believe will benefit our work for students on the whole. Our current focus includes proposals for an extension in the length of the kindergarten day as a means to gain increased opportunities to support the strong academic and creative foundations we want to ensure. (We’ll have more information - including about ways to engage in this decision-making process - for our community soon.) Elsewhere we will be discussing potential adjustments to our elementary schedules to support more frequent and much-needed time and space for teachers to plan, create, and problem-solve together in order to support their broader work for students.
Finally, as I have said from the beginning, our strategic initiatives must be adaptive and responsive to deeply rooted or emergent challenges. One profound concern I have an obligation to address –and I hope the entire community will join me in addressing – is the stubborn and glaring disparities in academic outcomes we continue to see on a variety of metrics for a large portion of our Black or African-American students. While statewide trends include comparably troubling outcomes, our responsibility lies with our students here in Alameda. We have to work together to pursue new thinking, as well as demonstrate a willingness to both question or refashion our current approaches in ways that are more pointed to the challenge at hand.
If we are going to improve, and distinguish ourselves from the countless places where these types of outcomes may have sadly become accepted, it will require a full and convergent commitment from our community to not only think differently but to also design and resource differently when it comes to time, funding, energy, and focus for the success of our Black and Afican-American children.