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Pasquale Scuderi head shot
Dear AUSD Families,
With graduations and promotions now completed and the summer months in full swing, I want to both wish you a restful change of pace for the next several weeks and invite you into what I hope will be a summer of impactful planning and discussion ahead of the first day of school in August. 
This summer we will be continuing our work on developing protocols and practices to assess student work accurately, as well as supporting our new secondary math pathways, elementary literacy framework, and early childhood education program at Alameda Child Development Center. We also plan this fall to embark on a comprehensive review of all the spaces and places in the district and at school sites where families can engage in the educational experience of their students.  
Elsewhere district staff and the faculty at Island High School will be given space to imagine and consider a renewed or new vision for the future of alternative educational programming for students. We also have several large-scale facilities projects in motion, including the Wood temporary campus, a new athletic field at Encinal, and a new pool at Alameda High, and updating Kofman Auditorium.  
One of the areas we will always be attentive to and continuously working to improve is the culture and climate of our schools. How are students treated? How do they treat each other? What do we accept or reject in terms of behavior and expression in our schools, and how do we respond when students fall short of these important expectations? Healthy and positive school cultures are a key piece of kids thriving, and in some cases, what motivates them, or even determines whether they remain in school. 
All our students have a right to access learning, creativity, and expression in a way that is unencumbered by harassment, bullying, or discrimination. Any forms of those acts are unacceptable, and we must also be conscious, preventative, and decisively responsive when those acts manifest to include a student’s race, religion, culture, ability, gender and gender identity, and sexual orientation. 
This summer we plan to provide some resources, readings, and updates on some of the topics we are working on and thinking through to support culture and climate in our schools. We hope to initiate community thinking and conversations with families around some of the recurrent topics and issues related to school culture and climate that we hear about as school leaders.  
As part of this focus, this week, our Board Policy Subcommittee reviewed policies, including those concerning hate-motivated behaviors, including discriminatory or biased speech. The Subcommittee will revisit these topics at its September 12 meeting. We are also planning to have all elementary families and secondary students sign a compact to support respectful, safe campuses by avoiding the use of hate speech and behaviors. This pledge will be included in the Data Confirmation packets available to all families later this summer. 
Recognizing, responding to, and preventing bias and bias-related behaviors is extremely challenging across not only the state but also the country. As an education community, however, we are committed to working with all our partners – students, staff, and families alike – to raise awareness and build school cultures in this district that are supportive of all our young people.  
Pasquale Scuderi
Superintendent of Schools