Upon our return to school from the winter break, much was on our minds in relation to the horrible tragedy that happened to the families and community of Newtown, Connecticut. We have embraced this as a time to heighten our attention on safety and measures of prevention.
Although the District annually reviews all District and School Emergency Plans in the fall of each year, we have chosen to re-evaluate our current plans to strengthen our approach. We are accomplishing this task in collaboration with the Pacifica Police Department and will participate in the San Mateo County Office of Education Safe School initiative. Specific steps that we are accomplishing include:
1) Review of facility needs for each school that include inside locking doors, window shades, cameras, and fencing;
2) Safety practices that include locking of gates after morning arrival, one point of entry after morning arrival, identifiers for all adults who are on campuses;
3) Discussion and implementation of training options for students and staff such as safety drills such as lockdown, clarifying roles of personnel;
4) Developing and strengthening of relationships with community organizations such as Pacifica Police Department, Youth Service Bureau, and neighboring school districts; and
5) Continue/reinforce established practices that support a safe learning environment such as daily visits from the Pacifica Police Department at every school, signing in of all people entering the school.
To support the process in developing and implementing next steps, Dr. Ray Avila, Special Education Administrator will serve as lead and we have contracted with Mr. Mike Andrews, retired principal from Cabrillo Unified to assist us in getting some of the tasks accomplished. Keith Wisell and Chido Garcia will continue to serve as lead to the Emergency Plans.
Additionally, the principals are serving as a wonderful resource in assisting us in determining specific school needs. We thank all of the school communities for providing information that will be used to continue to strengthen our plans.
We continue to move forward with our companion plans and refining our adopted plans. Thank you to many of you who are serving on the planning teams. This year, we hope to have the following plans adopted by the Pacifica School District Board of Trustees: English Language Development, Physical Education, Health Education, and Counseling and Social Services.
We have processed with the Trustees and are working in our teams to develop the plans that support the five 21st Century learning skills (5Cs): Critical Thinking, Collaboration, Creativity, Communication, and global Citizenship and standards. We will also be reexamining our mathematics program in relation to the Common Core Standards. The shift has been very thoughtful with the desire to focus on mathematical practice that reflects Fewer standards, Clearer standards, and Higher levels of thinking.
Teachers will be offered a summer institute to be trained on the new materials that will be added in place of some of the current lessons being taught in grades K-6. Grades 7 and 8 grade teachers will look to the current adopted materials for alignment/cohesiveness. All grades are participating in 21st Century learning experiences supported by our Pacifica Education Foundation. Our next step will be to work with our teachers in determining next steps in integrating such experiences into the daily lessons/units of study.
With the passage of Proposition 30, we know we have the same funds as last year and a Cost of Living Adjustment (COLA) of approximately 1.65%. However, as the legislators look to move to a different funding formula called Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) our district is uncertain as to the impact it will have on our budget. We will work with the Board of Trustees and our labor partners in developing a strong budget for our district as we get a clearer perspective.
I would also like to remind us of the many cuts we have suffered over the last few years. California is still near the bottom in relation to educational funding among the 50 States. Please continue to support our efforts in providing strong educational programs for our schools. PEF will be holding their donation week February 11-15, with Donation Day marked for February 14!
As many of you so generously provide support to the school PTOs/PTA and through our Parcel Tax, we ask that you contribute to this wonderful Foundation that has enabled our district to take on the shift into 21st Century Learning! Much thanks for all your support!