Throughout its long history, BUSD has experienced many successes and is recognized for its high-performing schools, award-winning programs and forward-thinking approach.  A strong sense of pride runs deep in this community reflecting its commitment to providing the very best for its students.  I feel this as I talk with parents, students, staff, trustees and community members.

Effective school districts need strong leadership and it is clear that Superintendent Janice Adams and the School Board worked closely in their efforts to provide an outstanding educational system. These efforts reflect the community’s belief in the importance of keeping students at the center of all decisions and daily operations.  Strong partnerships among students, parents, staff and city agencies have been cultivated, providing the foundation from which we will continue to build success toward the achievement of our goals.  

When I think of the priorities for this school year, a few areas come to mind.  First, passage of Measure S was a powerful statement from the community reflecting the commitment to provide facilities that our students deserve.  Effective bond management is key to high quality work and timely completion of projects. We are currently engaged in important work in the four areas of the bond categories, including:

• Modernization and technology upgrades
• Health, safety, and security improvements
• Infrastructure improvements
• Student support facilities  

This is an exciting time in BUSD; these are necessary improvements and we can be confident they will all have a lasting, positive impact for students, staff and the community. Ongoing updates will be made available on our District website, including my own Twitter updates @BUSDsup.

On the teaching and learning side of the house, it is important to note that we are living in one of the most exciting times in human history, filled with innovation, opportunity and complexities that are new to the human experience. Our jobs as educators have many components, perhaps most importantly, to prepare our students for lifestyles and livelihoods that not only do not yet exist, but which we have yet to imagine.

In the September, 2014 edition of this magazine, author Adriene Rockwell discussed the Common Core State Standards.  Full implementation of these new standards, including deep reflection on effective instructional practices, lesson design and innovative uses of technology is a priority and will drive our work for years to come.

While we prepare our students for these exciting new frontiers, it is vital that we do so in a manner that promotes safe and welcoming school environments.  Each student must feel valued, welcomed, challenged and supported every day.  

An additional priority includes the successful implementation of the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), required by all school districts in California. The plan contains goals, actions and metrics covering three broad areas:  

• Conditions for learning
• Pupil outcomes
• Student engagement  

While broad in its scope, the LCAP does not contain all of the elements often reflected in a district strategic plan. The process for refreshing our current strategic plan may be considered during the course of this year.  

As I learn more about the District, working closely with the board, students, staff and the community, other priorities will undoubtedly emerge. I look forward to sharing these developments with the community and partnering with you in this important effort.