Superintendent's Newsletter

October 2021

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Message from Superintendent Dr. John Baker:

Dear RCSD Community,


In recent weeks, I’ve had the pleasure of watching your children learn and play on our school campuses and the experience has been joyous.


You may not know this, but I typically visit our schools fairly often to support our school principals, watch our teachers do their magic with children, and thank our support staff for the work they do behind the scenes. The pandemic certainly brought my visits to a complete halt, but, as I shared with the Board of Trustees this week during their meeting, I’ve been able to start visiting the school sites again. I, of course, do this while following all of our public health protocols.


I shared with the Trustees that I’ve visited four campuses this school year so far. As an educator, watching your children always brings a smile to my face. During my visits, I’ve had conversations with our principals about how we’re helping our students get reacclimated to school. If you think about it, in March of 2020, when the shelter in place order took effect, our kindergartners stopped coming to school. They are now in 2nd grade. As a team, we are helping our students relearn the typical school procedures that were part of the norm pre-COVID-19.


My visits have also given me the opportunity to see the progress of our construction projects in person. I will forever be grateful to local voters who said Yes! to Measure T in 2015. Since then, we have been hard at work modernizing our school facilities. We have finished several projects and more are near completion. I thank our supportive community for believing in our students and helping them with updated and modernized learning spaces.


As we near the end of October, please join me in thanking our school principals. October is National School Principals Month and we salute them for their extraordinary leadership!


John Baker

Superintendent

Learning Safely in 2021-22

Board of Trustees Supports Governor Newsom’s COVID-19 Vaccination Requirement for In-Person School Attendance

School Board Votes Unanimously to Support Governor in Directive to California Department of Public Health

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Redwood City School District (RCSD) students may be required to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to attend school in-person. During its regularly scheduled public meeting on Wednesday, October 20, the RCSD Board of Trustees voted unanimously approving Resolution 13: Supporting the Governor’s Executive Order Requiring COVID-19 Vaccination for Students. Earlier this month on October 1, Governor Newsom directed the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) to include COVID-19 in the list of required vaccinations for children to attend school in person. The Governor’s directive will be part of a legislative process.


In its unanimous action, the School Board also approved for Superintendent Baker to address correspondence to Governor Newsom. The letter reads in part, “Given the devastating impact of COVID-19 on our schools, students, staff, families, and communities, mandating vaccination for students offers the State a critical opportunity to improve public health and ensure the safety of California’s students and education workforce. CDPH has consistently promoted vaccinations as the most effective way to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Requiring COVID vaccinations for students would put CDPH’s findings and recommendations into action.”


The RCSD Board of Trustees is the most recent School Board in San Mateo County to adopt a resolution in support of the Governor's mandate. It is expected that COVID-19 vaccine requirements may take effect starting July 1, 2022.

District Plans for Student Access to COVID-19 Vaccine

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Redwood City School District (RCSD) has started to plan on how the district will support facilitating COVID-19 vaccine access for its young students. During the regularly scheduled Board of Trustees meeting on Wednesday, October 20, Superintendent Baker presented the School Board with the following update and the district’s plan:


  • On Tuesday, October 26, the FDA is scheduled to discuss Pfizer’s request for Emergency Use Authorization (EUA) of its vaccine for 5-11 year olds

  • Should the FDA approve it, it is expected that the vaccine will be available in November

  • The White House has announced that it has secured enough vaccines for 28 Million children across the nation

  • A national public education campaign is planned

  • Schools and community-based sites throughout the nation will act as clinics facilitating access to the vaccine for children and youth


RCSD is one of a handful of school districts in San Mateo County whose application was granted by San Mateo County Health to host vaccination clinics. Should the FDA approve Pfizer’s request for Emergency Use Authorization, RCSD is scheduled to host two vaccination clinics for its 5-11 year old students--one on Thursday, November 18 followed by the second shot on Thursday, December 9. The district is planning for the events to be held on Thursdays, which are minimum days, in order to avoid disrupting instructional time as the events would take place after school. The locations have yet to be selected and all students from throughout the district would be able to visit for vaccination.


The district also encourages parents with questions regarding the COVID-19 vaccine to attend this discussion with public health experts. San Mateo County Health and the San Mateo County Office of Education will discuss the vaccine for 5-11 year old children.

COVID-19 Vaccination Verification Request

RCSD is asking families of students who are 12 years and older and have completed both of their COVID-19 vaccinations to submit their child’s proof of vaccination record here.


Verification of COVID-19 vaccination status can inform important school practices around testing, contact tracing, quarantine and isolation.


Proof of COVID-19 Vaccination

Here are the ways to show proof of vaccination:

  • A physical photo or copy of a vaccination record,

  • A digital photo of a vaccination card on a phone or electronic device,

  • Documentation of vaccination from a healthcare provider; or

  • A personal digital COVID-19 vaccine record issued by the State of California, available via Digital COVID-19 Vaccine Record or similar documentation.

Families of students 12 years and older can submit proof of their child’s COVID-19 vaccination here. Families may also submit records in person at their child’s school.

Please complete a separate immunization upload form for each student in attendance at RCSD.

All visitors will need to comply with public health guidelines, including wearing a mask and social distancing.

For more information about state immunization requirements, please visit ShotsforSchool.org.

Community Input Sought as District Balances Trustee Areas

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The Redwood City School District (RCSD) Board of Trustees seeks the input of the school district’s community as RCSD moves through the process of balancing its Trustee Areas. A key step before new Trustee Areas are drawn is to seek community input regarding the makeup of the readjusted Trustee Areas. The School Board is scheduled to vote on new Trustee Area boundaries in January 2022.

The school district’s boundaries are currently divided into five different Trustee Areas after the district moved from an “at-large” to a “by-trustee area” elections system in December 2017. This means that voters elect their RCSD Trustee based on the specific area in which the voter lives. The voter's residence, not the school attended, is used to determine which RCSD Trustee represents the particular Trustee Area. RCSD is engaging in the process to balance the current Trustee Areas as each Census count requires all school districts to:

  1. review the population data to determine if their voting areas are still within the allowable population variance; and

  2. make any necessary adjustments to the areas to ensure population balance.

During the regularly scheduled public School Board meeting on October 20, the Board of Trustees learned that Trustee Areas need to be realigned to balance the population count in Trustee Area IV, which has too many residents, and Trustee Area V, which does not have enough residents, in comparison to Trustee Areas I, II, and III.

The following timeline has been established to solicit community feedback:

  • October 20: Evaluation of Current Trustee Areas

  • November 9: First Drafts of Readjusted Trustee Areas posted on RCSD website

  • November 17: Board meeting. Review of initial scenario.

  • December 15: Board meeting. Review of revised maps and public hearing.

  • January 19: Board meeting. Review of revised maps, public hearing, and Board action.

During the School Board meetings, the public is asked to provide input regarding the composition of potential Trustee Areas. All meetings are held virtually and begin at 7:00 p.m.

New Partnership Adds to District’s Innovative Teacher Pipelines

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With an eye toward the future, Redwood City School District (RCSD) is partnering with rising educators from San Jose State University (SJSU) through a unique Bilingual Residency Program. The multifaceted program recruits and retains enthusiastic teachers to our already accomplished and gifted team.

The Bilingual Residency partnership offers SJSU student teachers the opportunity to join our award-winning language programs and schools through hands-on classroom practicum and mentorship. The Residency Program champions ongoing dedication to helping RCSD students become biliterate leaders while attracting talented educators to the District.

The District serves families from diverse backgrounds, with more than 35 languages spoken at home, and proudly offers Bilingual Education in Spanish, Dual Language Immersion in Spanish and Mandarin Immersion. A need for qualified bilingual teachers will grow in the coming years and RCSD will be prepared.

As part of a partnership with San José State, RCSD will contribute to tuition, books, and include a $5,000 stipend. Bilingual Residency graduates will make a teaching commitment of at least four years following completion of the program.


The partnership with San José State is in addition to the already established Teach RCSD program in which individuals with a bachelor’s degree can begin work with children with special needs while earning a teaching credential and a master’s degree in education. The successful Teach RCSD program is in partnership with the Alder Graduate School of Education.


Recent research and data shows that RCSD’s dual language immersion (DLI) program at the elementary level helps students "reach high levels of linguistic proficiency and academic achievement."


The Bilingual Residency Program paves the way for a future of trained Bilingual Educators that will support RCSD in making a difference in the lives of children and their families.


Strategic partnerships between local colleges and RCSD continue a longstanding tradition of building a motivated and dynamic cohort which benefits students and teaching staff alike.

San José State students majoring in education who are interested in the Bilingual Residency Program can contact Liz Wolfe, Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services, at lwolfe@rcsdk8.net. Individuals who already hold a bachelor’s degree and are interested in switching careers to become a special education teacher with RCSD can contact Alder Graduate School of Education Talent and Admissions: dewingjr@aldergse.edu. In addition to teaching positions, the district is always looking for great candidates to fill a variety of support positions. Interested candidates can apply online.

We Are Hiring

- YouTube

Enrollment and School of Choice for 2022-23 Opens November 12

1st School of Choice Window to Close Wednesday, January 19, 2022

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Families who will be new to Redwood City School District (RCSD) for the 2022-23 school year and current RCSD families looking to transfer to another program or school next August of 2022, have the opportunity to start planning in November of 2021.


Enrollment:

Enrollment for the 2022-23 school year begins Friday, November 12, 2021 at

9 a.m. Families can visit this page on the school district’s website where they will find a link to complete their student registration online. The application will open on Friday, November 12 at 9 a.m.

To complete the registration, parents will need to upload copies of the following:

  • Student’s birth certificate or passport

  • Student’s immunization record

  • Two different documents showing proof of address (e.g. recent utility bills, rental agreements, bank statements, etc. in parent/guardian’s name OR a signed and dated letter from landlord or renter and recent bills in their name)

  • Parent or guardian’s photo ID (i.e. driver’s license or passport)

The district encourages all parents to complete the registration or School of Choice application online. However, staff will be available to help a parent face to face should there be the need to complete the registration or School of Choice application in person. These face to face meetings will take place by appointment only. Parents can schedule an appointment at their neighborhood school or the district office. Click here for a complete list of phone numbers. All school visitors will need to wear a face mask and practice social distancing. All RCSD employees are following public health guidelines and visitors are expected to do the same.


Current PreK and TK parents need to remember that their children need to participate in the enrollment process for kindergarten as these two grade levels do not automatically roll over. PreK students at Adelante Selby Spanish Immersion School and Odyssey Preschool, who reside within the school district’s attendance zone, have priority to stay at their current school sites should they desire to continue participating in the Spanish or Mandarin immersion programs. All TK students (Adelante Selby, Clifford, Hoover, and Mandarin Immersion) also have priority to stay at their current sites.

PreK parents (Spanish and Mandarin Immersion) as well as all TK parents will have the opportunity to indicate their preference as they fill out the online registration form.


School of Choice:

New and current families looking to transfer to another school or program in August of 2022 need to fill out a School of Choice application. The application window opens on Friday, November 12 at 9 a.m. and closes on Wednesday, January 19, at 3 p.m. In this first application window, the district conducts a random computerized lottery. Families are notified on whether they have been admitted to the program for which they applied or if they are placed on a waitlist. All families new to the district need to enroll at their neighborhood school first before filling out a School of Choice application. Current families do not need to re enroll. Current families are able to fill out a School of Choice application without going through the enrollment process again.


Parents are encouraged to closely follow this timeline as it includes key dates for enrollment, the School of Choice process, grade levels, and school programs.

School Meals Are Now Free for All Students

Universal Meals Promotional Video-RCSD

#ThankAPrincipal

October is National Principals Month. As instructional leaders at their school sites, school principals guide and support their schools to make a difference in the lives of children. We salute and celebrate all RCSD school principals for their tireless efforts to create a safe and supportive, inspirational and rigorous, joyful and inclusive environment for all learners.
2021 National Principals Month
Governance in Action

Meet the RCSD Board of Trustees, learn of items coming to the Board dais in future meetings, and follow instructions on how to join the current virtual meetings.

Redwood City School District

RCSD is an award-winning PreK-8 district serving Redwood City and portions of Atherton, Menlo Park, San Carlos, and Woodside.