The SMMUSD Wave- Feb 2023
A Message from the Interim Superintendent
Black History Month, District Office Move, COVID Testing Kits and Superintendent Search
Dear Parents, Guardians, Staff, Students and Community Members,
We are thrilled to see happy and engaged students learning and thriving on all of our campuses. We appreciate the continued hard work and dedication displayed by our teachers and staff who work tirelessly to ensure student academic and social emotional success.
Honoring Black History Month
Students across our District have been honoring and celebrating Black History Month with assemblies, projects and studies to understand the history of African Americans in our country. The Board of Education has enjoyed presentations from students and staff on what the students have learned, along with raising awareness regarding the importance of diversity, equity and inclusion, a guiding principle in SMMUSD. Many students have expressed activism in this area to continue progress in our communities.
District Office Move
The SMMUSD District Office has moved to 1717 4th Street, Santa Monica, 90401, effective February 21, 2023. The three-story building is on District property, between Samohi and the Hilton Hotel, and provides the opportunity to consolidate several departments into one building. The building has accessible ADA parking. Reception will have validations for ADA parking. Non-ADA visitor parking: There is ample parking in the civic center parking structure across the street. Parking at the civic: First 30 minutes are free, every 30 minutes thereafter is $0.50 cents. The District office building has limited visitor parking spaces. It is first come first serve. Please note that if a visitor parks at the Hilton (i.e. in a non-SMMUSD space), including valet, Hilton rates apply: the first 10 minutes are free, then $2.75 per 10 minutes, with a maximum of $46 per day. Visitors with official district business who park in a SMMUSD visitor space, including employment candidates, will receive validation.
COVID-19 Testing Kits
District leadership and the school board are reviewing our current protocols of testing kit distribution at our schools and offices. We appreciate your cooperation with our highly recommended weekly testing to date. We are in contact with our guiding health agencies in consideration of moving our practice to strictly voluntary, with free test kits available upon request at our schools and offices. We will have an update for you soon. For the upcoming President’s weekend, we encourage staff and students to test before returning to school on Tuesday, Feb. 21, 2023.
The school board has selected the executive search firm of Leadership Associates to facilitate the hiring of the next superintendent. Parents, staff, students and community members: watch for the opportunity to provide input on the characteristics you seek in the next superintendent.
We hope you enjoy the February edition of The SMMUSD Wave, filled with stories around our campuses of student programs, projects, events and modernization updates!
Mark O. Kelly, Ed.D., Interim Superintendent
You can read prior Superintendent Messages here.
72nd Annual Stairway of the Stars Concert Shines a Brilliant Light on the SMMUSD Music Program
The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) will present the 72nd annual Stairway of the Stars outdoor concert on Saturday, March 18, 2023 at 4 p.m. in the Santa Monica High School Greek Theatre. Nearly 900 elementary, middle, and high school students will “star” in the Stairway of the Stars, a musical extravaganza highlighting the outstanding SMMUSD music education programs, and showcasing the talents of students from every school in the District. The 2023 Stairway Honor Award will be presented to Linda Greenberg this year.
Read more about the upcoming Stairway concert: https://bit.ly/Stairway2023
Samohi Project Lead the Way Students Place Second in Congressional App Challenge
Congratulations to Santa Monica High School (Samohi) Project Lead the Way (PLTW) freshmen, Brandon Kirbyson and Tobin Palmer, for placing second in the 2022 Congressional App Challenge for Congressman Ted W. Lieu’s (D-Los Angeles County) congressional district. Kirbyson and Palmer competed against students from 14 other high schools in California’s 33rd Congressional District.
Read more here: https://bit.ly/PLTW-CongressionalApp2022.
Grant Elementary School Hosts Screen Time Safety Event
Screen time safety! Concerns around children’s media consumption and “screen time” are on the minds of most parents. Grant Elementary School hosted an educational event at the end of January to help parents manage, inform, create and implement healthy digital habits into their child’s lives.
Read more about managing your child’s screen time here.
JAMS Students Honor Black History Month with Civil Rights Activist Reverend James Lawson Visit
John Adams Middle School (JAMS) students and staff welcomed to campus guest speaker, professor and American activist, Reverend James Lawson to celebrate and commemorate Black History Month (BHM). BHM was created to focus attention on the contributions African Americans have made in the United States and throughout history.
Learn more about BHM at JAMS here.
Graduating Samohi PBL Students Collaborate with SMC Students for CicLAvia Community Event
Hudson Kaneko and Cooper Ott, two students from the first graduating class of Santa Monica High School (Samohi) project-based learning (PBL) pathway, had the opportunity to collaborate with students from Santa Monica College’s (SMC) IxD design for community change class and cognitive psychology class to produce a unique marketing and interactive experience for CicLAvia’s December 2022 South Los Angeles event.
Read more here: https://bit.ly/PBLCicLAvia.
Malibu High School Students Honored at Malibu Boys & Girls Club Youth of the Year Celebration
Congrats to Irina, Emily, Anthony & Diego: Malibu HS students honored at the Boys and Girls Club of Malibu Youth of the Year celebration! Anthony was selected to move on to the countywide event. Thank you to SMMUSD board members who served as judges!
SMMUSD Music Students Named to California All State and Honor Choir, Orchestra and Band
SMMUSD would like to congratulate the 41 Santa Monica students who were named to the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association (SCSBOA) and the All State Honor Choir, Orchestra and Band.
Read more about the these student accomplishments here: https://bit.ly/AllStateHonorsPR2023.
See the full list of students here: https://bit.ly/AllStateHonors2023.
SMMUSD Expands Communication Connections
Hello neighbor! The SMMUSD aims to be a good neighbor and recognizes that living by a school has its joys and challenges. From construction projects to athletics, evening and weekend events, fire alarm testing and traffic, all these events may impact your day.
To read more on how to connect with SMMUSD visit: https://bit.ly/HelloNeighbors2023.
Former Senator Barbara Boxer Visits Malibu Middle School
Photos Around Campuses
The SMMUSD Spotlight
Ashley Griffin, From Roosevelt Elementary School to Broadway and Beyond
Meet Ashley Griffin, a talented Broadway writer, actor, singer and director, as well as a published author. Her list of recognitions and awards include, but are not limited to, being the first person in history to be nominated for a major award for both playing and directing Hamlet, a theatrical production, recipient of the WellLife Network award and a county commendation for her off-Broadway play Trial and nominated for six New York Innovative Theater Awards across multiple categories including Best Actress, Best Director and Best New Play.
Griffin credits much of her success to her time at Roosevelt Elementary School in Santa Monica.
Read more here: https://bit.ly/AshleyGriffin-Spotlight
SMMUSD Seeking Applicants for Santa Monica and Malibu Facility District Advisory Committees
Share your voice. The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District’s (SMMUSD) Facility District Advisory Committees for Santa Monica (FDAC-SM) and Malibu (FDAC-M) are looking to fill vacant seats. The FDAC-SM is filling eight vacant seats. It is expanding its committee from nine members to 15 members in order to broaden the participation and advice coming from stakeholders. FDAC-M is looking to fill two vacant seats on its nine member committee.
Learn more about applying here.
SMMUSD to Host Campus Facility Community Meeting at Roosevelt Elementary School and Lincoln Middle School
Join Us! The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) invites parents, staff, students and community members to participate in the planning of campus facilities. The in-person community meetings will take place at Roosevelt Elementary School and Lincoln Middle School in March. The meetings will include: discussion of educational needs, historical resources, campus plans and the next proposed projects. Your input is needed as we improve the schools to support the learning of our current and future students.
To learn more visit: https://bit.ly/FIPCmtyMtngsPR2023.
Register to attend here.
Building Futures: Will Rogers Learning Community
The SMMUSD is completing its extensive modernization projects at Will Rogers Learning Community and preparing to start new construction projects. From renovating classrooms with state-of-the-art technology to upgrading and modernizing the heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems, changes in every corner of the school can be seen and experienced. SMMUSD is in the process of transforming Rogers into a progressive, cutting-edge campus for 21st-century learning.
Read more about upcoming projects at Rogers here.
Building Futures: New Malibu High School
The new high school building is designed to support 21st-century learning and fit into Malibu’s coastal community aesthetics. Based on lower enrollment than typical high schools, the academic plan and building are designed to give greater agency to the students so they can direct their own learning. Rather than all of the learning occurring in the classroom, the entire building is treated as a learning facility. This will allow for individual, breakout and smaller group collaboration as well as an array of differing classrooms that will support project-based learning. It is a high school designed for the Malibu student.
Read more about the new Malibu High School here.
Exciting Modernization Projects at SMMUSD Schools Forthcoming
The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District Facility Improvement Project team detailed school modernization projects on the horizon for multiple Santa Monica schools as part of bond measure SMS passed enthusiastically by voters in 2018. As presented to the Board of Education during a regular board meeting, projects are slated to begin at McKinley Elementary School, Will Rogers Learning Community and John Adams Middle School in June 2023.
Projects at Grant Elementary School, Franklin Elementary School, Roosevelt Elementary School and Lincoln Middle School continue to progress through the process that includes design, submission to DSA, the California Environmental Quality Act process, conducting community meetings, and procuring contractors, consultants and other services.
Read more about upcoming facilities projects for Santa Monica schools:
Muir / SMASH Campus Renovation Project Progresses
Updates to the Muir / SMASH campus water intrusion repair project were provided to the school board during a regular January 2023 meeting. Progress continues on this high priority project following the approval of the design architect at the September 2022 school board meeting. Initial projection for school reopening of August 2024 has been moved to January 2025 at the earliest, with possible reopening in August 2025. This delay is due to expectations of the Division of the State Architect (DSA) that structural upgrades be made to the buildings as part of the repair project. This additional work was not anticipated and will increase the design timeline, construction duration and cost of the project.
Read the full update here: https://bit.ly/SMASHMuirUpdate012023
Events & Important Dates
- February 20, 2023 - President’s Day - Schools and offices are closed
- March 9, 2023 - Roosevelt Elementary School campus facility planning community meeting
- March 18, 2023 - Stairway of the Stars
- March 28, 2023 - Lincoln Middle School campus facility planning community meeting
Download our mobile app
Let's Talk: Compliments? Concerns? Suggestions? Comments? Questions?
Not a parent or staff member? Join our Community Email List to get all SMMUSD communications, news and superintendent messages!