The SMMUSD Wave- Oct 2022
A Message from the Superintendent
Dear Parents, Guardians, Staff, Students and Community Members,
Let’s give our school administrators a round of applause! In honor of the importance of educational leadership, we recognize the week of October 9 as “Week of the School Administrator.” This special week provided an opportunity to spread positivity by recognizing and showing appreciation to our administrators. It takes a village to support our students and goals. Our school administrators are passionate, lifelong learners who believe in the value of quality education. They are devoted individuals who ensure that each student is engaged in authentic learning, acquiring future-ready skills to reach their full potential. Did you know? Most school administrators began their careers as teachers and, on average, have served public schools for more than a decade. The SMMUSD is proud of each and every school administrator, and there is no doubt that the education of our students is in good hands. We celebrate you and thank you for all you do every week! Parents and staff, please thank your school administrators!
CalKIDs savings account for all students
It’s never too early to begin saving for your child's future! To help give parents/caregivers a kickstart to saving, the state has officially launched the nation’s largest college savings program. The California Kids Investment and Development Savings (CalKIDs) program will help eligible low-income families with students enrolled in public schools access college savings created in their children’s names, with seed investments between $500 and $1,500. Children of low income families currently in grades 1-12, or newborns born on or after July 1, 2022, qualify. The goal of CalKIDS is to ensure children across the state have an opportunity to save for their higher education. Research shows that children with higher education savings accounts are more likely to go to college and graduate than children without any savings. The enrollment, account opening and initial deposit occur automatically for newborns. Low income parents of school age children need to register on CalKIDS, accounts can also be linked with new or existing ScholarShare 529 accounts. For future updates or more information visit: https://calkids.org/.
There’s always great learning going on at our schools! From learning about science and math to performing skits displaying good character traits, our students are deep in learning and growing this time of year. A mad scientist program at Webster Elementary School took a deep dive into science! Second and third graders at Webster created outdoor plant habitats that students were able to monitor and explore all in the name of science. Students also learned about magnetism: What objects are magnetic and which are not.
Second graders at McKinley Elementary School rocked it at their school-wide assembly, singing about the importance of demonstrating respect as this month’s pillar of character.
Learning from the professionals: John Adams Middle School (JAMS) concert band and wind ensemble were treated to an inspiring performance by University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) students majoring in music education. UCLA student Brendan Lockie will be volunteering his time weekly and teaching JAMS young musicians.
Students at Lincoln Middle School got hands-on experience by replanting agave plants into milk containers. The learning lesson taught them about sustainability and how to reduce carbon dioxide in the air.
Halloween: PAL Santa Monica Spooktacular
Something’s brewing this Halloween! Looking for something ghoulishly fun and safe to do for Halloween? The Santa Monica Police Activities League (PAL) is hosting its annual Spooktacular event. When will the haunting begin? Monday, Oct. 31., from 5-8 p.m. at 1401 Olympic Blvd. The free community event will include games, trick-or-treating and festive costumes. You won’t want to miss a spooky good time in a safe environment with treats you can trust. For more information visit: https://www.facebook.com/SantaMonicaPAL/
Dr. Ben Drati, Superintendent
You can read my latest "Superintendent's Message" here.
National Poll Ranks SMMUSD Among California’s Best Districts
The Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District is pleased to announce its high ranking in the 2023 Best School Districts in California by national academic ranking service, Niche. SMMUSD is ranked up from eighth to seventh in Los Angeles County and from 18th to 16th in California of 440 school districts included. The ranking is based on rigorous analysis of key statistics and millions of reviews from students and parents using data from the U.S. Department of Education.
Read more about SMMUSD’s high ranking here.
SMMUSD’s Para-Educators Make a Difference!
Within the Santa Monica-Malibu Unified School District (SMMUSD) there are more than 1,000 students in special education ranging from birth to age 22, many who are served by more than 150 para-educators. The District’s para-educators compassionately and professionally help guide and support special needs students academically, socially, emotionally and physically. SMMUSD is spotlighting and sharing the amazing work of para-educators.
Watch our para-educators make a difference in the video below.
Project-Based Learning Students Draw Courage
The academic year is off to a courageous start for the Project-Based Learning (PBL) pathway students of Santa Monica High School. Within 10 days students completed and presented their “Drawing on Courage” project, focusing on presentation skills, feedback and personal growth.”
Inspired by the book, Drawing on Courage, published by the Hasso Plattner Institute of Design at Stanford University, students built an understanding of the framework of a project, made connections with other students and teachers, learned to write op-eds on subjects they are passionate about, explored their values and learned how to bring their vision alive using technology.
Read more about PBL and the Drawing on Courage project here.
Malibu Middle School Hosts Teamwork and Friendship-building Retreat for Eighth Graders
“I learned that I will always have a helping hand around me” and “teamwork and communication go a long way” were just some of the things that eighth graders of Malibu Middle School (MMS) said after participating in “8th Grade Dialogue.” Funded by The Shark Fund and MMS’s Parent Teacher Student Association (PTSA), 8th Grade Dialogue is a day filled with experiences and activities that promote teamwork, listening and friendship.
Read more about MMS 8th Grade Dialogue here.
If you would like to donate to The Shark Fund, please visit: https://www.smmusd.org/sharkfund
If you would like to join the MHS / MMS PTSA please visit: https://www.smmusd.org/Page/1257
SMMUSD is OUT for Safe Schools
We join colleagues across the county, state and country in the OUT for Safe Schools campaign. Our message that SMMUSD is OUT for Safe Schools demonstrates our commitment to safe and affirming learning and working environments where all students, families and staff thrive. We are committed to increasing visibility, connection and belonging for and with our LGBTQIA+ colleagues, students and community members. Students can look for staff who have this badge or signage on their office or classroom. Check out SMMUSD resources for LGBTQIA+ families.
Samohi Holds Student-Led Voter Registration Drive and Mock Election
With the California elections right around the corner, the students of Santa Monica High School (Samohi) are taking civic engagement to the next level. From a student-led voter registration drive for juniors and seniors to a school-wide mock election, students have been participating and learning about democracy in the United States.
Read more about the student-led voter registration drive and school-wide mock election here.
Samohi Theatre to present George Orwell’s “1984”
Samohi Theatre is thrilled to present George Orwell’s 1984, a cautionary tale of a dystopian world that is eerily relevant today. Shows are scheduled for October 28, 29, November 4 and 5 at 7 p.m. and November 6 at 2 p.m. in the Santa Monica High School Humanities Center. Reserved seating is available at www.samohitheatre.org. Tickets are $15 for adults and $10 for students and seniors.
Malibu High School Theatre Department presents "Noses Off" by Don Zolidis
Noses Off, A Murder Mystery Comedy, is an adaptation and full-throttled homage of Michael Frayn's classic play Noises Off. The plot follows an amateur theater company's murder mystery play, which premieres on opening night, but the real mystery is whether the cast and crew can get this disaster to curtain call. Shows are scheduled for November 18 and 19 at 7 p.m. and November 20 at 2 p.m. Tickets go on sale in November at www.smmusd.org/malibu.
The SMMUSD Spotlight
Samohi Senior Earns California State Seal of Civic Engagement
Meet Scarlett Tropea-Lester, a Samohi senior who just earned the California State Seal of Civic Engagement. From starting a student-led voter registration drive at Samohi to being on Congressman Ted Lieu’s Youth Advisory Council, Tropea-Lester’s civic engagement has been exemplified through her activism.
Read more about Tropea-Lester and how she earned the Seal of Civic Engagement here.
Photos Around Campuses
Samohi’s Discovery Building Receives Awards for Innovation and Adaptability
The Samohi Discovery building has continued to receive local, regional, national and international attention in the form of awards and recognitions for its progressive and innovative design that can adapt to evolving teaching and learning methods of the 21st-century. Most recently, the Discovery building has been recognized as Juror’s Choice Award in the Association for Learning Environments 2022 Planning & Design Awards, short-listed as an award finalist by the International Architecture Awards that took place in September in Athens, Greece and is also an award finalist in the education category for the World Architectural Festival awards, planned for November 2022 in Lisbon, Portugal. The Discovery building opening in August 2021.
Read more about Discovery recognition here.
Did you know?
Events & Important Dates
- October 20, 2002 - The Great Shakeout
- October 31, 2022 - Halloween (Check out the Police Activities League free event mentioned in Dr. Drati’s message!)
- November 1, 2022 - Pupil Free Day (Elementary Only)
- November 11, 2022 - Schools / offices closed (Legal Holiday)
- November 23, 2022 - School recess (no school for students)
- November 24-25, 2022 - Schools / offices closed (Legal Holiday, Thanksgiving)