Tam District Family Newsletter

August 2019

Welcome to the 2019-20 School Year

The start of a new school year always fills me with excitement and anticipation. It is such a gift to have the opportunity to start each year fresh, while building upon our previous experiences. Foundational to the success of our students are strong relationships with the adults on campus as well as with their schoolmates. Therefore, this year we will be making concerted efforts to build strong relationships with each of our students. Strong relationships improve student learning, improve campus climate and culture and create a sense of safety.

While keeping the topic of strong relationships central, I want to revisit some of the themes that we, as a district, emphasized last year. Specifically, in my June newsletter, I wrote about respect and responsibility and shared some book titles I had planned to read over the summer, along with a link to the Ted Talk "The Danger of a Single Story". I found the information very informative and am carrying new learning into this year. In particular, the readings prompted me to reflect on how I demonstrate respect and responsibility through my actions, decision-making processes and communications. I truly believe that all people deserve our respect. That should be our default starting place. Further, I believe it is my responsibility to see the humanity in all people and strive to make personal connections in service of creating a more inclusive and welcoming community for all. When we take the time to build a relationship with someone, we are more open to hearing that person's perspective and more open to learning from and embracing those around us.

Last year, by way of introduction as your new superintendent, I shared my core values with the community. I think they are worth reiterating here as I believe they demonstrate the ways in which I strive to be respectful and responsible:

  • Inclusion: I believe all students and adults have assets that they bring to our learning community environment and that it is our collective job to uncover those and amplify them. Students and adults succeed best when they feel included and valued.

  • Equity: All students can learn at high levels given proper time and support. Some students may need more support and time than others and we must provide the appropriate resources in order to disrupt current patterns of achievement.

  • Continuous Improvement: In order to be successful in achieving our goals, I seek and accept feedback, reflect on my practices, and make adjustments based on the information provided. It is important for the Superintendent to model the habits of continuous improvement.

  • Collaboration: True collaboration engenders high levels of trust and efficiency. Learning is a social process and we learn best when doing so with others. For a school district to operate at its fullest capacity, leadership and decision-making must be shared.

  • Caring: To best prepare students to enter into society as positive, engaged participants, we must model empathy and compassion for others.

I believe if I adhere to the values above, I will have the opportunity to build strong relationships with staff, students, parents and community members. After visiting each of our five high schools at the start of the school year, I feel inspired and eager to continue to learn and grow as a person, a leader, and a community member.

Local Control and Accountability Plan Committee Volunteers Needed

The Local Control and Accountability Plan (LCAP) includes the District's goals and action steps along with resource allocation. It is a 3 year plan and we are in our 3rd year, meaning we will be reviewing and updating the entire plan with the help of our stakeholders. To that end, we are looking for volunteers to serve on the LCAP committee. An outline of the LCAP committee's role and responsibilities, a list a meeting dates, expectations and instructions on how to submit an application to serve on the committee are linked here: LCAP Committee Information. If you have questions, please contact Mary O'Leary at moleary@tamdistrict.org. To see our current LCAP, please click here.

A Safe School Year

At the start of the year, each school site reviews and updates its safety plan. As a District, we take student safety very seriously and are always reflecting on ways to improve our plans. Each site will communicate its safety plan to students and guardians along with information on all safety drills that will occur throughout the year.

However, safety extends beyond our campuses. I am providing some information below about proper firearm storage. Unfortunately, statistics show that unsecured firearms increase the risk of young adults using them to harm themselves or others. According to the Center for Disease Control, firearms are the 2nd leading cause of death for teens and children ages 1- 19. Access to lethality can be curbed with proper firearm storage. Additionally, each of our local law enforcement agencies offer legally-compliant trigger locks, free-of-charge to the public. Please contact your local police department to access this program.

Below is information published by the State of California Attorney General, Xavier Becerra.

California recognizes the importance of safe storage by requiring that all firearms sold in California be accompanied by a DOJ-approved firearms safety device or proof that the purchaser owns a gun safe that meets regulatory standards established by the Department. The current list of DOJ-approved firearms safety devices and the gun safe standards can be viewed by visiting http://oag.ca.gov/firearms/fsdcertlist.

If you see or hear something that may cause a safety concern, please let us know via one of our confidential tip lines.

Drake's tip line: 415-458-3416

Redwood's tip line: 415-945-3693

San Andreas' tip line: 415-945-3775

Tam's tip line:415-380-3507

Tamiscal's tip line: 415-945-3765

Suicide Prevention Awareness Month

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. For information on suicide prevention please click here.

Parent & Caregiver Event:

TALK SAVES LIVES – Suicide Prevention Presentation

September 11th

6:30pm – 8pm in Kreps Conference Center

TUHSD Wellness, American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and Buckelew Programs

Suicide can be prevented. This presentation will cover what we know about this leading cause of death, the most up to date research on prevention, and what we can all do to fight suicide. Participants will learn the common risk factors for suicide, how to spot the warning signs in others, and how to keep ourselves, our loved ones and those in our community safe.

Please RSVP to jcolvin@tamdistrict.org

Our Counseling and Wellness Centers are available to all students for support throughout the year. Please see the Counseling and Wellness website for details on services available and to get more information. The District holds suicide prevention awareness campaigns across the year with specific stress reduction strategy workshops during final exams, college application deadlines and other known times of heightened stress for students. Our Counseling and Wellness staff will send out information periodically to provide information to parents and guardians.

This year, each student's school ID has the national suicide hotline printed on the back. Please see additional crisis resources below.

Crisis Resources

  • If you or someone you know is in an emergency, call 911 immediately.
  • If you are in crisis or are experiencing difficult or suicidal thoughts, call the National Suicide Hotline at 1-800-273 TALK (8255)
  • If you’re uncomfortable talking on the phone, you can also text NAMI to 741-741 to be connected to a free, trained crisis counselor on the Crisis Text Line.

Parcel Tax Oversight Committee Participation Opportunity

We encourage interested, qualified members of the TUHSD community to apply for the Parcel Tax Citizen's Oversight Committee. Per the ballot language voters approved for Measure J in November 2018, the Board established an independent citizens' oversight committee at the 8/13 Board meeting. The purpose of the committee is to ensure the parcel tax dollars collected as a result of Measure J are only spent for the purposes described in that ballot measure language. The Citizen’s Oversight Committee is not a decision-making body, but rather an oversight body. Given the Measure J ballot language, actual revenues from that measure will be received beginning in December 2019. Committee oversight will begin once funds are actually collected and expended after December 2019. The first meeting will occur in January 2020 with meetings typically be held in the late afternoon. To learn more about joining, please visit our Parcel Tax Citizen’s Oversight website and review the By-Laws, which contain the criteria for the committee's makeup and how to qualify, and an application. The deadline for applications to be submitted is Friday, August 30th at 5pm.

Next Generation Science Standards Implementation

The California Board of Education adopted new science standards, Next Generation Science Standards (NGSS) and the District is in our 2nd year of implementation of these new standards. Over the past several years, our science teacher task force has worked diligently to develop a new scope and sequence for our science graduation requirement. The task force identified a 3 year course sequence in order to ensure all students have a robust science education upon graduation. The courses are: Physics in the Universe, The Living Earth and Chemistry and Earth Systems. Physics in the Universe was adopted and implemented last year and this year, The Living Earth has been adopted and is being implemented this fall. Each of these courses is UC "d" lab science approved. These courses replace the District's former science graduation requirement, Integrated Science 1-4, beginning with the graduating class of 2022 (current 10th grade students). For more information on NGSS please see the presentation the task force provided to the Board during the development process.

Instructional Coaching and Professional Learning

This year, thanks to the generous support of our schools' foundations, we are able to continue providing professional support to our staff through Instructional Coaching. Our coaches provide support in instructional strategies, assessment, classroom management, resource material selection, and much more. In the spring, our coaches surveyed staff to determine in what areas they desired support and from that feedback have built a series of workshops to be delivered across the coming year. Instructional coaching is offered in 1:1, small group and workshop settings. This year we have merged our instructional coaching and teacher induction programs for greater efficiency as well as consistency of support.

Please see our purpose and theory of action statements below.

Instructional Coaching Collective Purpose:

To improve learning for all students while narrowing opportunity and achievement gaps.

Instructional Coaching Theory of Action:

If instructional coaches provide support for educators to reflect upon and deepen their instructional practices, then students will master core competencies and achievement gaps will narrow.

What are we hoping to accomplish through coaching?

  • Improve student learning

  • Narrow gaps in student opportunity and achievement

  • Improve adult learning

  • Improve the instructional delivery of state-adopted content standards

  • Improve school and classroom culture

PG&E's WildFire Prevention Initiative and Potential Impact on Schools

PG&E has implemented a new program in an effort to reduce the risk of wildfires. The new program, which is called Public Safety Power Shut Off (PSPS), may be implemented during high risk conditions. For more information on this program, please visit PG&E's website linked here.

PG&E will try to provide up to 48 hours notice if the power to one or more of our schools is to be shut off, but they cannot guarantee that timeline. In the event that we are notified of a power shutdown prior to school, we will send out immediate notification via our BlackBoard mass notification system. These messages will be sent via email and text. Should power be turned off while school is in session, whenever possible, we plan to keep students in class through the end of the day and will communicate to all guardians the disposition of school for the next day, unless the power shutdown occurs on a Friday, in which case will communicate whether or not schools will be closed on the following Monday by Sunday evening, again via email and text. We will also provide information via Twitter. The Twitter account for the district is: @TamSupt

This is a new program and as such there will be a learning curve for all of us and we ask for your patience as we adjust.

Back to school night Dates

Drake High: Thursday, August 29th at 6:30pm

Tam High: Thursday, September 5th at 6pm

Redwood High: Thursday, September 12th, 6:30pm

Tamiscal High: Thursday, September 19th at 6pm

San Andreas High: Thursday, September 26th at 6pm

Family Resources