The SMMUSD Wave- Sep 2022
A Message from the Superintendent
Dear Parents, Guardians, Staff, Students and Community Members,
With the academic school year in full swing, I would like to take this opportunity to remind everyone that September is Attendance Awareness Month! Our District’s pledge is to create a culture of achievement for every student, every day, all year long! This year, our commitment is to continue to provide a safe learning environment while we focus on re-establishing good attendance habits and family connections. Remember that “showing up” is a valuable life habit.
Have you joined PTA or PTSA at your school? If not, please do! Our Santa Monica-Malibu Council of PTAs, www.smmpta.org, is an association of PTA units in SMMUSD. We greatly appreciate our dedicated PTA volunteers and their work to support our school sites. Parents, teachers, staff and secondary students, please join your PTA unit today! By joining you can feel proud that you are part of the largest volunteer organization in the country dedicated to improving the well-being of children and youth!
Additionally, September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month. Suicidal thoughts, much like mental health conditions, can affect anyone regardless of age, gender or background. This is the time to raise awareness of this stigmatized, and often taboo, topic. If you or anyone you know is struggling, please know help is available. Students can reach out to school administrators. Additional resources can be found on our Mental Health & Community Resources page. You can reach out to 988 Suicide & Crisis Lifeline.
Last, but not least, I would like to thank all the families and staff members who are taking their weekly Covid test before Monday morning. Our positive cases each week remain low and your diligence in testing is contributing to this favorable outcome.
The year is off to a great start, so let’s keep the momentum going, SMMUSD!
Dr. Ben Drati, Superintendent
You can read my latest "Superintendent's Message" here.
Welcome to our new administrator and congratulations to our administrators on the move!
- Tedd Wakeman, new Webster Principal
- Eran Zeevi, new Franklin Principal, previous Special Education Coordinator
- Carmen Durand, new Special Education Coordinator, previous Coordinator of Family Engagement and English Learner Programs
Longtime Santa Monica Education Foundation Leader, Linda Greenberg, Retires
Congratulations to Linda Greenberg, retiring after 28 years with the Santa Monica Education Foundation. The SMMUSD Board of Education recognized her for her leadership in raising an estimated $40 million for student programs over her tenure with SMEF and for being a tireless champion for students! SMEF funds programs for Santa Monica schools including elementary arts, instructional assistants, ballroom dance and stretch grants. Malibu fundraising partners include PTA and Shark Fund supporting programs for Malibu schools.
Thank you Linda! We very much appreciate you!
We welcome new Executive Director, Mikko Sperber! www.smedfoundation.org
Will Rogers Learning Community Earns Accreditation as an International Baccalaureate World School
Congrats Will Rogers Learning Community! After more than three years of dedication and hard work, Will Rogers has earned accreditation as an International Baccalaureate (IB) World School authorized to teach the Primary Years Programme (PYP).
The IB PYP helps prepare students to achieve academic success in their educational careers and become socially aware of the world around them.
Read more about Will Rogers and IB here.
The Board of Education will recognize the Will Rogers Learning Community for this accomplishment at its Oct. 6, 2022 meeting.
SMMUSD Partners with The Aerospace Corporation
SMMUSD is excited to announce its partnership with The Aerospace Corporation (Aerospace). Through enhanced classroom lessons and guest speakers on school campuses for students and externships for teachers, this partnership provides highly engaging and impactful opportunities to benefit the college and career preparation of SMMUSD students.
Read more about the partnership here.
Santa Monica and Malibu After School Programs
SMMUSD is pleased to offer families a variety of after school programs for their children.
There are three programs available for Santa Monica families.
- SMMUSD Child Development Services: Grades TK-3
- CREST- Santa Monica: Grades TK-5
- Boys & Girls Club of Santa Monica: Grades 1-12
Here is the link to the Santa Monica parent information session video, in case you missed it: https://bit.ly/AfterSchool-SM2022 (Spanish transcription to video coming soon.)
After school programs for Malibu families are available through the Boys & Girls Club of Malibu
- Boys & Girls Club of Malibu: Grades TK-12
The SMMUSD Spotlight
Spencer, MHS ‘19, and Lauren Carr Reed
Meet Spencer and Lauren Carr Reed, the Malibu siblings that make up the band Violet Saturn. Spencer, Malibu High School ‘19, and Lauren, who is currently a senior at Malibu High, have been writing music and playing in bands since they were children. Now they signed a record deal with Big Machine Records and will be going on tour!
Read more about Spencer and Lauren in the Malibu Times here.
Reprinted by permission of The Malibu Times.
Photos Around Campuses
Samohi Celebrates the Groundbreaking of the Exploration Building and Gold Gymnasium
The Santa Monica High School (Samohi) campus continues to improve and evolve. A community groundbreaking ceremony took place on Aug. 29, 2022 for the Exploration building and Gold gymnasium. The Board of Education, Superintendent Dr. Ben Drati, Samohi Principal Marae Cruce, SMMUSD and Samohi staff, local elected officials, community members, students and building partners attended the celebration.
The Samohi marching band played prior to the start of the event and the Samohi choir kicked off the event with a robust rendition of the Star-Spangled Banner. Samohi ASB President Nathan Castanaza and Vice President Egan Waktole welcomed guests and their thoughts about recent and future campus renovations. Other speakers included Dr. Drati, Principal Cruce, Board President Maria Leon-Vazquez and Chief Operations Officer Carey Upton.
SMASH / Muir Campus Renovation Update
The SMMUSD Board of Education approved an architectural design services contract in early September as the next step of the repair project at the SMASH / Muir campus. This project is necessary due to long-standing major water intrusion issues, and mold and termite concerns.
These significant issues necessitated the relocation of all students and staff for this school year so that extensive building repair may be expedited. The repair project is expected to take two years and estimated to cost nearly $20 million.
The building was constructed in 1996, expanded in 2001, and has a history of water leaks and repairs. The current facilities team recognized the severity of these historical issues during the 2021- 22 HVAC / modernization project and determined a more aggressive approach is required to thoroughly address concerns.
Muir students and staff have predominantly joined the Will Rogers Learning Community, with some families relocated to Grant and other Santa Monica schools. SMASH has relocated to the Obama Center campus.
Programs formerly housed at the Obama Center including Olympic High School, project-based learning pathway, Off Center Learning Center and independent study program have been temporarily moved to the Santa Monica College campus.
Over the summer an investigation was conducted that included destructive testing, along with observations. The report concluded that the buildings are in poor to moderately-poor condition; horizontal and vertical building enclosures are failing; likeness of additional concealed water intrusion; high potential for mold growth and structural deterioration in some locations. The report recommends the replacement of all roofs and walking decks, replacement of all exterior cladding and waterproofing layers and removal and reinstallation of all doors and windows.
While the report recommends the replacement of all roofs and walking decks, replacement of all exterior cladding and waterproofing layers and removal and reinstallation of all doors and windows, the school board was also presented with the option of building replacement, at the cost of nearly $95 million and a time frame of over four years. The school board approved the option to repair, rather than replace, the facilities.
Did you know?
- TK-3 class sizes in SMMUSD average 20 students, well below the 24:1 authorized ratio.
- US News & World Report ranked Santa Monica High School and Malibu High School in the top 6% of more than 18,000 nationally.
- SMMUSD received the "Best Communities for Music Education Award" by the National Association of Music Merchants, for the 20th consecutive year.
- 97% - Samohi graduation rate 2021-22.
- 99% - Malibu High School graduation rate 2021-22.
Events & Important Dates
September 26, 2022 - Schools / offices closed (Local Holiday)
October 5, 2022- Schools / offices closed (Local Holiday)
Coming in October: Bike It! Walk It! Bus It! (Check your school site schedule)