The Grapevine

LVJUSD Superintendent's Newsletter - November 2022

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Superintendent's Message

Dear Livermore Community,


Though the challenges of day-to-day life can make it difficult to pause and appreciate the many positive things going on in our schools and in our community, what better time to do so than during Thanksgiving week? We have much to be thankful for as we transition away from Covid as a primary topic of conversation and forge ahead together with a focus on healing, restoration, and celebration.


With November 18th representing the end of the first trimester, we have the perfect opportunity to look back and appreciate all that we’ve been able to accomplish this year. We’ve been able to restore important events such as Back to School Night, Friday night football, in-person music productions, and our always memorable Halloween parades. We have been able to revive many of our community partnerships such as SPARC and a return to our in-person, interactive second grade Shakespeare So Wise, So Young program. Many have commented that the first trimester has felt like a return to pre-Covid times, with student laughter and excitement about learning taking the place of the daily stresses of potential quarantines. To be sure, we have much to be thankful for.


As you’ll see throughout this issue of The Grapevine, with a renewed focus on academic achievement, our roadmap to success includes implementing strategies to get our students back on track and fill some of the gaps left from the challenges of distance learning while also dedicating efforts to ensuring the ongoing and long term success of our students. Our teachers and support staff have truly stepped up to meet the needs of students who are eager to learn and experience school in the way it was meant to be. The many positive moments we have seen during the first trimester are evidence of that.


The holiday season ahead of us provides a perfect opportunity to express appreciation for the many people who make differences in our lives. Let’s remember to do that.


With gratitude,


Chris Van Schaack

Superintendent of Schools

SPOTLIGHT ON STUDENTS

Livermore High School's Music Students Headed to Carnegie Hall!

The Livermore High Honors Symphonic Band and Honors Chamber Orchestra are poised to have eventful winter and spring performance seasons culminating with performances at Carnegie Hall in New York City in April 2023 for the National Band and Orchestra Festival. To read more about the honors and upcoming performance opportunities for these talented music ensembles, read our press release.
Livermore High Chamber Orchestra, Danse Bacchanale ((10/26/22)
Livermore High Symphonic Band (10/26/22)

Granada High’s Cross Country Team Sweeps EBAL Championship!

Granada High School’s boys and girls cross country team made headlines this month at the East Bay Athletic League (EBAL) cross country meet by winning all six 3-Mile races for boys and girls Frosh-Soph, Jr. Varsity, and Varsity, sweeping the EBAL Championship with a league champion at every level!


Adding excitement to the day, the girls varsity won their 6th EBAL Championship in a row. Both varsity teams will now move on to compete in the NCS championships. The girls hope to win their 7th NCS championship in a row.


Congratulations to our Matador coaches and teams. A special shoutout to Coach Noel Mattern for being selected as the North Coast Section’s 2021-22 NFHS California State Coach of the Year.

ROADMAP FOR SUCCESS

Universal Access (UA) Time Tailors Learning to Students’ Needs

As we continue to develop strategies that address the learning impacts on all of our students post pandemic, we are eager to share a new practice in development and implementation at our elementary schools called Universal Access (UA)Time. UA time is dedicated, instructional time for the purpose of providing interventions and review for students in need of additional support, and growth and learning extensions for students ready to move forward. UA time is designed to support the needs of every student and is built into the daily instructional schedule four times a week for 30 minutes in Kindergarten through 5th grade classrooms.


In order to use UA time most effectively, elementary teams work together to analyze student assessment data to understand the specific needs of each student and develop a plan for their learning. While we are still in the early stages of implementing this new approach, we are excited to see the initial progress our students are making. We are grateful to our teachers for embracing this new strategy and look forward to assessing its impact throughout the balance of the school year.

Establishing a True North: Developing our Graduate Profile

Our District is excited to share our plan to modernize our graduate profile to ensure that our students graduate with not only the knowledge and informational skills of their coursework, but also a well-developed set of personal attributes that will lead to success in college and the workforce. We’ve learned through conversations with our partners at community colleges, universities, and local businesses that students lacking certain “soft skills” are having a much more difficult time.


While our current educational system is designed to assess and evaluate our students’ coursework competencies in Algebra or Chemistry for example, it can and should do more to measure and assess our students’ cognitive, personal, and interpersonal competencies such as adaptability, collaboration, and perseverance. Higher education and business leaders have shared that their most successful students and employees are those who exhibit strong personal attributes and are able to use those skills to be flexible, accountable, and creative as they navigate the ups and downs of life and work.


What will our graduate profile entail?

  • In addition to strong competencies in coursework knowledge and academic achievement, our graduate profile will include an agreed-upon core grouping of cognitive, personal, and interpersonal competencies that students should have when they graduate, as determined by a broad variety of collaborators including educators, administrators, parents, business leaders, and community members. These can include attributes related to communication, leadership, and personal accountability.


How will it be implemented and measured?

  • Historically, the term “graduate profile” elicits thoughts of what students should learn in 9th through 12th grade for post-graduate success. Much of the onus was placed on high schools to develop these personal attributes. While high school is an important time of learning and personal growth for students, we believe the roadmap to long term success begins in Transitional Kindergarten. Concepts such as resilience and accountability can be taught and measured in developmentally appropriate ways to even our youngest learners. In fact, if our students are to be successful, they must be.

  • Our graduate profile will include measurable benchmarks of core competencies at every grade level from Kindergarten through 12th grade, a framework that establishes a set of final outcomes we want for our graduates and works backwards to map a path to success at each grade level, starting in Kindergarten.


We look forward to sharing more about its development as the year progresses.

Expanding Educational Opportunities with a STEAM Magnet Program

We are excited to announce that our District has been awarded a multi-year, more than $10M U.S. Department of Education Magnet School Assistance Program Grant to support the creation of a Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Mathematics (STEAM) magnet program at Marylin Avenue Elementary and enhance our Dual Immersion magnet program at Junction Avenue TK-8.


An elementary parent survey conducted last spring revealed that STEAM was the preferred theme when thinking about what kind of additional magnet program would be of most benefit and interest to our students. This data, along with collaborative input from teachers, administrators, curriculum leaders, and Board of Education resulted in LVJUSD’s pursuit of funding to add a STEAM magnet to its educational program options for students in Livermore.


Planning has already begun and we expect to launch the program in Fall 2023. To learn more, read our November 14, 2022 press release.
Marylin Avenue Staff

PARENT EDUCATION

Livermore Learns

Livermore Learns is our District’s parent education program designed to educate, inform and engage parents and guardians as they support their children throughout their education. If you missed any of our parent webinars, we invite you to visit our Livermore Learns web page to find links to past video presentations, presentation slides, and parent tips.


Upcoming Livermore Learns Webinars

Wednesday, November 30 - Supporting Your Elementary Student's Reading Skills

In this webinar, parents will learn the science of reading and how to support their student’s foundational reading skills. Walk away with strategies you can use to support your child's reading development. This webinar will provide information for supporting students at the beginning reading levels as well as strategies to use with students who need additional support in reading.


Wednesday, December 7 - Caring for Mental Health Over the Holidays

The holiday season can be a time of joy and celebration, but it can also be a stressful time for many families. We will explore the impact that stress can have on your student's mental health as they navigate this time of year.


January 25, 2023 - The Fentanyl Crisis: What Every Parent Needs to Know

Kaiser Permanente will help parents understand the dangers of fentanyl use and provide tips on how to talk to your adolescent or teen about it.

Dates to Remember!



Our 2022-23 District calendar is available on our website: 2022-23 District calendar


To be notified of upcoming events, be sure to download the Livermore Schools app from the App Store or from Google Play. Follow your schools, and see all of the calendar dates through the app.


For site-specific information on events and celebrations, please visit school websites.

Livermore Valley Joint Unified School District

Each student will graduate with the skills needed to contribute and thrive in a changing world.


Website: www.livermoreschools.org

Facebook: facebook.com/livermoreschools

Instagram: @LivermoreSchools

Twitter: @LivermoreSchool




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