Superintendent's Newsletter

September 2021

RCSD Tagline

Message from Superintendent Dr. John Baker:

Dear RCSD Community,

Remember that bus driver who perhaps was the first school employee to greet you in the morning when you were a child on your way to school? Or that special teacher who helped you discover a talent you didn’t know you had? … every day school employees in RCSD continue to have that same special impact on our own students.

This week, we had the opportunity to honor the professionals in our district who have reached a significant milestone serving our students. We call this a Longevity Milestone, which occurs at every five-year mark. We celebrated school nutrition professionals, office staff, teachers, instructional assistants, custodians, librarians, district office staff, school principals, district administrators, and all the staff members whose work impacts children.

There’s absolutely no doubt that school employees play a special role in a child’s school experience. Teachers, support staff, and administrators all work together to educate children and this work has been highlighted in the last 18 months as we worked to reinvent school to keep educating children during the current global health crisis.

Despite the challenges, the school year has gotten off to a good start. Our students are back on our school campuses learning together with their classmates. The return to the school campuses for five days of instruction is possible thanks to all of us - students, staff, and families - working together to keep our schools open. We continue to follow public health guidelines as outlined in the Pandemic Recovery Framework; working to keep both students and staff safe at school.

As I mentioned before, I encourage you to keep visiting this webpage. This is where you’ll find our current plans as well as any adjustments we make in the shifting environment this school year.

As always,

Thank you for your continued support and partnership in educating our community’s children.

John Baker


Learning Safely in 2021-22

School Board Discusses Vaccine for Children

Student Testing to Require Weekly Appointments

Big picture

The RCSD Board of Trustees has started to discuss how the school district will track COVID-19 student vaccination should the vaccine for 5-11 year olds be approved this fall. The district is already collecting vaccine verification for youth who are 12-years old and older as well as for employees. The discussion took place during the regularly scheduled School Board meeting on Wednesday, September 22.

More than 12 million children and youth, 12-17 years old, nationwide are fully vaccinated against COVID-19. RCSD families with students who are in this age group have started to submit proof of vaccination through the immunization upload form as requested by the school district’s Department of Health and Wellness.

As Pfizer works to obtain emergency authorization for 5-11 year olds, the RCSD Board of Trustees held a discussion on whether the district should seek support from the Governor and whether to advocate for the COVID-19 vaccine to be required.

Education leaders in San Mateo County believe the vaccine should be on the list of legally required immunizations for students. Education leaders are encouraging the Governor and urging the Legislature for the California Department of Health (CDPH) to add the COVID-19 vaccine to the list of immunizations required for school attendance.

The RCSD Board of Trustees will continue its discussion during upcoming School Board meetings. All agendas, which are posted 72 hours prior to a meeting, can be found here.

Employee Vaccination:

The School Board also heard an update that 764 (92.2%) employees are fully vaccinated. The district continues to help the remaining 13 employees respond to the district’s request for vaccinated status. The remaining 50 employees do not plan to be vaccinated and they are required to participate in weekly testing.

COVID-19 Testing in RCSD Schools:

As of September 27, families who have used Primary Health to grant permission and register their child for testing will start to participate in a new process making an appointment for their child. Families should be on the lookout for a notification that will come through email and text message each week on a Friday afternoon directly from Primary Health.

The families who will receive the notification link for an appointment are the families who have already granted permission and registered through Primary Health. To participate in testing, families who have not registered need to participate in one-time registration here:

Employees also can participate in testing by registering through Primary Health here:

Stanford Study of RCSD's Spanish Immersion Program Confirms Previous Research of High Levels of Academic Achievement

Researchers Tracked Current High School Students Graduates of RCSD’s Spanish Immersion Program

Big picture

Local high school students who graduated from Redwood City School District’s (RCSD) Dual Language Immersion Program in Spanish are reaching high levels of academic achievement and outperforming their peers. That’s the conclusion to which a team of Stanford University researchers arrived after performing a longitudinal study following several cohorts of Spanish Immersion graduates into middle school and high school.

RCSD’s Dual Language Immersion Program in Spanish is housed at Adelante Selby Spanish Immersion School in Atherton (Prek, TK, and K-5 grades) and Kennedy Middle School in Redwood City (6-8 grades). The program brings together a student population composed of 50% Spanish-speaking students and 50% English-speaking students.

“We’re proud of what Stanford concluded about our program,” says RCSD Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services Liz Wolfe who served as Adelante Selby’s Principal earlier in her career. “While research has always shown that bilingualism has many benefits including increased cognitive development and academic achievement, we’re pleased that Stanford has reached a similar conclusion after studying our data. This tells us that we’re doing a good job as we help students master English proficiency and learn a new language.”

Findings from the Stanford University study show that enrollment in the Dual Language Immersion Program (DLI) propels students faster toward English proficiency, supporting the reputation RCSD has earned for expertise in language acquisition.

While the target language is Spanish, results from the study also show that most graduates of the DLI program, who are initially classified as English Learners (ELs) in kindergarten, are reclassified as fluent English proficient prior to graduating from the program in the 5th grade, a goal that RCSD holds for EL students, but it is not widely met for similar peer groups. The study explained that ELs who are reclassified make significant progress toward closing the achievement gap.

When graduates of a DLI program are reclassified, they often have higher performance benchmarks as well, the study concluded, reaching “high levels of linguistic proficiency and academic achievement.”

Following student groups through middle and high school, the study found that graduates of the DLI program had higher middle school STAR scores (a previously used assessment program) than those that did not participate in the program. By high school, DLI students and English-only speaking peers had equivalent state assessment scores and GPAs.

In addition to the Dual Language Program in Spanish at Adelante Selby Spanish Immersion School, RCSD also offers a Mandarin Immersion program at Orion Alternative School and Bilingual Programs in Spanish at Garfield, Hoover, and Taft Schools.

State Coalition Recognizes Three RCSD Schools for Social-Emotional Support of Students

Big picture

Teachers and staff of three Redwood City School District (RCSD) schools have been recognized by the California PBIS Coalition for an outstanding approach to social, emotional, and behavioral support. Selected for honors in 2021 were Orion Alternative School, Roosevelt School, and Roy Cloud School.

The California PBIS Coalition is a collaborative organization that supports California schools with implementation of the Positive Behavioral Interventions and Support (PBIS) program.

PBIS is a comprehensive student support program with an aim to improve outcomes for all students in their daily lives at school and beyond. Character building, modeling, and positive reinforcement are at the forefront of this data-driven program.

The California PBIS Coalition recognized the three RCSD schools in the following categories:

  • Platinum Level - Roy Cloud School for its Thunderbolts program

  • Silver Level - Roosevelt School for its PBIS implementation program

  • Bronze Level - Orion Alternative School for its PBIS implementation program

Notifying the schools of recognition, the California PBIS Coalition wrote, “We sincerely appreciate your hard work and commitment to implementing PBIS with fidelity and creating the conditions to maximize academic and social behavioral outcomes for ALL students.”

Each school’s name will be featured on the California PBIS Coalition webpage and at the 6th Annual California PBIS Conference in Sacramento early fall.

The School Effect:

RCSD Celebrates the Many Professionals Who Serve Redwood City’s Children

More than 100 Redwood City School District (RCSD) employees—including teachers, staff, and administrators—mark a special time in their RCSD careers this school year for their commitment to all RCSD students.

The employees have marked a longevity milestone, which occurs every five years. The long-term employees are celebrated with a pin and certificate symbolizing their energy and impact on RCSD students.

The School Board celebrated the employees during the Wednesday, September 22 public School Board meeting. The Trustees and Superintendent Baker thanked the employees for their service to students ranging from five to 30 years of service.

2021 Longevity Milestone

Work at a Nearby RCSD School While Your Child is in School

Big picture

Do you have some free time and would like to give back to your local school?

RCSD is looking for individuals who would like to support classroom teachers by participating as a paid substitute teacher.

Classroom teachers typically request a substitute teacher when they would like to attend a professional learning event where they will learn new skills and strategies to use in the classroom or when they need time for an unplanned personal or family situation.

The only requirement is to have a bachelor’s degree in any subject area.

The district provides the following compensation to substitute teachers:

  • $225 per day for TK-5th grade general education assignments.

  • $235 per day for 6-8th grade general education assignments and K-8th grade special education classroom assignments.

  • The long term rate for substitute teachers will be $250 per day starting on the 21st day retroactive to Day 1 of the long term assignment.

  • $180 for an 8 hour day or prorated for Preschool assignments.

Substitute teachers only work when their schedule allows--any day of the week for the number of hours they are available.

Apply to be a substitute teacher and support RCSD’s classroom teachers!
Governance in Action

Meet the RCSD Board of Trustees, learn of items coming to the Board dais in future meetings, and follow instructions on how to join the current virtual meetings.

Redwood City School District

RCSD is an award-winning PreK-8 district serving Redwood City and portions of Atherton, Menlo Park, San Carlos, and Woodside.