Dr. Harmeier, Superintendent
Dear San Carlos Families,
Our first trimester of school is nearing an end already and we have so much to celebrate and be thankful for in the San Carlos School District! Last year at this time, the District began a series of year-long leadership changes after many years of stability. Today, with five new principals and many new District leaders, we have successfully transitioned and are settling into our new roles. As leaders, we are grateful for your support, patience, and willingness to help all of us learn about the District. We are continuing to build trusting, authentic relationships with our students, staff, parents and community members all year as we learn to work together in new ways and bring our own unique styles, experiences and ideas to our new roles.
Educating the Whole Child
This is a season of thanks and also a time to celebrate! Assistant Superintendent Hans Barber recently shared our most recent California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) standardized test data with our School Board and Leadership team. Our students are demonstrating continued growth in all grade levels in both Math and English/Language Arts and are among the highest performers in the region. As a very high performing District, this growth speaks to the ongoing efforts of our teachers, principals and staff as they continue to fully implement the new California Standards using new aligned curriculum and innovative teaching strategies. Our students are being provided a rigorous academic experience, balanced with visual and performing arts instruction, while also learning the social and emotional skills necessary to be successful citizens in our diverse, global society. Our District is truly educating the whole child with the support of the entire San Carlos community including our PTAs and SCEF. Thank you!
San Carlos Education Foundation (SCEF)
The San Carlos Education Foundation kicked off their giving season last week with SCEF Day. SCEF donations truly enable a strong, well-rounded program for your students. State and Federal funding formulas direct additional funds to schools with greater needs. These are defined by income, language and foster youth status. SCSD is funded about $1800 per student below the California average for K-8 school districts. Thanks to our parcel tax and SCEF, that gap was cut to about $1000 per student. We need to continue making progress in closing this gap and we can do this through the support and contributions of the San Carlos Education Foundation. SCEF raised $2.4 million last year and these funds benefit every child in every classroom in the District. SCEF provides critical funding so the District can hire staff to support many programs including counseling, physical education, technology, STEM electives, music, library, reading support, and low class sizes. In addition, SCEF funds necessary technology improvements and provides principals with special funds for school improvement and enrichment activities. Please show your gratitude for all SCEF does for your student by going to their website at http://www.SCEFkids.org and make a contribution. We need everyone's support in this challenging budget year.
We are facing budget challenges this year for several reasons. The State is not funding us adequately to cover the increased expenses required to operate our school district and, we experienced a sudden, unexpected decline in our enrollment this year as many families have left the San Francisco Bay area due to the high cost of living. With fewer students, we will receive fewer dollars from the State. To support our budget development process with input and transparency, I have convened a Superintendent's Budget Advisory Committee (BAC) of diverse stakeholders who will meet monthly with me to learn more about public school finance, how our district receives revenue and how we spend our funds. This group will provide insight, feedback and be problem solvers as we navigate reductions over the next few years. We already began reducing our spending in the current year and are planning for $1-3 million dollars in possible reductions in the next two years. You can follow the BAC work on my Superintendent webpage here.
Our SMART-E program continues to experience staffing and space challenges. SMART-E includes three programs: 1) preschool, 2) extended care before and after school and, 3) enrichment classes/camps. We continue to experience staffing shortages in our extended care program and need to make adjustments to the program to increase the quality of care while maintaining a safe learning environment for our students. I shared a report on the program with the Board last night. You can see the presentation that was made here.
Engagement Process: After the fall break, we are sending a survey to all parents in the District to help us evaluate our SMART-E extended day and enrichment programs and learn more about the needs of our parents. Next, we will create a focus group approach to gathering more information to help us with planning for next year at the SMART-E Community Engagement Meetingon Wednesday, December 5that Heather School from 7:00 – 8:30 PM. I will bring any recommended changes to the Board in February for discussion and approval.
Though we have some challenges to work through together, I am hopeful and optimistic that we will arrive at solutions that will continue to provide our students a world-class educational experience! Everyday, our students are experiencing great instruction from highly skilled, caring, and dedicated teachers and are thriving in our enriching school environments. We have so much to be grateful for in San Carlos.
Thank you for your continued support,
Michelle Harmeier, Ed.D.