Welcome Back to School

Welcome Back To School!
Posted on 07/24/2023
CUSD Families,

I hope your Summer has been as positive as possible for you all and that your children have been able to enjoy a much-deserved break. As we look ahead to the start of the 2023/24 school year, knowing you will be hearing from school administration with more site-specific information, let me share some district level information with you for awareness and preparation.

Celebrations: there were many things to celebrate in 2022/23. Providing increased social-emotional supports (for students and staff), increased staffing overall to lower class sizes and/or increase services, continued and consistent focus on our district initiatives: strengthening our instructional program (rigor/relevance/engagement, signature instructional practices---assessments, writing and academic discourse) and PBIS (Positive Behavioral Interventions and Supports). Many positive opportunities were, and are, created for students to learn and grow (as celebrated and highlighted in the weekly CUSD Snapshots). The good, and challenging, work being done by great people will continue into 2023/24, as all staff contribute to the daily mission to create opportunities for students.

Staffing---we are experiencing a significant amount of turnover from 2022/23, with 34 new staff members hired (with 26 of those positions being teachers).

CUSD Budget/Business Dept---as has been communicated (in a very detailed email sent in late June), our district is facing significant challenges with our current and projected budgets. At this point we do not have a Chief Business Official (CBO) and we are contracting out for services to backfill this position. Elaine Neilsen will be working with us on a part time basis, as an Interim CBO, and will be working with Sarah Alfred (Fiscal Analyst) to handle the duties of the CBO until a longer-term solution can be found. We will engage in a process to solicit feedback on our budget situation (areas of reductions, areas of need, priorities, ideas, impacts, etc) in the weeks and months to come. The objective will be to best balance the necessity for budget reductions with the protections of people and programs, to the degree possible.

Transportation----we are making progress on filling our 6 vacant positions (Bus Drivers) and hope to have all spots filled for day one, or shortly thereafter. We have reduced the overall number of routes we are offering (due to budget and staffing issues), and have a priority goal to have fewer situations with routes being canceled and the resulting communications as well.

Back to School Packets/Info---please be sure to access the Back to School Packets and complete/submit the forms requested. The Household Economic Survey is very important as a lot of our school funding is driven by the numbers of students who qualify for free/reduced meals (even though all students are provided free meals by the schools), so completing/submitting that is very helpful and important. Also, remember that the packet is on our website under Parents/Quick Links tab. https://causd.ss19.sharpschool.com/cms/One.aspx?portalId=26784736&pageId=26784754

CUSD Areas of Prioritized Focus---2023/24 (no particular order)
• Budget---identifying areas of potential reductions, making the difficult decisions necessary to address our significant budget issues, moving toward fiscal stability while working to protect programs and people as best we can.
• District Initiatives---Instructional Program (Rigor-Relevance-Engagement), Signature Instructional Practices (Writing, Academic Discussion, Formative Assessments), Common Assessments), SEL (social-emotional wellness/well-being), Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports (PBIS)
• Culture/Climate---communications, collaborations, relationships, staff/student well-being, supports
• School Safety/Security---plans, drills, trainings, ALICE training, Standard response Protocols (SRP)
• Staffing---supporting new transitions, addressing shortages (staff and subs)
• CSEA/CUEA (Unions)---negotiations, relationships, collaboration, problem solving
• LCAP Engagement---structured opportunities to solicit feedback and increase awareness

CUSD Board of Trustees--Identified Areas of Priority
• Board Priorities---Overall: Fiscal Stability, Instructional Program: Student Achievement; Professional Development, Student Safety, Facilities
• Board Direction for Superintendent (Goals and Evaluation)---Common Assessments (implement structured process, collaborative use of data, reporting out on data), CTE Programs (expand, strengthen), Student Achievement (focus on reading, Math/ELA priorities, use of data, reporting out on data), Communication (proactive, recognition of positives, comprehensive) and Accountability (address areas of need with staff/admin, report out on issues and resolutions)

The start of any school year is a time of extremely positive energy and of a significant dedication of time and effort by staff to be ready to roll on Day One. Even though we will be facing significant challenges in navigating and addressing our budget situation, we also will celebrate the tremendous work done by our dedicated staff to continue to create growth opportunities for students and maintain our positive mindset to move forward together to make this year as strong and productive as possible is locked in. Our staff is highly motivated to welcome back all of our students to start the school year and we will do all we can, with the resources and capacity we have, to create opportunities every day for our students to learn, grow and prepare for life.

Thank you for your partnership in this collaborative effort.

Mark Campbell
Superintendent/Calaveras Unified School District

Make Every Moment and Every Day Matter for Every Student!