Prior to officially starting my work with the District, I thought it was child-centered with a focus on every child, every day. After just a couple of months, I have gained a deeper understanding of what my impressions really mean. In July, I visited the Napa Country Fair where many of our students were showing their animals that they raised from infancy. Parents, friends, and community members were in attendance cheering on our participants.
I also visited the Boys and Girls Club and learned that many of our students choose to spend some of their summer at the Club. They have a variety of weekly activities that the students really look forward to and would not want to miss. I understand as we begin the school year a major focus of the B&G Club is student homework completion support. The club is a beautiful setting with very high quality staff. We, as a district, are fortunate to have an excellent facility to serve our students.
Over the summer, many of our teachers spent time in professional development to prepare for full implementation of the Common Core State Standards. As you listen to your children talk about school, you may hear a slightly different message. The Common Core State Standards require depth and complexity. Your students may spend more time on a topic and dig deep as opposed to staying on the surface and moving quickly. We expect our students to become deep thinkers, to analyze, reflect, and draw meaning from their learning. As a result of the tireless efforts on our teachers’ part, our students will begin this year becoming critical thinkers!
Today marks the first day of school for all of our students. As I mentioned earlier, I thought St. Helena Unified School District was a child-centered place for students every day…walking each campus this morning and observing our staff, parents, and the smiles on our students faces, I know it is a great place for students to learn, grow, and achieve.
Welcome to the 2014-2015 school year!
Marylou K. Wilson