Message from the Superintendent
“The School Experience”
January 2017

Education is in the news right now for a number of reasons. The nominee for United States Secretary of Education is igniting conversations. California’s soon-to-be-released accountability system for education is piquing interest about how school performance is gauged. Governor Brown’s proposed budget suggests a lackluster State Budget environment. Parent voices around our country are talking about school quality and how to make sure their children are prepared for university and, ultimately, the workforce. 

This attention to education initiates what I believe to be healthy and important dialogue about one of the most important hallmarks of our country – its school system. In our district we have candid conversations about what our children need, what our families expect, and our obligation to deliver a premium education. Our charge: School is a place that is alive with learning - a happy place for children and adults – where children experience challenging and engaging academics, they learn how to creatively problem solve, they develop innovative dispositions that stick with them for life. 

We want our DMUSD schools to be a “first choice” for our families. It is our obligation to act with a sense of enthusiasm as if each day is the first day of the year. It is our obligation to act with a sense of urgency as if each day is the most important day in a child’s life. That kind of thinking shouldn’t only happen on day one or when an organization is in crisis. Stellar organizations treat every day with urgency and passion. As Jeff Bezos, founder/CEO of Amazon reminds his stakeholders annually when speaking about his company, “It’s still Day 1. Though we are optimistic, we must remain vigilant and maintain a sense of urgency.” 

What does that mean for us? Standards for students define the knowledge, concepts, and skills students are expected to acquire at each grade level. Our standards encourage the highest levels of academic achievement. But standards for academics are not enough. Teachers must be highly effective at teaching – the essential elements of instruction that distinctly link specific teacher actions to student learning. As a district we must provide for experiences our children need to develop the innovative dispositions necessary for the modern world of entrepreneurial work. Experiences that connect students with real-world experts who work alongside our teachers, real-world experiences that move beyond saying and thinking, to actually making and doing. 

The way we deliver education in our schools and in every school across this country has got to look different. I leave you with a quote that captures a challenge we must all overcome as we prepare our children with academic skills AND provide a newly designed school experience that also incorporates world connectedness while inspiring and unleashing talent. 

“We are too often faced with the prospect of preparing our students for the future – constrained by a mentality and infrastructure that emerged from another time.” 
Gary Marx, Twenty-One Trends for the 21st Century

Please follow me on Twitter at https://twitter.com/DMUSD_Supt.


Sincerely,

Holly McClurg, Ph.D.
Superintendent

SCREENAGERS
Parents are invited to attend and view the documentary SCREENAGERS on Wednesday, February 1st. The viewing of SCREENAGERS will be followed by an expert panel. SCREENAGERS probes into the issues around screen time that families face, and shows struggles over social media, video games, academics and Internet addiction through every angle. I encourage parents of children of any ages to attend. If you have a 5th or 6th grader, or a middle schooler or high schooler, you will likely want them to attend with you. 
 
Date: Wednesday, February 1, 2017  
Time: 6:00pm - 7:30pm
Location: Ocean Air School MUR, 11444 Canter Heights Drive, San Diego, CA 92130

Board of Trustees 
Congratulations to returning Board Member Erica Halpern, who last month was sworn in to begin her four-year term on the Governing Board of Trustees. Welcome to newly elected Board Member Stephen Cochrane, who has begun his four-year term as a member of the DMUSD Board of Trustees. We thank all five of our Board Members for their service to our children, staff, and community. We are grateful for all the hard work and time our board members devote to our district. 

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