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Superintendent’s Spotlight

School’s In Session

POSTED August 18, 2009 4:12 p.m.
The 2009-10 school year is off to a great start in spite of the woeful condition of California’s budget. Oakdale opened its schools with more students than anticipated, but we were prepared to provide our students with a great education. I would like to share some information about areas that may have changed over the past year.

Curriculum & Instruction
We are well stocked with textbooks as well as supplemental instructional materials and supplies in all areas of the curriculum except algebra. This situation with algebra books is really a mixed blessing. The junior high was short on algebra texts because we had several more students performing very well on the Math placement test and they were placed in a higher level math class. We have borrowed additional textbooks until our order arrives.
This year we will have all core textbooks available on-line for use and review by students, teachers and parents. These on-line textbooks should be available within two or three weeks. Information will be posted on the website as this resource becomes available.

After School Programs
We are partnering with the City of Oakdale to provide quality after school programs at three of our K-6 schools, and are exceptionally pleased with the results of this joint effort. We are providing excellent latch-key programs at all four of our elementary sites and at Oakdale Junior High School.
All of our participating K-8 students have access to academic enrichment, remediation if needed, and are provided a safe learning environment where they are able to work on their homework assignments. Many of our After School Programs benefit from community volunteers and mentors. We are truly grateful for the support of the Oakdale community.

Staffing
We have lost some great teachers, classified staff and administrators through retirement and wish these co-workers and friends well. This year we have a new High School principal, Michael Moore, and a new Vice Principal/Athletic Director, Mike Tambini. We have also replaced three high school teaching positions. No new positions have been added K-8 and not all retiring or employees leaving our district have been replaced.
As a result of the state’s dramatic budget cutting measures, classes will be a little larger than last year, but will still be kept at a reasonable size. As of today, classes may be large at some sites. We will be making or have already made adjustments.

Safety Issues
Both Emergency Response Plans and Student Conduct Codes have been updated. Most of the changes were for clarification or to ensure fairness.
Our bus routes have been re-configured to return to more of a neighborhood school concept. Students are now provided transportation only if they live outside the designated walking distance.
Board members Pam Antinetti, Bill Dyer, Mike House, Rick W. Jones, and Mike Tozzi all have spoken to the issue of student safety and have reconfirmed the District’s pledge to keep student safety our first priority.

Additional New Programs
This year OJUSD is adding a new Independent Study Program for grades 7-8. This will allow us to provide services earlier to identified students.
We will continue and expand the implementation of the “Fit for the Future” program. This state program is designed to encourage students to be fit for life and to practice healthy eating and exercise habits. We received an award of $500 per school to assist us in the expansion of the program.
The “Rosetta Stone” program will be available for all English Learners and the “Read 180” program has been expanded to serve grades 4-12 and to provide English Language Development for any student needing this additional help.

Facilities
Please take a walk around your neighborhood school. Our custodial, maintenance and grounds keeping staff have done a great job of getting Oakdale’s schools ready and looking good. It is obvious that these individuals take a great deal of pride in the job they perform.
We are going full speed ahead on the junior high school building project and will soon begin construction of the swimming pool at Oakdale High.
These are some of the positive changes for the year. I will be giving an expanded report on the State of Oakdale Schools and the state budget in a future column.
Have a great year and please drive carefully — School is in Session.

Superintendent’s Spotlight is a monthly column provided by Oakdale Joint Unified School District Superintendent Fred Rich, updating the community with information about school district activities

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