Well here we are rapidly approaching the end of the first semester and it seems like only yesterday I was saying, “Welcome back to school” to everyone. Time sure seems to fly when great things are being achieved. I am pleased and proud of the accomplishments of our students and our strong group of staff and supporters. I would like to share just a few of the great things that have come Oakdale Joint Unified School District’s way.
Oakdale Joint Unified School District ended the last academic year with two of the four “Stanislaus County Teachers of the Year” teaching right here in the Oakdale system. Pete Simoncini, an outstanding Oakdale High School teacher was named the Stanislaus County High School Teacher of the Year. Danesa Jepson, one of our great English teachers at Oakdale Junior High was named as the Stanislaus County Middle School Teacher of the Year. It is truly an honor to have one teacher from a district named to this high level of accomplishment, but to have two teachers recognized in the same year from one district is almost unprecedented. I know that these two humble individuals would report that they reflect the overall outstanding quality of the teachers in Oakdale.
The Oakdale Educational Foundation received a statewide California Teacher’s Association Gold Award for non-profit organizations and was recognized at a CTA School Bell Awards Dinner. This outstanding organization has supported the students and schools of Oakdale by raising tens of thousands of dollars every year for the students of the Oakdale Joint Unified School District.
Students have also done tremendous things academically, intellectually and athletically. This year the students of Oakdale scored above the 800 threshold on the Academic Performance Index at every one of our elementary schools. This information, which was released in August, also indicated that our students made tremendous progress at both Oakdale Junior High and at Oakdale High School. Oakdale is the top performing Unified School District in Stanislaus County.
In 2009 Oakdale High continued their nine years of domination at the Stanislaus County Academic Decathlon and went on to place in the top seven schools in the entire nation. The ongoing commitment to academic excellence by the students and staff at Oakdale High is to be commended.
At the recently held Stanislaus County American Heritage Awards Ceremony the students representing Oakdale High garnered nine of the eighteen awards given to students representing the High Schools in Stanislaus County. This year fifteen High Schools participated with one hundred fifty-two essays being submitted. The topic this year was “Identify the three constitutional issues in Lincoln’s presidency that you believe have the greatest applicability to contemporary American problems.” Our students’ writing and higher level thinking ability were put to the test and came out on top. One of the judges wrote,” The superior essays utilized exemplary vocabulary and grammar, cited quotations or facts that strengthened and forwarded their philosophy, and exhibited a solid understanding of the relevant principals of the Constitutional issues facing Lincoln and Obama today.”
If you have had the opportunity to attend a band, chorus or drama performance in 2009 you have seen first hand the talent of Oakdale’s youth on display. The pride in the sports and cheer programs is shared by the students, the coaches, and the fans. Oakdale is known throughout the area as being tough competitors who win and lose with character and dignity. We are the town who goes out and supports our teams. It is always fun to go to an away game and have more people in the stands from Oakdale than from the home town.
This past year (2009) has truly been a great year for Oakdale Schools. This New Year will bring challenges to Oakdale that we may not have seen before as the state’s fiscal picture remains in a thick dark cloud. I am confident that with strong community support, dedicated teachers and staff, competent administration, and a school board dedicated to maintaining excellence we will continue to excel. I want to wish all of you a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.
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.