Happy New Year! I continue to be honored to lead the way in 2017. As we begin 2017, we also mark the near midway point of the school year. Only five months to go. Wow!
The first day of kindergarten for parents and guardians is filled with a flood of emotions. It marks the beginning of us starting to let go a little, to let them start making decisions on their own and for them to start falling and pulling themselves back up without us around. A number of people in our community begin that journey this month with kindergarten registration, which started Monday, January 9 and continues through the coming months. Full-day kindergarten will be offered at all of our 37 elementary schools in the 2017-18 school year, helping us meet an important Local Control and Accountability Plan goal. There is no better time than now to check out our elementary schools and discover all of the wonderful opportunities happening inside.
We are excited to announce that our language immersion programs are expanding. Based on feedback from parents and families, we are opening the East Bay’s only district-run Mandarin language immersion school in the fall of 2017-18. At the same time, we are expanding our Spanish language immersion classes. Done well, research has shown that language immersion has great benefits for all our students both English language learners and native English speakers.
A George Mason University study found that students in language immersion programs, also known as two-way dual language programs, had higher reading and math scores than those students that were not enrolled. The study also found that these language programs had success in closing the achievement gap and not just for English language learners but also for our most historically underserved students.
On a somber note, I am saddened to report we lost two members of our community in the Oakland fire that took place last month. Our schools acted most graciously in celebrating the lives of these wonderful employees.
Around the district, we continue to see budding signs of success. With many early acceptances into college, we are proud of our college bound seniors. Students continue to excel in academics, athletics, and arts. We are on-track for a great spring and we are already planning aggressively for a stellar 2017-2018 school year. Thank you again for your support and hope to see you soon.