Superintendent Weekly Update
by Craig Conte on September 15
Someone once said about the famous dancer Ginger Rogers that she did everything that her dancing partner did, “but she did it backwards, wearing high heels.” This level of difficulty could also be used to describe an extra hard working team at our schools, the Special Day Class teachers and staff. These teachers go to school longer for the special credentials required in their teaching job. Each and every year they have a “combo” class of different grade levels. They write individualized goals for every student that they report on each trimester, but they also fill out grade level report cards for their students as well. They use Illuminate for data, but wait for it, they also input data into the special education database, SEIS, too. And, of course, there are the meetings and the meetings about meetings. That’s a lot of backwards dancing with or without heels! Our support staff in these classrooms also do a tremendous amount of extra work, instructing with multi-age curriculums, connecting with students and families, and creating a safe and supportive classroom environment. We have 3 special day classes on our Miwok Valley campus that are our Old Adobe District classes, but we also have a South County Consortium class at Miwok and one at La Tercera. In addition, we have one Sonoma County Office of Education class at La Tercera and one at Loma Vista. These classes are a valuable and integral parts of our district. When the dancing is done, I give them all a 10, (as in Dancing with the Stars)! Congratulations to all the hard working and dedicated staff members in the special day classes of our district.
Starting last week, our teachers met with their school grade level teaching partners in PLCs. A (PLC) Professional Learning Community is “An ongoing process in which educators work collaboratively in recurring cycles of collective inquiry and action research to achieve better results for the students they serve.” This definition is quite a mouthful, but in simpler language this means that our teachers meet once a week to work together on how to improve student learning. The teachers develop the same question (inquiry) for all their students for each trimester. For example, teachers might ask “How can we increase our students persistence in solving complex mathematical problems?” They then work on the actions and implications for their teaching strategies that will have an impact on the question they are asking themselves. The teachers collect data and other information that gives them feedback to their question. It’s hard and challenging work and requires that teachers work together to better understand the results of the changes they make to their teaching practices.
Is there anything cuter than a kindergartner all dressed up for their first school picture? Probably not. Long before everyone was posting selfies everywhere, elementary school pictures were a big deal. And you know what? They still are.
Superintendent Weekly Update
by Craig Conte on September 09
Our teachers are incredibly flexible, resilient and overcome all the obstacles that they may confront in order to educate the children of our district. A perfect example of this “can-do” spirit is the teaching team at Loma Vista Dual Immersion Academy. Transitional Kindergarten teachers Jessica Quirt and Chelsea Tran and first grade teacher Samantha Grimaldo have had all kinds of hurdles to overcome in the start of their school year. They started in temporary classrooms, moved into new portables and set up classrooms for the second time in just a few weeks and weekends! These teachers are true models to a “Growth Mindset”, because if challenges make you grow these teachers are ten feet tall!
I would also like to thank the endlessly patient staff and families at Old Adobe Charter who have been waiting for construction to wrap up on their campus for many months. Cecilie Stuelpe, Tami Petrie, Heather Carpenter and Wendy Fergus have lovingly taught children in various nooks and crannies in the school throughout last year and the beginning of this year as they await building construction to finally be done on their rooms.
Although I have had plenty of previous experience in managing both residential and commercial construction, I must say that managing school construction projects has been an eye-opening and at times, frustrating experience. With all these construction challenges you might even notice that I’ve gotten a little taller too!
Last week, many of our school PTA groups met for the first time this school year. Did you know that PTA is the largest volunteer child advocacy organization in the nation? The national PTA, founded in 1897, has been the organization that has advocated for many school reforms including the creation of Kindergarten classes, child labor laws and mandatory immunizations just to name a few. A robust PTA needs the active participation of both school staff, parents and the community. If you haven’t joined yet please consider it. By joining and participating in PTA you will make a difference for our children.
Last Monday was Labor day. This Federal holiday honors the American labor movement and the contributions that workers have made to the strength, prosperity, laws and well-being of the country. We have two unions that represent the employees of our district. The California School Employees Association (CSEA) represents our classified staff and the Old Adobe Teachers’ Association (OATA) represents our teachers and other credentialed staff. Our dedicated and extremely hard-working union members are the reason we celebrated Labor Day!
Dear Old Adobe Families,
We hope that you’ve enjoyed a wonderful summer break! We have been busy this summer while you have been on vacation, but are eagerly looking forward to your arrival back on our campuses.
When you arrive at two of our 5 different schools, the first thing that you may notice is the new play structures at Sonoma Mountain and Old Adobe. These new play structures are simply amazing to look at and will be even more wonderful to explore. These two new structures mean that all our campuses now have modern and improved playground facilities for children as we have already completed installing new structures at Loma Vista, La Tercera and Miwok Valley recently. We have also been working hard on finishing new portable buildings at Loma Vista. We also have installed new portable buildings and are working on refurbishing existing spaces at Old Adobe. Our district is growing and these buildings will help us meet the expanding need for new classroom space. We were hoping to have these building ready by the start of school, but we have experienced the typical construction delays and are a few days behind schedule. Our staff has prepared some temporary classrooms for students in our existing spaces at these sites. We ask for your patience and understanding as we will move students and teachers into these new and spacious classrooms as quickly as possible. In addition to great classrooms and playground, our busy summer has also included construction projects that will add incredible tile mosaics to the Sonoma Mountain entrance area and a brand new running track at Old Adobe. These projects are due to tremendous efforts by local artist Sueann Bettison Sher and a multi-year fundraising effort by the Old Adobe PTO.
Before students arrive on our campuses on Wednesday, August 16th, our teachers and classified staff will already have been hard at work. Besides preparing classrooms by hanging poster paper for bulletin boards and planning engaging lessons, our teachers have been demonstrating their commitment to lifelong learning by attending district professional development training focusing on Science, Language Arts and Math. Our classified maintenance staff have been busily cleaning and repairing facilities while our office staff organize mounds of student files and work on class lists. It truly takes a dedicated and year-round district staff team to have our schools ready for students come Mid-August.
We believe our district is special, and each year we go the extra mile to prove it. Our community, and our Board of Trustees, has made a commitment to educating the whole child. All of our students receive music, PE, and library time. Over the past couple of years we have made language arts and math a focus, and each school has developed a unique school theme. We challenge our students academically, support them socially, and provide encouragement and guidance to help them grow into the amazing future leaders we know they can be. Parents are our partners in this work with active involvement in the classrooms and special events, as well as ongoing support for the school programs. We urge you to continue involvement, or jump in this coming year if time allows.
Don’t forget, school starts Wednesday, August 16th. Please check our website at oldadobe.org and link to your specific school for school information and the school calendar. We can’t wait to start our new year together!
Interim Superintendent, Old Adobe Union School District
Dear Old Adobe Union District Families,
We are writing to inform you that Dr. Jason Lustig Yamashiro is leaving his position as Superintendent in our district. He is accepting the Superintendent’s position with the Dixie School District in Marin County.
We want to acknowledge everything that has been accomplished under Jason’s administration. We have articulated our curriculum to evolve with introduction of the Common Core. We have actively integrated technology into our classrooms and refurbished facilities throughout the district. We have deepened the theme focus at each of our unique campuses and reintroduced long lost programs like music, physical education and counseling district wide. We have built more trusting relationships, creating healthier and more robust schools to serve the children of our district, thereby better serving our community at large. Our district is growing again and the sentiment mirrors our core mission to help the children of Old Adobe Union learn and flourish. We have accomplished so much, and send Dr. Yamashiro off with many wishes of future success.
We remain committed to providing a high quality 21st century education for the students of this district and it is our pleasure to introduce you to the educator who will be charged to continue all of this work. The Board of Trustees has agreed to a one year contract with Mr. Craig Conte to serve as our interim Superintendent for the coming school year. We are excited about this opportunity because Mr. Conte has served as our Director of Curriculum for the past 4 years and has worked closely with our Superintendent on all of our initiatives. Craig has supported all of our accomplishments to this day,
Craig brings 22 years of teaching experience, all here in our district. He has served in two interim Principal positions, negotiated from both sides of the table for 18 years, and has served as Director of our much beloved Outdoor Education program for 20 years. From the Curriculum position, Craig has managed the implementation of our student data system, common core based report cards, teacher led instructional adoption, and established technology training for students and teachers. He has also managed documentation and reporting for many of our programs.
The Board of Trustees has confidence in Craig’s managerial ability and believe that his strong classroom foundation will help us continue building momentum in our district. He has earned the respect of this Board and everyone within our district. We look forward to a prosperous year and hope for many more to come.
With our regards and gratitude,
The Trustees of the Old Adobe Union School District