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December 2017

Greetings Parents, Guardians, and Community Members,

The purpose of this month's Signal article is to delve more deeply into our District's work around climate and culture. Specifically, we are working to create conditions within our schools where every student feels safe, respected, and included. Each of our schools has a Climate and Culture Committee comprised of teachers and staff members who are looking critically at ways to improve conditions for teaching and learning within their school. Some of the changes that have come out of these committees include strategies for improved student supervision, learning about ways to deal effectively with challenging student behavior, and methods for reconciling conflicts between students. Each Climate and Culture Committee is led by the site principal. In addition, I work closely with site leaders to ensure that they are guiding their schools in concert with best practices and moving aggressively to address concerns of our community stakeholders. Finally, I visit every school and classroom multiple times each month to observe the progress within each school.

What does this mean for the community? We are starting to see some improvements as a result of our efforts. Suspensions and expulsions are down considerably from last year. Some site leaders also report a reduction in office referrals as compared to last year. In addition, we have received significantly fewer requests from parents and guardians to have their children attend schools outside the District. While these changes represent a good start, we have a long way to go. We are working on integrating restorative practices into our schools and recently sent three staff members and one of our Governing Board Members (Marina Ramos) to training on Restorative Practices. Using a restorative approach to student discipline, we can help reduce the likelihood that students will repeat disruptive behavior, further contributing to a positive climate within schools and classrooms.

We invite parents, guardians, and members of the community to visit our schools and tour our classrooms. If you would like to visit schools, please let me know. I can always be reached by email at or by personal cell phone at 925-639-7408.

Charles Miller, Ed. D.
John Swett Unified School District
Office: 510-245-4300 x2105
Cell: 925-639-7408

Thank you, Phillips 66, for your continued support and generosity!