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August 2019

Greeting Families and Community Members,
 
As we begin to prepare for another school year in the John Swett Unified School District, we return to our District's mission: to provide every student with a safe, equitable, restorative culture and community, the opportunity to realize their full potential, access to an excellent 21st century education, and the skills and knowledge to pursue lifelong learning. We are engaged in a variety of efforts to bring this mission to reality as we prepare to start the school year. Here is what we are working on:
 
Rodeo Hills Elementary: Our elementary school is in the second year of implementing the Leader In Me program. Leader in Me is Franklin Covey’s whole school transformation process. It teaches 21st century leadership and life skills to students and creates a culture of student empowerment based on the idea that every child can be a leader. Students learn the seven habits of highly effective people that include Be Proactive (You’re in Charge), Begin With the End in Mind (Have a Plan), Put First Things First (Work First, Then Play), Think Win-Win (Everyone Can Win), Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood (Listen Before You Talk), Synergize (Together Is Better), and Sharpen the Saw (Balance Feels Best). We have already seen a positive impact from this program at the school site. Students are more academically minded and better able to engage in learning. The entire climate and culture at the campus has been greatly improved as a result. Much of this is due to the collaborative efforts of the teachers, staff, and principal. 
 
Carquinez Middle School: We have a new principal at CMS, Mr. Steve Peters. Mr. Peters is a Rodeo native son and has served previously as principal of John Swett High School. As such, Mr. Peters has a strong understanding of the needs of our students and community. Mr. Peters will be joined by Ms. Eden Kennedy-Hoffman as our Teacher on Special Assignment (TOSA). Together, they are already working on ways to improve the climate and culture at Carquinez Middle School and create a sense of school pride and school spirit. Students should be ready for some really exciting activities and events this year. It is going to be fun at CMS.
 
John Swett High School and Willow: We have a new Administrative Team at John Swett High School and Willow. Leslie Marley will be our new principal for both schools and she will be joined by Mr. Allen Boltz, our new Assistant Principal. Mrs. Marley has served our District in the past as an assistant principal at JSHS and has worked closely with Mr. Peters over the years. Mr. Boltz is a resident of Crockett and is excited to be giving back to his community. The school will continue to emphasize the implementation of the AVID program throughout both campuses. Advancement Via Individual Determination (AVID) is a non-profit organization that provides professional learning for educators to improve college readiness for all students, especially those traditionally underrepresented in higher education. AVID's College Readiness System had its start at the secondary level, with elective classes and work in elementary schools and college campuses. You can learn more about AVID by visiting their website at www.avid.org.   
 
District Initiatives: In working to bring about a more inclusive and supportive environment for our students, we are going to be delving more deeply into restorative practices within our schools. This summer, thirty of our staff members (teachers, aides, and administrators) received a generous grant to visit the Museum of Tolerance in Los Angeles. For many, this was a transformative experience and helped them to revisit assumptions about race,equity, history and culture. We will be working with Dr. Aliah MaJon throughout the school year on implementing restorative practices within our schools. We are also working on implementing the AVID program District-wide and a group of teachers, staff, and administrators attended an AVID training this summer in Sacramento. Finally, our school bond project at John Swett High School is in full swing. Practically every part of the school is under construction including classrooms, bathrooms, offices, kitchen, gym, and shops. We are also hoping to break ground very soon on the new Carquinez Middle School once we receive final approval from the Division of State Architects (DSA). 
 
We are entering into exciting times in our District. While we face many needs and challenges, we have dedicated and hard working teachers, staff, and administrators who are devoted to our students and community. I always invite members of the community to meet with me, attend Board meetings, examine any aspect of our operations, visit us online (www.jsusd.org) or call my personal cell phone at 925-639-7408 to discuss any concerns or issues that may surface.  Our schools will re-open August 1st. Please be sure to come in and ensure that we have all your paperwork ahead of time. These can be completed online on our website. The first day of school is Wednesday, August 21st. Have a great summer.
 
Charles Miller, Ed. D.
Superintendent
John Swett Unified School District
Office: 510-245-4300 x2105
Cell: 925-639-7408