July 22, 2021
Welcome Back, TUSD Community,
…to a TK-12 opening and year that promises to resume traditions and engagement for our students, families, and staff as we begin the school year with presence and intentionality—conscious of the moment and deliberative with purpose. This focus will ensure we remain strategic at advancing students’ social-emotional and academic learning while maintaining safety protocols throughout TUSD. In my 7th year as Superintendent of Turlock Unified, I continue to be challenged to lead and empower others to be present, deliberative, and consistent, as we strengthen a culture that reflects empathy, respect, and appreciation for our similarities and differences. Our students stand to gain so much when they see and hear their individuality recognized in classrooms, lessons, and conversations. To this end, we are committed to making evidenced-based decisions that keep student needs and staff professional development at the forefront of our equity work. I take each of these responsibilities very seriously.
Extended learning for students this past summer proved successful because of the strategic and intentional efforts to provide intervention and enrichment through project-based learning focused on STEAM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, & Mathematics). Staff’s commitment to engage students in collaboration that included critical thinking, problem-solving, and teamwork allowed our elementary students to thrive among the presence of dedicated, highly skilled staff. Students in grades 7-12 were provided unique, individualized learning experiences with specific focus on credit recovery, intervention, modified electives, and AP Jump-Start Workshops. Similar resources are planned for the 2021-22 school year as we extend learning opportunities beyond the regular school day and calendar, expand access, and engage our TUSD community in a school year that resumes expectations and routines for all.
Our LCAP (Local Control Accountability Plan) efforts and embedded Equity and Access Goal reflect our intentions to increase awareness and appreciation for individuals’ unique experiences and cultures. As such, multi-cultural literature will be enriched in grades 9-12 English courses as well as an optional A-period CSU Stanislaus Ethnic Studies course available to 11th and 12th graders. Additionally, our LCAP goal of Academic Achievement now includes Social Emotional Learning that not only provides embedded literacy and math supports, but social-emotional resources at every campus as well. Moreover, an Equity Coordinator is being secured to heighten focus and accommodations for those under-represented and underserved in our TUSD community; our greatest priority will continue to center on returning students to in-person learning. Nonetheless, TUSD will offer an alternative student Independent Study program that meets current standards for parents who have determined that their student’s health would be compromised by in-person instruction; related information continues to be shared at school and district levels.
Finally, it is a blessing to know we will have the opportunity to be back in a traditional education setting in August. Our belief, captured by Vlada Mars’ quote, “We are all connected by a simple wish—to be visible, to be heard, to know that we matter,” will guide our work to be present and intentional; we have a great deal to accomplish. Our students’ success depends on our school communities and your voice. Thank you for advocating for your student, our students, and each other.
Dana Salles Trevethan