Recently, Board President Maria Dalla and I were interviewed on U-T "Community Spotlight" radio show with Drew Schlosberg to share our National School District #BeExceptional Campaign. To listen to the show, click here: http://wsradio.com/110317-national-school-district-color-run-dream-tour/
Yet, 27 minutes is not nearly enough time to share what incredible District we have. Below are just a few highlights inclusive and beyond what we were able to share on air.
BOND MEASURES N and HH
Thank you National City voters! Your generous approval of recent Bond measures will enable us to upgrade our aging buildings. Because of you, we have been able to install air conditioning at all of our sites, and improve infrastructure to ensure state of the art technology connectivity. Continued improvements in lighting, parking, and other facility projects are on the horizon.
CLASSROOM REDESIGN CHALLENGE
What should a student–centered classroom look like in 2018? How would you design a high impact learning space? Twenty-six classrooms will compete to answer these questions. There will be one winning classroom per school that will receive a full classroom makeover. Contest winners work with a designer to refine their ideas. Winning spaces will serve as pilot spaces to inform future purchases.
Last month, eight of our schools (CE, ET, IH, JO, KM, LA, LP, RN) received Bronze Recognition by the California PBIS Coalition (Positive Behavior Interventions and Supports). These eight schools are the only schools within San Diego County to receive this recognition.
We ensure safe drinking water. We installed hydrations stations this summer/fall at all ten sites and the Preschool Center. A second hydration station has been ordered for each school. After the second round of hydrations stations, we will add lead filters to all exterior fountains as well.
Band, Orchestra, and Mariachi are available to students in grades 1-6th. About 83 percent of our district’s students are Hispanic, so the tradition of mariachi is something that goes way back through the generations. Our current after-school program was launched in 1999, and is open to all grade levels. It starts with teaching the basics – students sing the scales, play them on a recorder and learn to recognize notes. Once they have that down, they learn to play an instrument. The district provides the instruments, as well as bus transportation to and from Las Palmas School three times a week for instruction. All Free!
Our partnership with Ocean Connectors provides marine science education programs to our 4th, 5th and 6th graders. Over the course of three years, students learn about marine conservation through hands on case studies of sea turtles, whales, birds, and habitats. Ocean Connectors provides classroom presentations and coastal field trips focused on three different species of migratory marine life, ocean issues, and conservation themes. Students also participate in a dual language “knowledge exchange” with children living in Nayarit, Mexico to share information about migratory marine life. Our students gain environmental knowledge and adopt stewardship behaviors that will enable them to contribute to the earth throughout their lifetime.
Drowning is the second leading cause of death for elementary students. As a coastal city, it is imperative that our students learn to swim. Our third grade swimming program is the district’s effort to teach all of its third graders, including those in special education, how to swim. It’s a tradition that stretches back decades in National City. After being put on hiatus for several years during the worst of the state budget crisis, trustees in 2015 approved the funding necessary to bring it back. Every third grade student participates as well as students in our newcomer program.
READ ACROSS AMERICA
Last year as Superintendent, I read across America- virtually!! The book selected was Last Stop on Market Street by Matt De La Peña. Matt grew up in National City. After hearing his story, 6th graders were challenged to write a story of their own. The winning story was The Beginning of a Young Superhero by Jonathan Jimenez from Lincoln Acres. Jonathan’s book will be bought for each of our libraries and serve as this year’s Read Across America inspiration.
We recently hosted the annual OneSight clinic here in National City. OneSight has a longstanding partnership between NSD and the NC Host Lion’s Club where they send an international team of volunteer eye doctors, opticians and vision specialists administer a series of eyesight tests that use an array of diagnostic equipment. Following the exams, students get to choose their own frames and are fitted for new glasses. This year, the OneSight vision clinic served over 1,500 students from five school districts in the region.
School- based gardens have been implemented at five of ten schools with a goal to complete remaining five this year. School gardens are a great way to connect wellness and science and serve as outdoor labs for our students.
We are proud of our partnership with Olivewood Gardens. Olivewood’s signature Kitchenistas program has taken to the road sharing their learning with parents at all of our schools. Presentations are made by parents to parents and emphasize healthy recipe makeovers.
REACH- YMCA Partnership
A top priority for the National School District Governing Board is to nurture parent, family, and community collaboration and engagement. The REACH program is a shining example of a way the District strategically collaborates with a valued community partner to serve our students and families. National uses ASES funding to partner with the South Bay Family YMCA to create a dynamic, and stimulating before and after school environment - free of charge. REACH provides curriculum designed to help students meet or exceed state standards in a fun, camp-like atmosphere, giving our students a boost to succeed both academically and socially.
- Walking School Bus- Safe Routes to School (Walktober)
- 1:1 Technology Initiative
- Super Salad Bar and organic produce
- Dual Language Program at Kimball
- STEAM focus at Lincoln Acres
- Breakfast in the classroom at Olivewood
- Philosophy lessons at El Toyon
- Holiday giveaways
- And SO much more!!
Of course, none of this would be possible without our dedicated NSD staff and the partnerships we share with our families. Thank you all for your part in creating an EXCEPTIONAL experience for our students!