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Superintendent’s Message: June 2015

Dear Friends,

Here in the district this past year, every school embarked on their own adventures, giving students a chance to venture into new learning territory. Through project based learning, our students are getting the hands on experience to help make lessons more meaningful and memorable.

Students at Columbia boarded a sea-worthy research vessel at Marine Science Institute (MSI), casting nets and catching fish and other marine life, identifying them, categorizing them, releasing them carefully back into the estuary, and collecting real data to help MSI to monitor the health of our bay. Students at San Miguel had front-row seats to observing the life cycle, as they observed their caterpillars transform into butterflies, then watched them fly away.

Through Meet the Masters, students at Ellis produced artwork influenced by great artists like Georgia O’Keefe.  Other students created their own government, held international festivals that helped them learn history and geography, and performed solos in front of a live audience for the very first time.

Thanks to the passage of Measure G last November, Lakewood Elementary School is nearing completion of a $17 million renovation project that is modernizing the entire campus and last fall 4th and 5th grade students got to use actual blueprints from the construction project to solve a real-life math problem.  Students observed concrete being poured one day, and estimated the amount and cost, presenting their best estimates to their teachers.

Of course there are many more examples too numerous to mention.  Thank you to our talented teachers, wonderful families, community partners and supporters that helped us bring learning to life for our students this year!

On another note, I am delighted to announce that Sunnyvale and Columbia middle schools were both recently named California Gold Ribbon Schools. The award recognizes schools that have made tremendous gains in implementing the academic content and performance standards adopted by the State Board of Education for all students, including Common Core State Standards.  Representatives from each school were recognized at an awards reception in San Francisco on May 29.

As I reflect on the accomplishments of the closing year, I am already looking forward to good things to come in the fall, as our teachers and staff continue working to develop more learning activities that will help your children master the skills and knowledge needed to thrive in a 21st century world.

I wish you all a safe and restful summer.  Thank you for giving us the honor of serving you and your children.


Benjamin Picard, Ed.D. Superintendent of Schools

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