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Welcome to the District Digest!

I am pleased to introduce the DISTRICT DIGEST, an online newsletter produced by the Sunnyvale School District. Through the DISTRICT DIGEST, we will provide information to parents and Sunnyvale residents on programs, happenings and issues affecting our neighborhood schools, the district, and public education. Articles will be published online and an email “digest” will be sent quarterly to subscribers. I believe positive home/school relations are critical to the support and success of our schools. It is my hope that improved communications with the community will further strengthen that relationship. Won’t you please take a moment to subscribe using the button above?

As we launch the 2011-2012 school year, I want to thank our community for the strong support demonstrated recently with the passage of Measure B, our school district’s modest parcel tax. Measure B passed with a nearly 70% YES vote. Serving a community that places a high value education is a blessing.

So what will the funds generated by Measure B provide? First of all, Measure B will generate about $1 million per year. This amounts to about 1.7% of our annual operating budget of just over $58 million. Unfortunately, this local funding will not provide enhanced programs and services, but instead will be used to help buffer and protect district programs from the continuing reduced level of state funding for public education that has been so harmful to school districts across our county and state.

As a school district our priority is serving students well…to prepare them with a strong foundation of skills and knowledge to succeed in their educational pursuits. Cutting programs, reducing the academic calendar, large class sizes, eliminating summer school offerings does not reconcile with a priority of serving students well, yet many school districts have found it necessary to take many or all of these actions. Measure B funding will help us continue to avoid or defer such actions harmful to student learning.

As Superintendent, I want to see an environment in which all of our students thrive in our schools and community. So as we begin a new year I will be advocating for a movement within our schools and community on building Developmental Assets. These assets represent the relationships, opportunities, and personal qualities that young people need to avoid risks and to thrive. The Developmental Assets are based on the research-proven model and meet California Department of Education criteria for the Safe and Drug Free Schools program.

Sunnyvale School District is partnering with Project Cornerstone to deploy the Developmental Assets within our school communities and align school wide efforts to improve climate by changing student behavior. We will continue our efforts on positive support, reducing bullying, promoting achievement, and helping all students feel valued and respected. Please take a moment to read the accompanying article on Project Cornerstone (Giving Our Children the Tools They Need to Thrive).

I look forward to another successful school year in 2011-2012 and thank you for your interest in and support of Sunnyvale School District and your neighborhood schools.

Best wishes,

Benjamin H. Picard, Ed. D.
Superintendent of Schools

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