December 18, 2014
Dear Stockton Unified Staff,
I want to wish all of you a wonderful holiday. I hope you are able to take a break and spend time with your family and loved ones over the next couple of weeks.
I also want to express my appreciation for all you do. We worked very hard this year despite some challenges. But we had some terrific successes: This was in fact a banner year for student engagement, thanks to you. SUSD’s graduation rate reached 83.1 percent in 2013 and a stunning 85 percent in 2014. This is the highest graduation rate this district has seen in decades.
Eighth graders at Nightingale School learned in an hour last week a critical skill for young students all over the world: writing computer code.
They joined students throughout Stockton Unified School district who participated in a global initiative aimed at inspiring students to consider careers in computer science and having fun at the same time.
At Nightingale School, eighth graders in Kate Burns’ class worked intently for the hour, learning how to do code and then then creating special games and apps for everything from “Frozen” themed fashion to versions of “Angry Birds.” “I thought it would be difficult, but it was really pretty easy,” said eighth grader Ismael Omar. In fact, Omar plans to study architecture, but he thinks he may also be interested in a future coding. Or, he’ll do both: coding for architecture.
Hundreds of Stagg high school students welcomed Matt de la Pena, author of five critically acclaimed young adult novels, including “Mexican WhiteBoy,” for an hour long presentation that had the students on their feet with applause and reaching for a copy of the author’s books.
Mr. de la Pena described an upbringing close to many of those in the room: He was raised in an all-Hispanic, low-income neighborhood by parents who never discussed the possibility of college with him. No one he knew had gone to college. And once he got an idea it might be for him, he had to confront mediocre grades (the result of not reading enough), and no money for tuition.
Stockton Unified is so proud of its San Joaquin A+ Spirit of Literacy Award Winners, celebrated at a countywide event last week for contributions to the organization’s mission of early and excellent literacy. This year Maxine Hong Kingston’s Preschool was named Literacy program of the Year and longtime El Dorado teacher Tracey Sittig was awarded Educator of the Year!
Hong Kingston/Valenzuela Magnet Elementary School celebrated Unity Day, created by PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center to unite schools and communities against bullying, in a BIG way. In addition to wearing orange to show their support, students, faculty and staff joined together for a school-wide march against bullying!