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Superintendent's Message

As we come to the end of another school year, we can celebrate our accomplishments and look ahead to the summer to unwind and recharge. Our seniors are leaving us prepared and ready to participate in a global society. Our second-, fifth-, and eighth-graders prepare to move up to a new school and to new experiences. Each group visited their new school and are ready for the challenges in the fall.

 There is much to be proud of from this past year. We introduced districtwide wellness goals that included adding new student-tested menu items to our dining program, such as a “Greek Power Bowl” and “Vegetarian Tamale Bake.” We introduced sitewide wellness goals that include an expansion of the Wellness Fair at Robert Louis Stevenson Middle School, and collaboration between the Culinary Arts program and Special Education at St. Helena High School to provide lessons for students receiving special education. We also expanded our parent education series this year with a focus on mental health.

We piloted additional Spanish language classes from TK to fifth grade and continued our math intervention support at RLS and SHHS. And for the first time, we offered dual enrollment for upper-level mathematics classes in partnership with Napa Valley College.

From a technology perspective, this past year saw many enhancements, including new Chromebooks for our elementary and middle schools and new laptops for our incoming ninth- and 10th-graders. And we are also developing a staged technology refresh cycle going forward, where we will purchase new devices for incoming kindergarteners, third-graders, sixth-graders, and ninth-graders for this upcoming school year.

We began Phase I of our Future-Ready Classroom initiative in which faculty work collaboratively to redesign their spaces to support student learning and engagement. We introduced Kyte, an online professional development platform where staff can choose from a menu of technology videos to implement in their classrooms. We trained faculty in the use of Google Classroom, which streamlines the process of sharing files between teachers and students; Quizzlet, a mobile and web-based study application that allows students to study information via learning tools and games; and additional ways to use interactive whiteboards.

We’ve added training staff on English language acquisition strategies and established a districtwide English Language Learners subcommittee. The subcommittee is composed of English language teachers, coordinators, administrators, and district staff who meet monthly to review curriculum and data relative to supporting English learners. St. Helena will also be hosting national training on English language acquisition and mathematics in June.

We enhanced our professional development opportunities for our educators by having them study Professional Learning Communities at UC Davis with a focus on results-oriented learning. And we trained our administration and leadership teams on the effective use of Multi-tiered Systems of Support, which allow us to diagnose and provide the right mix of academic rigor and behavioral support that our students require to succeed.

We also introduced Blackboard, a new communications platform that allows us to communicate with parents more efficiently and effectively than ever before.

 St. Helena is a special place. Part of what makes it special is our extended community of parents, teachers, and staff whose hard work, commitment, and unwavering support of our students allow us to provide a safe and enriching learning environment. It is a privilege to be entrusted with your children every day, and it is our charge to care for them, teach them, and ensure they get what they need to succeed.

I am always open to your feedback and ready to listen. Please stop by my office, call, or send me an email. Enjoy your summer.

Marylou Wilson