To: Members of the AUHSD Community
From: Superintendent Michael B. Matsuda
Date: September 7, 2016
Welcome to the AUHSD family of 30,000 students, 1,300 teachers, 60 counselors, 1,400 classified staff, and 90 administrators.
At AUHSD, we are preparing our 30,000 students for college, careers, and a successful, as well as a fulfilling, life. Although test scores are important, they are not the drivers of everything we do.
Time and again, I ask parents what they want for their child when they graduate. Parents tell me they want their child to have skills for success; skills like working in groups (collaboration), expressing themselves verbally and in writing (communication), thinking on their feet (creativity), knowing how to find solutions (critical thinking), and having integrity, kindness, and empathy for others (character).
These are what we call the 5Cs, the lifelong, transferable skills and dispositions needed to be good workers, good neighbors, good husbands and wives, good parents, and good citizens who will contribute to a greater America. We are attempting something very special and that is to embed the 5Cs into instructional practices. We call it “First, Best Instruction,” and believe that it is transforming what’s happening in the classroom.
We’re seeing the results with our students showcasing their talents in the Sustainability Showcase at Cal State Fullerton, STEAM-A-PALOOZA (at Magnolia High School), our Servathon, involving over 4,000 students, parents, and staff across the District; our Seal of Biliteracy (1,000 students graduated with the Seal), and, not to forget, our award-winning visual and performing arts, as well as the athletics, programs.
The AIME (Anaheim Innovative Mentoring Experience) program is really taking off, with more than 700 high school students participating in some level of mentoring from dozens of corporate and nonprofit partners, including Kaiser Permanente, St. Joseph’s Hospital, Anaheim White House Restaurant, city of Anaheim, CSUF, GEAR UP, Orange County Asian and Pacific Islander Community Alliance, Satori Law Firm, Deb Construction, Mr. Cabinet Care, Y Marketing, and many more.
This summer, through the generous support of Orange County United Way, AUHSD was able to provide work scholarships for 54 deserving juniors who interned over seven weeks at various AIME partner locations. We provided bus passes and uniforms, so students got to work on time and looked sharp in a professional environment. No other District is transforming education the way we are. Next year, we hope to grow the program to over 100 students!
We are continuing to train teachers to teach civic learning, which helps students and future citizens of democracy to develop skills to participate in American society. I am especially proud of Orange County’s first two California Democracy Schools, Loara and Savanna high schools. Students study local issues from multiple perspectives and some chose to take action on issues important to them, like e-cigarettes and vaping, or addressing solar power. Students made presentations at school board and city council meetings expressing their freedom of speech in a professional and civil manner. They are well on their way to becoming informed and caring citizens.
Additionally, through the AUHSD Student Service Foundation, students are writing and securing grants promoting service. We have junior high school students teaching elementary kids about coding and robotics. We have high school students promoting awareness about cruelty to animals, tutoring junior high students, and presenting on anti-bullying, to name just a few examples.
Finally, I would like to thank the voters once again for approving Measure H, our $249 million bond. We’ve made a lot of initial progress with Measure H, which you can see in the classrooms with our new “innovation furniture” and our first comprehensive project at Katella High School, which is being supported by a $2 million State Drought Response Outreach Program for Schools grant. When finished in March 2017, the project will make Katella High School the first school in the county to capture rainwater, addressing our serious drought problems, while beautifying the overall campus.
Next up are the campus-wide transformation of Dale Junior High School, construction of a new central kitchen on the Dale campus, and construction of a new aquatics center at Anaheim High School (although not with Measure H funding).
On behalf of our Board of Trustees and my assistant superintendents, I want to wish everyone a great 2016-17 year.
Together, we are AUHSD.