LAUSD head looks back on school year

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During the 2011-12 school year, Los Alamitos Unified School District continued to Ignite Unlimited Possibilities for Students with advances made in academics, athletics, activities, and the arts.

Just a few examples include more students completing the a-g college entrance requirements than ever before, athletic teams winning Sunset League and CIF championships, humanitarian clubs volunteering even more hours, and several choral and instrumental performing groups winning prestigious awards.

Innovation is on display at sites across all levels, preschool through high school.  I Pads and other technologies were used to increase student learning.

Pilot programs yielding promising results were implemented in reading, writing, and mathematics.

Rigorous curriculum and engaging instructional strategies were implemented in classrooms.

Teachers, administrators, and support staff collaborated and took ownership of the learning of all students in the District by sharing best practices with one another.

Peer observations and peer coaching were evident at many schools.  Administrators and teachers read and led discussions regarding research-based books.

Each school made significant progress improving educational outcomes for students.  Hopkinson planned for the implementation of a CDC pre-school and the MIND program.   Lee implemented Reader’s Workshop and PEACE week, a program to support compassion and tolerance for everyone.  LAE implemented a Broadcast Studio and worked with Dr. Sandra Kaplan on rigorous instruction.  McGaugh further implemented the Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, and Math (STEAM) program with plans for a Tech Studio and Science Inquiry Lab.  Rossmoor was named a California Distinguished School.  Erin Kominsky, principal at Weaver, was named the National Distinguished Principal for California.  Both middle schools, Oak and McAuliffe, enjoyed successes in the arts and student activities and provided more academic support programs for all students.  Laurel High School held its first Poetry Night and theater production, Laurel Live and on Stage/Shakespeare in the Round.

One of the benefits of being a Unified School District is that Los Alamitos Unified builds programs and articulates best practices, pre-K through eighth-grade, and all students end up a Griffin at Los Alamitos High School.  Sixty-nine percent of the students met A-G college entrance requirements and earned the Award of Merit.

Thirty-nine Griffins were celebrated on signing days throughout the year for committing to Division 1 NCAA Athletic Scholarships.  Boys diving, tennis, baseball, swimming, wrestling, lacrosse, basketball, and golf were Sunset League Champions.  Girls swimming and softball were Sunset League Champions.

Girls lacrosse was the Southern Section Champion and girls volleyball was the CIF Champion.   Show Choir was a National Champion, and Varsity Cheer and JV Song were USA National Champions.  In every measurable area, LAHS made gains in academics, athletics, activities, and the arts.

In addition to outstanding educational programs, modernization projects continued at Rossmoor Elementary, Hopkinson Elementary, Lee Elementary, Los Alamitos High School, and Weaver Elementary.  All sites are being modernized, resulting in facilities that maximize student learning and community pride.   To date, all projects are on time and on budget, demonstrating continued fiscal responsibility and staff expertise.

Teaching and learning are year-round in Los Alamitos Unified.  Summer school is available for students needing extra support.   Enrichment, preparatory, and high school courses are available through the Los Alamitos Education Foundation.   Teachers are working together to create new lessons and programs for students.

The spirit of excellence and culture of ongoing improvement ensure that students receive the best educational opportunities.  As I complete the first year as superintendent, I am grateful to work alongside such amazing and talented Board of Education members, teachers, staff, parents, and community members.  Together, we will continue to improve the lives and futures of children and young adults.

Sherry Kropp is the superintendent of Los Alamitos Unified School District.

LAUSD head looks back on school year