Superintendent's Letter - January 2019
Dear Scottsdale Unified School District Families,
Each new year ushers in a world of new possibilities, and in the Scottsdale Unified School District (SUSD), we are excited about 2019.
Here is your monthly update on district happenings since we returned from winter break:
SUSD Governing Board
The new Governing Board met for the first time earlier this month and elected its 2019 officers. By unanimous votes, Patty Beckman was elected to lead the Board as its president this year and Allyson Beckham will serve as Board vice president.
Mrs. Beckman brings a background in finance to the panel and is the parent of two students headed to Saguaro High School’s Math and Science Academy next year. We also were pleased to welcome Arcadia High School graduate Jann-Michael Greenburg to the Board. Mr. Greenburg is an attorney for a local music copyright-licensing firm.
With the infusion of these new perspectives and the experience of our three returning Board members – Mrs. Beckham, Mrs. Sandy Kravetz and Mrs. Barbara Perleberg – I am confident that our Governing Board is up to the task of handling the many opportunities and decisions ahead this year, and that it will be diligent in its direction of our school district.
State of the District
I am proud of many accomplishments since my return to SUSD eight months ago. This work by our dedicated employees across all District sites not only ensures we deliver an outstanding experience in our classrooms, but also strengthens our organization, sustaining SUSD’s 123-year academic legacy of which we are all so proud. Some of the ways we are supporting our schools in the education of students include:
- Reviewing and implementing changes to strengthen our hiring and procurement processes.
- Increasing parent, community, student and staff participation through a district climate study that has resulted in the formation of a new Wellness Committee comprised of teachers, parents and staff to ensure we are addressing concerns this survey revealed.
- Continuing to make technology and structural upgrades to make all of our schools safer.
- Working with classified and certified staff to develop new handbooks that reiterate our total commitment to professionalism and respect in the classroom and in the workplace.
- Re-committing ourselves, including the Governing Board, to the task of providing exceptional academic instruction to your students. It is what has distinguished SUSD for more than a century and is no less relevant today. Instruction must be engaging, collaborative, rigorous and fulfilling for our students, and take into account their social and emotional growth that will inspire them to learn.
I am convinced we are on the right path.
Cherokee Elementary School
Parents, neighbors and staff continue to collaborate on the Cherokee redevelopment project and have already met three times with representatives of the Orcutt Winslow architectural design team. In addition, Principal Walt Chantler has appointed a Cherokee “Visioning Committee” of those same community interests to help guide the architects’ work in between community meetings. No decision has been reached yet on whether Cherokee will be renovated, get a completely new campus or see some combination of the two. The next community meeting is set for 6:30 p.m., Monday, April 22 at Cherokee, 8801 N. 56th Street, Paradise Valley. To stay up to date on the meetings, go to susd.org/CherokeeProject.
Redesigned SUSD Calendars
There’s a new look to the 2019-20 and 2020-21 SUSD school year calendars. Their new design reflects many of the improvements you suggested in last fall’s District climate survey, including the addition of a back page. There, you will find the most requested information: every SUSD school’s address, telephone number, website URL, class schedule, office hours and early release times. Please note that actual dates on the new calendars – when school starts in August, recesses in May, etc. - have not changed from previously posted calendars – they just look better! The current and newly redesigned upcoming school-year calendars are available online at susd.org/calendar.
SUSD continues to move forward. We invite you to be a part of it by following your favorite schools and the District on Facebook and Twitter, and you can view Governing Board meetings anytime at susd.org/board.
Dr. John A. Kriekard