August 15, 2019
Dear Elk Grove Unified Parents and Families,
Welcome back and, for new parents, welcome to our District. With many important progress updates to share with you, I’d like to take this time to focus on safety, wellness and setting expectations. For the start of the year, I believe these are three of the most important topics you should understand about our District and the improvements we are making. Please look for additional updates throughout the year related to student performance, the District’s budget priorities and our many other continuous improvement projects.
We often repeat that student and staff safety is our top priority. And, because it is, we are always looking for ways to fortify the safety measures we currently have in place. This year, we strategically realigned our school resource officer assignments to better support all schools in each region. We enhanced safety training to be more comprehensive by including campus security supervisors and yard duty staff and we incorporated mass casualty and cultural responsiveness into our training curriculum. In addition to supplying our sites and administrators with a new emergency radio system, last spring, we also implemented a new online anonymous reporting tool that students and parents can access 24/7 to report an incidence of bullying, damage or harm to a school or property, discrimination or harassment or harm to self or others. This tool is being used and we encourage our students and parents to use this tool or any of our methods of reporting when you see something or know something.
Knowing that our youth are experiencing heightened levels of anxiety and depression, we are making sure we are providing information and resources to our students and families to promote Healthy Body, Healthy Mind and Healthy Learning. We have increased our communication to our students about resources available to them at their school site and we have funded several new mental health worker, counselor, school psychologist and social worker positions to be able to effectively work with our student population. Seeing every student cross the graduation stage and go onto careers, college or simply to have a great life is what I and my staff hope to see for every one of our students.
In setting this year’s expectations, our work to reform our disciplinary policies, practices and procedures with alternative measures, restorative justice and clearer lines of jurisdiction will help us continue to teach empathy, acceptance and inclusion. Similarly, we now have close to 2,000 teachers and staff trained in our Outward Mindset in Education professional development that helps everyone put mindset before process both at home and when we’re serving our students. This outward mindset simply stated means that others matter just as much as you or I matter and that we are alive to the hopes, dreams and challenges of each other.
Until my next update, please keep in mind and share with other new parents that regular school attendance is one of the top predictors of student success. When students are at school, our primary responsibility is to provide engaging teaching and learning where students feel connected and build a love for life-long learning. I look forward to working with you and your student as they explore, stretch and expand their horizons to becoming upstanding future citizens and successful in their future endeavors. Thank you for choosing the Elk Grove Unified School District for your child’s educational needs.
Christopher R. Hoffman