May 21, 2021
Dear Elk Grove Unified Students, Families and Staff,
A bright light shines at the end of this long tunnel we have been in and it’s not an oncoming train, rather it’s the “Hope” we’ve been waiting for to return to a new normal. Vaccines are here, COVID-19 positivity rates are dropping and public health restrictions are loosening—all of which point to a full reopening of our schools. Thus, we look forward to a full and safe opening of our schools for the new year where students can once again fully engage with all that our schools have to offer. I thank our parents, our students and our staff for braving the storm we are now sailing out of and for getting through all of the uncertainty we faced. We are Elk Grove Unified, and we are stronger than ever because of your unwavering dedication and commitment to our students. With a great deal left to do, please know that we will work tirelessly to make sure our schools are ready to meet the needs of all of our students.
We presented a comprehensive plan for summer and expanded learning to the Board of Trustees on Tuesday, May 18th. The Expanded Learning Opportunities Grant from the state includes the widest array of learning and social emotional supports giving Elk Grove Unified the resources to offer more than ever before. We kept a close eye on our students’ needs throughout this pandemic and specifically designed unique summer learning programs for the elementary, middle and high school levels. It delights me to hear the reports that families with their students are lining up in droves to enroll in summer learning opportunities and I believe it’s due to the optimism that is growing across our community. Beginning June 7th, fully energized staff will provide social and emotional learning and cognitive development in a fun and stable environment to help students reengage and reconnect with their school. As you’ve heard me say a hundred times, “a connected kid is a successful kid.” Additionally, thanks to increased funding, we can also plan to significantly expand after school and intersession supports during the upcoming school year. Please contact your child’s school staff for specific offerings at your school(s).
Moving forward, the Governor and State Legislature have clearly stated that the flexibilities provided to districts this past year and a half will sunset on June 30th, and distance learning as we have come to know it will not be allowed. We do have existing alternative programs including the Virtual Academy, Independent Study and Home Hospital, and these programs do provide high quality learning opportunities yet are more student-directed compared to the distance learning model we implemented this past year plus. We believe we can meet the needs of the overwhelming majority of students through our traditional in-person education model, and we will work with families to identify the best program to meet the needs of each child.
With onward progress, you may have noticed that we took full advantage of the increased access we had to our school sites during distance learning to accelerate several modernization projects across the district and improve our technological infrastructure to support the increased use of technology that will be part of our new normal. This is further evidence that EGUSD will be better than ever. Our transformative work for creating safe, engaging and inclusive educational environments for students has also been emboldened with a focus on equity and family and community engagement to enhance our ability to more effectively serve our students, support those with greater needs and achieve our learning targets. As we fold equity into our policies, procedures and practices, we will be looking at the needs of every individual child and meeting them where they are in order to help them go further than they ever thought possible. We await the legislature’s response to the Governor’s May Revise proposal and are prepared to embark upon an even greater transformation of our public education system, which could include increased funding in early education, more funding for expanded learning options and added resources for the recruitment of well-trained staff for our neediest of students in every one of our regions.
My team and I will remain focused with strategic attention toward continuous improvement, sustaining resources and the ongoing modernization and maintenance of our schools. We will also continue to use our established budgeting principles to remain fiscally solvent, maintain effective programs and services, be competitive in attracting and retaining the best and brightest employees who reflect and identify with our students, build upon recently existing programs and services and also consider adding new programs and services. In closing, I wish the Class of 2021 all the best. I am proud of each and every one of you, and I am so excited that we are holding in-person graduations to celebrate your accomplishments. You deserve nothing less. I also want to thank all of our retirees. Your dedication to our students, families and each other is what makes Elk Grove Unified the special place that it is. Thank you! For those that will work this summer to provide services to our students, thank you. For those that will take some much needed rest, enjoy.
Christopher R. Hoffman