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San Juan Unified District Office
3738 Walnut Ave.
Carmichael, CA 95608
(916) 971-7700

News and Events

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Board Briefs: March 27, 2012

The San Juan Unified Board of Education spent most of its most recent regular meeting discussing the ways in which new state education standards support work already underway in the District to strengthen student learning.

Here are a few highlights (the full agenda packet can be found here):

New state standards to support 21st-century learning

New state education standards being implemented in San Juan Unified schools – called Common Core – are not simply a revised list of items to be taught and learned, Acting Chief Academic Officer Roger Stock explained to Board members.

Rather, to better understand the goals of Common Core, Stock explained, it helps to think of this: Imagine a student becoming a doctor who not only practices medicine but also advocates for health needs. Imagine a student becoming the type of citizen who not only votes in elections but considers running for office.

Common Core standards reinforce the work already in progress in San Juan Unified to prepare students for college, careers and citizenship by teaching them how to think, analyze and argue.

In the classroom, it includes a practice called disciplinary literacy: Students must learn to communicate ideas through writing, to support their arguments by analyzing complex source materials and to work together to find answers.

Under this model, teachers are pushing students to develop strong reasoning and inquiry skills.  “That’s the type of learning that’s in the real world,” Stock told the Board.

Likewise, measuring student growth will differ from traditional, standardized testing. Stock explained that such assessment will consist of performance tasks over multiple days that involve student collaboration and extensive writing.

Jonathan Perry, a social studies teacher at Mesa Verde High School, said disciplinary literacy has created both more challenging and rewarding classroom work.

Before, he said, “I was relied on to have all of the answers. And now my goal is to guide my students to those answers through a strategic set of questions.”

A copy of the Board presentation, which includes more details about how Common Core is taking shape in San Juan Unified, can be found here.

In other action …
• Students McKenna Goold and Haley Miller from Del Campo High School, and Bonnie Sanchez and Victoria Lose from Encina Preparatory High School, addressed the Board with reports on a variety of activities and accomplishments at their schools. Highlights from Del Campo included an upcoming dance in April; an “Every 15 Minutes” anti-DUI event that opened students’ eyes to the dangers of drunk and distracted driving; and the school offering nightly study sessions as students prepare for finals. At Encina, students reported that junior advocacy classes are organizing college trips to University of California, Berkeley and Sacramento State to help students develop post-high school goals and dreams. Students also noted that high schoolers at Encina are learning to be leaders for their younger counterparts in grades 6-8. This is the first year the school added middle school grades to the campus; learn more about that by clicking here.
• Board members received proposals for contract negotiations with the San Juan Teachers Association. The SJTA’s proposals can be found here, and the District’s proposals can be found here. The Board also approved the District’s proposed set of bargaining interests for contract negotiations with the California School Employees Association Chapter 127, which can be found here.
• The Board approved a proposal to convey a temporary construction easement to the Sacramento County Department of Transportation at El Camino High School for the installation of curb, gutters, sidewalks and landscaping improvements. The county will pay the District $3,000 for the temporary half-acre easement so it can build bicycle and pedestrian-friendly features along El Camino Avenue from Watt to Mission and along Eastern Avenue from El Camino to Bright Way. More details on the planned construction work can be found here.

The next Board of Education meeting will be held April 10 at 6:30 p.m. in the District Office Board Room. Agendas are posted online Fridays before each meeting and can be found here.

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