District employees celebrate new school year

ENCINITAS — Encinitas Union School District, or EUSD, staff said so long to summer on Aug.
13 at the district’s Welcome Back Celebration at El Camino Creek Elementary.
To kick off the Aug. 16 start of the school year, Mission Federal Credit Union hosted breakfast. Attendees then made their way to the auditorium, where a slideshow titled “The Year in Review” featured smiling teachers and district employees and students.
Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services Dan Grider welcomed the group. “Take your shoes off, make yourself comfortable,” he said. New faces and a new partnership were introduced, as Mission Federal’s District Development Officer Nancy Harvey took to the podium. Harvey talked about the connection between the credit union and the school district, as the former started out as education-based 50 years ago and is staying true to its roots with the partnership.
Board of trustees members Bill Parker and Cathy Regan both announced that they will not be running for re-election. “We’ll miss working with you,” Parker said.
Superintendent Dr. Tim Baird’s talk centered on the district’s newest initiative, A Passion for Excellence. Before jumping in, however, Baird congratulated the schools
on receiving Distinguished School Awards (Olivenhain Pioneer Elementary and El Camino Creek), three out of four OEP awards, the Innovative Video In Education award (La Costa Heights Elementary) and the best percentage of advanced math students in seventh grade. Also among the successes, the district scored the highest in almost every area of the California Standards Test.
Baird outlined the shift in focus from test scores to life skills, fitting for the technology-driven generation and making for new standards of excellence.
With A Passion for Excellence’s 21st century classroom, K through second-grade classrooms will have electronic interactive white boards while all third- to sixth-grade students will have individual computing devices, Baird’s letter to the staff said. Put another way, “there’ll be a chicken in every pot,” Baird said.
Other upgrades include installing solar panels at seven schools, using reclaimed water for irrigation and developing property on San Diego Botanic Garden to include a farm, with produce ending up on children’s lunch trays.
The budget, or lack thereof, stands in the way of the district’s vision, however. According to Baird, $6 million will be cut from this year’s budget. In the midst of the crisis, Baird encouraged all to vote yes on Proposition P this fall, a continuation of a bond already in place, to fund a 21st century district.

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