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End of Year Message from Superintendent Ken Geisick

June 3, 2021

Dear SUSD Families and Staff,

The end of the 2021-2022 school year is fast approaching. During this flurry of end-of-year activities, I want to take a few moments to share a few of important reminders:

  • The 2021-2022 academic year calendar was approved by the SUSD Board of Trustees at the May 27 board meeting. View the 1-page calendar PDF.

  • Continue to keep a close eye on your emails. If you’ve received reminders to complete your child’s online returning student registration or residency update, please take care of those items before tomorrow, June 4. During summer, we will continue to send updates as needed via ParentSquare. 

  • Tree House is registering incoming TK-5 students for the fall. Remaining spots are filled first-come, first-served. Visit www.saratogausd.org/treehouse for information or contact Tree House Coordinator Jessica Baker jbaker@saratogausd.org

I would like to share updates related to COVID-19 and planning for the coming school year.

On May 18, Santa Clara County Public Health Department (SCCPHD) announced that the county is entering the Yellow Tier for COVID-19 spread. The Yellow Tier means “minimal risk” and is the least restrictive of the four tiers set by the state. Included in the May 18 SCCPHD health order is a requirement that school districts must ascertain the vaccination status of all personnel. In addition, districts must continue to follow up every two weeks with staff who decline to state or are unvaccinated. SUSD is working with staff to track this information. Please note that no guidance has been received yet from public health regarding tracking student vaccinations. We will continue to follow state and county public health directives.

SUSD hosted a Pfizer vaccination clinic at Redwood Middle School in late May. 100 students ages 12+ and/or their family members received “the jab.” We are so pleased to be able to actively participate in the drive towards increasing vaccination rates in our area. We are especially grateful to our Redwood Special Education staff who were present to make the process seamless and comfortable for our special needs students and to district office staff who volunteered their personal time to assist at the vaccine clinic.

Also, over the past eight weeks, SUSD has been testing students in grades 4-8 for COVID-19. Participation was voluntary, parents had to opt their child in for testing. We are happy to say that no one has tested positive in our on-campus testing. And there has been no evidence of any on-campus transmission to date. Our SUSD families have been EXEMPLARY in keeping symptomatic children home and completing their daily health screening. Thank you for your conscientiousness in keeping our learning community safe!

Looking ahead to next year, we are closely following the state’s changes to permissible learning options. In the Governor’s May budget update, the state is ending the emergency authorization funding for Distance Learning. The state budget proposal assumes a return to full-time, in-person instruction for the 2021-2022 school year as the default for students and schools. It allows for independent study as the only allowable virtual option. The state’s independent study framework is currently under revision to add possible enhancements due to COVID-19. However, indications at this time is that public schools may offer only two options: full in-person school or Independent Study. We are keeping a very close eye on this.

Many thanks to the parents who took the time to complete the pulse check survey in late May regarding returning to full day in-person school vs. independent study. We received over 900 submissions and many thoughtful comments. 98% of families would like to come back to school in-person full day. There is also understandable concern about vaccine availability for younger children.

Staffing and planning for next year is well underway. We have heard from many parents and staff both in support or concerned about the elementary school principal rotation. Change can be unsettling, but please be assured that Saratoga Union School District is committed to continuing the high quality educational experience for students. By leveraging the unique strengths of Ms. Murphy, Mr. White, Mr. Bosco, as well as Mr. Hamm, we look forward to providing our principals career experience and firmly believe that the change will not only build on our successful TK-5 learning environments but also continue an upward trajectory of growth.

2020-2021 has been, without a doubt, a challenging school year for students, staff, and families. We are proud of the resilience and resolve shown by the SUSD learning community. We look forward to brighter days ahead in the coming school year. Congratulations and best wishes to our 8th graders as they move onto high school. And congratulations to our 5th graders, we look forward to welcoming them to Redwood!

Please enjoy a fun and safe summer!

Ken