By: Kevin D. Holt, Ed.D., Superintendent, San Marcos Unified School District
This year included such highlights as the recognition of Carrillo and Discovery Elementary as California Distinguished Schools. San Marcos Unified earned high marks from Ed Trust West, ranking as the seventh district in California and the best out of six in San Diego County on the education offered to Latino, African American, and low income students.
I particularly enjoyed a comment made by Lenie Wolf, a data and policy analyst with Ed Trust West, “We visited San Marcos and one thing that they are really clear about is holding all kids to high expectations.”
Our high graduation rate, exceeding the statewide goal of 90 percent, and low drop out rate, below 5%, illustrates this point nicely. It was gratifying to see the numbers reflect researchers’ observations that San Marcos Unified teachers have rallied around instruction techniques that require all students to participate in class conversations.
Collaboration is not just a word that we thought would be a nice addition to our Mission Statement. It is our culture. From classrooms to conference rooms to living rooms, our efforts to ensure that our children are college and career ready are only successful because of the remarkable work of our community.
It is the very nature of our inherit collaboration that makes our administrators, staff, faculty, parents, and students proud to be part of the San Marcos Unified School District. From elementary school children in awe of their future home to residents of Lake San Marcos, we saw the pride of our community earlier this year as we opened the doors to the newly completed San Marcos High School.
We felt Grizzly Pride as Mission Hills High School’s Football team became San Diego CIF Open Division Champions, only to be followed by the tremendous success of the girls’ basketball team. However, there is not a better example of how our community bands together than the recent fires.
From the very beginning of what could have been a chaotic situation, our staff and parents responded immediately to help release students from classrooms, monitor traffic, and support our children in every way possible. Our Transportation Department worked tirelessly to evacuate schools within, as well as outside, of our district, and stationed themselves in various areas to assist where they were needed.
There was an outpouring of community support as individuals and businesses dropped off food and water to the evacuation center at Mission Hills High School. We saw an overabundance of volunteers, and heard time and again how grateful everyone was to be part of such a wonderful district. The strong sense of social responsibility that our culture has built was more than apparent as high school students contacted the district through social media to find out how they could help,
We are indeed collectively greater than the sum of our parts. I consider myself very fortunate to work along side such a remarkable group of people.