AUSD Supterintendent's Community Letter

Superintendent Kirsten Vital writes about May and June news from the Alameda Unified School District.

Dated June 14, 2012

Dear Alameda Community Member,

On this last day of the 2011-2012 school year, I would like to thank Alameda for another year of generous support of our schools. That support provides the critical foundation for the many successes we are able to celebrate for our students, schools, teachers and staff year after year in Alameda. In these difficult economic times, we all feel tension and stress over the challenges we face. Nonetheless, this year our community’s strength has once again helped all of us in AUSD keep up our critical work to change the lives of young people for the better each day.   Here are a few thoughts to close out the 2011-12 school year.

AUSD’s Class of 2012

Now just one day away from graduation, most of our high school seniors have now settled their plans for their next steps. Our soon-to-be-graduates include many students who will be the first in their families to attend college, others who are heading directly to a career path, some who will serve our country in the military, and many who have chosen to challenge themselves by accepting admission at four-year colleges for the fall.

The Class of 2012 includes students who have been accepted at many of the most competitive universities across the country. Schools where members of AUSD’s Class of 2012 have been admitted this year include UC Berkeley, UCLA, most other UC and CSU campuses, Brown, Princeton, Dartmouth, Harvard, Cornell, Stanford, Barnard, Vassar, Wesleyan, Amherst, Boston University, NYU, American, Pomona, Occidental, USC, UOP, Puget Sound, DePaul, Syracuse, Swarthmore, Bowdoin, Macalester, Xavier, Lewis and Clark, Hofstra, University of Virginia, University of Michigan, University of Vermont, University of New Hampshire, University of Oregon, University of Colorado, University of Washington, University of Massachusetts, Indiana University, Arizona State, Boise State, and many others.

The ambitious plans our students have for college, military and career are a testament to their talents and dedication. As we look back as is traditional this time of year, we should all be proud that the successes of our graduates also reflect the outstanding support they have received from so many in Alameda for many years all along their long road from kindergarten to graduation tomorrow and on to the beginning of the next phase of their lives. Congratulations to the Class of 2012!

Teacher of the Year

At the May 22 meeting of the Board of Education, we were thrilled to announce that Chris Hansen of is AUSD’s 2012 Teacher of the Year!  Chris will represent the district at the county level next year. Chris and the three other finalists represent the rich talent and diverse skills and expertise of the teachers in the district. Joining Chris as a finalist were Kimberly Hare of Lum, Joan Ralph of Earhart and Anne Turpin of Alameda High.

Last month we honored all our teachers on the Day of the Teacher in California. As we celebrate promotions and graduations this week, we hope all will join us in saying thank to all of our teachers. We appreciate the great contributions teachers bring every day to our classrooms. We know how hard teachers are working every day to help each child reach his or her full potential. We also know we only succeed in doing that by working together.

Teaching is the most difficult, exciting, rewarding and important work that one can do. It doesn’t matter who you talk to, everyone always says that it was a teacher who helped to change their lives; it was a teacher who helped them get into a particular career or college path; it was a teacher who taught them how to learn and how to do something new; it was a teacher who taught them to be curious; and it was a teacher who taught them to get excited about math, science or a new book. It‘s always a teacher.

Thank You to All of Our Outstanding Staff Members

We were proud once again to celebrate Classified School Employee Week in the District during the third week in May. We know that our outstanding classified school and district staff are essential to keeping our schools running smoothly. We appreciate the great dedication our classified employees bring to work every day so that our schools can work so well for our students, families, teachers and all of us in the district.

Every day in every school, our classified employees enhance the lives of our students. They all do this not just by performing their important jobs so professionally but also by all the little things they do that help students that too often go unnoticed or recognized, whether it is a smile, a quick word of encouragement or just saying good morning and calling a student by his or her name. Usually it is one of our classified employees who is the first contact a family makes within the school district.  A warm welcome or a tip on how to solve a problem often helps new families start off on the right foot, builds their trust in the school and strengthens partnerships between school and home.

By performing so many different tasks for students in and out of the classroom, maintaining a safe and welcoming learning environment, helping families, working well with many other employees and doing everything else they do, our classified school employees are making a big difference every day. We deeply appreciate our classified staff and are happy to have so many dedicated public servants working in AUSD.

Have a Great Summer

Thank you once again to Alameda for being such a wonderfully supportive community for our young people.  As we always do, we will continue to move forward together to overcome the challenges we face so that we can continue our proud traditions and keep adding to our many great successes in Alameda.  We hope everyone enjoys a well deserved summer break. We’re looking forward to seeing you again next year!

Kirsten Vital
Superintendent of Schools


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