January 2017 - Measure E Update
At the January 17th, 2017 board meeting, staff reviewed the status of Measure E projects, including budget, change orders and project enhancements at LGHS. The presentation can be found by clicking here. A similar update regarding SHS will be presented on February 7th.
October, 2016 - Measure E Update
Last week, the District undertook the issuance and sale of Series B of the Measure E General Obligation Bonds. This is the second and final issuance of bonds authorized by Measure E, bringing the total issuance to $99 million. We are excited to report that, due to the current financial market for bond sales, the cost of issuance was significantly less than originally projected, resulting in a savings of $1,600,000. These monies are now available for projects that directly benefit our students! We have been able to distribute these savings to the sites’ contingency funds - especially important in a time of increased costs in the construction market. We will continue to look for ways to manage Measure E projects and funds in a way that maximizes our ability to provide a safe, 21st Century learning environment for our students and facilities that reflect the standard of excellence our communities expect and deserve. As always, thank you for your support of our schools!
For more information, go to www.lgsuhsd and follow us on Twitter @LGHSMeasureE
Dear Students and Parents,
Welcome to the 2016-2017 school year
in the Los Gatos – Saratoga Union High School District. On behalf of the Board of Trustees, myself,
and staff, we are excited about the opportunities the new year brings as we
partner with each of you to create the best possible educational environment
and experience for everyone.
This commitment to excellence goes
beyond academic rigor. Building
connections with students and with each other, supporting student
social/emotional well-being, and offering a rich extra-curricular program are
all part of what we do as we strive to create a well-rounded student and community
citizen. This integrated approach was
at the forefront of our recent district Strategic Planning process, during
which parents, students and staff came together to identify focus areas for the
As you know, in the spring of 2015, we
conducted a survey of parents, students and staff, gathering your feedback
about how we’re doing. From the over
4,000 responses received, we learned that, overall, students and parents are
very satisfied with our schools. And, we
also learned that our work to support students, socially and emotionally, will
continue to be an area of focus. The
district’s new Strategic Vision* “SUPPORT ALL STUDENTS to develop the skills, passions,
confidence, and resiliency to pursue college and/or career pathways that are
right for them” is supported by the following
Strategic Focus Areas:
& Engaging Learning Experiences Emphasizing the 4C’s (Critical Thinking,
Creativity, Communication, Collaboration)
Wellness, Balance & Belonging
of Collaboration & Innovation
These strategic guidelines are the foundation
for district Strategic Initiatives, school plans and other planning
*The Strategic Plan document can be
found at http://lgsuhsd.org/UserFiles/Servers/Server_87205/File/District Information/From the Superintendent/6763394563216248020.pdf
Thanks to the hard work of the
Schedule Advisory Committee (SAC), we have a new bell schedule for this year –
a full rolling block at both schools, with a slightly later start time that we
know, from research, supports student well-being. We have also integrated district-wide and
site-based collaboration and professional development days for staff, ensuring
that our teachers are positioned to bring our students quality education and a
learning environment that fosters the growth of ALL students.
We continue to look for ways to
communicate with you, our stakeholders.
The use of Canvas, a Learning Management System (LMS), is providing a standard
communication and content delivery system to support quality instruction and
provide students and parents with feedback to support learning. You’ll see a new look on our site and
district websites – reorganized and aligned to facilitate your access to key
information. And, we are happy to report
that, in the second year of administration of the new standardized assessment,
SBAC (Smarter Balanced Assessment Consortium), our students continued to
achieve impressive results.
I want to express my appreciation for
the support you showed by approving the May 2016 parcel tax renewal, Measure
A. This locally controlled funding will,
at a cost to residents of $49/parcel, provide approximately $970K per year,
through 2025 and will be used to fund science, math, technology and engineering
courses, provide support for excellent core academic programs and maintain
Of course, the big news (the visible
news) is the Measure E construction going on.
Thanks to you, our campuses will see $99 million in modernization and
new construction. Last year, we
completed various field projects at both sites.
This summer and fall, we’re breaking ground at SHS on the new Music
Building and modernize the Cafeteria/ Theater space and moving forward with
plans for a Music Building/Classroom wing at LGHS. Throughout the coming school year, there will
be some disruption to our campuses, especially in terms of traffic flow and
parking. However, safety is our priority
and we appreciate your patience as we safeguard students, staff and visitors
during the construction and renovation.
To learn more about Measure E projects, please follow us at
@LGHSMeasureE and @SHSMeasureE.
Thank you for the opportunity to again
be part of this district and community.
Thank you for your support, involvement and input. At all times, it’s about “what’s best for our
MEASURE A PASSES! THANK YOU!
Last Tuesday, May 3rd, our community gave the Los Gatos – Saratoga High School district a vote of confidence – approving Measure A by over 70%. At $49 per parcel, Measure A will extend, but not increase, the current district parcel tax through 2025 and will allow the district to continue to provide an outstanding education for our students. This stable, locally-controlled funding source provides approximately $900K per year to support high quality math, science, engineering and technology courses as well as other core academic programs and helps us maintain class sizes.
The education of our students is a partnership with our students, parents, staff and community and this vote of support is a reflection of the strength of bond. I thank the voters, campaign volunteers, students, staff and the LGSUHSD Board of Trustees each for their part in this result. And I would like especially to thank our campaign leaders, LezLi Logan, Laura Tillett, Denise Ramon Herrera, Randi Chen and Janet Stimson for their tireless leadership and commitment to our students, our schools and this Measure.
MEASURE E BOND UPDATE - FEBRUARY 2016
There's a lot going on - It's an busy time at our campuses, seeing and planning for transformations and additions that will provide improved facilities and support instruction for our students. We are excited to share the attached report.
HARVARD REPORT - "TURNING THE TIDE"
Dear Members of the LGSUHSD Community,
Harvard University recently released an interesting report calling for a change in the admissions process for universities across the nation. The report, entitled Turning the Tide, recommends a reshaping of the college admissions process to "...elevate and embody a healthier set of values." University leaders from more than 80 other colleges have endorsed this report, including representatives from the University of California, MIT, Boston College, Columbia, University of Pennsylvania, Yale and Princeton.
I recommend that all LGSUHSD students and parents read the Executive Summary of the Harvard report: http://mcc.gse.harvard.edu/collegeadmissions
The last sentence of Summary reads, "In the face of deeply troubling trends that only seem to be worsening, it is time to say "Enough." I applaud the stance taken by Harvard and the other universities that endorse this fundamental change; a change which parallels the commitment of our district to foster connectedness and shape global citizens. It is my hope that this perspective will become systemic, leading to a more engaging and healthier environment for high school students across the country.
Dear Staff, Students and Community Members,
At the January 12th meeting of the Board of Trustees, the district’s Schedule Advisory Committee (SAC), comprised of 26 staff, students and parents from across the district, presented their new bell schedule recommendation. This unanimous consensus committee recommendation is the result of countless hours of discussion, research, and exploration by the members of the committee. I want to again thank the committee members and acknowledge their dedication and tireless commitment to achieving consensus around a bell schedule recommendation that will benefit our students and be part of our ongoing efforts to reduce student stress.
The work of the SAC has been chronicled on the district website. This real-time record has been maintained throughout their process and includes meeting agendas, minutes, research articles and the final recommendation. I encourage you to visit this site if you are interested in learning more.
At this time, based on the committee’s recommendation to me and your input, both positive and negative, I am accepting the committee’s recommendation with some adjustments. As you know, the initial recommendation included aligned but not identical schedules at each school. However, based on community concerns in Saratoga about an 85 minute block, the revised schedule recommendation for SHS will include increasing instructional minutes to provide a 90 minute block. The bell schedule recommendation for LGHS will be adopted as initially presented. While the increase in instructional minutes at SHS will result in a slightly earlier start time than originally recommended it will still be 25 minutes later than the current start time and students at both schools will receive the benefit of a later start – a key component of a schedule that, according to the research, is critical to student social-emotional well-being. Furthermore, both new school schedules are still structured in a way that meets the Desired Outcomes identified by the SAC.
This is a complex issue, as validated by the work of the SAC and community responses. I will keep you apprised as we begin the important work of planning and implementation. You are also invited to participate in a variety of forums where you will have an opportunity to hear more about next steps and implementation at your site. I encourage you to watch your inbox, school newsletters and websites for more information. I thank you all for your passion for our students – our shared goal is to provide the best possible educational experience for our kids and prepare them for life beyond high school.
GRASTY NAMED NEW PRINCIPAL OF LGHS
The Los Gatos – Saratoga Union High School District is pleased to announce the appointment of Kristina Grasty as the new Principal of Los Gatos High School. Ms. Grasty was selected after an extensive search and interview process. Members of the school and community provided input via email, surveys, input meetings and participation on the interview panel and it was clear that Kristi was “the” choice for our students and our school.
Ms. Grasty is a true Los Gatan, with long-standing ties to the school and community. She has been serving as the Interim Principal of Los Gatos High since August 2015. Since 1996, she served the students of Los Gatos High as both a teacher and, for the past six years, as an Assistant principal. She began her career teaching English learners, K-8, has coached Cross County and Speech and Debate teams, served as a District Teachers Association representative, and as a mentor teacher for teachers new to the profession. Kristi, like her three children now, attended Los Gatos schools. She holds a BA from UC Berkeley, a M.Ed. from George Washington University, and an M.A. in Educational Administration and Leadership.
Throughout her work as interim Principal and earlier work as Assistant Principal, we have seen her commitment to creating the right atmosphere for students to thrive; she is committed to cultivating a positive climate for learning and supporting excellence in instructional practice. Her references speak to her integrity, collaborative leadership, and the ability to innovate. She was at the forefront of the implementation of New Tech at LGHS; and integral to bringing CASSY to the school as part of the school’s commitment to providing social/emotional support for all students and building connectedness.
Superintendent Mistele notes “I have worked with Kristi since I joined the district in 2007. Her heart, spirit, insight and dedication to the students and staff of Los Gatos High, the community and the district as a whole are unparalleled. She’s a thinker and a doer; she sees the big picture and the individual students and their needs. I have enjoyed and am looking forward to working with her, making good things happen for kids.”
WELCOME BACK TO THE 2015-2016 SCHOOL YEAR
Dear Students and Parents,
On behalf of the Board of Trustees, myself, and staff, welcome to the 2015-2016 school year in the Los Gatos – Saratoga Union High School District! We are looking forward to the chance to meet new students and families and reconnect with familiar faces.
In the spring of 2015, we conducted a survey of parents, students and staff, gathering your feedback about how we’re doing. We received an impressive 4,086 responses, including 1,217 from parents and 2,659 from students. We learned that, overall, students and parents are very satisfied with our schools and the quality of academics and instruction, including the availability of AP/Honors courses and teacher support. You reported that counseling services are extensively utilized to address academic and personal problems and technology is used effectively to enhance instruction. However, while 95% of students feel safe on campus, approximately 35% indicate that intolerance and harassment is a concern – renewing our commitment to further expand our efforts and look for more ways to support students, socially and emotionally. An overview of the data is available on the district website at Strategic Plan Your input is helping us identify areas of strength and focus areas for future work and will be used as part of our process to revise and update the district’s Strategic Plan.
In 2014-2015, we introduced Canvas, a Learning Management System (LMS) designed to create a standard communication and content delivery system to support quality instruction. Throughout the year, professional development provided teachers and staff with the skills and knowledge to transition to this system and more effectively communicate with students, parents and each other. The strategic plan, developed by the DLLC (Digital Leadership Learning Committee) to ensure students meet the digital learning goals aligned with the ISTE Standards for Students, is available at District Technology Plan.
In 2015-2016, we look forward to building our ability to meet the identified needs in the district. Canvas professional development will continue, enhancing digital learning in the district and facilitating student and parent feedback and communication. CASSY (Counseling and Support Services for Youth) and S3 (Student Support Services) will support student and family social/emotional well-being and provide targeted interventions. Common Core provides the frame for professional development as we work to ensure our students are mastering standards and preparing for further education and the employment landscape. The district Strategic Planning process, involving representatives from all stakeholder groups, will begin and result in a district wide plan for 2016-2019, providing focus areas for district resources. Measure E spending is expected to reach $20,000,000, including the completion of the first phase of Technology Infrastructure on both campuses, artificial turf sports fields on both campuses, and the groundbreaking on the music complexes and additional classroom space on both campuses. The 2014-2015 initial administration of the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC) was successful and has afforded us an opportunity to smoothly transition this new accountability measure in the coming years.
In 2011, voters in our community approved the district’s Parcel Tax, Measure A, supporting top-quality education in our district. It has continued to support core academic programs, retain and attract highly qualified teachers, prepare our students for success in college and careers beyond high school and reduce class sizes. Since Measure A is due to expire in the 2016-2017 school year, the Board may consider renewing the measure in an upcoming election.
The fiscal news continues to be positive. The Board adopted a balanced budget for 2015-2016 which included adding teaching positions to address increased enrollment and a corresponding increase in property tax revenue of 3.5%. The Governor’s Budget includes reimbursing districts for previously incurred mandated costs at a rate of $585/student, $100,000 of which we will set aside for future replacement of the artificial turf projects funded by Measure E. We are also able to increase our flexible site budget allocations by 10% per student.
Our students shine! They are school and community citizens and leaders and are positioned to succeed in the global, 21st century arena. They excel in the classroom, on the field and in the arts. Programs such as SCVTE (Silicon Valley Career Technical Education), Post –Secondary, Nova, Middle College, New Tech, MAP and Project Lead the Way continue to provide options for students and the tiered intervention program developed by the S3 Committee provide targeted support and strategies for all students.
Thank you for the opportunity to again be part of this district and community. Thank you for your support, involvement and input. At all times, it’s about “what’s best for our kids!”
MEASURE E UPDATE JULY 15, 2015
While it may be the lazy days of summer, Measure E projects continue to move along on our campuses – getting as much done as possible to minimize disruption once school resumes. The district has been working with the Division of State Architects (DSA), the agency responsible for reviewing and approving all construction work on school campuses, throughout the summer to ensure that projects are moving along. We will update you as we get news and will work with our project management and construction teams to make up for any lost time, whenever feasible.
At LGHS, work on the football field and track is progressing and we anticipate completion by September 15, 2015 – yes, football season at LGHS will be played on the new field. The work on the baseball and multiuse field is about eight days behind, due to unforeseen utility issues and a shortage of acceptable soil. Project completion is now scheduled for October 8, 2015.
HMC Architects has completed a schematic design for the new classroom and music buildings, to be located in the former Maintenance yard and parking area. The Maintenance relocation project is in design and will be submitted to DSA for approval before the end of August. Temporary portable classrooms, to replace the football room and provide one additional classroom, have been delivered and installation, including running utilities and parking lot work, will begin next week.
At SHS, work on the softball and multiuse fields is continuing and fields will be ready for use in November, in time for student use, including spring softball season. The design for the new music building will be submitted to DSA this week. We are planning on review time in Sacramento of five months and a construction timeline of 18 months – with a target completion date of June 2017. To provide space for the new music building, the existing Building H will be abated and demolished by August 15, 2015. Additionally all the utilities within the new building footprint must be moved, including all the services for the McAfee. The power cut over is complete and low voltage and gas services will be transitioned this week. Rerouting the gas line to feed the cafeteria and the water service will be completed by August 10th.
Grading and paving operations for the new relocatables at SHS will be completed this week and the attendant utility service work will begin next week. Enviroplex will be delivering the buildings at the end of August, providing a temporary solution for those programs that are losing their space as we move forward with the demolition.
You can continue to watch our progress via Twitter at @SHSMeasureE and @LGHSMeasureE and on the district website at General Obligation Bond, 2014. You can also reach me at firstname.lastname@example.org for questions and review the board items at http://losgatossaratoga.agendaonline.net/public/ for more information about the topics discussed.
Thank you again for your support.
MEASURE E UPDATE MAY 13, 2015
The work on Measure E projects is continuing and we’re excited to share what’s happing at our schools.
At LGHS, work has begun on the football and track portion of the stadium – with a target completion of early September 2015. The baseball & multi-use field work will begin May 15, 2015 and run through September 2015.
Temporary portable classrooms will be set over the summer in the student parking lot in preparation for the upcoming new classroom and music building projects. The temporary portables will ultimately replace the portables in the staff parking lot. The new classroom and music buildings designs are progressing and will be shared with the Board of Trustees at a June meeting. Finally, to make room for the new classroom/music buildings, the LGHS maintenance yard had to be relocated. The design for this work is underway and will be submitted to DSA (Division of State Architect) in the next two to three weeks.
At SHS, we are planning to begin the work on the softball and multiuse field right after graduation and will continue through October 2015. Since we are always mindful of the need to minimize disruption for our students and since the work on these projects will be going on close to classrooms, we felt it necessary to delay the work until school was out. By the time school reopens in August, the work at that time will generate less disruption to instruction.
The new music building design is progressing and planned for DSA submission before August 2015. This will include the minor renovations for the cafeteria building. The existing building H will be demolished over the summer of 2015 and underground utilities feeding McAfee rerouted to provide space for the new building. New portables are being brought on site to accommodate the current Building H functions.
Additional projects for the summer of 2015 include renovations to the Gym roof and replacing the grease interceptor for the kitchen.
Thank you, again, for your support.
Bob Mistele, Superintendent
MEASURE E UPDATE APRIL 10, 2015
First, a huge “thank you” to the voters in our community who voted to approve Measure E. As you know, the first visible project was the restoration of the front steps and front lawn at Los Gatos High and other major projects are now in the planning phase. The Board of Trustees and our staff want to do our best to keep you apprised of how we are investing your dollars in our schools’ facilities. We have established a district website section, which can be found at General Obligation Bond, 2014 and board meetings provide a public notice and forum for updates and discussions about decisions along the way. You can also follow us on Twitter at @LGHSMeasureE and SHSMeasureE to see pictures of work in progress.
I will also be providing regular updates. Your site principals will share them in their communication with you; I’ll be sending via School Messenger; and they’ll be posted on the district Bond page mentioned above. What follows is the first of many…
At the March 31, 2015 Board meeting the District passed resolutions approving the Mitigated Negative Declarations (MND) for lighting at Los Gatos Baseball & Multi-use fields and the Saratoga Softball & Multi-use fields. The resolutions also authorize construction of the projects to begin. Additionally the Board approved Categorical Exemptions for synthetic turf on the following fields: Los Gatos football, baseball and adjacent multi-use, softball and adjacent multi-use (lower fields) and at Saratoga the softball and adjacent multi-use field. A key part of the timing for these projects has been work with coaches and school staff to minimize the impact of construction on athletic seasons so that students still have opportunities to participate in sports. This is being accomplished by staggering the beginning of work on individual fields.
As the District continues to adjust their overall water use, some Measure E projects will require the use of water to complete the projects. For example the front lawn at Los Gatos high school is closing in on final completion. The new sod is an integral part of this project and providing water during its first six months is critical to proper root development. The District will adjust the watering schedule and quantity once the sod is set root growth has established a strong base. We are also reducing water usage in other areas of campus set for renovation, e.g. fields that will be transitioned to artificial turf.
Also, you can reach me at email@example.com for questions and review the board items at General Obligation Bond, 2014 for more information about the topics discussed.
Thank you again for your support.
WELCOME BACK TO THE 2014-2015 SCHOOL YEAR!
Dear Students and Parents,
Welcome back to the 2014-2015 school year in the Los Gatos – Saratoga Union High School District! On behalf of the Board of Trustees, myself, and staff, we are excited to be starting a new year in our district, working in partnership with you to create the best possible educational experience for our most important asset, our students!
Last year saw continued work to transition to Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in our district and in our feeder districts, through ongoing articulation. The Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) replaced the Local Educational Agency Plan (LEAP) and the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) was put in place. We were able to work out an agreement with Central County Occupational Center / Metro Ed (CCOC) to continue our relationship with them so that vocational education remained an option for interested students. Yes, we live in a world of alphabet soup that is constantly evolving.
The other letter that was added to the mix was “e” – as in Measure E. Your involvement throughout the campaign was passionate, thoughtful, and inspiring as so many of you helped craft a vision for our district facilities that will transform our schools for years to come. The election result – resounding communitywide support for Measure E – was the result of your hard work and a vote of confidence for our district from the broader community. The bond will raise $99 million which will be used to ensure our school facilities are ready to support 21stcentury learning, anticipated enrollment growth, program expansion and provide a safe environment for everyone. Identified projects include a new classroom wing at LGHS, new music buildings at both sites, renovations and safety upgrades at both schools and technology improvements. You can follow this process on our website General Obligation Bond, 2014.
Other economic news is equally positive. While the LCFF has impacted how schools receive state funding, the fact that most of our revenue comes from property taxes minimizes the impact on our district. Our property tax revenue is up, we will receive an additional $613,000 in Educational Protection Act monies from Proposition 30, and the parcel tax continues to keep class sizes low.
Our students continue to shine – in academics, on the field, in the arts and as leaders in their school and community. AP scores are high; Project Cornerstone data shows a growth of 12 points for “Caring School Climate;” Post-secondary students hosted a weekly Bistro last year, planning and preparing lunch for Nova students and staff; the LGHS band went to England and the SHS band is headed for Chicago; and the SHS/LGHS rivalry on the field demonstrates both school spirit and athleticism. A variety of programs such as New Tech (LGHS), MAP (SHS), Nova, Middle College and MetroEd/CCOC provide options for students. The newly implemented Student Support Services (S3) model, providing a system of tiered interventions and strategies, and expanded Counselling and Support Services for Youth (CASSY) mean we can and are reaching out to individual students in challenging times.
I am proud and honored to be part of LGSUHSD, serving you and your student during the coming year! Thank you for your support, involvement and input. At all times, it’s about “what’s best for our kids!”
NEW LEGISLATION - AB 256
Dear Parents, Students and Staff,
AB 256 was recently enacted and amends Sections 48900 and 48900.4 of the Education Code. As presented by the Legislative Counsel’s Digest, this legislation provides “
March 12, 2012
Dear Staff and Community Member,
As part of its Green Schools Initiative, the Governing Board retained the services of Innovative Energy Services, Inc. to complete an independent, third-party energy assessment of all district facilities. The findings of this assessment identified behavioral, operational, and technological recommendations, projected to save our district more than 18.5% ($157,492) in annual energy costs.
In response, Board Policy 3510 was adopted by the trustees on November 15, 2011. It reflects the Board’s and district’s commitment to environmental responsibility and stewardship and includes several strategies to improve the environmental impact of district operations and decrease district energy costs whenever possible, including:
- Reducing energy and water consumption and exploring renewable and clean energy technologies
- Establishing recycling programs and reducing the consumption of disposable materials, e.g. paper
- Establishing student-led school site committees to raise awareness of environmental issues,
- and develop and implement strategies to reduce energy costs and protect the environment
- Instructing students on the importance of the environment and involving them in the implementation and evaluation of green school activities and projects
- Focusing on green building standards, sustainability and health in facilities construction/modernization and using environmentally preferable products/services
- Providing professional development about district energy policies and training maintenance staff regarding the proper use, storage, and disposal of cleaning supplies
- Reducing vehicle traffic by encouraging students to walk/bicycle to school or use public transportation
- Providing fresh, organic food in the district's food services program.
Obviously, this is an important issue, both environmentally and fiscally. Across our campuses and offices, we already see steps being taken to reduce our environmental impact and identify cost saving measures. One way you can contribute directly to this work is to unplug and limit the use of non-essential small appliances. For example, there are 101 fridges and mini-fridges across the district, many of them sitting almost empty! And, moving forward, any energy savings generated at the schools will be returned directly the schools to fund further “green” efforts.
Equally impressive is the work being done by students and student groups, including the Fading Footprints and the Inter-Act Club at LGHS and the Green Team at SHS. It is also an issue that requires ongoing commitment and innovation. To that end, I welcome your input and ideas and look forward to a partnership that includes each of you, students, parents, community members and the Board of Trustees.
Bob Mistele, Superintendent