Welcome to the Mount Shasta and Weed Elementary School Districts
I am privileged to serve as superintendent to two districts that have formed a partnership to share administrative services. Mount Shasta Union School District and Weed Union Elementary School District are neighboring districts that share a beautiful mountain environment, a strong commitment to student achievement, and the support of communities who care about their children.
MSUSD and WUESD are comprised of three schools: Mount Shasta Elementary School is a kindergarten through third grade school with approximately 220 students. Designated a California Distinguished School in 2008, this elementary school is known for strong parent and community support, high levels of academic achievement, and a strong music program.
Sisson School is a fourth through eighth grade school with approximately 300 students. Designated a California Distinguished School in 2009, Sisson provides an exemplary music program, a competitive athletic program, and high levels of academic achievement.
The Sisson School campus also includes a 2nd through 5th grade program called Strawberry Valley. This program includes two multi-age self-contained classes that are taught with an emphasis on arts and natural science. This program started with the 2013-2014 school year.
Weed Elementary School is a kindergarten through eighth grade school with approximately 250 students. WES provides a rigorous academic program, a free after school program every school day until 6:00 for all students, a competitive athletic program, and a pride-filled community of parents and staff who welcome and support students daily. Starting with the 2013-2014 school year, WES was very happy to add a music teacher and a full time counselor to its staff.
MSUSD and WUESD are committed to improving student achievement, providing schools that are safe and well maintained, and operating with increasing efficiency and effectiveness. We achieve these aims through collaboration and communication among and between all stakeholder groups in the education communities in both districts.
Set in dynamic communities and with inviting and well maintained campuses, Mount Shasta Elementary School, Sisson School and Weed Elementary School are great places to attend school. We welcome your interest in our fine districts.
California Public School Reform 101
California public schools are in the midst of an incredible transition in standards, assessments, curriculum, instruction, and funding. The Mount Shasta and Weed Elementary School Districts encourage and value staff, parent and community involvement as we work through these changes, and we understand that keeping up with current information can be a daunting task. We hope this article will help people to understand how we are working through the change process.
Our teachers and principals are working hard to make the transition to the Common Core State Standards. Staff members are attending professional development and adjusting to Common Core in classrooms. This includes more informational text (nonfiction), and there will be more focus on Depth of Knowledge, or how deeply students understand concepts.
For the 2014-2015 school year both Districts will be piloting lessons from different Common Core math programs. We are committed to teaching all of the math standards in each grade level, but the lesson delivery may look different as we evaluate curriculum options. Students, parents, and staff should feel free to express opinions about math lessons; teachers will be working together to evaluate and recommend a program this year.
STAR testing ended in 2013, and California students in 3rd through 8th grades took a practice version of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (Smarter Balanced) last spring. This is an online test, and our students and teachers worked through the technology aspect very well. The test is very different from STAR, and brings challenging tasks and problems into assessment. We will take the CAASPP officially this spring, and we expect a fast turn around for results. This will be a learning process, and we expect to see growth over time as we all adjust to the new standards and testing environment.
California schools are also adjusting to a new funding model. District funding levels are now partially dependent on student demographics. Completion of lunch applications will become more important for our schools this year because this may partially determine state funding amounts.
These are challenging times for school districts; but the result may be improved learning for students, which is our number one priority. As a school district leader, my hope is that we will come together to make meaning of this change as a team. This is an opportunity to build an integrated, articulated instructional system where the “sum is greater than the parts”. With the amazing staff in the Weed and Mount Shasta Elementary Districts, the sky is the limit.