A Message from:
Dr. Deborah A. Flores, PhD,
Gilroy Unified School District Superintendent
Dear Parents, Guardians, and Students,
Welcome to the 2014-15 school year. I consider it a privilege to be part of the GUSD team for a eighth year as superintendent of schools. We are making great strides in many areas as a school district. There is a strong commitment at all levels of the organization (from over 1,000 employees) to increasing the rigor and quality of our programs and courses so that students can achieve at the highest possible levels.
State test results indicate that we are moving in the right direction as a district with consistent district-wide gains in proficiency over the last seven years. These gains are reflected in the positive growth that our schools have made on the State’s measure of student achievement, the Academic Performance Index or API. The state’s goal for all schools is an API of 800. In the spring of 2013, the District’s API was 804 and nine GUSD schools exceeded the state’s goal of 800; Brownell Middle School-820, Christopher High School-801, El Roble Elementary-808, Gilroy Early College Academy (GECA)-932, Las Animas Elementary-874, Luigi Aprea Elementary-875, Rod Kelley Elementary–856, Rucker Elementary-805, and Solorsano Middle School-840.
The four-year cohort graduation and drop out data collected for state and federal accountability using the state’s California Longitudinal Pupil Achievement Data System (CalPADS) was first used as a baseline in 2011. The GUSD graduation rate for 2013 was 83.6% (compared to 82.9% at county, and 80.2% at state). The GUSD comparable cohort dropout rate for 2012-13 was 8.9% (compared to 11.1% county rate and 11.6% state rate)
These academic improvements are the direct result of a number of initiatives in the district. Over the last three years, our primary focus has been to prepare teachers for the implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in the 2014-2015 school year. A three-year plan was developed to train and familiarize teaches with the standards as they were phased in. During the 2013-14 school year, implementation teams at each level (elementary, middle, and high school) were established. Staff development days were Common Core focused; intended to introduce staff to effective strategies. Ongoing professional development and training opportunities will continue to be offered throughout this year. In addition, in the 2014-15 school year Common Core Instructional Specialists assigned to each level will support teachers through modeling and coaching at each of our sites.
There have been a number of recognitions and awards bestowed on GUSD schools. Four of our schools have been selected for the highest recognition by the State called the California Distinguished Schools Award – GECA, Gilroy High School, Las Animas Elementary, and Solorsano Middle School (twice). Four schools were awarded the SJ 2020 Vision Award in 2012 by the Santa Clara County Office of Education – Luigi Aprea, Brownell Middle School, Solorsano Middle School and South Valley Middle School. All of our elementary schools received the prestigious Santa Clara County School Boards Association Hoffman Award in the 2012 school year.
The school district’s enrollment has steadily grown in recent years despite the recession and poor economic conditions. We are expecting over 100 new students this school year with a total enrollment of over 11,500 students. In November 2008, the voters of Gilroy approved Measure P which provided funds for keeping pace with the steady growth by adding classrooms and new schools, Las Animas Elementary and Christopher High School are the newest. Measure P also funded major renovation projects at the following schools – Brownell Middle School, Gilroy High School, Glen View Elementary, GECA, South Valley Middle School, Rod Kelley Elementary, and Rucker Elementary.
In closing, I look forward to meeting you as I visit school sites and attend events during the school year.
Have a great school year!