A Message from Deborah A. Flores, Ph.D.
Gilroy Unified School District Superintendent
Dear Parents, Guardians, and Students,
Welcome to the 2015-2016 school year. I consider it a privilege to be part of the GUSD team for a ninth 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 and local test results indicate that we are moving in the right direction as a district with consistent district-wide gains in proficiency over the last eight 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 -808, Gilroy Early College Academy (GECA)-932, Las Animas Elementary-874, Luigi Aprea Elementary-875, Rod Kelley Elementary–856, Rucker-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 2014 was 84.1% (compared to county - 83.7%, and state – 80.8%). The GUSD comparable cohort dropout rate for 2013-14 was 10.9% (compared to county – 11.1% and state rate – 11.6%)
These academic improvements are the direct result of a number of initiatives in the district. Over the last three years, our primary focus was to prepare teachers for the implementation of Common Core State Standards (CCSS). A three-year plan was developed to train and familiarize teachers with the standards as they were phased in. 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, Teachers On Special Assignment (TOSAs) assigned to each level will support teachers through modeling, coaching and curriculum development at each of our sites in the 2015-2016 school year.
There have been a number of recognitions and awards bestowed on GUSD schools. Seven of our schools have been selected for the highest recognition by the State, formerly called the California Distinguished Schools Award and now called the California Gold Ribbon Award: Brownell Middle School, Christopher High School, Dr. TJ Owens Gilroy Early College Academy (GECA), Gilroy High School, Las Animas Elementary, Luigi Aprea Elementary School and Solorsano Middle School. 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 due to all the new housing developments in Gilroy. We are expecting over 100 new students this school year with a total enrollment of almost 12,000 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, Glenview 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!