TUSD Superintendent’s Message
The last year was filled with many exciting changes and improvements in the Templeton Unified School District (TUSD). The improved national and state economies led to improved school funding. The Trustees made numerous significant decisions related to Measure H-12. The teachers and principals fully engaged in the transition to the California Common Core Standards (CCCS). The District invested heavily into new technology enabling our students to experience many of the benefits associated with 21st century learning. Finally, the enrichment and extra-curricular programs in the district saw greater participation and success than ever.
Thanks to an improving economy and the successful passage of the temporary taxes included in Proposition 30, TUSD received nearly one million dollars in additional funding. This replaced approximately 25% of the funding cuts we received in the last 5 years; therefore, we still have a long road ahead to full recovery. However, the funds were invested in areas closest to classrooms. Specifically, we were able to lower class sizes across the entire district.
The Trustees adopted a spending plan for Measure H-12 that will positively affect all of our campuses. The majority of the money will be invested in our two oldest campuses: Templeton Elementary and Templeton High School. Templeton High will enjoy significant changes as a result of a three-phase project totaling $19.75 million. When it is finished, the current outdated and undersized science and engineering classrooms will be replaced with brand new buildings. Nearly twenty of the existing portable classrooms will be replaced and the remaining portables will be renovated top to bottom. A new “front door” to the campus and improved traffic flow will substantially increase convenience and campus security. Finally, physical education and athletic facilities will receive major renovations, including becoming fully compliant with the American with Disabilities Act.
The staff, students, and parents are embracing the increased rigor of the new California Common Core Standards (CCCS). While the basic components of reading, writing and arithmetic remain unchanged; the CCCS focus more heavily on creative thinking, problem solving, collaboration and oral communication. Not coincidentally, these are the same elements that business leaders are seeking in future workers if America.
In order to fully prepare our students for the future and to implement the new computer based assessment system required by the CCCS, TUSD upgraded its technological infrastructure and equipment. We installed wireless access at all sites in the district. The speed with which our students can access the Internet was improved by switching to fiber optic lines. We purchased nearly 1000 new computers and Chromebooks for students in grades 3-12. Hopefully, you had a chance to see the television story about Templeton Middle School’s paperless classroom, which aired on the local educational channel. You may view an archived copy of the story and a presentation created by students by visiting the district’s Website.
Finally, athletics, the Future Farmers of America program, arts, music and drama remain successful stalwarts of TUSD’s comprehensive educational program. The Eagle football and girls volleyball team won league titles last year. The girls cross-country team performed incredibly well, reaching state level recognition. Our local FFA chapter is currently ranked number two in the state while our welding team won the state championship last year.
The arts are enjoying a resurgence across our entire system. Vineyard Elementary School (VES) has a heavy focus in the arts, offering programs in instrumental music, percussion, choir and musical theater. The VES art docent teaches students the fundamentals of classical art while introducing them to major artists throughout history. The TMS and THS bands are highly successful as well sending dozens of students to the county honor band competition annually. The new THS drama teacher, Catherine Kingsbury, received a prestigious international award that will allow our drama students to accompany her to a festival in Scotland. Finally, the THS mock trial team finished second in the county. This marks the 16th consecutive year that the team has finished either first or second in the county.
I hope you can excuse the sense of pride I feel. In the last year, the state of California changed our content standards, assessment program, funding model and accountability system. These changes dramatically impacted every facet of our operations. Yet, our stakeholders embraced the changes enthusiastically. When I started with the district four years ago, I stated, “I want the district’s tomorrows to be better than its yesterdays.” I said this knowing full well that Templeton’s yesterdays were remarkable. I truly believe that there exists plenty of evidence to suggest that the Eagle family will meet that audacious goal.
-Superintendent Joe Koski