August 16, 2016
Dear Simi Valley Schools Community:
Welcome to the 2016-2017 school year!
The first day of school is upon us and we are excited to get started. Last year, we ushered in many changes to our schools and we, and our students, are better for it. Thank you all for your patience and your commitment to our children’s education. Here are some of the highlights from the last year:
- We opened the Justin Early Learners Academy to serve the preschool needs of our community.
- Connected Learning Programs were formed to thematically partner some of our elementary, middle and high schools. CLPs create seamless, focused learning experiences in international studies, fine and performing arts, medical sciences and more.
- Middle and high school Pathways programs continue to expand.
- Our high schools now offer more Advanced Placement and International Baccalaureate classes to accommodate more students in higher-level classes.
- There are campus/facility improvements throughout the district, ranging from new landscaping to exteriors renovations, heating/AC systems and technology upgrades.
- Monte Vista School, the district’s homeschool program, moved to a permanent home at the former campus of Lincoln Elementary School. It also offered Kindergarten programs for the first time. The result was the doubling of its enrollment over the previous year!
- We gave ourselves a redo as well, by rolling out our new district logo, Promise Statement and motto.
We’re still working hard. Moving forward into this new school year, some of the new things you will find are:
- For the first time in a long time, we’ve hired 35 new teachers and will possibly bring on more during the year!
- The implementation of the Unique Learning System for teaching functional skills to our moderate and severe Special Education students.
- The piloting of prospective English/Language Arts curriculum in all grades.
- The piloting of the elementary Medal of Honor-Character Education national curriculum, which our teachers helped to write.
- We’ve expanded our Foreign Language offerings to include Greek, Italian, French, Spanish, Chinese, German and American Sign Language at some schools.
- Our district’s budget has received a three-year positive certification from the County.
- The rebranding of the Simi Valley Adult School, which will be revealed in the near future.
- Continued facility improvements at some campuses.
- The rollout of 14,000 Chromebooks and carts for our classrooms. Also, the District’s WiFi systems will be upgraded at every campus.
- Measure X, the General Obligation Bond, will appear on the November 8 ballot for voter approval. (More information can be found on the District’s website, simivalleyusd.org.)
Improving student achievement and ensuring that every member of our staff continues to provide the best customer service possible to our families remain our top priorities. We believe that every child coming through our doors can and will reach their highest potential. From our highly qualified teachers to our nurturing and compassionate counselors, administrators and support professionals, we create an environment of inclusion and instill a love for learning. Our doors are open to every child; that’s our promise to you.
With innovation comes change. Once again, we ask for your patience as we continue to implement programs and systems to improve our students’ educational experience. If we stumble along the way, please let us know. We are here for all of you. And please, remember to drive safely in and around our campuses, especially in these first weeks of schools.
Our students are our top priority because at Simi Valley Schools, our students go from here to anywhere!
Have a wonderful school year.
Dr. Jason Peplinski
JANUARY 4, 2016
A NEW YEAR, A NEW LOOK, A NEW PROMISE
Dear Simi Valley Schools Community,
Welcome back to our second semester of the 2015-2016 school year, and Happy New Year!
For many months we have worked hard to evaluate how to offer the best educational experience for our students and to better connect our staff and families in this complicated process called public education.
We have faced many sweeping changes over the last few years, from new state mandates such as our Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP), new California State Standards and testing methods, to local changes in our Board of Trustees, upper management and schools. It has been a heady but exciting time to serve as superintendent for Simi Valley Schools and I know that our entire staff is as committed as I am to the continued creation and implementation of programs and procedures to better our community.
To this end, I want to share our new logo, promise statement and motto. These tools are the best reflections of our educational philosophy, which is to do all we can to help every student thrive and achieve in the safe and nurturing environment of our school community and in partnership with our families and neighbors.
The Simi Valley Unified School District offers the families of Simi Valley and the surrounding area a vibrant portfolio of educational choices built on a common sense of community, and the common purpose of inspiring each and every students to succeed in school, career and life.
We believe that the best student outcomes are achieved when we provide:
- Rigorous academic programs, relevant to a diverse and changing world;
- High expectations that respect the differences in our students;
- Exceptional instruction in an innovative learning environment;
- Opportunities for our students to build confidence and strong character; and
- Participation of everyone in our students’ success.
We are driven, proud and passionate about the personal and intellectual success of each and every student.
No matter where the future takes you, the road to success runs through Simi Valley.
From here to anywhere.
As the second largest school district in Ventura County, we offer far more curricular and extra-curricular opportunities than most of our neighboring districts, all to better serve every Simi Valley Schools student in their educational goals. We can—and do—meet the needs of any student coming to us and we are passionately committed to the families we serve.
Our new motto, “From here to anywhere,” speaks for us perfectly. Our past students have gone on to live amazing lives. Whether they return to Simi Valley to build their families and community (as many do), or take their expertise to other communities, we are proud of their successes and contributions. We want to continue this tradition of excellence with our current and future students as well.
Like our community, our new logo is rooted in yesterday but promises an incredible new day to come. It was inspired by a local Chumash cave painting of the sun, but also speaks of Simi Valley’s pioneer roots through its radiating spokes. Circles are universal symbols of continuity, unity and strength. We are serious and thoughtful about what we do and believe this logo represents us well.
You will also note that our website, simivalleyusd.org, has gotten a facelift. While this is a work in progress, it’s serving us much better as the information portal to our schools and programs. Our website is an important community resource and in the coming weeks and months, you’ll find new additions to keep you better connected and informed.
By early next week, you will receive an email inviting those of you with smart phones to download and use our Simi Valley Schools app. It works with Apple and Android phones and connects you to Aeries and school and district resources. Stay tuned for more information.
Our Facebook and Twitter accounts continue to be active outlets for news about our schools. If you haven’t already “liked” our Facebook page, https://www.facebook.com/SimiValleySchools/, or “followed” our Twitter feed, @SimiValleyUSD, please consider doing so.
Thank you all for your faith and support in our schools and staff. We have so much to look forward to in the New Year!
Dr. Jason Peplinski
AUGUST 16, 2015
WELCOME BACK TO SCHOOL!
Dear Simi Valley Schools Community:
As our students start the 2015-2016 school year, we are honored and thrilled to have them with us!
There are many changes this year, from new math textbooks and instructional material in all grades, to all-day kindergarten, improved technology in every classroom, and College-and-Career Readiness programs in our middle and high schools, to name just a few. We know that some of these changes might be overwhelming, but we are also very excited by the opportunities these bring to our staff and students.
Change is not always graceful or easy, but we know that these changes will benefit our students in the most positive of ways. Our students will be better prepared for their future. They will not just be filled with facts, but with a love of learning that will extend far beyond our time with them.
It is not enough to declare change. Change must be nurtured and adjusted to be successful. In the coming months, you will see new and improved programs and methods to reach out to all of you because we do want to know if what we are doing works for you. Look for revamped websites, a district smart phone app for direct parent communications, and expanded social media outreach. We are bringing in new software to better disclose our fiscal status, making us more transparent to the public. We are also working to make our campuses as safe, efficient, and attractive as possible. Many of these things will take time to complete, but we are excited about the possibilities they will bring. As I told our staff prior to the first day of school, I ask that you honor that space between "no longer" and "not quite yet," and please be assured that we are working tirelessly to complete all of these tasks as quickly as possible.
We ask that you walk with us on this journey, that you support our staff and students as they embark on these amazing years to come, and that you offer your input if we stumble along the way. We are here for you, whether you reach out to our staff at our school sites or the district office, come to me, or turn to your SVUSD Board Trustees.
Have an amazing 2015-2016 school year!
Dr. Jason Peplinski