Tustin Unified is becoming a leader in educational technology - using technology to help our students learn more and better in an era of ever increasing need for quality education.
January 2014 - Happy, Healthy & Prosperous New Year for ALL!
Our Tustin Unified schools in Tustin, Santa Ana, North Tustin and Irvine continue to excel as we add more classroom technology, preparing our students better for the more challenging economic environment we all face every day. And we go beyond that, because the measure of a good education is not simply financial. A good education should aim to make students more productive economically, more engaged as citizens, more knowledgeable of the world around them, more thoughtful about what it means to act as a caring and responsible human being. Art and Music and Leadership and Sports and Literature and many other things go into making us the best humans we can be.
That is why I am pleased to be attending my fifth Music Education Days at this month's National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) show in Anaheim. I always get ideas on how to better involve more students musically. We were blessed that our daughter was able to be in choir for four years in high school, followed by being in TWO choirs four years in college. And no, she was NOT a music major, just someone who knew that learning and enjoying music could enrich anyone's life!
Follow your passion!
Welcome to a VERY EXCITING new school year with Tustin Unified. We are at 24,000 students and still growing! Our schools are gearing up to prepare our students to compete in an increasingly worldwide economic competition for good paying jobs. Thanks to the 60% YES support for Measure S from our community, we have the educational technology tools to engage students at a whole new level. And using tools including cognitively guided instruction, peer instruction techniques that improve understanding and higher level thinking, and "thinking maps" we are helping students not only do well on "bubble tests" but also on more "real world" performance tasks.
THANK YOU FOR YOUR SUPPORT OF TUSTIN UNIFIED SCHOOLS!
I am pleased that the lawsuit between the Tustin Unified School District and the City of Tustin concerning grading issues has reached a settlement. Congratulations to our new Mayor Al Murray on launching the new year with this achievement. Thank you to City Manager Jeff Parker, TUSD Superintendent Greg Franklin, and all others who contributed to reaching a settlement. The City and the School District cooperate across the board on matters of public safety and community events as well as school construction projects.
Vote "YES" on Measure S to Protect Our High Quality Local Schools & Meet New Higher Standards
The world economy is raising the standards for what it takes to get a good job. We need to ensure that students who go to college are prepared to succeed, and that all students who need it receive the career training they need to compete for good paying jobs in science, technology and the trades. Student demand for training in science, technology, engineering, math, and skilled trades is growing rapidly. Training those who do not plan on a four year college education is as important as preparing those who will go to such colleges.
We need to be prepared to provide the equipment, facilities and technology needed to teach these skills, as well as providing 21st century educational technology in all classrooms. We can’t count on the State of California to fund these needed improvements in Tustin schools. Locally-controlled funding is the only certain source of resources to protect and provide the top-quality education our students deserve.
All money raised by this measure will stay in the district to support our students. It cannot be taken away by the state, or used for other purposes. An independent Citizen’s Oversight Committee will assure accountability for all spending, including annual independent audits.
The good news is that the Tustin Unified School District - serving Tustin, North Tustin, portions of Irvine and Santa Ana - continues to provide our children with excellent educations despite huge reductions in funding from the State of California.
One-time Federal money has enabled us to add back two days of classroom instruction to this school year.
Our teachers and staff have made sacrifices to assure our students will be successful despite the financial environment.
As we consider the future of our community and our families, we know now more than ever that our well-being depends upon being competitive not simply within California or within the United States, but on a world class scale. As Daniel Pink put it in his best-seller "Whole New Mind," Asia, automation and the abundance of cheap labor worldwide will mean that our generation and our children's generation will need to do more and different things to assure our community's economic success in the near future.
Fortunately, the availability of technology tools to both help in this work AND to use in educating ourselves and our children is exploding. In December 2011, for the first time, the majority of cell phones in the world are SMART cellphones. We've seen tablets of different formats come forth with wonderous technology - iPads, Nooks, Kindles, etc.
Taking advantage of this to assure our community's economic future will take new investment in educational technology. We will need robust wireless networks, industry standard technology tools on which to train future workers, effective on-line educational courses available to students and community members, and make effective use of personal and group technology offerings in our classrooms.
We cannot look to Sacramento or Washington for much help in meeting this challenge. Nor should we want to, since any help is likely to come with strings attached that hurt rather than help our community and our efficiency and effectiveness in moving our community forward to meet the challenges of the future.
We will need to decide ourselves locally what investments we need and want to make in educational technology to assure the futures of our community, our families and our children.
If this is something that YOU see as important for all of us and you would like to keep informed and involved as these discussions and decisions move forward, please e-mail me at LynnDavis@LynnDavis.org and ask to be involved in "Technology for TUSD."
Center for American Progress study entitled Return on Educational Investment: a
district by district evaluation of educational productivity concluded
that the Tustin Unified School District (TUSD) was one of only two
Orange County school districts and only seventeen in all of California
to be in the highest productivity category, an honor won by fewer than
5% of the districts included in the study.
and statistically demonstrated what most of us already suspected
intuitively: that TUSD produces more academic proficiency and student
success per tax dollar entrusted to us than 95% of school districts!
We also congratulate the Tustin Tiller Football team on winning the CIF championship and their coach Myron Miller on being named Football Coach of the Year!
And if you are on Facebook, look up "Tustin Taxpayers for Quality Schools (TTQS)" and join the group for regular updates!
Every year, most of TUSD's schools see improvements, and the district overall certainly does, in the level of student achievement accomplished by students of various grades in various subjects. Once in a while, it is quite amazing to look back over a longer period of time to see how far we have climbed in our journey!
For example, since I was elected to the school board nine years ago, the number of 9th grade students - high school freshmen - scoring at the "proficient" or "advanced" level (e.g. on track for the University of California or equivalent four year schools) has GROWN by OVER 650 STUDENTS!
That is more than an entire class of high school freshmen. Imagine what that means for each of those students and their families! Imagine what it means for their futures, and for their future families! It is a blessing that will grow over time touching many thousands of lives!
And that is not all. Our academic success is increasingly being shared by students of all ethnic groups and social, economic and/or educational characteristics. To give one example, for the school year in which I was elected, only 12% of our Hispanic/Latino 8th grade students even attempted Algebra I. Last year, 84% of the same group took Algebra I - a SEVEN FOLD increase. Because we are consistently the fastest growing district in Orange County, that meant a NINE FOLD increase in the number of Hispanic/Latino 8th graders taking Algebra 1. And the percentage that scored "proficient" or "advanced" improved over those years from 31% to 42% - a 35% improvement. The result?
The number of Hispanic/Latino 8th Graders scoring "proficient" or "advanced" in Algebra 1 grew by more than a factor of TWELVE from just 21 in 2002-03 to 278 in 2010-11.
Considering the importance of Algebra I in math, science, engineering - the very areas our region and our nation need to make gains in - this is an amazing jump in a short period of time. And it is not just 8th grade students or 8th grade teachers that played a role to accomplish this. No, it took preparation: Students had to learn just enough more in 1st grade, so that they could learn just enough more in 2nd grade, and so on to the point that they could take Algebra 1 successfully in 8th grade and be prepared for even more advanced mathematics, science and technology in high school, and later in college.
Our entire TUSD student body, teaching team and staff deserve credit for this amazing improvement over time - as does our TUSD community, which has twice demonstrated its strong support for high quality education here in our neighborhoods. And it is paying off in more success for our students, their families, and also their future families and generations yet to come!
I thank EVERYBODY who plays a part in these successes by doing their part to support our educational process as parents, students, tutors, teachers, aides, librarians, principals, school secretaries, nurses, custodians and everyone else at TUSD, as well as each and every member of our community who has taken the time and effort to SUPPORT TUSD SCHOOLS over the past decade!
2011 President, Tustin Unified School Board
February 23, 2011
GREAT NEWS! The Center for American Progress recently published a study of the "Return On Investment" of various school districts across America. Because Tustin Unified receives far less than the average revenue per student while consistently producing among the best educational results, whether measured by test scores, graduation rates, or success of students in college, Tustin Unified School District was named one of the 17 HIGHEST RETURN ON INVESTMENT SCHOOL DISTRICTS in California!
Considering that there are about 1,000 school districts in our state, that is quite an accomplishment!
The Tustin Unified School District has long been regarded as one of California's best managed school districts. Student achievement is very high. Tustin Unified is one of the fastest growing districts in Orange County each and every year. These facts contribute greatly to excellent property values in our community.
TUSD has a great team of people including our teachers, support staff, principals and administrators, parents, volunteers, homeowners, and community all working together in support of all of our students.
For eight years as a school board member, I have successfully advocated for fundamentals – quality phonics-based reading instruction, strong professional development, basic skills instruction, rigorous standards, clear accountability, prudent budget decisions, needed facilities improvements and quality new schools to meet the needs of our fast growing district. We opened Beckman High, Hicks Canyon and Orchard Hills schools, and will have three new science centers.
The result is even more excellent schools contributing to strong neighborhoods. Students achieve steadily improving test scores and admission to respected colleges.
We have had 17 California Distinguished Schools in the past five years. Nearly half of our elementary schools score in the 900’s - almost twice the county average. Every middle and high school earned a “9” or “10” statewide or against similar schools. Our high school seniors have a 99% passage rate on the California High School Exit Exam. 90%+ of graduates pursue higher education.
I am a former corporate chief financial officer. Auditors and examiners give TUSD the highest ratings for prudent fiscal management.
We work hard to protect taxpayers, maintain safe schools and support increasing excellence in our school district.
Thank you for your support!
FIVE FACTS ABOUT TUSTIN UNIFIED SCHOOL DISTRICT:
1. FASTEST GROWING among school districts in Orange County.
2. MOST EFFICIENT in providing outstanding education at moderate costs.
3. SERVING OVER 23,000 STUDENTS in Tustin, North Tustin, Santa Ana & Irvine.
4. OPERATING some of the OLDEST facilities in O.C. which we are working to modernize.
5. SENDING 90% of its graduates on to college!
Tustin School Board
Copyright 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011 and 2012 by Lynn Davis, all rights reserved