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Superintendent offers a look into district’s 21st century approach

Dr. Soumakian is giving a speech.
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© Tiffany israel/OUHSD
© Tiffany israel/OUHSD
The Oxnard Union High School District welcomes students as they report back to school on Tues., Sept. 4. Our district is continuing to make remarkable progress toward the implementation of the Blueprint for Greatness.

Our vision is to “redesign the high school experience for the 21st century learner,” as we prepare students for the newly adopted Common Core State Standards.

The freshman class of 2016 will spend the first four weeks of school being introduced to 21st century learning skills, which are composed of critical thinking, collaboration, communication, creativity and civility. Learning these skills will empower our students to use higher order thinking skills as they prepare for a rapidly changing global economy.

This past year our teachers and administrators have implemented a strategic schooling model for school improvement, and our district has received support from the education consulting firm Pivot Learning.

This past spring and summer our staff has learned effective strategies and acquired resource tools to support our English learners and students with special needs.

Building and nurturing a professional learning community will continue to be our focus as our staff has the opportunity to share best practices, review student data and focus on curriculum alignment. As an example, English teachers met to align the assessments with the curriculum matched with the pacing calendar to complement the algebra assessment and pacing calendars. Implementing effective instructional strategies and creating system alignment has resulted both Rio Mesa and Camarillo with more students achieving at proficiency and advanced levels in the core academic areas.

The district is pleased to announce several data analytic systems that will enhance parent-toschool communication and provide parents access to student data in real time. Staff and parents will now have access to Synergy, our new student information system, through multiple Web portals. Parents will connect through the parent view portal to access student attendance, grades and transcripts on a secure network to be viewed from an iPad, iPhone or other handheld electronic device. Teachers and administrators will access Synergy from school and through any wireless device.

The freshman and sophomore students will begin to identify their career and college choices using Naviance as a tool to help plan their future academic pathway. In addition, teachers and staff have been training with our new Data Director student learning analytic system to determine how to respond when students need intervention. This tool provides teachers with feedback for student learning data and identifies the learning gaps to guide the appropriate teaching and retesting strategies.

This summer, the federal ERate funding provided technology upgrades to our schools with switches, servers and data systems that will connect to high-speed Internet and wireless networks. The connection from our schools to the Internet will increase tenfold to 10 gigabits, and all our schools will be completely wireless by December. Our students and staff will have the ability to access all data systems and electronic documents to support anywhere and anytime learning.

Why is all this important? Because we are committed to preparing students with the necessary skills for college and career, leading to support for the thriving and growing business industry in Ventura County. This is why it is critical that we “redesign the high school experience for the 21st century learner,” our students.

Yes, we are ready for the 2012- 13 school to prepare our students for the 21st century and we look forward to serving our students and community.

Soumakian is superintendent of the Oxnard Union High School District.

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