Saturday, August 29, 2009

Alvarado: 2007-2009 New Leadership & A New President

With some incoming students and staff from the Cabello closure, we now were a school of approximately 950 students. The former principal of Cabello, Tracie Noriega was our principal and Cheri Benafield was back as assistant principal for 2007-2008 and 2008-2009. Mrs. Noriega brought with her a group of supportive parents who started the Parent Teacher Club at Alvarado. We had not had a parent club for 18 years.

The kindergarten teachers and students now had all day kindergarten. Kindergarten students had previously been half day. This program was hugely successful with parents and was continued the following years.

Traci brought five teachers from Cabello to Alvarado. Two of those teachers Kimberly Pratt and Alisha Valine were connected to a NOAA science grant. Ms. Pratt wrote a B-WET grant "Bringing Science to Life for Students, Teachers and the Community" to provide watershed experiences for students, staff development for teachers and community awareness of our local neighborhood. In addition to classroom instruction on pollution awareness, tide pool organisms, research reporting, and marine mammals, whale-watching cruises were added as part of the curriculum. Science scores have gone up for students working with this grant. (Whale Watching with 5th Graders. Tri-City Voice. March 27, 2007)

Although our Superintendent, Dr. Jaurequi signed an extended contract until 2012, in the summer of 2008 she announced she was leaving New Haven. August 31, 2008 was her last day and Dave Pava, a long time New Haven principal, was Interim Superintendent.

Kari McVeigh

On December 1, 2008 Kari McVeigh came aboard as Superintendent of New Haven Unified School District. She also inherited a declining budget. In the summer of 2009 the California State Legislature made drastic cuts to the education budget. According to the TCV, McVeigh said the strategic plan, no matter how well crafted, is subject to change, but she would leave it in place with few changes. (Dynamism comes to New Haven. Tri-City Voice. Feb. 11, 2009) Since New Haven has great cultural and ethnic diversity, academic equity is an issue Ms. McVeigh plans to address. Not long after Kari McVeigh joined New Haven, Glynn Thompson, Chief Academic Officer, left the district. In June Wendy Gudalewicz was appointed by the Board of Education to serve as Chief Academic Officer of the New Haven Unified School District.

Wendy Gudalewicz

I cannot say anything about new leadership without mentioning our new President of the United States, Barack Obama. This election greatly affected the students. All students did not agree but all had an opinion. In my 17 years at this school, this was the first time the students became fully engaged in extensive conversations about elections and democracy because they were genuinely interested. "Just in Time Learning" took place for many students. Many but not all of our students were extremely excited about a person of color being inaugurated in 2009. It instilled in students the belief that all things really are possible in America.

No comments:

Post a Comment