Mark A. Yslas
Welcome to the Alhambra Elementary School District . . . a district where Everyone Matters! Our team worked incredibly hard to make Alhambra Elementary School District (AESD) a district that is heading places, a district that cares about our people and students we serve, and a district that continues to have an outstanding reputation.
During my first year as superintendent, I spent a great deal of time getting to know the Alhambra family including staff, students and parents, community members, city and state officials, and business partners. As I met the Alhambra community, it was important for me to not only know every stakeholder, but to spend time listening to our families and patrons. One thing I heard over and over again, was that Alhambra is a school district with great pride, rich traditions, and a district with a history of outstanding leadership.
I am so proud of the hard work the Alhambra team accomplished last year. Based on feedback from employees, parents, students, and community members, we accomplished a great deal and implemented several new programs:
Rebranded the District
This last year we focused our attention on the image of the district and gave it a facelift. We created a new district logo, and recently launched new district and school websites. In addition, we increased our presence on social media. I invite you to explore more of our website at www.alhambraesd.org, like us on Facebook, or follow us on Twitter.
The district developed a new calendar input committee seeking input from all stakeholders in the district. Based on feedback from staff and parents, the calendar input committee recommended a very progressive calendar including early release Wednesdays for teacher professional development, which will help with improving student achievement; a two-day fall recess in October; an additional day during the Thanksgiving recess; and an additional two-day spring recess.
Family Resource Center
Thanks to the foresight of Alhambra’s Governing Board and their passion to serve this community, we are excited to announce the opening of a Family Resource Center (FRC) to better meet the needs of our students, families, and community members. The FRC is located at 6615 N. 39th Avenue. Look for additional information this fall on programs and services provided through the FRC.
Retention of Staff
In recent years, the education profession has had a difficult time retaining staff and attracting people to the profession. Even though school districts across the state and nation are having difficulties attracting and retaining teachers, Alhambra experienced something very different this year …97% of our staff signed their contracts and notices of appointment for next year, making Alhambra their district of choice. This is a 2.29% increase over last year! In addition, as we gear up to start the school year, this is the first time in many years that all of our schools are fully staffed with highly-qualified teachers in our classrooms. A big thanks to our team members who chose Alhambra as their preferred place for employment!
In Alhambra, we believe in educating the whole child; and this year, we are implementing an after-school extracurricular sports program and additional clubs at every campus. Look for all the great opportunities for students to become involved after the start of school. The Alhambra Elementary students will certainly be prepared to compete both academically and athletically at the high school level.
Counselors in Schools
In order for the district to meet the growing needs of students and enable children to focus on their school work, we are adding counselors and behavior support personnel at all of our schools to improve classroom management, which will enable teachers to focus on high-quality instruction in the classroom.
Districtwide Discipline Program
In Alhambra, we expect all students to act in respectful ways so teachers can teach, and children can learn. Teachers work incredibly hard to create a culture of learning in our classrooms, and behavior disruptions will not be tolerated. Students who continually disrupt the learning environment will have severe consequences. All of our students and teachers deserve to work and learn in positive environments, and I ask for you to team with us in setting high expectations for behavior with your children.
Upcoming Override Election
Finally, as we prepare for the future, I want to inform you of an important school district election coming up. Alhambra Elementary School District is asking our community to reauthorize a maintenance and operations override election on November 8, 2016. The M&O override has been in place for more than 30 years, and helps maintain present levels of service including full-day kindergarten, kindergarten teachers and K-3 instructional assistants; art, music, physical education in grades 1-3; intermediate band program; class sizes at all grade levels; before and after-school tutoring programs; and current maintenance staff.
Educating our children takes a team effort, and we are especially grateful for your continued support of the Alhambra Elementary School District. Thank you for helping make AESD a great place for students to learn! I am honored to serve this community; and, I look forward to another successful year!
Mark A. Yslas