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September 2023 Message

Dear SSD Families,

Welcome to a new school year!  At six weeks in, I am still struck by how quickly our children grow over the summer. Some who needed help to reach a top library shelf last year are as tall as their teachers today!

We’d like to help our children grow just as rapidly during the school year, but in other important ways: academically, socially, emotionally, and behaviorally. We spent the summer months analyzing data and crafting plans for what we expect will be a phenomenal, joyful year of learning. Our teachers, principals, staff, and students have started this school year with the strongest commitment and optimism they have had in years. Our optimism comes from the foundation of support our community continuously provides for our work. Our deepening commitment stems from having a focused plan with clear priorities, that builds upon the most successful teaching tools, assessments, and methods.

We also start the year dedicated to compassionate leadership – being leaders who “do hard things in a human, caring way,” while always holding what’s best for students at the forefront of our work. We are aligned in this effort districtwide. This means increased support for principals and teachers – allowing principals classroom time so they may be better instructional coaches, and providing teachers with the data systems they need to assess and address students’ unique needs.

This approach also embodies our commitment to equity. By providing for each student’s individual needs, we are operating in accordance with our 3-year Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) plan.  We are further refining our approach by developing a comprehensive strategic plan this year. As a result, we are in a stronger position to serve our children than ever before. Helping students learn in an equitable way contributes to a positive class environment for all students, as do our values of inclusion and belonging.

No amount of tutoring, technology, or other interventions can replace a learning environment that lifts every student and prepares them for respectful discourse and collaboration in a diverse and complex world. Appreciation of differences and respect for individuals will therefore continue to be important themes, and foundational to our success as educators this year.

We invite you to join us; share ideas with your school’s principal or child’s teacher. Tell us about you and your family and let us know how we can help you help your child with learning. And together we’ll see just how far our students can grow.

Wishing you a wonderful school year!


Michael Gallagher, Ed.D.