ATASCADERO — Summer officially wound down for students in the Atascadero Unified School District on Wednesday, Aug. 15, with the start of the 2018-2019 academic year. Although some had already been waking up early the week before to get registered for classes.
In a welcome letter to parents and guardians to kick off the year, Superintendent Tom Butler wrote that one of the district’s greatest strengths is an incredibly talented staff.
There are a lot more new faces on faculty this season, approximately 42, he later said, adding to the general excitement.
“Nothing unusual happened exactly,” he said, noting that changeovers tend to come in cycles. “We had a lot more retirees at the end of last year, so we’re excited to have so many staff joining us as well.”
No major administrative positions have changed since the year’s end however and the new arrivals have joined, “pretty much evenly across the district.”
The district’s board finished a goal-setting process for the institution at the end of last year, he added, which was in the information packet sent out to parents. It is worth noting that while officials typically refer to “parents” as the parties responsible for students, they’re in actuality recognizing all legal guardianship arrangements.
Some of the language adopted by the Board on May 15, 2018 included measuring student success as having, “all students [graduate] having gained the knowledge, skills, and understandings to be college, career, and citizenship ready.”
In addition to meeting standards of a statewide assessment of performance and progress known as the CAASPP exam they also declared, “Our schools will reduce the achievement gap and develop positive learning environments by effectively implementing a Multi-Tiered System of Support to meet the academic and behavioral needs of students.”
Further goals addressed the hiring standards to which the new faculty and staff starting this month were held, as well as use of the Measure I-10 Bonds, B-14 Bonds, and State Matching Facility Funds for facility upgrades.
As previously reported by the Atascadero News, work has been ongoing on the building housing Atascadero High School’s Science and Shops where Butler noted eight new science classrooms have gone in as well as agriculture and welding shops.
Taking over the area of an old student parking lot, the eight rooms are oversized by conventional standards with lab prep space added.
Butler noted that more shop space is always a welcome commodity in the effort to get local students — at least those who are interested in the trades — career ready, as well as academically ready for higher education.
Notices were posted at the Atascadero High campus for construction ongoing on Aug. 8 as part of bond-funded reconstruction, as new teachers arrived the week before returning colleagues.
As civic and business leaders map ways to grow the local economy, and bring in esteemed head of household jobs, Butler added, “We’ve had nice slow growth as a district. I’m ultimately hoping that as we develop the value of our schools comes to be recognized as reason to move here on its own.”
The Atascadero School District maintains a resource website for parents which may be of use, with information regarding school lunch programs and bus route information at: www.atasusd.org/for-parents.