Letters to the Editor
November 11, 2020

To the Editor:
Dr. Adrian Palazuelos
District Administrators
Fillmore Unified School Board Trustees
Fillmore Unified School District Certificated Staff
Fillmore Unified School District Classified Staff
Fillmore District Parents and Students
As a new school board member of the Fillmore Unified School District, I look forward in assisting the district administration, school administrators, teachers, classified staff, students, parents, and working with all school board trustees. My goal is to always focus on the children and to ensure the children of Fillmore and Piru will receive an education that will allow them to succeed when they are adults. That has been my goal through many years and positions in the Fillmore School District. Now I will continue that mission through my work as a FUSD Board member and keeping communication lines open to all our stakeholders.
I would like to begin by providing you with my background experience. I am a Santa Clara High School graduate and moved to Fillmore in 1983. I am married and have two children; both are Fillmore Alumni, and I have three grandchildren.
Like many working adults and parents, I continued my education when my son and daughter were in high school to complete my goals and to set an example for them of the importance of a higher education and pursuing a career. I began at Ventura College and graduated from the University of La Verne with a master’s degree in educational counseling.
I worked for the Fillmore Unified School District from 1991 through 2004 in classified positions. First was a position at San Cayetano School as a health clerk and later at Fillmore High School as a special education paraeducator. Finally, I worked as the FHS career technician for eleven years. Being on campus daily, I have experienced the many aspects of building a collaborative relationship with faculty, staff, and students.
Throughout my years in the Career Center, valuable changes were made to attract more students to utilize the Career Center for their college and career preparation. Students learned how to take online career searches based on their interests and skills. I invited guest speakers from various careers to speak to students. FHS is known for its Career Day with over 100 presenters from various careers and colleges, where I coordinated and expanded it. Additionally, I took part in implementing a School to Career Program, where students were placed in their career pathways.
They received assistance with career choice by having guest speakers and opportunities for job shadowing and internships. Working closely with Ventura Community Colleges Admissions’ offices, I scheduled matriculation testing, helping seniors with transitioning after high school.
Many of my responsibilities in the Career Center were expanded in my next position in 2004, as the University of California, Santa Barbara College Site Coordinator through the Early Academic Outreach Program, where I continued to assist students with SAT registration, financial aid information, navigating colleges, and scholarship applications.
With the extensive training at UCSB, I shared my information with FHS staff and students. I evaluated school transcripts closely with school counselors and worked with them, the career technician, and teachers as a team player to better assist all students at Fillmore High School.
Serving as a liaison between community colleges, EOP, matriculation, financial aid, transfer center and the Educational Assistance Center, I was able to keep the school and district up to date on changes in higher education. My role was instrumental in developing a college going culture in Fillmore, having an exceptional number of students accepted to college.
Throughout my years at Fillmore High School, I had several students who thought they would not be eligible to go to college; and with proper guidance, many of these students were able to attend a college after high school. Building a rapport with students, parents, and the high school staff made the college numbers reach a high peak.
The college going process started as I assisted students in preparing for college in ninth grade and offered the rigorous UC Summer Algebra Academy. As the coordinator, I directed and planned with teachers for the Academy. I introduced students to Californiacolleges.edu, where they were able to explore careers and colleges as well as visit UCSB and another university.
In helping students prepare for college, they created a career path based on their personal and academic goals. I provided continual assistance with UC and CSU application workshops, personal statement workshops, and advised students of their A-G progress and meeting with them frequently. A crucial aspect of making sure a student was successful was keeping record of student semester grades to see if the student qualified for one of the four college systems by their junior year. For parents, there were financial aid and parent workshops on how parents can support their children in the college process.
In order to be successful, I have related to parents, students, staff at FHS and UCSB by listening and responding to their needs. I am organized and analytical when studying information. I am cognizant of deadlines and the importance of sharing accurate data to district shareholders. I am a team player who is goal-directed, enthusiastic, and excellent at coordinating activities with students, parents, faculty, staff, and community members.
Overall, I had a great connection to students and families by encouraging them to have high expectations for themselves, and I provided support as a health clerk, classroom paraeducator, as a career tech, and as a college site coordinator. My job duties have given me the knowledge about the inner workings of a diverse population and structure of high school and college, as well as having the classroom experience of planning and implementing educational programs. I enjoy working with various groups of students, supporting and assisting them with their educational goals.
In closing, I look forward to working collaboratively with the Fillmore School Board trustees, and I would like to keep an open line of communication for all FUSD students, parents, teachers, and staff. Furthermore, I would like to make sure the FUSD curriculum is fully updated and aligned with California Common Core State Standards. I look forward in bringing a positive outlook in the Fillmore Unified School District.
Olivia Palacio