Welcome to School Matters! A New Blog

This is a new blog called “School Matters” hosted by the Fillmore Gazette. The Gazette responded to my request for a way to inform the public on various school related issues and to respond to questions from the community. I am honored to be able to moderate, facilitate and write for this blog because School Matters. It is my hope that this blog will be a resource for the community and create another avenue for residents to get engaged with our local schools. The state of our schools affects the entire community, not just families. Property values, new business, quality jobs, crime rates, all are affected by how our schools are doing. Everyone needs to care about our local schools.

I want to hear from everyone. Students. Parents. Alumni. Family Members. District Staff. Residents. Business Owners.

What do you want to know about our schools? What do you think the community should know about our schools?

****Did you know that FUSD has an annual budget (2010-11) of $35 Million? That is your tax dollars (state and federal) at work. Is that money being spent wisely? What do you think?

**** What is great about FUSD? What do you love about your schools? What do you wish was different? What do you want to see happen at your local school?

****Is FUSD evolving to meet the needs of our changing economy? If you are worried about the state of our economy, and want to see it “fixed”, education must be at the foundation of any “fix”. More students must graduate. More students must be minimally proficient, and more must excel. This is needed to create the business leaders and owners of the future. What can local Districts and School Boards do to better prepare current students to succeed?

****Currently all of our seven schools are in “Program Improvement”. This is a label assigned by the state for schools that are failing to meet certain benchmarks for the number of students testing at a “minimally proficient” level. Do you know what FUSD is doing to improve the schools? What do you think FUSD should do?

This Blog is for you, the community. Send in your questions.
1. Post your question as a comment on this blog.
2. Send in questions by email: schoolmatters@fillmoregazette.com
3. Write your questions and mail to: Fillmore Gazette, attn: School Matters, 408 Orchard Street, Fillmore, CA 93015

Some guidelines for submitted questions and comments:
1. Please include your name. While I prefer that I have permission to list your name with your question, I am willing to respond to questions submitted anonymously. But in the event that I need to clarify the question or don’t understand what you are asking, having a way to contact you can be helpful.
2. For all online comments: Feel free to challenge, question and provide alternative views. That is what good dialogue is all about. BUT I will be very quick to delete and remove any comments that are derogatory, libelous, or disrespectful. Keep in mind it is perfectly OK to criticize when our intention is to help improve it. Just always err on the side of being respectful and forthright. That is why I prefer all comments include your full name, we tend to behave a bit better when our name is attached to our words. Any comments that detract from a respectful dialogue will be deleted.
3. Please state your question clearly. And provide any “context” for your question.
4. Let us know “who” you are: student, parent, guardian, family member, teacher, staff, resident, or business owner.

Once I have your question and I think others will be interested in it, I will do my best to find the best answer. I will research, interview, read and examine various sources to come up with a response. It is my intention to always provide “sound” information from “good” sources. If I am stating my opinion, I will let you know it.

From time to time I would love to have “guest writers” submit an essay (any students interested? District staff, what’s on your mind?) on a topic, or an editorial on an issue they feel passionate about that has to do with education, schools, FUSD etc. Just submit it. For these submissions I MUST have your name and contact information. If you are interested, send me your “topic” idea for approval and word limit.

**Note: I do not speak Spanish, but if I receive a question in Spanish I am able to get it translated. I am looking for folks interested in helping me translate (Any bi-lingual students want to volunteer with the local paper?) the entire blog. Contact me if you’re interested.

So here we go… a new year, a new blog, because SCHOOL MATTERS!

Welcome to the Blog and I look forward to reading and responding to your questions.
Best, Kimberly Rivers