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Superintendent’s Welcome

posted Jun 24, 2013, 4:13 PM by Unknown user   [ updated Aug 14, 2015, 7:24 AM by Laura Sleeper ]

It is with great pride and clear vision that we embark on our new journey.  As an educational community we have faced many challenges, accomplished our goals,  and clarified our path of providing exceptional academic growth for all students. Each year brings us an opportunity to recreate ourselves with fresh ideas and renewed vigor to take on unknown opportunities and push the envelope of student achievement.  The results of our efforts and hard work are evident in the lives of our students, support of our families, and well being of our community.   

The advent of this new school year will brings with it staff development focused on supporting student achievement and creative exploration, new programs at each site to increase avenues of student achievement, continued fiscal stability, and promotion of community involvement. Leadership from our Board of Trustees has reinvented Willits Unified School District (WUSD) into a financially secure and student-centered environment where all students are provided an opportunity to thrive.  We thank them for their vision and support.

The variety of programs offered at Willits High School (WHS) is expanding to meet the needs of all students.  Our fiscal stability has provided an opportunity to reopen our Woodshop and Construction/Trades Program. In addition to this extension, our Career Technical Educational (CTE) courses include Pathways in Health Services, Business, and Agriculture.  Students earn certificates at the completion of each area of study as well as meeting UC and CalState A-G requirements.  WHS offers an extensive number of courses for Advanced Placement and completion of graduation requirements. Our Fine Arts programs provide opportunities to explore Music and Art in a variety of areas under the leadership of community recognized teachers.  Our curriculum and local culture  comes alive through concerts and art exhibits. The continued development of programs offered to students at the high school include AVID and STEM (Science, Engineering Technology and Math).  Along with our traditional programs as well as alternative school sites at Sanhedrin High School and New Horizons provide students with a myriad of opportunities for graduation and college-career readiness. As members of the North Coast League, WHS  is competitive in a variety of varsity and junior varsity activities.  We thank your community members for supporting WHS in all areas of student achievement and success. 

In May 2015, Baechtel Grove Middle School (BGMS) was recognized  as a California Gold Ribbon School.  This achievement is a testimony to the dedication and commitment of an exceptional staff of educators and para-professionals.    2015-16 brings back this current staff along with a full time Counselor and Dean.  The culture of BGMS is one of student achievement and celebration.  As a grade 6 through 8 middle school, students participate in a variety of tiered academic courses that meet individual needs.  The AVID (Advancement via Individual Determination) program provided in the 7th and 8th grade target first time college going students to sharpen their academic skills and develop a college going attitude.  Leadership training through WEB and PEER Mediators provide students opportunities to support each other in the middle school environment.  Along with an extensive sports program, our middle school students are truly provided a holistic experience whereby they explore and discover their potential. 


WUSD consists of three elementary school sites - Brookside (grades TK- 2nd ), Blosser Lane (3rd – 5th), and Sherwood (K – 5th ).  Regardless of site, a dedicated staff of professionals has consistently served our youngest students.  This year we will take steps to unify our elementary sites under the leadership of one principal.  Support administration at each of the two major sites will provide daily supervision and support of students, staff, and families.  This model allows the district time to develop an internal succession plan to develop and promote administrators from within the district.  Curriculum development will continue to focus on implementation of EngageNY to support our current math program, strengthening use of Daily 5 in our literacy program, and build on instructional strategies to meet the needs of English Language Learners, gifted students, and students with specific learning needs.  A major benefit of our fiscal plan is to refrain from any combination classes and preserving small class sizes for early readers and writers in the primary grades.  Our elementary counseling grant will continue to provide excellent services to students and families within our district.  Through shared leadership at the TK-5 levels, we can maximize the wealth of knowledge, breath of skills, and immense dedication that our elementary staffs consistently share with our youngest learners.  Thus, our earliest learners receive the tools needed to succeed in life and foster positive attitudes about themselves as learners capable of contributing to our community. 

Education is constantly evolving and changing.  New programs and initiatives for 2015-16 include a district wide roll-out of the English Language Arts and English Language Development State Framework, Technology Leadership Team to support the use of technology in the classroom, and integration of Special Education into the regular education classroom.  We welcome sixteen new qualified staff members dedicated to serving the needs of our students and community. 

WUSD would not be able to perform our duties without the continued support of our bargaining units and community.  Our work together makes us stronger as a district and a community.  Partnerships forged within our community have provided our students with coaches, job opportunities, mentoring, and leadership.  We appreciate the dedication and commitment of our community members.   Together we are the WUSD Family.  

With warm regards,

Patricia R. Johnson,

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