Happy Holidays!Posted by Melissa Hunt on 12/21/2017This is such a special time of year with its hustle and bustle, lights and laughter, sweet treats and music. I never tire of it! This break gives us all a chance to renew our appreciation for ourselves and others.My favorite holiday song is called “Thankful” and it embodies what I love about this time of year. The lyric goes: “And on this day we hope for what we still can’t see; It’s up to us to be the change; And even though this world needs so much more; There’s so much to be thankful for.”We live in a time of rapid communication and information saturation, where it is easy to find fault and shout about what we oppose. But, the holidays challenge this reality and call us to embrace what we believe in, what we stand for, and to look at the world around us with a giving and graceful heart. So, as you experience this season, please find time to breathe deeply, eat slowly, and know that whatever challenges you face, there is so much to be thankful for.As this is a season of wishes and hopes, may you have
Enough happiness to keep you sweet,
Enough trials to keep you strong,
Enough sorrow to keep you human,
Enough failure to keep you humble,
Enough success to keep you eager,
Enough friends to give you comfort,
Enough wealth to meet your needs,
Enough enthusiasm to look forward,
Enough faith to banish depression,
Enough determination to make each day better than yesterday.
Melissa Hunt, Superintendent
Season of GratitudePosted by Melissa Hunt on 11/20/2017
The Season of Gratitude came a bit early in San Marcos this year. Over the last couple of weeks, I have received emails and phone calls expressing thanks for the work done in our district on behalf of children that have touched me to my core.
A mother called and, through tears that came from deep within, shared her story of enduring grueling cancer treatment and being embraced by strangers from our schools. She told me of moving to our community and fearing she and her children would not fit in. She told me of the campus supervisor who greets her youngest in the morning with a smile and takes her hand as she leaves the car. Indeed, she told me, there are mornings when she is too sick to drive them to school and neighbors ensure they get there safely. She told me about the principal who met her and took deliberate steps to ensure her child would make friends and become a member of the school family. She told me of her older child growing in confidence through the belief teachers show in her each day, not once feeling like an outsider. This dear woman who feared racism and indifference found anything but. She said that “everyone is just so real.”
A father wrote scolding himself for being slow to share how much SMUSD has meant to his family. “I’ve driven past the schools for years and never said anything.” He wanted me to know about the high school teacher who has become a “household name” and ignited a fire in his youngest. She reluctantly signed on to an AP class and, after earning a 5 on the exam, is fearless in taking on new challenges and now thinks of becoming a teacher herself. He wanted me to know about the principal he encountered on the sidelines of a sporting event who knew both of his daughters, one off and gone to college. The principal not only knew his girls’ names, but who they were as people and what they did on campus. He asked, “How can that be when there are so many?”
There is the dad I’ve known for years that I ran into at a convenience store. He told me that his daughter, a freshman in college, is having the best year of her life. He feared the adjustment to being far, far from home would be hard but, no, she has adapted to the work load and made friends. I credited him and his wife for the strong foundation they laid. He stopped me and said, none of it would be possible without all the people from kindergarten through high school who supported his family each step of the way.
These expressions of gratitude move me to issue a challenge to you. As you hustle about this week, perhaps planning a meal or braving the holiday shopping crowds, take time to intentionally and deliberately share a gratitude story to someone who may have no idea how thankful you are for the difference they make. You’ll feel better for it, I promise.
May your Thanksgiving be filled will joy.
Melissa Hunt, Superintendent
Update on San Marcos Unified's BudgetPosted by Melissa Hunt on 10/18/2017
Many of you are aware that San Marcos Unified is currently facing financial challenges that are projected to continue into future years. For others of you, this news may come as a surprise. It is our hope the information will begin to build your awareness as we move forward through the budgeting process over the course of the school year.
Please know the intent is to inform, not alarm. We have already begun to "tighten our belts" in many ways at the District level. As an example, several staff members have recently resigned or retired and, where possible, we have reorganized duties with existing staff. Our plan is to continue to examine all possible remedies to our budget shortfall. You will learn more as you review the message.
The Governing Board and I are committed to working with staff across the district and our bargaining unit leaders to maintain the high quality education we provide our community and honor our employees who make it all possible. We will keep you informed along the journey.
Melissa Hunt, Superintendent
DACA and Our CommunityPosted by Melissa Hunt on 9/8/2017
President Trump’s rescission of the 2012 federal Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program has touched many of the families in our community, as well as arousing the concern of our students. There are those who feel the need to speak out, become politically engaged, and stand up for the populations most affected by this situation. Certainly, we encourage our students to be politically active, but it cannot be at the detriment of their school responsibilities. For quality learning to unfold, students need to be in attendance, and channel their passion in a positive way that does not disturb their learning and that of others.
We share a deep concern for all those who make up the San Marcos community, and will continue to work together to ensure that our schools are safe and positive environments in which to learn. Last December, our Governing Board adopted a resolution to protect and advocate for all district students. We will continue to act on the assurance that schools remain sensitive locations where immigration enforcement actions are unlikely to occur. We will look for opportunities to work with students in providing a forum for their voice, as well as making use of our strong partnership with CSUSM to help inform our students and families.
It is also worth noting that our State has its own California Dream Act, which is unrelated to DACA and allows undocumented students to attend State colleges and universities and to be eligible to receive State financial aid. This law, California AB540, remains intact despite any repeal of DACA. Tom Torlakson, California's State Schools Superintendent, has reaffirmed that the State will continue supporting these students and their families under AB540.
As the impact of this situation unfolds, there will be an abundance of information for those seeking to renew DACA or better understand their status. Homeland Security has put together an FAQ that may be helpful in understanding the end of DACA, which you can view by CLICKING HERE. However, these matters are complicated and vary by each individual.
I encourage any community member with specific questions to contact legitimate immigration agencies and attorneys, as well as to reassure all of you that we will continue to support and encourage our students and their parents who seek a wonderful educational experience.
Melissa Hunt, Superintendent
Welcome Back!Posted by Melissa Hunt on 8/18/2017
Welcome to the 2017-2018 school year, San Marcos Families!
As our dedicated staff prepares to welcome everyone back next week, I can only stop to think that teaching and serving students and families is absolutely the best work there is. I’m so proud of the teachers and administrators in this district. They have a deep professionalism worthy of true admiration. I have been part of San Marcos Unified for many years, and am looking forward to leading you as superintendent.
San Marcos Unified is amongst the best districts in the county, and I want to continue the good work we have been doing. Our district is respected for its rigorous instructional programs grounded in research-based practices that enable all learners to grow and excel.
My first priority will be to continue our high quality instructional program. We want our students to learn how to learn, think critically and leave us prepared to pursue a range of options beyond high school. This can mean going on to a 4-year university or a community college or pursuing an internship. Having Palomar and Cal State San Marcos as neighbors makes our city a real education hub for North County, and there is so much opportunity here to live and grow in a blossoming community.
Another area of focus is the growth of our district. With all of the new housing in San Marcos, we need more classroom space to accommodate the families moving into our community. We have already begun working with our city officials to find land upon which to build new school sites. We also have construction projects going on throughout the district, including San Marcos Middle School, La Costa Meadows Elementary and Alvin Dunn School. These renovations will change the face of these campuses and draw more students to them.
I will also focus my leadership to make certain that we stay a financial healthy district, particularly as funding from the state levels off.
My goal is to communicate well with our community through the district website, as well as social media, and be visible at all of our sites. In fact, I invite you to view a short, get-to-know-me video below. As stated in the video, I will endeavor to give you my best head, heart, and hustle everyday.
You can rest assured that, as a district, we will continue to keep our mission of engaging students – inspiring futures at the center of all we do. We engage and inspire students when we help them believe in themselves, see that they have value and can make a difference in their world today and tomorrow. Join me in celebrating the start of what will be a wonderful school year.
Melissa Hunt, Superintendent
SMUSD's Newly Appointed Superintendent, Melissa HuntPosted by Anna Lucia Roybal on 6/29/2017
San Marcos, CA – July 1, 2017 marks the official start for San Marcos Unified School District’s new Superintendent, Melissa Hunt.
During the Governing Board meeting in May, Board President, Pam Lindamood, announced the unanimous decision to appoint Mrs. Hunt to the permanent position of Superintendent. She had been serving as SMUSD’s Interim Superintendent since January of this year.
“In our search to replace Dr. Holt, we received feedback from the community regarding the qualities desired in our next Superintendent. Those qualities included knowing our culture, the capacity to build strong relationships, and extensive classroom and site experience. With this in mind, it was the Board’s belief that Mrs. Hunt would be the best candidate to move the District forward following Dr. Holt's retirement,” stated President Lindamood.
Understanding the culture of San Marcos Unified was critical in the Board’s decision. Having worked in the District since 2001 as a principal and later as Director of Secondary Education, Mrs. Hunt had shown a clear commitment and dedication to ensuring student opportunities, new curriculum standards, and staff development.
Dr. Kevin Holt, SMUSD’s newly retired Superintendent, agreed with the Board’s decision. “Melissa is the type of leader that is inclusive and does not have predetermined outcomes in mind. Instead, she has an ability to bring together diverse groups who rally around an outcome that they feel is theirs. She is charismatic. She is funny. She is dedicated. She is truly the right person to lead San Marcos Unified moving forward,” he said.
As a teacher and an administrator, SMUSD’s newest Superintendent brings over 30 years of experience in education. When asked about her thoughts moving into her new role, she stated, “As an organization, we strive for excellence in all we do - high academic standards, a deep dedication to the Arts, building scholar athletes, erecting beautiful new schools, and opening our arms to all kids. I feel so lucky and proud to be a part of it. So, you can imagine when board members asked if I would be willing to serve this district as Interim Superintendent and then later as Superintendent, I could only say, yes. I firmly believe that taking on this role is not a new job or a career move, it is a commitment of my heart to the people I respect and treasure in pursuit of a noble mission – educating children.”
In addition to ensuring a quality and equitable education for all students in San Marcos, Superintendent Hunt is focused on providing stability and consistency to the District through visible and supportive leadership, clear communication related to the financial health of the District, as well as working collaboratively with the City of San Marcos to address future growth and facilities needs.
For additional information please contact Anna Lucia Roybal at email@example.com.
The San Marcos Unified School District is an innovative and collaborative community providing an unparalleled educational experience. Through an engaging and supportive environment, all our students are challenged, inspired, and poised to excel.
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