Celebrating Our School Community

Dear community member,

Last night we were thrilled to host the COE’s Celebration of Our School Community at our Sequoia Schools campus in Watsonville.

Student voices and performances are often the highlights of these occasions, and last night was no different. It was a privilege to see the talent of the Lakeview Middle School Ballet Folklorico, the Pajaro Valley High School Band, and Aptos High student-poet Valentina Russell on full display.

I also want to commend Oscar Alvarez-Delgado, the first-ever student trustee on the Santa Cruz County Board of Education, for the powerful call to action he shared with us – speaking to the need for a more connected and inclusive school community that supports and fosters a sense of belonging for all students.

As I shared at the event, we are in a moment where the challenges facing our school community can feel daunting, from declining enrollment and attendance, to mental health needs, persistent achievement gaps, and potential cuts in education funding. I shared how we’re working closely with the school districts, community-based organizations, Cabrillo College and higher education partners, public agencies, and numerous other partners to address these needs. I outlined our vision for this work, which involves doubling-down on student wellness, engaging directly with students and families, strengthening career pathways, and continuing to work to address inequities and uplift underrepresented communities.

For those unable to join us, information about many of the programs we discussed can be found in the COE’s recently released Annual Report. And there will be many more opportunities to connect about this work as we update the COE’s strategic plan over the coming year.

Thank you, again, to our families for turning out, and to our community partners CAB Executive Director MariaElena De La Garza and Cabrillo College Vice President of Instruction Dr. Travaris Harris for sharing their voices. If talent and passion on display last night are any indication, the future of our school community is very bright.

Yours in education and equity,
Dr. Faris Sabbah
County Superintendent of Schools