It’s hard to believe that another school year has already come to an end! The past few weeks were packed with excitement for students and staff throughout the Merced City School District. After months of hard work, they had a chance to enjoy a variety of celebrations from talent shows and dance festivals to awards ceremonies and graduations. I loved visiting many of our campuses for these events and seeing the cheering parents, the smiling students, and the proud staff. We really are a family, and I’m thankful to be a part of it.
As we look back on the 2017-2018 school year, many different milestones and achievements come to mind. One that really stands out is the opening of our state of the art STEAM Center in August. This was a project many years in the making, which came to fruition thanks to the dedication of countless people including Board members, administrators, teachers, classified staff, parents, and community partners. All of our students in TK-8th grade had an opportunity to visit the center this year to experience hands-on learning in science, technology, engineering, arts, and math, which complemented their classroom lessons. We saw many of those priceless “light-bulb” moments as children made the connection between challenging topics and their real world applications. Those moments made all of the planning and hard work worthwhile.
We also began the process of building Innovation Labs at all of our middle schools, we completed a district-wide solar array project that is projected to save more than $7.9 million in energy costs over the next 25 years, and we finished dozens of Measure M modernization projects at several campuses. The year also included educational excursions to Yosemite National Park, Farm 2U, Merced Symphony Children’s Concerts, and many other eye-opening destinations all around us. Our students excelled in the county spelling bee and STEM fair, and they won the inaugural MCSD Invitational Battle of the Books! One group of middle school students even made history by defeating high school teams to win a quiz competition. Our students shined in sporting events, performing arts showcases, and leadership programs. We were equally as proud of those who showed great personal progress and those who gave back to our community in a variety of ways, from cancer fundraisers to random acts of kindness.
It really has been a wonderful and fulfilling year, and we know the best is yet to come. Through our Local Control Accountability Plan, we are working with stakeholders to ensure that students throughout our district have the resources they need to succeed. We are analyzing what’s working and where we can make adjustments to continue to improve. We are using modern technology to enhance experiences for students, staff, and families, while never forgetting the power of interpersonal relationships. We hope everyone has a wonderful break, and we look forward to seeing many of you at our Summer Academy, starting June 18!
Sara Sandrik, an Emmy Award-winning former journalist, is the public information officer for the Merced City School District. She can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.