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Welcome to the New School Year



Dr. Joe Jaconette

On behalf of the district I want to welcome you to a new school year! We are excited to start a new year of teaching and learning in Orinda.

Our staff has been very busy over the summer getting ready for this year. Over 40 projects at our school sites were completed by the maintenance and custodial staff. Numerous teachers and administrators spent time getting the schools and classrooms ready. Sixteen plus teachers throughout the district received specialized literacy training from Columbia Teachers College in New York with the continued support of our Parent Clubs. Eighty teachers participated in special grade level trainings in math. A team of eight teachers participated in science instructional development activities through a science grant.

We are proud of the consistently high levels of student achievement that have been demonstrated over the years in our district as we exceed state targets. We continue to be one the highest achieving districts in the state and the highest achieving district in the county.

In many ways the 2013-14 school year will be a series of transitions in curriculum, finance, and facilities for our district.

  • Most of our staff participated in workshops preparing for the new Common Core State Standards as the state prepares to shift to a new curriculum/assessment model next year. Parents will be provided more information at Back to School Nights.
  • This is the first year in the last five where we have not faced opening school with the threat of budget cuts from the state. We start the year getting familiar with a new formula that funds our district and replaces a decades old system of school finance. That was the good news; unfortunately for Orinda we are projected to be the lowest funded school district in our county under the new formula. EFO, Parent Clubs, and community dollars continue to be significant financial partners as we transition.
  • We continue to plan the improvement for district facilities through the use of funds obtained from the sale of the Pine Grove property. Since last spring, the school board has been reviewing the recommendations of the district updated Master Facility Plan. In August, the school board created a Facilities Task Force with the charge to gather community input regarding the expenditure of the Pine Grove funds, prioritize district facilities needs, and make recommendation to the school board regarding those needs. The task force will be composed of board members Matt Moran and Tyson Krumholz and one parent representative from each school. The task force will hold one evening meeting at each school site this fall to gather input. It is anticipated that the task force will complete its work with a recommendation to the school board this November.

I hope you will join me as we continue:

"Building on a tradition of educational excellence and strong community support, we will inspire and challenge each student through strong academics and continuously improving programs that will develop the character and abilities needed to shape an ever-changing world."

Have a great year!