Albany Unified School District

To translate this webpage into another language, please use the Google Translate bar below:

Superintendent's Corner

April 21, 2017

 

AUSD Community,

 

This month, we want to spotlight another amazing funding group. SchoolCARE. In 2001, in response to state budget cuts, a group of parents and community members created SchoolCare. Through SchoolCare funding, AUSD is able to hire staff to provide services for our students. Our dedicated SchoolCare volunteers work tirelessly to raise funds annually, and this year, SchoolCare has pledged over $260,000 to the district.

 

These much needed funds support our Transitional Kindergarten program, provide funding for field trips and in-school enrichment for the Albany Children’s Center, support programs at our elementary schools such as music, art, chess, and noon-time activities, and provide funding for our Library Technicians.

 

Albany Middle School gets additional Counselors, a Library Technician, and funding for the Writer Coach Connection, which assists all 8th graders with coaches helping them with their writing project.

 

Albany High School gets funding for 3 elective sections!  That means more choices for our students!  Albany High also

receives a portion of a Career and College Coordinator and longer hours for the library.

 

ALL OF THIS IS CRITICAL TO THE QUALITY OF OUR AUSD FABULOUS EDUCATION. SchoolCare has begun their fund-raising campaign, and they currently have raised just under 60% of their goal of raising $275,000. So, when you see their flyers or when a volunteer calls you, please consider giving generously to SchoolCare what you can. All the proceeds directly benefit our Albany students!

 

Thank you.

 

Val Williams

Superintendent

###

March 16, 2017

 

Hello AUSD Community!

 

This month, we want to spotlight another amazing funding group. SchoolCARE. In 2001, in response to state budget cuts, a group of parents and community members created SchoolCARE. Through SchoolCARE funding, AUSD is able to hire staff to provide services for our students. Our dedicated SchoolCARE volunteers work tirelessly to raise funds annually, and this year, SchoolCARE has pledged over $260,000 to the district.

 

These much needed funds support our Transitional Kindergarten program, provide funding for field trips and in-school enrichment for the Albany Children’s Center, support programs at our elementary schools such as music, art, chess, and noon-time activities, and provide funding for our Library Technicians.

Albany Middle School gets additional Counselors, a Library Technician, and funding for the Writer Coach Connection, which assists all 8th graders with coaches helping them with their writing project.

Albany High School gets funding for 3 elective sections!  That means more choices for our students!  Albany High also receives a portion of a Career and College Coordinator and longer hours for the library.

 

All of this is critical to the quality of our AUSD fabulous education! SchoolCARE is beginning their big push of publicity for fundraising this coming week.  SchoolCARE values community input about school site needs and priorities, and encourages parents, students, and staff to respond to the funding surveys being distributed this week.

 

So, when you see their flyers or when a volunteer calls you, please consider giving generously to SchoolCARE what you can. All the proceeds directly benefit our Albany students!

 

Thank you.

Val Williams, Superintendent

 

###

 

To help SchoolCARE reach the 2017-18 fundraising goal, click here to visit the website or click here to visit the Facebook page.

 

February 22, 2017

 

To Our AUSD Parents, Students, & Community Members,

 

On February 14, 2017, the Albany Board of Education unanimously adopted Resolution 2016-17-13 - Recognition of AUSD As A Safe Haven School District. This resolution declares AUSD a safe Haven School District and our schools as sensitive locations under a 2011 Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE) policy. It affirms the right of undocumented children to a public education and ensures that our students are provided a safe educational environment, serving as a safe haven school district for students and families, threatened by immigration enforcement or discrimination, to the fullest extent provided by the law.

 

The resolution declares that, agents of ICE or any other immigration law enforcement agency, be directed to the Superintendent before they will be allowed on any of our campuses.  I want to assure everyone that I will work carefully with legal counsel and fully vet any subpoena or court order before any decision is made to allow these officials onto our campuses.  The resolution also states that the district will not collect any data regarding the immigration status of students or their families.  Further, staff will not ask any student or their family about their immigration status. Let me assure you that we will not disclose personally identifiable information in a student's “educational records” to immigration officials without written parental consent, judicial order, or lawfully-issued subpoena.

 

I want to thank all the AUSD staff, parents, students, and community members who came to the School Board meeting on February 14th to support the Safe Haven School District resolution.  A special thank you to the Albany Community Action (ACA) group for attending the Board meeting and providing feedback and input on this resolution. Over the next few weeks, we will be writing Board policy in support of this resolution. We will notify the AUSD community when a draft of these policies will be brought to the Board of Education for review and discussion, and I encourage you to attend this meeting and provide your input.

 

To support our community, we have placed the following resources on a new Safe Haven School District section of our district website, and we are in the process of making these resources available in print. Printed copies will be found at all of our school sites, at the Albany public library, the Albany Community Center, the Albany Senior Center, the Albany Aquatics Center, and at Albany City Hall.  

 

***If you wish to see this message in Spanish, Persian or any other language, please go to www.ausdk12.org and click on the “Google Translate Bar” in the upper right hand corner. Then select your language, and the entire website will be translated as well as this message.

 

*** Si usted desea ver este mensaje en español, persa o cualquier otro idioma, por favor vaya a www.ausdk12.org y hacer clic en "Google Translate Bar" en la esquina superior derecha. A continuación, seleccione su idioma, y todo el sitio web será traducida al igual que este mensaje.

 

*** اگر شما مایل به دیدن این ارسال در اسپانیایی، فارسی و یا هر زبان دیگر، لطفا به www.ausdk12.org و کلیک بر روی "گوگل ترجمه نوار" در گوشه سمت راست بالا. سپس زبان خود را انتخاب کنید، و کل وب سایت خواهد شد و همچنین این ارسال ترجمه شده است.

 

We at AUSD join with and support our immigrant and refugee families during these unsettling times. As your Superintendent, I want to assure you that I will work closely with the City of Albany, local community organizations and businesses, the Alameda and Contra Costa County Offices of Education, and local and state politicians, to ensure our students and families are offered a protected space to learn. It is our diversity that makes us a proud community!  It is our diversity that makes us a welcoming district!  It is our diversity that makes us committed to promoting and elevating tolerance, inclusiveness, compassion, and kindness.

Thank you.

Val Williams, Superintendent

###

 

 Click here to access Superintendent Val Williams' January 2017 Video Message.

 

 

AUSD Staff, Parents, Students & Community,

 

I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year! As we move into the second half of our school year, I am pleased to announce that our staff is working hard to ensure that your children are receiving the best education Albany has to offer.

 

At our elementary sites, teachers are all on board with a new writing curriculum. This trimester, teachers are focusing on writing informational reports. In the spring, the focus will be on opinion and argument writing. At Albany Middle School, teachers are successfully transitioning to the Next Generation Science Standards, and at Albany High, teachers are moving towards implementing a new learning management software. I am so proud of our staff who are working diligently to ensure our students are provided a rigorous and robust education.

 

As you know, The Presidential Inauguration will occur on Friday, January 20th when Donald Trump is sworn in as the 45th President of the United States of America, and the peaceful transition of power is a cornerstone of our constitutional democracy.  

 

While the topic of the recent presidential election remains controversial, the inauguration and associated peaceful transition of power present multiple teachable moments in the history of our country.  It is vitally important that we maintain a safe and supportive school environment for all our students, as we know that elevated levels of student stress inhibit optimum learning.  In light of this complexity, we would like to remind our community that the Albany Unified School District school board policy provides guidance around the instruction of controversial topics, and it is a priority that we protect the health, safety and rights of all Albany students.

 

Public education for all is a unique American experience of which we are proud to be a part.  California schools are some of the most diverse and welcoming environments. Diversity of thought is not only welcome, but is central to the goal of educating students to be able to critically and compassionately navigate the complexities of our global society.

 

The Albany Unified School District remains committed to supporting each other’s differences and embrace diversity as a mechanism for uniting as one. I encourage parents to have conversations with their children to discuss the democratic process, the Presidential election and inauguration, and the right to freedom of expression.

 

This month, I would like to spotlight our Albany Music Fund. AMF grew out of the Albany Music Boosters, which supported music in Albany schools in the 1980’s and 90’s, preventing elimination of the elementary and middle school programs in 1987.  In 2002, the entire AUSD music program faced elimination.  Parents and teachers mobilized to save the music program district-wide and established Albany Music Fund (AMF).

Most of AMF’s funding comes from generous donors who support the music program, including parents and other family members of current students, music alumni and their families, as well as neighbors who feel strongly about a strong school music program in our community.  AMF also holds fundraising events and collects donations at school concerts.

These much needed funds support the purchase of new instruments and repair of existing instruments. AMF also purchases over $7,000 a year in sheet music and provide band, choir and musical theater T-shirts for elementary, middle and high school ensembles.  AMF funds send middle and high school vocal and instrumental students to festivals and competitions, and this year AMF is funding music for Kindergarten and Transitional Kindergarten students.

There are two important music events that you do not want to miss:

On Saturday, January 28th at 1:00 pm there will be a concert at Ocean View Elementary to support TK and Kindergarten music. In addition to TK and Kinder students, older elementary, middle and high school vocalists will also perform.  Admission is free, but I encourage everyone to donate what they can to support this outstanding program.

And, on Tuesday evening, January 31st, the AMS and AHS Jazz students will perform at Yoshi’s in Oakland.  This is the first year our AMS students have joined AHS onstage at this fun, music-filled night for all ages.  Tickets are available from AHS music students or online at 
Yoshi's.com.

 

Again, I want to wish everyone a Happy New Year, and I look forward to seeing you at one of our many community events.

 

Thank you.

 

Val Williams, Superintendent

Albany Unified School District

 

###

 

November 2016

 

 

AUSD Staff, Parents, Students & Community,

 

 

November is a special time of the year for giving thanks. We are fortunate to be in a community that works together to raise children to be thoughtful, caring, compassionate members of our society. I am proud to be in a district that teaches these traits in addition to providing a robust and rigorous academic education. It is important to ensure that Albany schools continue to be safe and inclusive and free from bias and discrimination.  Together we must continue to model these important values that we hold as a community.  I want to thank our administrators, teachers, and support staff for challenging and inspiring our students, and for teaching them to be critical thinkers, creative and innovative individuals, and to be socially & environmentally responsible. I also want to thank parents for being our partners in their children’s education. It is through our collaborative efforts that our children will have a bright future ahead of them.

 

 

To our Albany students: You are an inspiration to our community. You are intelligent, you have a strong voice, and you make a difference, more than you realize. You are our future leaders, and as your Superintendent, I want you to know that we have confidence in your ability to continue to make this a better community, country, and world in which to live. We are thankful for you!

 

 

I am especially thankful for our many fundraising groups who support our students in receiving a well-rounded education. Throughout this year, we will be showcasing each fundraising group so you, our community, know what they do and how fundraised money is spent.  Oh my! There are so many Acronyms, it’s hard to keep track. 

 

 

Here is a quick primer:

(click on the hyperlinks for more info)

AEF - Albany Education Fund

AMF - Albany Music Fund

SchoolCARE

ACF - Albany Community Foundation

PTAs - Cornell Elementary, Marin Elementary, Ocean View Elementary, Albany Middle School, and Albany High School PTSA (the extra S is for Student Representative)

AAB - Albany Athletic Boosters

 

 

This month we are showcasing the Albany Education Foundation aka AEF.  Did you know that AEF has been around since 1996!  It is the original Fundraising Group independent of the school sites.

  1.     They support Field Trips for students.
  2.    New Teachers Mini Grants to help defray the cost to set up classrooms.
  3.     Mini-Grantsfor Teachers to support new and innovative projects.
  4.     Block Grants which benefits a large numbers of students.  For example, new

instruments were funded for our 4th through 8th grades music program.

  1.   Legacy Donor Grants (Donor-Advised Grants) when an AEF donor requests that their gift be

used for a specific program/school/class/teacher.

  1. Special Grantsto provide for special opportunities that arise during the year

 

We are very fortunate to have the Albany Education Foundation as a major supporter of our school district. 

 

 

Please mark your calendar for two very important fundraising events:

December 3, 2016 is the Barnes and Noble Book Fair: A percentage of purchases will go to AEF.

February 11, 2017 is the AEF Champaign & Chocolate Gala. This is one of my favorite events.

 

 

I am so thankful and honored to work on behalf of our Albany students, parents, and staff, and I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving!

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Val Williams, Superintendent

Albany Unified School District

 

Be Thankful…

 

###

 

August 24, 2016

 

Dear AUSD Community:

 

Welcome to the 2016-17 school year! I hope everyone had a restful summer break and had time to reconnect with family and friends. I eagerly anticipate our students’ return to school on August 29th. I want to extend a special welcome to our new parents to Albany Schools. We are committed to a robust learning experience for all of our students, and we encourage you to become partners with us in your child’s learning journey in Albany. I hold three hopes for your child: that they become enthusiastically engaged in their learning, achieve their fullest potential, and grow to be positive contributing members of their school and larger community.

 

This year we will continue our focus on improving student achievement and enhancing learning opportunities for all students through a variety of successful strategies. I am proud to say that we have a strong Albany team. All of our staff are caring and compassionate educators, and they endeavor to create a physically and emotionally safe and inclusive learning environment for all students.

 

The most important work we do happens inside the classroom where teachers and students teach and learn together. We emphasize a professional learning community for our teachers so that they are prepared to provide the most engaging and effective instructional programs.

 

Our school district values our parents and community as our partners in ensuring that our students receive a robust educational experience. I encourage parents to join their school PTA/PTSA organization and to support our fundraising organizations, the Albany Education Foundation, Albany Music Fund, Albany Community Foundation, School Care, and Albany Athletics Boosters.

 

I want to say a special thank you to the Albany community for the successful passing of our two bond measures, Measures B and E. I encourage parent and community input as we move through the process of planning for schools that encourage innovation and creativity in our students and which prepares them for college, career and service to their community. Information on Measures B&E and facilities planning can be found on the AUSD website.

 

To our AUSD students: You are at an exciting time in your young lives, a time for you to be active participants in one of our most precious democratic rights, the right to a quality education. I encourage you to be an active leader in your learning journey and in your school. Join a club, sport, or student organization. Get involved because your voice matters! Make this year a great year!

 

Our staff is hard at work preparing our schools and classrooms for the new school year, and I am eager to see you all on August 29th

 

Val Williams, Superintendent

 ### 

May 2016

 

Albany Unified School District is proud of our many accomplishments.  Our schools are among the highest performing in the state.  We make it a priority to recruit, train, and retain highly qualified teachers that provide our students with a strong academic curriculum and innovative programs.  We believe that investing in our students, leadership, and schools prepare all students for college and 21st century careers.

 

Stakeholder engagement is a priority within our district.  The Board of Trustees solicited input from parents, staff, students, and community members as they conducted important conversations about facilities needs, priorities, and funding.  This year, many special Board meetings and workstudy sessions were scheduled and highly publicized.  We encouraged stakeholders to attend, listen, and engage in conversations at these important meetings. We also solicited input by sending a survey to Albany community stakeholders.

 

We listened to our community.  You told us to place a high value on low class size, school safety, and modern learning environments.  Improvements and upgrades to school facilities are needed to provide these desired modern flexible learning environments and to meet today’s seismic safety standards.  To accomplish this, the Board of Trustees voted to place two bond measure (Measures B&E) on the June election ballot.  The two bond measures will address safety and overcrowding within the schools. If Measures B & E receive the necessary voter approval to pass in the June election, we will appoint a bond oversight committee to ensure funds are used responsibly.  For more information on Measures B&E, visit the AUSD website at www.ausdk12.org.  We believe citizens should make themselves aware of the issues surrounding the bonds so that they can make an informed decision. It is important that Albany citizens register to vote in this upcoming election.  Please visit www.acgov.org/rov for more information on how to register to vote.

 

I want to thank parents, staff, students, and community members for your strong support of our schools.  I am proud to be your superintendent and proud to say that Albany is all about the schools.

 

 

Sincerely,

 

Val Williams, Superintendent

Albany Unified School District

 

 ###

November 30, 2015

 

Dear Albany Unified School District Community:

 

Our 2015-16 school year is off to a great start! After much collaboration with all of our stakeholders, our Local Control Accountability Plan was approved. In fact, Albany's Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) was selected as one of the very best plans in Alameda County specifically because of our stakeholder engagement process. The goal for this year is build on our success by specifically including more parents from underrepresented groups whose students struggle; specifically Black/African-American, Hispanic/Latino, and English Learners. Congratulations to the  LCAP Committee on their hard work and excellent leadership!

 

Our teachers are providing a robust and engaging curriculum and the best instructional strategies so that all of our students reach their full potential. This year, Elementary teachers are focused on providing a balanced literacy program and are about to make a decision on a new CA standards aligned writing program.  Elementary teaches are also in their second year of a new K-5 math adoption. They are using this adoption to its full potential by refining their practice and supplementing lessons where needed. Secondary teachers are in their first year of a new math adoption and are shifting the emphasis from number sense to reasoning and abstract thinking, necessary skills for our students to be successful in college and in future careers.

As we transition towards implementing the Next Generation Science Standards, we have established a science leadership team to work on incorporating the three new dimensions: scientific practices, disciplinary core ideas, and crosscutting concepts.

The new California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress includes the Smarter Balanced English and Math tests.  Albany USD completed the first administration last spring, and we are proud of our initial results. Since this is the first year that results will be provided, the information is considered a baseline for the progress we will be expected to make. We are confident that as students, teachers, and staff have more experience with the new curriculum and assessments, our students will demonstrate increased 21st century skills.

 

Stakeholder Input on Facilities Needs: Our local Albany Unified School District schools provide students with a strong academic curriculum and innovative programs that educate the whole child and prepare them for college and today’s careers. Our schools are among the highest performing in the state, and we believe that investing in our local schools produces strong student achievement.

 

Our schools are in need of improvements and upgrades to ensure classrooms support a modern flexible learning environment and meet today’s safety standards. Ocean View and Marin Elementary Schools require seismic safety upgrades. Improvements to classrooms and school facilities are also needed to address overcrowding and meet modern learning standards in subjects like science, technology, engineering and math. Cornell Elementary, Albany Middle School and Albany High School are in need of additional classrooms, science labs and learning spaces to address overcrowding issues. District-wide updates to instructional technology and infrastructure are also required to ensure all students have equal access and are skilled in the use of 21st century technology.

 

The Board of Trustees will be discussing these facilities needs and priorities, as well as how to fund them at several study sessions and School Board meetings this year. I encourage our parents, staff and community members to attend, listen to and provide input at these important meetings. Please see below for a schedule of meetings. We will also be sending a survey to the Albany community soliciting your input. You may complete the survey online or by mailing in the survey.

 

Please click here to access our survey: AUSD Facilities Survey

 

For more information about the needs of our schools or the potential school improvement bond measures, please contact superintendent.schools@ausdk12.org.

 

Board Work Study Dates:

December 8: City Hall at 7pm to 8:30pm (Revised time)

January 26: City Hall at 7pm to 8:30pm

 

Sincerely, 

 

Val Williams, Superintendent

 ###

August 13, 2015

Dear Albany Unified School District Community:

Welcome back to the 2015-2016 school year. As we prepare for a new school year, our AUSD dedicated employees have been working diligently all summer to prepare our schools and classrooms for learning. Construction crews have been installing new heating and air conditioning at Albany Middle School and the Albany Children’s Center, our maintenance and custodial crews are busy deep cleaning classrooms, hallways and offices, and learning materials are being ordered. Our goal is to provide a safe and nurturing learning environment where all students are able to maximize their potential.


Over the summer we hired several new teachers, and we are excited to welcome them to the Albany family. We are proud to say that we hire only the most highly qualified teachers. We are also pleased to introduce two new administrators to AUSD. Mr. Jeff Anderson is the new principal of Albany High School. Jeff comes from the Los Gatos/Saratoga School District where he was the principal of Saratoga High School for several years as well as the Assistant Superintendent of Educational Services for the district. Mr. David Haupert is the new assistant principal of Albany Middle School. David comes from Contra Costa County where he was a Spanish teacher at Pleasant Hill Middle School.

While students were enjoying their summer vacation, several of our staff attended professional development or entered into Science and Math fellowships to continue their education. I am proud that our Albany educators continue to pursue their own learning in order to provide the most rigorous and relevant curriculum and instructional strategies to our students.

This year will be an exciting year, with the implementation of Common Core State Standards, our second year of Smarter Balanced Assessments, and the exploration of Next Generation Science Standards. We will continue to provide professional development with the support of our elementary and secondary Teachers on Special Assignment in mathematics, science, and English language arts. Our Local Control Accountability Plan was developed with the input of over 40 stakeholder groups and community outreach. Our LCAP, aligned with our district’s strategic plan, will be the guide to providing the best possible learning opportunities and support services for our students.

We are very proud of our home and school partnerships. As parents, you are critical partners with the district in your children’s education. We know that your involvement makes a difference, and together we share a commitment to ensure that all students succeed. It is important that our students know that education should be valued. Whether your child is in preschool, elementary, middle or high school, please stay actively involved in your child’s education. Join and support your local PTA, attend your child’s extracurricular activities, volunteer in your child’s classroom, or join a committee like school site council. Most of all, take time daily to ask your child what he/she learned in school, read to or with your child each night, and contact your child’s teacher or principal if you have questions or concerns about what your child is learning.

I wish you all a wonderful school year, and I look forward to seeing you at Back to School Night and at school and district events this year.

Sincerely,

 

Val Williams, Superintendent 

 ###
 
June 2015 
 
Dear AUSD Staff: I am amazed at how quickly the school year has gone. There have been so many accomplishments that our  amazing AUSD staff have made. Albany High School received their WASC accreditation for another 6 years, and this month AHS was designated a California Gold Ribbon School.  The Gold Ribbon Schools award is temporarily taking the place of the California Distinguished Schools Award. Our Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) Advisory Committee, consisting of parents and staff, has been meeting regularly this year to review this year’s LCAP and to write the LCAP for the 2015-16 school year. Our LCAP will go to the Alameda County Office of Education later this month for approval. The LCAP, the District’s strategic plan and our district budget must be in alignment to ensure that our students receive the best possible education.   In April and May, our students began taking the Smarter Balanced Assessment (SBAC) which is the state assessment that took the place of the California Standards Test (CST). Students in grades 3-8 and 11 took the SBAC tests in English Language Arts and Mathematics, which consisted of computer-adaptive, short answer questions and rigorous performance tasks that are aligned to the new California State Standards. Our teachers have been preparing their students all year for the Common Core State Standards, and our students were well prepared for their first year of SBAC testing.   This year, we reviewed each of the three strategies in the District’s strategic plan. We conducted three work study sessions with the Board of Trustees and parent, student and staff representatives to answer two essential questions: “What do students need to succeed” and “What do students need to succeed given their unique circumstances?” The work study sessions provided these stakeholder groups to engage in a collaborative discussion to determine what is working well, where there are challenges, and what we need to do in the 2015-16 school year to meet our strategic goals. The information we gathered from each of these work study sessions will be used in our LCAP process and to guide our strategic planning for next year.   This spring, we honored our teachers and classified employees for their outstanding contribution, commitment, professionalism and passion to ensuring that our students are provided a rigorous and relevant curriculum, a safe and nurturing place to learn, and the skills they will need to be successful in college, in their careers and as productive citizens. I cannot express how proud I am of our entire AUSD staff for the selfless service they provide to our students and to the Albany community. In June, we will be honoring all of our volunteers who provide countless hours of time and energy to our students. From classroom volunteers and field trip chaperones to volunteer tutors, coaches, mentors, drivers, builders, gardeners, bakers and artists, we could not provide such a robust and well-rounded education to our students without you!   We are in the “home stretch” for the 2014-15 school year, and our end of the year activities and celebrations are upon us. I encourage all of our students to learn as much as you can in the remaining weeks of school. A good runner does not slow down because she can see the finish line ahead. Think strong, be strong, finish strong!
 
Sincerely,
 
Val Williams,
Superintendent
 
 ###
 
March 2015
 
Dear AUSD Staff:
 
Communication and Outreach: We are working diligently to improve our outreach and communications efforts to all of our school/community stakeholders. In the Fall, we conducted a Board work study session on our Strategic Plan’s Strategy #1: Assessing and Increasing Academic Success. At the February 22nd Board meeting, students, staff and Board Trustees engaged in a table talk conversation about Strategy #2: Educating the Whole Child. Participants in this table talk addressed two essential questions: What do students need to succeed and What do students need to succeed given their unique circumstances?  In May, we will continue our table talk discussion on Strategy #3: Communicating and Leading Together. The information gathered will be used to inform district staff on how to improve access and services to ensure our students are successful and to improve communication and partnerships with our AUSD/community stakeholders. Board Meeting Highlights are now being sent to all AUSD staff within a few days after the bi-monthly Board meetings. This is a great opportunity for our staff to know what is going on at our Board meetings.  Board meetings are videotaped and can be watched by going to our AUSD website. I am continuing my “campus visits” every Friday where I visit a different school each week. I will continue to visit classrooms and make myself accessible for staff should you have any concerns, issues or just want to stop and chat. Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) Committee and Stakeholder Input: We need you! Do you want to have a say in how our District uses its limited resources? The Local Control Accountability Plan Committee ….. LCAP Advisory Committee meeting(s) will be held on the following four (4) date(s) from 5:30 - 6:30 p.m. at the Albany Middle School Library, 1259 Brighton Avenue: Wed., 2/11/15, Wed., 3/11/15, Wed., 4/8/15, Wed., 5/13/15 Albany USD is named Keep America Beautiful National District Division Winners! Albany Unified School District, with the cooperation from the City of Albany, StopWaste.org, and most recently the help from Commercial Industrial Waste Applications, Inc (CIWA), were announced as National District Division Winners! The Albany Children's Center was also announced National Food Scrap Collection Champions, and Cornell Elementary School was named a national school division winner! All of our staff and students have been doing so well this year with reducing food waste and increasing recycling efforts that all six of our sites swept the California school rankings! I am so proud of our Albany students and staff for “walking the talk” and taking the leadership to protect our planet from unnecessary waste. Also, the Keep California Recycling Challenge is coming up in March, and with stats as good as ours, we can win up to $12,000. We will also be exploring other cash award opportunities by entering a CSBA competition. See the link below for more details. Link: http://recycle-bowl.org/2014-recycle-bowl-winners/ Courageous Conversations about Student Use of Drugs. A Call to Action! Prescription drug abuse is one of the nation’s fastest growing drug problems. According to the Clinton Foundation, “One misconception among students is that prescription drugs are "safer" than illegal narcotics.” “It is important for students to understand the large risks associated with misusing prescription drugs and make decisions based on risk reduction and personal responsibility for one's actions.”  We know that Albany is not immune to the stresses that students face growing up in today’s society, and this is an opportunity for our entire Albany school community to speak openly, honestly and firmly with our children about the consequences of risky behaviors. I urge all parents to speak with their children about the dangers of taking someone else's prescription medication. Have a great Spring. Remember to take time in your busy work week to take care of yourself!
 
Sincerely,
 
Val Williams,
Superintendent
 
 ###
October 31, 2014
 
Dear AUSD Staff,
 
We are well into the 2014-15 school year, and as I visit school sites, I am so impressed with the quality of teaching and learning that is occurring in our district. We are implementing Common Core State Standards (CCSS) and the Smarter Balanced Assessments (SBAC) which will provide our students with the knowledge and skills to be prepared for 21st Century college and career experiences. In fact, a Kindergartner today will probably live into the 22nd Century! Educators today are faced with educating students to be life-long learners for a future that holds such tremendous possibilities and opportunities that we can’t even begin to predict. To prepare our students to participate in a competitive and global workforce, Albany High School and the district are participating in a regional Career Pathways Trust (CPT) grant which will support the development of career pathways at AHS and which has the possibility to grow into a district-wide TK-12 career pathways focus. The CPT grant allows schools to create a pathway which will actively and meaningfully engage students in connecting what they are learning in school to postsecondary education and careers. AUSD has formed strong partnerships with our local community colleges and universities to continue our work in providing a seamless and smooth transition from high school to college. We are also faced with a new State educational funding model called the Local Control Funding Formula (LCFF) and the Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) which will require AUSD staff and our parent community to engage in the process of developing specific goals for student achievement, measuring the progress we make towards those goals, and recommending how resources are used to reach these goals. While the State of California is using the LCFF to provide much needed fiscal resources to school districts with a higher proportion of underserved students, the Albany School District will receive less money under LCFF.   Please look forward to an invitation to join our “LCAP-LCFF Advisory Committee.” With our commitment to ensuring open communication and transparency to the Albany community, our School Board has begun the process of engaging in discussions around district budget and program priorities to ensure that our students continue to receive the highest quality education. The success of every student is always our number one priority. In September, the Board held a work study session to review the current status of the district’s budget and to discuss key stakeholder engagement and communication. There will be several more opportunities for our community to provide input and engage in this process, and we will be communicating frequently via our district website, through our Facebook page, through PTA e-trees, at town hall meetings, and at Board meetings and Board work study sessions. As Superintendent, I am committed to keeping you informed, and I encourage the AUSD community to check our district website for additional information and to attend our school board meetings. I want to sincerely thank our PTAs, parent clubs, booster organizations, foundations and community organizations for their outstanding financial and volunteer support.  I strongly encourage you to be actively involved in your student’s education and these organizations. Your support and participation is greatly appreciated, and our students directly benefit from robust enrichment programs such as music, performing arts, outdoor education, chess & strategy games, field trips, and so much more. I enjoy meeting each of you, so if you see me at a school or in town, please take a moment to introduce yourself and share your thoughts about the Albany Unified School District.  We thank you for entrusting us with your children’s education, and we are committed to ensuring that every student receives a well-rounded, high quality education and an enhanced and enriched learning experience!
 
Sincerely,
 
Val Williams,
Superintendent
 
 ###
 
August, 2014
 
Dear Parents:
 
Welcome to the 2014-15 school year! I would like to take a few minutes to introduce myself to you and share some important information about our school district. I am from Kailua which is a small town on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. I attended Hawaii public schools from Kindergarten through graduation from high school and then matriculated to the University of Hawaii where I received a Bachelor of Arts degree in Speech/Communication as well as a Professional Teaching Diploma in Secondary Education with a major in English. After I moved to California, I received my California Teaching Credential and Educational Leadership Credential from San Jose State University. I have 30 years of experience as a middle and high school teacher and leader in public education. While I have no children of my own, I cherished the 150 “children” I had each day for the 13 years I was a teacher.   I am thrilled to be part of the Albany Unified School District and serve as your Superintendent. One of the most important goals I have is to get to know you, our schools and our community. I look forward to meeting and working with you this year. To kick off the new school year, I have scheduled three “Meet & Greet” events: Board Meeting 8/12 from 5:30 - 6:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. at Albany City Hall (revised) Community Dessert 8/25 at 2:00 - 3:00 p.m. at Memorial Park Board Meeting 8/26 from 6:00 p.m. - 6:30 p.m. at Albany City Hall   Watch for news about the Back to School Night directly from your child’s school.  Back to School Nights is an important opportunity for you to meet your child’s teacher and to preview the planned program of instruction for the year. Mark your calendars now for these important Back to School Nights dates: Ocean View, Cornell, & Elementary Schools is September 11, 2014 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.; Albany Middle School is September 18, 2014 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.; and Albany High School is September 17, 2014 from 7:00 to 9:00 p.m.   Our focus in the Albany Unified School District is to ensure that all students are academically successful, that we support the whole child and that we communicate and lead together. This year, the focus will be: To continue to improve teaching and learning; To ensure that students are provided the necessary intervention and support programs to be academically and socially successful; and To ensure that our students are provided a comprehensive educational experience with expanded opportunities for engagement, enrichment and academic growth.   As parents, you are critical partners with the District in your children’s education.  We know that your involvement makes a difference. Together, we can maximize the learning potential for all of our students and insure that each one is successful. We look forward to you joining us in this important partnership.   We wish you the very best as you and your family begin this new school year.  
 
Sincerely,
Val Williams, Superintendent
 
 ###
 
 
September 2015
 
Albany Community:
 
I begin this journey as Superintendent of Albany Unified School District in a climate of exciting change, and I can’t wait to start! With the implementation of the Common Core State Standards that requires universal standards for all students, I am confident that AUSD will continue its tradition of academic excellence for which Albany is well-known. The AUSD Board of Trustees and district staff have created strategic initiatives and goals that are focused on student achievement, supporting the whole child and effective communication with all stakeholders. I am also excited to join a district that has a long history of providing a safe and nurturing environment, and one that focuses on providing a well-rounded education for our students. From quality music and art programs and strong educational technology to librarians in each of our schools and highly qualified science and physical education specialists, the students in Albany are provided a rich learning environment preparing them for 21st Century learning. I began my career as a middle school English and Speech teacher in Hawaii in 1985 then moved to California where I taught high school English at Valley Christian High School in San Jose and 11 years in the East Side Union High School District. I have extensive experience as a site administrator, beginning as an Associate Principal at Independence High School in San Jose in 1998 and then spending five years as the Principal of Wood Middle School in Alameda. I transitioned to the Fremont Unified School District, where I served as both the Director of Student Services and the Director of Certified Personnel. I currently serve as the Assistant Superintendent of Human Resources in the Dublin Unified School District, where I oversee hiring, recruitment, evaluation and personnel administration for one of the fastest-growing school districts in Northern California. My leadership style is based on trust, respect, collaboration, empowering others, and good old fashioned hard work. I am also a firm believer in supporting the health and wellness of our Albany staff and know the value of balancing work with family, outside activities and personal growth. While I am not the poster child for practicing a well-balanced life, in my spare time, I am an avid runner and yoga practitioner. I spent five (5) exchange days at AUSD during the months of May & June and thoroughly enjoyed my brief visits and tours of the school sites (see photos). I spent the remainder of my time gathering operational knowledge from staff at the District Office. I officially took office on July 1st. Meetings with students, staff, parents, and the community are scheduled, and the tentative schedule is listed below. • 8/12/14 – 6:00 p.m. Board of Education Meeting – (1st Board-Hosted Reception with the Community) • 8/25/14 - 12:00 Noon - All Staff BBQ • 8/25/14 - 2:00 p.m. – Dessert with the Community • 8/22, 23, & 25 –Site Orientations (TBD) • 8/26/14 – 6:00 p.m. Board of Education Meeting - (2nd Board-Hosted Reception with the Community) I look forward to taking on the leadership as the Superintendent!
 
Sincerely,
 
Val Williams, Superintendent
 
 ###