Eyes on our Schools: February 2019

This is my second full month as Board of Education President since being installed in December. Reaching out to the community with updates and information has been an idea that we as a school board have wanted to do for some time now and here is our first message. I plan to share the latest achievements and news happening in our schools each month at this time.

I want to start by thanking our entire Downey Unified School District family for all they do for our students. I want to point out that in my view our family consists of each teacher, administrator, instructional assistant, office manager, cafeteria worker, bus driver, maintenance worker, attendance clerk, mom, dad, aunt, uncle, grandma, grandpa, even just a kind friend or neighbor. They all truly affects the lives of our youth and I just want to recognize and thank each of you for all you do.

Nancy Swenson, Bobbi Samperi and Giggy Perez-Saab on a visit to Gallatin Elementary.

Nancy Swenson, Bobbi Samperi and Giggy Perez-Saab on a visit to Gallatin Elementary.

Now let’s get into some district highlights! First, we are so excited to announce the official kick-off of Downey Unified’s new Dual Language Immersion program. The Global Language Academies of Downey (GLAD) will open its doors in the 2019-20 school year at Carpenter Elementary School and we couldn’t be prouder. With this inaugural year just around the corner we will start by offering this new Spanish/English immersion program with TK and Kindergarten students, then we will grow a grade-level each year. In the coming years our goal would be to expand this GLAD program. If you would like more information on this new program, visit Downey Unified’s website (www.dusd.net).

Next, I want to give huge congratulations to Warren High, Columbus High and Doty Middle schools for their most recent accomplishments! Earlier in February, Warren High School celebrated receiving the designation of Special Olympics Unified Champion School. Warren was visited by ESPN’s Neil Everett and former ice-skating Olympian Michelle Kwan, where they were presented a banner for their national recognition as one of five “ESPN Top 5” Banner Schools from across the country for making their campus one that’s centered around inclusion. This means the staff and students worked very hard to successfully include special education students in many activities such as cheer, basketball and track and field.

As a graduate of Warren High, I couldn’t be prouder of my alma mater.

National Unified Champion School Banner.jpg

Now for Columbus High. Their success started in 2010 when they passed a WASC accreditation process which validates the integrity of a school’s programs. And now to add to that they have been named a 2019 Model Continuation High School by the California Department of Education because of their continued work with students who have faced many challenges all while getting them back on the pathway to learning. How cool is that?

Last but certainly not least, Doty Middle School recently received the nationally recognized Schools to Watch designation! What can’t our schools do?!? Doty was selected as a high-performing model school that demonstrates academic excellence, social equity and responsiveness to the needs of young adolescents... I think that about says it all! Doty now joins last year’s Schools to Watch recipients Griffiths and Stauffer middle schools.

I want to thank all of the teachers and staff members at Warren High, Columbus High and Doty Middle schools for ALL of their hard work in making these awards and designations possible! We could not have accomplished these goals if it wasn’t for your dedication and drive. I, and all of my fellow Board members, truly thank you!

Each month I’m going to close by inviting the entire Downey community to a few upcoming events so let’s start with a great event supporting True Lasting Connections (TLC) Family Resource Center! For those of you who may not know, this Saturday is the Healthy Downey 5K for TLC and all are welcome to come show support and even run/walk (registration is still open).

This community event, which begins at 8 a.m. at Apollo Park, directly benefits the Downey Unified students through the TLC Family Resource Center. I truly hope to see you there!

It is also Open House season across Downey Unified and I’d like to extend an invitation to any of our schools’ Open Houses! Primarily beginning at 5:30 p.m. or 6 p.m., the majority of our schools have upcoming Open Houses through the end of March.

Visit your home school’s event or travel to another school to see the incredible programs, teachers, classrooms and facilities across the district.

Make sure to keep an eye out for other activities being advertised on social media as well as on school marquees. I can’t wait to reach out next month and tell you about more amazing achievements and updates within Downey Unified!

Nancy A. Swenson
President, Downey Unified Board of Education

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