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Bulkin’s Back To School Message

As the Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools, it gives me great pride to welcome our county’s young people back to school. The purpose of the American school system is to provide for the fullest possible development of each learner for living morally, creatively, and productively in a democratic society. It is difficult to measure the effect education has on a child in just one school year, but we have witnessed time and time again, that at the center of this endeavor called education is the teacher. Teachers are among the most influential and life-changing role models for a developing child and adolescent. I am grateful to these dedicated professionals who invest in the achievement and success of our students and help shape the future of our community.

In California, student progress is measured by multiple factors: high school graduation rates, preparation for college/career, achievement in English language arts, literacy and mathematics, reduced chronic absenteeism, reduced suspension rates, and English learner progress. Additionally, each school district and/or charter school develops local indicators such as teacher qualifications, safe and clean buildings, textbooks for all students, student safety, connection to school, and parent involvement. Each of these indicators is integral in measuring overall school effectiveness which may be viewed on the California School Dashboard website which shows how districts and schools, including charter schools, are performing.

I am encouraged by the progress being made in Tuolumne County as schools have worked to make significant changes to meet new standards for English language arts, math and literacy that accompany college and career readiness intended to develop students’ core academic, technical and employability skills. Adding to this approach is expanded access to career pathways and/or college level course work linked to certificates, associate degrees and or higher education opportunities at Columbia College. Through our partnership with Columbia College, 215 high school students are dual enrolled in fall semester college courses this school year, and 275 seniors from the class of 2018 took advantage of the Columbia College Promise of free tuition and enrolled at Columbia College in the Fall.

Over the past few years, our county has experienced moderate fluctuations in student enrollment. While it is still too early to report the official enrollment count, which is tabulated annually on “Census Day” in October, enrollment after the first two weeks of school was reported at 6,171 students attending public schools; about 100 more students over last year’s Fall enrollment.

On behalf of all of the educators who support the development of our young people, best wishes to our new and returning students for a successful and enriching school year ahead!

-Margie Bulkin, Tuolumne County Superintendent of Schools.