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Welcome Back To School

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.

One way we measure student achievement is through the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) where students in grades three through eight and eleven take assessments measuring achievement in English language arts, literacy and mathematics. The State Superintendent of Public Instruction Tom Torlakson announced this week that California students made significant progress in the second year of the California Assessment of Student Performance and Progress (CAASPP) online tests, with the percentage of students meeting or exceeding standards increasing at every grade and in every student group, and similar results were reported for Tuolumne County. “The higher test scores show that the dedication, hard work, and patience of California’s teachers, parents, school employees, and administrators are paying off. Together we are making progress towards upgrading our education system to prepare all students for careers and college in the 21st century,” Torlakson said.

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.

For several years our county’s schools have experienced moderate declining enrollment from approximately 6,400 students countywide in 2011 down to 6,000 students in 2015.  While it is still too early to report the official enrollment count (which is tabulated annually on “Census Day” on the first Wednesday in October), enrollment this week was reported at 6,286 students attending Tuolumne County public schools.  That’s a considerable increase from past years (see graph) and a welcome upward trend. Best wishes to all of our new and returning students for a successful and productive school experience this year!

Time Series Public School Enrollment Graph, Tuolumne County Public Schools. DATA QUEST: California Department of Education, 1996-1997 school year through 2015-2016 school years.

Tuolumne School enrollment chart

DATA QUEST: California Department of Education, 1996-1997 school year through 2015-2016 school years