ESUSD Superintendent's Message - April 21, 2022

Dear ESUSD Employees, Families and Community,

Spring is upon us and reminds us that this is the time for renewal, a time for everyone to keep their energy high and focus forward with only seven weeks remaining in the school year. Here is a comprehensive update regarding important El Segundo Unified School District (ESUSD) announcements and upcoming events.

Happy Earth Day!

One of the ESUSD Board’s Goals for the Future is to implement practices and procedures that demonstrate environmental stewardship to reduce the overall environmental impact of district schools. I am proud to acknowledge our Environmental Committee that has been working diligently to reengage environmental practices that were paused during the pandemic. This dynamic committee consists of parents, teachers, administrators and students. Refer to your school’s newsletter for opportunities to get involved in our efforts to be good stewards of the environment!

Phuong Uzoff Receives Prestigious Recognition

Dr. Phuong Uzoff is a highly gifted educator who teaches Project Lead the Way for kindergarten through fifth grade students at Richmond Street School, introducing them to science, technology, art, engineering and math. The District is thrilled to share the news that Dr. Uzoff was recently named a 2022 California Finalist for Presidential Awards for Excellence in Mathematics and Science Teaching (PAEMST). PAEMST program is administered by the National Science Foundation on behalf of the White House Office of Science and Technology Policy. See website story here.

 

Welcome new El Segundo High School Principal Steve Gebhart

At the ESUSD Board of Education meeting on April 12, 2022, the Board appointed Steve Gebhart as the new principal of El Segundo High School. His appointment is effective July 1, 2022. Gebhart has 22 years of experience in secondary education all within the Los Angeles Unified School District. He began his career in education as a high school English teacher for 12 years. He was then promoted to assistant principal at Los Angeles High School where he served from 2012-2014, followed by an appointment as principal of Dana Middle School where he served for six years. In August 2020 during unprecedented times in education, he was named principal of San Pedro High School. The high school serves 2,600 students on two campuses and employs a staff of more than 200. In addition to the traditional pathway, San Pedro High includes a school for advanced studies, visual and performing arts, a gifted STEAM Magnet, Marine Science Magnet, Police Academy Magnet, an athletics program featuring 20 sports, and an award-winning band and auxiliary. Gebhart remains a teacher first, is grounded in the classroom, and his knowledge of curriculum and instructional best practices is notable. He values a trauma-informed approach in leadership and school operations. This approach focuses on building relationships, both student-to-adult and adult-to-adult, in an effort to create an environment of support and understanding so all people on campus can function at their best, be successful and, most importantly, feel supported and understood. See website story here.

Addition of Temporary Crossing Guard

The City of El Segundo and ESUSD have had a long-standing partnership to ensure our students are safe. I am pleased to share I received word from Darrell George, Interim City Manager that starting on Monday, April 25th there will be a crossing guard at the Grand and Center Street intersection. This temporary crossing guard will remain in place until the end of the school year. During this time, City personnel will be assessing the traffic at the intersection to determine best next step moving forward. In addition, El Segundo Police Chief Jaime Bermudez and I have discussed the development of an awareness campaign to educate the students as well.

It is important to note that we all collectively share in the responsibility for safety. Parents/guardians and students must remain vigilant and mindful of traffic safety, especially when coming to and from our school campuses. It is unfortunate that we experienced two incidents of vehicle/pedestrian contact at El Segundo Middle School in the last week. Drivers are reminded to be extra cautious when in the vicinity of schools, as students can be coming from all directions in all manners of transportation, (foot, bike, scooter, skateboard). Students have been reminded to only cross the streets at marked intersection.

Important Announcement from CDPH Regarding Vaccination

The California Department of Public Health (CDPH) has announced that any state requirement for students to be vaccinated against COVID-19 will not take effect before July 1, 2023. When Gov. Gavin Newsom announced plans last October to add the COVID-19 shot to the list of required vaccinations for K-12 students, the state said full approval by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) was a precondition to initiating the process. Currently, the FDA has fully approved Pfizer and Moderna vaccines only for people age 16 and older. Even if vaccines for younger children are fully approved between now and the next school year, that would not leave much time to implement a requirement.

In a statement, the CDPH said: "To ensure sufficient time for successful implementation of new vaccine requirements, California will not initiate the regulatory process for a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for the 2022-2023 school year and as such, any vaccine requirements would not take effect until after full FDA approval and no sooner than July 1, 2023."  Read the full statement here.

Vaccination Status for Volunteers

ESUSD is pleased to reengage volunteers in our classrooms and on campus. The August 11, 2021, CDPH order that requires schools to verify the vaccine status of volunteers is still in effect. ESUSD continues to actively monitor all COVID requirements and adjust our practices when a requirement is lifted. It is important to note that since the state public health department put this requirement into effect, they are the agency that is responsible to lift it. ESUSD must remain compliant with the state public health order. The details of the CDPH Order can be found here.

Upcoming Events

  • PTA Council Run for Education: Entering its 30th year, the Run for Education is both a major fundraiser hosted by El Segundo PTA Council for El Segundo’s K-12 public schools, and one of the unique USATF certified 5k/10k courses in Southern California. Volunteers are still needed for the April 30th event, and you can sign up here. If you would like to participate, you must register here.
  • El Segundo Ed! Foundation Gala: Entering its 10th year, the Ed! Gala is the signature community event in El Segundo hosted by the El Segundo Ed! Foundation. This year the Gala is scheduled for Friday, May 13th at 6:00 pm at Chevron Park. If you would like to attend, tickets may be purchased here.
  • Promotions and Graduations: Please refer to your child’s school newsletter for specific information regarding preschool promotion, fifth grade promotion, eighth grade promotion and high school graduation. We look forward to welcoming our families back on campus for these events.

Closing Thoughts

It has been wonderful for me to visit classrooms at all sites this semester. I am continually impressed with the teaching and learning taking place on all our campuses. I observe students smiling and actively engaged. All of us in ESUSD are fully committed to thoughtfully restoring a semblance of normalcy in our school community for our students, and the joy we see as we have all come back together is clearly evident and invigorating.

With gratitude that we are in this together,

 

Melissa Moore, Ed.D.

Superintendent

El Segundo Unified School District

 

4/22/21