The following message from ESUSD Superintendent Melissa Moore was emailed to ESUSD families and employees on May 20, 2022.

Dear ESUSD Employees, Families and Communities,

It is hard to believe there are only three weeks remaining in the school year. I am continually amazed at the resilience and perseverance of our students and staff. At this time, I have several noteworthy announcements to share with our community.

ESUSD Receives 2022 Pivotal Practice Award from California Dept. of Education 
The California Department of Education (CDE) recently recognized the El Segundo Unified School District (ESUSD) with a 2022 Pivotal Practice Award which celebrates schools and districts that implemented an innovative practice during the 2020–21 school year, when California required schools to offer distance learning due to the COVID-19 pandemic. In a period when pandemic disruptions made it hard to collect data for statewide assessments, the CDE created the Pivotal Practice Award to honor the efforts of schools and districts that designed and implemented unique opportunities and strategies to support students in this unprecedented time. A total of 121 school districts received the honor, which recognizes achievement in student engagement, distribution of technology, nutrition services, and social emotional well-being of students. ESUSD received the recognition for the RULER social-emotional learning program.

ESHS Earns Top Marks in U.S. News & World Report 2022 Best High Schools Rankings 
I am pleased to share that El Segundo High School (ESHS) has earned impressive marks in U.S. News & World Report’s 2022 Best High Schools rankings. ESHS ranks in the top 2 percent of public high schools in the nation, and the top 3 percent of public high schools in the state of California, according to the report released in April 2022. U.S. News & World Report reviewed nearly 24,000 public high schools, assessing six factors for each school. The key metrics used are graduation rates and college readiness, state assessment proficiency, state assessment performance, underserved student performance, and college curriculum breadth.

Teacher Appreciation and Classified Employee Acknowledgement 
At the two Board of Education meetings in May, the Board recognized our employees of the year, acknowledged teacher appreciation and shined a spotlight on the hard work of classified employees. In ESUSD, our certificated staff includes 161 teachers, 1 librarian, 2 reading specialists, and 6 counselors. In addition, the District has 4 speech and language pathologists, 4 school psychologists, and 6 other certificated faculty. All of these individuals make a profound impact on the lives of our students each day by teaching or providing support services.

ESUSD also employs 75 full time and 149 part time classified staff members. Classified employees are responsible for the day-to-day operation of school business. Schools could not operate successfully without the contributions of classified employees. We are fortunate to have a great team of classified employees making such a positive impact on the lives of our students as well!

I commend the collective efforts of the ESUSD classified staff, faculty, and administration for collectively achieving significant accomplishments district-wide. I would also like to express my gratitude to all parents, business partners and community members who generously contributed towards honoring all employees earlier this month with heartfelt notes, hospitality and special tokens of appreciation.

Administrative Update for the 2022/23 School Year 
I am grateful to the El Segundo PTA Council for recognizing the school and district administrators for their collective leadership efforts throughout tremendous uncertainty during these last two years of pandemic disruption applauding the team at this year’s PTA Honorary Service Award program on May 10th. One member of this team is Mr. Adam Wright, Principal at El Segundo Middle School (ESMS). I regret to inform you of Mr. Wright’s decision to resign as principal at ESMS as of June 30, 2022. Sometimes, life happens and circumstances change, and thus Mr. Wright will be relocating. I would like to acknowledge Mr. Wright’s steadfast leadership and dedication to the students during this challenging period of time and thank him for his service. I recognize this is a thoughtful decision that was not made lightly and appreciate the time and energy Mr. Wright has spent at ESMS and wish him all the best in this next chapter.

In order to continue to provide continuity for our students, parents and staff, I am bringing a recommendation to the Board of Education on May 24, 2022, to appoint Sarah Davlantis as Principal at ESMS starting July 1, 2022. Mrs. Davlantis is a 19-year educator who has served as assistant principal at ESHS and ESMS, intervention specialist, leadership and WASC chair and social studies teacher. She earned her master’s degree in educational administration from Pepperdine University and her bachelor’s degree from Brigham Young University. She has received specialized training in inclusion, multi-tiered system of support, RULER for social emotional learning, achievement teams and AVID. Mrs. Davlantis will bring further stability to ESMS as she has proven to be a strong leader throughout her tenure in ESUSD, and she brings a unique understanding of the district having attended schools here as a student herself.

With the proposed shift of Mrs. Davlantis from ESHS, I will also be bringing a recommendation to the Board of Education on Tuesday to appoint Mr. Ali Rabiei as Assistant Principal at ESHS. I am confident that Ali Rabiei will be a tremendous asset to incoming Principal Steve Gebhardt and that this continuity in leadership will also be well-received by students, parents and staff alike. Mr. Rabiei has been with the district since 2011 and has served in a variety of capacities including director of maintenance and operations, assistant principal at ESMS, assistant principal at ESHS and acting principal at both ESHS and ESMS. He earned his master’s degree in sociology from California State University-Dominguez Hills and bachelor’s degrees in political science and sociology from University of California, Irvine. He is known for his tremendous follow through, prompt response time, commitment to student safety, and affinity for regulations.

Furthermore, a comprehensive high school such as ESHS requires dedicated administrative time and attention in order to address the numerous responsibilities and demands. In order to better address the complexities and needs at the high school, the District will be adding a second assistant principal for the 2022/23 school year.

Celebrate the Arts 
With Spring, comes another opportunity to celebrate the arts. I commend Glen Sidwell and Randi Goodman for facilitating extraordinarily successful drama performances earlier this month. In addition, music remains alive and well! Spring songs are in the air, and I appreciate the tremendous efforts of Rebecca Wright, Karen Carver, Rosalind Darbeau and Gianna Summers to celebrate their students through choral concerts. Bill Flaherty and Tony Bancroft hosted middle school instrumental music concerts outdoors. Rosalind Darbeau’s middle and high school strings students also displayed their musical talents at recent performances. Lastly Bill Flaherty and the mighty Eagles marching band and auxiliary also participated in field competition.

COVID-19 Update 
The ESUSD COVID-19 Dashboard currently reflects positive cases at all of our schools. District-wide our case rate is less than three percent of the student body. The Los Angeles County Department of Public Health reported that the weekly case rate has climbed to 202 per 100,000 residents, which surpasses the bar of 200 the CDC has set for the medium community spread level. At this time, the current health order stands and no change for school districts has been issued as of yet, but as you know, masking is strongly recommended when indoors and if your child is exposed to COVID-19, you will receive a letter from the school that will inform you regarding the specific masking and testing requirements that pertain to your child in order to remain in class. ESUSD will continue to monitor any changes in the health order and adjust our protocols accordingly.

In Closing 
As we look ahead, it is imperative we all work together to celebrate our students: our seniors at graduation and our Eagle’s Nest, fifth graders, and eighth grade students at their upcoming promotions. Now more than ever, it is important to cherish the milestone moments in our children’s lives! 

Take care and be well,

Melissa Moore, Ed.D. 
ESUSD Superintendent