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WEAVER UNION SCHOOL DISTRICT


November 6, 2006



Dear Parents and Guardians:

For the past several years, I have tried to write an end-of-the-month district newsletter to you in an effort to keep our parents and guardians informed on various topics that I considered important concerning our district. Over the years, because of our school calendar, it has become increasingly difficult to do a monthly newsletter. This year, I will be trying something new. Instead of trying to get out a monthly newsletter, I will be sending out a quarterly newsletter, of which this is the first edition. This year's district newsletters will be coming out shortly after the end of each quarter. The newsletters may be a bit thicker than in the past, but I hope the information contained in them remains relevant for you.

As the district continues to grow, we have had to add several new teachers to accommodate our growth in student enrollment so far. This year we have added, through a combination of growth and teachers leaving the district, 13 new teachers for the 2006-2007 school year. The district has added to the staff of Pioneer Elementary School: Sabrina Butler, Lisa Camp, Pam Daly, Peter DiPiazza, Jodi Ellison, Christine Green, Christine Heather, and Sherry O'Brien. At Weaver, the district has added Kimberly Tejeda-Cochran, Kathleen Porter, Edward Regalado, and Laura Tooley. In addition to the above-mentioned teachers, the district has also added Andrea Devoe to the staff of Weaver School as the school Counselor. Another new face this year at the district level is Elizabeth Allen. Mrs. Allen is the district's new Speech Therapist and will be working with students at both Weaver and Pioneer Elementary Schools. We are very happy to add these new certificated staff members to the Weaver family. I think they will be fine additions to an already-outstanding staff.

District enrollment for this year has continued our recent trend of rapid growth in enrollment. Currently, student enrollment at Pioneer stands at 1,060 students, while student enrollment at Weaver currently stands at 1,306 students, giving the district a combined enrollment of 2,366 students. Last year at this time, combined district enrollment was 2,115 students. This means that district enrollment has increased over 250 students from October of last year. That is a growth rate of over 10% and makes our district the fastest growing district in the county. It also means that, since the school year began in July, the district has already had to add four additional classes to accommodate growth. This, of course, means that some students are having to be reassigned to new classrooms right up to the present. We realize that this is not the best of situations, but it is necessary to keep our class sizes at a reasonable level and, more importantly, to maintain the quality of instruction that we are offering. We currently have over 320 Kindergarten students enrolled at Pioneer School. This is, by far, the largest Kindergarten class that the district has ever had. With the housing market slowing down, not only nationwide but in the Merced area, I anticipate that the district's growth rate for the upcoming school years will slow down somewhat. However, I still expect the district to continue to grow at between 5-7% a year for the next several years.

Work on the district's new Farmdale Elementary School is progressing at a rapid pace. Ground was broken on Farmdale School at the beginning of May and construction has moved forward quickly since then. Right now, the projected completion date for Farmdale School is June 14, 2007. It means that Farmdale will be open for business when school begins in July of 2007. When we begin the 2007-2008 school year, Farmdale and Pioneer Schools will serve grades K-5, while Weaver School will serve grades 6-8. If you have access to a computer, you can log onto the district's web site at www.weaverusd.k12.ca.us. On the left-hand side of the district's web site, find the Farmdale Elementary School tab, and click on it to see photographs of the construction progress at Farmdale Elementary School from the beginning to the most recent. The district updates the Farmdale photographs on a regular basis and it's an easy way to keep abreast of our construction progress. We are very excited about the prospect of getting Farmdale built and open for next year. When Farmdale opens next year, one of the things that will change will be the starting times for our three schools. In order to accommodate our transportation needs, one of our elementary schools will probably start at 7:45 a.m. The other two schools will start at 8:30 a.m. This also means that we will have one school that will be dismissed at 2:45 p.m., while the other two schools will continue to be dismissed at 3:30 p.m. As we get closer to the opening of the 2007-2008 school year, starting times and dismissal times will be firmed up and communicated to you. In addition, the location of Farmdale Elementary School will allow for students living immediately around the new school to walk to and from school on a daily basis. This will help with transportation during the next school year. Again, construction at Farmdale is on schedule for opening in July 2007.

As the district has continued to grow, our transportation department has been challenged to keep up with our growth. One of the unfortunate side effects of growth is that the district transportation department has been forced to consolidate many bus stops in order to get students to school on time. We know this is inconvenient, but it's something that is necessary. For many years, the district basically operated a door-to-door bus service. It's physically impossible for us to continue to offer that level of service. Therefore, we are in the process of consolidating bus stops wherever we can safely do so. This process will continue throughout this year and into next year. We appreciate your patience and willingness to work with us throughout this consolidation process.

Traffic at both school sites, both in the morning and in the afternoon, continues to be a major issue. Parents are requested to have patience and use common sense when dropping students off and picking students up from school, particularly at Pioneer where we have very limited space available to work with for parents picking up and dropping off students. Student safety is our main concern. Parents need to exercise extreme caution when dropping off and picking up students, in particular, students should not cross the road unescorted to get to their rides. Parents are asked to escort their children across the street to avoid accidents. Please, use caution when picking up and dropping off students. The volume of traffic at both school sites makes for an extremely dangerous situation. Parents and students need to exercise caution and common sense. Once we open Farmdale School, traffic congestion at both Pioneer and Weaver should improve significantly, but that will not happen until next year, so please drive safety, use common sense, be cautious, and keep your eyes open.

Road construction around both schools continues to be an on-going issue, which adds to our traffic problems. Coffee Road, between Childs Avenue and Gerard, will be under construction at various times, as will Gerard Avenue around Pioneer School. Road construction makes our traffic problems that much more of a challenge. In addition, traffic lights are going to be installed at the intersection of Childs Avenue and Coffee Road in the next 3-4 weeks. Not only will the construction have an impact on traffic, but once the lights are installed and operational, it will also have a major impact on the traffic flow at that intersection. Hopefully, the installation of traffic lights at Coffee and Childs will help to ease the traffic situation that we face on a daily basis. It will take, however, a period of adjustment once the lights are operational.

We are approaching winter, which means we are getting closer to the fog season. I want to remind you that, during the fog season, our bus routes may be impacted depending on the severity of the fog on any given morning. It is possible that individual bus routes will be much slower depending on the fog, particularly in the outlying areas of the district. There may be days when buses are not able to leave on time, if at all. Buses could be delayed by as much as 2-3 hours because of the fog. Notification of foggy day schedules can be found on the following:

KYOS 1480

KUBB 96.3

HOT 105

Television Station Channel 30 in Fresno

Public service channel on Comcast cable television

In addition, on foggy days you can contact the transportation office at 725-7128.

Weaver School Librarian Janice Phenis is asking for donations of books, either paperback or hard cover. The books she would like to have donated are:

Goosebumps by R. L. Stine

Judy Blume

Beverly Cleary

Gary Paulsen

Stephen King

John Erickson (Hank the Cowdog)

Mary Pope Osborne (Magic Treehouse series)

Hardy Boys

Nancy Drew

Other children series and authors

We would appreciate it if the books donated are in good and useable condition so that they can be added to the Weaver School library.

I would like to take this opportunity to introduce you to the Board of Trustees of the Weaver Union School District. The Board of Trustees are the elected officials who are responsible for the operation of the Weaver Union School District. The members of the Weaver Union School District Board of Trustees are Jennifer Bertuccio, Tom Clendenin, Derrek Dean, Carolyn McCrary, and Karen Wallace. The Board meets on the second Wednesday of each month. The upcoming Board meetings are: November 8 at the Weaver library/media center; December 13 at the library/media center of Pioneer Elementary School; January 10 at the library/media center of Weaver Elementary School, and February 14 at the library/media center of Pioneer Elementary School. Board meetings start at 6:00 p.m. and the public is always invited to attend.

If you have any questions or concerns, you can contact the office of Pioneer Elementary School at 725-7111, the office of Weaver Elementary School at 723-2174, or the district office at 723-7606.

Sincerely,



Steven D. Becker

District Superintendent