New San Benito High School Superintendent Shawn Tennenbaum welcomed back faculty and staff to the school auditorium on Monday, Aug. 7, discussing board goals for the year and noting that construction crews did “four months’ work in seven weeks this summer” continuing the renovation of the campus.
He noted that one of the goals is for SBHS to become a “gold-ribbon school” in four years. “We truly believe we can get there,” he said, adding that an inclusive environment for all students is another goal.
“Our charge and our challenge … is to provide access and opportunity for all students,” Tennenbaum said.
The superintendent noted that summertime construction is being completed “on time and on budget” and that the Career Technical Education building south of the new tennis courts will be ready for students and teachers when school starts this Thursday. He said the Visual and Performing Arts (VAPA) building near Mattson Gym is on track to be open by the start of the spring semester in January 2018.
The school board is scheduled on Tuesday, Aug. 8 to endorse the master plan for Measure U, a voter-approved bond measure. “Over the next four years, our entire campus will be transformed,” Tennenbaum said, adding that fiscal solvency is the fourth board goal.
“Every role is important” on campus, he told faculty and staff during the traditional welcome back message. “On Thursday, we’ll have about 2,900 students that will depend on us. What I saw this summer is a can-do attitude. I’m looking forward to a great year.”
Teachers’ union President Mark Kraus said teachers plan to work with the district “to build trust, respect and a strong sense of teamwork.
Campus supervisor Honor Spencer, chapter president of the classified employees’ union, told the crowd that education “is one of those rare professions where we get a clean slate every year. We will have different impacts on our students,” but they all are important, she said.
Principal Adrian Ramirez pledged that there would be “a lot more shared leadership this year” and said “it’s all about culture.” He noted that there are five generations of staff members on campus and while there will surely be some adversity, the Baler S.T.R.O.N.G. (Scholarship, Teamwork, Reflection, Opportunity, Nurture and Growth) core values the district has adopted is something to be followed. “We have to make sure this is not just a poster that goes up on your wall and never referred to again.”
He explained that giving students the greatest range of options upon graduation means preparing them for 21st Century skills predicated on the economy and industry standards.
“We must commit to high levels of learning for all students,” Ramirez said. “If all means all, then our mission is a responsibility that belongs to all of us.”
Alumni returning to campus as teachers
New Human Resources Director Cindi Krokower recognized eight teachers who have earned tenure and introduced 17 new teachers, seven of whom are Baler alumni. More alumni were included in the list of new classified employees — including instructional aides and a maintenance tradesworker. She also outlined a number of new administrative roles within the district.