The Santa Clarita Valley Education Foundation has been lighting the path of education since 1984. Their annual event, “Principal for a Day,” is a testament to their dedication to fostering learning and nurturing the future of our children. This tradition is an opportunity for individuals to immerse themselves in the world of education, allowing them to gain a unique perspective into the daily lives of educators.
The SCV is home to 55 public schools and five school districts: Castaic (K-8th), Newhall (K-6th), Saugus (K-6th), Sulphur Springs (K-6th), and William S. Hart (7-12th). These institutions play a pivotal role in shaping the future of our community by providing education to our children. “Principal for a Day” opens a window into the intricacies of these schools and districts, highlighting their accomplishments and the challenges they face.
For many, education is a cause close to the heart, especially for parents and grandparents who aspire to provide the best opportunities for their children. It’s within these schools that dreams take root and passions are nourished. The SCV Education Foundation recognizes the pivotal role schools play in shaping the lives of the next generation.
While schools are meant to be reflections of their communities, there’s a complex interplay of mandates from the state of California that trickle down into the educational system. These mandates, including dental, vision and hearing assessments, are well-intentioned but can burden school districts with additional requirements. Moreover, the challenges posed by the pandemic and lockdowns have compounded the already formidable task of educators.
During my participation in this event, one pressing issue that emerged was the struggle with test scores in English and math following the pandemic lockdowns. Recovery has been understandably slow. I learned that, up to the third grade, students learn to read. Beyond this point, from the fourth grade onwards, they read to learn. This is a profound realization — a reminder of how essential it is for students to master reading by the end of third grade.
This leads to a crucial question: How can individuals and organizations contribute to the improvement of education in our community? One effective way is to lend support to organizations like the SCV Education Foundation, which fosters valuable relationships between businesses, schools, the community, educators and the youth they serve. Another impactful approach is to volunteer at a school site, particularly to assist students who face challenges at all grade levels.
Even as a professional writer and reader, I experienced uncertainty last year when I attempted to help my granddaughter learn to read. I realized I didn’t always know all the “rules” for decoding words in the English language. What I discovered, by necessity, was that there are numerous resources available that can empower any of us to become effective tutors for young readers.
Education is a cornerstone of Santa Clarita, and it’s our collective responsibility to ensure that our schools have the resources to provide the best possible learning environment for our children. The SCV Education Foundation stands as a beacon of support, but the journey must involve the entire community. Through your involvement and support, we can help our schools meet the challenges they face, fostering the growth of our future leaders and innovators.
If you’re passionate about education and willing to make a difference, I encourage you to volunteer.
Lastly, I extend heartfelt appreciation to Superintendent Bob Brauneisen of the Castaic Union School District for graciously allowing me the opportunity to shadow his role. Speaking from my own experience, one day was undoubtedly enough! I commend the highly qualified educators who tirelessly teach in our schools, shaping the minds of tomorrow’s leaders.
Teresa Todd, a Santa Clarita resident, is president/CEO of Point of View Communications LLC.