Superintendent’s Message

  • “The Year of the Child”

    On behalf of the Southern Kern Unified School District Board of Trustees, it is my pleasure to welcome you to the 21-22 school year.  We are absolutely thrilled to welcome back our students to in-person instruction.  The vision of SKUSD is to address the needs of the whole child by teaching them how to communicate, collaborate, critically think, be creative, and develop character that empowers them to be outstanding citizens.

    I want to thank the teachers, staff, administrators, and parents dedicated to the learning of our students especially during the past eighteen months and as we ease our way out of this pandemic.  We know those times were both stressful and challenging for our families and staff and continue to be as we encounter the latest variant.  The District appreciates your patience and sense of calm as we continue through these times of uncertainty.   I realize these past eighteen months have been hard.  Students and their families have had to transition from in-person normal teaching practice to remote learning and now back to in-person learning.  While there have been many challenges, I have been so impressed with the efforts of both students and staff.  I am so grateful and proud of our school community.  Through it all, we have not lost sight of our goals for each and every child in SKUSD.

    Our goals center on academic achievement, addressing the needs of each individual student, maintaining a healthy school environment that supports the social-emotional and physical needs of every student, and building a lasting relationship with our families and community members.  With the support of our parents and community, we can develop a passion in all students to be life-long learners. 

    We are calling this year, The Year of the Child.”  The past eighteen months have been difficult for everyone, especially our students.  They have lost loved ones, suffered learning loss, and for many, social-emotional issues such as depression and/or anxiety from not being in school or with their friends and family have manifested.  Our goals this year are to bring back sports, after-school clubs, field trips, Math and Reading Academies, and other fun activities that meet the needs of students and spark their love for learning.

    Another major focus is to make sure that our students are attending school regularly, as well as participating in extra-curricular activities.  Student attendance will be highlighted at each site and recognized by the Board of Trustees monthly at a Board Meeting,  Good attendance and learning go hand in hand.  We have to lead by example by demonstrating our core values, H.E.A.R.T.S., (Honesty, Excellence, Accountability, Respect, Transparency, and Safety).  Our job is bigger than mere test scores.  Building healthy relationships between student and teacher leads to a favorable engaging learning environment, high levels of academic success, and improved attendance.  When students have good attendance, they do better in school.  Good attendance is defined as not missing more than one (1) day of school a month, whether excused or unexcused.

    Thank you to everyone who is stepping up to ensure our students are staying healthy, safe and most importantly they are continuing to learn during COVID-19.  I want to acknowledge this difficult work as we are all navigating unchartered waters together.  Hopefully, this will be behind us soon.  The staff and I  genuinely appreciate and thank you for your continued support!

    If you are interested in learning more about board-level decisions and activities, join us for a regular board meeting on the 1st or 3rd Wednesday of each month, beginning at 7:00 p.m. through the YouTube link posted before the meeting, on the homepage, unless otherwise announced.

    Barbara E. Gaines
    Superintendent, SKUSD


    Barbara Gaines