Superintendent’s Message

  • 2023 - 2024

    Embracing the Whole Child

    On behalf of the Southern Kern Unified School District Governing Board of Trustees, it is my distinct pleasure to welcome everyone to the 2023-2024 school year.  The start of each school year brings much excitement, energy, and perhaps even some anxiety.  We all feel this excitement in different ways.  Students look forward to seeing friends, some of which they may not have seen since early June, and are very excited about all that the new school year will bring.  Parents and guardians are thrilled to see their children off for the start of another successful school year, yet are amazed at how fast their children are growing and maturing.  Even our teachers, re-energized from vacation and summer professional learning, may be taming some nervous butterflies as the first day of school approaches. 

    In the latter part of the school year and over the course of the summer, I reflected on what it will take for us to continue the progress we have made recently.  I have listened carefully to the feedback from educators, parents and guardians across all of our schools, our Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP) committee members, and have read and assessed survey data from parents, students and staff.  In analyzing all of this feedback, one of the areas that we know we can and must improve on is our parent/community involvement.  In order for us to continue to build on the gains we have made as a school district, we are committing ourselves to strengthening community, collaboration, and communication.  Last year in my Welcome Letter I mentioned the opening of a Parent Community Center.  On April 18, 2023 SKUSD opened our Parent and Community Center on the campus of Rosamond High Early College Campus.  If you have not visited the Parent Center, please do.  The  center is opened on Monday, Wednesday and Friday.  The Parent Center has various resources for parents that address mental health, free library books, computer access, and meeting rooms for upcoming parent events. 

    Building community, deepening collaboration and improving communication has the potential to profoundly shape how our schools operate.  By focusing on community, collaboration and communication, we will strengthen academic achievement for all learners, build strong social emotional supports in our schools, empower educators and principals to make wise school-based decisions, and develop long-term fiscal plans that support schools in gauging the academic progress of our students by prioritizing individual student needs.

    We continue our work this year, centered on Embracing the Whole Child.  The Whole Child approach to learning is achieved when children are immersed in learning environments intended to foster a sense of community, encourage interpersonal skills, problem solving, goal setting, creativity, autonomy, and self-accountability.  This focus aims to ensure that each child in each school is healthy, safe, engaged, supported and challenged.

    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.  Good attendance and learning go hand in hand.  

    Welcome back!  We have the capacity to do amazing things with our students this year.  I wish all our students and their families, teachers, and staff a successful, happy, and safe school year.

    Barbara E. Gaines
    Superintendent, SKUSD

    Barbara Gaines