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Wednesday, August 21, 2013

Back to School Brings Changes along with the Familiar

The start of a new school year is often a time of contradictions.  It’s a time of new beginnings and at the same time, a return to a familiar routine.  The long and relaxing days of summer are fresh in our memories and yet we happily look ahead to busy days filled with new discoveries, new ideas, and new passions.  These conflicting feelings are especially intense for those of us connected to teenagers, either as parents or teachers, but as the days grow shorter and the changes brought by a new school year start to feel familiar, we return to a feeling of balance and equilibrium.    
For students at the five schools in the Tam Union High School District, this back to school season will bring some changes along with many of the familiar faces, high quality programs, and engaging activities for which we are known. 
Increasing Enrollment
As with most other Marin County Schools, we are growing quickly.  We added about 200 new students this year, bringing our total enrollment to approximately 4,100.  In fact, our projections indicate that we will add about 1,000 students over the next five years!  Thanks to our recent modernization efforts we have enough classrooms, but we will need to add quite a few new teachers over the coming years so that class sizes remain stable. 
Modernization Ends
After more than a decade of construction at our campuses, we are finishing a few final projects this year.  The long awaited art building and refurbished music rooms at Redwood were ready for students on the first day of school.  We are also working closely with the Tam High Foundation as they plan and fund some wonderful enhancements to the Tam student center.  Updates, including new windows and the addition of air conditioning in some areas at Drake High School, will ensure that the environment is conducive to learning for our students. 
Students Prepare for the 21st Century
In order to be prepared for active citizenship in a dynamic and diverse world, our students will need to think critically, analyze information, pose substantive questions, and communicate effectively.  Not only has instruction changed dramatically since many of us were in high school, but we are preparing students for careers that haven’t even been invented yet!   World-class instruction in the 21st century often involves students working together to use information to solve or think critically about a problem.  Technology is a wonderful tool to enhance this type of learning.  Over the course of the year, we will add 1,200 iPads and 100 laptops for student use and have already doubled our wireless bandwidth to accommodate these new instructional tools. 
How will YOU embrace change and celebrate the familiar this school year?  Continue the conversation by replying to feedback@tamdistrict.org.
Students compare schedules on the first day of school

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