By SDCN Staff
San Diego, CA–The San Diego Unified School District welcomed students, educators, and support staff back to the classroom Monday for the 2022-23 school year, with a focus on ensuring students have a sense of belonging, extended learning opportunities, and an opportunity to thrive academically and emotionally.
Starting his first full school year as superintendent, Dr. Lamont Jackson said the health, safety, and wellbeing of students and staff continue to be the district’s top priority – from Universal Transitional Kindergarten through high school.
“We are so excited to welcome back our students and staff to San Diego Unified for a brand new school year that is full of new opportunities,” Dr. Jackson said. “This year is about making sure all students feel seen and heard. It’s about providing rigorous academics, extended learning opportunities, and safe and nurturing schools.”
San Diego Unified kicked off the new school year with expanded Universal Transitional Kindergarten at 118 schools; middle school sports; and free nutritious breakfast and lunches for all students – without applications or eligibility requirements.
As San Diego Unified continues to monitor COVID-19, students and staff are strongly encouraged – but not required – to wear masks indoors. Schools will continue with other mitigations, including air filtration, sanitizing efforts, and a recommendation to get COVID-19 vaccinations. Individual school metrics and county data will be used to determine whether masking may be needed at a particular school.
“Our first obligation is always to keep everyone as safe as possible. With the help of so many people we’ve done that and will continue to do that,” said Board President Dr. Sharon Whitehurst-Payne. “But now, more of our focus can return to teaching and learning, and providing every student with their best chance to become their best.”
San Diego Unified celebrated the school year at the new Logan Memorial Educational Campus (LMEC), the first-of-its-kind, prenatal-to-career public Montessori campus in California. The Montessori approach values a hands-on learning experience for students that encourages creativity and fosters independence.
LMEC is undergoing a whole site modernization that began in 2018. Construction is expected to be completed this winter.
The campus offers a child development center known as El Nido, a preschool, an elementary school, a middle school, and a high school. The high school, the first ever built in Logan Heights, is opening its doors to freshmen this year, with higher grade levels opening in subsequent years.
“This incredible facility is not only an investment in the students who attend but also for the surrounding community,” said Dr. Michael Vea, LMEC Instructional Support Officer. “With the partnerships, we’re forming and the support we’ve been given by the district and local families, we believe LMEC can become not only a model for San Diego Unified but for the entire state.”
Deputy Superintendent Dr. Fabiola Bagula said equity and belonging are at the core of the district’s work.
“Too often equity is misunderstood,” Dr. Bagula said. “Equity is about ensuring we meet the needs of all students in what they need, how they need it, and when they need it. It takes our collective community to achieve equity and to create the most optimal learning conditions for all students to leave with a meaningful diploma and lead a choice-filled life college- and career-ready. This also has positive implications of how we work together and support each other in service of our students.”
The new school year will also include a focus on recruiting, retaining, and supporting staff at schools throughout the district. Central Office staff will be on hand to support schools in the opening weeks of the year.