The 2023-2024 school year kicked off all around Capistrano Unified School District on Tuesday morning, Aug. 15, including at San Clemente’s Marblehead Elementary School.
Principal Jamie Goodwyn described the first day of each new year as a chance to “jump-start” the upcoming months and a time for students to see their friends after a long summer break.
Getting started on the right foot is “extremely important,” she added.
“Our teachers work hard to set expectations and make sure (the students) have a warm and welcoming environment this year,” said Goodwyn.
From Day 1, the staff is implementing CUSD’s new Multi-Tiered System of Support Well-Being Plan, also known as CUSD Cares.
The initiative aims to support students with various activities and actions through three tiers of emphasis. Tier I provides “universal instruction and support” to all students with daily “mindfulness moments” and weekly check-ins. Tier II focuses on targeted interventions, and Tier III centers on intensive interventions for the smallest number of students.
“The MTSS Well-Being Plan will support all students’ and staff’s well-being and have a positive impact on student outcomes by intentionally developing and strengthening ‘connections, a sense of school community, and regular opportunities for celebration,’ ” a district presentation read.
Goodwyn said she had already spent time in a first-grade classroom where the students discussed their feelings about the first day.
“Our students really need to work through those emotions so that they can focus on their learning,” she said. “Setting those expectations and the behavior so that they can learn and focus on what they need to know is just extremely important.”
Looking to the rest of the school year, Marblehead’s PTA has planned a “wonderful” schedule of events, according to Goodwyn.
On Sept. 7, the school will have a “Hispanic Heritage Fiesta” to commemorate National Hispanic Heritage Month, which runs from Sept. 15 to Oct. 15.
“We’re hoping to get a mariachi band and folklorico dancers, and really blend the cultures of our student population,” Goodwyn said. “We’re going to combine that with lessons and art lessons during the school day.”
More information about Marblehead Elementary, an Environmental Studies Academy with a transitional kindergarten program, can be found at marblehead.capousd.org.