By Tim Brown
With summer ending early this year for students within the boundaries of Capistrano Unified School District, many families are already getting into the swing of the school routine. I would like to wish all a successful school year ahead as they strive to reach their highest levels of academic achievement.
As a father of four, I am all too familiar with the rigors of school after summer break, having tried my best to keep my kids active and learning during the “off-season.” I have also come to know that, as parents, we need to stay actively engaged in our children’s learning because opportunities for acquiring new knowledge and skills shouldn’t stop just because the school day, or year, begins or ends.
To provide supplemental education opportunities, the city of San Clemente offers some terrific affordable programs. The varying schedules are published quarterly in the City Magazine located in the Recreation Class schedule section. There is still time to sign up for these classes and, if you do not have a copy of the current city magazine that was mailed to you, you can find the information and registration online at www.san-clemente.org/recreation. The city’s education-oriented classes, taught by proficient instructors, provide a nice supplement to the school programs. They focus on literacy and writing among other subjects, including: early literacy, K-smart club, art classes, first grade smart start, Spanish for preschoolers and beginners, intermediate and advanced age 14 and older, computer keyboarding class, novel and short story writing and a brand-new teens writing course.
In a time where class sizes have grown steadily in our 54,000-student school district and average 35 students to a teacher, supplemental educational classes and tutoring become critical to success.
In keeping with the desire to have a greater say in our children’s educational future, this past May I expressed to my fellow councilmembers at a public meeting that we should explore what it would take for San Clemente to separate from CUSD and form our own school district. If San Clemente residents supported a separation from CUSD to form its own district (as it once was), it would consist of incorporating San Clemente’s schools. No other councilmembers opposed my idea at the meeting, though we all realize it is a significant undertaking. At council’s request, the city manager and staff conducted the research and compiled a document that explains the process for residents to pursue, should it wish to form a grassroots committee. It is important to point out that the city’s General Plan has a caveat for us to explore this, and I think the time is now to know whether it is a feasible option or not.
To learn more about what we learned about the school district reorganization process, the city is hosting a parent information meeting on this subject where the city manager will provide a presentation. This meeting is scheduled for next week on Tuesday, Sept. 8 from 6 p.m. to 8 p.m. at the Dorothy Visser Senior Center, located at 117 Avenida Victoria in San Clemente. Parking is available in the lot on-site or on the street. For any questions or comments on this subject or others, I can be reached at email@example.com
Tim Brown is a city councilor in San Clemente. He was first elected in 2010 and again in 2014.