Scott Laurence, Superintendent of San Mateo Union High School District, has been with the District since June 2009. Scott directs an outstanding educational program that embraces six comprehensive high schools, a Middle College program and a continuation high school, with a total population of 8,400 students and a staff of more than 900 employees. The District Adult School has an additional 10,000 part time students.
Scott, a graduate of Stanford University, is a veteran public school administrator. From 1984 to 2009, he served in a variety of capacities at Palo Alto Unified School District, including teacher, coach, Dean of Students, Assistant Principal, Principal, and Assistant Superintendent of Administrative Services. He became well-known for his emphasis on academic excellence and a firm commitment to the success of all students. One of his assets is an ability to lead by fostering team work through consensus.
He assumed the Superintendent’s position at a time of financial stress due to the State of California’s economic struggles. The District has been able to weather this fiscal storm while launching a number of major initiatives. To help the district “move from good to great” Scott has put into place three goals for the district. The first is to continue to focus on the Academic Excellence for all students; the second is improving communication and management systems and the third, to continue working on the Measure M construction program, budget issues and other fiscal initiatives.
To help the district reach the goal of “Academic Excellence for all students” several programs have been implemented to assist teachers and staff in closing the achievement gap for all students. Several new positions has been put into place that will help enable the district to implement our new District plan for Alternative Instruction, our new District Technology Plan and support the professional development needs of teachers across the district.
The District Blended Learning Coordinator will provide leadership, oversight and support for blended learning programs, including credit recovery and independent study. Data and Assessment Coordinators at each school will facilitate effective use of data and assessment for classroom instruction. The District Instructional Technology Coordinator will support technology systems, hardware and software district-wide. This position will focus on training and supporting teachers in best uses of technology to increase student engagement, skills and achievement. The District Professional Development Coordinator will lead and coordinate professional development activities across the district. There will be Professional Development Coordinators at each school. They will facilitate and coordinate school level professional development activities. Collectively, these positions will create a structure of teacher leadership to meet the needs of teachers at every school to integrate technology into the curriculum, use data to inform instruction and improve instructional practice. The goal of all these efforts will be to improve the student learning results.
Communication has improved greatly with the implementation of the District website and the District newsletter “The News and Notes Newsletter.” People are now able to access the board agenda on-line by going to the District website. The board policies are also online and can be accessed through the district website. The newsletter allows us to provided updated information on the district, construction and students. The District had developed a Technology Plan that will be used across the District and the District is in the process of developing a Strategic plan.
Scott and his team have done an excellent job in managing the process for “Measure M” construction. The construction work continues to be completed in a timely and fiscally sound manner. Another bond measure “Measure O” was passed to allow the district to complete all construction for the district. The passage of this bond measure also allowed the District to retire over $75,000,000 in dept. Solar panels has been installed on three of our high schools. With the instillation of the solar panels the district will see a cost savings on the P.G.& E. bill.