Tuesday, April 24 , 2018, 6:11 am | Fog/Mist 51º


Orcutt Schools Superintendent Gives ‘State of District’ Talk

Deborah Blow highlights new programs as well as fiscal challenges facing the district

Orcutt Union School District Superintendent Deborah Blow talks to an attendee during a State of the District presentation at Lakeview Junior HIgh School on Wednesday Click to view larger
Orcutt Union School District Superintendent Deborah Blow talks to an attendee during a State of the District presentation at Lakeview Junior HIgh School on Wednesday (Janene Scully / Noozhawk photo)

In addition to launching exciting new programs, the Orcutt Union School District is facing significant challenges in the future, Superintendent Deborah Blow told a group of community members this week.

Blow gave her State of the District presentation during a breakfast gathering Wednesday in Lakeview Junior High School’s gymnasium, where the newly formed drum line performed.

Community leaders, parents and teachers made up the audience.

“We have a lot of really great things happening in the district,” Blow told Noozhawk after the presentation. “But we also know there’s more work to be done and how we can involve everyone in meeting that vision.” 

Resources remain a concern for the district.

“The reality is our expenses are rising at a faster pace than the revenues we received,” she said. “It’s always a challenge.”

She includes people in the key resource challenges, noting a looming educator shortage that includes teachers as well as administrators and support personnel. 

The superintendent has delivered a State of the District speech for two years with the presentation connected to Orcutt’s strategic plan, she said.

The district is about to undertake massive modernization program thanks to voters approving Measure G, a $60 million bond measure. 

Amid resource challenges, the district is working to prepare students, with “Get Focused, Stay Focused” among programs helping youths think about their own careers and plan for reaching those goals.

"Our students today have to be so much more prepared,” Blow said.

Another program is a culinary arts class for fourth-, fifth- and sixth-graders after school. 

“They’re going to actually be preparing a meal as their culminating event, and serving it to some guests, so some fun things happening with that,” Blow said. 

Orcutt also works to ensure students have access to the arts and as well as help for their social and emotional needs with counselors available.

First- through sixth-graders receive two sessions of physical education each week, she noted.

“That is unusual in California,” she said.

The Orcutt Children’s Arts Foundation helps provided lessons for teachers or volunteers and supplies to ensure students learn about virtual arts. 

A credentialed teacher provides first- through sixth-grade students 30 minutes of music education weekly. 

The community support for arts lessons in Orcutt schools is evident by the fact the annual gala fundraiser sold out two weeks before the event. 

“It’s so fun to see the arts thrive in Orcutt,” she said.

The drum line, a program in its infancy, involves students from three junior high schools in the districts. 

“I love seeing the kids, you can just see how much they enjoy it,” said Blow, a former music teacher.

“It touches my heart because it is reaching the whole child, and not every child is brought to schools because of math or reading or sports,” she said, adding that the music program encourages student creativity.

Noozhawk North County editor Janene Scully can be reached at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address). Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Connect with Noozhawk on Facebook.

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