Education forum highlights district accomplishments, goals

Bond measure, diversity, Project Lead the Way among many aspects mentioned at district Education Summit

District leaders, school administrators and teachers gathered into a decorated multipurpose room at Harvest Park Middle last week to celebrate the district's accomplishments for the year.

The 2016 Pleasanton Unified Education Summit was held May 4 in a room that more closely resembled an evening gala than a morning district meeting. Delicate herbs and hand-painted rocks served as the centerpiece on white tablecloths, and the event started with a rousing performance from Harvest Park Middle's band.

Hansen touted schools' individual accomplishments, such as Vintage Hills Elementary being named a national Blue Ribbon school and Lydiksen Elementary being named a state Gold Ribbon school, and spoke of the district's longterm goals.

Those goals included passing a school facilities bond measure to upgrade certain structures and to build other improvements, Hansen said.

While explaining the bond measure, he said there is "a critical and immediate need" to maintain aging infrastructure.

He also introduced the district's new superintendent, Rick Rubino, to the crowd. Rubino is currently the superintendent of the Gridley Unified School District in Butte County, and he is expected to take the reins July 1.

District staff showed the audience collaborative tools teachers use to get students immersed and invested in their own learning, and teachers discussed steps being taken to include students of every background and ability in their school community.

The district's mariachi band program, a new program that started this school year, performed and sang traditional mariachi songs for the audience, and a student leadership council presented how students are making their voices heard in the district.

Hansen said he is "proud to pass the torch" to Rubino.

"I'm excited to be here. I'm really so anxious to get started on July 1," Rubino said. "I really look forward to working with you. This is a great school district, and we will continue to be a great school district."

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