In fall 2019, the Board of Trustees and the Superintendent of Santa Clara Unified School District launched a community-wide collaborative process to develop the long-term vision for public education in SCUSD.
The elements of this vision were developed through the collaborative work of a guiding coalition—a group of 90 individuals selected for the diverse communities and viewpoints they represent—and expanded and refined over 54 community meetings and two community surveys (see the roadmap below for more information).
The work included explorations of future trends that are likely to impact education; learning journeys* to schools and organizations that are already engaged in reinventing education; and collaborative design exercises that consider the needs of students, educators, families, and community members.
Our Vision Statement
Graduates of Santa Clara Unified School District are resilient, future-ready, lifelong learners who think critically, solve problems collaboratively, and are prepared to thrive in a global society.
What is a Vision
A “vision” is a bold leap into the future, painting a vivid picture of a destination—a “north star” that guides collective action and shapes the strategies to make it a reality.
A vision is long-range, helping us step outside the constraints of the present and reimagine the possibilities of the future. Organizational changes take time, and longer time frames encourage us to be proactive and to anticipate and plan for changes. Thinking about the outcomes we want can bring new energy and solutions to persistent problems. Moreover, planning with the end result in mind frees our imaginations to think differently about our path forward. In that spirit, the text below includes stories of possible futures. These are not promises or predictions but are intended to inspire ideas and keep our focus on the future we want.
This does not mean that our work stays static in the short term. Bringing the vision to fruition by 2035 will require that we launch an accompanying strategic plan* at the beginning of the 2020 – 2021 school year. This plan is the first in a series of five three-year plans that articulate the phases, the scope*, sequence*, and syncopation* of the work, and outlines the steps needed to make Vision 2035* a reality.
The vision and strategic plan are companion works —a vision is not a strategy. The vision identifies the “what” and the “why,” and the strategy defines the “how.” Before we decide how we want to move forward, we need to know where we want to go.
The vision for Santa Clara Unified School District focuses on what we want to be true for our graduates. It is a journey of creativity, learning, and continuous improvement. A shared destination
will speed results by aligning actions and resources, and inspiring relevant collaborations.
Why this Vision? Why Now?
Santa Clara Unified School District is situated in the heart of Silicon Valley, an area known worldwide for innovation in science and technology. Our community wants to ensure that its school district reflects the spirit of world-leading innovation, while also attending to the social and emotional needs of students and adults. The hiring of Superintendent Dr. Stella M. Kemp in summer 2019 signaled SCUSD’s readiness to take the next steps in its evolution.
In a world of constant change, with young people competing globally for jobs and post-secondary educational opportunities, the pressures on students, families, and educators are intense. Our vision reflects high-quality academics that place SCUSD students at the forefront of these opportunities,
in school communities that foster growth, resilience, and creativity; that build confidence; and that develop the abilities to work both independently and collaboratively.
Based on the key ideas developed by the Guiding Coalition* during the exploration of the future,
the community has identified the importance of
- Social-emotional learning and wellness, so that students are taught to handle stress, anxiety, and trauma in healthy ways
- Critical thinking ability and creative and constructive problem-solving skills, so that students can make use of what they learn, to analyze, identify patterns, draw inferences, and understand the roles of evidence and argument
- Real-world applicability, ensuring that students are prepared to thrive in the adult world, navigate change and hardship, take care of themselves and those they care about, and begin successful careers
- Being thoughtful, empathetic, and civically engaged
These qualities are timeless and enduring, as evidenced by the recent COVID-19 pandemic’s major disruptions to the rhythms of life as a student. The SCUSD Vision 2035 clarifies action and creates a destination that helps identify what needs to be done and, equally important, what we need to stop doing.