Speaking to a State of the District breakfast crowd of more than 270, District Superintendent Dr. Sherry Kropp recently highlighted the people and programs that have resulted in the district being consistently ranked in the top two in Orange County for 20 years.
She began by honoring the district’s Heroes of the Heart, “special people who go above and beyond to make Los Alamitos Unified a great place for students to learn, grow, and thrive.”
The volunteers represented all schools and the district itself and for many years have helped students in ways ranging from being room parents, to leading the PTA, to organizing fund raising to benefit the entire district.
Kropp singled out two Heroes for special recognition.
Ben Penick, a Weaver Elementary volunteer who was recently diagnosed with ALS, “has become even more of a hero by inspiring students to seek ways to help those in need and how they can make a difference in others’ lives,” Kropp said.
The school’s Ambassadors program is supporting groups like the Guardian Angels, who assist those dealing with the impact of ALS.
Kimberly Steward was a district employee and a highly active volunteer at Los Alamitos Elementary until her sudden death in June.
“Words can’t describe the influence Kim had on the LAE community. We miss her,” Kropp said.
Steward’s husband Dave accepted the honor on her behalf.
Kropp then highlighted the “national caliber results” the district has posted and credited highly skilled teachers and staff, ongoing professional training, targeted intervention for students in need, and a culture of innovation across the district.
In addition to stellar scores on state assessments, Kropp noted some key statistics:
• 76 percent of Los Alamitos High graduates completed University of California admission requirements this year, up 8 percentage points since 2011.
“Students who complete the entrance requirements while in high school,” Kropp said, “are twice as likely to graduate from college.”
While the community celebrates the schools’ great achievements, Kropp said, it is important to recognize great needs ahead, especially at Los Alamitos High.
While all of the other district schools have been modernized, the 50-year-old high school has not.
After three years of studying the issue, the school board decided to put a $97-million bond, Measure G, on the November ballot.