Goodbye from Superintendent Banda
Dear Sacramento Students, Parents and Community Members:
I want to thank you for giving me the opportunity to serve these past three years as Superintendent of the Sacramento City Unified School District. With the school year now over, it is time for me to say farewell to all of you. Serving the children and parents of this community has been one of the greatest honors of my career. Words cannot express the tremendous amount of love and appreciation I have for this community.
Let me begin by thanking the students who inspired me every day. Nothing is more gratifying or fulfilling than to see a student learn and build on the skills they are taught in our classrooms. Making sure our students are successful in their education and in life has been the primary focus of my tenure. Despite challenges and issues that arise and often steer a district to digress from the mission, I am proud that during my time here we as a district have been able to maintain focus on our students.
I am also grateful for all of our parents who have put their trust and faith in our district to provide a high quality education to their children. I know that those of you who are parents in this district make many sacrifices to help your kids succeed. It has been my privilege to have worked with you on behalf of our entire district. Success in the classroom often starts at home. Our district appreciates your commitment to our kids and our schools.
It takes a team to realize a dream. In a few days, a new superintendent will begin leading the district’s team of teachers, counselors, psychologists, principals, bus drivers, administrative assistants, custodians, maintenance/facilities personnel, data and information specialists, cafeteria workers, and so many others with whom I have been so proud to serve alongside. The SCUSD team is among the hardest working group of individuals I have had the honor of working with in all of my years in education. Together, we achieved great things for students and worked diligently to address challenges.
There are many things we achieved during my tenure that I am proud of. These include stabilizing our budget and getting back on a path to fiscal solvency. Exercising fiscal discipline has not been easy, but that discipline has placed us in a position to protect the best interests of our students during both good and bad economic times.
I am most proud that we were able to reopen or repurpose school sites that were shut down during the recession; that we established a first-ever Equity Department; introduced social emotional learning and restorative practices district-wide; implemented full class size reduction for grades K-3; restored critical positions including counselors, teachers, psychologists, custodians, and maintenance staff; led the way on integrating an ethnic studies program into our curriculum; and set the model for all districts in California to protect undocumented students through our “Safe Haven” initiative. I am also proud to have been personally involved in the launch of the Latino Youth Cinema Project which sparked an interest in learning among students that would not otherwise have had such an opportunity.
This district has a very dedicated Board of Education for which we should all be grateful. Our Board members volunteer countless hours of their time preparing for and attending meetings where critical decisions are made that impact our kids. They visit school sites, meet often with parents and community groups, and serve as ambassadors for our district not only here in Sacramento and California, but throughout the nation.
The Board did a tremendous job in reaching out to the community for input during its search for a new superintendent. As they vetted and interviewed candidates, they took action on that input by selecting a new leader for the district—Mr. Jorge Aguilar—who has a proven track-record of bringing the community together around a strong vision for student achievement. Mr. Aguilar will do an excellent job of moving this district forward and doubling down on our focus and commitment to students. Throughout his career, Mr. Aguilar has made equity and access the backbone of his work so that all students can graduate with the greatest number of postsecondary choices and options. He will be an excellent leader for Sacramento’s schools.
Our community and schools have much to be proud of. Thank you for allowing me the opportunity to serve you. Your support and kindness have meant so much to me.
Sacramento City Unified School District