Diolinda "Didi" Peterson, Superintendent
Superintendent's Message for the 2022-23 school year
It is my honor and privilege to welcome you to the 2022-2023 school year. I am thrilled to begin my tenure as superintendent of Sylvan Union School District. I was raised in Modesto and am the fourth generation of my family to be part of this community. I have served in Sylvan Union District since 1996, as a teacher, instructional facilitator, site and district administrator. I was also a parent in the district and have had the opportunity to engage in our community in multiple roles.
On behalf of all of our staff and community partners, we are looking forward to a great year of learning as we focus on our priority goals: high levels of learning and ensuring a safe, supportive, and welcoming learning environment for all of our students and staff. Both of these goals are the foundation of our multi-year, Local Control Accountability Plan (LCAP). We are in Year 2 of our 3-year LCAP and our focus ensures that we are executing our action plan to support our students’ learning academically, socially and behaviorally.
To ensure high levels of learning, the Sylvan Union School District is an active and committed Professional Learning Community (PLC). We cultivate and commit to a focus on:
- learning (for students and staff)
- a collaborative culture
- an orientation to results
We engage in a never-ending process in which we work, learn and collaborate together. In 2022-2023 we will refocus our energies and shared knowledge to gain momentum and meet this foundational goal.
After the past three years, with the demands and challenges presented by the pandemic, SUSD commits to support and serve our community with social-emotional learning (SEL) while cultivating a safe and positive culture for our students and staff. Our community has been greatly impacted and changed by the events since the closure of schools in March 2020. Families and staff have experienced the impacts in many ways including loss, grief and even frustration and anger. In our continued response to those impacts, each school site has an adopted social-emotional program and embedded supports, including intervention teams, that focus on best practices for students’ mental health and social skills. In addition to our students, SUSD will provide intentional support and professional development for staff, centering around self-care and wellness, through the Choose Love Movement. The Choose Love Movement utilizes 4 pillars including: Gratitude, Courage, Forgiveness and Compassion-in-Action. Choose Love will support our staff to cultivate strong, authentic connections with colleagues and students to enhance trust, collaboration and teamwork. For the 22-23 school year Choose Love and the 4 pillars will be utilized with our adult learners with plans, in future years, to expand this program to students as well.
Lastly, the district will provide family events that will focus on the same foundational goals to support our families in their desire to learn best practices and more information on supporting their children with academics, social skills and mental health wellness. We will also provide opportunities for our families and community members to share feedback and information with our district, throughout the year. It is our goal to improve our practices and strengthen communication to ensure that everyone has an opportunity to be an active participant and all of our community members are appreciated as an integral part of our amazing learning community.
My personal vision for the Sylvan district is that all students will achieve at high levels and all staff will also be learners and will work collaboratively to deliver effective instruction through the implementation of research-based strategies. Everything we say and do matters and so in both word and action, I commit to you that I will be visible and engaged, consistently visiting and gathering feedback from our sites and departments. I will report out to our community, each trimester, our actions, shared work and next steps to ensure our focus remains clear. We will work together for the shared success of our students and our team is excited to welcome you to a new school year filled with learning and growth.
Diolinda (Didi) Peterson