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Welcome Letter

Dear Students and Parents,

Welcome to the 2019-2020 school year. I’m happy to have you as a part of our schools, and I’m excited about starting a brand new year. Our commitment to you is to do our very best to teach students to be Effective Communicators and Critical Thinkers. This year I look forward to student growth, both academically and personally.

Three of our four teachers will be returning: Mr. Anderson (History, Government and Economics), Ms. DeLeon (English and P.E.) and Ms. Dennen (Science, Art & online learning). New to us, but not new to teaching, is Ms. Seeley. Ms. Seeley has been hired as our new Math teacher and will also be teaching Coding/Robotics as an elective. Ms. Seeley comes to us from Petaluma High School where she has been teaching Math for the past 12 years. She has also taught at both Kenilworth and Petaluma Junior High School.

We will continue to utilize the services of Valarie Alston, our college and career specialist, to provide critical instruction in that area and support for all students. Our teachers are easiest to reach via district email through the Parent Portal.

A critical new policy regarding attendance was put in place last year, which can/will have an immediate and substantial impact on student credit earning. Please make attendance a priority!! Our district greatly benefits from revenue generated by student attendance.

Attendance Policy:

  • Must be present 90%+ to receive accelerated credit schedule (based on ACTUAL attendance)
  • Attendance at less than 85% will result in 20% credit reduction
  • Attendance at less than 70% will result in NO semester credit.

Parents, you should expect a phone call each day that your student is absent. Lill Aspoy-Codiroli is returning as the secretary of Sonoma Mountain and Julie Corda as secretary of Carpe Diem. We work closely with the district to monitor attendance. In addition, because tardies cut into instructional time, we have a no-fault tardy policy and expect students to make up time that they miss in class, after school on the day they miss it. Students not keeping up academically, behaviorally or with attendance will be considered for a different placement (see credit earning agreement).

Both SMHS and CDHS students will continue to have access to both, a Chromebook and an iPad, and will continue to use their devices on a daily basis. Along with planned field trips, we will continue to incorporate our outdoor education program with several day hikes throughout the year and a culminating overnight campout in the spring.

We purposely design our schools so that each student who tries hard can find success. You should know that we truly appreciate students who are committed to improving academics, attendance and attitude. Together we will work hard on developing consistency and responsibility. Please do everything you can to keep the positive attitude I hope you are starting the year with, and follow through with your goals and the commitments you have already set as well as the new ones we develop together for you as a learner.

Moving into my 19th year in education, 7th year as principal of both Sonoma Mountain and Carpe Diem High Schools, I have learned the value of getting to know all of our students well. Please be as patient with me as you would like me to be with you. I will do all I can to support our students in their academics, personal interests, and personal development. Please feel free to call or email me with any questions or concerns throughout the course of the year.

Gregory A. Stevenson, MA