Principal's Message to Juan Cabrillo Families

Dr. Pam Herkner, PrincipalJuly, 2016

Dear Parents,

I believe our schools ought to be like: 

Harvard - with a strong critical thinking, yet balanced hands-on, minds-on core academic–provide excellence in education by changing the “why” and the “how” we teach to prepare students for the future.
West Point – with a learning environment that is safe & disciplined, and includes a positive behavior code of conduct and a focus on social-emotional learning to produce collaborative social engineers.
Disneyland - with organized, positive activities that create excitement for children and families, and are the result of creativity and innovative thinking.
(Taken from John Childs but adapted to by Pam Herkner-Chasse)

So what does all of this have to do with your child and Juan Cabrillo? A lot actually.

I started writing this Back-to-School Parent Message which caused me to review old files. Upon doing that I saw my message from 2005 (yes I have been around for a while, much longer than 2005 too) and started thinking about how things have changed.

Time does go by quickly. But the point I really want to share is that during these past 11 years, we have learned so much about brain development, how children learn, technology has progressed, and during these eleven years beliefs of what our schools ought to be like have changed as well.

Sure I still have some of the same beliefs as John Childs but knowing what I do today, schools have to change if they are to prepare kids for the world of tomorrow. Better yet, if they are going to prepare children for their future, not ours.

The information highway is moving so quickly there is no way we can teach it all nor should we, because it will all change once again. Instead, if we want to ensure your child is prepared for his/her future then we need to change how we educate your child. Children need to learn “how to” learn (problem-solve, think critically), how to access their resources (be creative and innovative) and how to be “social-engineers” (thus be able to collaborate, cooperate, communicate with others.) Change remember is not something that happens overnight and not always easy for everyone. Plus schools need to focus on continuous improvements and change to keep up with the future.

At Cabrillo through such strategies as inquiry, differentiation, integration across the visual and performing arts and technology and project-based learning is being implemented to encourage creativity and innovation. Teachers are also implementing strategies that cause students to think and problem-solve to find the process/answers on their own rather than always giving it to them. Students with collaboration, communication, cooperation, creativity and critical thinking skills will be career ready. Using Professional Learning Communities philosophy promotes a collaborative and results oriented environment for all Cabrillo teachers/staff ensuring students maximize their potential. Finally we are working towards sustainability and a compassionate, kind, caring, learning environment for all. 

I hope you will join with me in applauding the Juan Cabrillo staff for, as the saying goes, being the change we are looking for in our schools to ensure excellent in education for your kids! 

Your involvement and commitment will make the future bright for ALL! So in advance, thank you for joining the Juan Cabrillo Village and being a part of the team in our continuous improvement

Hand-in-Hand, Together We Can!

Filling Buckets and Developing the Future Together,

Dr. Pam Herkner, Principal

Santa Monic Malibu Unified School District