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A Message from the Superintendent

Striving For Our Sierra Best

I am proud and honored to serve as Superintendent of Sierra Unified.  It is a district where every student is a name, not a number.  In my office is a photo of every one of our students and a reminder every day what makes this district special.

When families come to visit our elementary school the common refrain is, “I did not know this was here!”  They did not know we have a sprawling 600 student elementary campus with smaller class sizes, credentialed art, music and PE teachers.  They did not know we have Gifted and Talented Education extension for students that includes experiential S.T.E.A.M. learning.  They did not know we are at the forefront of social emotional learning integration and therapeutic support for all students. They did not know our inclusive special education services are among the most progressive in the central valley and they did not know we have clubs ranging from Rocket Club, Spelling Bee to Dirt Bike “Wrench and Ride” from a world class teacher and racer.

For our community, it is a way of life.  The vision of educating the whole child, embracing the value of our geographic, economic and cultural diversity has long been the Sierra way.  Serving students from three Native American rancherias along with students from Brighton Crest to lake Wishon families are amazed at the close knit nature of our school.  Perhaps most importantly, our families see the premiere education students receive from exemplary fully credentialed teachers dedicated to meeting the individual needs of every young scholar.

From 7th – 12th grade scholars in Sierra have a mountain of opportunities.  Unlike other larger districts, as students move into junior high school their choices only expand.  A student may choose a pathway to a career as a welder, or want to pursue entry into an Ivy League or UC University.  In Sierra they can do either or both.  Students can participate in our national award winning agriculture and FFA program, over 25 different athletic programs, music, art and a student leadership program leading to a business/marketing career pathway.  All of this on campus where all the teachers know your name, counselors guide their plan and every senior completes a hands on learning and service project under the guidance of a mentor.  With 20 consecutive years of student entry in the prestigious Smittcamp Honors program at Fresno State, students not only attending but succeeding at institutions such as Brown University and UC colleges, students in Sierra Unified truly have opportunity and excellence.  It doesn’t end there, as we have a proud tradition of student entry into the military and military academies, and we will always prioritize vocational opportunities from nursing to forestry to equipment preparing students for today’s workforce. 

We are also responding to the recent challenges presented by the Covid-19 pandemic.  During school site closure our top notch food service team and bus drivers delivered over 50,000 meals. Covering over 1200 miles daily we partnered with the community to serve over 600 individuals ages 1-18 five days a week.  We individually contacted every family about their education needs.  Our smaller size and large facilities will allow us to open school sites 5 days a week in August with multiple measures such as physical distancing, co-horting, frequent sanitation, etc..  Finally, we recognize a need in our community for a home schooling option where students can still be a part of our larger district and participate in athletics, activities and select programs.  To that end we have launched Sierra@Home and will be enrolling families in late July.

Sierra Unified is a district on a hill.  Every student is a name and we work diligently to meet the individual needs of every scholar and their family.  Our mission is to engage, inspire, challenge and support every student to their next level of achievement and success.  I hope you come visit our district and see the unique opportunities we provide every student.  We are striving every day to be our Sierra Best! 

 

Alan Harris
Superintendent