Welcome back to the 2017-18 school year! We are off to a great start and excited about the opportunity to work with your amazing children once again.  BUSD continues to get better and better, and we are proud of our focus on providing a learning environment where All students achieve at their highest potential in an engaging, inspiring and challenging learning environment.

We have much to be proud of as BUSD received several recognitions last year. Gold Ribbon school awards were awarded at all three levels – elementary, middle and high – including our model continuation high school. We were also recognized by the Niche Organization as a Top 100 school district in California (there are over 1,000 school districts in California), and our high school teachers were recognized as among the top ten of all high schools in the Bay Area, also by the Niche Organization.

You will be pleased to know that our students continue to achieve at high levels. Performance on state, local and targeted assessments (advanced placement exams at the high school), show continual improvement and gains in key areas. The list of colleges many of our students will be attending is impressive and long – too long to list here in fact. Other student accomplishments include the Middle School Odyssey of the Mind team competing at the national level and a very long list of achievements in Athletics and Visual and Performing Arts. These efforts represent our ongoing goal of striving to prepare our students, so they have many options available to them upon graduation.

In our effort to continually improve the learning experience for our students, we launched the new schedule at the high school which is also getting off to a great start. This was a two-year effort that we believe will help better maximize on instructional time while building what I like to refer to as a little breathing room for both students and staff. Other positive additions to the high school include new course offerings including Career and Technology and Construction and Building Trades, Basic Welding /Automotive Training and Introduction to Medical Careers.

We are so fortunate to have an outstanding teaching and classified staff, two of whom were recognized at the County and State level for excellence. Ms. Angela Porter as Classified Employee of the Year and Ms. Lee Anne Aidt as Certificated Employee of the Year. I have attached two videos for you to enjoy and examples of the incredible teachers and classified staff we have throughout our amazing school district. Please note that all employees who were recognized for excellence will be honored at the BEF Night of Stars, Friday night, September 29th.

Highlighting these recognitions is evidence of the strong culture BUSD continues to develop. In my welcome back address to all staff on August 18th, I spoke about culture, what it is and why a healthy and positive culture is key to our success. Briefly defined, culture is an organization’s deeply held beliefs and ways of doing the work. As Peter Drucker, the noted leadership consultant, educator, and author opined: “Culture eats strategy for breakfast.”

In my two years as superintendent of BUSD, I have found our culture to have many positive elements, most notably a student – centered focus of kindness, support, acceptance, and opportunity. I have observed a commitment to high standards and doing our best for students and one another. I have also noted the strong sense of belonging and community in this beautiful town and exceptional school district.

As we move through the school year, I would like to encourage you to consider the BUSD culture, including the positive elements and the ways we can continue to improve, evolve and grow. As a parent community, you too play an important role in helping us shape our culture in ways that most benefit our students and which make a great place for staff to work. To help frame your reflection, I’ve included here our vision, beliefs and desired characteristics of a Benicia graduate.

We Believe

  • Students reach their potential when they are engaged, encouraged, challenged and supported in the pursuit of their interests, passions and talents.
  • All students are creative, unique and can learn.
  • Education is a collaborative effort among students, staff, parents, guardians and the community.
  • In valuing the diversity of students, staff and the community.
  • Every student has a voice that deserves to be heard.
  • Safe and welcoming schools help students and staff reach their potential.
  • Educational experiences for students and staff are continually improved through systems of accountability.
  • Education must be purposeful, challenging and innovative.

Characteristics of a BUSD Graduate

  • Inquisitive with a desire to be lifelong learners.
  • Self-sufficient, self-motivated and socially responsible individuals.
  • Fully prepared and equipped for college or career in the 21st Century.
  • Collaborative, creative, critical thinkers with strong communication skills.
  • Compassionate, respectful and possess a high degree of integrity.
  • Resilient with the willingness to persevere.
  • Innovative, entrepreneurial and adaptable.
  • Globally aware and environmentally responsible citizens.
  • Capable of recognizing the talents in themselves so they can be fulfilled, compassionate and engaged individuals.

New Stadium Recognition Ceremony on Thursday, September 14 at 5:00.  Please join us. We are very excited to announce the date for our recognition ceremony for the Upper Stadium Project at the high school. Through forward thinking, generosity and a commitment to their schools, the Benicia community passed Measure S, and our students will now enjoy a state of the art facility for a variety of sports programs.  

Bond Project Update:  We continue to make progress with our Bond projects. Our next big project is the modernization of the middle school, and we are currently working through the design elements. The Board and I appreciate your patience as we work these Bond projects, that can be complicated, have many moving parts and take time. However, in going slow to go fast, we are striving for outstanding outcomes and maximization of Bond dollars.  

Chat with Supt: Over that past two years, I’ve enjoyed coming to sites and making myself available to you for informal conversations about the direction of the district. I value your input, thoughts, and questions. My office will be sending these dates out shortly, and I hope you will able to join me.  

New Online Registration Process: We are proud of the new registration process we implemented this year. The feedback we’ve received thus far has been positive. In the spirit of continuous improvement, we would like your input and have included a brief survey below. Your thoughts are important to us and we hope you can take a minute to share.

I’m looking forward to another outstanding year in BUSD. It is an honor to serve as your Superintendent.

Dr. Charles Young


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