August 19, 2013 Every teacher, staff member, and charter leader knows firsthand the excitement and enthusiasm that comes with a new school year. However, before any school can open its doors, school personnel typically join together for professional development activities. For the staff of Guajome Schools, Superintendent Bob Hampton took this annual experience to a whole new level.Families That Can Southern California Director Valieria Koss was invited to join the team of Guajome for their surprise professional development day aboard the USS Peleliu (LHA-5), a Tarawa-class amphibious assault ship of the United States Navy, named for the Battle of Peleliu of World War II. As the bus wended through San Diego, staff tried to guess the surprise location, yet none came close until the esteemed ship was in view. Once on board,100 members of the team was treated to a behind the scenes tour of the USS Peleliu, along with a presentation of all the missions the Peleliu has participated in during its 33 years.
Each year Bob chooses a theme to kick start the school year. This year's theme, "Commitment & Dedication" was particularly fitting, surrounded by men and women of the US Navy, who have sacrificed so much. It was also a great message to the dedicated and committed staff of Guajome, who has seen a dramatic rise in their API and achievement scores over the past several years, with Guajome earning the Distinguished School Award in May 2013.
Spending the day with both new and veteran staff, some having been with the school for more than eight years, it is clear that Bob has assembled a stellar team. Speech Pathologist Gerri Beth Borga said, "I've never been in a place where so many people want to be here because the kids are their focus. There is such a high level of expertise and teamwork; there is truly something magical going on here." Guajome Schools is looking forward to many more great achievements and events as they begin the 2013-14 school year.