SANTA MARIA, Calif. - Santa Maria-Bonita School District (SMBSD) recently unveiled a new logo, part of the district's ongoing effort to develop a new cohesive mission and vision.
This school year, the district is working with a new strategic plan that was adopted by the School Board before the start of the academic year in August.
"The strategic plan is entirely new," said Dr. Darren McDuffie, Santa Maria-Bonita School District Superintendent. "There hasn't been a strategic plan here for Santa maria Bonita School District. It's about creating a mission to better understand what we do for our students. That mission is everything that drives what we do. We've created a set of beliefs about how we act, and in how we learn together, and how we grow together as a community."
McDuffie added the strategic plan was created by a cross-section of families, community members, and staff, and was developed so it could help cultivate a brighter future for students.
"Our strategic plan is about creating a whole child approach to our students, not only academic, actually, but also social, emotionally, as well as physically," said McDuffie. "We want to really look at the whole child as we bring them into our school district and, you know, release them into the high school district and into the world. We want them to really reach their maximum potential. And it takes it takes the entire community."
The second-year superintendent also pointed out the strategic plan features several core beliefs. Among those include teaching students that each person has inherent value and deserves respect, a belief all people belong, have a voice and can contribute, that each person has the power and responsibility to take action and make a positive impact, as well as equity is essential for all persons to thrive.
"Our beliefs are that every person will be treated with dignity and respect," said McDuffie. "We believe that service is an act of love. We believe that empathy inspires a kind community. Those are a few of our beliefs that we really want to embed and infuse into our school district and welcome all of our families within that. Some of the key strategies is really evolving and engaging our families into our school district, and we need to do more of that as well as developing a whole child approach and creating a inclusive environment for our students, all of our students."
In addition to the strategic plan, the district has also developed a brand new logo as well, which was just released to the public to see.
"When I first arrived at Santa Maria-Bonita, we had a I would say kind of an identity crisis," said McDuffie. "We had two logos. One from the 80's and one that was recently put into place about three or four years ago, and the two logos, you could see them in different places, but they really didn't speak to what we were about, and so we waited until we got a strategic plan. It's exciting because the logo really represents what we're about and really gives us an identity as a school district, so we're excited about that."
The colorful new logo is in shape of a collegiate-style flag and includes several features, beginning with the the acronym SMBSD spelled vertically on a blue background on the left side.
Other features are described by the district are an open book shape at the top of the logo that symbolizes the learning environment created by the district's dedicated staff and community. On the upper right, an image of heart in the hand embodies the district's commitment to uplift and support each student in reaching their full potential, while on the lower right, an image of green hills reflect the city's and district's profound connection to its agricultural roots and symbolizes SMBSD nurturing the potential of each student.
"We want one singular logo that will identify us," said McDuffie. "It is going to be a transition. People are used to the old logo and it's going to take this school year for us to kind of transition. "We're excited about that transition and having this logo identify us as one of the leading school districts in the nation."
Looking ahead, McDuffie added the district is currently in the process of studying the feasibility of a potential school bond.
"We'll take that to the board later on in the next couple, the upcoming months to see whether we put a bond on the ballot," said McDuffie. "We really are excited about where we're going right now. We have updated our playground equipment. We're putting AC into all of our schools over the next couple of years, and so we're doing what we need to do in order for our facilities to be up to date, but we need more help, and that's why we're looking to put a bond on our on the ballot for for next year."
McDuffie did not indicate a dollar amount that is currently being considered for a potential bond. The last bond measure for SMBSD was Measure T, which passed 10 years ago in 2014, and generated $45 million for the district, a significant portion of which helped build the district's newest campus, Bill Libbon Elementary School.
"That'll be something that we decide with our board once we get all the information in, and get information through surveys and so forth from our community," said McDuffie. "We are looking to increase our school capacity within our school district. Our schools need updating. We need construction to take place in order to really anticipate the growth that we're going to have with our students. We're looking to create an elementary school and a potentially a middle school as well with this bond, and we need the community's assistance with that, and so a bond is going to help."
A bond measure would be decided by Santa Maria voters. The earliest a measure could potentially appear on a ballot would be Nov. 5, 2024 during this year's General Election.
To view the SMBSD strategic plan, click here.