Community for Excellent Public Schools (CEPS), a broad-based grassroots advocacy organization dedicated to the preservation and betterment of public schools in Santa Monica and Malibu, is proud to enthusiastically endorse our school district’s landmark campaign Vision for Student Success, which is being implemented by the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation.

The Vision for Student Success is a community-wide campaign to raise funds for programs that are vital to our children’s educational experience, with a mission to help every child in the school district succeed.

Over the past 10 years, we at CEPS have championed and advocated for stable, ongoing funding for our local public schools through our support of the Master Facilities Use Agreement with the city of Santa Monica, several successful parcel tax campaigns, and the innovative Y & YY campaign, generating new tax revenue which Santa Monica and our schools share.

CEPS has held election-year campaign forums giving voters the opportunity to hear about educational issues and the candidates’ views on these issues. We’ve then rated and endorsed candidates who are strong in their beliefs that education is a central component to the health and welfare of Santa Monica. CEPS also holds annual State of Our Schools events in Santa Monica and Malibu to showcase and report on SMMUSD’s academic achievements, financial status and future challenges.

It’s been a full 10 years and we’ve accomplished a lot! We are strong advocates for public education and believe that every child deserves an excellent education and an excellent education for every child is essential to our city’s well-being.

The Vision for Student Success campaign is a way to work toward those goals. The campaign is in full swing after being put forth by Superintendent Sandra Lyon in 2011, adopted by the SMMUSD Board of Education the same year and now being administrated by the Santa Monica-Malibu Education Foundation (SMMEF).

We at CEPS are pleased to endorse the vision of Superintendent Lyon in bringing together parents, teachers, staff, businesses, and the entire community in support of educational excellence for our Santa Monica and Malibu schools. A shared community vision for excellence in our public schools has been the foundation of CEPS’ work for over a decade.

The Vision for Student Success will provide SMMUSD students with quality educational programs at every school in the district. These programs include:

• A comprehensive visual and performing arts program for K-5 students and enrichment programs at all schools;

• Literacy coaches at each elementary school and increased support for literacy and math at the secondary level;

• Class size ratios of 25:1 through all second- and third-grade classrooms;

• Highly trained instructional aides at elementary schools;

• High quality professional development for all teachers to enhance instruction at every grade level.

The plan will ensure that every child in SMMUSD has access to the same excellent educational programs no matter which neighborhood they live in or which school they attend. The Vision for Student Success emphasizes a culture of collaboration essential to the success of our students and the strength of our community.

A campaign goal of $4 million must be raised by Jan. 31, 2014 to ensure that these programs can be at district schools in the 2014-15 school year. This is a big goal, but we’re confident that our communities are as strongly committed to public education as those of us at CEPS.

Superintendent Lyon has commented, “The only possible way to achieve our district-wide goals is with the support of our community, which is why I am so pleased that CEPS is an early and helpful partner.” She added, “CEPS has been unwavering in its leadership of advocacy for public school funding. We are a unique public school community because of the work of our advocates.”

We at CEPS encourage you to join us in our excitement about the Vision for Student Success, and we encourage your continuing support of our excellent Santa Monica-Malibu public schools.

For more information, along with ways to support the Vision for Student Success, please go to To become an advocate and support the work of CEPS, please go to




Shari Davis is chair of Community for Excellent Public Schools.

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