San Luis Obispo County enjoys beautiful topography, a pleasant climate, and a significant community service ethic. During the summer of 2021, civic groups, private businesses, non-profits, and government agencies have joined forces to best support our community as we exit the global pandemic. Sustainable practices that are interlinked as a mutually supporting process can create prosperity in society for generations. Civic responsibility moves beyond the legal duty of care requirements and can be considered an ethical or moral service. Two such agencies connected with my office that serve adults who in turn benefit our youth are the SLO Noor Foundation and SLO Career and Technical Education (CTE) Foundation. These agencies understand that helping those who provide for our youth is a variation of paying it forward. 

Both Noor and the CTE Foundation acknowledge the obstacles and challenges individuals face because of economics in San Luis Obispo County. Mitigating the effects of access to health care or educational training is a shared theme of both non-profits. The work of these agencies contributes to the well-being of internal and external stakeholders with a positive impact on the youth of our community. Because the families and primary caregivers of students throughout the county have economic challenges, serving the adults that provide for our youth is an investment in our future. To attract the best investment for business expansion, increase customer base sales, and create greater prosperity, the community must provide increased access to services such as health care, child care, and educational training. Employers throughout the county acknowledge the business benefits when a community provides for increased health and economic interests.

My work as a classroom teacher, school principal, college instructor, district superintendent, and now as your county superintendent made me aware of groups providing health care, child care, and educational training to the economically challenged. I did not fully appreciate the positive impact of these services on the community until I became more involved with Noor and CTE. Through Noor’s clinics, medical practitioners provide quality preventative and episodic primary health care to the uninsured. Educational literature, case management, and social work assistance are also available. Some of the individuals Noor serves are the adult family members of some of our most vulnerable students in the community. Noor’s medical, dental, and vision care strengthens families, economic prosperity, and the community. Noor has been in service for nine years, provided 2,000 prescription glasses, conducted over 40,000 patient encounters, and logged over 7,800 volunteer hours. The Noor Foundation is a partner in service with the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education. 

I simply can’t build my hopes on a foundation of confusion, misery, and death… 

I think… peace and tranquility will return again. 

~ Anne Frank

The SLO CTE Foundation is a non-profit organization aimed at improving the lives and economy of our community by supporting and inspiring transformative education opportunities. Our efforts support three proven initiatives of the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education: SLO Partners, the arts, and K-12 technical education. SLO Partners provides access for students to remain in the community while training in a new field or career path through fast-tracked boot camp programs. These boot camps work in partnership with Cuesta College, local industry, and educational leaders. Scholarships are provided by local businesses, grants, and donors that value the investment in our future. The digital marketing, web development, precision manufacturing, cybersecurity, trades, and the Ticket to Teach programs to connect local talent to the workforce and career pathways. 

The SLO CTE Foundation is committed to preserving and promoting the arts in education. An education system that teaches critical thinking, creatively approaching problems, and addresses challenges, equips students for long-term career development in our rapidly changing global economy. Our goal is to help all students become lifelong learners and enthusiasts of the arts. We actively envision each student’s limitless possibilities. Students’ technical, academic, and employability skills taught in CTE courses are essential for college and career success.  Just as American businesses are redesigning how they deliver services, educational leaders, legislators, and policymakers should redesign how we provide for our community. Our service systems are social justice in action. A healthy and well-educated populous strengthens our democracy and grows our economy.  

America faces a challenge today of providing a safe environment, rebuilding our economy, and competing in the global marketplace.  Although additional work is still needed to provide access to health and education services, this summer will prove that we are an adaptive, resourceful, and hopeful people. Anyone interested in supporting the SLO Noor Foundation or the SLO CTE Foundation and their services can find additional information online or contact the San Luis Obispo County Office of Education. It is an honor to serve as your County Superintendent of Schools.